The Refreshing May Bespoke Post Has Arrived

I’ve been a member of Birchbox for quite some time now. For $20 a month they ship to my doorstep a box full of products marketed to men. Generally speaking I get one physical product (sunglasses, tie, socks, whiskey stones, leather coasters) that meet or exceed the cost of the entire box. Along with that you might get one full-sized health or beauty product followed by sample sizes of three to five more products.

All in all it’s a decent deal, especially if you’re looking to discover new products. These shipments typically come in at a $30-60 value. However, recently I discovered a heavyweight contender in this space by the name of Bespoke Post. At $45 a month it costs more than twice the price of Birchbox but is it worth it? Why yes it is.

The May Bespoke Post Refresh shipment is a stuffed bag of swag!

My first shipment came today and boy was I surprised. Where Birchbox gave me sample sized items, Bespoke Post had full size and travel size items. On top of the fact that the items were so plentiful and large, the bag they came in was worth the cost. The entire box was worth the price of two three nearly four shipments! Let’s break this down. Continue reading

WeWork SoHo West in New York City

Back in April I spent a week in New York City to hang out with scores of people in town from all over the world for an event called Keith and the Girl Week, aka KATG Week. People flew in from as far away as Australia and China to watch a week of comedy shows and enjoy after parties.

From around six at night, every night, I was in Dumbo Queens for the festivities and normally until around three in the morning. But by day I was busy getting my normal day-to-day work done. How I was able to get on with only a few hours of sleep a night for a week I don’t know. How I was able to get any work done, however, is well known to me. WeWork.

I work out of WeWork Labs in San Francisco and love the community, features and just about everything else about the office. So when I know I was going to be in New York City for a while, the city that birthed WeWork, I knew I’d have to see what’s up. I asked Anna, a community advisor at my WeWork, if this would be possible. After exchanging email with a few WeWorkers in New York I was put into contact with Adam & Ben. Adam encouraged me to check out their WeWork SoHo West location.

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FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amplifier Review

I sure did take my time getting to this review. My apologies. Nevertheless, here we go. A review of the FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amplifier, $28 on Amazon.com and worth every penny if you have larger headphones or want to squeeze a little more sound quality out of your devices. You’re using an iDevice with a 30-pin dock, add on the FiiO line out dock adapter for just $7-10 more.

Apple Nano with FiiO E6 Amplifier

Right now you might be asking, “Justin, why would I buy the a headphone amplifier and line out dock connector?” Basically, everything sounds a little bit better and a lot louder and the benefits can be heard with even cheaper headphones. Here’s why.

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Leap Motion + Fleksy is Genius Typing in the Air

A post showed up on Engadget this morning that caught my eye.

Laser projected virtual keyboardsSo 2004. These days, tech firms are dreaming up completely invisible typewriters, or at least Syntellia is. By marrying a Leap Motion sensor with its own Fleksy predictive keyboard, the company has created a system that seems to let you type on thin air

Yet another crazy-cool thing coming out of SXSW this year. You might say I predicted this. Last week I wrote posts about each of these companies and how I was excited about the work they are doing. I ended my Leap Motion post remarking on the promising future the miniscule device has. I suggested it could read sign language and allow people with arthritis to control computers without the joint pain, to control of a television without a remote.

Then, in my Fleksy post I suggested ways Fleksy could make the move out of touchscreen devices and incorporated into computers. I wrote specifically how it could be used to speed up typing and allow a dramatic increase in accuracy.

But what I neglected to put together was what would happen if Fleksy worked with Leap Motion. Well, turns out they were already thinking about this and have announced Fleksy integration with Leap Motion, and it’s pretty brilliant. Imagine controlling your AppleTV with the Leap Motion, swiping in the air through videos and songs. When it came time to do a search in the Netflix app, you’d have the ability to simply type in the air using Fleksy integration instead of the traditional, and painfully slow, method of input with the AppleTV onscreen keyboard.

I’m not sure if I’m a genius for thinking abstractly of these two ideas or dense for not thinking of combining the two. Either way I’m even more looking forward to the delivery of my Leap Motion. Apple being the silo that it is, we might have to work with some XMBC hackers to get the above integration working but it would be worth it.

ZAGGkeys PROplus iPad Keyboard Case Review

Last year I reviewed another iPad keyboard case from ZAGG. I loved the case but felt it was a bit too thick and heavy especially when compared to the space the iPad took up on it’s own. Ultimately though I grew to find it an indispensable accessory for my iPad. So did many people I encountered on my flights and at coffee shops. Since then ZAGG has released several other iPad keyboards but it’s the $129 ZAGGkeys PROplus (let’s be honest, that name is a mouthful) that I’m writing about today.

For the most part an iPad keyboard is an iPad keyboard. The differences, generally speaking are just a handful of variables.

  1. Bluetooth vs dock connector
  2. Size of the keyboard
  3. Chicklet keys vs rubber keys
  4. Case vs stand vs portfolio case standalone

This keyboard connects via bluetooth, is just smaller than a full-sized Apple keyboard, has chicklet keys and works as a stand for your iPad, as well as a case. What differentiates this keyboard from almost all other keyboards is the feature made popular by Apple’s MacBook Pro. This keyboard lights up! Before we get to that, let’s cover the basics. Continue reading

Why I Joined WeWork, hat tip to Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer made news last week when she proclaimed that all employees working from home would soon be called back and forced to work from their Yahoo-provided offices to boost productivity. Sort of.

Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together… Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices. Read more

When Ryan and I lived in Missouri we had this thing completely alien to San Francisco. It’s called “space”. There I converted one of the bedrooms into my office with large L-shaped desk, four monitors, a professional quality printing and scanning rack in the closet with a couch for relaxing and 30 gallon aquarium. It was magnificent and I was magnificently productive. But in San Francisco that 160 square foot office became a 60 square foot space in our bedroom. Our opposite sleep schedules meant Ryan would be sleeping when I needed to use my office.

I eventually moved upstairs and into the kitchen. I’d gone from two computers and four screens to just one computer and its 15-inch screen. On a plus side, I had two magnums of champagne to prop up my Skype call lights (shout out to J Vineyards and Winery). Other times I’d work from coffee shops but that meant I had to totally pack up if I needed a refill, wanted lunch or needed to use the restroom. And don’t even get me started on the state of public wifi and power outlets.

After dealing with the issues I found working from home and subsequent decrease in productivity, I decided I had to make a change. So I went on a search for a co-working space. After checking out PARISOMA, NextSpace and The Hatchery, among others, I settled on WeWork.

Thus far I couldn’t be happier about my decision to go back into the office and work with the other awesome people at WeWork. Productivity is up and I’m actually excited about going to work. Perhaps Marissa Mayer really is onto something! Continue reading

Kuzy Hard Shell Case for MacBook Pro with Retina Display

The moment my MacBook Pro with Retina Display (rMBP) was purchased I hit the web searching for an appropriate case to protect my new purchase. Unfortunately the usual suspects, Speck and Incase, didn’t have a shell case available.

In a way this made sense. The design of the rMBP is unique, ridiculously thin and difficult to design a case around. I was told this much from an Incase representative. I got my rMBP in August and by December there still was no case from Incase. Speck had a case out but it was $50 and my previous experience with Speck laptop cases was not great. My previous MacBook Pro had a Speck shell on it but I swore them off after replacing it twice due to defective construction.

Kuzy – Rubberized Hard Case Cover for Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ with Retina Display

Exhausted of waiting for Incase to come out with a solution I opted to make a radical choice. Instead of buying the brand I knew and trusted, I bought a brand I had never heard of. Basing my purchase on the hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon, I bought the Kuzy hardshell case.

The Kuzy case is half the price of the $50 Speck case (which has mixed reviews at best and is currently not being sold by Amazon directly until issues with the case breaking are fixed) and $35 cheaper than the shell Incase eventually came out with. When the Kuzy case arrived, with its minimal packaging and straight from China paperwork, I was a bit skeptical. Never-the-less I proceeded to put the case on my precious MacBook Pro. Continue reading