Herschel Supply Trade Carry-On Luggage Review

For almost a year I was using an Everlane Twill Weekender duffle bag. It's a pretty good bag overall. Though, I became curious how well a piece of wheeled luggage would work. Whether a hard shell and wheels would make for a better travel experience. Plus admittedly I was slightly envious when at the airport…trekking to my gate with fatigued arms and hands from a heavy bag while most other travelers are rolling around a bag with ease. So I got one for myself, a Herschel Supply Trade Carry-on suitcase. I have some thoughts.

Affordable

I found that there were a lot of options for rolling suitcases. They all vary in price, many on Amazon are from brands that I've never heard of and felt that to purchase one of those would me a bit of a hassle should I not like it. After examining the range of wheeled hard shell carry on luggage, I went sort of in the lower middle and bought the Trade Carry-On from Herschel Supply. Compared to other millennial focused brands, the Trade is fairly affordable at $149.99.

Aesthetically Pleasing

I made the bold choice of purchasing white. Which is one of only a few color ways offered by Herschel. I liked white because I don’t think I’ve ever seen bright white luggage before. I figure if my bag becomes lost or something it would be easy to spot. The exterior texture is nice, the pattern (vertical indentations) is simple and looks better than many of the other offerings.

Build Quality

The most noticeable thing for me is a slight lack of sturdiness in the telescoping handle. It's a bit wobbly. Next is the wheels, they are quiet which is nice. There are also 4 which I like (I HATE two wheeled luggage). However this team of four have difficulty getting over some transitions. Maybe this is all suitcases but on the jetway, and even a few diamond plated floor covers the suitcase would fall behind me and eventually tip as I was pulling. These are very minor issues though. These are small design flaws.

Conclusion

Despite the Trade Carry-On's minor flaws, it is a good choice for the occasional traveler who want a simple, aesthetically pleasing hard shell carry on.

Planned Obsolescence

Planned obsolescence

It's something which we are surrounded by but don't realize. It's disguised as mere inconvenience typically. For example, You purchase an inexpensive backpack from a major retailer. Months later you find that it has quickly worn out already. Back to the store for a new one. To most it's just an annoyance of life. What you don't realize is that these types of incidence are planned, or at least expected and/or anticipated by big companies.

The maximization of earnings, has caused quality to take a back seat. What's worse is as consumers, we've been conditioned to desire the cheapest price. With that desire comes poorly made products and you returning to that store to buy another of the now worn out product. It's such an inefficient way to live. You waste money on flimsy stuff, and spend more time buying new ones to replace it.

Now, a leather bag that costs $300 seems outrageous compared to a polyester bag for $30. Though, paying $300 for something that could theoretically last decades isn't outrageous, it's the better of the two options. You end up saving money, believe it or not. That's not to say a $3,000 Designer bag is worth it, though. Be reasonable. When you're on the market for any type of product, try to consider the level of quality that is sufficient for you and what's a reasonable price.

If consumers demanded quality, companies would produce higher quality products. Make a statement with your wallet. They want your money and if you say "I don't want your cheap garbage..." They will stop selling you cheap garbage.

Prevent Digital Eye Strain

Preventing Digital Eye Strain

There is no question that digital eye strain exists, its subtle and effects a lot of people. 60.5% of adults experience symptoms of digital eye strain, also called Computer Vision Syndrome. Unless you live screen free, you're susceptible to it. Here are the symptoms and solutions to alleviate it or hopefully prevent it.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain:

  1. eyestrain
  2. headaches
  3. blurred vision
  4. dry eyes
  5. neck and shoulder pain

Eye Strain Solutions:

  1. Make use of the 20-20-20 method take 20 seconds to view something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes.
  2. Eradicate screen glare with less overhead lighting
  3. Increase the distance between your eyes and the screen, Keep it at arms length. Probably the most difficult rule to follow.
  4. Enlarge text on the screen
  5. Get your eyes checked. Uncorrected vision problems can make these symptoms worse.
  6. Wear blue light blocking glasses

Tools to optimize your travel

Tools to optimize travel

We all aspire to see more of the world. Traveling abroad can be slightly more hectic and you should be as organized as possible. I'm obsessed with organization so I gave travel efficiency some thought. Below are some helpful tools to make traveling easier and more efficient.


Tile Tracker

There is nothing worst than loosing a piece of luggage while  traveling. With a tile tracker you can rest easy, unless you would rather handcuff your suitcase to your wrist. Tile isn't just for luggage though, you could add one to your passport wallet, your fanny pack, or anything else you wouldn't want to lose.

Native Union 4 port charger

You probably have at least 2 things to charge, your significant other or travel companion most likely has 2 also. Be the hero the next time they forget their charger and have this 4 port charger handy.

Cocoon Grid-it

This grid of elastic bands can accommodate all sorts of small accessories and simplifies the inside of your bag. No need to dig for your phone charger, no more misplaces headphones, no lost lip balm.

Mophie Battery Pack

You went a little too crazy with your instagram story and now you're phone is at 9% and you're still out and about enjoying the sights, with a battery pack like this one from Mophie, you can stay out longer and stay connected.

Aeropress Coffee Maker

With a travel coffee maker, you can reduce expenses while still enjoying a good cup of coffee in the morning. The Aeropress is compact and efficient.

Cocoon by Sealy Mattress Review

Cocoon by Sealy Mattress Review

Buying a mattress is cool now. I won't bore you with over told tales that our parents have told us about buying a mattress. It's 2018 and you now have tons of options...too many options probably. I spent 6 months doing research on these bed-in-a-box mattresses. I examined Casper, Leesa, Primary, etc. Pricing for a queen ranges from $399 all the way up to $1,800 for one. A huge difference while differing in quality and essentially being the same. A big foam rectangle, rolled up in a box. Though, one brand stood out to me—not because of bells, whistles, or buzz words, but because of its simplicity. I'm referring to Cocoon by Sealy. Besides simple branding, and mid range pricing it offers a sense of familiarity.

New & Familiar

During my research I always had a looming sense of anxiety. What if the mattress I get is crap? What if this turns into an overwhelming and time consuming endeavor? They do all have a trial periods which is very convenient. My worry wasn't about that though. I was nervous about the logistics. Repackaging the crappy mattress, storing my old mattress just in case I have to switch back temporarily. Just the amount of work involved, and the possibility of doing it multiple times if I make a few bad mattress choices. For some reason, I felt different towards Cocoon. Probably because I already had a Sealy mattress. So I knew what I was getting, if you order a Casper Wave, you see pretty graphics of all the layers, but you have no idea if it’s going to suit you. You may hate it. Then queue hectic logistics.

The Good

Cocoon is 10 inches thick which seems to be a good thickness. I read about some thinner mattresses causing users to "bottom out" and basically feel the slats or platform underneath the mattress. Something which I didn't experience with Cocoon. The mattress is a perfect amount of soft, you don't sink in deeply but you also don't feel like you're "on top of the bed". Setup for the mattress is very simple. Transporting the mattress is quite easy, too. I was expecting it to be cumbersome but it wasn't. Once removed from its plastic sleeve, the mattress quickly takes shape. The exterior cover is of a nice quality and doesn't feel cheap. The embroidered pattern of the cover also gives it some texture and dimension which is oddly satisfying.

The Bad

The box it comes in is black and the ink rubs off easily. I realized this before placing it in my car which has beige interior. The off gassing smell that the mattress has right out of the box is a bit pungent. The documentation that accompanies the mattress it says its ready for sleep within 30 minutes of fully expanding. They don't take into consideration the smell apparently. I recommend opening it before you go to work and it should be good to go when you come home. It’s worth noting that off gassing is standard for bed-in-a-box mattresses.

#MyHappyPlace

Cocoon by Sealy is a great mattress. It’s designed by a company with 137 years of experience. It is comfortable and simple. If you are nervous about what you’re going to get, Cocoon is for you. If you can’t justify the cost of a Leesa, Casper, etc then buy Cocoon. Especially since you can save $100 with the link below. 

Movie Review - The Patent Scam

Movie Poster © Austin Meyer/Laminar Research

Movie Poster © Austin Meyer/Laminar Research

Recently I watched a movie called The Patent Scam. It is a documentary about patent trolls. It's a subject which I was already privy to, but haven’t seen a documentary on before. However if you are not privy to patent trolls, I will explain very briefly what they are.
First off here are links to 2 definitions...

Patent

The exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor tomanufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years.

Patent Troll

Essentially, a patent troll is an attorney or law firm which purchases patent portfolios from failed or bankrupt businesses. They then establish shell companies and sue small companies for violating those patents.

Review

It's a very annoying, frustrating, and scary thing. It's something that has the potential to happen to anyone who works with the internet and technology. Patent Trolls like the tech industry. It's essentially a big grey area. The idea of linking one element (a file, page, etc) to another is patented (People have actually been sued for using links). Which there by makes Google, Squarespace, and I all guilty of patent infringement because google linked to this blog post, the Squarespace platform allowed me to link this post to my blog page, and I have added links to this page citing sources. Thus any app developer, blogger, ecommerce shop owner, hardware maker, can be sued for infringing on patents.

Let me also make it be known that these patents which those law firms own aren't actually used for anything. Their shell companies don't manufacture or develop anything. They have simply had the ownership rights transferred to them and just let them exist.

What makes the whole situation worse is that it is known with in the US Government to be a problem for business. To sum up what they want to do about it is... absolutely nothing. A bill was introduced in Congress to change things, but Senator Harry Reid literally said "over my dead body".

The issue of patent trolls is one that doesn't get mentioned very much it seems like. Victims of patent trolling are bound by NDA's (Non Disclosure Agreements) which is the legal equivalent to a muzzle. Victims cannot discuss details. As a result, the problem gets little attention which leads to no solution.

Conclusion

This documentary is a very interesting one. I recommend everyone watch it for the sake of being an informed consumer and citizen. You will learn a lot, about the problems patent trolls cause and about the legal system. I also recommend that if you do watch it, please click the button below to reach out to your representative and urge them to take a stand against patent trolls.

Director: Jon Farhat     Producer: Austin Meyer 

 
 

Lifestyle Design Part II - Minimal Wardrobe

📸//Mark Zuckerberg

📸//Mark Zuckerberg

Do a Google image search of Mark Zuckerberg, and what do you see? Besides a handsome young billionaire you’ll find a guy who wears the same thing every day. A Grey t-shirt, denim jeans, and maybe a plum colored hoody on a cold day. This has been covered and explained before. Zuckerberg isn’t the only one who's known for wearing the same look day after day. But what doesn’t seem to get mentioned is that this seemingly boring topic of the same attire everyday is minimalism.

There are tons of sites that talk about the minimalist wardrobe and how to pair down your closet and still be fashionable. How to maintain variety yet still not own a lot of clothes being a hot topic. That’s cool and all, but not very minimalist. You own less clothes but are still spending time putting outfits together. Or at the very least wasting time deciding WHICH outfit to wear. So why not wear the same look every day? Though, we don’t mean literally the same shirt and pants, every single day. Instead, pick out a look that fits you, your profession, and lifestyle. Once you’ve done that, go ahead and buy enough of the same shirt and pants to wear every day of the week.

Sure to it may sound dull to some, but to the individuals that value efficiency here is what minimalism can provide. One, You’ll need less time to get ready. Secondly, you won’t need to think about what you’re going to wear. A more streamlined morning routine will result in a happier start to your day. If you really can’t get behind wearing the same colors every day, pick a variety of different colors of the same shirt, and that all can match your pants. That way you can have variety yet still not have to think about what to wear.

Navigation on the Bottom

nav-on-bottom.jpg

What device do you visit websites on the most? Desktop or smartphone? I'm no psychic but my guess is your smartphone. I base that on the fact that a rather large percentage of web traffic is done on mobile devices. So now that we've established that you visit websites mostly on your phone lets note the location of your hand. Do you hold your phone up at the top? or are you holding it towards the bottom? I shall take another guess and say towards the bottom.

So you're on a website on your phone and you're holding your phone in your dominant hand. If you have anything bigger than an iPhone 4s, you're going to have to do some reaching if you want to get to the navigation bar. Or maybe you have to use your other hand to press. Is that how it should be? I say no.

Our world is filled with web designers and user interface designers. Yet navigation is still predominantly placed at the top of the screen. Your argument that Apple has reachability and such is valid. However, yeah but still. Navigation should be on the bottom for mobile devices. where your thumbs are.

Reflections

Photo Credit: Iiana Mikah // unsplash.com

Photo Credit: Iiana Mikah // unsplash.com

I set a few goals for 2017 and I'm proud to say that I achieved almost all of them. I began reading on a regular basis. I don't mean magazines and facebook articles; I mean books. I drank more water and started working out, too. Working out was the biggest goal. I owe all the encouragement and support to my partner, Kendrick. He pushed and also helped me. We developed a routine that is ideal for my unique situation. I'm now heading into 2018 with a daily workout habit.

What I failed to achieve is to create a new revenue stream. I did try, but I ultimately didn't really consider all the necessities involved with my idea. It is an idea to save and maybe comeback to. This year though, I will succeed at a side hustle. There has been an idea that I've heard a couple of times. They used different analogies but the lesson was the same. Have multiple streams of income. Not so you become a malevolent villain but to create more security. 

Analogy One*: Hold out your fist, now hold up the number of ways you make income. If it is one finger, imagine if that finger was cut off. What would you do about money? You wouldn't have any other avenues. 

Analogy Two**: Imagine your bank account is a bucket. Your job represents a hose that goes into the bucket. If that hose gets turned off, your bucket doesn't continue to fill up. If you have more hoses going into the bucket, it's ok if one gets turned off, your bucket is still being filled. Your bucket will also fill faster and contain more water. 

In 2018 I will reach my fitness goal as well as create new streams of revenue. What are your goals for 2018, and what did you achieve in 2017?

* Unkown (paraphrased)

** Adam Carolla (paraphrased)

Lensabl Review

For the past 2 years I've been fussing over eyeglasses. First I bought a pair of Cole Haan frames and hated them so so so much. It was semi impulsive, and also partly not really getting a good feel for them since I'm in my optometrists office. The next year, my optometrist offered me free Ray-Ban frames and so I jumped at it. This time I felt pressured by my own stupidity that I NEEDED to pick from a very small selection. I ended up regretting that choice too. They ended up being too wide and kept slipping down my face. So I took matters into my own hands. I couldn't buy more from my optometrist since my vision insurance only covers the cost of one pair per year. 

On this quest to find new glasses I tried Warby Parker. I did their home try on program. The glasses were ok but weren't exactly the look I was going for. They seem to be of a comparable quality as Luxotica brands but just the looks I wasn't feeling. So I learned about a company called Lensabl via a Facebook ad. They seem to very much be a competitor to Warby Parker, in a way. They don't sell frames though. They just make lenses. Which is sort of an advantage, Maybe one doesn't want new frames. Maybe they are happy with their frames but need updated lenses and don't want to pay the huge price by going through an optometrist. Or maybe you just prefer to purchase from internet based companies. 

What's Lensabl?

Lensabl is an online prescription lens manufacturer. They take the same approach as Harrys and Warby Parker. Except with lenses for your glasses. With the absence of optometrist networks, insurance, and sales quotas, they deliver good quality lenses at a much lower price. They also offer more options than traditional labs who contract with optometrists. They can do prescription and non prescription glasses, bi-focals, they even have lenses that block blue light from device screens. 

The Ordering Process

Step 1: Get your subscription from your optometrist if you don't already have it

Step 2: Head over to lensabl.com and select your lenses and preferences and order what you want. 

Step 3: Place your frames in the Lensabl box they send you. It should be obvious that you will need to have a second pair of glasses or this isn't going work.

Note: Shipping is included. 

Step 4: Have fancy new lenses placed in your frames and get them sent back to you. 

Step 5: Marvel at the clarity of your new lenses.

The Quality

Lensabl's lenses are really good quality. I can only compare them to the lab that my optometrist uses so it might be different for you. For me though, There is a major difference between my prescription sunglasses and my glasses with Lensabl lenses. The Lensabl ones are much more sharp and have a lot better clarity thanks to the coatings they apply. My optometrists lab only does a polarization coating.

Conclusion

If you already have some frames you really like, want to buy some frames, or just want to try out prescription glasses from the 21st century, I recommend Lensabl. I will be swapping my sunglass lenses out for Lensabl ones in the near future. 

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Advertising with AI

Coca-Cola recently announced that it will do an interesting experiment, they're going to use artificial intelligence to assist in the creation of advertising. They admit that the full removal of humans isn't yet possible. Algorithms and bots are all they will be able to use, for now. In what way could this change the way we experience ads in the future?

Keep in mind that this isn't the first time that AI has been used in advertising, as all those Google and Amazon ads are essentially artificial intelligence. Thanks to cookies, retailers know you were looking at a product, so it shows you an ad, in hopes that you'll buy. It's creepy sometimes, and sometimes you actually click those ads. 

Now if Coca-Cola, the biggest and most ubiquitous brand to ever exist is hopping on the AI bandwagon, AI advertising could become common place. The shopping habits, tracking and all the other data collection being done in the retail industry is basically building to what could be on the horizon. Of course, retailers already currently use all that collected data and can create more relevant advertising, but analysts are no match for bots. The ad agencies of the future may be those data collection companies who hold the data that a company's bot needs. The bot will take care of the rest. 

Furthermore, with the use of social media, ad bots could get a feel for what your perceived mood is. If it can tell you are feeling sad, it will generate an ad that could either play off that sadness, or maybe cheer you up. Either way they could win a sale. Which sounds like a sneaky, dirty tactic, but so are those sponsored posts you see on many websites.

If that ends up being the case, it could mean that the future may not even have ad campaigns as you know them currently. No broad iPad Pro campaigns across print and digital and no touting the 2023 Volvo driverless automobile. Companies could have millions of ad campaigns, maybe one for every person in the world. Your habits would be monitored and bots would react accordingly. 

Advertisers keep a pretty good pulse on our culture, or maybe even influence our culture. Either way, A video ad taking place in a kitchen always features the most trendy layout and materials. Ads targeting millennials are spot on with whats popular on social media. It would be foolish if they didn't take advantage of technology and take your pulse, and show you ads that you just can't resist; because a bot built them specifically for you. 

Queue the AI advertising startups.

A Fresh Start

Toward the end of 2016 I concluded that it was necessary to place a bit more emphasis on my love of design. I'm giving my blog a reboot. Solely focused on design. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for fresh posts.