Category Archives: Products

Spigen Air Cushion Case

This was the second case I ended up buying. The Spigen Air Cushion clear case is probably the best case if you want to go clear. I thought that’s what I wanted but in the end I don’t think it looks good on my space gray iPhone. It does look good on the white and gold iPhone though.

The main difference between this and the Spigen soft­flex TPU case is that the back is a hard plastic. The sides are made of the TPU rubber material. I think since it has the hard back, the case is a little more snug than the soft­flex case. It is a hair thicker than it too but it’s not noticeable.

Canon BG-E13 – Counterfeit or Authentic?

I just upgraded from my Canon 60D to a 6D.  I got a great deal on the 6D on eBay.  If you aren’t aware, there are tons of fake or counterfeit Canon products out there.  I ordered one on Amazon (seller: Xamas) and when it arrived, I had a suspicion about it’s authenticity.  Since it’s not something that is usually carried by local electronic stores, I ordered another one from Amazon.  The two are definitely different.

The main visible difference is the inside of the grip.  The authentic one is made of a magnesium alloy and there’s more of it than the counterfeit one.  Also, on the authentic one you can see the serial printed on the bottom on the tripod mount plate.

The authentic grip’s shutter release is smooth.  It feels just like the 6D’s button.  The counterfeit shutter release has a “click” if you press halfway as well as a full press.

The counterfeit box is close but you can see subtle differences.  The red on the lid bleeds over on to the front whereas the authentic box is white at the end of the lid flap.  The paperwork that comes with the counterfeit one has poor quality text.  It looks like it was photocopied basically.  You can see with the warranty card, the margins are wider.

You probably wouldn’t know any better if you never saw the authentic Canon grip.  There’s nothing wrong with buying a more budget friendly third party grip like one from Neweer or Zeikos.  But if you think you’re buying an authentic Canon battery grip (for a premium I might add), it’s quite f’ed up to get a counterfeit.  I hope this helps some of you out there that are willing to spend the extra bucks on the real deal.

Spigen SOFT-FLEX Capsule Premium Clear Flexible Soft TPU Case

Spigen Soft-Flex Capsule Premium Clear Flexible Soft TPU Case


This Spigen was the first case that I bought. At launch time, there weren’t many cases that were ready to ship. A lot of them were available as pre-orders. In the past, I’ve found that TPU cases tend not to be as snug as I’d like. I don’t like it when you can easily pull a case off the phone. I feel like that would allow for small things to get in between the case and phone, then you end up with scratches.  This one is a little stiffer than the other TPU cases I’ve seen.  Still, it’s not as snug as I’d like.


I thought I wanted a clear case but I don’t think it looks good on my space gray iPhone. It does look good on the white and gold iPhone though. This is what my wife has on her phone. She doesn’t care about the particulars nearly as much as I do. As long as it protects the phone from abuse then she’s good.  It does a pretty good job resisting scratches.


It’s thick enough to endure a drop.  I’m not saying you can drop it off your balcony and expect your phone to still be in tact, but it’ll withstand a fall from your lap.  The lip comes up enough for you to place the phone face down.

Verdict: 7/10

iPhone 6 Case Reviews

I wanted to provide some iPhone 6 case reviews because if I’m sure there are others that are look for the same things that I do.  After I pre-ordered my iPhone 6, I immediately started looking for a case. There are those that believe cases are an abomination and ruin the aesthetics of phone. I’m all for design but I also like to keep my things in good condition. Growing up, my dad ingrained in me the idea that you have to take good care of your belongings. I definitely do and it annoys my wife when I “lecture” her.


There are key things I look for when choosing a case. First, it has to be minimal/slim as possible. I can’t handle something like the Otterbox Defender case, they’re too bulky. I wouldn’t be able to put that in my pocket and I’m not about to wear a belt clip. If I do that, I’ll have officially turned in to my dad. The next step would be wearing a bluetooth headset all day long.

Second, it has to go all the way around covering not only the sides but the top and bottom.  There are a lot of slim cases that clip on but they don’t provide protection for the top and bottom edges of the phone.  I’ve seen my friends phones and a lot of them are banged up.  I just imagine a drop on the sidewalk and that’s enough for me.  I’m not particularly gentle with my phones either.  I would like to be able to throw it across the room on to my bed or a couch.  And sometimes it bounces off and falls on the floor or hits something else.

Third, it has to have a lip that extends slightly past the screen.  This allows me to put the phone face down without worrying about damaging the screen.  This should be more important than protecting the back actually.  I don’t really get why you’d get a case to protect the back and not the screen.

Fourth, it absolutely cannot have an Apple logo cutout on the back.  When I see these cases, I automatically assume that person is a douchebag.  I’m sorry, that’s just how it is.  Some of these people might not be as picky about cases and just picked one.  But if you purposely chose one because you wanted to show off the stupid apple, then you’re stupid.  I used to refrain from buying Apple products because a lot of fanboys are annoying sheep.  It’s just a phone people, why do you care what other people buy and use?

Then there are things like port and camera cutout size and button responsiveness.  Those aren’t vital but still important factors.  Next, I’ll go through the cases that I have hands-on experience with.  I got a little obsessive about this so there are a couple.

Tuft & Needle Ten Mattress Review

I suppose I’m due for a review for our new mattress.  I wanted to do it earlier but actually a month is a sufficient period of time to do a proper review of a mattress.  Once I had my order placed, I checked my shipping status every day.  If you’re like me (bad with money) and you order lots of things off the internet, you should have the UPS app.  It’s like tracking Santa with your gifts, only you bought them.  Yes it’s not going to ship with 2-day shipping but equally as good is FREE shipping and this is true for for all Tuft & Needle orders!  Of course you’ll have to wait a little longer but I would expect that with something as large as a mattress.


Our Ten was delivered in just about a week.  As I stated before, I was pretty excited about getting it.  The UPS guy knocked on my door and made sure that there was space to put it down inside.  I think he said he needed a hand so I went out to help him.  He said it was heavy so I should be careful.  I had done research so I knew it comes rolled up in a box.  I picked up my end, it wasn’t that heavy.  I mean I’m a somewhat big guy and I lift heavy things at the gym but I’m no Zyzz.  I was able to lift it by myself so I threw it over my shoulder and headed inside.


The box was probably about 2’x2’x5′.  I slid the mattress roll out and brought it up to our bedroom.  After cutting off the plastic, it was pretty cool to watch the mattress unravel.  I wanted to take a Hyperlapse of it but I only have two hands.  Plus that might be the shortest Hyperlapse video ever.  I’ve read about a “chemical” smell bothering people, but it really wasn’t that bad to me.  I think I have a pretty sensitive nose too.

I laid down on it and it already felt pretty firm but I guess you’re supposed to let it fill out/expand for a couple hours.  I had to eat dinner anyway so I let it be.  Then I realized it was Tuesday, which is the night I play basketball.  You see, on basketball night my wife lets our daughter sleep with her so I have to sleep in her bed.  I’ve already waited over a week so what’s one more day?


Our initial thoughts were that it was really firm.  I think it’s in part to being so used to this old now-soft mattress and it’s predecessors.  I really liked it but to be honest it took some getting used to.  The first morning, my body was a little sore.  After a few days I was fine.

I no longer feel achey in the mornings.  With a softer bed, I felt like I wasn’t getting the support I need.  Something that usually goes hand in hand with aches is feeling tired.  I definitely feel like I get a better night’s sleep.  I tend to be a side-sleeper and I told this to my masseuse.  She said that may be why I have neck and back aches.  I’ve always felt like when I sleep on my right side, the left side of my neck and shoulders would tense up and vice versa.  She recommended that I try to sleep on my back to avoid this.  I have found that it’s been easier to do this.  I think a softer mattress would give more in spots like your hips and shoulders.  So far I haven’t woken up with any knots, knock on wood.

I’ve noticed that when my wife gets in and out of bed, I don’t really notice it.  I don’t feel any of the movement I used to experience with a traditional mattress.  This is good because I typically go to bed later than my wife.  Another observation is about the edges of the bed.  When I sit down to put my socks on, it doesn’t have the same support of a traditional mattress.  Does this matter at all?  Absolutely not.

Wrapping It Up

I like that it only costs $500 for a queen size Ten.  I think that’s relatively low for a quality mattress considering I’ve had friends that have spent much more.  I’m very happy with the purchase.  I would definitely recommend a Tuft & Needle mattress to anyone that is looking.  Actually, I am considering buying a full size Ten to put on my daughter’s bed.  It would be a win-win for her and me!

Note:  This week, the company updated their warranty.  At the time of purchase the warranty for all mattresses was 7 years.  It’s now a nice round 10 years!

Tuft & Needle Ten Mattress

This is going to sound a tad lame, but I’m anxious to get my new mattress. Yesterday, I ordered a new mattress from Tuft & Needle after reading all the glowing reviews on Amazon. I think I first heard about Tuft & Needle on Reddit but I’m not positive. I was intrigued by their story.  Basically, the founders were put off by the mattress shopping experience and set out to solve this problem. They ended up designing and manufacturing their own.

I had a nice firm mattress but my wife wanted to get the Heavenly Bed by Westin because our friends raved about theirs. I’m not sure why I agreed because it was way too soft for me. Since then, we’ve probably had 3 other mattresses.  They’re fine initially but over time they lose their firmness and it just doesn’t feel as nice.

One common thing is they’ve all developed the infamous hump. I always thought this was due to the bed frame and slats, but I’ve recently read that it’s just from sleeping on the two sides. Turning your mattress wouldn’t really help since you’re never really sleeping in the middle. Actually, my wife used to sleep on most of the bed while I ended up as close as you could to the edge without falling off.

After researching, I found out that Amazon only sells the Five which is the 5” model. This year, T&N introduced their new flagship 10” model, appropriately named the Ten. That’s what I ended up ordering, not just because it might feel better but we can use our existing bedding. Getting new sheets for a 5” mattress would be slightly annoying.  The Ten is available directly through the T&N website.  The checkout process is pretty simple.

When you check out, you are presented with two options for delivery date. You can either schedule an available day or select soonest possible day. I chose the latter and it looks like my expected delivery date is Nov 11th. Amazon Prime and Zappos VIP have ruined online shipping speeds for me. Anything more than two-day shipping feels like a long time.

I hope I’m not getting too excited and setting my expectations too high. I tend to be disappointed when something is so hyped. We’ll see in about two weeks.  I’ll definitely follow up with a review after I’ve slept on it.  If it works out, I’ll probably buy two Fives for the kids.

iPhone 6 or 6+?

If you’re interested in getting an iPhone 6 or 6+ you should check out this size comparison by PhoneArena.  It’ll show you side by side comparisons of other phones.  You have to calibrate your screen first, otherwise nothing seems out of the ordinary.  Once I did, I was pretty surprised to see how big the 6+ really is.  The 6+ is about 80% of my 13″ MacBook Pro’s screen height.  I don’t think I want to put that in my pants pocket.

iPhone 6 vs 6+

I’m already on board with the 6.  I’ve ordered some Tech Armor screen protectors.  Order it now and enter in the code “WORMBIRD” at checkout to get it for $4.99.  I’ve been using these on my phone, my wife’s, and my parents with great results.  They never bubble like the ones my friends have.

Now I have to find a case.  That’s always something I hate because I research the hell out of cases.  You can see how picky I am in my Spigen post.  That’s been a great case but the bumper/frame is kind of beat up now.  Good timing I suppose.

Nit-picky About Earbuds

After having them for 4 years, I finally messed up my earbuds.  Well not really, but I did tear the earbud tip.  These Sony earbuds have endured a lot.  I knew something was wrong when I put them in and the music sounded drastically different.  By different I mean really bad.  That’s when I discovered that the tip was damaged.

I think if you spend less than $15 on a pair of headphones, you probably lose them a lot.  I know several people that are prone to this. Those cheap headphones probably come with foam earbud tips or don’t have any at all.  If you don’t lose them, you should really invest in a decent pair.  The ones that come with cell phones are garbage.  I guess some people don’t care about sound quality though.  I can’t really understand this to be honest.  One of my biggest annoyances is the people that have headphones that everyone else can hear.  I don’t really want to listen to your shitty music, keep it to yourself.

In typical Allan fashion, I started to look for new headphones.  I was reminded of the plethora of options that are available.  Honestly, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I did some research and came across these Comply T-400 earbud tips.  Instead of taking the plunge on another pair of earbuds, I opted for these.  Three pair for $10, how could I go wrong?  Plus the Radio Shack next to my office had them in stock.

The biggest praise that I read was comfort.  They’re made of memory foam so they are actually pretty comfortable.  After about a half hour or so, my silicone tips got slightly uncomfortable.  I’ve worn these for over an hour without any discomfort.  I would have to say that sound quality has somewhat improved.  It does a good job of noise canceling because I didn’t hear anything my coworker was saying to me.  I just happened to see her looking at me in my peripheral.

These tips not only do a good job but they’ve saved me about $50.  I was ready to buy a new pair of earbuds but that urge has waned, a little.  We’ll see how long these last since there is an issue of wear and tear.  Then I might just have to try these Xiaomi earbuds.  A lot of good reviews and they only run a little over $20.  If you’re interested in Comply tips, you have to check their fitment guide to see which ones will work for your earbuds.  Don’t rely on the package like I did.  I ended up having to go back to Radio Shack to get the right ones.

Still Corporate

I haven’t left the 9-5 corporate grind.  I haven’t made thousands through affiliate marketing.  The truth is I’ve joined bigger and bigger consulting firms as my career has progressed.  That is something I never thought would happen.  If marketing was easy, everyone would be doing it.  As I’ve read and know first hand, you really have to focus and I just haven’t been able to devote time to doing it.

I did go on vacation to Hawaii recently.  Traveling is the easiest way for me to partake in one of my favorite hobbies, photography.  I think I’ve gotten better but I don’t really take enough pictures.  Of course I’m my toughest critic though.

I basically took all my gear with me on the trip.  Here’s what I currently have:

Body: Canon 60D w/ BG-E9 battery grip

Lenses:  Canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM | 100mm f2.8L IS USM | 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM

Flash: Canon 580EX II

It all fits in my Lowepro camera bag and boy is it heavy.  After lugging it around the airport along with my backpack which has my 13″ Macbook Pro, I decided I need a new bag to carry everything.  I haven’t pulled the trigger yet but I’m leaning towards the Case Logic backpack.  It looks like it was well thought out.  I like how the camera is suspended/held inside the bag.  However, I did buy this other Lowepro bag because it was on sale for $13.  I think it’ll be a good around town bag.  What I do now is just leave it on the passenger or backseat of my car.  Sometimes in the family car, I put it on the floor.

After I got back and edited my pictures, I was a bit disappointed in the sharpness of my pictures.  Most of them were taken with the ultra-wide 10-22mm.  I think my biggest problems are lighting and holding steady.  When I take a picture of the kids and they’re moving, I tend to react and move with them.  When I get my shot, I’m pretty sure I’m not absolutely still half the time.  Thank goodness for digital.  One thing I did learn was to shoot using AI Servo in situations like this.  I have yet to try it but I will soon.

I have a good reason to try soon because I just picked up the Canon 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM ultra-wide lens.  I also signed up for a Flickr account.  Hopefully I can use that to get feedback and learn from other photographers.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to throw up a Facebook fauxtography page and pretend I’m a pro.  Those people irk me.  I know I’m critical but most of those people shouldn’t be charging anyone for their services.  Anyway, here’s my Flickr Photostream.

Spigen Neo Hybrid iPhone 5S Case

The Linear Metal case is a pretty sweet case but it’s not so practical when you have kids.  It’s aesthetically pleasing but I’m not entirely sure it’d survive a drop from a couple feet up.  The phone would be ok, but I think the plastic frame would break.

I did some further research and ended up finding the Neo Hybrid iPhone 5S case.  It’s made up of two parts.  A rubber cover goes around the whole phone and a frame that resembles a bumper snaps in to the rubber part.  When put together it looks like one piece and fits really snug.  The volume and lock buttons are solid and give great feedback.

I think the best feature, like the Linear Metal case, is that it doesn’t cover any of the glass so that a screen protector isn’t affected.  I hate when cases make the protector bubble.

I also got it in Space Grey for my black iPhone 5S.