Kevin Kelly's CoolTools is an indispensable resource for discovering the most important kind of gadgets of all: practical ones. Here are some of the site's best recent finds.
Headlamps are great for when your hands are tied and you need to see what's in front of you, but what about the times when you need to cast some light on what's keeping your hands tied to begin with? Hand lights! A cheap DIY project that's actually quite DIY-able.
Camping. Car trips. When you're sitting on the toilet. All times that you might like a little amplification for your electric guitar, and all times where a full-on amp wouldn't be appropriate. Enter the Roland MicroCube, a tiny, digitally modeled amp with volume and gain controls that will keep you rocking pretty much anywhere for only $90.
Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender
Last week when I visited my Mom she said, "wait until you see how easy it is to make a smoothie with this thing. Even you could do it." She was talking about the Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, and it's true that even with my total culinary ineptitude, it did indeed look easy enough for me to use. The Smart Stick lets you do your basic blender jobs with far less bulk (and clean-up's way easier, too).
Quick Snap Ice Tray
You know what's dumb? That we're still using ice cube trays that jettison the cubes all over the floor when you try to snap them out. You know what's smart? Any ice cube tray that can solve that problem. This $8 tray gives each little ice cube cubby a plastic tab for popping out the cube you want, and only the cube you want.
Ikea Dave Laptop Table
At this point, the secret's out: laptops are deceivingly named. They're too hot for your lap, and I'm quite sure I've read some reports that argue that all those radio waves can't be good for your boy parts. Or your girl parts either, for that matter. This $20 Ikea laptop table will keep things cool.
OK so maybe not a tool-tool, but this neat pocket kite could definitely be considered a tool for making you happy. Because what's more enjoyable then flying a kite on a windy day? Flying a kite with no breakable wooden parts that you can keep in your pocket, that's what. And only $5.
Coin-sized Pocket Screwdrivers
There's nothing worse than not having a screwdriver when you really need one. And there's nothing worse than having a pocketful of change that you can't buy anything with. So what if all those coins were...screwdrivers? At $9.50 for a dozen, it's cheap enough to find out.
Kuhn Rikon Safety Lid Lifter
I still have trouble opening cans with a can opener, so I'm glad to see that there's a better option. This $20 safety lid lifter cuts below the can's rim, separating lid from can without any sharp edges. Now that's magical.
Mini Measure Shot Glass
Sometimes recipes require tiny little measurements. That's what I hear, anyway. I do know that sometimes shots require tiny little measurements, so keeping one of these $5 mini measuring cups on hand seems like a good idea.
Where there are gear lovers, there is gear. And where there is gear, there are cords and cables. Lots of them. Cord Pro is a simple, tried and true mechanism for keeping tubular things—from hoses down to ethernet cable—nice and tidy.
Kevin Kelly's CoolTools is a fantastic resource for finding gear that will be useful once it actually shows up on your doorstep. The site's continually updating with the newest and coolest tools, so go check it out.