FOLAI Stud Finder


My old stud finder was just not working that well in my garage. I think the drywall in there is thicker than normal, so it never could find anything. This meant that I was shooting in the dark when hanging shelves. I picked up the FOLAI Stud Finder on Amazon, and my problem was solved.

It quickly locates edges and center of metal studs, pipes, rebars, joists behind walls, floors and ceilings, also indicates the presence of live AC wire. It can scan in up to 1.5″ of drywall as well.

Get it on Amazon for $22.59.

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Snaak 3D Puzzle Toy


Looking for a toy that keeps your hands busy without resorting to (ugh) getting a fidget spinner? Check out Snaak, a puzzle toy made up of a line of 64 specially designed interlocking cuboid units that you can make into endless 3D shapes. Well, I say endless, but…

snaak is made of 64 interlocking cuboid units. And each unit can go in any of five directions relative to the preceding unit. So there are up to five to the power of 63 possible snaak configurations. That’s roughly ten to the power of 44:
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible Snaak configurations!


There are estimated to be ten to the power of 82 atoms in the universe. So with just TWO snaaks, you can construct more configurations than there are atoms in the universe. (It might take you a while!)

See? Totally a finite number of shapes.

I recommend watching their launch video, which has the most overwrought script imaginable but does show several shapes you can make:

Get Snaak for $25–$30 at the Colossal shop based on your color choice.

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​What Is Neural Network Art? (Sponsor)

Photo Credit: Image by Google Inc. under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

In recent years, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have given rise to a new phenomenon: neural networks. By designing AI to mimic the human brain at a basic level, computer scientists are able to create machines capable of “deep learning;” that is, machines that can learn basic concepts and apply those concepts in situations other than the ones in which they learned them.

While neural networks are used for a variety of purposes, one of the more fascinating applications is neural network art: visual art, music and other forms of creative expression designed by algorithms.

Read the full post on the Concordia University Texas blog and learn more about earning an online computer science degree.

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Our thanks to Concordia University Texas for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by Syndicate Ads.

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Joshu+Vela Dopp Kit


This dopp kit by Joshu+Vela is a hard-wearing, minimal-yet-functional travel toiletries bag made in San Francisco. Measuring 8.5″ x 3.5″, it’s a tad more compact than some dopp kits out there but still big enough to fit all your travel essentials.


It’s made from durable 18oz. cotton with heavy US bridle leather accents, and sports two interior pockets to help keep things organized. The nylon lining makes the bag easy to clean when you need to.

Get it for $88 on Amazon.

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AmpliFi Home Wi-Fi Mesh System


If you’re sick of how much the Wi-Fi sucks in certain parts of your home, the AmpliFi HD is a consumer-level mesh network system — á la the Eero and Google Wi-Fi — that could make all those frustrations melt away.

In the box you get a neat-looking little router box with a color LCD touchscreen on the front plus two self-configuring antennas that honestly look a bit like old Wiimotes. After going through a super-simple installation/setup process using the free Amplifi companion app and plugging the two mesh points into wall outlets (ideally in places where your Wi-Fi is spottiest), everything connects nigh-automatically and you’ll more than likely immediately notice a huge improvement in connectivity where it was terrible before.

They offer a couple main versions of the system: AmpliFi HD (High Density) ($313) and AmpliFi LR (Long Range) ($299). The difference is that the HD has six radios and a max speed of 5.25 Gbps, while the LR has only four radios with a max speed of 2.35 Gbps. Since the HD doesn’t cost that much more than the LR, I say just get that one. If you need additional mesh points for any reason, they’re $109 a pop.

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‘A Practical Guide to Networking, Privacy, and Security in iOS 11’ by Glenn Fleishman


Glenn Fleishman’s newly released — or rather, updated? — book, A Practical Guide to Networking, Privacy, and Security in iOS 11, is a good reference guide for understanding how those three facets of iOS 11 work and how you can best take advantage of them. He covers a lot in the book, including chapters on…

  • Exchanging files with AirDrop
  • Placing calls via Wi-Fi
  • Using your device as a mobile hotspot
  • Troubleshooting connectivity issues
  • iOS privacy settings
  • Setting up and using two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Making a VPN connection
  • …and much more.

Here’s Glenn himself describing the book’s three main topics:

The book is divided into three major sections:

Networking should be simple, and security should be automatic. And money should grow on trees. Despite how intuitive it is to pick up and use an iOS device, requiring little thought as to how it connects to a cellular or Wi-Fi network, it becomes quite complex as soon as you drill down to any details. This is especially true when connectivity fails, and you try to troubleshoot.

Privacy is a subject that deserves much more attention than it’s gotten in the past—and people are starting to pay attention. Your information is your own to choose how it’s shared, whether it’s your location, your food preference, or your address and phone number. iOS provides tools that enhance your ability to control that.

Security is an even denser area. Apple makes the default choices in your bits are traveling through the æther or in the event that your device is stolen—you need to know how it all works.

The book is available on the iBookstore for $20, and in paperback form for $25. (If you like, you can download a free excerpt before buying.)

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‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker


In today’s Quality Linkage column, I mentioned Professor Matthew Walker’s new book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, and felt it deserved a post of its own. As a neuroscientist and sleep expert, Walker has noticed some disturbing sleep deprivation trends over the past two decades, and wrote this book to help people better understand why sleep is so important in every aspect of our lives.

From the description:

Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses.

The book comes in these formats:

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Quality Linkage: Line Riders, the Magic of Making, and Insane Pop-Up Cards


Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

Also, happy Friday the 13th in October! 🎃🦇🕸

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50 »

I feel like I’m at the point where I should just make a script to funnel each of Patrick Rhone’s newsletter dispatches directly into that week’s Quality Linkage. In the latest one, he marked his 50th birthday with 45 things he’s learned in life. Here are some of my favorites:


15. Don’t rely on sleep to dream.


40. A great sandwich begins with really, really, great bread. The quality of the bread determines the quality of the sandwich. You can put relatively average ingredients in-between two slices of fantastic bread and have something really special. But, conversely, put fantastic ingredients in-between two slices of average bread and you still have an average sandwich.


46. Worry is wasted energy if not converted to action.

Line Rider Game Synchronized to “In the Hall of the Mountain King” »

The amount of time and work — not to mention repetitive listening — it must’ve taken YouTuber “DoodleChaos” to make this video is astounding. Every little detail in the song is represented in the game level, as noted by this Redditor:

  • Starts out barely moving, increases speed with tempo
  • Only touches a line while the solo’d section is playing
  • Bounces the sled to show accents
  • Things he hits get bigger and bigger as the dynamics increase from pp to F
  • Break-neck speeds at the end
  • Being knocked off of his sled as soon as the dissonance hits
  • Staggering the eights notes between the rider and the sled
  • That drum roll at the end

Good God, you’ve illustrated a masterpiece.

One of those videos that’s so enthralling you won’t bother checking how much time is left before it’s done.

Photo: Abbie Bernet

Photo: Abbie Bernet

The Shorter Your Sleep, the Shorter Your Life »

Rachel Cooke of The Guardian profiled the work of sleep scientist Matthew Walker — author of the new book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams — who feels we are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic”:

“No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation,” he says. “It sinks down into every possible nook and cranny. And yet no one is doing anything about it. Things have to change: in the workplace and our communities, our homes and families. […]

We chastise people for sleeping what are, after all, only sufficient amounts. We think of them as slothful. No one would look at an infant baby asleep, and say ‘What a lazy baby!’ We know sleeping is non-negotiable for a baby. But that notion is quickly abandoned [as we grow up]. Humans are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason.”

Get some sleep, people.

The Magic of Making »

Thanks to The Kid Should See This, I recently discovered a charming YouTube channel called The Magic of Making, which produces “how things are made” videos that are ostensibly for kids but are entertaining enough for adults. Example topics include knives and forks (the one embedded above), church bells, wooly sweaters, and more.

Photo: James Henry, The New York Times

Photo: James Henry, The New York Times

How Technology Has Changed News Photography Over 40 Years »

As part of an ongoing series about the tech used by New York Times journalists in their jobs and personal lives, staff photographer Jim Wilson shares a few of his own observations on the ways news photography has changed since he started in 1980:

When I started, everything was dependent on processed film, which meant having to bring film, a darkroom kit including enlarging and print making equipment, and a transmitter (very much like a souped up fax machine). We’d have to find or at least arrange for a telephone line and telephone access when we needed to send our images. I remember having a small portable typewriter that I’d use to write the captions that were pasted onto the photos before they were put on the drum transmitter and sent back to The Times. The phone lines were all analog, and each picture took around 10 minutes to send — if the line was interrupted for any reason, we’d have to start over. If we got out 10 images in a day, that was huge.

Illustration: Gavin Aung Than, Zen Pencils

Illustration: Gavin Aung Than, Zen Pencils

Edgar Allen Poe: Procrastination »

Gavin Aung Than’s latest Zen Pencils comic adapts a quote by Edgar Allen Poe in 1845 showing that procrastination is not some new phenomenon for people to face:

The last hour for action is at hand. We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us, — of the definite with the indefinite — of the Substance with the Shadow; but, if the contest have proceeded thus far, it is the Shadow which prevails. We struggle in vain. The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare, but at the same time is the chanticleer-note to the thing that has so long overawed us. It flies. It disappears. We are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now — alas, it is too late!

I have some thoughts I’d love to share about the comic, but eh, I’ll get around to it tomorrow.

Peter Dahmen’s Insane Pop-Up Cards »

Here’s another cool thing I found via The Kid Should See This:

Germany-based paper engineer Peter Dahmen designs and builds intricate paper structures and pop-up cards. Titled “Most Satisfying Video of Pop-Up Cards”, [this video] showcases how Dahmen’s personal and commercial work unfolds. […]

The video includes a few creations that have free templates and tutorials available on his site for personal use, including his 3D-Paper-Structure Tutorial (PDF template).

Some of these made me say “WTF” (uncensored) out loud. People never cease to amaze me.


Neat Stuff We Published This Week

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Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.


PowerPhotos for

PowerPhotos for

I’ve been spending more time using iCloud Photos lately, and one thing that always perplexed me was wondering where were the actual files in this database. I looked and look, but could never really locate a clear path. Thankfully, I found a simple program that can help.

PowerPhotos does it, and a lot more. For my purposes, you can right click on a file, and then click on “show original file”. It’s simple, and it works perfect.

Along with that feature, you can also merge libraries, find duplicates, create multiple libraries, and browse/search. It’s lightning fast, and I highly recommend it.

You can download a free trial from the Fatcat Software website. The full version is $30.

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Jocelyn K. Glei’s “Hurry Slowly” Podcast


Hurry Slowly is a new podcast by Jocelyn K. Glei — of Unsubscribe fame — that’s all about how you can be more productive and creative by slowing down, despite what your anxious mind tells you:

Pushing back against the conventional wisdom that “busy is better,” Hurry Slowly explores how we make smarter decisions, feel more comfortable taking risks, and manage our attention more intelligently when we learn to take our time.

If you’re a curious, ambitious person who is always striving to achieve more, but could use an occasional reminder to take it easy, this is the show for you.

Her first episode features a conversation with Basecamp co-founder and CEO Jason Fried about setting hard boundaries in your day:

“We think about how much time we put into work, but it’s valuable to consider how much time we put into life.”

I can already tell this podcast will be an invaluable listen for a lot of people. Here are some places you can find it:

Subscribe & Listen