Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

Best SLR / DSLR Camera Bag

Posted in Fashion,Photo,Reviews by Elliott Back on February 22nd, 2011.

If you were lusting after the sold-out Union Street men’s DSLR bags which retail for a hair-raising $279, I’ve got an alternative for you. One that I’ve tested out on a 4-day trip to Puerto Rico, carried through the jungles of El Yunque rainforest, and in the unyielding heat of a sultry day in viejo San Juan. It’s the Tamrac 3537 Express 7 Camera Bag. It comes in either Khaki or Black, and sells for just $50. It’s a good looking messenger/shoulder bag:

The benefits are obvious:

  • Nylon material is simultaneously lightweight, strong, and waterproof
  • Ample pockets let you carry a Nikon D90 with Zoom attached, an SB-600, a 50mm prime (small lens), and two other lenses or a litre of water. There is another front pocket, two side pockets, and a pocket on the flap.
  • “Quick access” flap and carrying style lets you get your camera out and shooting very quickly.
  • Shoulder strap, handle, and rolling luggage piggyback let you carry it however you want.

This diagram convinced me of its usefulness:

Amazon reviews give it 4.5/5 and I agree, it’s a fantastic camera bag if you are a DSLR or SLR owner. Especially with a prosumer-size body. If you have a full-frame camera, you might want to check the dimensions, as the body will be larger than what I’ve tried. But with a Nikon D90 or equivalent, it’s a perfect fit.

Swagapalooza 2009

Posted in Blogging,NYC,Web 2.0 by Elliott Back on September 18th, 2009.

I attended @Alex Krupp’s “social media experiment” last night, Swagapalooza 2009, which was a blast. The crowd were avid twitterers (I met @gregwong, @fiestyfoodie, @mikebarish, Avi @strayboots, @ambitiousdelish, @Switch2Health, @thebuzzkillers, @SimplySeema, Tamar, @voyagetv, @IdeaPaint, and @ImageThink). After brief socializing, it kicked off with a rapid-fire series of 5-minute presentations from inventors and entrepreneurs who presented their ideas and products. At the end of it, we all took home bags of free swag and product to evaluate more carefully at home.


The lovely people at ImageThink drew an illustrated version of each presenter’s main points in realtime. It’s pretty cool, so I’ll paste here as well (click for big):

swagapalooza imagethink

So onto the Swag! Tons of free stuff (disclosure) that I shall write about, in relative order of cuteness and utility.

Idea Paint

With Idea Paint you can instantly turn any flat surface into a durable whiteboard for dry erase markers. It’s pretty cool, actually–at the event, they painted two mannequins with IdeaPaint and proceeded to diagram them in dry-erase!

idea paint

We got a free 50 sq foot sample to play with: I’m thinking of painting either my desk surface or the back of my iPhone with it.

Switch2Health (S2H)

While Switch 2 Health had no product available yet (they’re being manufactured as we speak, and we’ve been promised units when they launch), they are by far one of the most socially conscious startups who presented. The goal of S2H is to incentivize higher rates of physical activity among children, as a way to help stave off the obesity epidemic. Children wear wristbands that measure their activity level (they also function as watches, so you can wear them all the time), and then login to the website to redeem points for ringtones, movies, etc.

s2h replay


The BAGGU reusable shopping bag folds up into a tidy package, small and light enough to fit into a pocket, but rolls out to a strong, durable, and voluminous bag! It’s perfect for shopping or carrying textbooks, and stylish to boot.

Baggu Bags also have their own shop

iChill / Bruise Relief / Wallet Pill Card

So I’m sitting here with three product samples, the iChill sleeping draught (2oz shot) (x1), bruise relief cream (x3) for beat-down bodies, and the Re-Pillable Wallet Pill Card (x2):

Bruise Relief Serum and Re-Pillable Cards on Amazon

The iChill is a blend of Melatonin (5mg), Valerian Root (10mg), Rose Hips (10g) and B Vitamins (2-20mcg), and has not been FDA evaluated. Non active ingredients include Purified water, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Potassium Benzoate (preservative), and Stevia Brand Sweetener. I’m going to try it this weekend, but I can guarantee it will knock you out given the high concentration of melatonin (1mg does me in @ 150 lbs).

The Buzz Killer

We got a free card which cures GSM buzz, courtesy of The Buzz Killers. The card itself is really pretty! Unfortunately, I have an iPhone 3GS and on the 3G network there’s no GSM interference. Perhaps the next time I visit Somalia and have to work with a crappy GSM network I can test this out. (PS: See the orange in this map? That’s the future, and it’s buzz free…)

At just $5.99 they make great office gifts / stocking stuffers

Altec Lansing Orbit

I have a problem with these little speakers–they’re just not that great. I’d much rather put on a pair of in-ear noise-isolating–but cheap–Shure headphones than blare distorted mono music through an external monopod speaker. The Altec Lansing iM-237 just doesn’t sound good.

altec lansing
Altec Lansing iM-237 Orbit Ultraportable Speaker for MP3 Players (Silver)

Another problem is that this thing comes in a TON of packaging, with lots of useless parts (case, ribbon, u-clip, audible free trial card, manual, other ads, etc). I was also disappoint that the speaker doesn’t come with batteries out of the box. It would be nice to finally have a portable speaker with a built-in battery so you can stop chewing through AAA batteries.

mSpot Movies

Also, if you visit m.Mspot.com on a mobile browser, they have a new streaming movies service. The presenter said they are going live across 30 handsets (iPhone, Pre, etc) over EDGE, WIFI, or 3G. It’s essentially movies on demand; we get to try two movie rentals ($5 each) out.


mSpot’s groundbreaking movie services deliver full-length feature films, TV, concerts and comedy specials through subscription, “on-demand,” and pay-per-view models. mSpot makes the mobile movie magic happen with box-office hits and timeless favorites from Buena Vista VOD, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures.

I’m a bit “meh” about movies on demand. First, I can buy a movie on iTunes, download it and sync it in <5 minutes already. I can do this with a single click as I have an iTunes account and use it to buy music. I know the iTunes movies are in great quality, and their selection has many new releases. So, I don’t see mSpot as being competitive unless they offer subscription pricing and a bigger catalogue. And don’t even get me started on NetFlix, who is in the streaming space too…

Books & Movies

Finally we got a couple of books and movies. Can’t review them yet, but I’m looking forward to checking them out:


Company of Heroes 1.5 Patch Download

Posted in Games by Elliott Back on February 18th, 2007.

So there’s a new Company of Heroes multiplayer patch out, and no good place to download it from. The official site doesn’t even have it up yet, and every time I try to run it from inside the client I get an error message. So, in the spirit of gaming I’m releasing the Company of Heroes 1.5 patch as a download: