Laptops these days are, more often than not, powerful enough to serve as a desktop replacement. For the average consumer, the extra horsepower in a desktop system simply isn’t needed. And the beautiful thing about a laptop – you can pack it up and take it with you.
However, the outside world is pretty hell bent on destroying your shiny new toy, with all the elements conspiring to scratch, dent or soak it. Which is why a good laptop bag is always a great idea. I grew up with the typical “I’m carrying a laptop please mug me” style satchels, but over time a certain sense of style and utility has slowly crept into the world of computing fashion.
Exhibit A, STM’s jet laptop shoulder bag. With room for your laptop, iPad, mobile and paperwork, the jet is pretty good at keeping you organised, although hopeless at giving you perspective over how many mobile devices you actually need. Two front zippered pockets hold quick access items such as cords, travel documents and keys, whilst the main front compartment houses an organisational panel. The laptop section suspends your notebook in high-density foam and soft, brushed fleece and the integrated iPad slip pocket is lined in soft, brushed nylex.
The backpack suspension has tuck away waist straps, an adjustable sternum strap, and comfortable air-mesh padding throughout to ensure it is always a comfortable carry. STM sent us a bag to try out (we gave it back!) and it was as advertised – a great way to lug around a 15” laptop. The weight was barely noticeable, the bag was nice and flush with my back making it unobtrusive and I never felt uncomfortable about being out in the open with my 7 year old Powerbook.
The STM jet is available in black and in two sizes to fit most 15” and 17” laptops.
If your quest for New Year fitness has already taken a nosedive, Adidas has launched just the gadget to get your training back on track. miCoach is an interactive personal trainer which measures heart rate, pace, distance and stride and tells you when to speed up or slow down (safe to say the latter option on my unit won’t be breaking a sweat…)
Provided you don’t cheat, these real-time stats will keep you motivated and on course to achieve your goal. If you’re thinking this all rings a bell, you may recall miCoach’s 2008 practice run as part of a training system with Samsung mobile. Now breaking from the pack, the new miCoach trainer has a choice of systems to plan your ideal workout.
miCoach Pacer is an eager, lightweight fitness instructor, which plugs into your MP3 player to bark its verbal commands. It also has its own headphones if you don’t want to tarnish your prized player with flashbacks of mud-riddled limping sessions. It’s a smart-looking bit of kit, with two 3.5mm jacks so you can keep your sporty playlist running while miCoach coerces you through your paces.
The Pacer comes with a heart rate monitor and stride sensor. Simply do an “assessment run” and if that doesn’t put you off, miCoach will plan a workout schedule to train you through.
Check out the demo video:
You can save your Pacer results on the miCoach website to create personalised training plans, set fitness goals and see your progress over time. You can also choose a ready-made programme to help you on your quest – whether it be shedding that Christmas chocolate tin or chasing down a schooldays’ PB.
If you’re not quite ready to submit yourself to such intensive training, you might prefer the less invasive miCoach Zone. This colour-coded LED wristband measures your heart rate and other training stats to help you work at the most efficient intensity. This is your option if you just want a bit of guidance rather than enlist the type of coach that would iron your training kit and shovel your snow to make sure you didn’t miss a session. Zone doesn’t work with the website, but it’s got everything you need to get the most from those tentative spring runs.
miCoach – not one for the lardy-hearted, but a great selection of training gizmos for athletes and attitudes of all sizes. More info at http://micoach.adidas.com/