Member Journal — 8/19/19

That thing where I point out why Wirecutter has gone down hill, and more.

This week: why I no longer trust The Wirecutter, socks for sock less shoes, my thoughts on paper and pen note taking, Keyboard Maestro 9, iOS 13 thing I love, and Gruber wakes up.

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  • Tom Bihn’s New Synik 22 and 30

    Oh my, we have some seriously fantastic bags on our hands. Warm up your credit cards.

    Note: Tom Bihn sent me these bags to gather early feedback, and allow me time to review them fully.

    For almost a decade, Tom Bihn’s Synapse lineup of backpacks have found themselves among the top performers for true backpack nerds. I had my father review it last year and I posted my review a while later, but despite the fact that those are all recent posts — it’s been around.

    The chief request of Tom Bihn over all those years of success with the Synapse has been: to make it a clam shell opening. You see with backpacks there’s three camps of people: those whose prefer top-loading backpacks (roughly what the Synapse is, but more Shadow Guide), those who prefer a full opening clam shell like the GORUCK GR1, and of course there are those with no preference who don’t actually qualify as backpack nerds. The Synapse always sat a bit in the middle, never quite satisfying any one group, but roughly working for every group. In that way it was clever.

    Continue reading: Tom Bihn’s New Synik 22 and 30

  • Member Journal — 8/12/19

    Talking a lot about iPads this week, come gather round.

    This week: a reckoning for activity trackers, yep, iOS 13 reactions, iPad OS thoughts, my iPad workflow update, and lax enforcement.

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  • Members Journal — 8/5/19

    I still use a Mac at work form time to time, but that’s mostly Outlook’s fault.

    This week: where does my iPad usage stand, what is an expert, social media and moderating it, anxiety driven apps, and a touch of Silicon Valley ‘disruption’.

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  • Whoop and Activity Trackers

    Whoop there it is.

    As members are aware, I recently ordered a Whoop 3.0 activity tracker. This marks the first time I am dipping my toes back into activity trackers since I gave up my Apple Watch. So it is worth talking about what my hopes are, before we dive into this device/service and ultimately wrap up with general thoughts on activity trackers all together.

    Continue reading: Whoop and Activity Trackers

  • Member Journal — 7/30/19

    Swearing is no more, watch tsk continues, lots of shady companies.

    This week: lack of swearing now, EDC cult, Amazon is testing my trust, Instagram is shady, and watches watches watches.

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  • I’m Done With Food Delivery Services

    The dirty secret you are supporting by using these apps.

    We can blame this one on Postmates, but really it was only the straw that broke the camels back for me. Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates, Grubhub — all of them are completely shit services which are actually pretty sketchy and worrisome, so I am done with them.

    Continue reading: I’m Done With Food Delivery Services

  • Member Journal — 7/22/19

    Bags, watches, Instagram hate, corporate iPhone life, and a few more things.

    This week: something is annoying but the only option, Ray-Bans, woes of Facebook’s Instagram, is cloud storage secure (no), speedy software, I got two new watches and my head hurts now, and what bags I actually use on a day to day basis.


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  • The Gray I Know

    I wrote the first part of this shortly before I left Washington state, the rest here in Texas. It’s gray outside my window right now. The type of gray that only people who live in the Pacific Northwest for extended time know. The type of gray that once lasted for over 60 days straight, no […]

    I wrote the first part of this shortly before I left Washington state, the rest here in Texas.

    It’s gray outside my window right now. The type of gray that only people who live in the Pacific Northwest for extended time know. The type of gray that once lasted for over 60 days straight, no sun, just gray.

    It is also wet outside. It’s not raining, nor does it ever rain the way Hollywood depicts it, the water is just present on the ground, in its near permanent state during the 9 months of the year where things are, well, gray.

    Continue reading: The Gray I Know

  • Member Journal for 7/15/19

    This week, the struggle is real, but at least I found the best variant of the GR1.

    Wait, half way through summer already? Jeebus. This week: there are two iPad issues, I got a white backpack, I got an all black knife, where Amazon doesn’t win, my pursuits of fewer, and the remaining items for sale with a discount…

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  • Some Items For Sale

    I probably should have done this before I moved, but hey, better late than never. So I have a few things I am putting up for sale:

    I probably should have done this before I moved, but hey, better late than never. So I have a few things I am putting up for sale:

    Continue reading: Some Items For Sale

  • Evergoods CPL 24

    Meet the backpack which came within in a hair of dethroning the GR1 as the best backpack you can buy. It’s quite good.

    I have been needing to test this bag for a while now. It is, from a pedigree standpoint, a bag that should be right up my alley. But I’ve never really liked the looks of the bag, if I am blunt — it looks kind of bad on your back. However, sometimes the stars align and I say what the hell. I got this bag for something like $130 on sale, and I am glad I did. This is a damned good bag.

    Continue reading: Evergoods CPL 24

  • Member Journal — 7/8/19

    This week we dive deep into watches, and learn about some things I am selling… to you.

    This week: I’m reminded of my dad, activity trackers still suck, I sell things, bags for the inside of your other bags, picking just one watch, and profiting from mindfulness.

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  • Is the GR1 Still Worth ‘It’?

    More GORUCK talk, but let me remind you how good of a deal the GR1 is at full price.

    Over on Everyday Carry, Jonathan Tayag looks into whether he thinks the GR1 is still ‘worth it’ from a value perspective in 2019. He writes:

    And while you definitely get serious quality for your purchase, there’s so much competition in the EDC tactical bag market in the present day that it’s hard to really say that the GR1 sets itself far enough in front of the pack to justify it.

    He then goes on to list a few bags you might consider instead of the GR1, all of which are supposed to be able to replace it, but none do. Because there is no one to one camprison out there when it comes to the GR1. There is no other backpack on the market that is what the GR1 is, and anyone who has used one for long enough can immediately tell you that.

    There are plenty of GR1 clones (including at least one on that list of his). There are plenty of tactical looking and/or marketed bags. There are plenty of bags made from 1000D cordura. And so on and so forth. There’s plenty of shit out there is what I am saying.

    Some of them are also good bags. But none of them are as brutally simple, functional, and versatile as a GR1.

    So is the GR1 worth It?

    Hell yes. What the fuck. Yes, it is basically $400 to buy this backpack which is not at all an insignificant amount of money and is downright nuts for many people wanting to spend it on a backpack. But then again, as I mentioned before, it’s not actually that much money in the grand scheme of what good bags cost.

    But the bags I put on that list could be considered cherry picked right, so let me add some further perspective with more ‘normal’ selections that you see people who put thought into their bags carry:

    • Tumi, one of the biggest brands for traveling business people sells a backpack called the ‘Alpha Bravo’ and you will see it recommended all over. People love it. It costs $475. So $80 more than a GR1, and it is a shittier bag. I see it all the time at the airport.
    • Rimowa, you know those really fancy hard sided roller bags that you see tons of people carrying. The cheapest one of those bags is a cool $540. And that’s a bag you’ll only use when you fly on a plane. And one that everyone seems to have, or at least a cheap clone of it. Whatever.
    • Peak Design’s everyday backpack is $259. It is cheaper! But guess what? It is not a versatile bag, it is a specialty bag. Which is why you don’t see many people fawning over it after long periods of usage. So you spend $259 on it, you’ll still need at least one more bag when you decide that you actually don’t want to be limited in what you carry by your bag.
    • Ona Bags sells a beautiful 1000D backpack, $449.
    • KillSpencer Rucksack, $425.

    Any of those bags you’ll see at the airport. Because either you care about what you carry, so you spend money to get something nice. Or you don’t care what you carry and your backpack has a company logo on it because you got it free somewhere and everyone who sees that knows you got it for free and don’t give a shit, and it’s probably Swiss Gear or Timbuktu. ‘But it is a really nice bag, it just has a Google Cloud logo on it.’ Cool. Cool cool cool. Cool.

    The GR1 is perfectly in line with all of its peers. Bags like the constantly mentioned Evergoods CPL24 is underpriced. The GR1 isn’t overpriced, it is that some companies are not pricing goods high enough (to their own detriment, but that’s another article all together). (I’ll have a post about that CPL in the coming weeks.)

    So is the GR1 still worth it in 2019 at $395? Yes. Yes because there is no other bag like it and it has not in any way been lessened over time. It is still, hands down, the best backpack money can buy.

    The GR1 is much like the Rolex Submariner, there are many like it, but none of them are a Submariner. And that matters.

    You should own a GR1.

  • Duke Cannon Care Products

    Men’s care products, with bourbon scents because that’s what we need.

    Note: I was sent these items for review.

    For the past month or more I have been testing some of Duke Cannon’s men’s care products — soaps, shaving stuff, colognes. At first I was leery, Duke Cannon has a strong brand and that brand is ‘manly’, which I know can be off putting for many people, especially now. However, I cast aside my doubts to give the products a fair shake, and what I found is really good products with pretty funny tidbits hidden away in the packaging of the products.

    And beyond a lot of that, some of the packaging is down right cool looking, which is always a nice plus in my book. Here’s a look at what I have been using.

    The Goods

    Cooling After-Shave: one of my favorite products is the cooling after-shave. At the beginning of the year I stopped using an electric razor and quickly realized I needed some sort of post shaving care. This is the first one I really like, it leaves my face fresh, and not greasy at all. It can be a strong cooling sensation, which doubles as a great wake up aid. But that can suck if you are only waking up post shave. You know what I mean.

    Shaving Cream: I dropped using my other shaving cream after this arrived. It is a bit heavier than a pure shaving cream, but it applies quite nicely and does a fantastic job protecting your skin and lubricating it for shaving. This stuff is my favorite shave cream, I need to buy more. I’ve tested about a half dozen and this has a nice mix if traditional feel with a gel like performance on the skin. I’m a huge fan and it smells quite good too.

    Beer Soap: I actually got the travel sized bar, which just means it is a normal size bar of soap. This is a solid soap, but the smell isn’t my favorite — if you a beer person, then you will like the smell of this soap. If you don’t like smelly soap this is the least scented of the two I tried, and as far as I can tell doesn’t leave any fragrance on your skin. My wife started using it without noticing it was beer scented. So yeah.

    Bourbon Soap: I’m a big fan of this massive bar of soap. First the size is great, why more bar soap isn’t made this size is beyond me, but the over sized nature makes it great to keep a handle on in the shower. The smell is strong, but I would be lying if I said it smells like bourbon. It smells like something, but to me I don’t smell bourbon. I do however really like the smell of this. I could still detect a trace of the fragrance after I was done showering as well — though I don’t know if that was just because it is a rather fragrant bar of soap and I was smelling the bar still or if it was on me. Either way, I really love this bar of soap.

    Solid Cologne: I am not cologne wearer, and this was my first go with solid cologne. It easily has the coolest packaging and I love the sent (smells like that soap). It works well too, and I am now a solid cologne fan as it is very easy to control how much you are putting on to make sure it is just a hint and not an Axe body spray commercial. Two thumbs up, speaking of thumbs…

    Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm: here’s how I tested this one, I moved across the country and handled tons of boxes. Those will eat your hands alive, unless that is you are using this hand balm. So yeah, two smooth feeling thumbs up. It takes a bit longer than I would like to soak in, but otherwise great stuff.

    Duke Cannon could have easily just been a gimmick brand with no real substance to it, I’ve seen that more than a few times. But at every turn the products were well above average and that’s saying a lot in the age of everyone outsourcing and branding cheap crap. This is not cheap crap. I wouldn’t be writing about it if it was.

  • Member Journal — 7/1/19

    A real potpourri of topics this week.

    This week: blogging’s consternation over Ive, initial thoughts on Whoop, talk about watches, tech-bro terms, there’s a new Raspberry Pi, and lastly some simple pants.

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