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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Now 80% more Handy!

I had a birthday not long ago. I've always valued practical gifts over expensive ones, and this year I made a special request to friends and family for things which would make working at my new job just a little bit easier.

When it comes to gadgets, there is a thin line between practical and gimmicky, but I am pleased to report that I couldn't be happier with everyone's choices.

Topping the list are the leatherman multitools. One might expect that two would be one too many, but they complement each other nicely. The first one is a full sized tool which finds use primarily as a bit driver (I am forever absent mindedly putting down screwdrivers and then not having the right size), but which also has pliers, wire cutters, and absurdly sharp knife. I believe it has wire strippers too, but years of incomplete toolkits from university labs have taught me that there is no substitute for teeth.

The other multitool is a keychain sized leatherman which (in addition to another set of smaller screwdrivers) I mainly use as scissors. "What?" You exclaim, "Are scissors at such a premium that you need to carry a pair with you all the time?" Sort of. Next time you are opening a package - food, electronics, shrink wrap - stop and think about what your options are. You can:
a) walk to the kitchen/study and hope whoever used the scissors last has remembered to put the back,
b) use a knife/pen/teeth to bludgeon you way in (god help you if you want to repeal it again), or
c) assault the packaging like an enraged gorilla.

I've put my keys on the keychain one, and I carry the full sized one with me whenever possible. Combined with my other two "tools" which I have on me at all times (a smartphone and a 16gb USB stick), I find that there is almost no problem I lack the equipment to handle. The other day I was able to field strip my ps3 (along with the warranty) in less than an hour.

Obviously my technical experience as a hobbyist plays a large part in making good use of the tools at hand, but I didn't realise how much of a difference it makes having good equipment at you fingertips. Obviously, having a workshop and a full toolbox would be a further improvement, but as a hobbyist living in an apartment these tools have really boosted my productivity.

As a side benefit, I'd say that my zombie apocalypse survival rate has at least doubled.
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