The Apple-ification of my home continues, as I got an Apple TV as an early birthday present. Tinkerer that I am, I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to hardwire it with Cat5 cable to the Airport Extreme? Download speeds will be awesome”. So I changed the existing phone lines (I’ll never use a POTS land line again) to Ethernet. Which meant changing all the phone jacks, and then the wall plates. And rewiring the central connections. And putting a new router in the closet. And adding new power to the closet. And wiring in a small low-voltage fan. It was the snowball effect, but this was one of the first times I have not minded, because I have Giant Freakin’ Toolbox!

It was not always this way. For many years I would find something broken around the house and attempt to fix it. I am a guy, and that’s what I do. You know, something simple like a door latch that’s not working. More often than not, the whole process would just piss me off because it always involved “The Search”. Searching for my tools. Where had they gone to? Where was the Torx wrench I needed? Where was the right screwdriver – the right size with the hardened steel tip? What happened to the beautiful German wood chisels I got for Christmas?

When you don’t live in your own house for four years (which happened to me with my previous employer) tools disappear. When you don’t have kids, there are only a couple of options for who used them. As far as I can tell the dogs have no interest in carpentry or automotive repair. You know who to ask about tool storage in random locations, but the question “Have you seen… ” is just not worth asking. The answer, “No. I have no idea” just makes me angrier. On the opposite end of that equation, best case, your wife will only say “No.” – worst case she’ll be pissed at you for insinuating she lost your tools. Then you stumble upon a tool you weren’t looking for – during your desperate search for those tools you need – in the bathroom cupboard, on top of a picture frame, in a box in the attic, or in that decorative ceramic vase in the dining room.

During The Search – which takes longer than the time to fix the busted stuff – I would find other broken things that had a higher priority than the stuff I originally set out to fix. More tool searching ensued. You make a trip to Home Depot right after you post missing tool flyers around the house with pictures of your orbital sander. You look at the clock and half the day is gone.

Two birthdays ago, my wife got me two giant tool chests, one fitting right on top of the other. With their wonder-twin powers they form Giant Freakin’ Toolbox! When she bought them every guy in the neighborhood showed up – seeing the two boxes in the driveway – and ‘helped’ her assemble then. OK, maybe ‘help’ is the wrong word because they did all the work. And maybe her bikini and the free beer helped too, but she managed to get 6 guys over to the house and they set up the toolbox. She was miffed to discover toolboxes and beer were the main attraction, but she got over it. I was so happy with the present I spent two days going through every square inch of our home to gather up the tools and place them in their new home.

Now every tool I own resides there. Every tool is clean. Every drawer is labelled. Almost every tool has been accounted for – except some of the fine German wood chisels that were destroyed by a friend while prying the heads from a small block Chevy. Now projects take 2-5 minutes – perhaps 7 with cleanup. I built a wall bracket and installed a central vacuum system in a couple hours. I can change a light switch or adjust faucets without thinking about it. The time savings and reduction in frustration are astounding. I even assembled a small set of basic tools right by the garage door so ahem – anyone else needing tools can find a hammer, a basic screwdriver and pliers and not go rummaging in the tool chest. Giant Freakin’ Toolbox has a lock!

I love my Apple electronics, but they don’t compare to Giant Freakin’ Toolbox. Best. Gift. Ever.

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Remember, for every comment selected, Securosis makes a $25 donation to Hackers for Charity. This week’s best comment goes to Andrew Jaquith, in response to Categorizing FUD.

Here’s a variant of the “Attack du Jour Press Release” that I recently learned about. The PR folks call it the “story invasion”–where they offer up expertise and commentary on a story that originated elsewhere, so that the company in question can “invade” the story. My own phrase for it isn’t “story invasion” but rather “ambulance chasing.”

Also: I think you’re missing a branding opportunity. Maybe you should invoke Gamma, Beck, Fowler and call this “FUD Patterns.”

Nice post, Mike.