terriko: Adorable icon care of John (bubble bobble)
Luggage with a built-in scooter is awesome. I've seen ride-on wheeled luggage for kids (and coveted it mightily), and this appears to be the adult-friendly equivalent. Sadly, does not meet a lot of my other criteria (I'd be shocked if they let me avoid gatechecking this) and it's $250 (But at least shipping is free...). I'm tempted just for the awesome factor.


Here's a small hard case that meets a lot more of my criteria. It clocks in at 35cmx39cmx23cm (that's 14"x15"x9" for those of us who have to fly in America) and comes in cheerful colours. I'm actually not sure which one I'd choose -- normally I shun the pinks but that dark one is pretty lovely and would fit nicely into some sort of business-travelling fashionista persona if I dressed the part with some business casuals. But maybe the green or red would be less likely to clash with my existing wardrobe.... Honestly, I'm approaching this project much like I do cosplay, and now that I think about it it's not really that different: I'm playing for an audience to believe me to be someone very specific. Nevermind that I'm still projecting a variant on me; it's all the same body language, fashion, and carefully chosen accessories that make it work.

Similarly, a bright orange gem that could probably work with the persona too. 36x44x20cm (14x17x8") for that one, and only two wheels tucked into the edges so probably a bit more packing space in the final tally.

But despite the obvious appeal for my in-progress traveler persona, I'm not seeing any useful way for me to get reviews of these that I can actually understand since they're shipping from Hong Kong, and I haven't quite decided if I really should be making a hundred dollar gamble just because the colours are fun. I wonder if it's possible to find something similar that's at least a little more local to me? I have learned the useful new search terms "rolling business case" but it's mostly been turning up uninspired blackness.


Incidentally, I *did* check the wirecutter and they do have a section on bags, just not the kind I'm looking for. Bags are one of those few things I'm exceptionally picky about (especially right now while mildly injured, but even when not I tend to have precise requirements) so it probably isn't that much of a loss. They're apparently looking for a freelance bag editor and I rather wish I were actually the right person for that job. Lot of work for little pay, but a chance to try lots of bags!
terriko: Adorable icon care of John (bubble bobble)
I currently own a 20" rolling carry-on bag that has met my airline & train travel needs for years (I switched to it a year or two before airlines started charging for checked bags), and it's perfect for a week-long conference where I'm coming back or going out with a lot of stuff, or when I'm visiting my parents for close to a month at Christmas, but it seems excessive when I'm going for a weekend trip or a job interview.

I'm considering getting a smaller suitcase for those shorter trips, so I'm working out my requirements. This thread covers more or less what I have in mind, but here's some personal preference/requirement notes:

1. Must have wheels. I used to do backpack+purse for shorter trips, but I've been finding that I often pinch a nerve during travel and I'm pretty sure carrying my camera/laptop on my back is a factor.

2. Can fit my laptop and possibly SLR camera + 2-3 days worth of clothes. Thankfully my clothes are pretty small. Camera may be optional: I'm trying a downgrade to a point and shoot for short trips.

3. Preferably I'd like something that can fit into the overhead bin on the smaller regional jets, since often my flight will have one hop with those. A search says that this means the bag will have to be around 18Lx14Wx7D. Sounds like you can fit larger, but I'd rather not have to argue it out with the gate staff / flight attendant every time. I am perfectly ok with being given a checked tag and then "obliviously" carrying my bag on the plane anyhow as long as it will fit, though.

4. Butnot arguing with the gate/flight staff every time I fly would be awesome. This may mean going with something more backpack-like so I can just put it on my back when I walk on the plane, but mostly it just reinforces "small" and "looks like it holds a laptop." Briefcases should work.

5. Should have an open clothing section as opposed to a bunch of filefolder divider things that will make it harder to pack.

6. Should open fully, at least for the clothing section. Pure preference on my part.

7. I'm not too picky about laptop sleeves, although something I can easily slip a laptop out of for the TSA or in case I do have to check the bag is good. I basically never use my laptop on the plane, I just don't want to skycheck it.

8. If at all possible, not black. Something like 90% of the suitcases I see are black and I don't want to be worrying about someone grabbing mine by mistake.

9. But (and i realize this may contradict the "not black" thing) something that looks more business traveller-y would be good. I have a *lot* of trouble with TSA reps assuming I'm young or an infrequent traveler which is especially frustrating when I go somewhere with J and they immediately assume he's an expert while I get the "oh, hon, you know our machines are perfectly safe?" talk-down-to-the-little-girl spiel. (My new response: "My sister is a physicist who works in health and safety; I'd like to opt out." which is factually true but irrelevant and calculated to throw them and possibly nearby travelers out of their default headspace without getting into an argument.)




I've been finding that
(a) A disturbing number of online sites don't give pictures of the inside of the bags.
(b) A disturbing number of online sites don't give dimensions or even pictures that could help me guess the dimensions
(c) Bags are expensive (duh)
(d) There is an entire market for "women's suitcases" which I find somewhat strange. Particularly given that the "women's briefcase-bags" seem pretty much identical to the non-women's ones.



I don't have any short trips scheduled, but I'm hoping to find some bag options I like and catch a sale (luggage goes on sale quite frequently, so it's a bit ridiculous to pay full price if I've got time to spare).

I would love to hear first hand testimonials from any of you who travel with a bag that might meet my needs, though. It was a recommendation from Linuxchix that drew me to my current bag which has done me pretty well although it's starting to show its age now.
terriko: (Default)
People often comment on the number of ribbons on my badge, and I always tell them that I get a lot of them because I like volunteering at GHC. Volunteering every year keeps me with a nice balance of meeting new people and having an excuse to sit and chat with friends who I met volunteering in previous years. Plus, badge ribbons are just fun:




My day started with an orientation for Hoppers, and I was not nearly awake enough to take pictures of that.

From there, I headed to the Free and Open Source Software booth, which is kinda unusual among the booths at GHC11 in that we're a collection of people working on completely unrelated projects, and you'll get to hear about completely different things if you come back a few hours later. Plus, some of the coolest and most inspirational women I know are working at the booth. One of the things about open source is that it attracts a lot of people who are willing to just Get Things Done and who are able to not only get the technical details right, but also able to organize their own time and other people's to make sure things happen. If you went to Jo's session in the afternoon and realized you want to be known as the sort of person who really gets stuff done, you should be looking to these people for tips!




Then I moved on to the PhD Forum. Here's pictures of the lovely presenters, but I'm too tired to dig out my session notes so I'll just suggest you mosey on over to Valerie's blog about the session.




There's a blur of meeting people and chatting and getting caught up between every session. It's awesome!

I also got a chance to meet with the other community volunteers, yet another illustrious crew of smart awesome women who are passionate about using social media and all our other tech tools to share the experience of being at GHC11 online. Anyone who comes to GHC11 and takes a picture, writes a blog post, tweets, and participates in our online communities can be part of our team! If you want to know how to contribute your stuff to the online communities, just ask!




A few people were willing to humour me today by playing "real life angry birds" with me at the open source booth. I crocheted a bunch of birds to play with, and used it as an excuse to take pictures as a community volunteer. Lots of people have asked if they can have one, and I wish I had time to crochet them for everyone, but alas, I'd get a hand cramp long before I finished! However, please stop by the booth and play with them and take pictures over the next few days, just remember to leave them for the next visitors.




Next up, I went to Jo Miller's session on building your personal brand. Once again, I suggest you visit Valerie's blog to learn more about Jo's talk. I'm going to echo what someone I talked to today said and point out that the neat thing about Jo is how she really motivates this stuff. Brand-building sounds like marketing or startup culture speak to me, but she had a great story about a women she met who felt she was "the best-kept secret of the company" -- but you don't want to be a secret! I may write a post about this later, but for now, read Valerie's. :)

Towards the end of the session they did a speed-networking thing, and I totally made the rookie mistake of leaving my business cards in my purse when we got up to stand on this weird grid thing to facilitate moving and networking. The most amusing moment for me was when we got over and everyone was too busy networking to listen to the instructions on how we should network!





Then it was back to the open source booth for me, where I got to talk to more super cool people and play more angry birds:




I talked about how open source is awesome when you're in grad school. I talked about to get internships at open source companies or through google summer of code (we loooove students!) I talked about what drew me to GNU Mailman (short answer: technology that helps build communities and fun developers to work with!) And I got to hear about people's backgrounds and worries and projects and how their companies use open source software.

Then my final job of the evening was as a Hopper working the registration desk. I figured after the bustle of the open source booth, working a quiet registration desk would be boring... But I sat down next to Kate and had a blast talking about Margaret Atwood, working in technology while wearing a skirt or even a suit, our (relatively) new jobs, and everything else we could think of for a few hours. It was great!




And then back to the free and open source booth where I got to sit and chat with Mel who I admit I probably fangirled all over because I love the way she's been blogging about viewing academia from an open source perspective, and she is just totally one of those people who always seems to be doing cool things and thinking about them in insightful ways and I was so very exited to meet her. Hopefully i didn't talk her ear off too much, given how tired we all were by this point!

When the show floor closed up, it was time to head back to the hotel, and now I've stayed up too late processing photos and blogging. Oops! Tomorrow's 7:45am breakfast meeting with my security panel is going to feel very early!

But thankfully, you don't have to get up before 7:45 to talk about the panel; you can all just come see the finished product at 11:30am-12:30pm in B113-115 where I'm on a panel about online security for technical women. Hope to see you there!
terriko: (Default)
I arrived in Portland a few days early to play tourist. Here's two cool things I took pictures of that I wanted to share with other GHC11 attendees!



My friend Jen (@jenred) took me out before GHC11 for some hiking and beautiful views. It's amazing the sort of natural beauty you can find not far from the city! I looooved the waterfalls, since I just moved to the desert and damp Portland just seems extra lush and beautiful.




A cool thing to do at lunch or after the conference: Take the Tram up to the top of the ridge. Lots of great space for the view of the city and photo opportunities, and it only costs $4 for the tram + $2 for the trolley to get you there. (It's just past the edge of the free zone, sadly!) You can definitely walk the last stop, but it's a bit noisy with construction so I just paid the $2 and then used it as an excuse to ride the streetcar loop to see the area. So pretty with the fall leaves changing!

More about the tram here: www.portlandtram.org/
terriko: (Default)
I was in North Carolina for my friends Matt and Jen's wedding last weekend, and it was really lovely. In fact, I think that they've really raised the bar in my mind for what makes an awesome wedding. My favourite part of it all was that they encouraged a bunch of folk to bring games and play in the hotel the day before... so by the time the wedding happened we had all these new friends and were good to play a few more games and chat on the patio. Very fun!




Kernersville and the surrounding area was beautiful and lush and green -- very exciting since when I left Ottawa, barely any of our trees had leaves out. It was like stepping off the plane into summer. The weather held perfectly for the outdoor ceremony, although we had a slightly rainy few days overall. Still, it was a nice excuse to play indoor tourist and enjoy things like bakeries and museums, as well as time spent playing games and hanging out with people.

I've uploaded a few photos from the wedding, for the curious. As you can tell, weddings are serious business. ;)




What was less fun was the plane ride home. My flight was delayed, which meant I'd miss my connection, so I was told I'd be stuck in Chicago overnight waiting for the first flight to Ottawa at 8:30am. No hotel provided either, since it was weather related. We all spent 3 hours waiting in Greensboro with 10 minute updates telling us the plane hadn't taken off. Everything closed at 8pm so there was no way for us to get food for several hours before the plane finally arrived around 10pm. I was glad for my penchant for packing snacks and plenty of entertainment! United didn't so much as offer us an extra drink on the plane for our troubles, sadly -- at least Air Canada often gives me a cookie!

When we got into Chicago, I decided on a whim to check the board and see how badly I'd missed my flight. Whereupon I realized the Chicago-Ottawa flight had also been delayed. And then I realized it was delayed so much that they hadn't left. And then I realized it was at the gate I'd just left... it turns out that the second leg of my flight was on the same plane! So a quick check with the gate agent and I just got back on. Sure, I didn't get actually home 'till closer to 4am... but I didn't have to sleep in O'Hare airport!

I'm not sure how I feel about having jet lag despite staying in the same time zone, but there's no time to recuperate: I need to prep a job talk for next week, and there's still thesis to finish! Wish me luck!

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