Safety 1st Finger Pinch Preventer

Safety 1st Finger Pinch Preventer

This is one of those things I wish I’d known about sooner. My 2yo son has a habit of closing house doors a little too roughly, and this whole time we could’ve been using the Safety 1st Finger Pinch Preventer as a precautionary measure.

It can be fitted on the hinge or knob side of a door, preventing those horrible finger pinches toddlers inevitably forget about. When not in-use, it can simply be hung from a doorknob for easy access later.

A two-pack of these pinch preventers is $9, while a four-pack is $15. Big thanks goes to Marco Arment for mentioning them in his recent toddler stuff review.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Home, Kids

Featured Sponsor: 22Slides, a Simple Portfolio Website Builder

Featured Sponsor: 22Slides, a Simple Portfolio Website Builder

22Slides is a simple portfolio website builder created by a photographer and long-time shawnblanc.net (and more recently, Tools & Toys) reader.

Sideways-scrolling image galleries, full-screen photos, great search engine and mobile optimization, custom domain names, great image quality… yadda yadda yadda, you already know this stuff.

The bottom line is that we can help make a great portfolio website with probably a lot less effort than you’d expect. And, we’re a surprisingly small business, probably a lot like yours. We should stick together.

We’d be honored if you kept 22Slides in mind the next time you encounter someone in need of a good portfolio website.

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Our thanks to 22Slides for sponsoring the RSS feed this week.

Bholsa iPhone Sleeve + Wallet

Bholsa iPhone Sleeve + Wallet

Bholsa is a small Portuguese shop that makes lots of felt, anti-pilling, water-resistant cases for various devices. This sleeve+wallet combo, which features two front slots for cards and bills, is available for iPhone 5/5s and iPhone 4/4s. It looks great, protects your iPhone, and may save you the trouble of carrying a separate wallet.

Available on Etsy for $18.50.

11+ Sound 1 Bluetooth Speakers

11+ Sound 1 Bluetooth Speakers

The Sound 1 by 11+ are a beautiful set of Bluetooth speakers that won’t break the bank. A lot of thought has gone into their design and packaging, as you can see in Andrew Kim’s review on Minimally Minimal.

The bottoms of both speakers are cut at an angle so that the speakers tilt toward you for better audio projection. Underneath each speaker is a magnetic post, which allows the speakers to be attached together with their cords neatly tucked in the middle. While attached this way, the whole thing can be wrapped up in a special carrying case that resembles a sushi roll. Sounds odd, but really it looks rather nice.

11+ Sound 1 Bluetooth Speakers

The set has an average battery life of about 20 hours, and is rechargeable via USB. These speakers aren’t going to please any audiophiles, but they’re decent for the price and their beautiful simplicity will add a pleasant touch to your listening space.

$85 at Leibal.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Audio

Monster Outlets to Go 4-Outlet Power Strip

Monster Outlets to Go 4-Outlet Power Strip

As any seasoned traveler knows, it isn’t always easy to find enough power outlets to charge your various devices. It’s also not very economical to carry an entire power strip around in your bag.

This is where the Monster Outlets to Go 4-Outlet Power Strip comes in handy, despite it’s overly long name. It sports four outlets (two on each side) in a single portable package. Compact enough to toss in your bag, and maybe even your pocket in a pinch. The power cord can be folded over and plugged into one of the unit’s own outlets for easy storage.

Such a useful little thing to keep around if you travel a lot, and it’s only $9.50 on Amazon.

Half-Pint Leather Jar Sleeve

Half-Pint Leather Jar Sleeve

Matt Pierce runs the blog/shop Wood&Faulk, where he tinkers and experiments with various ideas for leather items. Sometimes those experiments turn into actual products, which is the case with the half-pint leather jar sleeve.

Made of English bridle leather, these sleeves are designed to fit over half-pint mason jars. Drinking hot beverages out of jars has come back in style, and Matt’s sleeve will keep your hands from getting scalded if you decide to hop on that train. They look pretty cool too, which is always a bonus.

Matt sells these sleeves—available in tan, chestnut, brown, and black—for $28 a pop, and each comes complete with a jar and lid, ready to go.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Drinks

Prizmo — Text Scanner and OCR for iOS

Prizmo — Text Scanner and OCR for iOS

Prizmo is an iOS app that lets you use your device’s camera to scan text and do all sorts of neat things with it. The scanned text can be exported directly, or saved in PDF or image form to be sent elsewhere. But that’s only the beginning.

It understands over 40 languages (10 are built-in, the rest must be purchased) and it can speak 20 of them. This makes it a great tool for translating obscure menu items at your favorite upscale restaurant, amongst other things.

But the real reason I wanted to talk about Prizmo here was because of the URL-scheme workflow shown in this video. Basically, you install this action in Launch Center Pro (be sure to change ‘DEVICENAME’ to the correct recipient!), scan some text with Prizmo, and it uses Command-C to send that text to your Mac or another iOS device. I really could’ve used this when I was trying to capture quotes from Stephen King’s On Writing.

If you’re in need of an awesome text-scanner for iPhone or iPad, pick up Prizmo from the iOS App Store for $10.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Apps, iPad, iPhone

‘Creativity, Inc.’ by Ed Catmull

‘Creativity, Inc.’ by Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull, alongside Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, co-founded Pixar Animation Studios. In fact, he played a key role in developing the rendering system used in several of their films and by the wider film industry.

And now, he has written a book called Creativity, Inc., which grants the reader a peek into the creative process at Pixar and how other businesses can apply the many lessons he has learned from managing teams of creative people over the years.

He talks a lot about sustaining a creative culture and shares some insight into the unique, somewhat unconventional philosophies that helped Pixar become the animation giant we know and love today. Anyone who has ever managed or been part of a creative organization will want to read this book.

Creativity, Inc. will hit store shelves on April 8th 2014, but is available for pre-order from Amazon as a hard cover edition ($21), in Kindle format ($12), and in audiobook form ($24). You can also preorder it from the iBooks Store for $12.

If you need even more of a head start, check out an exclusive excerpt from the book over at Fast Company.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books

Field Notes — ‘Shelterwood’ Edition

Field Notes — ‘Shelterwood’ Edition

The guys at Field Notes have done it again with the latest in their COLORS lineup, the cover of which is actually made of wood. It’s called the Shelterwood Edition.

As you can watch in their behind-the-scenes video, they’ve very thinly sliced up some American cherry wood and bonded it with kraft paper to form each cover. Due to the nature of the wood, every cover sports a unique grain pattern—no two notebooks are exactly the same.

Field Notes — 'Shelterwood' Edition

The manufacturing process is also quite sustainable, and what little waste there is gets recycled into wood pellets to heat the factory itself.

These are amongst the more beautiful Field Notes editions I’ve come across, and my wallet couldn’t fly out of my pocket fast enough once I heard about them. If you’re not a COLORS subscriber, you can pick up a 3-pack of the Shelterwood edition for $10.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books, Writing

Checkmark 2 for iPhone

Checkmark 2 for iPhone

Checkmark 2 is the latest edition of the popular iPhone task-management app. It’s been rebuilt from scratch for iOS 7 and has lots of new features to help you get stuff done.

My favorite new feature is the ability to set “location groups”, i.e. categories of places where you’d want to get reminded about a particular thing. Let’s say you set up a location group called “Groceries” that contains the various grocery stores you regularly shop at. If you create a reminder within this group to pick up some produce and arrive within a specified radius of any of those stores, Checkmark 2 will ping you with a reminder.

I’ve also got location groups set up for “Library” (for borrowing books on my wish list) and “Coffee Shops” (for getting some fresh coffee beans when I run out at home). Think about the places you regularly visit and get creative with your location groups. Such a handy feature.

Organizing tasks has also been improved by the addition of headers that allow you to group them in a list however you wish. If you get a reminder about something but can’t get to it right then, just tap “Reschedule” and push it back by 10 minutes, 1 hour, or 1 day.

There are other features I haven’t even touched on here, but trust me, Checkmark 2 is a fantastic app for managing your tasks. Way more powerful than the built-in Reminders.app.

It’s on sale for 50% off right now too, so get it from the iOS App Store for only $3 while you still can.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Apps, iPhone

Velo Transit’s Edge 30 Waterproof Backpack

Velo Transit’s Edge 30 Waterproof Backpack

The Edge 30 Backpack by Velo Transit is an ideal bag for cyclists—or really, anyone who ever has to deal with rain while carrying their things around outdoors.

The interior lining is RF-welded and thus prevents moisture from leaking in or out. The bag’s main enclosure is of the “rolltop” variety, meaning it rolls down when not in-use to keep rain out, but is still easy enough to access when you need it. A hidden storm shield unrolls and zips down to cover the front of the bag, further protecting your things from the elements and also acting as a high-visibility panel for your safety.

The Mens version of the Edge 30 comes in medium or large, and the Womens version comes in small. Each one is available in a variety of colors. Prices range anywhere from $130 to $198 depending on your model of choice.

Featured Sponsor: EverWeb Makes it Easy for Mac Users to Build Websites

Featured Sponsor: EverWeb Makes it Easy for Mac Users to Build Websites

EverWeb is a powerful, easy to use website builder that is a great alternative for Apple’s discontinued iWeb builder. EverWeb provides a full drag and drop user interface while still allowing for advanced features such as; mobile websites, drop down menus, rollovers, image sliders, built in search engine optimization and more. 

EverWeb includes built in templates to help you get started with a professional looking site, or you can start from scratch. It also comes with built in widgets for adding contact forms, social media, e-commerce, and HTML5 video or audio.

Try EverWeb for free today.

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Our thanks to EverWeb for sponsoring the RSS feed this week.

Bookshelf Masking Tape

Bookshelf Masking Tape

The next time you plan on packing some boxes, you might consider using this neat bookshelf masking tape. Made by Etsy shop LightLife, this tape will add a (dare I say) bookish flair to your stuff. Dimensions are 20mm x 5m, and a roll costs $6.75 + shipping from Taiwan.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books, Tools

Twelve South SurfacePad for iPad mini

Twelve South SurfacePad for iPad mini

The SurfacePad for iPad mini is a Napa leather cover and stand that adheres to the back of your iPad mini and wraps around to protect the screen. It can be peeled off and reapplied whenever, without leaving any sticky residue or marks.

The cover can be flipped around and propped up by the small, built-in kickstand, which is great for typing or watching videos. Hidden magnets will hold your iPad mini in place, and allow for two different viewing angles for your comfort.

The SurfacePad is the full package: it’s stylish, protective, and useful in more ways than one. It comes in black, red, or white, and will run you between $58 and $70 depending on the color you choose.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: iPad

CameraSync for iOS

CameraSync for iOS

These days, who wants to plug their iOS device into a computer to back up photos anymore? All of mine end up on Dropbox anyway, so why not cut out the middle man and upload the photos directly? This is where CameraSync comes in handy.

Once you’ve set it up with your Dropbox account (other options include Flickr, Amazon S3, Google Drive, SkyDrive, WebDAV, FTP, and Box.net), it will auto-sync all photos on your device with a folder in the cloud.

You can have it upload in the background based on your location, and it’s also possible to break down which things to sync: photos, screenshots, and/or videos. It remembers everything it uploads, so if you delete something from your cloud folder, CameraSync will stop syncing it in the future.

All in all, CameraSync is an awesome app. Get it on the iOS App Store for $3.

Coffee Slingers T-Shirt

Coffee Slingers T-Shirt

Coffee Slingers is one of the best coffee shops and roasters in my home town of Oklahoma City. If you’re ever in town you should really check the place out and get some delicious coffee, but a trip to OKC isn’t required to get one of their awesome t-shirts.

The design of the roasting machine and the iconography are all great, plus they print on American Apparel shirts so there’s no issue with comfort. Each tee is $20 + shipping, and comes in Heather Gray, Tri-indigo Blue, or White.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Attire, Coffee

Srirachup

Srirachup

On those rare occasions when ketchup gets used in our house—meaning, when we’re feeling too lazy to cook and just toss some frozen corn dogs into the oven—I always mix in a little sriracha to spice things up a bit. I gotta tell you, it’s an addictive combination.

With that said, I’m super excited to try this new thing called Srirachup, made by Sosu Sauces. They’re the people behind the ‘Barrel-Aged Sriracha’ Kickstarter that got funded a week ago.

They’ve come up with a simple, spicy ketchup recipe that has a hint of sweetness to it. This is the entire ingredient list: Organic California tomatoes, organic chili peppers, organic apple cider vinegar, organic brown sugar, sea salt, and organic garlic.

Sounds delicious, right? Pick up a 4-pack of Srirachup for $30.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Food

Tap & Dye Camera Wrist Strap

Tap & Dye Camera Wrist Strap

When our friend Ben Brooks reviewed the ONA Bowery bag, I was drawn to the photo of his camera because of the beautiful leather wrist strap attached to it. The next day, he put up a short review of that strap, which turned out to be made by a company called Tap & Dye.

This wrist strap is made from full-grain cowhide leather, the underside of which is beveled and sanded for purposes of comfort. They hand-polish and wax every camera strap with essential oils, which gives the leather better durability and longevity. If nothing else, the straps are quite photogenic.

There are several versions of the Tap & Dye wrist strap:

  • Antique Tan — Base model, pictured above. ($42)
  • Dark Amber Beeswax — treated with melted beeswax in addition to the essential oils, making it a waterproof strap. ($52)
  • Royal Navy Patina — Put through an extensive, oil-based dyeing process to attain its unique color. ($52)
  • Black & Natural — Essentially the same as the Dark Amber Beeswax model, but black. ($52)

Sowden SoftBrew Coffee Maker

Sowden SoftBrew Coffee Maker

I recently happened across an article in The Atlantic that piqued my interest in the Sowden SoftBrew coffee maker. (Because, I don’t already have enough coffee makers in my life, right? Please send help.)

It’s essentially a ceramic kettle with a large, easily-removable, stainless steel mesh filter inside. In fact, it looks a lot like a tea brewer. The filter has been photo-etched so that the holes—of which there are more than half a million—are so tiny as to be microscopic. Scoop some coffee in, add hot water, let it steep a bit, then pour the results directly into your cup. Pretty simple.

The 8-cup Sowden SoftBrew is $60 on Amazon, but if you’re feeling conservative, you can knock $10 off the price and get a 4-cup model.

Sanborn Firestarter Kit

Sanborn Firestarter Kit

One of the most important things you can have on a camping trip is a way to start a fire. The Sanborn Firestarter Kit ($16) fits the bill nicely, and includes the following:

  • Eight cedar firestarters
  • A match safe
  • Some cedar kindling
  • A small burlap bag to hold everything

Sanborn is a company that makes great canoe paddles, and the scrap cedar salvaged from that process is what goes into the firestarter kit. I love when companies find great ways to utilize their byproducts like this.

More tools and toys on the next page →