Reset Your Digital Self

You know the flustered feeling that all your tech devices and social media services can bring? Turns out, the overwhelming mental clutter can be relieved. I’m not talking about a radical shift like Digital Minimalism, although that would help. It can be simple. In this case, I’m referring to an informative post with a few ideas for a Digital Reset.


Click over to the blog of Anil Dash and check out the list of steps he takes to regain control over his tech life. It’s straightforward and down-to-earth. I like the practical tidbits he shares.

Two of his key principles I especially want to echo here.

Fear Of Missing Out

First, if you decide to step away from social media, FOMO is not as bad as you think. The acute feeling of denial – that fear of not knowing what the latest cool meme is – subsides quickly, being replaced by tranquil relief from the onslaught of info overload.

Deliberate Data

The second principle is about all that info. It’s good to have only intentional info.

For me, the best way to have this is to not have any news feeds! So avoiding social media, I like to intentionally go to websites that I know and trust for certain info. I even use a DuckDuckGo search field to find new info – on purpose!

All it takes is a little clicking and typing and swiping – slightly more effort than mindlessly doom-scrolling Twitter or Facebook.

Addressing Algorithms

If or when I do interact with social media accounts, I like Anil’s idea of resetting the algorithms that fill the feed with stuff. Maybe if I un-pause my Twitter usage, I will likewise unfollow everyone, or at least do a massive purge and slowly rebuild the feed content.

This past week, I unfriended 76 people’s accounts on Facebook. I’m sure my newsfeed will look different now, but I rarely visit Facebook anymore. Shrug.

There are other ways to do a digital reset beyond social media. If it sounds like a good idea to you, go read Anil’s post. I think you’ll find it helpful.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

A Man Bag For Every Day Carry

Do you think it’s okay for a guy to carry a man-bag? If so, are there any that you recommend? That’s what I’ve been looking into lately. I like the idea of EDC (every day carry) bags for men and how that intersects with mobile computing. And I’m on a quest to find the bag that’s quintessential for the essentials.


File this post under Tech. It’s tangential since you need a bag to carry mobile computing gear (plus more) on the go. We haul phone-computers in our pockets everyday. They’re phablets now, almost un-pocketable. And good-luck trying to shove a Nintendo Switch into your pocket.

A guy’s pockets are also stuffed with the usual suspects: keys, wallet, knife, earbuds, etc. I don’t know about you, but I’m running out of clothing cargo space. Yet I don’t have enough gear to warrant strapping on a hulking backpack every day.

Pockets: not enough. Backpack: too much. There must be a better option.


Not A Murse

First, let’s target the stigma of a guy carrying a bag smaller than a backpack. What is the deal?

If pockets are too small and a backpack is too big, then why can’t a dude just use a small to medium sized shoulder or cross-body bag?

Back when I carried all my keys on a single key-ring, the wad of metal clutter crammed into my pocket was super annoying. So I would often toss them into my wife’s purse. Why can’t I carry my own…man-bag without feeling akward?

This quote from the Art of Manliness speaks to this:

“Ridicule around “murses” is a bit much though, in my opinion. We’re in a cultural place where a man can carry a medium to large bag, or whatever fits in his pockets, but nothing in-between. Which is a little odd when you think about it.”

Yeah, it’s odd.


A Man Bag

Okay, so it’s totally practical for a guy, anyone for that matter, to daily carry a small-ish bag when the amount of gear calls for it. Cool. Makes sense to me. The advantages are worth it. Your stuff is always with you, it’s well organized, and thus makes you better prepared.

Then the next question is, what’s the best man-bag for the job? Now that is a tough one.

My ongoing hunt for the perfect ideal EDC bag has been a challenge. But I’ve been enjoying it and have also learned a thing or two.

Along this journey, my previous post about the quest for the best bag mentioned two great sites on the niche topic of EDC and bags. I’ve added others; here’s the updated list:

If you search on Amazon for top-sellers in men’s bags or just look up bags in general, you’ll be inundated with a plethora of packs. Here’s a few lists you might want to check out:

Amazon sells bags in some brands you may have heard of before, but there seems to be an endless supply of unknown brands.

Outside of Amazon, you can find many established and reputable companies and aspirational brands who either sell bags or specialize in the bag business. Here’s a list:

  • Alpakagear
  • Bellroy
  • Buffalo Jackson Trading Co
  • Cargoworks
  • Case Logic
  • Herschel
  • NutSac
  • PacSafe
  • Peak Design
  • Samsonite
  • Swiss Gear
  • Targus
  • TimBuk2
  • Tom Bihn
  • Waterfield Designs

As I’ve unearthed many potential man-bags across the web, I keep coming back to one site in particular, NutSac. Man, their bags look great! The company does too.

So far my personal top pick is the Mag-Satch 11.

Mag Satch 11

At first, I had wanted a sling bag. But then I decided on a mini-messenger bag or cross-body shoulder bag. And up until now, I’ve had my sights set on a bag just big enough to carry a 10 or 11 inch iPad.

But I’m at cross-roads. I don’t have an iPad (at the moment), so I’m thinking I should try a smaller EDC bag, one that’s big enough for an iPad mini or eReader.

The quest continues…

If you can recommend a good EDC man-bag or another website, sound off in the comments below. Thanks!


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

A Quest For The Best Bag

Hello, 2021! Lately, I’ve been searching for the ideal…bag. Yeah I know, sounds boring; it’s just a bag! But it’s not so simple. When it comes to grabbing the right bag, there’s a lot to consider. Maybe by the end of this post, I’ll have found the “perfect” pack for the back. Or maybe not.


Burdened With Baggage

We all carry stuff around with us everyday. Women typically have a purse to tote their essentials. Traditional options for men are jean pockets or a backpack, but there’s no in-between. That’s the zone I’m looking into for every-day-carry (EDC) items, like all the tech gear for a mobile computing lifestyle.

My daily carry is a personal Backpack for my work commute. It hauls my laptop plus other stuff, but it’s kind of overkill most of the time. I like using both shoulder straps for convenience; it’s harder to lug stuff off-center when using only one of the straps.

I also sometimes use a Messenger Bag that came with my company laptop. I like how its single long shoulder strap crosses my body from one side to the other, letting the bag hang by my side, back, or front. That’s a big difference from a backpack, which is only for transporting stuff on your back from point ‘A’ to ‘B’, not accessing your stuff between those points like you can with a messenger bag.

Backpacks and messenger bags are big and handy for lugging your accoutrements, especially when traveling for a weekend. But for commuting or every day carry, it’d be nice to have a smaller simpler bag to hoist around, keeping my pockets clutter free. But I’m not talking about a “Murse” or a “Fanny Pack.” Right?

There are somewhat synonymous terms for bag types. What’s the difference between a rucksack, backpack, satchel, hip-pack, messenger bag, or shoulder bag. Sometimes, I’m really not sure. But I have found some good niche websites all about bags where they…pack a lot of helpful info.

If you’re wondering about optimizing your own daily carry situation, I highly recommend these two great sites:

The Slingbag

This is the type of bag I’ve been drawn to most. Its main funtion is hinted in the name. The bag and single-strap set-up enable a small to medium-sized bag to sit comfortably against your back; it doesn’t dangle loosely like a messenger bag. Then it rotates to your front for quick easy access.

I would say a slingbag is a cross between a backpack and a messenger bag.

Amazon has stacks of packs to preview. It’s a decent starting point. But to stay focused, I made a list of my everyday items I am likely to carry in a slingbag or similar pack.

Rather than find a bag that “looks cool” and has “neat features” and then hope all my stuff fits is a backwards way to go. I should first note what stuff needs to fit, then find a suitable bag.

So for my potential every-day-carry, here’s an itemized item list of…items:

Pocket stuff:

  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • iPhone
  • Knife

Essential burdens:

  • Sunglasses
  • Low-dose Aspirin
  • Advil
  • Gum
  • Snacks
  • Chapstick
  • Pen

Tech gear:

  • iPad
  • AirPods
  • EarPods
  • Lightning to 3.5mm adapter
  • Micro USB cable
  • Lightning cable
  • USB C cable
  • Battery pack
  • Bluetooth speaker

Other things to weigh me down:

  • Water Bottle
  • Leatherman multi-tool
  • Nintendo Switch (in its own case)
  • Mini LED flashlight
  • Zippo Lighter

When I list it out like that, wow, I may need to minimize first! That’s a lot to carry. So I think it comes down to access. What do I need/want to access quickly or frequently while on-the-go and don’t want stuffed into my pockets? That answer needs more brain cycles…and coffee…


The modern mobile man needs not resort to a classic backpack. Today, bag options abound.

If, like me, you’re thinking you might want a better bag to pack, maybe now you’ve got some new ideas. Let me know what you think in the comments! Or do you already have the perfect bag; what do you use?


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Zero Feeds Experiment Results

On July 1, I started The Zero Feeds Experiment – a 30-day trial, abstaining from all news and blog feeds (I was already abstaining from social media feeds). So how’s that workin’ out for me? This post is my one month follow-up.


These Three Feeds

For me, there were three particular feeds that…fed my daily habit of checking in and scrolling like a robot for a ‘1’ in a long list of zeroes: the Google Feed, WordPress Reader, and Feedly. 

Without Google Feed

I missed my Google Feed right away – a lot. In this list, just a simple swipe away on my Android Home Screen, I was fed what seemed like an expertly curated collection of the best stuff on the web, tailored precisely to my personal preferences. There was rarely a ‘zero’ in a list of good ‘ones’!

Ditching this left a small vacuum. I left it turned off for a whole month. Yet the hole it left was kind of filled by Google News on my desktop PC at work.

I have been more vigilant overall to avoid general news because it’s too sensational and hyper-focused on only the worst happenings in the world. But with so much apparently going on this year, I’ve been drawn to check the Google News “For you” section: “Recommended based on your interests.” It’s basically the same as the Google Feed on my phone.

You might think I sort of cheated. But removing this feed from my phone and limiting check-ins to my PC at the office drastically reduced my habit. It helped sever a twitchy-connection with my phone.

Here’s a surprising fact: I turned the Google Feed back on my phone 2 days ago. Yet I have not been checking it! I just don’t have the habit like I did. Over time, I will likely resume this one though.

Without WordPress Reader

This feed lives inside the WordPress app. It makes blog checking very convenient. Liking and Commenting on posts is super easy. And the act of reading is better because you see the same formatted text and layout – no ads! – for every post no matter what blog it comes from.

Ignoring this feed, the main problem I avoided was the incessant habit of checking my phone, as if boredom could be my worst enemy. By itself, this feed was not bad at all since I don’t follow too many blogs. But it was one that contributed to my overall phone-feed-twitch.

My other bigger goal was to promote the practice of visiting people’s actual blogs. This way, I would see an individual’s blog theme with its unique colors, fonts, and layout. I think there is something special lost when everyone looks like the same democratized post listing.

While it has been nice to click over to live blogs, I do miss the convenience of the WP Reader. I have not resumed using it. For now, I’m letting my hands-off approach with this one coast.

Without Feedly

Feedly was the most exhaustive feed I took a break from last month. It lets you amass a never-ending stream of headlines from multiple sources. Every article! In reverse chrono order! For what Feedly is, it’s done very well. The interface is clean. Form and Function shake hands, smiling warmly.

Abandoning Feedly forced me to visit many individual websites, “on-the-line!” At first, this was downright jarring – yuck! So many intrusive ads, banners, videos… Different layouts, colors, fonts… Too many sites to tediously check on.

To mitigate the gross problems, I had to organize the sites I frequent into a folder on my browser’s toolbar. And I had to delete some! I can’t visit all the sites. My eyeballs get tired, and my time is limited.

The other thing that helped manage this transition was time. After 4 weeks, I finally felt accustomed to manually checking websites instead of relying on an aggregator like Feedly.


Results

There was an overall net effect, a gain, from breaking my phone-twitch feed habits. My phone felt calmer, or I did when using it. There was less to look at on my phone; it felt simpler and less demanding.

And I read a lot, mostly books on my kindle. I got involved with both fictional stories and non-fiction. I still watched a little YouTube sometimes. And at the end of the month, I picked up an old casual phone game to play, which has been fun. Also, I kept my blog post frequency up high, maybe too high.

Relying less on my phone to check sites meant using my Chromebook more, and that’s been nice because the display is huge compared to my phablet. I enjoy websites in their full ad-laden glory. (I seriously should consider subscribing to high-quality sites that might have no ads or at least far less intrusive ones.)

Lastly, I need more time to experiment. Now that it’s been nearly 5 weeks, I feel like I’ve settled into this new paradigm of being feed-free. I want to keep it up for now, see how it goes.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

My Delusional RV Dream

What’s the difference between a dream and a delusion? It may be a matter of perspective. I’ve had a dream of living full-time in an RV, a two-axle travel-trailer hitched to a truck. My wife has said that my dream is a delusion. But she says it with a grin, so… She may be right.


Simplicity

I’m not sure what attracts me to an RV for a home. It’s partly the alternative lifestyle that intrigues me. But it’s also the simplicity.

Home ownership is a big responsibility. Owning land brings benefits but also burdens. If all my stuff fit into a small box on wheels, I wonder how much easier my life could get.

Living in an RV means living on less – only the essentials. Kill the clutter! The small space limits you to just what you need. That minimalism is attractive. You must remove the less important distractions to enjoy focusing on the best and most important parts of living this one life.

That doesn’t sound too delusional.

Mobility

Besides simplicity, there’s the obvious mobility. Your house can go everywhere, so you can live anywhere. When you move, you don’t have to sell your house. Just take it with you! That’s convenient. 

Need a new job in another town? No big deal. Want to travel and see new places? No need to pack up and go. Just go!

A mobile home fits a mobile lifestyle. We have mobile pones and mobile computers that we can’t seem to live without. We’re ambulatory (fancy word for mobile) humans!

Living in a house on wheels reminds me that life is transient and temporary. You never settle into one place, one routine. But maybe that means you never really get comfortable or relax either. So much for settling down, puttin’ down some roots.

Maybe this is a bit delusional.

Practicality

I know there are many pros and cons about the practicality of adopting an RV-lifestyle. It’s not the best investment financially since RVs are valued more like cars than houses. But I know a lot of people have chosen an RV life and get along just fine.

Tight quarters do not sound cozy, especially living in a family with kids, but maybe you get used to it. Or maybe you would fight a lot, literally stepping on someone’s toes in close proximity.

And no matter what size your home is, you always tend to fill it to the brim with stuff. Clutter finds a way of piling up on flat surfaces like mold growing on a slice of bread. But at the same time, a small living space means having much less to clean! That kind of maintenance is light.

But I don’t know about the mechanical side of things: fix it yourself or haul your house to the RV dealer? Yet that’s an interesting reversal. Instead of calling a plumber out to your house, you take your house to the “plumber.”

What if someone steals your RV like a car? Then they’ve also stolen your entire home! I guess insurance would replace the few possessions you had.


Dream Or Delusion?

After my thoughts above, I’m afraid to weigh in here. Living in an RV full-time kinda seems more like a deluded notion, a fanciful fantasy that would struggle to hold up in reality.

There are people who live this way and love it. So it’s possible to make it work. But it’s probably not for everybody.

I’m willing to try it out someday and see if RV life is for me. Worst case: nightmare. Best case: dream come true. Likely case: somewhere in between.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!