In Search of: A better computer bag (Part 1)

I have owned more computer bags and cases then I care to admit. Many times I created a story in my head that would allow me to purchase (read justify to myself) a bag for a particular need. But then I end up being let down.

Before I purchased another bag I wanted to make sure I was clear what my needs were.

Why did I need another bag?
What worked with the old bags?
What did not work?
What is my goal?
Do I like the design aesthetics?
Will this solve my problem or end up in the closet?

I wanted to be able to carry my MBA and an iPad, a moelskine notebook, a magazine or two – some small accessories and power supplies. I wanted to lighten up – work for the 80/20 rule instead of trying to pack for every scenario when I travel or go tot a friends house to collaborate on a project. Basically I was and am tired of carrying everything I own everywhere I go.

I looked at many many bag makers. I started with companies I had used before – as well as bags I had seen others use. Manufacturers like – Targus, Booq or Waterfield bags were on the top of the list. Each time I looked at a design I went back to what my needs were and what I was going to use it for and made sure it was a fit. Most times I felt like I was back at that talking myself into a bag point wehre I had been so many times before.

As I was reading The Brooks Review blog I came across a post that Ben had written on purchasing a new bag. He did an excellent review of fit and finish as well as functionality of a new bag he had recently purchased from Tom Bihn. I knew of Tom Bihn products but I had never owned any products or knew anyone who did.

I read the post over and over looking to poke holes in his story – or the story that I had created in my head about the bag. he was also paring down his needs and wanted to be what I like to call functionally minimal. When I got to the end of the review I realized it was for a Tom Bihn 13″ Ristretto. Immediately I went to the site to take a look for myself at the products and others options that existed. But I kept coming back to that one bag. It was a little unconventional for me – ok a lot. With is vertical orientation compared to the more common horizontal orientation I was concerned that it bordered on “murse like” qualities.

Then a funny thing happened I started searching for reviews of this bag and was blown away on how many there were. Blog posts, editorial reviews and user generated videos on you tube and vimeo. I found myself watching lots of videos about all their products.

It was clear that Tom Bihn created very high quality products and in doing so also created a huge network of customer evangelists that were happy to talk about the products. All aspects, the quality, the nice touches, how they use them, recommendations for add-ons and more. Many times when you see a product it is hard to gauge what you can get in the bag; no issues there. There were at least a dozen videos of customers packing and unpacking their various bags to give you a real world demos of what can actually fit. I was actually surprised because it reminded me very muck of Apple “p0rn” (sic) of unboxing new items.

So I ordered my Ristretto.

 

Magical

Apple has just released a new commercial for the iPad 2 entitled “We Believe”.  Its a bit of a departure from some of their others ads. This one shows how  focusing on technology can be useful, productive and simple.  My favortite line in the commercials says

When technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful, even magical

Take a look.