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Review: Highway 21 Turbine Mesh Motorcycle Jacket

John Federico

This is most definitely a budget jacket that I’m reluctant to say, I bought for its style. Riding in the heat of Austin, Texas requires a mesh jacket and compared to most others, the design is simple and classic with only the single leather vertical strip. Branding is minimal. 

The initial description indicates “CE Protection” but I bought it knowing full well that it would require an armor upgrade. The red flags are right in the description.

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Heritage Motorcycle Luggage Project

John Federico

I'm a fan of Cafe Racer styling and design principles for my Triumph Bonneville.

That means: simplicity, reduced weight, and "period" styling".

With that in mind, I was loathe to add any kind of luggage to my motorcycle - if I needed to transport anything, I would wear a backpack or try to fit it in a cargo net on the back of my seat. When I would ride with friends for the day, I'd sometimes bring a small tank bag to hold water, an external battery pack and cable for my iPhone, and some snacks. That worked fine for the first couple of years.

Now that I live in Austin, Texas, I ride my bike all year long and as often as I can. At times, I find myself in a weird position: I want to bring an item with me, like a notebook, but don't want to throw on a bulky, sweat-inducing backpack for something that weighs just a few ounces, but is too big to fit in my inside jacket pocket. (Yes, I'm OCD. Why do you ask?) ;)

So, I considered [panniers][1]. One would suffice, as I could always supplement my total carrying capacity with a backpack if I found myself in a position where I had a bunch of stuff to carry but didn't want to drive my car.

I started combing the interwebs, looking for a pannier that had sufficient storage for my MacBook Pro, notebook and maybe some clothing layers for long riding days when the temperature might swing widely or gets wet.

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We've Reached "Peak Messaging"

John Federico

As the quintessential early adopter and a propoent of creative disruption, I never thought I’d find myself saying this: when it comes to messaging, I’m old school.

Sure, email has it’s problems, but it works. The same goes for SMS. Both are ubiquitous - it doesn’t matter what mail client you have or what phone you use, it just works. For everyone.

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Loopback from Rogue Amoeba

John Federico

I've wanted to go "all-usb" with my podcast setup for years but was always held back by the fact that there was no such thing as a "software channel strip" that would work with applications like Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom.

At one point, I went so far as to hack one together using a combination ofSoundflower (with Soundflower Bed) and GarageBand.

Soundflower is the audio routing software while Soundflower Bed is the configuration tool.

It worked, but the CPU on my 11-inch MacBook Air would max out, making the video capture almost unusable.

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A few weeks with Coin

John Federico

As one of the original backers of Coin, I had completely given up on it. 

I figured it was an experiment in crowdfunding, one where I was the butt of the joke.

Imagine my surprise when, after almost two years, I received an email asking me to confirm the shipping address for my Coin. ("Wow. Is it *really* going to ship this time?")

A week later, I was finally holding the impressively engineered device in my hand.

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Twelve South BookBook Wallet Case for iPhone 6 Plus

John Federico

A number of years ago, I decided to simplify the number of items I carried day-to-day and consolidated my wallet and iPhone protection into a single case. (You can find some unique handmade items on Etsy.)

To date, I used a sleeve case with pockets on the outside for credit cards, ID, etc. This is primarily because I always preferred a "naked" iPhone instead of one that's in a case all the time. I've always liked the way the phone felt in my hand but also, a phone without a case is easier to fit into the mounts I typically have in my car.

All that changed when I purchased the iPhone 6 Plus.

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Double-Duty Dongles

John Federico

Chances are that if you have a MacBook Air, you have dongles.

You know, things like USB sticks, ethernet adapters, video cables for external displays and, thanks to it's two lonely USB ports, probably a USB hub. Or two.

I got fed up with carrying my Bag O'Dongles and in the process of looking for yet-another-dongle, stumbled onto a whole category of products to help with this first world problem.

The saga continues.

This past weekend I was prepping for a big pitch and was going through my gear bag to make sure I had everything I needed, which typically includes no less than three video display adapters: HDMI, DVI and (believe it or not), VGA. You'd be surprised how many times I show up to give a presentation and the only available input is VGA.

Again, I was fed up with carrying all this crap, so I jumped on Amazon. Behold, my newest find: a combination Thunderbolt to HDMI, DVI and Display Port adapter. For less than $20 bucks, too. ($17.99 at the time of this post.)

Sure, I still have to carry a VGA adapter, but now I can leave my DVI and HDMI dongles at home and simply carry this one replacement.

I'm a happy geek.

Persistence

John Federico

"Don't bother about genius. Don't worry about being clever. Trust to hard work, perseverance and determination."

-- Sir Frederick Treves