I couldn't resist buying this Gerber keychain multitool for $5, as an Amazon Prime Add-On item. The folding tools (knife, medium flat head driver, small flat head driver, phillips head driver, file) lock into place. It also comes with a bottle opener and carabiner. Read the rest
This super-lightweight backpack came in very handy during my 5-week working holiday in Japan. It has two pockets for water bottles, which was useful because temperatures approached 100 degrees almost every day. There are two other front pockets for battery packs, pocket wifi, sunscreen, sunglasses, notepad, and other small items. The main storage area is for hats, more water, laptop, guidebooks, and items bought while shopping. It folds up to a tiny size. I'm really happy with it. It's $21 on Amazon. Read the rest
I travel with a small bluetooth speaker similar to this one. It's great for watching movies on my laptop and for listening to music and podcasts. Amazon is selling it for $5, when you use IPSLZEP5. Read the rest
$22 is the lowest price I've seen for an Aeropress coffee maker. (Just click the the little coupon checkbox on the Amazon page.) It's a lot of fun to make coffee with the Aeropress -- you pour a little water in the piston and put it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Then you put a microfilter in the cylinder (you get a "years supply" with the Aeropress) and a scoop of ground coffee. The you put the cylinder on top of a cup (the company recommends using a clear mug to make the process even more fun), pour the heated (not boiling -- it'll make the coffee bitter and sour, they say) water, stir for 10 seconds, and press the piston down. A few seconds later, you have a wonderful cup of silky smooth coffee.
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I've had a Roku, Apple TV, and the Fire TV Stick. I no longer use the Roku or Apple TV because the Fire TV Stick, in my experience is less buggy and easier to use than the other streaming devices. Also, I'm an Amazon Prime member, so I can watch a bunch of shows and movies that are included in the membership. Right now its on sale for just $20. Read the rest
The Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter has a 4.8 rating and over 5,000 reviews on Amazon. I've been using one for years and I don't know how I managed to start a charcoal barbecue without one. You fill it with charcoal briquettes, put two sheets of crumpled newspaper in the bottom and light with a match. In 20-30 minutes the coals are ready to be poured into the grill for cooking. No starter fluid needed. It's on sale for $15 on Amazon right now. Read the rest
If you don't have hex key without ball ends, you are missing out. The ball end allows you to tighten/loosen hex nuts from an angle up to 25%, which helps get around obstructions that would block a regular hex key set. Amazon has a good deal on a double set of ball-end hex keys (one metric, the other inch) for $11.
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I bought this Instant Pot earlier this year to replace my Fagor pressure cooker (which broke after many years of service). I like the Instant Pot more. The pot is stainless steel, unlike the Fagor, which is teflon-coated. The interface is easier to use, and I don't have to worry about forgetting to press the "start" button because there isn't one. It's on sale today only for $90, making it less expensive than the 3-quart model ($100). If you are looking for a combo slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, this is the one to get. Read the rest
I bought the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft last year and it has worked beautifully. The speed is adjustable, it has tons of power, and it comes with a number of different attachments. It also has a flex shaft for fine work. It comes in a very sturdy plastic box. At $20, it's a steal. Read the rest
American Metalcraft makes restaurant equipment, but you can buy these stainless steel taco holders for home use on Amazon. The have a model that holds 2 tacos, and another that holds 3, which is on sale today for $6.52. We use them at least once a week, and love them. Who on earth wants a taco shell sitting on its side, disgorging its contents on the plate? Not me. Read the rest
The eufy body scale, made by Anker, has a bluetooth radio to store your weight in your Google Fit, Fitbit, or Apple Health account. It also records body fat, bone mass, and muscle mass, but I think home scales like this don't do a good job of measuring anything other than weight. If you use code EUFYS789 it's just $29 on Amazon. Read the rest
Amazon is selling Sharpies at a great price today: 36 for $11. (Does anyone know how long an unopened Sharpie lasts?) Read the rest
I use my phone to take photos of business cards, signs, parking spots, and so on, but I don't like to tap out notes on it unless I have to. I make too many errors. I've been carrying around a small notebook when I travel, and the one I like the best is this 3" x 5" Rite in the Rain, a pocket sized notebook with nearly waterproof pages. Each wire-O bound book has 50 double side sheets (with a grid pattern print). I use a pencil to take notes with it. Ordinary ballpoints won't work when the pages are wet, but all-weather pens do. The cover is made from durable plastic. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. The small ones cost less than $4 each.
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The older I get, the hairier I get. I combat my fast-growing ear and nose hair with a Panasonic trimmer. Amazon is selling it for $10. It is easy to clean, and runs on a AA battery. Read the rest
Buy 3 Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peelers for $6.69. Keep one and give the other 2 to friends. They'll love you forever. Once I started using this, I got rid of my other, inferior peelers. Read the rest
This Arduino clone starter kit, at $28.34 on Amazon, is a really good deal. Besides the Arduino Uno clone itself, it has a full size solderless breadboard, a servo motor, a power supply, a distance sensor, a DC motor, jumper wires, a 4-digit 7-segment display, a stepper motor, a joystick, transistors, resistors, and a lot more. It comes in a nice plastic carrying case, too. Read the rest
Available as an add-on item on Amazon, this Kuru Toga pencil has a cool feature that rotates the lead incrementally every time you press it down on paper. That way, the tip stays nicely rounded. Here's a video of the spring-loaded clutch mechanism in action:
The pencil also has a metal sleeve that protects the lead, sliding into the pencil as the lead gets shorter. The sleeve retracts completely so you can lug it in a bag without having to worry about it getting bent or breaking off. Read the rest