We are supported by our readers, just like you. This site contains affiliate links and we may earn commission when you purchase through those links.
As an endlessly curious person, I spend plenty of time investigating and experimenting with things that might be able to improve my experience here on Earth. This is a list of micro tech tools I use and enjoy and I update it from time to time. I hope you find it useful.
Websites & Apps
WordPress powers all of my websites. It’s a fantastic framework and makes it easy for beginners to get online projects up and running. The best part? It’s free. To set up your own website with a few clicks, visit this page for step-by-step instructions. WordPress powers all of my micro tech experiments.
Captio: This simple iPhone app does only one thing: It allows you to email yourself. That might seem like a small thing, but I use it every day. Simple micro tech tools are the best.
Here’s how I use it: Let’s say I’m in the middle of a conversation and hear about something I want to investigate later.
I open the Captio app, type a quick note a press send. It does the same thing with photos if I want to snap a shot of something to investigate later. The message lands in my inbox and twice a week I have a calendar reminder to “check Captio messages.”
It removes a few steps from my old method of emailing myself with an email app. There’s no need to wait for the email app to load, run the risk of getting distracted by new emails in my inbox, address a new email to myself, type my note, etc.
Captio allows me to quickly make a note of something and get back to the conversation without (rudely) wasting time on my phone. Several minutes of time saved per day turns into hours over the course of a year. It costs $0.99 in the App Store. I don’t know if it’s available on Android devices.
MailMunch: Many times, part of building a successful online business involves building an email list. People who opt-in to your updates are extremely valuable and you should focus on building your list of subscribers from day one.
MailMunch makes it easy to create sign-up forms and design email blasts. There are more expensive list-building options out there, but MailMunch will do everything you need to get started with your email list. If your business takes off, you can always migrate to a more expensive option later.
For building an email list, Mailmunch is one of the best micro tech tools out there. It’s easy to use and very affordable.
Noise cancelling headphones: These headphones make it easy to sleep on long-flights or train rides. Crying babies are no longer a problem.
Payment systems are an important part of the micro tech tools list. After all, it’s endlessly frustrating to deal with big banks and their archaic rules when building the future. Here are a few of my favorites:
Lolli: Have you heard of bitcoin? Of course you have. Lolli is simple plugin available for Chrome and Firefox that allows you to earn bitcoin when you make everyday purchases. It’s a great introduction to bitcoin and it is *free* to install and use. That’s right. Free bitcoin for making the purchases you were going to make anyway.
They have partnered with a bunch of merchants (like Priceline, Walmart.com and Groupon). You’ll pay the same price on those purchases, but you’ll get some bitcoin sent to you when you purchase through your browser at a participating merchant.
Fold App The Fold App is an amazing rewards card and mobile app (there is a short waiting list for the card). Again, it’s focused on bitcoin and it’s an easy way to get started with bitcoin by earning it when you shop for all your regular things.
With the recent increase in the price of bitcoin, the early adopters have reported earning almost as much in bitcoin as they originally spent on those purchases. Crazy times. You don’t have to be sophisticated or have any technical chops to get started. Just download the app with that link and they will give you some free bitcoin to get started.
Schwab: While technically a “big bank,” they don’t act like one. They actually appreciate their customers!
I love my Schwab checking account for two main reasons.
One, there is no monthly fee and two, I can use any ATM from any bank IN THE WORLD and they refund all the ATM fees those banks charged me at the end of every month. For a guy who travels all the time, it’s wonderful and makes a big difference. The refunded ATM fee policy also applies to all US ATMs.
Revolut: Revolut is a digital bank (no physical branches) that makes it easy to send or transfer money abroad. No rubbish fees or nasty exchange rates that you find with all the major US banks. They recently made their service available to US citizens and this link will get you in. This “new age” bank is one of the essential micro tech tools.
Discover Credit Card: I love my Discover card. I have several credit cards I use on a regular basis, and Discover is one of my favorites. The rewards are wonderful and their customer service is top-notch.
Not only are the regular Discover rewards generous, but every quarter they give EXTRA bonuses for certain categories of purchases. As an extreme example, they offered 5% cash back on any purchases I made at Amazon last December. So guess who did all of his Christmas shopping on Amazon?
The only downside is that some places don’t accept Discover cards. The fees merchants have to pay in order to accept Discover cards are higher than a standard Visa or Mastercard. Those extra fees are what fund the special rewards for you and some merchants don’t want to pay the extra fees in order to accept them, so that’s how the math works.
The best travel hack that I share on a regular basis is to remember that people live wherever you’re going. As long as you have your passport and some money (or access to some money via plastic), you should be fine. Aside from special medications or niche products, you should be able to find anything you need when you arrive at your destination.
The second best travel hack? Eat where the locals eat. Find restaurants that are busy with the native population instead of the tourist places that are featured in all the guide books. The locals know where the best local food is served.
Uber and Lyft: If I have my way, I’ll never own a car again. It certainly helps that I like to live in cities that are walkable, bicycle friendly, have good public transportation options and are large enough to support a large fleet of Uber and Lyft drivers.
Hopper: Hopper is a free app that allows you to enter your point of departure and your destination to scan the prices in a calendar format. If you have a flexible schedule or you are trying to find the best dates to travel, Hopper will be a great friend to you. You can even create alerts on particular flights you want to watch.
They’ll tell you if you should buy now or wait to see if prices drop because they have mountains of data on pricing history and know when prices are good or bad. They make money if you decide to book one of the flights you find through their app. They also have hotels on their app, but I haven’t found that feature to be as useful as the flights.
Google Flights: Google Flights is where I go to crosscheck what I find on Hopper. Neither of them are fully comprehensive (some discount airlines don’t feed pricing information to third parties like Hopper or Google), but combining the two of them works quite well.
Just like Hopper, Google Flights is free, but they make money when you click through and purchase a flight you find on their website. Kinda like how this website makes money!
SafetyWing: Have you noticed that every dang travel website in the world tries to sell you “trip insurance” these days? It’s a great profit source for them, so of course they do. SafetyWing protects both you (health emergencies) AND your trip (cancellations, delays, lost items, etc.).
You might be surprised that your healthcare in the US won’t cover you when you travel, so you definitely want to be prepared. SafetyWing is easy and inexpensive.
Google Translate: This might be my favorite micro tech tool. The Google Translate app (free) is like magic. You can point your phone’s camera at some text, like a restaurant menu, and it will translate it to English in real time.
It’s a life saver when you are traveling in a place where you don’t speak the language, and they don’t speak English. You really have to try it. You can also manually enter text to translate it, or speak to it to have it translate spoken words.
DuoLingo: DuoLingo is a language-teaching app that I find useful for learning helpful words and phrases in different languages. There’s a paid version, but the free version works just fine if you don’t mind some occasional ads. They have a bunch of languages available now and they keep adding new ones.
Health & Fitness
Kettlebells: This is a low-tech solution to fitness, but it deserves a mention here anyway. At some point in history, the technology of the day figured out how to create kettlebells.
I don’t have the patience to spend hours at the gym, but I understand the importance of staying fit. Kettlebell workouts are a great way to get a full-body workout in a short period of time. With a few specific kettlebell exercises, I can work all the muscles I need to work in 15-20 minutes. They have been used by the Russian military for hundreds of years, if that’s helpful. (Note: PLEASE take a kettlebell class before doing workouts on your own. You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t use the proper form.)