Our guest on the Cool Tools Show this week is Hugh Howey. Hugh is the New York Times bestselling author of WOOL, SAND, BEACON 23, and over a dozen other novels. He lives on a catamaran he custom built in South Africa and is now sailing around the world.
Kindle Voyage E-reader ($199)
“It is the perfect reading device. … It weighs almost nothing, it’s comfortable in your hand, and I can fit an entire library. The only ding that people have said about the device is its price. I read a lot of classics. When I look at all the free books on gutenberg.org the device has paid for itself already several times over. … The Voyage uses the same screen as the Paperwhite. The body is just slimmer and there’s physical page turn buttons now and my favorite thing actually about the interface is that there’s a very wide side so that you can hold it with the kind of fat part of your thumb, the way you would hold a book without covering the screen or accidentally turning pages. …I have the same sort of emotional attachment to my e-readers as we’ve always had towards books because I think what I’ve found is that I imprinted on books by reading and enjoying them, and now I’m doing that with my e-reader device. The people who say, ‘Well I’ll never feel the same way about it,’ well that’s because you haven’t read enough books yet to have that imprinting take place, but once you do you’ll love the smell of plastic in your hand.”
Oceanic OCi Wrist Dive Computer ($1,175-$1,300)
“[My Oceanic OCI] is a magical piece of technology. The original dive watches used to be enormous. They’re about as big as the dive computers you carried on your scuba gear, but this … is a very normal size watch. You can wear it every day for telling time, but when you go out for a swim – I’m doing a lot of free diving now – it keeps track of how deep you go and how long each dive is. You get basically a log of your entire swim, like every single time you surface it resets and logs that as a separate dive, so I know if I’m staying down for a minute, if I went down to 60 feet, like all these nice metrics which motivate me to work on my freediving even more. … The great thing about this watch is it’s wireless and when I put on my scuba gear it communicates with my tank and it’ll tell me how much air I have left.”
“Something I love is my coffee mill. I could easily have a little plugin electric coffee mill but on my first sailboat I had very little power and I got as many hand powered things as I possibly could, including my drill was a hand-powered drill, which was a lot of fun, and this Hario ceramic coffee mill gives you a perfect grind. It’s less than $30 for this thing and one of the things I really like about it is it’s quite a bit of work. It might not seem like a selling point but … I get more of a boost to my morning to making my coffee than I get from the coffee itself, and there’s also a meditative quality about it. You really feel – between that and the French press and the whole coffee making process – it just fits with the boat lifestyle more than getting up to a coffee machine and pressing a button or getting in line at Starbucks.”
Magic Bullet Blender ($40)
“This something else that I use every single day and I see these everywhere now. They’ve become very popular. … If you have all the right ingredients it makes for a wonderful replacement meal, very healthy. I started using it on land and it became indispensable. I actually traveled with my Magic Bullet Blender and I do a smoothie every day for lunch now. It’s one and a half bananas, some peanut butter, yogurt, blueberry, strawberry, and protein mix, and then some camu camu and chia seeds. This all sounds like a lot of stuff but I have one little cabinet that has all my smoothie accoutrement in it. I pull it all out, that’s what I had for lunch, just a couple hours ago, and it’s so quick and easy and you’re not hungry until dinner time. This blender, it’s wonderful, it’s very small and compact but it’s powerful enough to crush ice. You drink right out of the thing that you blend in so you don’t have a lot of extra cleanup and the blade has held up to 6 months of abuse so far. It comes with all kinds of blades and containers. You don’t need a lot of it so you can really kind of figure out what you need and recycle the rest, but it’s a beautiful blender. I love it.”