To quote its creator, Kevin Kelly, “Cool Tools is a web site which recommends the best/cheapest tools available. Tools are defined broadly as anything that can be useful. This includes hand tools, machines, books, software, gadgets, websites, maps, and even ideas. All reviews are positive raves written by real users. We don’t bother with negative reviews because our intent is to only offer the best. One new tool is posted each weekday. Cool Tools does NOT sell anything.”
For tool-lovers, the site is a candy shop of invention. It’s impossible to encapsulate, so here are a handful of tool reviews that caught my eye:
Cellphone headset for noisy conditions
Automatic water main shutoff
Digital paper (for pen-based tablets)
Gripper for hauling drywall easily
Rapid boiling camp kettle
Spyder Scraper for removing tile
Public access e-books
Best 60-watt LED bulb
Plug-in talking navigator
Heavy duty velcro
DIY Industrial metal framing
Flexible portable neon
Adjustable standing desk
Table saw replacement
Centripetal paintbrush spinner
Cool Tools is addictive, but the hours I have spent there felt like productive ones. The greater danger, I think, is getting lost in the omnibus site that surrounds it–www.kk.org. It is so vast and wide-ranging that I have yet to explore all its nooks. Its True Films collection, for example, is like no other: heavy on documentaries, science, world cultures, true adventure and quiet little gems that most media critics miss. Kevin Kelly is a genius, I suspect. Yet as original and wildly inventive as his mind is, Kelly seems to be a humble man with a great sense of fun. To quote his bio briefly:
“My educational background is minimal. I am a college drop out. Instead of going to university, I went to Asia. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. I traveled in the 1970s as a poor, solo photographer in the hinterlands and villages of Asia, between Iran and Japan. I traveled on about US$2,500 per year and came back with 36,000 slides.”
With characteristic modesty, Kelly mentions in passing that he has also been editor in chief of the Whole Earth Review, a longtime member of The Global Network (a prestigious think thank), and part of the small team that launched Wired magazine.
Cool Tools is a great site, I hope you enjoy it. –Mike
© Michael Litchfield 2012
Looking more like a flashlight than a basin wrench, this Ridgid faucet and sink installer has a slit to fit around the supply lines, and a raised pattern for a good grip. Reviewed on Cool Tools.
Kevin Kelly, creator of Cool Tools and kk.org
Kapton tape is a better tape for electronics because, unlike regular black electrical tape, it is heat resistant. You can put a soldering iron on it and it will not melt. Reviewed on Cool Tools.
According to a recent Cool Tools review, the Phillips L-Prize is the best LED at at the moment. It runs on only 10 watts, gives off the light of a 60-watt tungsten, delivers a soft white light, and is dimmable.