Keen Hood River II Sandals

We tend to spend a lot of weekends river-walking in the local mountains. My Chaco sandals (which I love!) just weren’t cutting the mustard for this kind of activity — I was too frequently stubbing my toes on rocks, or slipping, or having to take them off to remove the odd pebble that found its way in.

So I did a little research, and ordered a pair of Keen Hood River II sandals from Altrec.com, in the US. They just arrived today, and I was elated to find that I’d ordered the right size (as ordering shoes via the internet is a risky business.) The shoes are very comfortable, as I expected being the owner of some other Keen shoes, and the soles appear to have a nice gripping surface. And the toe cup is definitely going to make boulder hopping a much less painful activity!

I’ll report back in a few weeks, after spending some time in the wild with them.

Case Logic camera case for my Canon IXUS 850 IS

Today’s article will likely go down in the annals of blogosphere history as one of the more profound pieces ever written, as I explain why I’m so happy with my new $5 camera case.

I am a tremendous fan of the Canon PowerShot (“IXUS” here in Europe) family of cameras. They are rugged, compact, and take pictures that to my eye rival digital SLRs (especially after a bit of unsharp masking). I’ve owned just about every other generation of this camera, and after my last one was lost, ended up purchasing the latest, IXUS 850 IS, including a fantastic new wide angle lens.

So how did my last camera get lost? Quite simply, it feel out of my cheesy old camera bag. My former bag had a flap that one day allowed my camera to slip out while I was having lunch. (The bag was attached to my Timbuktu messenger bag strap, which I’d left sitting under the table.)

I should have seen that coming, since the same loose flap also caused me to once lose an extra battery.

So today, while browsing around in FNAC, desperate to spend some money as it’s just been so dang long since I’ve bought something (other than my brand new 3 GB memory upgrade kit!!! for my MacBook, from Other World Computing), when I walked pass the digital camera bag section. That’s when it hit me, BAM!, that’s right– I need a new camera bag!

Something else strange happened, something my wife would hardly believe: For the first time in history, the bag that I decided I want, happened to be the cheapest bag on the shelf! So now I’ve got myself the digital camera bag of my dreams, for five bucks.

And that bag is… The Case Logic DesignWorks Function with Style Digital Camera Case (“Sac pour appareil-photo”, for all you French readers, and I know there are many…) The particular model, I’m guessing here, is the QPB11 (that’s the only thing printed on the packaging that remotely looks like a model number.) According the the packaging this baby sports the following features:

  • Holds digital camera (man, how I’ve been waiting for that one)
  • Form-fit protection (always good, for a number of products…)
  • Detachable lanyard included (I’ve always wondered about the origin of “lanyard”)

But seriously, the reason I like this new bag, is that it has everything I want in a digital camera bag:

  • Super compact
  • Holster strap with a snap
  • Zip closure (no flaps!)
  • Internal pocket for extra battery and memory card
  • Nice logo

I just checked, and Case Logic even have a web page available for the product:

[[[Case Logic Compact Camera Bag]]]

Timbuk2 Euro Tote

Those closest to me know that I suffer from bag addiction — a condition characterized by a never-ending search for just the right bag, for just the right occasion. My latest fix arrived today in the mail (thanks, Mom!) — a Timbuk2 Euro Tote.

This is the bag (no, it’s not a purse…) that will become my daily companion, and which will contain the stuff I like to have with me at all times:

  • Wallet
  • Treo (PDA/phone)
  • Keys
  • Sunglasses
  • iPod Shuffle (and earbuds)
  • USB memory stick (sometimes I get amnesia)
  • Pen
  • Moleskin 9x14cm notebook
  • Kleenexes

Including all the above, there’s still enough room for the following stuff that I’ll occasionally take along:

  • Book (small book).
  • Canon PowerShot S500 digital camera, and spare battery.
  • A diaper or two.

So far, after one day’s use, I’ve got the feeling me and the Euro Tote are going to get along just fine. The only thing I don’t like, is that inside it’s got a soft-lined phone pocket. I wish bag makers wouldn’t include those, because it’s a waste of space for those with phones that don’t fit.

Harman/Kardon SoundSticks II

On a recent trip to the US, I took advantage of the favorable Euro/Dollar exchange rate and picked up a set of Harman/Kardon SoundSticks II. Getting something that looks like this back to Europe through a network of airport security was an interesting experience. “Code 12! Code 12! — ‘at boy’s transportin’ some sort’uh electromagnetic pulsing dee-vice! Get back, it’s probably nuculaar! Open fire, Ray!”

Anyway, they sound awesome! I previously ran my Mac’s audio through a cheap little home Hi-Fi system, and, man, what an improvement with these SoundSticks. (BTW, my friend Narayan had the audacity to joke that I’ve been out of the US too long; that people stopped using the term “Hi-Fi” many years ago. Just for that, I’ve disallowed him from taking any design inspiration at all from this site for the new version of Etherfarm. That’ll teach him.)