Review: STM Loft Bag

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Reviews

STM Loft (USD $59.95) starstarstarstarstar
Website: stmbags.com (Buy now from RadTech)

STM Loft BagTaking a cue from the latest MacRoundtable Podcast episode I thought I would do a mini review of the STM bags, specifically the Loft bag, as we became a supplier at work a few weeks ago.

We have a range of STM bags in the showroom, but by far my favorite is the Loft. While Sports 2 is the official educational bag for Apple in the US (for good reason; they carry everything a student could need), the Loft is much smaller and suits people like me who like to carry everything we need, but limit ourselves to not carrying the things we don’t.

Loft comes in two sizes; medium (15″) and small (13″) and is produced in two color combinations; grey & grey or tan & orange (depending on whether you are a PC user or a Mac user). The bag seems incredibly small when you get it in your hands and yet holds a lot. I took a medium sized bag and tested it with all my work papers and pads, a 15″ MacBook Pro, power cord, Ethernet cord, iPod connector and a range of other power cords I typically carry and it was great. My iPod fit into the small pouch on the strap, the notebook felt very secure and protected with the padding and extra “lid” on the Loft. It genuinely felt lighter than carrying the exact same stuff in my usual setup; a regular backpack with a cheap notebook sleeve in it.

I think build quality is one of my biggest concern with notebook bags since my current backpack is starting to wither. The straps (on my current bag) are coming apart from the bag, the bottom is looking thin and overall I don’t want to carry any real weight in it anymore. With the Loft however the build quality is such that I would feel comfortable carrying anything in there, especially with the extra padded strap so your shoulder won’t hurt. It feels strong both in the materials and in the stitching. In addition, the strong metal clasps on the straps (something most manufacturers cheap out on with plastic) make it feel even more secure and make me believe it’s robust enough to last for a least a few years of good use.

Of course it looks great and not at all like a laptop bag, so I would feel more secure walking around town with it (the reason I have my current setup). In short; I am getting a small one as soon as possible in the hope that I will someday be able to afford a MacBook. I love it, and can sell this product just like I do my Macs; with absolute confidence in every aspect of it’s design and ability.

One final note to you Mac Mini owners; you may want to checkout one of STMs other offerings, the Mac Mini lunchbox. One thing is for sure, STM knows how to appeal to an Apple owners sense of cool design.

I’ll be at Action Sports Day tomorrow

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Cool Stuff, News

SC_TSHIRT-lweb.jpgThe folks at iProng will be at Action Sports Day, a Southern California event for extreme sports enthusiasts, tomorrow Saturday, July 29th, 2006 and they invited me to hang out at their booth. The iProng booth will feature a variety of iPod-related festivities including demo stations for all current iPod models, podcasting seminars, and interactive demonstrations of the latest and greatest iPod accessories.

Action Sports Day will feature extreme sports stars showing off their skateboarding and BMX skills on a large half-pipe ramp. Athletes scheduled to appear include 2005 X Games Gold Medalist Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Lincoln Ueda, Mike Crum, Chris Gentry, Phil Hajal, Jim Burgess, and more. The event is sponsored by Soundcast Systems, makers of the wireless iCast system for iPod, who will also be hosting a booth.

Action Sports Day will take from place from 2:00 to 6:00 pm, between races at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, California on Saturday, July 29th. Admission to the event is $6.00 for adults, or free for children under eighteen years of age. The city of Del Mar is within driving distance of San Diego, Los Angeles, and all of Southern California.

Fake Leopard Screenshot Contest Winners Posted

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Cool Stuff, News

02Peek.jpgYou may or may not have been aware of the contest going on over at phillryu.com, but regardless it yielded some very interesting results. All I can say is that as always Mac fans are extremely creative and have amazing imaginations when it comes to what an OS can or should do. I’d be willing to bet Apples OS X R&D team will be looking over this stuff and stealing borrowing some of these concepts (lets just hope not everything). You know these are some Mac-worthy innovations because the contest was judged by talented individuals from around the Mac developer and web site community. The contest received over forty entries, so I am sure it was not an easy task to select the 3 winners who all received prize packages worth over USD$1000. The winning screenshots by Eric Patterson, Emmett Stackelberg and Adam Shutsa, as well as runners up by Nathan Ziarek, Reuben Henriques, and Stephen Siciliano are now on display and accompanied by comments by members of the judging panel. So take a look and start daydreaming about your perfect OS X feature.

MacCast 07.26.2006

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

Listen to today’s show here! podcast-mini2.gif
MC20060726.mp3 [27.0mb 00:59:01 64kbps]

A podcast about all things Macintosh. For Mac geeks, by Mac geeks. Show 151. Apple releases Bluetooth Mighty Mouse. New iTunes Music store content from Warner Bros., Metalica and Beach Boys. eBooks on the next iPod. Apple patent for rumored “none touch” technology. FinalCut Pro backup tip. Follow up using bare drives with connection adapters. My thoughts on buying a new Mac. When to buy and how do you choose the right Mac. Getting better battery life from your Mac notebook. Network attached storage for OS X. What to do if iWeb options are completely grayed out on your new Mac. Reminder to support your OS X software developers. Getting your preferred MacCast feed back.

New music, Why? by Reel

We’ve got a piper down, I repeat, the piper is DOWN!So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

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Skype with Video Mac Preview, finally!

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: News

I love Skype, but ever since they were bought by eBay it seems like they have been having a hard time getting the Mac client up to feature parity with the PC client. Well, looks like they have finally posted the official Skype for Mac with video preview. Of course it is a preview so we can expect bugginess to ensue, but at least we can play with it. Now if they could only add Skypcast support… Oh well, I’ll take the features as I can get them. Thanks Skype, I still love you.

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MightMouse goes wireless

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial

mightymouseback.pngCan losing the cord save the mediocre Mighty Mouse?

Well at least Apple finally caught a clue and fixed one of my major complaints about the Mighty Mouse. It should have been Bluetooth from the beginning, especially since every Mac currently ships with Bluetooth built-in. Now, I actually bought an original Mighty Mouse and I was really excited about finally having an Apple designed mouse with two buttons and scrolling. I even used it for a while, but the truth is it now lives life in a bottom desk drawer (a fate I feel many a Mighty Mouse may have met). My reasons for abandoning the Mighty Mouse are unknown even to me. The only answer I have is an esoteric one and it involves knowing that using the Mighty Mouse just never felt quite right. The mouse-ball was fun to play with, but was never really as practical as a scroll-wheel. The “squeeze” button was always awkward to use and the invisible right mouse button never seemed to be as functional as the button on a true two-button mouse. Lastly there was the wire. It just never made sense considering all the great wireless two-button scroll-wheel mouse options available from Microsoft, Logitech and others. So while Apple has lost the wire, and that is a good thing, I think this new revision of the Mighty Mouse may end up being the “Almost but Really Just Not Quite Mighty Mouse with Bluetooth”.

UPDATE: I just read that the new version is also laser based and not optical, which is a nice improvement, but doesn’t really fix the issues I mentioned above.

New TMNT Movie that doesn’t suck?

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Cool Stuff

I just saw the trailer for the new digitally animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie due out 03.30.07 and I have to say based on the trailer it looks like it is gonna be good. I remember loving the original black and white comic book stories and was always a bit disappointed by the campy live action trilogy of films, although I must admit to seeing them all and owning them on VHS. While they do have that so bad their good appeal (can you say Vanilla Ice?) this new movie looks like it’s gonna kick some shell.

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MacCast 07.20.2006

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

Listen to today’s show here! podcast-mini2.gif
MC20060720.mp3 [30.2mb 01:05:54 64kbps]

A podcast about all things Macintosh. For Mac geeks, by Mac geeks. Show 150. Apple posts 3rd quarter results. Apple iPhone alluded to in financial results conference call. NVidia may power next gen video iPod. Rumor of video rentals soon available on iTunes Music Store. New Apple Store in Miami Beach, FL. Intel Quad core processors may arrive early. Nike+ iPod Sport Kit review. What to do to prepare your Mac for AppleCare service. Fonts causing issues launching Office 2004 applications. Follow-up on backup storage options, buy bare drives and an enclosure. Using sparse image when encrypting your data and try DropDMG for splitting up image files for backup. Understanding OS X user accounts, open firmware passwords and FileVault. Plus I attempt to clear up the MacCast feed confusion.

New music, Love in an Alley by Petticoat Petticoat

Promo from The Ten Minute Mac Podcast

It’s time I leveled with you. I’m what you guys call a User.Tron (1982)

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Run for Fun

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Reviews

Nike Plus iPodWhenever I think of running for a long period of time I can’t help but remember that scene from Back To the Future III (my favorite movie series of all time). Doc is at the bar and talking with a man from 1885 and telling him about the future (bad idea if you don’t want to disrupt the space time continuum). He says that they have great forms of transportation and the “auto-mobile”. The old man says “doesn’t anyone ever walk or run?”. To which Doc replies “oh, yes but for recreation”. And then the line that I always say, but no one ever catches on (because as I get older so do the movies) “RUN FOR FUN!”.

All that to say, that man had no idea what the future would hold for running. I have run over 250 miles in the past 12 weeks and so needless to say my running shoes were shot (actually the right heel started to cave in). So I was in the market for some new shoes. Well, me being the geek that I am planned it just right. Nike just released a new line of Nike+ shoes that work with your iPod Nano. There is a chip that you put in your shoe and that sends your speed and mileage to the Nano which keeps track of your run and displays the info on screen or via voice through your headphones.

MacCast 07.14.2006

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

Listen to today’s show here! podcast-mini2.gif
MC20060714.mp3 [23.0mb 00:50:05 64kbps]

A podcast about all things Macintosh. For Mac geeks, by Mac geeks. Show 149. Apple will not appeal case against rumor sites. Microsofts “iPod Killer” becoming a reality. Nike+iPod Kit launches. Female iPod use tripled in 2006. New iPod Nanos may return to Mini roots. Apple quietly pulls new educational iMac from online store. New version of BootCamp Beta available. No “virtualization” in 10.5 Leopard. Speculation grows over new ‘Mac Pro’ chips. MacCast One Minute Tip #18 – Tracking iTunes Purchases. Macs randomly shutting off since 10.4.7 update. Review: Plantronics DSP-400. Recommendations for backing up large files. The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage by Panic at the Disco

There’s no Messiah in here. There’s a mess all right, but no Messiah. Now go away!Life of Brian (1979)

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