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Bag Week 2018 Timbuk2’s Launch featherweight daypack is tough and tiny

If you need something small, lightweight and indestructible, Timbuk2’s Lightweight Launch Backpack ($129) might be right up your alley. The pack, constructed from famously tough Tyvek, can fit a 13″ laptop comfortably and plenty else. At only 18L, it sounds small, but due to its drawstring top design and large main compartment, it holds more than enough to make it a functional all-purpose daypack for work or play.

The Launch’s distinct look will be what makes up most people’s minds about this pack. Beyond the drawstring design and this fun lemon-lime interior color, the Launch doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. Still, it checks important boxes with the inclusion of stuff like a water bottle holder, a sternum strap, and weather resistant build material.

If you’re a fan of tough lightweight packs, know that the Launch’s Tyvek material gives it more structure than most stuff made out of this kind of material. That’s both a good and bad thing: more structure is great so your pack doesn’t just collapse into a little pile but because the Tyvek lacks any stretch whatsoever both its front pocket and the top compartment that sits on top of the main part of the pack can be a little tricky to dig things in and out of.

Happily, the Launch holds a laptop very well thanks to a padded compartment accessible via a full-length side zipper — always the best way to access a laptop in a backpack! The laptop area is a nice touch for such a lightweight pack and makes Timbuk2’s Launch a unique, super light laptop pack for everyday use so long as you’re not carrying too much.

If you’re a longtime Timbuk2 fan know that the pack both looks and feels different from most of Timbuk2’s classic designs and unfortunately doesn’t come in the bright, playful tri-color look that some of its classic messengers do. Still, if you’re into more natural, subdue

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Bag Week 2018 PMAI’s women’s leather laptop bag is luxury packed with utility

Welcome to Bag Week 2018. Every year your faithful friends at TechCrunch spend an entire week looking at bags. Why? Because bags — often ignored but full of our important electronics — are the outward representations of our techie styles, and we put far too little thought into where we keep our most prized possessions.

I’ve always preferred carrying a backpack to work instead of a purse. Like many women, I’ve accepted that it means sacrificing style for comfort and utility. There are tons of women’s backpacks on the market with all sorts of colors, designs, materials and overall aesthetics.

But the minute you look for a quality, women’s leather laptop backpack the options are sparse and divided into two camps. They seem to either be casual in aesthetic and centered around a utilitarian design, or straight off the runway and built more for show than function.

P.MAI surprised me in its ability to find an uncompromising middle ground between a luxury aesthetic and practical utility.

Phuong Mai founded P.MAI after years of working in the world of management consulting. It is a world where consultants are expected to always be slightly better dressed than their clients, and they are constantly on the road traveling between client projects.

Mai’s purse caused back pain, and her doctor recommended switching to a backpack. She couldn’t find a backpack that checked all the boxes — feminine yet durable, comfortable yet sleek, utilitarian and still beautiful. So she bootstrapped P.MAI to create it.

She started by focusing on sourcing from suppliers with premium fabrics and leathers to blend beauty with durability. The backpack is constructed from full grain calf leather, two-tone nylon body fabric and poly lining. The fabrics are coated with PU to ensure water-resistance.

The design is sleek with no external protruding pockets. Instead there is one zip pocket large enough for a passport on the front, and compartments designed for the modern, professional woman inside. The padded laptop compartment fits up to a 15-inch laptop. There also are three internal slip pockets and one internal zip pocket to store and organize all of your belongings. These are complemented by an elastic lined water (or wine) bottle holder, and an internal key ring snaphoo

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Apple will repair busted keyboards on recent MacBooks and MacBook Pros for free

Back in 2016, Apple redesigned the MacBook Pro’s keyboard. It… hasn’t gone as well as they probably hoped.

Complaints quickly started popping up of failing keys. Some keys had a tendency to get stuck in place; others move freely, but simply don’t respond.

Two years and a lawsuit later, Apple is officially acknowledging the issue with a free keyboard repair program.

And if you already paid Apple to fix your keyboard in the past? Give them a call. According to this support page, they’re planning on refunding previous repair charges.

Apple says the following models are eligible:

MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, Early 2015) MacBook (Retina, 12­-inch, Early 2016) MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, 2017) MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports) MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports) MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016) MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

To get the process started, you’ll have to take your affected laptop into an authorized service provider or an Apple retail store, or mail the whole thing in. They’ll examine it to make sure that it’s actually the keyboard’s fault (read: to make sure you didn’t spill a cup of juice on it or something), then either replace the affected key or swap out the whole board. Alas, this repair isn’t often a quick one — so expect to be without your laptop for a few days.

And before you panic that your warranty is about to expire: Apple says these keyboard repairs will be covered from four years after your original purchase date, regardless of warranty status. With design issues like this I’d hope for something a bit longer than that, but it’s a start.

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VC Brian O’Malley jumps from Accel to Forerunner Ventures

Brian O’Malley may be the most-poached venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. While rising through the ranks at the global investment firm Battery Ventures, where O’Malley had led deals in Hotel Tonight among others, he was plucked out of the firm by Accel Partners in 2013, where both O’Malley and Accel thought he could be even more successful.

Fast-forward five years and O’Malley is announcing today (through Forbes) that he just joined Forerunner Ventures, the top e-commerce investing firm launched in 2010 by founder Kirsten Green.

That O’Malley is willing to make moves is hardly a knock. For someone whose job it is to create and manage promising portfolios, he seems to be managing his career with that same, smart mindset.

The move also reflects well on Forerunner, a much younger firm than storied Accel but whose star has been soaring in recent years, thanks to early bets on companies like Bonobos (sold to Walmart), Jet.com (sold to Walmart), Dollar Shave Club (sold to Unilever) and Hotel Tonight, among other growing brands, including the cosmetics company Glossier, the athleisure-wear company Outdoor Voices and the home furnishings company Serena & Lily.

Indeed, though Forerunner seems to be doing just fine with its current team, one can imagine that adding O’Malley to its ranks will only make fundraising easier — and our bet is the firm is fundraising right around now, based on the close of its current, third, fund in the summer of 2016.

You can learn more about O’Malley’s newest move here. In the meantime, if you’re interested in some of what’s involved in switching firms in Silicon Valley, O’Malley gave us some great insight into these moves back in 2015, when he discussed what a VC needs to factor in when joining a new team, what happens to his or her board seats and much more.

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A look back at the best tech ads of the last 35 years

Last week the Association of Independent Commercial Producers announced the winners of its annual awards honoring the best moving image marketing of the year and Apple’s “Welcome Home” ad took home the prize for Advertising Excellence in the single commercial category. Directed by Spike Jonze, the person behind movies like Her and Being John Malkovich, the musical short film follows the journey of a young woman, FKA Twigs, as she returns home from a challenging work day to an empty apartment. After asking Siri to “play something [she’d] like” her world is literally transformed as the music of Anderson .Paak’s “Til It’s Over” spills out of her HomePod.

With stunning visuals (most of which were not CGI) and captivating choreography, Jonze breathes life into a product that got mixed reviews after its release in February. This made us think, what other tech commercials have grabbed our attention in the last 35 years and transformed how we think about technology? Here’s a few of our favorites.

 

“1984”

It’s hard to talk about transformative tech ads without mentioning this one first. This Super Bowl ad from 1984 was directed by Ridley Scott (who directed Alien in 1979) and was the world’s introduction to the Macintosh personal computer. The ad draws some not-so-subtle connections between PC consumerism and soulless corporate office spaces of the 80s to George Orwell’s dystopian ‘1984.’

In the commercial, a depiction of Big Brother speaks hypnotically to a mass of identical workers as woman in bright colors streaks through the crowd, mallet in hand. With Olympian effort, she sends it flying into the screen, disrupting the status quo of personal computing and promising the world that with the Macintosh “1984 won’t be like ‘1984′.” 

 

“Dude, You’re Getting a Dell”

Noticeably less high-concept than the introduction of the Macintosh, this 26 commercial campaign still captured a lot of attention in the earlier 2000s. The spots feature a character named Steven – a stereotypical easy-going, cool teenager who has a particular knack for charming parents into buying Dell computers for their families. A popular spot for Dell, the commercials even launched the star Be

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