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