One Useful Thing: Cool Tools

Tools That Really Work

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Cool Tools is both a website of reader-submitted tool recommendations and a YouTube channel that reviews those tools and explains what makes them so, well, cool.

The CANARY Corrugated Cardboard Cutter is one of my favorite tools that was featured on the Cool Tools YouTube channel.

From the video:

“When this thing comes into contact with corrugated cardboard, you can work through it like butter. Even without a pointy tip, you can easily work your way into any spot just by starting with the side of the blade and then pushing in.”

It’s a small thing but it makes a big difference to my weekly chore of breaking down boxes for the recycle bin.

A neat side effect of Cool Tool videos is that you can learn new skills while watching the reviews because they show how a tool is used. A Cool Tools review of inexpensive soldering irons lead to me repairing a faulty wire in our clothing iron. Simple, but something I only considered after watching the Cool Tools review.

Cool Tool also has a newsletter and a podcast.

Previously from One Useful Thing: Standard Ebooks

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One Useful Thing: Standard Ebooks

Free, beautifully designed public domain ebooks.

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Standard Ebooks are lovingly produced new editions of public domain ebooks, expertly edited and designed by a talented team of volunteers.

Even better: Standard Ebooks are readable on any ebook device or with any ebook app. I’ve read several in the Kindle and Apple Books apps for iPad and iPhone. They’re a joy to read.

I’ve particularly enjoyed their selection of classic Science Fiction novels from the likes of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Andre Norton. The entire catalog is a lot of fun to browse.

You can volunteer to help Standard Ebooks produce even more beautiful public domain ebooks.

“Any skill level, from simple proofreading to complete ebook production, is welcome. We’re here to help!”

Previously from One Useful Thing: camelcamelcamel 🐪🐫🐪

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One Useful Thing: camelcamelcamel 🐪🐫🐪

Free Amazon price drop alerts.

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Awkwardly named but super useful, sends you email alerts when Amazon drops the price of any item you’re watching. It’s free and no registration is required.

I’ve set up a price watch for the ecobee3 smart thermostat. You can see in the price history below that it was twenty dollars cheaper ($119) last spring than the current listed price of $139.

Since I’m in no hurry, I’ve set the alert to arrive when and if the price ever matches its springtime low. There are also presets to select email alerts for price drops of -3% , -5%, -7% and -10%. on a particular product.

Registering is free and lets you import your entire Amazon Wishlist, which is incredibly handy if you save a lot of items to your Wishlist like I do.

Camelcamelcamel has also tons of other free Amazon price watching features that are fun to browse, like Top Price Drops and Popular Deals, and tools like browser add-ons for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Previously from One Useful Thing: Animated Knots

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Animated Knots

Learn how to tie knots of any kind. shows you how to tie any kind of knot for any use. From boating knots, fishing knots and climbing knots, to tying a tie and knots to use around the home, yard and garden. The animation plays once automatically. After that, you can tap through it to review.

I used a Half Hitch and a Sheet Bend to build a trellis for our out-of-control tomatoes. The knots are very strong, yet flexible enough to allow for the growing plants. The knots will be easy to undo when I take it down in Fall. Find them under menu>knots by type>basic.

Animated Knots also has paid apps for iOS and Android.

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One Useful Thing is a weekly newsletter of the truly useful things I come across in my work as a researcher. Launching soon. Why not join? Sign up now so you don’t miss the first issue. It’s good. - Keith Monaghan

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