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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

a nice place to sleep (in the woods)

I headed to REI a few weeks ago after receiving my 2010 dividend and a sweet 20% off any item coupon.  I had no idea what I was going to buy... but knew I would find something awesome in that store, as I usually do.

There was a large display of tents near the front door  (I immediately knew I was going to walk out of there with one.)  I perused the store as I usually did... contemplated buying a new sleeping bag, a new backpack, or as many pairs of Smart Wool socks that I could afford...

I spoke with an extremely helpful staff member who excitedly told me all about the great backpacking tents available - and that my 20% coupon would go far on that type of purchase.

The employees at REI are always extremely helpful and seem generally glad to be at work - so big old props to REI for being awesome.

I walked out with a new tent and tent footprint for an unbelievable price - I give you the REI half dome review...

I had plans to go four wheeling with some buddies the following weekend and knew that it would be a great weekend to test out the tent.  As always, it's good to test equipment BEFORE using it in the field.  There is nothing worse than setting up camp after a long day of hiking, kayaking, or Jeeping and discovering that you're missing a key component of your tent.

I've never been a 'pro' at tent assembly and thought it'd be a good idea to carefully read all of the directions before assuming that I could just 'figure it out.'  I checked that all pieces were present, glanced at the clock, and got to work setting up the tent in my living room.

The assembly uses two main support poles with a single cross pole - and best of all, the poles and grommets are color coded for easy assembly!  The orange pole end goes in the orange grommet, the black in the black, and so on... and this goes for the footprint, and rain fly, as well as the tent itself.

This may seem like a simple thing - but meant the world to me as I continued to setup the tent in my living room.  While taking my time, and re-reading the instructions as I went along, I had the tent up in under 20 minutes without any help!  (no I did not drive stakes into my floor, not sure the landlords would have appreciated that much.)

My favorite feature of the half dome 2 are the dual vestibules.  For those not in the know - this means that there are entrances on either side of the tent.  If you're sharing this 2 person tent (yes it is actually big enough for two adults and some gear) with another person - you can exit or enter the tent without climbing over the other person. 

The half dome 2 went up even quicker in the field (especially with help!)  We had the tent up in under 10 minutes - and had plenty of time to help our friends setup their tent.

We had a little bit of rain - and it was a little chilly - but the half dome kept us dry all night!

The REI half dome performed as advertised (if not better) and easily earns KevinsPocket's FishingHat rating.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have at least a dozen half written blog posts that are not quite ready for publication yet; so here is a quick update from the pocket!

The most exciting thing I have to report is the newly updated and refreshed ! the site has gone through a major overhaul and will get even cooler in time :) I promise!

I owe a lot to the great people over at HostBaby for putting together a really simple way for creative types like myself to generate and update their websites without knowing a whole lot about HTML code... Having such an easy editor that looks so great is a blessing! The new site is the first step In many that I have planned for my music in 2011! Stay tuned!

I've decided to teach myself how to rebuild guitars this year; and will be using the Ibanez RG-120 that I purchased back in 1999 as a test subject. As you can see, I had a good time taking it apart. I'm sure soldering in all the new parts will be just as fun :)

There are a few non-music projects starting to line up as well. Sadly the Jeep is currently out of commission with a blown rear. Parts have arrived and I'm looking forward to learning about, and rebuilding the axle! I'm sure there will be more details to follow on that front.

I'm planning on building a new desk for my studio this year... It's going to be both vintage and modern and totally sweet...

And of course... Some awesome adventure travel... I will be exploring parts of the US that I've never seen before this fall!

More updates and do-dads to follow!

A message from KevinsPocket...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Have you ever been so ridiculously proud of your genius solution to an innovation dilemma... That it physically hurt when it didn't work out?

The Great Adventures of Kevo: Part II, Machubamba; required some pre-trip techie planning to assure full use of GPS tracking while exploring South America. The most obvious and necessary problem to figure out was power. Any explorer who has taken advantage of GPS tracking apps on their iPhone knows how great they work, and how they suck the life out of the battery, especially if you set the screen bright enough to be able to see where you are while outside!  The goal was to find an external battery or alternate charging method that would extend GPS (and overall) usage time and allow the device to remain in it's OtterBox protective case.

There are at least a dozen different external battery and charging options available for the iPhone. Most have decent user reviews, and are, generally, reasonably priced. After much deliberation, research, and budgeting; a Novothink Surge solar power iPhone charger/battery pack was the heavy favorite; even though it posed an obvious dilemma to my specific needs.

The Surge's internal battery can be charged via USB, or through the slick solar panel on the back. (the big yellow one is the sun!)

The dilemma: The Surge is also an iPhone case... This may be a plus to some people who want to show off their solar panel while using their device, or prefer less clutter in TheirPocket caused by multiple devices. For KevinsPocket, however, this aspect would combat the goal of using the OtterBox Defender case to keep the iPhone safe while exploring.  Before ordering such a device; many hours were spent searching the inter-web for a solution that would allow simultaneous usage of the two accessories... an iPhone dock extension cable was ordered along with the Surge.  

Time was short, so expedited shipping was required, and neglectfully paid for.

The RadTeck DockExtender cable is designed to allow users of such cases the ability to connect their iPhone to a dock (computer, iHome, or similar device) without removing the phone from the case.  The genius idea referred to above was to use this cable to attach the Surge to the iPhone while in its OtterBox defender case.

Sadly, due to delivery errors the dock cable did not arrive in time for the trip and I was forced to remove the iPhone from the OtterBox case to use the Surge.  Since the Surge can charge it's internal battery without being attached to the iPhone; this turned out to not be as big of a deal as I had originally thought.


When fully charged via USB; the Surge consistently added 70-90% to the iPhone's battery depending on usage during a charge.*  Charging through the solar feature was used sporadically throughout the trip when sun was available.  No specific figures to report; however the Surge did charge it's internal battery when left in direct sunlight.
Charging in Cusco, Peru
The Surge held up nicely and was a great fit for my needs during the trip.  Upon returning and finding the dock cable waiting for me; I decided to test my genius idea for use on additional explorations.

Sadly when performing my test; the iPhone prompted a message that the accessory attached was not supported for charging.  Knowing that the iPhone received a charge from the Surge without issue; it was removed from the OtterBox case and plugged into other known acceptable chargers (an iPhone wall charger, 12v car adapter, and an iMac.)  All scenarios yielded the same error message.

I contacted the manufacturer of the dock cable reporting the error and without any reply message or other communication; I received a new cable in the mail with instructions to mail them the original one.  Unfortunately the second cable worked just as the first... and both are sitting in a drawer in my studio.

And so, presumably similar to most genius ideas, it didn't work out as planned.


The Novothink Surge Solar Charger for iPhone worked as advertised, and was a great tool for The Great Adventures of Kevo Part II.  Due to its versatile design (the Surge's camera opening also works as a place to attach it to your pack with a carabiner) the Novothink Surge gets KevinsPocket's FishingHat rating.

The RadTeck DockExtender cable, however, did not work as advertised, or at all.  And will rightfully receive KevinsPocket's RentedTuxedo rating.

A message from KevinsPocket...

*Figures based on about 12 non-scientific tests done in KevinsPocket, not associated with Novothink.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The PocketScale

KevinsPocket, from time to time, may review items, services, stores, programs, apps, or even destinations that you might be considering for YourPocket; and will give them a rating based on the following, easy to use, PocketScale:

The RentedTuxedo:

As with a lot of formal wear; the tuxedo is littered with stuff that's for showin', and not for blowin'. In addition to the, ever too commonly, sewn in place pocket square (a SquarePocket indeed,) are many sewn shut, or even worse, fake pockets. Pieces of trim fabric sewn in such a way that suggests the existence of a useful storage location; only to reveal a complete lack there of. The RentedTuxedo is a scam, a pure example of pockets at their worst, and will therefore, rightfully, represent KevinsPocket's lowest rating.

The SkinnyJeans:

KevinsPocket understands the fact that function can't always win over fashion for some folks. Yes skinny jeans are often equipped with two to five pockets, which is nothing to take lightly, however these pockets are only useful, and loadable, when the garment is not being worn. Pocket availability? yes... Usefulness of said pockets? None at all... Only making them a slight step above The RentedTuxedo. The SkinnyJeans will represent KevinsPocket's second to worst rating.

The PhannyPack:

The PhannyPack exemplifies function over fashion at the highest degree. Pure pocket power, that doesn't try to be anything that it's not. However, the phannypack's location (front or rear) can often get in the way of activities that would require an AuxiliaryPocket of such magnitude; making hiking or biking a bit difficult. And so; the PhannyPack will represent KevinsPocket's middle ground rating.

The FishingHat:

The FishingHat is a super specific gear hauler and is full of tiny pockets and loops for storing items and keeping them at the ready. Unlike the PhannyPack, the FishingHat keeps gear out of the way while keeping it all extremely accessible. These two features are key for all functional gear haulers and rightfully places the FishingHat in the number four slot.

The CargoPants:

The name alone should explain why this lower extremity covering gains KevinsPocket's highest honor. The available pockets found on cargo pants are noteworthy not only for their pocket quantity, but for pocket quality. External pockets (those that do not require gear to be inside the garment, but suspended on the outside) are the best for hauling things around. Which is why the CargoPants will represent the highest rating on KevinsPockets's PocketScale.

Stay tuned to see the new PocketScale in action!!!

A message from KevinsPocket...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Testing PocketImage upload

Doing some more PocketTesting here at KevinsPocket.

The next official post requires some visual backup and so we'll be testing out our pocket photo upload abilities... Stay tuned for auxiliary pockets... :)

A message from KevinsPocket...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's in KevinsPocket?

Next to the janitor size collection of keys, trusty zippo lighter, faux leather money clip/wallet combo, and some blue fuzz, lives an otter box defended 16GB iPhone 3GS.

KevinsPocket has held quite an array of pocket communicators over the years; from text messaging minions to web surfing finger flyers.

The first device did not have a permanent home in KevinsPocket, but always accompanied the keys to the family minivan when on loan from MomsPocket. With an impressive 17 button setup and retractable antenna, the Nokia's small footprint left ample space for other things to be stowed away (like guitar pics and tennis balls!) MomsPocket didn't care for fancy covers or charms (remember those) but the zebra print clad Nokia that lived in a FriendsPocket will never be forgotten.

The first text message ever sent from KevinsPocket came from an oddly shaped motorola and was, more than likely, received by that unforgettable Nokia. This led to the never fully-answerable question: What can be done from KevinsPocket?

The i60c brought push to talk, the i710 added a color screen with wallpaper, and the Chocolate (complete with Super Mario Brothers ringtone) supplied the first camera to KevinsPocket.

The move to "smart" phones added email management and web browsing while on the road playing gigs and during adventure traveling... After 4 pearls, and a curve... The iPhone 3GS found a comfortable place among the oddities that can be found in KevinsPocket...

This has been a message from... KevinsPocket

Pocket Blog Test

Getting things organized here in KevinsPocket... Testing some pocket publishing :)