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Thread: A smaller Smart Alec?

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    A smaller Smart Alec?

    I love the large main compartment of the Smart Alec! It provides you the flexibility in how you organize the contents of your pack.

    I would love to see a smaller, more streamlined Smart Alec.

    What do you think about a smaller Smart Alec, with a capacity of around 18-20L?

    It would be not as wide as the Smart Alec 26, but wide enough to accommodate a 13" Macbook. It would also be not as deep. Just a smaller pack than the current Smart Alec.

    Perhaps the Smaller Smart Alec wouldn't have a modular design - rather than the webbing loops that allow you to attach the bungee, glow wire, straps or pockets externally, the smaller Smart Alec could use the earlier Smart Alec design. While this would remove some functionality, it would provide for a more streamlined appearance.

    I am also curious if the zipper for the main compartment could be designed to go further down the bag - all the way down to the base, in fact - allowing easy access to what has been placed at the lower part of the bag.

    What do you think?

    Thanks!
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    Cool idea! I love the Smart Alec design in idea, but I know it is too big for me. I would be interested!!

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    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    maverick believe it or not, I was thinking about a small version of the SA since mine arrived. But I did not think it through as sorrow as you did. I love the idea of the zippers going all the way down. But here I would engage some form of savety-lash to prevent it from happening without intention of the owner of the bag.

    I am totally behind this idea. Especially because I can not bring my SA to look as good as he could when not packed full. If there is too much unused space he looks just sad and hungry.

    Ilkyway

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilkyway View Post
    maverick believe it or not, I was thinking about a small version of the SA since mine arrived.
    great minds think alike! :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ilkyway View Post
    But I did not think it through as sorrow as you did. I love the idea of the zippers going all the way down. But here I would engage some form of savety-lash to prevent it from happening without intention of the owner of the bag.
    The savety-lash is an interesting idea! Although, I believe others have commented that the more recent zippers require a little more intention to open - so hopefully this won't be an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ilkyway View Post
    If there is too much unused space he looks just sad and hungry.
    :)

    I love this comment! :) Look at this picture - the Smart Alec on this orange clown does indeed look sad and hungry!

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    Love the red!!

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    Hi maverick,

    I recognize that Smart Alec! I like the stream-lined appearance of the older Smart Alecs, but I also like the re-designed features of the more comfortable Dri-Lex mesh backpad, and a bright interior Dyneema lining that makes it easier to locate items inside the main compartment. So I think there would be a place for a smaller Smart Alec built along the lines you outlined.

    With regard to having the zipper go further down the side to provide access to the lower parts of the bag: I always thought the ends of the top zipper placement was meant to keep the bag balanced when you flipped open the top of the bag to access the pouches built into the lid. (See the pictures in the old Gadgeteer Review review of the Smart Alec from 2003 for an idea of the layout -- even though the actual top pocket design was modified and improved by the time of the bag that maverick has.)

    One thing that would make having a re-designed smaller Smart Alec even more compelling would be having a smaller Freudian Slip that could be used in this bag and transferred to others, like the Synapse, just as I would like to have a re-designed Horizontal Freudian Slip that would work in bags like the Pilot -- where it almost fits (I can use this with a not heavily loaded 400d Dyneema Pilot, but wouldn't try this with the Ballistic Nylon Pilot).

    By the way, it's interesting the way there seems to be new life for the older Tom Bihn bag styles. I don't think you had the original Buzz, which was designed for the 12" PowerBook and iBook, but I did/do. With the move to smaller laptops and tablets having that size is convenient again!

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 05-05-2014 at 08:03 AM.
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    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    moriond a smaller Freudian slip would be gorges. This is the one think I miss so much to have in the S25.

    @ maverick: I can't seem to find the clown in your picture but as for the SA: it definitely needs feeding. This is just the picture to prove my point!

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    Dear moriond,

    I understand what you mean by keeping the bag balanced when you flip the top open. I'm curious if you could open the zipper up to that point and achieve that balance without too much stress on the zipper. Put another way, will the zipper accommodate that stress over time?

    I love the idea of a smaller Freudian Slip! I would love to see one small enough to accommodate the essentials - phone, pen, lip balm, keys, and a junior size pad on the back side - small enough to fit into most any bag, perhaps with a footprint about the size of the Small Cafe Bag.

    Tom's designs are timeless! The designs have improved with time, no doubt - but the earlier designs are as beautiful as the current ones!

    I never had the original Buzz - I would love to see a smaller sling bag reintroduced - that would accommodate the iPad or 11" Macbook Air or even the 13" Macbook Air. But perhaps a little deeper, so as to accommodate a jacket as well. Being able to swing a sling bag around to gain access to the contents without removing the bag is really nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    Hi maverick,

    I recognize that Smart Alec! I like the stream-lined appearance of the older Smart Alecs, but I also like the re-designed features of the more comfortable Dri-Lex mesh backpad, and a bright interior Dyneema lining that makes it easier to locate items inside the main compartment. So I think there would be a place for a smaller Smart Alec built along the lines you outlined.

    With regard to the having the zipper go further down the side to provide access to the lower parts of the bag: I always though the ends of the top zipper placement was meant to keep the bag balanced when you flipped open the top of the bag to access the pouches built into the lid. (See the pictures in the old Gadgeteer Review review of the Smart Alec from 2003 for an idea of the layout -- even though the actual top pocket design was modified and improved by the time of the bag that maverick has.)

    One thing that would make having a re-designed smaller Smart Alec even more compelling would be having a smaller Freudian Slip that could be used in this bag and transferred to others, like the Synapse, just as I would like to have a re-designed Horizontal Freudian Slip that would work I bag's like the Pilot -- where it almost fits (I can use this with a not heavily loaded 400d Dyneema Pilot, but wouldn't try this with the Ballistic Nylon Pilot).

    By the way, it's interesting the way there seems to be new life for the older Tom Bihn bag styles. I don't think you had the original Buzz, which was designed for the 12" PowerBook and iBook, but I did/do. With the move to smaller laptops and tablets having that size is convenient again!

    moriond

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    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    @moriond
    I agree completely about the smaller Freudian Slip. This product is pretty unique in the world and a “Diamond in the Rough”. I think there is a great market for this in the organization space – it is essentially a mini-office … and if it can fit in more bags, even non-TB bags, all the better.

    I have tried putting my laptop in one of the file slots and - together with all my other papers and tech accessories – put it in a Tri-Star PCBP and it works! I actually envision a version with a Dyneema cover, shoulder strap attachments and perhaps some attachment to the Cache with Rails would make this the perfect “minimalist’s minimal bag”. It would also make a great bag in bag addition. One of the reasons I go to TB products is that I can use it with other products too!

    @IIkyway
    I have an S25 and I am able to fit a Vertical Freudian Slip. I have read elsewhere that TB does not recommend the Vertical Freudian Slip and the S25 but, IMHO, I am ok with it. The top corners can brush with the zippers occasionally (but never gets caught) when I put it. But, the Vertical FS edges are soft and IMHO, there would be no undue stress to the zippers. I think the key is to have something in front and behind it so that it is positioned in the longest part of the backpack. But, even if I do not do that, I do not have a problem with using it.
    BTW – love the Sad and Hungry description … perhaps Howling for food. :)

    @Maverick
    Big yes on a smaller ‘sleek” Smart Alec. That is what I love with my Smart Alec. Packed right (feed well and kept happy) and using the Vertical FS to help pack things more vertically, it is very sleek. I also agree with the zippers going down more. There is only 1 other backpack I have seen that uses this design and is IT laptop oriented. I have tried it because it had zippers that go down more and it makes things very easy to access. The only problem with it was it was really too small (~200 curved cu.in.) and did not have the best materials / build quality …

    I love the great ideas everyone!

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 05-05-2014 at 08:58 AM.
    Zephyr/SA/BB/Co-Pilot (Black/Black/Steel), S25/WF/TS/A45/Pilot (Black/Iberian), DLBP (French Blue), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

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    Quote Originally Posted by luvdabags View Post
    Love the red!!
    @luvdabags Crimson was one of the staple ballistic nylon colors for a long time. Here are the color versions of the Smart Alec that were available just before the Aeronaut was first released. (This was from an April 28, 2006 Tom Bihn blog post about the Smart Alec being back in stock that I can no longer link to directly because of the web pages re-design). Colors are: Crimson, Black, and Sage in the top row, and Grape, Kiwi, and Steel in the bottom row.
    Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1399303963.212688.jpg
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    By the way, ballistic nylon colors Grape and Sage, and another color, Hunter (a slightly bluer green than Forest that was briefly available), were only around for a limited period. Darcy explained this in an August 29, 2008 forum post:

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Purple fans....sorry, but there probably won't ever be Grape Tom Bihn bags again. We long ago ran out of the Grape 1050 denier ballistic nylon used to make bags like the Aeronaut. It used to be that you could get stock 1050 denier U.S. made ballistic nylon in a small array of colors, including Grape and Hunter. After most manufacturing moved overseas, it didn't make sense for fabric companies to stock those fabrics anymore. We now order huge custom dye lots of the 1050d U.S. ballistic nylon. For now, three colors (Black, Steel, Crimson) are the only colors we'll offer. Maybe -- maybe! -- next year you'll see a Blue.
    Now all new ballistic nylon colors have to be custom developed and then ordered in large production batches specifically for Tom Bihn, which is one of the reasons that balancing color availability with production of bags gets so tricky, especially when there are unexpectedly large surges in demand.

    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    Dear moriond,

    I understand what you mean by keeping the bag balanced when you flip the top open. I'm curious if you could open the zipper up to that point and achieve that balance without too much stress on the zipper. Put another way, will the zipper accommodate that stress over time?


    I never had the original Buzz - I would love to see a smaller sling bag reintroduced - that would accommodate the iPad or 11" Macbook Air or even the 13" Macbook Air. But perhaps a little deeper, so as to accommodate a jacket as well. Being able to swing a sling bag around to gain access to the contents without removing the bag is really nice!
    @maverick I'm not sure about that, but it's likely something you could achieve with a double zipper design. From the picture, I think you may have a slightly older model of that Smart Alec than I have. (Hard to tell, since I know you've had more than one!)

    The original Buzz can easily accommodate the iPad or 11" MacBook Air and a jacket. Just as with the Synapse, it's carrying capacity is deceptive, and it holds more than you think. I agree with you in hoping that Tom reintroduces a Sling Backpack.

    moriond

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    @tpnl I was howling with laughter here (there is an expression like this in Germany not sure if it works in English)

    I tried my FS in my S25 you are right it works but a smaller one would be a better fit and could be used in more bags as you have pointed out already.

    Ilkyway

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    Quote Originally Posted by tpnl View Post
    @moriond
    I agree completely about the smaller Freudian Slip. This product is pretty unique in the world and a “Diamond in the Rough”. I think there is a great market for this in the organization space – it is essentially a mini-office … and if it can fit in more bags, even non-TB bags, all the better.

    I have tried putting my laptop in one of the file slots and - together with all my other papers and tech accessories – put it in a Tri-Star PCBP and it works! I actually envision a version with a Dyneema cover, shoulder strap attachments and perhaps some attachment to the Cache with Rails would make this the perfect “minimalist’s minimal bag”. It would also make a great bag in bag addition. One of the reasons I go to TB products is that I can use it with other products too!

    @IIkyway
    I have an S25 and I am able to fit a Vertical Freudian Slip. I have read elsewhere that TB does not recommend the Vertical Freudian Slip and the S25 but, IMHO, I am ok with it. The top corners can brush with the zippers occasionally (but never gets caught) when I put it. But, the Vertical FS edges are soft and IMHO, there would be no undue stress to the zippers. I think the key is to have something in front and behind it so that it is positioned in the longest part of the backpack. But, even if I do not do that, I do not have a problem with using it.
    BTW – love the Sad and Hungry description … perhaps Howling for food. :)

    @Maverick
    Big yes on a smaller ‘sleek” Smart Alec. That is what I love with my Smart Alec. Packed right (feed well and kept happy) and using the Vertical FS to help pack things more vertically, it is very sleek. I also agree with the zippers going down more. There is only 1 other backpack I have seen that uses this design and is IT laptop oriented. I have tried it because it had zippers that go down more and it makes things very easy to access. The only problem with it was it was really too small (~200 curved cu.in.) and did not have the best materials / build quality …

    I love the great ideas everyone!

    Cheers!
    @tpnl, @ilkyway, and others,

    The comment about not recommending the Vertical Freudian Slip be used with the Synapse 25 came from the Synapse 25 & Freudian Slip thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by Beau View Post
    We've actually tested out the fit, and we don't recommend it. The corners of the Freudian Slip press up against the main compartment's zipper which could potentially lead to some issues down the road. There are rumors floating around regarding Synapse-sized Freudian Slip becoming available at some point, though there isn't any concrete news (or estimated pre-order date) as of yet.
    I'll quote the post and pictures I made in the Western Flyer and Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder thread (which has more discussion if you read further through the thread.)

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    Here's a picture of my Synapse 25 with the EC Pack It 15 slipped in behind the Cache on rails for the 13" MacBook Air. There's both the older style sleeve (in red with mesh) and the newer style Specter 2 sleeve behind it (translucent fabric made it harder to see in contrast). The envelopes and old folders are for US letter-sized paper, which is the size of the paper pad in front of them.



    The bag is resting on the ground, so you can see how much vertical clearance is available. You can also fit in a horizontal Freudian Slip, but the vertical Freudian Slip is too high and wide to fit in Synapse 25 without stressing the top corners where the bag tapers (next pictures), although it works well in the Smart Alec.



    Horizontal Freudian Slip in front of Cache in Synapse 25.



    Vertical Freudian Slip in open Synapse 25.
    HTH moriond
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    @ moriond: thank you for warping up all about the FS so nicely. The last picture is somewhat misleading because if the S25 is not too full so that the bottem of the Pack has some "give" left the FS does fit much better as this picture does lead on. But for sure a dedicate FS for the S25 would be much better.

    As I understand your quote of Beau it is not impossible to come true. So let us keep the idea fresh in addition to mavericks new idea of a small Smart Allec.

    That said I have to say something in regards of all the wishes I have and I read here on the Forum regarding Tom Bihn Bags: In my opinion thous must be a double sided swort to the Tom Bihn Crew: 1. They keep in touch with there customers and now exactly what they think about the bags. That is great for tweeking and becomming an even better company. But on the other hand it 2. must give the feeling about constantly unsatisfied customers who are always wishing for more and more. I think thous bags that do exist are so great that wishing for more feels a little childish. But seeing how nice the TB-Crew is (most displayed by all the answers Darcy gives to many of the questions here), is like blowing on the spark of ideas and wishes till they become a fire that needs to be announced here.

    What I am trying to say here is: I am somewhat uncomputable to ask for even more and at the same time like that this kind of asking is not discouraged in this forum. I hope I put this right.

    Ilkyway
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    Not sure if this photos make my point very good, but it was the last light for the day and maybe you get what I mean: The FS in the S25.Name:  FS und mehr - Inhalt.jpg
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    In the main compartment there is the FS, some college-blocks (A4), my SE-Pencilcase, a random pouch and a icebraker light Jacket. the other compartments are just stuffed with fillin-stuff.

  15. #15
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    And here the FS on the back of the S25 for measurement.

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    This one did not fit in the other post.
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