Archive | June, 2013

The man-pack

24 Jun

We all need a bag yo pack our stuff. Going to the office, packing for a week-end trip, … This bag will make you don’t forget the essential and that it will always be easily reachable.

Let’s discuss with Aaron Tweedie, the inventor/designer of the Man-Pack.

What’s your professional background and how did you come up with the idea of the man-pack ?
I went straight into the military after high school, I was in Fort Benning Georgia at 17 years old and stationed in a reserve unit. After getting back home, I had my first sales job at 19. I was a car salesman. I sold Dodge and Volvo. I did very well. So much that I built a house. Then another, and decided to go to college. I put myself through college through building and land speculation.

20130624-224225.jpgAfter college I obtained a contractor license and real estate license. I did construction and real estate until I came up with the idea of the Man-Pack.

A cabinet salesman left me a small promotional bag from their company. I started using it and found it useful to carry a bag. After I broke a few of these (I kept going back to get more) I started shopping around for something more durable and designed to my preference. I couldn’t find anything that was masculine, durable, utilitarian and affordable. I realized there was an unmet need in the marketplace for the average guy like me. So I decided to design my own.

From a idea to a real product, it take time and skills, talk to us about the team behind the Man-Pack ?
The team started with just me. I drew the designs by hand with pencil and eraser, and there was a lot of erasing before I got the design right. At first, it was hard to get people on board, but the more I refined my idea, and turned it into something concrete. The easier it was for people to see the potential. Not everyone has vision and imagination. I had to turn my vision and imagination into something that was tangible to get people to work with me. The company still consist primarily of me, but as I’ve come along, others have signed on and have become part of the Man-Pack team to include a design and prototyping company in Deleware, USA, a patent attorney, an exporter, and a factory. They are all part of the team because they are all part of the process, and we have a pretty good team. I’m even getting calls and emails from people interested in becoming part of the team since I started the kickstarter campaign.

What’s the man-pack ? What are are its key characteristics ?
The Man-Pack is a sling style vertical messenger bag designed with style and utility. It can be worn three different ways and has a bunch of great features to organize the modern male. It’s designed too fit standard 8”x11” notebooks and files, Ipads kindles and tablet sized PCs. There are also multiple interior and exterior pockets for things like your cell phone, wallet, pocket knives, really anything that a guy carries. There is even a collapsible beverage pocket. The strap is designed to be ergonomic. The weight stays over your lower back, and the strap is a full 3 inches wide to dispense the contact area. These features make the weight hang vertically over your spine and the width of the strap keeps it from cutting into your neck even when the bag is fully weighted. The new Man-Pack Classic 2.0 has additional and enhanced features including:

. A cell phone pocket that measures 3”x5” so it will even fit the google galaxy phone.

. Molle webbing on the strap to secure carabiners, tactical gear, or a pair of sunglasses.

. A new interior pocket layout with larger and repositioned pockets for better accessability.

. An oversized exterior pocket.

. And more discrete branding.
I designed the Man-Pack Classic to be just that… Classic. It has a retro 1930’s-1940’s era look with a 21st century design and features. I really like that Era. The way people dressed, the way they interacted, and the incredible spirit exemplified around the world during that era.

Who is the man-pack made for ? Who is your target ?adults, teenagers, suits and ties going to the office, … Surfers, snowboarders, …
The Man-Pack has been designed to accommodate males between the ages of 16-55. At first I thought of a specific lifestyle demographic that I would target, but through experience I have found that the applications span across many different demographics. Even gender. There are many women who see the utility in the product and buy it despite the fact it’s designed for men.

If I could give you a demographic I would, but I have sold these to bicycle and motorcycle riders who like the fact that they can access it without taking it off, to techies who like the size for their tablets, to high school students, to college students, and even diabetics who need to carry their supplies. And it is men as well as women. It is amazing to see all the walks of life that see the value in the product.

When do you use your man-pack ?
I use my Man-Pack every day. If I have to carry stuff (which I always do, either for myself, my job, or my children), the Man-Pack is on my back. I unpack and repack it with what I need for any given day. One day I may be hunting, the next at the office, the next traveling, or at an amusement park. The fact is that guys (and girls) need to carry stuff. The Man-Pack provides a functional and stylish alternative to the traditional messenger bag. It’s been described as “urban tactical” because of the tactical features that blend in with the urban design. Or military and law enforcement, this is invaluable. They want to blend in. When I carry the Man-Pack, I’m always prepared and that is important to me.

Next articles about the Man-Pack,
. “The Man-Pack, up close and personal”.
. “The Man-Pack, the test!”

More about the Man-Pack
. Follow @manpack1
. The Man-Pack on Kickstarter

The light at the end of the tunnel

14 Jun

Photo 7-06-13 8 28 55 PMBecause we don’t wear night googles when we walk at night, a flashlight is mandatory when it comes to face darkness and see in the dark.
Great to untangle the electric cables behind the TV or to find the keys in an heavy purse or to get your key in the keyhole without groping in the dark as well as to send a distress signal or avoid roots in the wood while hiking … to summ up, a flashlight is a basic in any bag.

It shouldn’t be heavy or too big though, that’s why I settle for the keyring “Swipe To Shine or STSInova Microlight.

The Inova Microlight STS by NiteIze is small, light, easy to operate, you just have to swipe!

Swipe left (like on your iPhone) to turn the light on and swipe right to turn it off. Great to avoid your flashing discharges itself by pushing on a button unintentionally.

Photo 7-06-13 8 29 15 PM3 lights modes are available (just swipe left)
high power, 16 lumens, lasting 9 hours
low power, 2 lumens, lasting 64 hours
strobe, to signal your position when in distress

Good to know, the Microlight works on 2 2032 lithium batteries and comes with a S-biner clip.

This flashlight is a great add-on to your keyring!

10 photo apps for your iPhone

11 Jun

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Now that you know what to do with your zillion pictures on your iPhone, let’s play with your pictures with great apps that will correct, enhance your memories. Check those apps out!
1. Magic Frame, 0,99$, with paid upgrade to have more frames
Great to “tell a story” with selected pictures you put in a frame.

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2. PS Express (Photoshop express), free
Easy to retouch pictures (light, colour, contrast, …), with this app you can retouch your pictures from your phone.

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3. Notica, 0,99$
Immortalise good memories by creating a postcard.

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4. Halftone, 0,99$
Give a comic style to your pictures with paper effects, borders, filters and dot sizes.

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5. Radar Cast, 1,99$
This apps will tell you all about the weather wherever you are in the world but you’ll also be able to immortalize this great moment with a “Radar Cast”-picture to share with your friends and family. You can do the same with instaWeather but you won’t have the weather forecast…

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6. Colorsplash, 0,99$
Apply the great black and white/colors pictures effect to your very own ones. Expect smashing results!

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7. Camera +, 0,99$
Lots of manuals settings to be used when you take the focus (auto focus, zoom, exposure settings, continuous flash, self timer, advanced shooting modes, stabilizer … for those of you who don’t settle for standard options.

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8. iPhoto, 4,99$
App created by Apple. With this app, you’ll be able to retouch pictures (light, color, sharp/blur, …), add effects to your pictures, but also create journals to share with family and friends (not really useful anymore with the built-in PhotoStream to share your pictures). I use it mainly to lightnen faces on pictures when too dark.

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9. InstaWeather/InstaFood, free
Geo-located app tagging your pictures with the location wherever you are. Sweet and easy, great effect on Instagram and Facebook guaranteed.

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10. 360, 0,99$
Great app to complement the Panoramic option of your iPhone that will enable you to take 360 pictures. With a little bit of practice you’ll take smashing 360 pictures. Then you can “flatten” and save your pictures on your camera roll (less waouw-effect but still cool)

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Don’t hesitate to combine the apps to create the best effect, for example here I took a picture that I transformed in black and white and only revealed the colors I wanted (color Snap app) then I saved it and imported in the Notica app to have it saved on the camera roll as a postcard.

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PS: thanks to Mimi-the dag for her modeling in this article 😉

The Kodiak by Outdoor element

7 Jun

OE_IMG_ProductBraid2I discovered survival bracelet online and have been wearing one since then, just in case … you never know. Recently I discovered the Outdoor Element survival bracelet and those guys bring something new to the plate. I might be tempted by one of their bracelets…

Let’s chat with Michael Mojica, an avid outdoors enthusiast and entrepreneur working for the company Outdoor Element.

. What makes a true survival braid ?
First let’s define survival: if one can make fire and fill his belly, odds are he will survive. This braid provides that opportunity.

. What are the specificities of your survival band ?
We are working with a MIL-spec vendor for the survival cord. We will do pull tests to determine final strength.

. Usually it’s only a band, not yours. Tell us. How many models do you have ?
Currently we have
.. The TR series with standard 550 cord and fishing hook (nylon core may be used as fishing line)
.. The SR Series with integrated whistle in the buckle
.. The AK Series with fire starting buckle and survival cord (tinder and real fishing line)

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. Are you planning new added functions ?
Yes, there many things in the sandbox we will reveal as the further develop but we are dedicated to evolve and redefine the outdoor element.

. Did you already use Survival braid ? What happened to you ?
We were out shooting the video for kickstarter and Mike fell in a small ice cold river (it was snowing hard). Instead of calling it quits we stayed out for a few more hours…but a fire was crucial. So it was do or die. The Kodiak proved itself solid as we successfully created a fire.

. How did you decide to launch a crowd funded campaign ?
Like many entrepreneurs we had a great idea but lacked the capital to really launch it. We met with a couple of mentors and they suggested crowd funding (specifically kickstarter). We loved the idea.

Currently, the Kodiak, the new survival bracelet integrating a fire starting buckle, a fire starting tinder, a braided fishing line and a fishing hook is available to funding on Kickstarter. Check it out and back it before it’s too late.

Back the Kodiak on Kickstarter.

Let’s smoke it and eat it!

4 Jun

Today, we’ll try to understand the mystery and benefits of jerky on your health as well as the specificities of Ostrim Jerky.

36093cfDan Zangaro, Marketing and Sales Director at Ostrim kindly answered my questions.

. How did you start with jerky ?
The President of our company originally had an ostrich farm in Greensburg (PA) back in the early 90’s and was selling Ostrich steaks to some of the higher end restaurants in the area.
In 1995, Dave Hawk Sr., professional bodybuilder (Mr. USA and Mr. World) visited with our President because of the health attributes of Ostrich meat and wanted to try some. Dave had so


me connections with GNC and had discussed the idea of making meat sticks using the ostrich meat and selling them to GNC as a healthy snack. That is how it all started.

. Can you describe the process to produce the jerky ?
Selection of the meat, smoking, …
We only use USDA certified natural meat and buy the leanest we can get, usually 93-95% lean.

. What’s the link between the jerky and sport ? Why is it good for an athlete (and of course, for us, running slower) ?
Our products are unlike your traditional meat snacks because we use premium meat, and we also have less then half the sodium of other meat snacks.
Traditional meat snacks are loaded with sodium and fillers, where ours are not.
Our newest products (Beef/Elk Stick and the Turkey Sticks) are all natural and all future product we make will also be all natural.
Ostrim-Natural-Turkey-Snack-Stick-Applewood-613911110036Our original line of the Beef/Ostrich sticks are not considered natural since we added Sodium Nitrite to it in 1996. Currently there is 0.001% of sodium nitrite in these sticks and in the next year we will be removing that ingredient so that all of our products are Natural.
With our products being a great source of protein, which athletes need for muscle building and strength, and with athletes always being on-the-go, our products seem to be the perfect match for their lifestyle. 

For your information, any chocolate bar is about 400 calories, a regular sport bar about 220 calories. In comparison, a jerky stick is about  60 calories … (ed.)

. You are mixing different meats together, are you the only brand to do it ? What does it bring extra to the product ? 
I do not know of any other brands that do this.

Ostrim-Natural-Beef-And-Elk-Snack-Stick-Sweet-And-Spicy-613911120042We blend them together for different reasons:
.. Makes us unique
.. Helps with cost (if we made an all-ostrich stick, it would be too expensive to sell to the consumer as ostrich extremely expensive compared to beef)
.. Helps to boost the protein and lower the fat (ostrich is very lean)

. What’s the range of products you offer ? 
. Beef/Ostrich Sticksimages
. Beef/Elk Sticks
. Turkey Sticks
. and a Paleo Trail Mix (3 oz resealable pouch that includes Beef/Ostrich jerky strips, Cashews, Almonds, and Cranberries infused with Blueberry Juice)

To sum up, great intake of proteins in a natural bar with less calories than a regular snack. Great for sports activities but also when you don’t have time for lunch (ed.).

Follow @ostrimmeatsnack

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