Chrome’s Kevlar Shuttle Bag

A laptop case built to last forever and maybe stop a bullet. Maybe. Chrome’s Kevlar Shuttle Bag may not stop a bullet but it’s Kevlar-reinforced composite materials will certainly make this one of the most durable laptop bags you will ever own. The Shuttle laptop bags feature internal divider pockets, pen slots, separate laptop compartment, front cargo pockets, carry handle, and removable shoulder strap. Fits laptops up to the 17″ Powerbook. Comes with a lifetime warranty. $115.00US direct from Chrome.

7 Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go

Though mobile contracts are generally far more agreeable here in Asia, than what I have seen in Canada or the US, I still used to get nailed by hidden roaming charges whenever I was traveling around the region. For some reason it didn’t occur to me that accepting a call or sms would cost me so much money. I learned my lesson the hard way and bought a cheap Panasonic mobile phone for use when I am traveling – pop in a cheap local sim card and I am good to go. Now with the proliferation of cheap or free wifi through-out Asia we now have even more economical options (I don’t mean to make this sound like this is something that just happened yesterday). If you find yourself in some strange Asian city on business, I often advocate getting out of your hotel room and doing some work in a local café (and not the familiar Starbucks). With Skype we can save the phone charges and still keep in touch with contacts all while enjoying the local version of a Latté. There are a number of products that make using Skype a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

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Paul Smith Trolley Bag

Getting away in style still seems to be Paul Smiths mantra when he designs luggage. The Trolley bag like the Overnight Bag I wrote about previously fits this ideal perfectly. Comes in khaki or black on the exteriour and a retractable handle to make those journeys across the airport more manageable. Weighs 2kgs and measures 41cm x 34cm x 16cm. Buy it online at the Paul Smith Shop for £ 249.00.

Tips and tools you can use to find faster airport security lines

I haven’t had much luck getting through security quickly at most airports. Other than Taipei International, Bangkok’s airport is the one I frequent the most. There are really no strategies for Bangkok – other than making sure you have your customs documents filled out completely and the usual mad dash to get to the front of the line. Some of the tips in this article might help for some and they do apply indirectly to airports other than the ones they list.
“Travel the road less taken, and it will make all the difference — including at the airport. Unknown to most travelers, many terminals have out-of-the-way screening checkpoints that can trim 10 or 15 of the worst minutes in a flyer’s day.”
I have a category devoted towards some cool Carry On bags which might aid in your travels.
Read the full article. Via the Tom Bihn Blog.

Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth Headset

Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go 7. Bluetooth head sets are pretty common these days, with some differentiating themselves in terms of form factor, ergonomics, and features through software. I could never get used to using my Sony Ericsson headset simply because it never felt right and looked far too much like something that belonged on the set of Star Trek. Also, the process of pairing it to my phone was a pain – far too cumbersome. The Plantronics Voyager 510 may arguably not have made much improvement in terms of the way it looks but like the Motorola Talk & Tunes Wireless Internet Calling Kit it makes innovations in terms of usage.
The main improvement that the Plantronics introduces is it’s support for the new Bluetooth V1.2 protocol, which allows multipoint connectivity so users can switch easily between Bluetooth devices. For us this means that this headset can function simultaneously as both a headset for Skype (via your laptop) and your mobile phone – it will be ready to talk on whether your cell phone rings or if your skype phone rings. A solution to a problem we new existed but had begrudgingly adapted to. It’s quite interesting that so few companies have caught on to this seemingly simple feature. I think this will be replacing my Logitech USB Headset though I still won’t wear it out in public. About $42.00US at Amazon

Sponsor: Skype lets you make free calls over the Internet. It’s free to download and you can add on voicemail for a weenie fee.

VoSky Call Center Review

Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go 6. David Pogue has an excellent review of the VoSky Call Center for Skype. This product differentiates itself from the others in the series as being the ultimate in mobile – ultimate because you never actually have to take it with you. You leave the VoSky Call Center at home and use your regular mobile (or alternatively a local sim card in your mobile) while traveling.
“Then, when you’re out and about with your cellphone, you dial home. After the designated number of rings, the Call Center’s recorded voice answers. After you plug in your password, she prompts you to touch the desired speed-dial number, and off you go. You’re talking free to your aunt in Antigua, from your cellphone, courtesy of your home phone and your PC.”
You can read the full review here or watch the video – login will be required (David Pogue is a pretty animated guy). The Vosky Call Center for Skype is available for about $80.00US at Amazon.

Sponsor:Skype lets you make free calls over the Internet. It’s free to download and you can add on voicemail for a weenie fee.

NETGEAR Skype WiFi Phone

Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go 5. “A mobile phone that enables you to make free Internet calls to anyone else in the world who has Skype.” Their brief write-up succinctly sums up what this device does and if it actually becomes available, it’s planned for mid 2006, then this will be the most appealing approach to using Skype on the go. It’s features and design certainly look appealing – pre-loaded with Skype (including the Skype interface) and ready to use with a wireless network out of the box. I’ll be looking forward to this one if and when it is released. The phone faq and the general product page. The sign-up form to know when it will become available.

Sponsor:Skype lets you make free calls over the Internet. It’s free to download and you can add on voicemail for a weenie fee.

Logitech Premium USB Headset 350

Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go 4. This headset is what I use when I make calls via Skype – they are nothing fancy but I can confirm that they do work and sound great. The fact that they work seamlessly on my Powerbook was a primary consideration for me. One of the touted features of the Logitech headset is it’s microphones ability to filter out unwanted background noise which is supposed to provide the highest possible sound quality. I have used these in cafés with no problems – certainly recommended. They are listed for about $50.00US at Logitech.

Sony VN-CX1 Skype Mouse Phone

Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go 3. Combining the function of a usb mouse and a skype phone, the VN-CX1 by Sony is great piece of space saving design. The Sony VN-CX1 acts like a normal mouse (optical sensor system) when it’s closed and opened up, it can be used like a telephone with a loud speaker. It looks like a perfect device for traveling with a laptop. One caveat which may or may not apply, if you happen to use this with your desktop you won’t be able to use the phone and the mouse at the same time. No word on Mac compatibility. Costs $99.00US from Audio Cubes. (via Product Dose).

Sponsor: Skype lets you make free calls over the Internet. It’s free to download and you can add on voicemail for a weenie fee.

IPEVO Free-1 USB Phone

Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go 2. Admittedly the least mobile of the choices I am presenting but if you prefer the traditional feel of a phone the IPEVO Free-1 USB Phone is a better choice. It looks great too. If you use a Mac this is the Skype device for you as it is one of the few Skype certified devices to work on the platform. Manufacturer’s Description: Free-1 is an advanced USB phone specially made for active Skype users. With lightweight and stylish design, it is a lot more fun using Skype! Programmable buttons provides users with higher level of convenience. It allows users to have better control of Skype and make SkypeOut calls via the keypad. Ten different ring tones alert users of incoming calls. Other functions include volume control, mic mute, speed dial, and LED light indication.

Motorola Talk & Tunes Wireless Internet Calling Kit

Gadgets For Using Skype on The Go 1. The recently announced (and widely reported) Motorola Talk & Tunes Wireless Internet Calling Kit with stereo, jointly developed by Motorola and Skype, might be a fun choice, especially if you like to listen to music while you work, without missing important calls. Because it uses Bluetooth the kit allows you to roam up to 30 feet away from your laptop, allowing you tether free use of Skype. A valuable feature of the device is that the headset is capable of automatically pausing the music when a call comes, and thus alerting you of an incoming call. I wouldn’t expect anything in the way of high fidelity from this headset as Bluetooth doesn’t seem capable of providing the through-put necessary to allow that to happen. It’s unfortunate that they went for the design they did with the headset – I always found this style to be the least comfortable. Link: Hello Motorola.

Sponsor:Skype lets you make free calls over the Internet. It’s free to download and you can add on voicemail for a weenie fee.

Porter Bags and Wallets

While browsing in Taipei’s new Eslite store in the Xinyi district yesterday I came across the Japanese brand Porter at their large store area there. Judging by my limited “window shopping” in Taipei I would say that the bag accessory market is larger than ever. Many different brands and wonderful choices – some of which are only available here in Asia (you don’t know what you are missing). I really liked the Porter bags and though they come in a variety of styles and colours I liked the styling of the Jet Black collection the best. Good quality and attention to detail. The one bad point is that they suffer from the same mistake many make – they have black interiors which make finding anything in dim light pretty hard. Unfortunately I hear they are not readily available overseas but you might try your luck at the Japanese online store Coolcat – who have a large collection of Porter. The Galleria online store has a large collection also.
You might also want to check out these related pages:

iPod Mono-Strap Backpack

“iPod Control At Your Fingertips”. The iPod Mono-Strap Backpack puts a 5-button ElekTex® Smart Fabric control panel on the carrying strap to allow you to control your iPod while keeping it secure inside a special interior pocket. You can play or pause your iPod, go to the next or previous track and adjust the volume. A headphone jack on the strap allows you to plug in your headphones conveniently. It’s not just a bag to carry your iPod, with dimensions of 18.5″ x 14″ x 4.5″ this backpack functions as a good day pack as well. Made from Duratex and 840d Nylon it should stand up well and last longer than any iPod you might own. As you might expect I love this kind of computing convergence. I want all my interfaces woven into the fabric of my daily life and this is one step in that direction. I’m not one for listening to music while I am out walking though as in the city I live you have to keep your eyes or ears open lest you get run over – even on the sidewalk. Available from ThinkGeek for $99.00US.
Find out what’s on Clearance at ThinkGeek!

iPod Hi-Fi Speaker Case

Waterfield Designs has recently announced a new fully padded travel case with space for Apples new iPod HiFi and all your iPod gear. It’s intended to form an integral part of your iPod HiFi set-up, it’s play-though “functionality” allows you to leave your gear in the bag when on the go. To help keep your gear protected the iPod Hi-Fi Speaker Case features a solid plate of impact-resistant plastic for the front grill and speakers and is wrapped in ballistic nylon and high-density foam. Waterfield designs are noted for providing high quality beautifully designed but one can’t help but feel uninspired with the look of this bag. Style aside it Waterfield Designs iPod Hi-Fi Speaker Case looks like a great way to take your heavy iPod HiFi on to the go – looks perfect for the cottage (I’m thinking this would be great for our cottage in Canada – that is if we had an iPod HiFi). If nothing else it should save you from killing your back if you must take your the HiFi on the go. A bit expensive at $149.00US from Waterfield Designs – starts shipping on April 18th.