backpack roundup

There are two products that I have a weakness for. Jackets and backpacks. I don’t know what that’s about, but I’ve seen some cool backpacks lately and wanted to share.

Madpax Blox Backpacks

Madpax Blox Backpacks

First the Madpax Blox backpacks from thinkgeek. I like the look of the multilayered blocks. Who know if the pack is designed well from a use standpoint though.

Galaxy backpacks

Galaxy backpacks

Next up the galaxy backpacks from sprayground.com. These guys glow in the dark, and might be the perfect accessory if you already have black milk’s galaxy leggings or galaxy shoes. Sprayground has backpacks in some other fun prints too, like bandana print and stacks of money. they even have one that looks like it’s made entirely of gold lamé.

Timbuk2 Uptown

Timbuk2 Uptown

Moving to the more utilitarian side of things, I noticed this week that Timbuk2 has a few new offerings. The Uptown backpack looks pretty sharp and has a nice array or storage options. They’ve also got a new Race Duffel that looks nice. However, it doesn’t look quite as practical as my OGIO Endurance 9.0, but the Timbuk2 offering is definitely the better price point.

Timbuk2 Race Duffel

Timbuk2 Race Duffel

So what am I using lately? For everyday, it’s the OGIO Module. It’s the perfect size. It holds two moleskines, my iPad and wireless keyboard, with a zippered storage on the front that holds an array of pens, chapstick, audio recorder, pill container, eye drops and usually some other junk. It is a great size for carrying on the motorcycle or the bike. Best bag purchase I’ve ever made.

OGIO Module

OGIO Module

I also have a couple of bags from Everki. I’ve had the Beacon for over a year now. It’s a great bag, although probably overkill for my uses. It is one of the few bags that will fit my ASUS G2P laptop. plenty of extra storage in two front pouches and two size, waist pouches. My only complaint is that the shape, placement and openings of the front pockets makes them kind of difficult to use. I also have the Urbanite vertical messenger bag from Everki. It’s a great bag, but was way too big for my needs. It has whole lot of storage options.

Everki Beacon

Everki Beacon

Everki Urbanite

Everki Urbanite

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..on treating machines like people

I just saw a blurb on huffington post that had Clifford Nass talking about what he usually talks about; treating machines like people. If you’re not familiar, go check out The Media Equation and his other books. Why an article about him in the mainstream media? I’m guessing it’s because he worked on the google glasses. Sidenote: it kind of sucks that you have to commercialize science to make people care.

Anyway, the article is mostly nothing new. What was new from him, at least for me is his concern with multitasking.

What concerns you most about the direction of current technologies?

Unquestionably my biggest concern is the dramatic growth of multitasking. We know the effects of multitasking are severe and chronic. I have kids and adults saying, “Sure, I multitask all the time, but when I really have to concentrate I don’t multitask.”

The research to shows that’s not quite true: when your brain multitasks all the time there are clear changes in the brain that make it virtually impossible for you to focus. If we’re breeding a world in which people chronically multitask that has very, very worrisome and serious effects on people’s brains. For adults it has effects on their cognitive or thinking abilities. For younger kids we’re seeing effects on their emotional development. That does scare the heck out of me.

I have the same concern, and actually wrote a paper about it last semester. By the time the paper was done I had kind of stopped caring about the issue because I’d blown it up into a deep mindmap and kept getting stuck on the issue of efficiency as a sole guiding force to interaction design development. My thought is that we need devices that use less of our attention, but I think the problem is really more human than machine. Given more unused attention, we’d probably still be trying to cram other tasks in there.

I guess I need to revisit this idea. How can we reduce the cognitive overhead of multitasking while still multitasking? A Nass-like solution seems ideal, since we have the ability to deal with multiple other humans. (ex: mother with a minivan full of kids) Surely though there is even a finite number of humans we can deal with at once.

I really don’t have a good answer. I’d love to hear other opinions.