Surprise surprise, Berkeley is going to break ground on another ridiculous technology venture (doesn’t this seem to occur every week or so?). This time the school will shoot for the stars by building the world’s largest telescope.

So what changes can you expect on campus with this monster of an announcement? None, of course, as most students will never have access to or require the services of this machine.

Without fail, Berkeley’s campus tour guides will make sure to mention this accomplishment to high school juniors and seniors who will undoubtedly be awe-struck. Come to think of it, it’s kind of sad that on the majority of campus tours students are sold on things that will have absolutely zero effect on their campus lives. Seriously, how many of you have actually went to a Nobel Laureate’s office hours or worked on some top secret project up at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory?

Image Source: Daniel Schwen
Gift to Fund World’s Largest Telescope [Daily Cal]


We at the Clog are big proponents of technology, especially when it allows us to make asses of ourselves.

So when the G-Tech iPod-Enabled Messenger Bag with built-in speaker arrived recently for our reviewing pleasure, our task became immediately clear: walk through Sproul Plaza while blasting Peaches’ “Fuck the Pain Away.”

Sadly, as you can see in the video, our display of hubris did not seem to warrant a second glance from the masses on Sproul. The bag’s volume just isn’t enough for a bustling plaza.

That’s a bit of a deal breaker for us, but for the sake of others we’ll give you a more conventional analysis.

h1. The What What

With a list price of $129, the bag merges a messenger bag with a battery-powered speaker, allowing you to haul around your shit and get your groove on. It has a variety of pockets and compartments, including ones for an iPod, laptop and cell phone. The bag features a special iPod control within the strap made from some crazy touch-sensitive fabric. Sounds sexy.

h2. The Fresh Factor

At first glance, it looks like your typical nylon messenger bag—resembling a tricked-out Timbuk2. Brown, tan with red trim, our model had a pretty fresh appearance. It’s got a shit load of pockets and things, which make it a little busy-looking, but some may like that. The only thing that suggests something a bit different is the controller built into the strap, which looks a little dorky. While we think there are some other bags that are a bit more fly, this one still comes out a winner.

But let’s face it, you’re not shelling out $129 just for the bag. The whole point of this thing is so you can use your bag as a music player.

h3. The How It Do

Inside the main compartment is both a stereo mini-plug that can go into almost any portable audio source—MP3 player, laptop, CD player, etc. It also has a iPod dock connector, which connects to the in-stap control unit. The connections are fairly straight forward, and there’s a nice little pouch for an iPod. That’s fine and dandy, but the cable situation is a little chaotic for iPods since most have their dock connectors and headphone jacks on opposite sides.

The speaker is hidden under a flap in front, powered by three AA batteries and easily activated by a little switch. Once that’s on, you’re ready to party. Theoretically you can use the controls on the strap, which allow for pause, play and track navigation. But we found them pretty unreliable, often just not responding. We found ourselves doing all the controlling on the iPod itself. Assuming the controls did work, they’re probably best suited for shuffle or a playlist.

As far as the sound is concerned, it’s pretty disappointing. Both insufficiently loud and of poor quality, the speaker is about what you’d expect for something imbedded in a messenger bag.

h4. Word to Your Mother

This bag is a cool idea, but it’s more of a novelty than anything else. While a competent and sort of cool looking messenger bag, the whole audio portion of it is pretty disappointing both in terms of speaker quality and flaky controls. Since that’s the whole point of this beast, we’d have a hard time recommending it unless you have a strong urge make your own elevator music.

We give it a C+.


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