Good deal on braided 6-foot lightning cable

Aukey has a good deal on its MFi-certified 6' braided Lightning cable. To get the deal, click the coupon check box on the product page and use Amazon promo code WKX3ZTCR at checkout. Read the rest

Good deal on USB C portable charger that can charge a MacBook and a Switch

I got one of these RAVPower portable chargers for my nephew a couple of years ago, and he told me it was great to use with his Nintendo Switch, because he could play the Switch with the charger connected and the battery charge would increase at the same time. This newer version is available at a discount when you use the promo code LKWZQ4C3. Read the rest

Photos and videos of bugs and stuff with my USB microscope

I bought a USB microscope a few years ago because I wanted to examine kitchen knife edges after I sharpen them using different sharpeners. I'm still having fun with it. The tiny millipede in the video above is in a cup the size of a penny. Here are some images I've captured so far:

Groovy Squirmy millipede.

A Trader Joe's roasted and salted peanut. (See image full size)

A playing card.

My arm hair.

A leaf, with what looks to be some kind of parasite.

Smaller than a prescription pill bottle, the microscope has a USB cord that can be plugged into any computer. Download the software here and start looking up close at money, leaves, circuit boards, bugs, skin, hair, and anything else.

The scope has a built-in, adjustable-brightness LED for illumination. The brightest setting is not always the best --- try different levels of illumination and let the software auto-adjust the contrast. I also learned that in order to see things at the maximum 250X magnification you need to follow the instructions in the FAQ.

It comes with a suction-cup gooseneck mount that is very stable, and a plastic board with a grid pattern, which helps you align and locate the thing you are looking at. You can also simply hold the scope against things. The software takes still photos and videos, and hasn't crashed on me yet (the earlier version was buggy).

For the price, the microscope is an amazingly entertaining device and I find myself grabbing it to check out all sorts of things, including splinters, skin cuts, bugs, and playing card designs. Read the rest

This super cheap illuminated magnifier comes in handy

For a couple of bucks, this illuminated magnifier is a great deal. I use mine all the time, especially when reading values on tiny electronic components. Read the rest

This multimeter is very inexpensive with discount code

I have a few multimeters, and this is the one I usually grab first because it's so dead simple to use. I've had it for a least a year and have had no problems with it. Use promo code M2UAA4EY to get it for less than the price of a large, heavily sweetened coffee drink. Read the rest

Discount code for self-adjusting wire strippers

Once I started using self-adjusting wire strippers I never went back to the other kind of wire strippers. These a pleasure to use. One squeeze of the handle the insulation is perfectly stripped from a wire of any gage. Use code MZ8XXXSZ for $5 discount.

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A ratcheting screwdriver set for working in tight spots

This screwdriver set comes in handy when you need to tighten or loosen a screw and a regular long handle screwdriver won't fit. The ratchet mechanism means you can quickly attach or remove a screw without having to lift and reset the driver into the screw head with every turn.

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Great deal on crew T-shirts

I bought a six=pack of Gildan crew T-shirts to replace my ratty old ones. They're very inexpensive and comfortable. They're on sale right now, so I bought another six-pack of whites and a six-pack of blacks.

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Graduated shot glasses good for espresso

If you make your own espresso and want to pull shots that are always the same strength, this set of 2 shot glasses with markings for ounces, milliliters, teaspoons, and tablespoons might be what you're looking for. You can also use them to dose medication or mix cocktails. Read the rest

Raspberry Pi Kano Computer at all-time low price

Kano dropped the price on its Raspberry Pi based Kano Computer. At this price, it's cheaper than buying the components individually (A Raspberry Pi 3, case, speaker and amp, cables, microSD card, wireless keyboard/trackpad). The built-in Linux-based operating system and bundled software (which teaches kids how to code) is excellent. This would be a great last minute gift. Read the rest

Good deal on an excellent cat scratching post

We have three cats. We bought this large heavy duty scratching post in December 2015 and all three cats used it countless times throughout the day. By February 2018 it was pretty thrashed so we bought a replacement. They never get tired of using it. They also like to jump onto the little platform at the top to survey the room. It's on sale today for $10 off the usual price. Highly recommended.

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Why the Bodum Yo is my favorite tea strainer

Ever since I accidentally bought a huge bag of dried nettle leaves on Amazon, I've been having nettle tea at least once a day for the last year. I have a lot of different tea steepers, but my favorite is this one from Bodum. The reason is simple - the mesh is made from nylon, and the leaves rinse right off. That's not true for stainless steel mesh strainers, and I no longer use them, because it is not easy to clean them. This one (which comes with a nice mug) is the one I always use, unless someone else in the house is already using it, which is often because people drink a lot of tea around here. Read the rest

Favorite 2018 tool finds under $10

Here are Cool Tools' favorite sub-$10 tools for 2008:

CANARY Corrugated Cardboard Cutter

Makita Impact Gold Ultra-Magnetic Torsion Insert Bit Holder

Pacer Technology (Zap) Flexy-Tips

Komelon Speed Mark Gripper

3M Virtua CCS Protective Eyewear w/ earplugs

Engineer SS-02 Solder Sucker

Favorite Tool Finds Under $10 (2017 Edition) Read the rest

'Tis the season for tear-by-hand packing tape

Scotch Tear-by-Hand Tape costs a bit more than regular packing tape, but the convenience of not having to tear the tape (and your fingers) with a dispenser is more than worth the additional expense. It's very easy to tear this tape, but it seems as strong as ordinary packing tape. Read the rest

$50 gadget reduces washing machine vibration

Our washing machine chatters and shakes so much that sometimes I think it's going to break apart. (In fact, I hear it shaking right now.) I adjust the feet frequently (why do they make it so hard to turn the feet to raise and lower them?), but it doesn't do a lot of good. Help could be on the way in the form of this brace that mounts on the bottom or top of the washer and uses active vibration control to reduce shaking. The video is impressive, as is the price: $50 on Kickstarter. Read the rest

The joy of textured plastic balls

It doesn't matter if you're an Onlie or a grup, these colorful textured plastic balls are fun to hold and squeeze. If moisture enters the small holes in the balls and results in black mold, they can be admired under a bell jar filled with an inert gas, preferably xenon. Read the rest

If you want a large, cheap display for your Raspberry Pi, here's a good one

I use an Acer 25-inch monitor with my Macbook Pro and like it a lot. This 21-inch model (920 x 1080) is a highly rated sub-100 dollar model, and is perfect for people who want a large monitor for their Raspberry Pi, perhaps to play retro-games. Read the rest