Monday, August 22, 2011

Girls love bags.

I am reviewing a laptop bag, the Eagle Creek Dane.
Let me admit this, I am a bagaholic. Every time I hear of a new and improved bag, I salivate a little. I was considering the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0, but when I saw it and tried it, it seems a bit floppy, and the laptop area was too close to the top. I was afraid my 15" Macbook Pro (mid 2011) would not be protected well. The layout of the rest of the bag looked great, but it did not have backpack straps.

My criteria for a bag:

*Checkpoint friendly
*Shoulder strap
*Padded handle
*Ergonomic backpack straps
*Easy laptop access
*Good protection (suspended laptop container)
*Room for wires, external hard drives, etc.
*Good warranty, lifetime preferred

I love Eagle Creek products, so I thought I would give this bag a try. Here is what they claim:

  • Three carry options: Padded concealable daypack straps, removable shoulder strap and padded grab handle
  • Checkpoint Friendly laptop compartment with butterfly-style opening sized to fit most 17” laptops
  • Smart Travel Security™ organization with Secure-Zip™ toggle closure includes: interior mobile phone and electronics pockets, zippered mesh pocket, key fob and pen slots
  • Two-way lockable zippers on main and laptop compartments
  • Two interior pockets for electronic chargers/cords
  • Front zippered pocket
  • Back slip panel for securely stacking on wheeled luggage
  • Reflective accents for dusk and nighttime visibility

And yes, they have Eagle Creek's famous lifetime guarantee. So more on this at the end of this week as I put this bag to the test.

Friday, August 12, 2011

iBank, iApprove.

I have been using Igg Software's iBank for a couple of weeks, and although it took me awhile to get used to it, I have found it meets my needs very well. 

Initially, I was entering my transactions in iBooks AND Quicken essentials in case I hated iBank. But in the last week, I have abandoned Intuit's poor substitution for Quicken, and jumped right into iBank's interface.
The reports are very easy to read, and colorful in a way that points to pertinent info.

I Love:
I can see a list of my accounts in a left side panel.
Customizable toolbar with a calculator, currency exchange rate, reports, etc.
iPhone and iPad sync (OMG!)
Reconcile checkmark near left side of register, much more ergonomic.
Cute piggybank icon for savings account (see above).
Ability to add icons to categories.
Transferred my Quicken info beautifully.
Great customer support, constant updates.

Not so love:
Entry feels a little clumsy, once I save a transaction, it still has active entry fields, so when I come back to iBank, I'm not sure if I have saved it. It only looks final when I click the plus sign to add a new transaction.
Not enough like a check register, so it took me awhile to feel at ease with setting it up. I would rather have the check number right after the date.

Here are some screenshots (samples, not my accounts!)