This week, the team is under an enormous amount of stress as the deadline approaches for the decision that will make or break PDC 2005: the swag bag. Sitting in Steve's office are three different styles of computer bag, and we must choose which one we will stuff full of goodies and hand out to attendees in September.
Our candidates this year include two briefcase/over-the-shoulder style bags, and one backpack. Veterans of PDC 2003 may recall that, for that event, we were unable to make up our mind between briefcase and backpack, and so went with a bag that did both (it had a backpack harness that could be zipped up into a hidden compartment.) This year, though, I am committed to taking the time to make the hard choice -- one shoulder, or two?
I've spent some time analyzing all our options, and I have to say I'm leaning heavily towards the briefcase form factor. I like the way it comfortably sits in the hands if you want to carry it by the grips, but also quickly can be slung over the shoulder for hands-free operation. The backpack model, by comparison seems too bulky to carry, even using the hand grip that's built in to the top. The backpack also tries to be clever and has a special zippered compartment on the back side where your laptop is supposed to go, but 1) it's not large enough to accommodate the monster 17" Alienware laptop I take on the road for demos, and 2) even if it did fit, the laptop would then be in direct contact with my spine when wearing the backpack, which is not a pleasant sensation.
There is some dissent among the team about whether the briefcase style bag is sufficiently "cool" for our PDC attendees, and there's also discussion about the ergonomics of a bag filled with fifteen pounds of conference materials plus laptop hanging off only one shoulder. I can only hope that through continued careful evaluation, we will be able to make an inspired -- and inspiring -- choice for our 2005 swag bag.