Well Considered: Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack

 

First things first, this is my initial impression of the bag. This bag is a gift for my Godson for his graduation, and I have heard him several times express how much he likes my Timbuk2 Wander travel backpack because he could fit his gaming laptop in it. Now, I always try to be accommodating with those requests but I felt that he should get a bag he can use on his first job or freelance career, so I wanted to get him a durable enough bag with adequate organization and versatility to be used as a daily carry.

Pros:

  • Well-built
  • Affordable ($47 from $99)
  • Adequate organization
  • Small size despite being able to fit my 17″ laptop

Cons:

  • Straps are just a little tight on the neck area, but may loosen with use
  • Subjective – All black version is a little plain, bag looks a little weird at some angles

So the first things I did was to look through the Timbuk2 site and found the Q laptop backpack, which has been on sale for a while and available in black. Timbuk2 has a wide array of bags to choose from but here are my reasons for choosing the Q:

  • It can fit a 17″ laptop.
  • It does not look too flashy to attract thieves. My nephew commutes and I don’t want him to get into trouble with a flashy backpack.
  • Durability. Timbuk2 bags are backed by a lifetime warranty. I have full confidence in the Timbuk2 brand and have owned several of their messenger bags to boot.
  • Organization. Which usually means pockets. Lots of pockets.
  • Affordability. I got this for $47 dollars.

So I bit the bullet and bought it along with the Timbuk2 Mission Sling, because I wanna get something for myself as well 😂. I admit I was personally excited in getting the bag and I was curious on how the bag would be able to impress me, and it did not disappoint when it arrived. I tested out a few loadouts and I was very impressed with how much I was able to fit in. The build quality is better than I expected and was comparable to my Victorinox Deluxe backpack. The straps are solid and stiff and will break in well over time. There’s also a side handle if you want to carry it briefcase-style.

There are a lot of organizational compartments. Here’s the list:

  • Quick-access pocket with tricot lining. This can fit a glasses case and/or your cellphone. I was able to fit both but it was a little tight. I don’t think a Galaxy Note would fit in this space.
  • Laptop compartment with tablet sleeve. My nephew has confirmed that it fits his gaming laptop great. I was also able to fit my ZBook comfortably and that laptop is thicc. The laptop is also raised about 3/4” via a liner, offering protection when you put your bag down on the floor.
  • Main compartment; can fit a jacket and other things. The capacity is smaller than my Victorinox bag, but I think this is still spacious enough for minimal weekend travel.
  • Organizational front section for pens and other tech. This can fit a notebook while the other pockets can be used for cables, cards and other EDC items.
  • Bottom pocket, best for charging cables and your mouse. This is also an alternative space for a jacket, do take note that this shares space with the main compartment.
  • Bottle or umbrella holder. I wouldn’t use the bottle holder when using carrying the bag suitcase-style as it would only hold a 20oz bottle half of the way, therefore it could fall off as you’re swinging the bag. You can just put the bag in the main compartment

The bag as I mentioned has a side handle on one side. It’s a simple nylon strap that I find ok but it’s going to be uncomfortable to hold when you’ve packed your bag heavily. It also has a sternum strap and a bottle opener which is a feature you would find on most of their backpacks.

Overall Impressions

The Timbuk2 Q laptop backpack is a really sturdy bag in terms of construction and feel. The all black color does look uninspiring but it does make it stand out too much to thieves, which was one of my main considerations in buying this bag. The only improvements I could ask for would be bigger zippers for the main compartments, a more comfortable side handle and maybe just a little more space in the main compartment. This is a pretty great buy for it’s current price and an excellent daily carry.

Specs from website

  • Large main compartment for books, jacket, and other carry-on essentials
  • Padded front pocket offers protection for iPad mini
  • Padded, tricot-lined laptop compartment (fits up to 17″ Macbook)
  • Smart power brick pocket remembers where your cords are so you don’t have to
  • Tricot-lined floating pocket protects sunglasses or smartphone
  • Laptop Compartment fits 17”
  • Volume: 26.00 L / 1,587 cu in
  • Weight: 2.3 lb / 1.0 kg
  • Width: 11.8 in – 30.0 cm
  • Height: 18.9 in / 48.0 cm
  • Depth: 5.12 in / 13.0 cm

 

Music: It’s About Power and Purpose

I find myself rewatching this 2012 SXSW keynote speech of Bruce Springsteen.

I recall a recent conversation with some fellow. He said that the problem with the music you hear today “is that it’s not pure”.

Pure.

At that time were talking about rock music. Although I understood his point (he was complaining about how the use of synths and other electronics makes music you hear today… suck), when he said that, the images that went into my head were those of a cable running from an electric guitar to an oversized effects board, then through another cable going to an amp to another cable then through a mixer1. You get what I mean.

His statement was a generational statement. It’s the kind older generations say to the next, and it can be applied to just about anything. The problem with [pop music today] is [too much EDM]. The problem with [a lot of OPM singers today] is [too many octave coverage per song]. The problem with [OPM rock] is [too much pogi rock]. The problem with [Jolly spaghetti] is [it’s not really spaghetti, but it’s the only spaghetti I know].

Having heard many opinions on what defines authentic or original or pure music, the bias rationale has always been based (for the most part) on the music we grew up with or has made a transformative effect on us. We get so nerdy impassioned about it, and we project it on to our peers. I don’t think it should be used as a criteria to judge other’s work by, but should be by which Springsteen has said so well: “It’s the power and purpose of your music that still matters.”

“So as the records that my music was initially released on give way to a cloud of ones and zeroes, and as I carry my entire record collection since I was thirteen in my breast pocket, I’d like to talk about the one thing that’s been consistent over the years, the genesis and power of creativity, the power of the songwriter, or let’s say, composer, or just creator. So whether you’re making dance music, Americana, rap music, electronica, it’s all about how you are putting what you do together. The elements you’re using don’t matter. Purity of human expression and experience is not confined to guitars, to tubes, to turntables, to microchips. There is no right way, no pure way, of doing it. There’s just doing it.

We live in a post–authentic world. And today authenticity is a house of mirrors. It’s all just what you’re bringing when the lights go down. It’s your teachers, your influences, your personal history; and at the end of the day, it’s the power and purpose of your music that still matters.”

— Bruce Springsteen

There’s so much to take away from his speech besides what I quoted above, and so many tangential discussions to branch out to; but it’s the most illuminating.

Power and purpose. The criteria to what any artist should be measured by. To have a purpose for your every creation and summoning all you have and know to amplify it so that everyone would be able to get your message. Bring it and own it. Every. Single. Time.

My thanks to Mike Mirasol for sending me this video link.


  1. I may have gotten this setup wrong. My point remains the same though. ↩︎

On Queue – July 24, 2017

Hi everyone, this weeks edition of Alt-Music Mondays features new tracks from HAIM’s latest album, another new track from Arcade fire that has been on my mind the past week because of that ABBA-esque synth, as well as Mogwai and St. Vincent. If you have Anchor you can listen to previews of the tracks, but you can also listen to the playlist over in Spotify and Apple Music by clicking on the links in ferlinhicarte.com/music. Enjoy.

  • HAIM – Want You Back
  • Arcade Fire – Everything Now
  • Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
  • The War on Drugs – Holding On
  • Beach House – Equal Mind
  • Manchester Orchestra – The Moth
  • St. Vincent – New York
  • Mogwai – Party in the Dark

Anchor: https://anchor.fm/ferlin

Spotify: AltMusicMondays

Apple Music: Alt-Music Mondays

Writing Direction

I’ve had this website for a while and it used to be just my work portfolio. Last year I had decided to rebuild it from the ground up and make it into something more, hoping to focus on the things that I’m passionate about, which are mainly:

  • Music
  • Design and Art
  • Gadgets
  • Minimalistic living

Minimalism

Minimalism has been the focal point of my efforts last year. I have sorted through my things and discarded those that I deemed I no longer need. I have also taken a look at how I have run my day to day tasks, with the goal on focusing more on the things that make me happy or gives my life more meaning. I believe there is a lot to share here and I’ll be writing more about them moving forward.

This will be the underlying theme of the articles I will be writing. Focusing on the important stuff and discarding the rest. Living with intention and finding meaning.

Gadget Reviews

Using what I have learned about minimalist living is a great way to review stuff actually. I have whittled down most of what I own to the most important, and I can use that to compare with any potential replacement or any product I would review.

The other thing I would be doing is to make sure I thoroughly review everything and part of that is to be able to keep them far longer than one week, a month at least. This is why the title for my series will be “Well Used”.

Music

My close friends know how much I love music, Alternative music largely. But I also have opinions regarding musicians and the local music industry in particular. Though I may on occasion write about those opinions, I will be focusing mostly on sharing new music or artists in my posts. I have already started that with my OnQueue posts in Twitter and Facebook, as well as having creating a channel in Anchor, but I admit as of the time of this writing I don’t have a concrete communication strategy yet, but I have ideas already so I guess stay tuned.

Design

For something that I’ve studied for this is the most challenging to write for. There are exhaustive articles to read and blogs to follow, but I was thinking on sharing articles and writings posts that would help a layman develop an appreciation for it. This will cover user experience and visual design mainly, but I won’t ever let myself be limited to it. To

Photography

I only have two cameras, a Canon PowerShot G12 and the camera on my LG G4. I rarely use the G12 anymore, as the LG G4 is less cumbersome to bring (as it is my main phone) and goes with the minimalist lifestyle as a very capable convergence device. That said, I have been using it to do mobile photography and you’ll see that every so often in my posts.

Summary

So what do I aim for this new direction? I am aiming to inspire at least one person to have a new appreciation of things and be enabled to think critically. I can be that person actually, but I am hoping it would be able to inspire other people to try new things and develop an appreciation on whatever they have decided to try; whether it be listening to a new genre or artist, putting more thought into their next purchase, or finding out the artist’s intention for their work.

With that said, I’m going to go write some.

On Queue: Alt-Music Mondays

Hello everyone and welcome to Alt-Music Mondays where I send out new alternative music to listen to all week.

  • Alt-J — In Cold Blood
  • Arcade Fire — Creature Comfort
  • Kane Strang — My Smile is Extinct
  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever — French Press
  • Eyedress — Manila Ice
  • Grizzly Bear — Four Cypresses
  • Grace Lightman — Fangs

The playlist is available at both Apple Music (@fhicarte > Alt-Music Mondays) and Spotify (AltMusicMondays) public playlists. Have a great week ahead!

New year, new life eh?

Ok, I am subscribing to this “new year, new” me bandwagon. I will once again try to be healthier and better at what I do, which hopefully makes me a little wealthier and ultimately helps to making me happier, which is the end goal.

I read in an article recently that the reason why a lot of people fail in reaching their goals is due to the fact that they’re trying to do too much too soon. I’ve looked at the goals I’ve set for myself and yeah, I have to agree. Which is why I will have to choose around three to five big goals to work on this year. I also won’t rush into it. I will just need to be consistent about it.

So for 2017, the goals would be the following:

  • Be healthier by losing weight and eating better, with some exercise
  • Venture into something new at work this year
  • Have a minimalist lifestyle
  • Learn a new craft

Now to increase the chances for success, I need to make myself accountable to somebody. For work, it’s my boss; for losing weight and having to live minimally it’s probably going to be my girlfriend; for the new craft it’s definitely my teacher.

As for existing duties and responsibilities, I will need to make sure I cover them throughout the year, but I would need ways to better manage them. I would need to have a more efficient means of keeping track of everything. Notebooks and planners are out of the question because I often don’t bother going back to previous entries and looking through my notes. I find that they’re better suited to help me remember as I write them. Electronic is the way to go. Yeah, time to find software again (which could be another article to write about).

So I seem to be set for the year. I wish myself good luck.