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Alexa Blueprint/Photopea/Forever

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November 11 · Issue #121 · View online
A weekly newsletter that gives you 6 brief personal recommendations of cool stuff. Check out our new Recomendo book:

Have something to recommend? Fill out this form, and if we try it and like it we’ll include it in a future issue!

Alexa houseguest guide
You can program your Alexa with new skills. I just trained our Alexa to serve as a home guide for houseguests, babysitters, and petsitters. I used an Alexa Blueprint to create an audible guide for finding things, or giving instructions like “where are the bath towels?,“ "where does the trash go?” or “how to turn off the porch light?” Visitors just ask Alexa, after saying, “Alexa open the home guide.” — KK
Web-based photoshop clone
I recently discovered Photopea a free web-based image editor that closely mimics the look and feel of Photoshop. It even imports and exports .PSD files. Here’s a good introductory video. — MF
Quirky series about marriage and afterlife
I stumbled across Forever on Amazon Prime having never heard of it. The show stars Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as a married couple stuck in the same old routine who then die, only to reunite in the afterlife and pick up right where they left off. It’s so funny and unexpectedly romantic. There may or may not be a season 2. Fingers crossed there is, but even if not this 8-episode series feels complete and worth binge-watching. — CD 
Best photobooks
Every year for the past decade I’ve made 2 or 3 commemorative photo books to mark an anniversary, or document a vacation. I’ve tried just about all the different brands and modes of making photobooks and keep coming back to Blurb. It’s not the cheapest, or most expensive; but it’s the highest quality and very versatile. You can make a Blurb photo book three ways: 1) Use a layout program like InDesign to custom design your book, exported as a PDF; 2) use the Blurb function built into Lightroom to handily use photos in your LR library, or 3) use Blurb’s own fancy app, Bookwright, which will let you grab off-the-shelf templates, or completely customize your own templates. This year so far, I’ve make a small 20-page book, and a huge 400-page book, and am working on another one. — KK
Make your pets talk
I heard about My Talking Pet App (iOS and Android) on the Cool Tools Podcast episode with Kari Byron. With just a photo, I can make my puppy and kitten say ridiculous things and then share those videos via text. Every pet owner needs this app. — CD 
Ultra-thin wireless keyboard
I took the Logitech Keys-to-Go Ultra Portable Wireless Keyboard ($50) to used with my iPhone on a recent overnight trip, leaving my laptop at home. It worked beautifully. I was able to easily write email, Google docs, and text messages with the keyboard. — MF
— Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson
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