The Perfect Pack WishList

As a bag fanatic I love this stuff.
Most important to me would be space effiency. Too many tech cases, organizers, earbud wraps, etc end up with a ton of wasted space. Think of a first aid kit. Having a hard case might be great to easily find the exact med fast, but having a plastic Ziploc bag is way more space efficient. Me, I’d rather have space efficient as I’ll be more likely to make room for it. The TB does a good job with this (no hands on experience ymmv), so more of that thinking in a bag. Also, peak design is a good example of excellent carry and flex organization.

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deckaddict - for pure efficiency, built-ins on a jacket is the most space-efficient and minimalist architecture. It’s totally hands-free.

That said, those willing to constrain their choice of clothing for pure utility are a small slice of the market, so there has to be an a la carte solution for the mainstream.

twoboxen - bags are totally underrated.

They have very high utility to us each day.

Bags are significant opportunities to design something way better.

Dramatic rescaling of professional-grade typing HW is a big stimulus for a superior new architecture.

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For me it’s about finding the smallest, lightest solution that still provides full utilisation while traveling. Having been on the road almost constantly for the past 9 years, typical problems are: having too many separate components, which makes it hard to stay organised; having to have multiple chargers and cables for different devices, compounded by needing universal power plugs to accommodate all the different sockets around the world; things quickly becoming heavy and bulky when you try to pack it all into a single box or bag; things going missing at crucial moments when you pack each item into the spare spaces across your various items of luggage, pockets, and bags; and - and this is remarkably consistent - not having a usable surface area handy when you all of a sudden feel the urge to write some serious prose (or take some notes, or jot down that one brilliant thought you don’t want to lose).

I have solved part of my problem by using ASAP’s magnetic adapter cables. They work by sticking an adapter plug into each device, that then becomes a standard magnetic socket for the USB cables they provide. That means I now have to carry only one type of USB cable, instead of the 4 different types I carried before.

But for me the ideal packing solution would be super light, helps to reduce the number of separate components (for instance by incorporating a charger with universal power plug), helps to neatly organise all the components I need to carry, without adding unnecessary bulk (I have a beautiful box at the moment, for instance, called the Bento Stack. It is great at helping me be organised, but it is rather bulky, which means I have to carry a full-size briefcase, just to have room for the box), and - and this would be the ‘killer’ feature - can double as a working area on which to place the TB and a tablet or smartphone, suitable to use anywhere there is place to sit (which is practically everywhere).

A foldout work area with pockets and straps (and a build-in battery or charger) that neatly folds up into an A4-size carry case (with shoulder strap) would be my idea of traveler’s heaven.

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I have two ideas for a perfect way to pack my TextBlade around, starting with the basic, and then I’ll get into the really out of the box.

So, for the basic idea, I think that a small pouch with organizer pockets would be a good choice. It should have enough room for a phone, external battery pack, a few cables, the TextBlade, and maybe a few other odds and ends. It should act as a lapdesk for the TextBlade, as well as a tablet/phone stand. So, for example, you open up the pouch, unfold a desk and put your TextBlade on that, and you have a mobile workstation with your phone, or toss a tablet on there if you want a bigger screen. Something like a Plinth or maybe an Elevated Tablet Stand so it gives that extra little bit of height to the device with the TextBlade underneath.
The pouch, when closed and folded, should be something that can convert between a belt pouch, hanging from a shoulder strap, or attached to a larger bag. I got one of These Little Beauties recently, and it’s a very compact pouch with lots of organizer space, and it can be attached to a belt or any bag thanks to the attachment straps on the back. The only thing between that little bag and complete perfection is that it doesn’t provide a phone stand or workspace, and it doesn’t have its own belt or shoulder strap. Maybe use a holster design of some sort, so that the wearer can put on a belt or shoulder strap, click their desk-in-a-pouch to the holster, and then when they get where they’re going, unholster, unfold, and bam, mobile workstation with phone and keyboard.

Now for the crazier, more out of the box idea; way back in the depths of history, I mentioned this idea for a Fast Deploy TextBlade Gauntlet. So, I think something like that would be one of the better ways to carry a TextBlade.

On one arm, a spring-loaded system that deploys into a magnetic desk for the TextBlade. Possibly have it so that the keyboard can always be on that desk, either shut off and fully assembled, or else taken apart just enough that when the desk snaps into place, the TextBlade boots up. (Left and Right blades connected to each other, but broken up from the SpaceBlade until the gauntlet unfolds and flattens out, letting all three blades reconnect). The other alternative would be to make a small slot for the TextBlade to stow into in its stacked configuration, so that you deploy the gauntlet desk, then pull the TextBlade out of its slot (attached by magnets and a small strap to make doubly sure the blades don’t fly off your arm), assemble the blades, and snap them to the magnetic desk.

The other hand would be a second gauntlet with a phone holder similar to the tragically ill-fated TUSK: Telephone Utility Support Kit and the rebooted and renamed (and also underfunded on Kickstarter) Wave! Phone Holder. Put a hook or magnet to connect the far end of the pop-out desk to the phone holder on the other side so that the desk is supported at both ends and won’t rock around when typing, and now you have your TextBlade and phone always at hand, ready to type anywhere even without a flat surface.

Throw in some other small slots on the gauntlets for other items–charger, cable organizer, key ring, Etc.–make it so the gauntlets can be put on either arm, possibly with a bit of easy disassembly and reassembly, and boom, techno-geek gauntlets worthy of Batman or Iron Man, just more meant for writing down ideas anywhere rather than fighting crime.

Oh and of course, if combined with some Pointing Device that works alongside the TextBlade, this might mean you wouldn’t have to touch your phone screen at all–unless you’re using an iPhone, since I don’t think they have mouse support in iOS. Can’t personally attest either way, since I only have the one iDevice (a secondhand iPad Mini 2) that I currently need to run the TextBlade app, and I’ve never tried using it with a mouse.

If I were to go minimalist, with just cell and TB, sometimes I wish my cellphone case had a sleeve where I could stow the TB. Almost like having a nanostand affixed to the back of the case, and somehow it could deployed/aligned so that it becomes a kickstand.

Having gone through tons of bags, I’m a big fan of the grid-it/bubm style straps organizer. With bags, I feel like my stuff can get misplaced or cluttered into a multiple of deep pockets. Having everything laid out on a strapped board, I feel is a lot more organized. Plus I can take a quick glance to determine if I’ve left something behind. On an airplane, I can easily just grab that board with all the stuff I need during a flight and leave my bag in the overhead without having to touch it once.
If there was something different I’d like to see with that, I wish there was a way I could somehow customize the strap arrangement to fit my particular accessories perfectly.

Excellent insights, thanks all.

Some takeaways so far -

  1. Ultra light and compact

  2. Lap writing surface

  3. Integral stand

  4. Simplify and de-clutter - less junk / fewer parts

  5. Power source options

  6. Smart strap options

  7. Configurable storage pockets

  8. Accommodates range of tablets / phones

  9. Superior impact protection

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.10. Magnets…?

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Just for the added fun of it…

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A small hard shell case just for the TextBlade would be great.

I found this one. It is a bit too long for the TextBlade, but it works for now.

I just put it in a pocket in my backpack . I typically don’t have the carabiner attached.

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As noted in my post linked at the top, the Textblade inspired me to rethink almost all of my work processes to be tablet centric, and come up with a minimalist work/life case that has everything I need for both long and short trips.

But of late it has inspired me in an unexpected direction. How often can I “get by” with just my phone and Textblade? A half day? A trip where I have only certain predefined text based tasks I expect to do? Times when I don’t expect to need it but might unexpectedly have to write a memo or reply with a long rant, er I mean informative response, to an unexpected work email?

I’ve thought about a combo phone+textblade case but why encumber my phone that way when it so easily slips into my pocket or is carried around so easily?

Gadget jacket is appealing to, but I only wear jackets some days throughout the year, and not always the same one.

I’d like a holster like band I can strap around my leg or arm, and around the band have grid or Bubm style slots to hold (but not encase) the Textblade securely, maybe with optional slots for phone and/or something else small. This would work for all seasons, could be worn outer or inner for instance under a winter jacket which would hide it and protect it from the elements (note to self: check local concealed carry laws).

In light of the low profile slimness of Textblade and Phones this does not have to be bulky or belt attached in any way.

Something like this…

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Very cool! I was thinking more along the lines of those tight to skin armbands that people sometimes carry iPhones in. Something like that for the leg or arm would keep the TextBlade flush against the straight part of a leg or arm with no bending or flopping around.

Have you looked at the phonster? They have several wearable options like the holster style and a belt and leg style. Just not sure if it looks like I’m wearing a gun, I live in Canada and that’s mostly frowned at. There’s a double model that would take the phone and on the other side a unique pouch.
I found it at age.com.ua.

Did Daniel Craig get the TREG call?

Sorry, MI6 does not permit discussion of equipment for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

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With all due respect to Q, maybe a little more Jane than James would be appropriate for modern times …

image

Now that idea has got legs.

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An ideal work scenario, TB-wise for me is:

I’m attending an event (concert, museum, whatever) after work, and I don’t want to carry my backpack (right now is a black Piquadro computer backpack which is very flat but can pack Mac Air, iPad pro, my current external keyboard which is not a TextBlade, tupperware for lunch and sometimes also a drink). Hence, I’d like to be as lightweight as possible: lightning-HDMI adaptor, my phone, TextBlade, optionally some phone stand that can hold it portrait. Also, I always carry a small notebook and a bullet pen. Ideally, I can keep the stand, blade and adaptor in the same bag/recipient and it fits in my pocket, bullet pen would be a plus, as well as 53’s Pencil which I have started using with Procreate Pocket for iPhone (it’s in beta and it’s terrific).

On that day, I’ll work mostly by SSH-ing into a remote instance, but working with an external screen for size. I may work more on design/architecture with my pen on paper, I may go to a quiet place with the TB, phone and stand. I could go anywhere.

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I bought an Anker cable for my phone and it came with it.

Great question - I actually have three different scenarios:

  1. Not on the road: this one is very simple - I stow my iPad Mini and portable keyboard in one jacket pocket, Swiftpoint mouse, extra battery and folding umbrella in the other, iPhone and stylus in my shirt pocket. This is not a special custom-made or gadget-oriented jacket - just a plain vanilla, off-the-rack jacket (or winter coat - it gets cold in the NE USA).
  2. On the road: I use a Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger bag - it is the lightest bag of its type I have found, and has “just enough” pockets (e.g. passport, charger and display cables), but not too many, and is not fussy about closures (simple but robust hook, no zippers or annoying Velcro to fiddle with). Unfortunately, Brenthaven decided to reduce its manufacturing costs by replacing the original excellent shoulder strap attachment (with high-quality metal swivel hooks) with a permanently sewn-on strap that saws into your shoulder as you’re running across airports. So, I’m hanging on to my original bag for now, and hoping that it does not need replacing in the near future.
  3. This one is not for me, but for K-12 students - who, if I recall correctly, were an audience of WayTools at the outset of the TextBlade project. Unfortunately, most school districts confuse the need to protect an iPad (or other tablet/laptop) from crushing/impact in transit (backpacks are not a friendly environment for tablets) with protection for day-to-day use. Result: I see kids burdened with a couple of pounds of rubber around their iPads that do nothing to protect them from crushing, but do a great job of making devices unpleasant to use. So, a great case would be one that allows students to carry a naked iPad, Apple Pencil, and TextBlade in as small and compact a crush-proof package as possible, and could double as a flexible stand/lap desk. Not a trivial design task, but a worthwhile one, I think.

Oh, and for people who say “you need to use MIL-STD-810G certified equipment with students”, I have two replies:

  • I’ve been working on K-12 learning technology projects since the 80s, and portable ones since the 90s. Projects that are well-run, with good support and clear goals have breakage rates comparable to or lower than Fortune 500 tech deployments; projects that are poorly supported and unclear in their goals, well…
  • You don’t know what MIL-STD-810G means anyway, do you?
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