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A Ribeye benefits from the longer time since it is a thick, nearly circular shape. Whereas a NY strip loin is wide, but narrow by comparison. I personally have had luck going for both 35 and 45 days for a strip.
The air pocket can occur and typically isn’t an issue. As for soft spots being only 8 days into the aging that is not unusual.
May I make a suggestion? … Handling the meat and moving it and poking it all just risks cutting a hole in the bag…so look but don’t touch is my motto!