Chester Squander laptop bag

The Chester Squander is Crumpler’s version of a top loading laptop briefcase. I believe these might be a part of the newly introduced squirrel line which is Crumpler’s first foray into the briefcase format. Prices range from $40 sleeves to $240 mega-sized models that you can pack at least four MacBook Airs into. The Chester Squander pictured above is made with a water resistant 600D polyester shell, 150D Ripstop lining, and brushed polyester lined main compartment. The bag has a full briefcase organizer, expandable filing pocket and storage space. It can be configured to carry 13″ to 15″ laptops in 4 stylish colours. Generally the Crumpler bags I have owned have stood up to years of abuse without missing a beat. The Chester Squander is $95.00. More pictures after the jump.

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The Autumn of the Multitaskers

Multitasking messes with the brain in several ways. At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires—the constant switching and pivoting—energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on.


The Shrinking Computer and the Web Worker

Interesting topic as to what exactly do we need smaller computing devices for (beyond the obvious cool factor). I see it as being able to receive and transmit data in a way that closely resembles what we can do now in the office. Others see as allowing you to have the ability to work in any place at any time.

… as a web worker – someone actually trying to get work done on the web – I’m torn by these devices. On the one hand, the promise of increasing portability of computing is great; it opens up the possibility of being able to do my job more places than ever before, without carting around a backpack full of equipment and searching for power outlets and network drops. But on the other, these devices just don’t cut the mustard for me …


IPhone Pouch

This felt case from Working Class Heroes adds the feel of old world analogue to your iPhone. Felt and leather are always a classic look but somehow the combination of the two seems unique. It should protect iPhone during transit.

The Working Class Heroes iphone pouch is made from 3mm grey felt (the oldest fabric known to humankind). This is a really nice sturdy felt that keeps its shape and looks so good on your iphone. Featuring lovely buttery soft aniline leather.

An Etsy find – $29.00US

Laptop Productivity On-the-go

From Lifehacker:

You’re an on-the-go worker, and the one thing you always carry with you? Your trusty laptop, of course. Sure, you’ve reached a point where you’re pretty good at getting things done away from your desk, but you still haven’t reached laptop zen—that point at which your laptop does gymnastics for you and is a seamless extension of your productivity. Today we’re taking a look at some of the best laptop hacks for notebook enthusiasts, from getting internet access anywhere and keeping your files in sync to adding an anti-theft layer of security to your laptop.

Article Link.

Portable Office Organizer

From your bag to your wall. A great idea on an alternative use for the Freudian Slip insert comes from the Tom Bihn blog.

… hang it on the wall and it becomes the perfect place to store pens, ruler, calculator, business cards, file folders or papers, Post-its or other small items, keeping them at easy access while your desk is free of clutter. You can also hang the Freudian Slip on the doorknob of your office.

Keep your desk clean and have your office items with you on the go. Tom Bihn blog.

The Ecoso Powerstick

The Ecoso Powerstick is a dramatic change from the portable power devices I have seen in the past. It’s size and sleek design are probably the first thing you will notice, followed by the equally cool integrated LCD readout on the side. Very useful.
The Powerstick is easy to use – Plug it into a USB port to charge. With the appropriate connector, plug the Powerstick into your device’s charger port, press the start button, and your device has instant power. You can even use the device while it charges. The Powerstick comes with nine free connectors for various possible mobile devices.
The simplicity and portability of the Powerstick make this a great addition to your gear bag. It’s $69.95.

Patagonia Lightwire Pack

Excellent low profile day pack to store all your urban gear so that you can get out of the office and find a new place to stir your creative juices. Comes with a laptop compartment, a “desk pocket” for the usual non-digital paraphernalia, and a breathable back panel to wick moisture away from your back. This feature alone might make it a worthwhile purchase. Judging by the quality of the zippers this looks like a long term keeper. Here is a bit on the material used on the outside of the bag from Patagonia:

Doubleweave ShiftLayer nylon fabric combines baselayer woven under tension with floating top layer to absorb friction and reduce abrasion (in the way liner socks reduce blisters by transferring friction to harmless contact between sock-fabric layers).
210-denier, polyurethane-coated ShiftLayer nylon. Lining: 210-denier prismatic reflective nylon

It comes in a number of different colours other than the boring black shown above. More info here.

Protecting yourself from the recession

Reading the news lately one would think that the sky is falling. Maybe it is for some but how do we prepare ourselves for these eventual slow-downs in the economy? Web Worker Daily lists ways you can bolster your career in the face of possible client loss.
Eons ago my studio teacher used to impress upon us the need to diversify your sources of income. He taught us to create a pie chart and divide it with various different jobs/activities. The object being not to rely on any one source of income and have the ability to focus on one piece of the pie when another is suffering.
It’s common sense but whether you work for the government or are a freelancer it’s a good habit to get into.

Clark & Mayfield’s Mapleton Laptop Bag

Clark & Mayfield have recently announced a new line of men’s laptop bags made from soft Vachetta leather. The Mapleton looks like a great option for those who want a classy look but still have room to carry around a multitude of gear. The leather should look better with age so this should be a nice long term investment (unlike the laptop it’s designed to hold). The laptop bag has a large fan-fold section to hold your files and papers, nylon twill lining, and an adjustable strap with deep sponge-rubber cushion. Fits laptops 14″ x 11″ x 1.6″. $169US. More pictures after the jump.

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Waterfield’s MacBook Air Bag

Waterfield Designs has recently introduced a new laptop sleeve to fit Apples new MacBook Air. Like Tom Bihn’s recent introduction the SleeveCase is a resizing of an existing design. The sleeve is slated to ship by January 25th. From their press release:

The new SleeveCase is a slim, durable covering made of a sturdy ballistic nylon shell and a high-grade neoprene interior that is customized to the MacBook Air dimensions for a snug fit. Available in either a horizontal or vertical orientation, users can easily retrieve their laptop from a briefcase, messenger bag, or backpack without removing the sleeve itself. Alternatively, they can opt to add a strap to the sleeve and use it as a stand-alone case. Other options include a front flap for added protection and the “Piggyback,” a detachable gear holder for accessories.
Frequent flyers can insert the SleeveCase into a wheelie or larger bag to comply with the 2-bag carry-on limit. The SleeveCase can also be quickly retrieved and reinserted at airport security check.
“To properly protect your laptop, you need a case that fits snugly and is designed to the laptop’s dimensions so that it stays cushioned while in transport,” explained Gary Waterfield, Chief Designer. “You don’t want your laptop bouncing around in a one-size-fits-all case; that’s why we have over 50 sizes in stock and continually introduce new ones. Plus, the neoprene inner shell provides shock-absorbing qualities to cushion your laptop.”

Prices haven’t changed since I last covered this Sleeve last year. You can still purchase the SleeveCase at prices starting at $39.00US.

Travel tips from EVA air

EVA air has a nice feature for those that book online which I seemed to have missed in the past. They had an old email address which would have bounced all their incoming messages. It’s a simple feature whereby they send you an email on the date of your departure with some useful information which they organise with the labels: Before departure, Airport arrival, Onboard, and Getting to your destination.
Before departure reiterates your itinerary, gives you the the local and destination EVA contact info., the local and destination weather forecast, current exchange rate, and electrical plug type. Airport arrivals sends you off to a couple links on their site which give you detailed departure tips and your class baggage allowance. Onboard lets you know what onboard movies are playing and getting to your destination sends you off to the local tourism board.
It’s not fancy nor is it groundbreaking but it’s a nice added touch to what is already a good airline experience.
EVA airlines

Get your address book contacts into Gmail

I came across this little gem of a utility during a futile attempt to leave my laptop at home while traveling. One main problem with doing so is that I don’t have ready access to all my contacts when I am abroad. I keep everything in Apples Address Book app. and there is no really convenient way to sync this with Googles Gmail. A to G solves this problem and it’s free!

A to G is a simple, free utility for Mac OS X that exports your Apple Address Book contacts into a Gmail-readable text file. Once exported, simply click Import in the Contacts section of your Gmail account, choose the file you exported, and you’re done!
A to G will bring over your contacts’ phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, companies, job titles and notes so that you can have info you need wherever you have Gmail.

A to G

Airplane seating source

I’m sitting in the EVA lounge in the Taoyuan International Airport getting set for a quick trip to Hong Kong. It’s mostly a non-fun trip but I will be heading out to the area around Milan Station to check out bags, electronics, and general sight seeing in the Mongkok area.
In preparing for this trip I used an old gem of a site, Seat Guru, which has proven valuable for me time and time again.
The ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities and airline information. In October 2001 frequent flyer Matthew Daimler launched with a single color-coded interactive airplane seating chart. Having realized the vast differences between airline seats, he was determined to build a repository of this useful information and share it with other travelers.
The site helps me avoid those cramped seats that you get stuck with from time to time.

MacBook Air Bag

Tom Bihn has just announced the February availability of horizontal and vertical Brain Cell laptop cases, designed specifically to fit the new thin MacBook Air. These have saved my laptops on a number of occasions and might be an absolute necessity for carrying your MacBook Air.

The Size 6X Horizontal Brain Cell will clip securely inside our ID, Ego, and Super Ego messenger bags, Empire Builder and Zephyr briefcases, Western Flyer travel/overnight convertible briefcase, and Brain Bag backpack, or slip inside your current briefcase or messenger bag. The Size 6X Vertical Brain Cell will clip securely inside of the Brain Bag backpack or slip inside your current backpack.
The TOM BIHN Brain Cell laptop case has gained a reputation for offering the best protection one can get for their laptop. For more information on the protective qualities of the Brain Cell, visit the Brain Cell page. [Tom Bihn Blog]

More info.