Sukie Laptop Sleeve in Canvas

Sukie makes a number of stylish sleeves for your Powerbook or PC with some pretty ‘chic’ art on the covers. Most of their sleeves are produced using neoprene but I prefer canvas like the one pictured. Neoprene is used too much and it’s nice to have something with a rougher texture as I find it is easier to grab a hold of. Like many sleeves like this, it isn’t designed to be used for carrying your laptop around town alone but should be perfect for around the office and fine in concert with another sturdier bag. The outer shell and lining is hand washable in cold water with mild detergent, hang dry. $48.00US direct from Gymspacific Store.

Port Chamonix Rouge Back Pack

Port’s backpack line looks like an appealing option if you need to carry more than a laptop and a few gadgets. The colours make it appealing to those not glued to an office routine – I hear Port is big with skaters but I’m pretty far removed from that group to have a clue. It looks like a winner for those in college or those who hit the gym after work. The Chamonix Rouge has most of the features you would expect from a quality bag like this including an ergonomic padded back panel to increase comfort (and likely make you sweat more). What I like the most is the addition of a rain cover, a feature often forgotten and usually only added as a paid add-on. More info on the Port site.

Bennie and Olive Book Cover iPod Case

This looks like an interesting option if your worried about someone stealing your iPod. It’s a bit like, at least in concept, to stealth safes where your money is stored in a pop can looking device. Taking the form of a pulp fiction novel these cloth covered hard cases from Bennie and Olive open to a vinyl interior that holds your iPod in place. A neat alternative to all the other widely available options. $69.00US. Via Popgadget.

Memorex 8GB Mega TravelDrive

I tend to take a high-capacity firewire drive with me whenever I travel to serve as a back-up for important files and to carry some large files I don’t usually want to work on on my internal drive. It’s a fact that on some powerbooks the external drive is faster than the internal. I have a nice compact Momobay enclosure which I put a 60gig drive into for just this purpose. Not everyone needs to truck around an extra 60gig with them so a drive like the Memorex 8GB Mega TravelDrive will more than likely suffice. It’s much smaller to boot. Similar to Sony’s 8GB Microvault Drive, in a slightly smaller case and less refined aesthetic, the Traveldrive has a pivoting USB connector for access to any available USB Port. You might consider an usb extension cable as in some instances having a stubby device such as this can be inconvenient. It’s priced at about $230.00US. More info on the Memorex site.

We Carry Too Much Stuff

According to the Washington Post we carry too much. There is a tendency for people to carry every possible tech. gadget around on their person whether it will be used (this month) or not. A way to show our financial or tech. richness? Or perhaps carrying around the tools of our trade everywhere we go is a sign that we are married to our work. Unlike the workers of yesteryear we cannot escape our work nor do we seem to want to.
“Slogging around with a backpack, a notebook and a bottle of water, you stop for a while and stare at the historic black-and-white photographs in the National Museum of American History. You know, the ones depicting Americans going about their everyday lives: folks waiting for District trolley cars circa 1900, for instance, or people crisscrossing Pennsylvania Avenue in 1905.
Notice something missing? That’s right: stuff.
The people — all ages, all colors, all genders — are not carrying any backpacks or water bottles. They are not schlepping cell phones, cradling coffee cups or lugging laptops. They have no bags — shopping, tote or diaper. Besides a small purse here or a walking cane or umbrella there, they are unburdened: footloose and fingers free.
Now walk outside and take a look around. People on the same city streets are loaded down. They are laden with books, newspapers, Gatorade jugs, personal stereos, knapsacks, briefcases and canvas totes with high-heel shoes inside. They have iPods strapped to upper arms, fanny packs buckled around waists and house keys Velcroed to shoelaces.”
Burdens of the Modern Beast. There may be some registration nonsense.

What’s in your bag?

There is an interesting group on flickr where everyone shares photos of the contents of their bags. It gets mentioned on allot of websites. It’s all in good fun so I couldn’t resist.
My out and about bag is a Crumpler Quarfie which except for the oversized buckle is a really great bag. It will carry all the usual essentials for a morning of walking in the city – diapers, wipes, snacks, and a few little small things for me. Despite its odd shape it’s pretty good for traveling as it’s plenty big for a map, guidebook, small camera, and all the other little things you take around with you.
Check out my addition in greater detail and the what’s in your bag pool.

Free WiFi – Bangkok

It’s pretty hard these days to not stay in touch when you are traveling. Even the most remote places in Asia will have some kind of Internet café where you can send off an email or write an entry in your journal. Taking your own laptop and expecting city wide connectivity is another matter all together. Most upscale hotels will have some kind of broadband but who the heck wants to experience Asia from the sterility of a Hilton? Get out to a café and meet people.
When I was spending allot of time in Bangkok I relied on the Siam Center’s wifi outside the Apple Center and a open wifi hotspot close to the Starbucks near Soi Nana. Stickman, a long time expat in Thailand, has created a list of wifi hotspots that will help you keep connected when visiting the sin city. There are many more complete sources but I always like to rely on those “on the ground” vs. some anonymous database. More to come later.
Free Wi-Fi hot spots In Thailand

Dad Field Bag

Do I really need a bag like this? Not really. My knapsack with a face cloth and towel would suffice. Would I buy one of these? Likely. Diaper bags in general seem like an unnecessary product category with functions that only slightly deviate from your everyday pack. But this often featured bag from Jack Spade is quite well designed, looks great, and adds a couple features that make it practical. The velcro closures which in other instances be a loud annoyance are absolutely a brilliant feature when you think about how you sometimes need to get inside your bag quickly. When someone is about to go pee you don’t have time to fiddle around with fancy buckles. The interior pockets are good for separating smelly stuff , from the non-smelly, and with the addition of a changing pad I no longer have to set down Camren with the worry of staining some shops expensive furniture. Style doesn’t come cheap as this bag with cost you $125.00US from Modern Seed. Originally appeared in Minzoo.

FireWave – Surround Sound for Mac

Music plays a big part in helping me get through the boring repetitive tasks that many of us have to do everyday. While I do religiously use headphones, I have on a number of occasions thought how cool it would be to have a surround sound system – I even gave some thought to robbing the old Panasonic system from the living room – in my small square office. I have a feeling that the Griffin FireWave is primarily marketed towards gamers and those who watch movies on their Macs. For me having surround sound coming out of my Mini, which we use as a jukebox, would make listening to Dvorak or Miles all the more exciting. Or perhaps I could finally have alert tones appearing to come from different directions in the rooms (something I would have to predesign in Logic Pro). It’s a small portable device and uses firewire to transmit data and power from you Mac through to your surround sound speakers. It costs $89.95US at untangledlife.

Crusher by Simple Sneakers

In April of last year my first pair of Simple Sneakers arrived and I am happy to report that they are still going strong. I wrote then,
“The latest addition to my growing collection of sneakers are called “Crusher” from Simple shoes in California. They aren’t available here in Taiwan but you can order them online from a number of retailers including REI where I ordered my pair from. They have suede and shiny leather combination upper “extra comfy” pig leather lining, I got mine in chocolate but they come in black and cognac as well.”
Though a bit too light on the sole padding for my taste these certainly have been the best investment in sneakers I have made in quite some time. They seem to be selling out the crusher models for a different line – they are on sale now on their site for $46.90. A great deal I think.
Simple Sneakers on Kelake.

iPod Sleeve

These fitted neoprene sleeves aren’t the fanciest or most useful sleeves on the block but they are cute and feature cool graphics by fab UK design house Sukie. They have a soft non-scratch lining so your iPod will stay safe and sound in your bag. If all you are doing is carrying your iPod in a larger bag these cheap sleeves might just be enough, allowing for a bit of extra protection and more piece of mind. Available in four styles: Dude, Deer, Happy Hand, and Music Lab. Pictured dude. If I was going to buy a sleeve I would rather the one marketed by Apple but you can’t beat the price.Available for $12.00US from Wishingfish.

iPod Jacket

Many people criticize ideas such as this but I like when companies market products that bring control over our gadgets closer to our bodies. I want controls and devices everywhere (but not inside like some kind of Borg inspired sci-fi movie). This full zip jacket is made from 90% polyamide, 10% elastane, is quite comfortable and perfect for working out or traveling. Judging by the styling and sizes this is one for the ladies only. It comes in a variety of colors and can be purchased for $96.00US from Vickerey.

Tom Bihn’s ID Mid Sized Messenger Bag Review

I have been an admirer of Tom Bihn’s bags since I purchased a Brain Bag for some location shooting a number of years ago. I’ve taken that bag all over Asia with gear in tow and it looks as good as the day I bought it. It’s a huge bag divided in two, allowing for my simple system of laptop and tech. in one side, and clothes in the other. It was great for short excursions and grad. school but far too large for my daily activities these days. So I have been looking for a smaller bag to carry my 15″ and 12″ Powerbooks (separately of course).
In a fit of haste I bought locally a Gravis bag which though thoughtfully designed lasted only about a year. All the zippers broke and the fabric started to look worn. What I should have done, and what I recommend everyone do, is first take a look at Tom Bihn’s bags. If you are looking for a quality built bag from a company who cares about their customers and their product then you need to look no further than Tom Bihn.

Read more

Picnic Backpack

A friend introduced me to what he described as a great place to go on a picnic. When I think of picnics I think of ants crawling over your food, kind of like my house here in the city, so I don’t always think of it in the same romantic ideal as others. But if I was convinced to go I would eschew the wicker basket and grab one of these picnic backpacks. From the product description, “the front zippered compartment opens to reveal 2 deluxe place settings complete with stainless steel flatware, melamine dinner plates and acrylic wine glasses. Organized with mesh pouches and elastic straps, the compartment also includes an oak cutting board, cotton napkins, a bottle stopper, combination bottle opener/corkscrew, cheese knife and salt and pepper shakers. Made of 600-denier polyester, the durable bag has a fully insulated compartment with a waterproof liner and extra-wide, double-zipper opening for easy access. Other features include a detachable insulated wine duffel, a blanket sleeve with a 60×60″ blanket and ergonomic backpack straps.” Sounds about right. $79.99 at Amazon.

Loonie Ringer T-shirt

There is nothing like images of Canada’s common loon to stir up memories of sitting on the back patio drinking Olands beer and cooking steak on the bbq. “Each T-shirt is silkscreened by hand and made with American Apparel Tees. Cabin Fever takes Canadiana to a whole new level. All T-shirt designs are available in both men’s and women’s styles, and are made with American Apparel’s new Melange fabric, crafted from a blend of 70% cotton and 30% polyester.” Available from maisonneuve for $36.00.