North St. Bags Flanders Backpack and Davis Daypack :: Drive By

North St. Bags, handmade out of Portland Oregon, added two new rolltops to their line this spring: the Davis 20L and the Flanders 32L. Both bags utilize a VX-21 X-Pack drop liner for increased weather resistance and everyone’s favorite burly 1000D Cordura brand nylon on the outside for longevity and general PNW grit.

While the Flanders has a handful more features than the Davis, it’s easiest to think of them as big brother little brother. Same silhouette, same build, materials, access, etc.

I’ve been all over the last three months and have used the Flanders as my daily carry for chores, hotel stays, and as my personal bag on a road trip across the country to my new home in RVA. These bags are built to last and are up for whatever, so let’s get into it.

North St. Bags

Who It Suits

City slickers and urban commuters, the styling and materials are right at home in your concrete jungle.

Who It Doesn’t

Boardroom champions, these are dialed for urban play and lack the shirt and collar cred necessary for your office meetings. Outdoorsy folks, the VX-21 and 1000D Cordura are certainly up for the task, but I found they lacked the features and comfort for all-day outdoor use. Add on the optional hip belts if you plan on logging dirt time with the packs.

Flanders

The Good

Build and Materials:

North St. used some choice materials for these packs. VX-21 is frequently used as an outer fabric, so when North St. decided to use it as a liner under 1000D Cordura–well the term overkill comes to mind. The result is a bag that holds its silhouette even with a half load. I turned a few heads the first time I took the Flanders out to play, and a couple of self-proclaimed bag geeks stopped me for some info on North St.—jazzy.

North St. Bags Flanders

I did not find any issues with the fit and finish, and I literally turned the bag inside out looking for one.

Organizational Options:

North St. Bags Flanders

As is, the Flanders has two front face envelope pockets measuring *6”x9” and 7”x8” with 10mm PU-coated coil zips from Lenzip. I found those to be enough for my daily odds and ends. If I needed additional organization, I just dropped a DAKA in the main compartment. If you think you’ll need more than two pockets, North St. offers a handful of organization pouches that you can hang from the internal hook and loop panels. Cable management? EDC items? North St. has a pouch for that. The built-in laptop sleeve on the Flanders also has a discreet little document envelope sewn in to keep your corners crisp.

*All measurements are close approximations to give readers an idea of space and loading potential.

North St. Bags Flanders


“VX-21 is frequently used as an outer fabric, so when North St. decided to use it as a liner under 1000D Cordura–well the term overkill comes to mind.”


North St. Bags Flanders

North St. Bags Flanders

Attention to Detail:

The slider on the main strap is smooth! Little details like this keep the pack looking sharp and prevent any excess webbing from slowing you down. Additional sliders on the compression straps achieve the same thing and keep your pack streamlined and dangle-free.

North St. Bags Flanders

North St. Bags Flanders

North St. went as far as to add D-rings on the end of the shoulder straps to make tension adjustments easier. Even the carry handle is sewn off in a way that doesn’t expose raw edges and feels plush and comfortable.

North St. Bags Flanders

Access & Compression:

North St. Bags Flanders

Rolltops in larger volume bags can be a bummer if there’s no additional main compartment access. In a 32L day bag, it’s a non-issue. What’s more, with the VX cloth liner, the Flanders is nearly waterproof. I’m throwing the compression system in here because with the addition of the single rolltop strap, you’ve got five additional attachment points for tripods, blankets, jackets, whatever. I appreciate that external real estate because it provides a little more lateral creativity in what you can carry and how you can carry it.

North St. Bags Flanders

The Not So Good

The weakest part of the Flanders is its suspension. It’s not bad by any means, but in the spirit of a good review, I’m going to make two suggestions for improvement.

While carrying a laptop, I noticed a good increase in pressure on my lower back. I think doubling up on the padding on the lumbar panel would make a big improvement. Since we can’t adjust the torso length on the pack, the only adjustment we can make is to the shoulder straps themselves. At 6’1’’, when I dial in the fit on the shoulder straps my laptop corners put pressure squarely on my kidneys. Not a deal breaker, but I either have to ride the pack a little lower than I want, or just deal with the pressure. I experienced similar discomfort hauling groceries. I think adding a light framesheet or increasing lower lumbar padding would be an amazing upgrade to an already solid pack.

North St. Bags Flanders

The other weak spot is the shoulder straps, which again could benefit from just one more layer of padding. The width and shape work just fine, but when stuffing the 32L main compartment full of weekend grilling essentials, the bag tends to lean back a bit. This is more a fit issue, but assuming North St. isn’t going to offer more than one torso length, a little extra cushioning in high-pressure areas would be a welcome modification in future models.


“The weakest part of the Flanders is its suspension.”


North St. Bags Flanders

Davis

North St. Bags Davis

The Good

The Davis is a perfect example of less is more. North St. is using some really topnotch fabrics and letting a simple design speak for itself. One 7”x8” envelope pocket on the front face for your phone/keys/wallet and you’re out the door.


“The Davis is a perfect example of less is more. North St. is using some really topnotch fabrics and letting a simple design speak for itself.”


North St. Bags Davis

Usable volume on the pack is great. It’s a 20L sack with endless possibilities for you to fill it. There’s no compression to clutter the aesthetics, and at only 4.5″ deep, I really don’t think the bag needs it.

The Not So Good

North St. Bags Davis

The Davis is a scaled-down version of the Flanders in every way. That unfortunately translated to a very minimal pair of shoulder straps. Since it’s a small pack, you won’t be hauling huge loads across town, but in my opinion they’re the biggest opportunity for improvement.


“The Davis is a scaled-down version of the Flanders in every way. That unfortunately translated to a very minimal pair of shoulder straps.”


North St. Bags Davis

I’d also like to see a light framesheet or a laptop sleeve to provide just a little more rigidity to the back panel. For the customer looking for those features, North St. offers the Flanders of course, which includes all those things the Davis drops.

Nitpicking

I could make a case against the drop liners, but they didn’t prove awkward enough for me to get up in arms about them. In future iterations, I’d like to see the VX panels sewn in to clean up the interior a bit. If you wanted to wipe the main compartment, you could just as easily pull the drop liner out as turn the bag inside out. That’s just my personal preference.

North St. Bags

 North St. Bags

Alternatives to Consider

I think with the materials and the end user in mind, Chrome bags are an obvious comparison. YNOT, out of Toronto, is doing some similar stuff as well.

Verdict

I like the Flanders. It found its way into rotation for me pretty quickly. It checks all my boxes for organization, volume and access, and comfort and style. I really dig VX fabric; the rolltop and compression straps give me enough flexibility to head out with a half load and grab some groceries on the way back. It’s a solid all-rounder.

The Davis is a great kicker pack. I’m 6’1’’ 180 lbs and it’s a bit small for me. As a daypack for urban exploration, it might fit the bill on shorter outings, but I’d rather compress 32 liters to 20 liters than be limited by the Davis’s volume. The shoulder straps are much less substantial and there’s no laptop sleeve sewn in, so it carries much less forgivingly as well. I still wouldn’t hesitate to grab it for beach trips and weekend excursions to local parks.

North St. Bags Davis

North St. Bags Davis

For me, the Flanders is a no-brainer between the two—the increased price is easily justified for the additional features and versatility.

The Breakdown:

Davis

Flanders

Geek (Performance)
Space & Access: 6 7
Organization: 5 6
Comfort: 6 7
Style (Design)
Look & Feel: 8 8
Build, Materials, & Hardware: 8 8
Features: 6 7
Stoke (Experience)
Warranty & Support: 8 8
Brand Experience: 9 9
Value: 6 7
X-Factor: 8 8

Carryology Score:                                                    7                                             7.5

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Smart Baseball

Smart baseball

One of my most recent books I picked up was a new one called Smart Baseball. I found the look at the “new era” of baseball stats to be very interesting.

Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.

For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players’ and teams’ potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the “old” way—a combination of outdated numbers and “gut” instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run bypeople, not by numbers.

I’m a middle of the pack guy when it comes to the new metrics way. I see the value in it, but I also see value in things that can’t be measured. Moneyball brought the new way of thinking into mainstream. Smart Baseball is about bringing it to real life application.

You can buy it on Amazon in hardcover for $16.69 or on Kindle for $12.99. If you use iBooks, it’s also $12.99.

Buy Now

Source: http://toolsandtoys.net

Kuma 8″ Chef Knife

Kuma 8″ Chef Knife

Let me preface this post by saying that the chef’s knife I’ve been using and loving for the past several months is this one by Misen — more info here — and I intend to write a review of it at some point, but it’s currently on a wait list (as of Aug 22nd, 2017).

In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a chef’s knife but your budget’s a bit on the lower side, I recommend checking out the Kuma Chef Knife. For less than $30 — sometimes less than $20, depending on when you buy — you get a no-frills, decently sharp knife that feels comfortable in your hand, all without breaking the bank.

There’s a kitchen knife aficionado named Ryky Tran who runs the “Burrfection” YouTube channel, and he happens to have a few videos featuring the Kuma knife, the first of which notes the similarity in profile to a $340 knife:

VIDEO

Get the Kuma Chef Knife for $26 on Amazon.


Want more recommendations? Check out our “Kitchen Knives” guide.

Buy Now

You May Also Like

Source: http://toolsandtoys.net

‘Beasts of Balance’ Game

beasts-of-balance-game

Beasts of Balance is a digital + tabletop game that combines dexterity and strategy. You stack creatures and artifacts (which they spell “Artefacts”) into Jenga-style towers, and everything added to your tower appears in (and interacts with) the world shown in the accompanying iOS or Android app. Be careful though: If the tower falls, the in-app volcano erupts, ending the game.

Watch the trailer:

They just successfully funded a “battles” expansion on Kickstarter, so now’s a better time than ever to check the game out. You can get it for $100 on Amazon.

Buy Now

Source: http://toolsandtoys.net

Timing — the Automatic Mac Time Tracking App (Sponsor)

timing-hero

Time is your most precious resource. You need to know how you are spending it.
But time tracking sucks. Big Time. (Pun intended.)

The brand new Timing fixes that.
It automatically tracks which apps, documents and websites you use — without start/stop timers.
See how you spend your time, eliminate distracting activities, and improve your client billing.
Timing lets you stop worrying about time and focus on doing your best work instead!
Mind you, this data is super sensitive, so Timing keeps it safe on your Mac.

Download the free 14-day trial today and get 10% off!

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Our thanks to Timing for sponsoring the site this week.

Free Trial

Source: http://toolsandtoys.net

VIA ALICE: A CROSS-CULTURAL CINEMATIC VR EXPERIENCE


VIA ALICE: A CROSS-CULTURAL CINEMATIC VR EXPERIENCE

WORLD PREMIERE AUG 31-SEP 3 @ RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY (RBMA) WEEKENDER, SYDNEY

Check out more 360 Degree Movie and Documentary Experiences

VIA Alice follows feature American artist, producer and dancer Khalif Diouf (Le1f) alongside Indigenous Australian dancer, choreographer Waangenga Blanco, as they take us on a surreal, immersive, and insightful journey into the vast Australian outback, Alice Springs, and onward into the upper northern reaches of the Cape York Peninsula.

Born in Manhattan, New York, Khalif studied ballet and modern dance, attended the Concord Academy, and earned his degree in Choreography from Wesleyan University before returning to the city to begin his rap career.

Arriving on Australian soil sees Khalif team with the charismatic Waangenga Blanco, a descendant of the Mer Island people and of the pajinka Wik, Cape York. Waangenga studied at the NAISDA Dance College, and is a lead male dancer of the widely acclaimed Bangarra Dance Theatre, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation, and on of Australia’s leading performing arts companies.

Armed with their incredibly diverse backgrounds in dance and performance, knowledge passed down from community elders, and their own unique methods of storytelling, Khalif & Waangenga will take us, the viewer, on a desert journey to deliver an alternate insight into land and culture, whilst ultimately, through artistic collaboration, finding the meeting points between storytelling & dance.

VIA is a collaboration between Pete Keen (multidisciplinary artist, creative director, founder of Melbourneʼs Sugar Mountain festival), Daniel Stricker (head of Siberia Records, producer, and founding member of Midnight Juggernauts) and is produced in collaboration with virtual reality (VR) production company Virtual Guest and Brandon D’Silva (Founder & Executive Producer).

Supported by Samsung, VIA Alice Premiere’s at Carriageworks, Sydney as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Weekender from August 31 til September 3 – with multiple sessions occurring daily as a free Virtual Reality Experience, and a ticketed option that includes an exclusive live performance.

For more info and tickets to the Premiere visit http://ift.tt/2v1riOQ.

 

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VR Game Studio nDreams Announces Shooty Fruity & Currently Hiring

nDreams Are Now Accepting Job Applicants for Position of Shooty Fruity Cashier on PlayStation@VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift from Late 2017.

nDreams, the UK’s leading publisher and developer of VR content, will begin in late 2017 accepting job applications for the position of multi-tasking Shooty Fruity Cashier at Super Megamart, our Americana themed grocery stores. Super Megamart is known for its low prices, helpful staff members, and some of the most interesting fruit you will ever see, we are 100% sure of that. We?re currently accepting applications at our PlayStation?VR, HTC Vive or Oculus Rift locations.?

 

 

Skills Wanted

  • Job to commence late 2017; exact date is to be announced soon.
  • Start your career at the cash register.
  • Display a strong desire to impress and quickly rise-up the ranks.
  • Must quickly and efficiently scan grocery items, making sure not to miss any.
  • Munitions and military experience or a willingness to blast any moving object that might seem a little out of place is preferred.?
  • Ability to multi-task and stay calm under pressure.
  • Not afraid to get a little dirty or get a little pulp on your face.
  • Be willing to work through many different scenarios and challenges while fending off?um?we can discuss this during interview.
  • Previous job simulation or virtual reality shooting experience is desirable.
  • Executive duties, provide service with a smile?and a shotgun.

*****Shooty Fruity Cashiers must face hordes of mutant killer fruit. New hires must be willing to perform all job duties to perfection while executing mutant fruit with extreme prejudice. 100% genetically mutant fruit can cause harm and/or loss of life. Military grade and fully customisable arsenal of fruit-killing guns and berry-bursting explosives including revolvers, shotguns and bomb launchers, as well as ridiculous pulverising power-ups are tools new hires will be expected to use at their will.

About nDreams

nDreams was formed in 2006 by former Codemasters and Eidos Creative Director, Patrick O’Luanaigh (Tomb Raider: Legend, Hitman: Blood Money, Conflict: Desert Storm, Micro Machines V3) with a focus on virtual worlds. Since 2013, the company has exclusively dedicated its talents to developing remarkable virtual reality games and experiences. The studio has already worked on multiple successful VR titles ? including SkyDIEving, Gunner, Perfect Beach, Danger Goat, Perfect and the award winning The Assembly ? and continues to develop multiple unannounced projects.

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World VR forum @SXSW | Vote for the Panel

world vr forum

World VR forum @SXSW | Vote for the Panel

Check out VR/AR/360 International Conference & Expo Event Calendar

The SXSW Conference features a variety of programming tracks for attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of entertainment, culture, and technology while providing an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, learn and network.  Now, you can vote for panel on this page.

The SXSW community (that’s you by following the 5 easy steps below) is able to browse proposals, leave comments, and vote to help shape the March event. The World VR Forum is promoting, questioning and debating: HOW WILL VIRTUAL REALITY CHANGE EDUCATION? Is technology addictive? Is it a game changer? How do we use it as a tool of education, not as a substitute? 

5 EASY STEPS – 60 Seconds of your time 

1. Press the red button!
2. Sign in or create an account
3. Vote up on top left 
4. Share on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin
5. Encourage other friends and family to do the same !

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HTC Vive Reduces Price By $200, Making The Best Virtual Reality System More Accessible To The Mass Market

htc vive

HTC Vive Reduces Price By $200, Making The Best Virtual Reality System More Accessible To The Mass Market

HTC Vive™ today announced a $200 price reduction for Vive, making the best VR system more accessible to the mass market, across the globe. Starting today, Vive will be available for $599. All Vive purchases come with a free trial to Viveport Subscription, where consumers can choose up to 5 titles per month to experience, and copies of many of the most popular pieces of VR content today, including Google’s Tilt Brush, Everest VR, and Richie’s Plank Experience.

“Our goal at Vive has always been to offer the best and most advanced VR system and drive mass market adoption for VR across the globe,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman, HTC. “We’re continuing to deliver on that commitment with this new price for Vive, making VR more accessible to a broader audience and driving the entire VR industry forward. Vive’s game-changing technology, best-in-class content and unmatched global partners are fulfilling the promise of VR like never before. With highly anticipated titles, and the upcoming launch of Vive Tracker, there has never been a better time to embrace Vive, and enjoy the most immersive VR experience available.” 

A winner of hundreds of technology and industry awards across the globe, Vive is the only product that offers room-scale VR out of a single box, and this version of Vive will be the unit in market for the foreseeable future. The base Vive package comes with everything you need for a quick room-scale VR set-up: two base stations for accurate tracking, two motion controllers for immersive VR experiences and new and improved connection cables and new materials that offer a lighter weight on the Vive headset.

According to a recent report from UBM, more developers are building experiences for Vive than ever before, and Vive was chosen as developers’ top target when creating content.  With more than 3,600 titles available across Steam and Viveport and with new AAA content arriving soon, Vive will continue to be the platform of choice for developers and consumers alike. In addition, Viveport Subscription allows consumers to choose from over 250 pieces of content from a highly-curated offering, giving consumers another opportunity to discover the best VR content available.

According to Steam statistics, HTC Vive maintains a 60% share of access to the Steam platform for high-end VR headsets.  Over the past year, Vive has maintained its lead by more than 20%.

“We’ve rapidly diversified the Vive business so that when customers and businesses purchase Vive, they know they’ll benefit from a wide base of support for years to come,” said Dan O’Brien, GM US, HTC Vive. “From constant improvements to the core Vive hardware to the industry’s first VR subscription service, to investments in new technology for developers, Vive is at the forefront of the push to take VR to the mainstream.”

About HTC VIVE

VIVE is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality platform, built an optimized for room-scale VR and true-to-life interactions.  Built on the SteamVR platform, Vive delivers on the promise of VR with game-changing technology and best-in-class content. Vive has created the strongest ecosystem for VR hardware and software, bringing VR to consumers, developers and enterprises alike. The Vive ecosystem is built around the best VR hardware in market, supported by Vive X, a $100 million accelerator for VR and related technology start-ups, Viveport, a global platform and app store for VR that operates in more than 30 countries, and Vive Studios, its VR content development and publishing initiative. For more information on Vive, please visit https://www.vive.com.

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