Casper Mattress Review – Sleep Dangerously

casper

I’ve had a bad back since being a teenager. Competitive swimming left me with small stress fractures in the lower vertebrae of my spine. Getting hit by a car didn’t help the situation either – point being, my back isn’t great. Over the past couple months my old mattress had been making it abundantly clear that it was no longer cutting the mustard. Each morning was met with a painful sitting up period where my back felt as if it was crushing into itself followed by a painful standing period. Once vertical, I’d stumble out of the bedroom gripping my lower back and begin my morning routine.

I’d heard about memory foam mattresses and how great they are, but that those benefits came with some steep costs. Namely trapping heat making for a hot sleep, and a weird feeling of being enveloped. Neither of these things sounded like something I want any part of – my search continued. Then one day at work a co-worker told me that a friend of his had bought a mattress from a sleep startup called Casper. I went over to their site at caspersleep.com (which is pretty slick looking) and read up on it. The mattress is made in New York and consists of a memory foam core, with a latex top. They say this adds more bounce to the mattress which benefits “bed sports”, sleeps cooler, and provides the much needed support someone with say a 3 minute standing process each morning may benefit from. The best part about the mattress is that there is a 40 day return policy where if you don’t like it you can have them come pick it up within 40 days for a refund.

Casper-Mattress

I ordered a queen size for $850 (a super reasonable price as far as I’m concerned). My friend ended up ordering one right after me and she put down my name and email address and said I was her referrer, and they gave her $75 off and gave me $75 cash. Not bad. When the bed came, it arrived in a relatively small box I opened it up and within minutes the mattress had inflated and expanded to its full size. There was a little bit of a plastic smell to it (called off gassing I would learn later). But that went away within a couple hours. It was firmer than I had expected, but felt comfortable.

It’s been over 40 days since I received my Casper, and I am pretty happy with it. I find myself falling asleep faster on it than on my old mattress. I no longer have the lengthy and painful standing ritual in the mornings, either. I still wake up with back pain on occasion, but its not nearly as bad as it was on my old bed. And its no where near as often. I’m pretty impressed with it.

My girlfriend’s experience is a little different than mine, though. Her back is fine, but after sleeping on the Casper she discovered that she was waking up with lower back pain. According to her research it may be because on foam mattresses people tend to move around less. So if you fall asleep in a position where you are not aligned you may have some issued. I emailed the Casper customer support line telling them that our 40 day trial period was already over, but we were having some issues with the mattress. In addition to extending the length of our trial period the representative is shipping a gel mattress topper (at no cost to me), saying that it could help with her back issues and that he is sorry that she is having pain.

Last night she experimented with putting a pillow between her knees to keep everything lined up and said she felt a lot better in the morning so I am hoping that this topper will also help. I am blown away but their customer service, and genuine caring about their customers. I’ll update this post to let ya know the effects of the gel topper on both myself and my girlfriend, but I have high hopes.

If you think a Casper may be what you’re looking for use my referral link. You’ll get $50 off and I’ll get a $50 kickback. Win/win!

UPDATE: So the topper they sent us was a Milliard Gel Infused Memory Foam from amazon. It’s great! It adds a very soft upper layer similar to pillow top mattresses. It is made with gel infused memory foam, so its supposed to have cooling properties (which I haven’t noticed really, but it doesn’t seem to trap heat which I am fine with). My girlfriend hasn’t complained of back issues since the first night we added the pad to the bed so mission accomplished. New bed forever!

UPDATE 2: Looks like Casper has changed the way they do the referral program. Use this link to get $50 off, and it will kick me back $50 as well. They also seem to have extended the 40 day trial to 100 days. 

Destiny Beta Thoughts

I’ve been playing a lot of the Destiny’s beta over the past week. Above is a video of me exploring and running into a Spider tank. This is before I really figured out how to fight them, and now I can take these things out without much trouble, but it was quite a struggle for me when I recorded this.

Seeing how far the game has come since alpha has been really getting me excited. I really like the intro cutscenes that they’ve added and all of the story setup now. In the alpha they just kind of dropped you into the world, and it was a little weird. Even though the beta’s level cap is set to 8, there is still a pretty good feeling of progression. From what I’ve been hearing recently, some stuff from the beta may carry over to final release. Especially rewards secured on the final day of the beta. I have also been doing a lot more PVP since the Iron Banner events started happening, and I am getting really into that too. Its going to be a painful couple months waiting for the final game to come out.

Speaking of Iron Banner, I wish the lvl 20 hand cannon I unlocked would carry forward. So cruel.

Timur's Lash

I’m back.

I may start posting here more, as in more than once every 2 years. Want a place to talk about both my twitch streams, and talk about things I buy (and a place to post my youtube reviews).

So expect that kind of stuff.

Herman Miller Sayl Chair Review

I’ve never owned a nice chair. In the past I’ve just bought stuff from an office supply store, or Ikea. Normally these chairs last a couple years, then they start making noises, or falling apart. My last chair, from Ikea was fake leather and it started to make loud popping noises when you’d shift your weight or stand up, the leather finish was also worn away on parts of the seat. The worst thing about these types of chairs is that they are usually just put together so that they are cheaply produced and not much time or money goes into the visual design or the ergonomics.

Continue reading →

MacBook Air 13.3″ an Unboxing and Review

I never bought the original MacBook Air, but I did play with one in the Apple store a couple of times and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was horrendously expensive at launch (around $1800 if memory serves me correctly), was crippled with heat problems, and worst of all it was slow (in no small part due to having to under-clock itself so that it wouldn’t overheat). With the new 2010 versions of the MacBook Air a lot has changed. The form factor isn’t vastly different, but the changes that have been made show a level of polish clearly lacking in the previous model.

Body and Case

The first thing you notice when you take the MacBook Air out of the box is that it’s incredibly slim. Even after a week of use I still marvel at its size and weight nearly every time I pick it up. The new unibody case feels solid and robust even though the screen isn’t much thicker than a couple of stacked DVDs. It feels quite rigid and gives you the sense that it could take a couple of dings without much of a problem. The screen is missing an ambient light sensor and the edge to edge glass of the MacBook Pro line, but in a form factor so small and light, the trade off hardly seems like an issue. Aesthetically I do miss the black bezel around the screen, but the MacBook Air feels like a Spartan version of a MacBook Pro so it’s aluminum bezel kind of fits.

The bottom of the computer is where most of the bulk is (if you can even call it that). The keyboard, though full-size, lacks a back-light. Not a deal breaker by any means, but something of note. The computer is divided internally front to back. The front 2/3 are occupied by the system’s batteries, and the back 1/3 is the rest of the internals. Because batteries are so heavy for their size, the MacBook air feels very well balanced front to back, which is sort of surprising given its tapered edge.

As far as ports go, the right side has an SD card slot, a USB 2.0 port, and a Mini Display Port. On the left, an omnidirectional microphone, a headphone jack, a second USB 2.0 port, and a MagSafe power port.

Screen

Not much can be said about the MacBook Air’s screen. It’s fantastic. The 1440×900 resolution found on the 15″ MacBook Pro crammed down onto a 13.3″ screen results in a picture that is extremely crisp and clear. The high pixel density makes text easy to read and makes images sharp and detailed.

Performance

One of the first things I noticed when I started really using the Air, and I did some video editing with iLife ’11 on the very first day, is that the thing is completely silent even when under decent load. Compressing a 720p movie barely phases the Macbook Air, and even though you could get the job done faster on a MacBook Pro, its performance is admirable and actually quite impressive given its size and weight. The only time the air even begins to show that its working is when a game is being played. Fans roar into action but aside from the fanfare there isn’t really any other signs of a struggle. I ran Team Fortress 2 for several minutes in a full 24 player server on native resolution and medium/high settings, and gameplay was smooth and fast. After even that, the MacBook Air’s external temperature only achieved mildly warm, never approaching the hot or surface-of-the-sun temps that the top of a core i7 iMac can achieve.

Under normal use like web browsing, streaming HD video, and the like the 13″ MacBook Air is a champ and feels zippy and responsive. Because of the built in flash storage (128GB by default) opening files feels impossibly fast and even turning the computer on only takes 10-15 seconds.

Battery Life

The official Apple line is that the 13″ MacBook Air gets 7 hours of battery life. For me though, I never use a laptop for 7 hours straight. If I’m on a trip or away somewhere I’d be using my Air exclusively it would most likely only be for a couple of minutes at a time to look something up, dump a bunch of photos onto it, compress a quick video, etc. and I think that it is for these types of tasks and intermittent use where the MacBook Air really shines. By default the MacBook Air is aggressively sleepy. If left alone for a couple of minutes the screen shuts off and the computer goes to sleep. This, coupled with such a long standby time means that if you’re away from the computer the battery really isn’t going to go deplete much at all. I’ve used it on and off for 2 days and had the battery still holding strong at 75% and that is a great feeling.

Summary

The MacBook Air, for all intents and purposes, is the notebook of my dreams – An extremely thin and light laptop that is ultra-portable, yet is powerful enough to roll up its sleeves and do some real computing when it needs to. I think that the MacBook Air may be one of the finest products that Apple has ever produced and I couldn’t be any happier with my purchase.

What have I been up to (as far as media consumption)?

I haven’t posted anything on the ole’ blog for awhile so I figured I just do a quick rundown of some of the most recent things I’ve been reading/listening/watching/playing.

Books:
When You Are Engulfed In Flames – David Sedaris
Peter & Max – Bill Willingham

Comics:
Green Lantern (Prelude to Blackest Night, and Blackest Night) – Geoff Johns
Batman and Robin – Grant Morrison
Fables – Bill Willingham

TV:
Justified
LOST
24
Dr. Who

Videogames:
God of War III
Modern Warfare 2

Music:
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Girls – Album
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Podcasts (new):
My Brother, My Brother, and Me

Top 5 Lists for 2009

Here are some of my favorite games and movies from the past year. They are in order of how much I liked them.

Videogames
1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
2. Modern Warfare 2
3. Batman Arkham Asylum
4. Borderlands
5. Demons Souls

Movies
1. Inglorious Basterds
2. Brothers Bloom
3. Avatar
4. District 9
5. Sherlock Holmes

Photoshop – Snap Shape Layers to Pixel

stupid-edge

When you draw a shape in photoshop as a either as a shape or a path, you often get this lame fraction of a pixel situation that results in semi transparent, soft, stupid looking edges. It’s bugged me for years, but I’ve never taken the time to try and figure out a work around until today. After literally seconds of looking I found this article, which completely solves the problem. I dont know why this wouldn’t come enabled by default but its a freaking miracle that its there and that it works.

Lost Planet 2 – Now I’m Interested

lostplanet2

I have never really gotten into Monster Hunter. I’ve thought about it. I even downloaded the PSP demo, but shitty camera controls kind of threw me. After this week’s Co-Op and hearing what they had to say about the upcoming Lost Planet 2 I am now officially interested. Basically, it sounds like you’re playing a sci-fi version of Monster Hunter where you and a team of up to 3 other players take down huge monsters. Co-Op says that the control and aiming is solid which would be a welcome departure from Monster Hunter. Lost Planet 2 doesnt come out till next year, though. Poop.

Batman Drawing!

batman

Playing Arkham Asylum has gotten me really into the Batman comics. In the past few weeks I’ve read All-Star Batman & Robin, Batman Hush, Battle for the Cowl, Batman R.I.P., and just started reading The Long Halloween. I guess it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the more I’ve read the more I wanted to draw a Batman picture. I tend to like the short ear style on Batman, so I went with a mix between Jim Lee and the animated series. Click on either the image above or here for a high rez version.

Why is DNG better than proprietary RAW formats?

A lot of camera companies have RAW formats that are specific to that brand. Not only does it make interoperability a pain, but often these files are not really very well constructed and require an extra file to accompNy them in order to see any of the non destructive editing. Enter adobe’s DNG file format. DNG is an archival open standard which in addition to providing a 15-20% smaller file size, also contains any edit data within a wrapper so that it’s always accompanying your image. After I get home from vacation I’m going to convert all of my RAW files.