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Mark's gift guide/Beautiful news/Free therapy



December 1 · Issue #176 · View online

A weekly newsletter that gives you 6 brief personal recommendations of cool stuff. For a searchable archive of past issues check out

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Cool Tools Gift Guide: Mark’s picks
Every year the editors of Cool Tools curate a number of gift suggestions selected from our website, newsletters, videos, and podcasts. This year, I’m recommending the Bug-a-salt fly shooter, a chimney charcoal starter, Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 synthesizer, and several other things that would make good gifts. Check out all my picks here. — MF
Good news, daily
Here is where I go to counter pessimism. Every day, one piece of good news, made graphically beautiful, is served up by Beautiful News Daily. Available on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, RSS feed, and the web. It’s like breathing pure oxygen. — KK
Free therapy
Earlier this week book author Caroline Moss tweeted, “If you go to therapy quote tweet this with the best thing you learned at therapy that way everyone else can get free therapy.” The hundreds of replies are filled with excellent advice. Examples:
  • Don’t react. Sit with it until you know what you feel. Sit with it.  
  • It’s ok to not be busy and to not offer to others a reason I do or don’t do each thing.
  • Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing things that you hadn’t learned yet.
  • Anxiety causes me to put things off a lot and in group therapy we worked on “the 15 minute rule”. If something feels impossibly overwhelming I set a timer to work on it for 15 minutes and that takes away that “I’m about to swan dive into a bottomless hole” feeling.
  • The only things I owe people are straightforwardness and kindness.
— MF
Compose better emails
I’ve gotten too casual with my email correspondence, and this blog post on “How to write better emails” reminded me that I should strive to be more effective and efficient with my communication. All of the tips are useful but the ones I really need to work on are 1) Use specific dates instead of “yesterday” or “tomorrow.” And 2) Be specific on what you request from whom by referring to each recipient explicitly using the @ symbol. — CD
Best Mac disk space management tool for non-techies
I use my DaisyDisk app ($10) at least once a month to keep on top of what’s hogging up my disk space – usually it’s Dropbox folders that are synced locally that don’t need to be, or really large files I downloaded that I no longer need or apps I tried out that I don’t want anymore. It’s easy to use and understand, and it’s perfect if you’re like me and have a compulsive desire to organize and keep on top of what’s on your computer. — CD
Magnetic block set toy
Magnetic “blocks” are a toy for constructing things. I keep a big pile of these magnetic tiles around our place for small kids visiting. The outline shape of these tiles are easy for toddlers to grasp, yet still satisfying (for a short while) for older kids. Like Magnatiles, embedded magnets along their edges assist in constructing shapes fast. What you can build is far more limited than what you can do with Lego or Kapla blocks, but these are quick and easy. I have bought many different “brands” of what are sometimes called Magnaforms; they are all interchangeable. I am partial to the 110 piece Magnetic Block set from Ailuki. — KK
— Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson
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