The other day we got lost in a website that is so useful and inspiring, it has become a sort of role model. “THAT’s some of what we’d like ‘the improvised life’ to do for people”, we thought, and put it in the file of bits and pieces that mirror what we imagine for its future.. Kevin Kelly, who has had his finger in a million visionary pies, has eleven websites under KK.org; one of our favorites is Cool Tools.

“Cool tools is a web site which recommends the best/cheapest tools available. Tools are broadly defined as anything that can be useful…”

We love it because we’re always looking for ways to DO the ideas that our in our head, and we need tools to do that. There are 37 or so categories of tools that you can delve into depending on your interest or need, like Materials, Design, Homestead, Learning, Consumtivity, Vehicles, Craft, Dwelling, Living on the Road, Life on Earth, Play, Big Systems…

We found – and learned about – all sorts of stuff, like Oblique Strategies, One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas, a boxed set of cards created by Brian Eno and his friend Pete Schmidt in the 1970’s and now in nth edition. Each has a phrase designed to unstick your head when you’re working too hard or worrying too much and want to get back into the creative flow…you just pick one at random. (Apparently there’s a Mac widget of Oblique Strategies to download, but we’re not sure it’s safe)…




At Cool Tools, we also discovered  Restickable Glue Stick that turns just about any piece of paper into instant sticky notes (perfect for tacking up inspiring images, words, ideas on the wall)…

…and Strong Ties, which are heavy duty metal brackets that fit standard lumber, so you build things quickly without having to worry about making strong joints and major productions (perfect for a city apartment)…we sent away for a catalogue of home projects from their website.

There is a nice-looking Food Safe Fire Extinguisher that sprays baking soda instead of chemicals…not to mention amazing books and web resources and gadgets that really make a difference.

Thanks KK!

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2 replies on “role model: kevin kelly’s cool tools

  1. I have a box of Oblique Strategies on my desk and the app on my iPhone

  2. Hey, is Oblique Strategies as great as it seems?

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