Tech Ed 2006

Tech Ed is once again upon us! The lineup this year is looking pretty interesting, and hopefully SkyCity has learnt a few things about how to deal with large amounts of geeks in small spaces.I'd like to say I'll be posting regular and insightful updates about sessions and events there, but I wont be! However I did want to mention the bag, as I picked mine up a few hours ago (one learns very quickly that popping in and registering on Sunday when there are 5 people about is much smarter than first thing Monday morning when the queue goes right out the door and around many corners). It's not a bad bag, and it looks like I might actually use it (unlike the model from 2005 which was a bit geeky) but it has a few design flaws. Firstly, there's no carry handle (***). That's a pretty big ommision in my opinion, and already I've found myself holding it by the scruff of the top, sort of like how a tigress grabs her cubs when they're young.The next flaw is the 'generic Windows media player music device' compartment - which is going to contain your iPod, urr, I mean, other WMP playing device - shouldn't this be padded? Maybe just a wee bit? Wouldn't that be kind of useful? Ok, so it's not padded, but why is this a big deal - well, it's a deep pocket, and your device will fall to be sitting at about the middle of the bag, on the side which will generally brush against your hip when you walk. It almost feels as if they designed it to sit at the exact place where it has the most chance of hitting your hip regularly and doing the most damage. I dunno, maybe I walk funny, but I'd rather have my iPod somewhere which isn't going to be constantly bumped and brushed against my body.A small point, is the lack of a place to put a pen - well, apart from inside the large abyss of one of the pockets, where you're going to be spending a lot of time sprawling for it. Now, don't get me wrong - I really don't condone the use of 'pens', and try to avoid their like whenever I can. I have a few reasons for this, one of which is that I can type 10x faster than I could ever write, Another is that I can't read anything that I write anymore as my handwriting has degenerated to something which is comparable to a doctor or possibly a 2 year old child using crayons while high on an overdose of Fanta or Red Bull (or whatever the hell kids use these days to get high on food colouring). The final reason is that after a couple of lines of scrawling I get strange cramps in my hands and my tendons start to scream out for the smooth touch of my Das Keyboard. Anyway, the point is I'd avoid using a pen if I could, however they included one in the bag - and where did they put it? Well there's nowhere to put it, so it was just floating about in the main compartment! Argh!Also, I remember that frequently people seem to moan when there's no place to put their water bottle. So to represent those people here 'OMG THERE'S NO WATER BOTTLE HOLDER'. Again amusing because they included a bottle of water, also sitting inside the main compartment. Maybe you could store your pen inside the bottle when it's empty? I'm no design engineer here (well I'm not this week anyway), however it feels like a bit more thought could have been put into this. Especially when you're making something which is going to be critiqued by a lot of rather picky people who have nothing better to do with their evenings than to talk about a free bag.To summarise the words of Spksh: "Seems like a shity design all around"*** UPDATE!: I went into the silly rear 'document compartment' and found the handle! So it does exist, but it's sort of 1/4 of the way down on the rear, in a location which is completely off the center of gravity of the bag. Using the handle also pulls on the bit of velcro holding the document compartment closed, meaning your IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS run the risk of running awol at some point. I think I'll stick to using the scruff of the neck.

Posted on Sunday, August 20, 2006 7:31 PM |

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