Zip Style Method: Ten swanky laptop bags for her

Product Roundup I’ve long sung the praises of the Longchamp Le Pilage. Stylish and hardwearing, this super light bag weighs in at just 225g. Yes, you have to add your own laptop sleeve, but what’s not to love? Yet in the daytime commute, women everywhere now haul this stalwart bag. A First World problem it might be, but who wants to be one of the homogeneous bunch?

So, following on from our round-up of laptop bags for him, it was a pleasure to commuter-test the latest satchels, briefs and backpacks made to appeal to women. The choice was immense as were some prices; however, my top picks were whittled down to four factors: ease of carrying, the weight – ideally around the 1kg mark – protective padding and durability.

A nice touch is that some manufacturers offer an optional battery pack to keep the phone and tablet powered while on the hoof. Unlike the men’s choices covered yesterday, the bags here cover a range of different laptop sizes. So, let’s kick off with the some satchels

Ally Capellino AO Leather Satchel

RH Numbers

Made from the softest leather for an 11” MacBook Air or something similarly svelte, this bag is among my favourites – and there’s the AO 15” multi canvas satchel at £170 for those with bigger machines. The AO range is pricey but Apple enthusiasts wanting covert style will approve, no doubt.

Ally Capellino AO Leather Satchel

Albeit small, the leather satchel offers plenty space for all the stuff we girls stash in a handbag. Protection comes from the padded laptop slip, with zipper and phone pocket. In use, the buckles are fiddly compared to modern openers but this is a minor foible. Like any quality leather bag, it’s water resistant, and, lest we forget, AO recommends you keep it clean with baby wipes – soft bottoms and leather both enjoy them, so it seems.

Ally Capellino AO Leather Satchel

DBramante 1928 Marselisborg Messenger Bag

RH Numbers

If you’re looking for a full leather large-satchel and your budget doesn’t stretch beyond £100, the Marselisborg has much going for it, provided your laptop screen is no bigger than 14 inches. For a tough bag that can bulk out to take the gym kit or tuck-box too, this is great value. From the large leather flap with water-resistant outer, the main interior has a laptop padded section, further pockets for phone, wallet and pens.

dbramante 1928 Marselisborg Messenger Bag

It has a modern magnet closure and the overall quality feels good but lacks the finesse of a bag to last decades. Even so, affordable style shouldn’t be sniffed at. Available in Golden Tan or Hunter Dark finishes.

dbramante 1928 Marselisborg Messenger Bag

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Against Captain’s Orders – a half-term swashbuckling, squash-clutching adventure

Theatre Review There’s no sign of Captain Pugwash as I make my way through the streets of Greenwich to the National Maritime Museum, although I do surprisingly spot several swashbuckling Jack Sparrows.

After some initial confusion as to why I’m not a child or don’t have a kid with me, I manage to convince those in charge that – since I have a mental age of six – I am suitable to review Punchdrunk’s new production, Against Captain’s Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted, from the intended audience’s point of view.

I’m a sucker for interactive theatrical experiences and Punchdrunk is renowned for putting on some of the most innovative performances around, such as controversially non-linear The Drowned Man.

The National Maritime Museum now plays host to its latest promenade performance but you can only attend if you have managed to convince a child aged between six to 12 to come with you.

On arrival, ticket holders for the timed performance including myself are handed life jackets with coloured patches. These denote which of the four nautical themed groups you have been assigned to. I end up in the navigation group, which is clearly a mistake given my over-reliance on my trusty satnav.

Each group is given specific tasks throughout the performance, which usually involve investigating and retrieving items of the museum’s vast treasury of maritime artefacts.

Entering the performance we are introduced to our guides, Arthur Ambrose, the suitably bespectacled museum curator and his spiffing sidekick, Glan, who’s job it is to educate us about the seafarers of the past – be they well-behaved or otherwise.

After an incident involving those who should know better touching things they shouldn’t, the museum’s security systems go into meltdown and it’s a race against time through flag-filled corridors and all kinds of flotsam and jetsam to get things back on an even keel.

Against Captain's Orders. Image credit: Paul J Cochrane

Beautifully detailed sets. Image credit: Paul J Cochrane

Being led at breakneck pace through darkened corridors emblazoned with warnings of swashbuckling parrots seems to be too much for a couple of the younger members of the audience. One kid screams: “I’m soooo scared”, so make sure you ward off lily-livered land lubbers before entering.

On the whole, the smaller people present seem rapt with the beautifully detailed sets decorated with a multitude of curios stacked endlessly in dimly lit rooms.

Light and sound play a huge part of this production, so-much-so that I neglect sunny Greenwich Park just outside. I’m often left behind the pack as I linger in these richly-decorated, nautical treasure troves.

Illuminated globes, unfurling maps and cabinets full of charts and catalogues are just a few of the beautiful items on show. These rooms have been decorated with a painstaking attention to detail and this helps immerse me in this educational endeavour.

These high production standards ensure value for money and a family day out well spent.

Captivating and informative in equal measure, Against Captains Orders would make an ideal half-term treat for any youngsters in your life. And, when you’re done, try to get a table in the sun (or the rain) at the Gypsy Moth next to the Cutty Sark for fruli beer and chips. ®

Against Captain’s Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted is on now at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. Dates: 28 March – 31 August 2015. Show times run from 10:00am daily. Visitor info: 020 8858 4422 / website. Admission: £19.75.

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Look out, Dixon! That there is a dangerously INTELLECTUAL cow

CoTW What’s that lumbering over the horizon, groaning theatrically? Yes, it’s the late, unlamented corpse of Comment of the Week, reanimated for your reading pleasure, dear commentards!

What glorious nuggets have you lot deposited below the line this week, then?

We open the batting order with the obvious pop at Linux from a Microsoft fan. CherylWillBounceBack thought it would be a good idea to post this underneath our most excellent review of Xubuntu Linux:

Get with the times

Seriously, we’re in 2015 people. It’s all about the bling. It’s all about the bells and whistles. You minimalists are trying to strip the computing experience back to the dark ages. That’s why I run Windows 8.1. A proper, modern operating system with a world class user experience. With the benefit of being designed by the world’s finest engineering teams in Redmond – you know that it’s secure, safe and a pleasure to look at. Why run a Lada when you can have a Bugatti Veyron for a few quid? Freetards know no logic.

This was unpopular, with many angry Linux commentards piling in to rant back. Top trolling, CherylWillBounceBack.

In other news, a hacker claimed he accessed an airliner’s flight controls via the in-flight entertainment system while the aircraft was in mid-flight. Much heated discussion ensued, and silver-badged tard Christoph posted this, which excited numerous upvotes and downvotes.

“shooting the messenger No. If he’d just reported the problem, or hacked it while on the ground and stationary, then yes. But apparently he hacked into and changed the operation of an aircraft in flight. How could be absolutely certain that this would not have any other consequences? It’s not impossible that he could have crashed the system badly enough to crash the aircraft. He was utterly irresponsible and deserves the book thrown at him. An aircraft with passengers is not his toy to play with to show off what a great hacker he is.

For what it’s worth, it’s almost certain that the hacker didn’t access the aircraft’s control systems by buggering about with the seat back video screen. Still, why let that stand in the way of a good old rant?

Moving on to parochial news, Northumberland Police’s provisional wing deployed 20 police cars, a helicopter and several armed units last week to … shoot a cow. An escaped cow, granted, but – according to eyewitnesses, whose account is hotly disputed by the Keystones – a stationary milk cow. Not an escaped bull on the rampage; far from it.

Why? For the lulz to prevent a threat to public safety, apparently.

Silver-badged commentard hplasm accurately observed why the police shot the cow:

They had to shoot it- before it outwitted them.

The Wooden Twig of Fail

This week’s worst, most irrelevant and just generally shite comment came from LucasNorth, who, on a story about Uber paying its drivers peanuts, said this:

why should the passenger care if their taxi is insured or not?

Hmm. Let’s think about that for a while … actually, no, let’s think about it for ten seconds, you chump. (if you actually need to think about that for any length of time, please just get in the sea).

The Golden Vulture Dropping of Excellence

Awarded to the commentard whose contribution is judged the best, the Golden Vulture Dropping recognises that not everything written below the line is blowhards tearing strips off each other for following the wrong tech religion. Yes, I mean you, Linux and Microsoft fanboys.

The aptly-named Anonymous Blowhard contributed this corker, on the news that a lamb had been found in a brothel:

Re: A cow is actually quite dangerous “Even sheep caused 1500 or so injuries” Is an STI really an injury?

Naughty naughty!

Goodbye, print safely. ®

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Google patents DEVIL TOY which will BRAINWASH KIDS

A Google patent uncovered by tech law firm SmartUp seems to describe a toy that will look at and talk to your kids, then update a remote media device, depending upon the child’s feedback.

The inventor of the evil robot is named as Richard Wayne DeVaul, whose job title is “director of rapid evaluation and mad science” at Google X. He is described as working “in a secret Google lab that may or may not be filled with roving robots, space elevators and talking refrigerators”.

The spookily surnamed DeVaul has been oddly quiet on Twitter since beginning work at Google almost four years ago.

The abstract for the patent explicitly describes:

An anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy, may be configured to control one or more media devices. Upon reception or a detection of a social cue, such as movement and/or a spoken word or phrase, the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue.

In response to receiving a voice command, the anthropomorphic device may interpret the voice command and map it to a media device command. Then, the anthropomorphic device may transmit the media device command to a media device, instructing the media device to change state.

The patent suggests other forms the demon dolly could assume in order to lull your child into a false sense of security, bizarrely noting it could take the form of a dragon or an alien.

“Young children might find these forms to be attractive,” it says. “However, individuals of all ages may find interacting with these anthropomorphic devices to be more natural than interacting with traditional types of user interfaces.”

A patent filed earlier this year has raised ridiculous concerns that Google may be building a robot army. These robots may be loaded with distinctive personalities, which alarmists claim are designed to raise the youth of humanity once Google’s AI destroys all adults.

Google has not responded to The Register‘s inquiry about the integration of these distinct areas of research at the time of publication, which we have stressed is to suppress such unnecessary tinfoil-hattery. ®

A modern data architecture with Apache Hadoop

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BlackBerry: we ARE cutting jobs AGAIN

Blackberry is to axe workers across its loss-making hardware division to lighten overheads, the ailing Canadian smartphone maker has confirmed.

The company temporarily broke into the black during Q4 of fiscal ’15 ended February, but this short run of fortune couldn’t mask the wider malaise and yet another year of losses.

CEO John Chen wants to achieve sustainable profitability by the end of this fiscal and is starting off with another round of cost cutting – though Blackberry didn’t put a number on redundancies.

“Our intention is to reallocate resources in ways that will best enable us to capitalise on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all facets of our business

“As a result, we have made the decision to consolidate our device, software, hardware and applications business, impacting a number of employees around the world,” said BlackBerry.

The company employed 6,225 full-time staffers globally as of February, way down on the 16,000 workforce in 2012 before it began the cost purge that followed a string of disappointing results.

In BlackBerry’s last full financial year it turned over $3.34bn, down 51 per cent year-on-year and reported a loss of $304m, albeit better than than the loss of $5.9bn in fiscal ’14.

The company reiterated that it sees a future built on wares and services rather than just boxes:

“One of our priorities is making our device business profitable. At the same time, we must grow software and licensing revenues. You will see in the coming months a significant ramping in our customers facing activities in sales and marketing.”

The “path to growth” will be found via investments in software, enterprise security and Internet of Things, it claimed.

Fast IT with Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure

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Bank of England Accidentally E-mails Top-Secret "Brexit" Plan To the Guardian

Most rational people recognize Britain should be part of the EU.

Why? I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I’m erring on the side of leaving for entirely rational reasons.

In short, I think the UK and much of continental Europe have different long term goals. The Eurozone nations have opted for a degree of financial integration that the UK doesn’t want or need. Obviously that hasn’t worked out very well recently, at least for the economically stronger EU nations, so there is little reason for the UK to join in the foreseeable future. I think the wider EU is also heading for a more centralised, federalised system of legislation and broader government, which again the UK does not generally want to join. I suspect that in the long term these two fundamental types of integration will prove to be inseparable, and those who want to be part of the EU will increasingly lose sovereignty over things like taxation, weakening national governments in favour of ever-more-powerful central EU authorities. That’s OK if it really is what they want, but I don’t think it is what the UK is looking for in its relationship with its European neighbours.

On the other hand, the UK and many other EU nations are valuable trading partners for each other, so maintaining a liberal trading environment is in everyone’s interests. This was what our previous generation actually signed up for by joining the predecessors of the current EU, of course. I think many in the UK also value things like the the European Convention on Human Rights (even if our current administration do not like it) and would be happy to remain a signatory, but that is a different European system, not part of the EU. Similarly I think those from the UK who often travel to Europe or vice versa would see merit in the UK joining the Schengen Area (even though again our current administration are probably strongly against it).

As things stand, it may be that the best way of everybody getting as close as possible to achieving their own goals is for the UK and EU to separate amicably, and then for the UK to establish alternative agreements for mutual benefit with the EU and/or individual member states in those areas where everyone’s interests do align. It would no doubt be painful for everyone in the short term, but this might be a having to break eggs to make omelettes situation.

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Oculus Founder Hit With Lawsuit

I googled the life out of this and could not find them. I did find a company by that name in Panaji, Goa, India, but I do not see how they may be related. I’m puzzled.

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Google Developing ‘Brillo’ OS For Internet of Things

Who’d have thought 40 years ago, we’d all be sitting here drinking chateau de chatillon [].

(*) That part’s actually true. I started on an IBM-1130, predecessor to the IBM-360.

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The Hoverboard Flies Closer To Reality

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Study: Science Still Seen As a Male Profession

Nobody gives a fuck. That’s why we see the social justice crowd trying so hard to make these total non-issues into issues. Since this isn’t the kind of thing that normal people get worked up about, being a non-issue, those trying to push the extremist social justice agenda try to plaster this shit wherever they can. But the social justice crowd lacks the finesse that other political marketeers possess. So instead of intelligent, targeted messages, the social justice crowed just brute forces this shit over every possible media venue they can find, constantly.

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