Pen Case

Going back to school is great. Part because it’s nice to study again, another part because I like my gear.
Things have changed over time. I traded in my books for an iPad with digital books while I leave my hardcopies back at home.
I don’t annotate digitally. I prefer paper. So along with my Moleskine notebooks I carry my writing gear. I just needed a good case to carry it all in.
When I went out to look for a small (zipper) case I came back empty handed. I had a bunch of leather lying around so I made my own.

Now I’ve never done any leatherworks. So what I know I’ve learned from various websites on my traintrip home.

This wrap case is made of three pieces of brown furniture leather. Sewn together with orange thread. It’s double stitched so it should be durable. I used a pick as an awl and clamped two planks together as a stitching horse.
The leather raffles (is that what they are called?) that stuck out when I was finished I burned down.

It was a very nice project which took me longer than I anticipated. But it’s definately something I could do again.

Oh, I almost forgot about the retainer! I did not make it especially for this case. I make these out of shock-cord with a wooden bead. I use them to keep my cords together. But it looks really nice on this case.

Energize!
or please don’t…

As much as I like to write positive reviews I had to put this one out.
I’ve got several Maglites scattered throughout the house as emergency lights. A 6D in the living room, a 3D in my bedroom and MiniMags in the hallways.

I know there is a lot of hate towards Maglites, but they are reliable. You know they work. They always do.
So I have them sitting around the house with premium batteries in them. Energizers. Because when power is out, they have to work to get the emergengy (petrol) lighting to work.

Every one or two months I check upon the lights and the batteries. A few days ago I took out the 3D and to my surprise it wouldn’t turn on. I screwed the tailcap off and was greated by leaking batteries. They were dated to 2016 so they should have been fine. They were impossibe to remove so I had to put in some efford.

When I got them out I found that two batteries had leaked. My luck was that I store the Maglite butt-down. I suspect the middle one started to leak and then corroding the bottom one as well.
The top battery and the switch/light mount were allright.

I got the leaking residue out with a brush and was left with heavily corroded aluminium. There was no way I was able to put new batteries in because of this. In the end I had to scrape it all out with a ironsaw blade. It was a good hour work to get all the corrosion out and I was left with an heavily pitted aluminium inner tube.

I put in new batteries and it worked again.
However, I was heavily dissapointed with the Energizer batteries. I buy these things because of their reliability. The 6D and the 3D are equipped with a LED upgrade to get as much time out of the batteries in an emergency. So I can’t have the batteries fail on me.

While I have restocked my 3D with Energizers again, it might be time to look for an alternative.

Tetris Lamp

Because why the heck not.
This awesome lamp consists of seven terminos that can be arranged  as you please. As long as they make contact (or via another termino) blue termino they will glow!

The blocks are rather light and shift easely. Because the wire to the adapter is kind a stiff you have to be careful not to shift the blocks.

However, it’s cool enough for every Tetris fan to own one and show off their love for the brick!

Tetris Lamp

Because why the heck not.
This awesome lamp consists of seven terminos that can be arranged as you please. As long as they make contact (or via another termino) blue termino they will glow!

The blocks are rather light and shift easely. Because the wire to the adapter is kind a stiff you have to be careful not to shift the blocks.

However, it’s cool enough for every Tetris fan to own one and show off their love for the brick!

Camelbak Eddy

My previous water bottle, a Dopper, had a habit of leaking. And leakage is a thing you don’t want happening in a bag containing an iPad or eReader. Actually, I don’t want a leaking bottle at all.

Originally I wanted to get the Camelbak Chute, but 0,75l was just to big for a daily carry.

With 0,6l the Eddy is more portable.
In contrast to the Chute and the Dopper the Eddy has a strawlike mouthpiece to drink from.

It reminds me of those kid’s bottles in kindergarten. With the flip-up straw.

No matter how awkward the straw still feels. Not becasue of it’s functionality but because it’s like sucking on a tit all day long. And that’s awkward in the office.

The mouthpiece folds in the lid, keeping it secure. It does not keep it clean since it’s open.

Drinking from the straw is a bit odd at first, you have to bite and sip. It took me about three tries to get the hang off it.

The silicone bite valve has a great advantage, the bottle is always closed. No matter how hard you shake it (I’ve tried) it won’t leak.

I also like the ‘hook’ on the lid. It makes for easy carrying and with a carabines it keeps it in place in my bag.

Also, you can prank someone with this bottle. When it’s below half full bite on the valve and blow as hard as you can. This builds up pressure in the bottle. Now leave it on your desk and watch a curious person squeeze the mouthpiece. You won’t suspect the ammount of water that comes shooting out!

All in all it’s a very nice bottle. The larger capacity isn’t a problem. It’s easy to clean and watertight when you’re not using it.

I use the bottle to drink during the day. This may sound odd, but having a bottle of water around actually makes you drink more. Where I could do an entire morning without drinking without a bottle, I now down a full eddy a morning. A second during the day and another on my way back home.

And as we all now, drinking enough water is important!

Böker Plus Vox Access Tool

One day you have no prybars, the next you have two. Trust me I know. It happened to me.

The VAT was on my wishlist for a long time. And finally having it on my desk it is even better than imagined.

Just as the Leatherman Brewzer in my previous post the VAT is a prybar with added functionality.

Let’s start with the material. Unlike the Brewzer te VAT is made of titanium. While longer than the Brewzer it weighs next to nothing. With 19g it’s just slightly heavier than the 13,2g Brewzer.

The 9,1cm gives the VAT more leverage to pry with. But of, course, as a multytool the VAT has more features. It’s also a nailpuller, shackle opener, carabiner and bottle opener. I bet that the tip can be used as a flathead screwdriver as well though not specified by Böker.

There is one more feature which makes the VAT live up to it’s name as access tool, a carbide tip glass breaker. Although the VAT is small and nit suitable as a primary glassbreaker it is a nice backup or emergengy tool. I’ve read that if use properly it will break car windows. Just make sure to hit the window in the corners
The arbide tip is protected by two rubber O-rings, so it’s safe in your pocket. The rings will part when pressed to glass, there is no need to remove them.

All in all I’m very pleased with this small titanium bar. It’s not cheap that’s for sure. But for €30,- you do get a quality piece of equipment.

Leatherman Brewzer

This little piece of metal is a pocket tool.
With a mere length of 6,2cm os blends in with the keys on a keychain.

Because I always carry a Swiss Army Knife (Victorinox Handyman) I previously disdn’t see the point of buying such a pocket tool. 
But there is one feature that makes the pockettool worthwile: the prybar.
There are certain tasks I don’t do (or should not be doing) with my SAK, like prying.

According to Letherman this tool has two functions: a mini pry and a bottle opener.
Because of the rathet specific shape of the ‘key ring hole’ I did a round of Google.

This tool was sold under the name Pocket Tool X Brewzer in the past. I suspect Leatherman bought the company, the now sell the whole range of their pocket tools.

The Pocket Tool X, while being the same, had a different function list:
Flathead screwdriver, package ripper, prybar, 1\4” hex opening, bottle opener and an oxygen wrench which doubles as a keyring hole.

That’s a lot more than the 2 functions Leatherman states!

Eighter way the 13,5g Brewzer is a nice tool that will sit unnoticed on your keychain untill you have to open a box or a beer. Or oxygen bottle ^_^

Goal Zero Firefly

I am currently considering a Goal Zero Panel (Nomad 7) and found this light at a sale. I bought it because it would give me an idea of the quality of Goal Zero products and, let’s face it, you can’t have enough lights.

I really like the product. It has a great light output. The 1,5W LED really packs a punch. And it’s a nice warm colour too. I had no trouble reading with this light.

There are some issues though. The bendy wire twists. That is to say if you bend it at a 90 degree angle and point the light up it will sag. So you have to make sure the wire can’t twist to prevent this prom happening. This limits your freedom of use. You don’t really need to use the extention cable. You can easely plug the lamp direclty in a power pack.

Then there is the temperature issue. The light get’s hot really fast. Since there is no on/off switch you have to pull out the light when hot.
I find it odd that the light doesn’t have a switch, because of this.

Somehow I think it was intended to have a switch, because the switch is mentioned on their website and in the manual. It just isn’t there on the product.

The coloured filters are nice, but pretty useless. Let me explain that one. There are three coloured filters: red, blue and green.
A red filter is intended to preserve night vision, yet it’s not only the colour that makes that possible, also a low brightness. Since this light has a minimum output of 60 lumen it’s unfit to preserve night vision. Blue is for hunting or light dicipline. It’s to bright and uncontrolled for light dicipline (it’s a floodlight) and may be used for fluid detection when hunting. But again a floodlight would be undesireable. The green is for mapreading. Again the brightess is too high to be used in covert situations.

I know, this isn’t a tactical product. So you can’t expect those qualities from this product. Yet it makes me wonder why they are included. For a disco party perhaps? Or from what I’ve read earlier, to suit the mood.

My last point of critique is the lack of a storage pouch. There is no way to easely store the parts supplied. I whish Goal Zero didn’t include the filters and added a pounch instead.

All this critique doesn’t mean I don’t like the product. I bought it at a sale so I didn’t do any reserach prior to buying.

The one thing that does bother me are the incorrect specifications. If both the website and the manual state that there is an on/off switch on the lamp while there isn’t one on the product it makes me weary to spend €120,- on the solar panel I wanted to buy.

HEMA Powerpack + Flashlight
Power to the people, sure, why not?

I’m a flashlight nut. So when I saw this Powerpack laying at the HEMA for a steal (€2,50) I had to pick one up. Powerpacks are usefull for devices that don’t run on replacable batteries. Like iPhones, other mobiles and tablets. Most of them are charged with a USB cable. So having a USB Powerpack in your bag is very nice.

This particular pack has a 5V 2000mAh output. It charges my iPad partially. It states on the box that it gives 3 hours extra runtime to your device. But what device? I dunno.

Anyway, opening the thing up reveals a 2000mAh 3,7V 18650 Battery. I think that this battery is easely replaced with a higher amp version, like a 3000mAh or higher.

In the box is the charger and a short USB-microUSB cable to charge the Pack. It will however also charge a micro-USB device.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the Flashlight. I tried to identify it and came up with the following specifications: High Power LED / 1W / 70-80LM / 3.5-3.7V / 6000-6500K White.
The light is not very impressive But offers very good proximity lighting. It has a nice smooth wide flood but ample throw.

Build quality is so-so. It’s a light, thin aluminium housing with screw on caps. The caps hold the reflector/lens and the back cover in place. The back cover has a very small on/off switch for the light. There is no water proofing.

The powerpack shown in the last image is the version BoxWave sells. It’s about 3 times more expensive as the HEMA’s normal price, but has a 2600mAh battery.

All in all it’s avery sweet deal for just €2,50. It provides a small charge for my cell or other device, maybe just enough to pull through till the end of the day. This thing will probably be used most of my packs because of the added light. Really convienient.

EDC of the moment

Keychain that lives in my bag at the moment. I have to carry a towel because my bottle tends to leak. I’m going to replace it, but wouldn’t want to be without one untill I do.
The Bic lighter is made portable, has one meter of duct tape wrapped around and is ‘locked’ with a small ranger band.

Mobiel Phone History

Over the years I had a fair share of mobiles. While the first priority being able to call when in need the phone has worked it’s way into my life more and more.
A trip down memory lane:

Alcatel OT311
My very first mobile phone! While everybody at school had either a Nokia 3210 or 3310 I bought this one because it was cheap. I was only for emergency calls right? Well, it was at the time. I got a yellow cover on vacation one day, but it never looked as good as the black one. This phone probably has had the longest service life of all my phones. When I got the Philips it went to my mother who in turn passed it back to my brother. It still works.

Philips CT3508
I wanted a colour screen. Because colour is always better. And to be honest the 128x128 display did look good! The phone was replaced early because one awful flaw: it creaked when you held it in your hand.
Id was the first sim-lock free phone I bought.

Nokia 6610i
The successor if the Philips. This Nokia had one feature I would never want to miss on a mobile again: a camera. No matter how bad the quality was, it saved my butt during a lawsuit after a traffic accident once.
Also I discovered my collection of funny photo’s taken with this phone. Really cool.

Sony Ericsson K800i
Probably the best phone I ever had. Also the first I got with a monthly fee. The camera was phenomenal. And the images impress even today.
When the joystick started to act funny it was time to move on.

Nokia E71
Again I went unlocked. The E71’s camera might not have been as good as the K800i’s but it was enough to get the job done. With the QWERTY keyboard on the phone I made homework on the train. Can’t imagine doing that nowadays, but it saved me a lot of time.

HTC Desire
The E71 was only replaced because I went to another telephone provider. And it had internet! This particular subscription came with a lifetime unimited internet bundle. I still use it to this day.
The phone was originally  only an extra, I got the subscription for the internet bundle. While I didn’t believe in touch screen smartphones I gave the Deisre a go. Let’s just say I love Android and I never used the E71 again. The Desire slowly got worse and now the volume rocker is dead and the physical buttons are real hard to press.  Time to move on.

Sony Ericsson Xperia U
The Xperia U wasn’t the successor of the Desire. Those are listed below.
The U was wonderful until the firmware started to act up. Frequent freezing and not passing calls made the phone unreliable. Because it was outdated Sony didn’t fix the firmware. Same as the Xperia Actives.
I did like the light bar of the U though. Great to show what kind of message is incoming or what you have missed.

Apple iPhone 4S
I used the iPhone briefly because of the trouble with the Xperia U. A friend hated Apple products enough to pass the 4S down to me and let me keep it. I still use it as a iPod/micro iPad today. I love my iPod and iPad, but I didn’t like the iPhone as a phone. 

Sony Xperia SP
My rescue in times of need. Back to Android, back to Sony. Lets hope I don’t run into any firmware issues again. Well, I already did. I upgraded the firmware on day two. It made the phone incredibly slow. Up to the point you wanted to kill yourself. With no update/upgrade in sight I downgraded the phone to original factory standard. Works like a charm.

Not on the list, phones I had briefly

Sony Ericsson G700
I had this for one day. I wanted to try a phone with a touch screen. The screen was to tiny and hard to press along the edges of the screen. Originally intended to replace the K800i I returned it the next day.

Sony Ericsson T303
When transferring from one provider to the next I needed a phoen for a couple of days. This cheapo slider bridged the gap to the HTC Desire.
It was a fun phone for a couple of days, it died in a horrible accident the day I got my Desire. It fell down the stairs hard. It was beyond repair.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active
Fun phoneI had for about a year. Actually I had two. Waterproof and tough as nails. But the firmware made the phone unreliable. Problems the Xperia U would have later on. I returned mine and got a refund. My dad gave me his Active. Hoewever, one week later it showed the same symptoms as the previous one and I returned it also. They didn’t even send it in for repair. I got a full refund.

Nokia Lumia 900
Tired of Sony and their firmware shit I turned back to Nokia. The Lumia 900 is an amazing device. Pretty screen and Windows 7. I was overjoyed. The camera however had a giant pink spot in the middle. And it was no sweet spot. It destroyed the image quality. I returned it after a couple of days. I got the Xperia U instead.

Mobiel Phone History

Over the years I had a fair share of mobiles. While the first priority being able to call when in need the phone has worked it’s way into my life more and more.
A trip down memory lane:

Alcatel OT311
My very first mobile phone! While everybody at school had either a Nokia 3210 or 3310 I bought this one because it was cheap. I was only for emergency calls right? Well, it was at the time. I got a yellow cover on vacation one day, but it never looked as good as the black one. This phone probably has had the longest service life of all my phones. When I got the Philips it went to my mother who in turn passed it back to my brother. It still works.

Philips CT3508
I wanted a colour screen. Because colour is always better. And to be honest the 128x128 display did look good! The phone was replaced early because one awful flaw: it creaked when you held it in your hand.
Id was the first sim-lock free phone I bought.

Nokia 6610i
The successor if the Philips. This Nokia had one feature I would never want to miss on a mobile again: a camera. No matter how bad the quality was, it saved my butt during a lawsuit after a traffic accident once.
Also I discovered my collection of funny photo’s taken with this phone. Really cool.

Sony Ericsson K800i
Probably the best phone I ever had. Also the first I got with a monthly fee. The camera was phenomenal. And the images impress even today.
When the joystick started to act funny it was time to move on.

Nokia E71
Again I went unlocked. The E71’s camera might not have been as good as the K800i’s but it was enough to get the job done. With the QWERTY keyboard on the phone I made homework on the train. Can’t imagine doing that nowadays, but it saved me a lot of time.

HTC Desire
The E71 was only replaced because I went to another telephone provider. And it had internet! This particular subscription came with a lifetime unimited internet bundle. I still use it to this day.
The phone was originally only an extra, I got the subscription for the internet bundle. While I didn’t believe in touch screen smartphones I gave the Deisre a go. Let’s just say I love Android and I never used the E71 again. The Desire slowly got worse and now the volume rocker is dead and the physical buttons are real hard to press. Time to move on.

Sony Ericsson Xperia U
The Xperia U wasn’t the successor of the Desire. Those are listed below.
The U was wonderful until the firmware started to act up. Frequent freezing and not passing calls made the phone unreliable. Because it was outdated Sony didn’t fix the firmware. Same as the Xperia Actives.
I did like the light bar of the U though. Great to show what kind of message is incoming or what you have missed.

Apple iPhone 4S
I used the iPhone briefly because of the trouble with the Xperia U. A friend hated Apple products enough to pass the 4S down to me and let me keep it. I still use it as a iPod/micro iPad today. I love my iPod and iPad, but I didn’t like the iPhone as a phone.

Sony Xperia SP
My rescue in times of need. Back to Android, back to Sony. Lets hope I don’t run into any firmware issues again. Well, I already did. I upgraded the firmware on day two. It made the phone incredibly slow. Up to the point you wanted to kill yourself. With no update/upgrade in sight I downgraded the phone to original factory standard. Works like a charm.

Not on the list, phones I had briefly

Sony Ericsson G700
I had this for one day. I wanted to try a phone with a touch screen. The screen was to tiny and hard to press along the edges of the screen. Originally intended to replace the K800i I returned it the next day.

Sony Ericsson T303
When transferring from one provider to the next I needed a phoen for a couple of days. This cheapo slider bridged the gap to the HTC Desire.
It was a fun phone for a couple of days, it died in a horrible accident the day I got my Desire. It fell down the stairs hard. It was beyond repair.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active
Fun phoneI had for about a year. Actually I had two. Waterproof and tough as nails. But the firmware made the phone unreliable. Problems the Xperia U would have later on. I returned mine and got a refund. My dad gave me his Active. Hoewever, one week later it showed the same symptoms as the previous one and I returned it also. They didn’t even send it in for repair. I got a full refund.

Nokia Lumia 900
Tired of Sony and their firmware shit I turned back to Nokia. The Lumia 900 is an amazing device. Pretty screen and Windows 7. I was overjoyed. The camera however had a giant pink spot in the middle. And it was no sweet spot. It destroyed the image quality. I returned it after a couple of days. I got the Xperia U instead.