Cool Stuff

I’ve been collecting a list of cool stuff for friends and figured I might as well put a list of it here. Bookmark it and return when you are bored. New (to me, not the world) stuff at the top.

Kevin Kelly, Wired Magazine founder, shares 68 bits of wisdom on his 68th birthday. Practical, thoughtful, and good to remember even if you already knew it.

We’ve all browsed a Duty Free store in the airport. I’m shocked to learn they made its founder, Chuck Feeney, $8B. I’m more shocked at what he did with it:

A short and persuasive piece on the importance of online privacy. A good read for anyone who still surfs the web without ad blockers, Ghostery, etc. Especially on browsers other than Firefox or Brave.

Instacart and Shipt are way overpriced. I finally did a price comparison on a $100 purchase from the grocery store and I saved $50 over Shipt, even with a $10 delivery fee vs. free. Prices are ~30% inflated.

Some counties provide free roadside assistance if you’re on a freeway. In LA it’s the Metro Freeway Service Patrol (FSP):

The service is absolutely FREE to motorists. Simply call 511 and say “Motorist Aid” from your phone or call from a freeway callbox. The services include the following:

  • Changing flat tires
  • Jump-starting cars
  • Refilling radiators and taping leaky hoses
  • Providing up to a gallon of fuel
  • Towing disabled vehicles to designated safe locations off the freeway

Apparently the service pays for itself due to the cost of traffic jams from disabled vehicles. Your area might have something similar.

American versus Indian cinema. I cannot stop laughing. We’re losing so hard.

A hilarious and intriguing story of how someone discovered that your boarding pass and claim ticket are gateways to other personal information and potential identity theft:

This tool opts you out of selling your data to over 100 ad networks. I found I was opted in to a few big sites like Disney, Verizon (Yahoo), and Microsoft. Microsoft Windows has a nasty habit of resetting my privacy preferences on every major OS update, so this does not surprise me.

Photographer Jordi Puig does a lot of trick photography and shows you how. Some is by phone, but looks like he mainly shoots with Sony Alpha, so he’s not skimping on gear.

Hazy, wildfire-tinted drone footage of San Francisco paired with the Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack. Only 30 seconds, but very well done.

Hoopla let’s you borrow movies, TV shows, audio books, ebooks, etc. all for free. You get 15 borrows per month. If you’ve resorted to watching the dregs of Netflix, you need to check this out.

Kanopy is focused on movies. It gives you 9 borrows per month from their catalog. When you arrive on the site, you’ll notice that all the recommendations appear to come from undergrads plugging their friends’ films. However, I see a lot of gems. 50 films from the Criterion Collection alone, plus modern greats like Ex Machina and Lady Bird. Tons of world cinema. Like Hoopla, all free.

Everyone hates wearing a mask. They are hot and sweaty and hard to breathe in. It was uncomfortable during Halloween, but at least you might get a phone number. Without that inspiration, some people hate it so much they hallucinate they are invincible or the virus is a hoax.

Worst of all, most minimally protect the wearer. They’re not N95 or don’t fit well. Safer options like paper surgical masks and Bane respirators for sanding/painting are even less comfortable. I would definitely shell out hundreds to solve this problem. Heck, I would walk around with a powered HEPA filter attached to my face if I could.


It delivers a constant clean air supply. I’ve tested it on long walks in 80F temperatures and short walks in 110F. Even without the generated breeze keeping you dry (comes in three speeds), it’s so much better fitting than the paper masks. It’s not cheap, but comes with two washable masks. HEPA filters protect against viruses. Win win win. I’d happily pay double for it.

Some of the most beautiful photos of Tokyo (and other parts of Japan) I’ve seen. Great art.