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  • backpack
    replied
    Originally posted by PaulT00 View Post
    I suspect that the reasons for retiring the brain cells have a lot to do with the changing face of portable computing.

    My first personal laptop was a Sony with a 16" screen and a 30GB hard drive. It was big, heavy (3 or 4 Kg!) and fragile. Before I discovered TB, I spent a sizeable chunk of money on a big, heavy Samsonite 'mobile office' briefcase with a padded central section much like a brain cell, to protect the (£2.5K) investment.

    My replacement for that was a 13" black polycarbonate macbook. Still a standard hard drive, but 300GB instead of 30GB. £1300 instead of £2500, and much more capable. It swam in the Samsonite, but I got a fitted hard slipcase with padded interior for it (again, much like a brain cell). I still have the macbook, but the hardcase was replaced a few years ago with a cache.

    My latest replacement laptop is a 12" retina macbook. £1300 again, but other mac laptops are less expensive - I went for the version with the biggest SSD. It has almost no moving parts - solid state drives are not as fragile as traditional HDDs; it weighs a tiny fraction as much as even the black macbook, and has an aluminium outer shell which is pretty robust. It has a cache, or travels in my Ristretto with inbuilt cache. I did actually drop the macbook the other day - not a scratch, and certainly no damage sufficient to cause a functional failure. If I wanted to put it in a brain cell, I would have to wrap it quite thickly to prevent it from sloshing around in there!

    The trend is, mostly, toward smaller, lighter, less expensive, less fragile pieces of hardware which no longer need as much in the way of heavy duty protection. Even commodity laptops these days use SSDs, which - let's be honest - are the main reason why older laptops are less robust than newer ones. Couple that with the inexorable move toward tablet form factor devices (the macbook retina nearly qualifies on size and weight grounds, then there's the whole iPad range including the iPad Pro, plus the Microsoft Surface range) and I would guess the demand for brain cell carrying capacity and protection capability has dropped like a stone over the last few years. Potentially TB could redesign the brain cell? Make it smaller, lighter, perhaps tougher (thinks: carbon fibre outer shell?) and more appropriate for things like current high end laptops (13"/15" MBP and the like) but I suspect the market is still pretty limited. And with the pace of evolution in hardware, even something like that might be obsolete within a couple of years for the majority of users.
    I second that, people have swapped iPads or tablets and SSD light macbooks or notebooks for the bricks of early mobile computing.

    A Cache is a perfectly adequate protection for today's computing devices. The rails allows suspension and one can place a squishy item under the Cache.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jenne
    replied
    I love my Brain Cell. I got it for my 15" (ish-- it's pretty big) Dell D620 ten years ago and am happy to say that computer still works! (It can't keep up with modern times, so we use the Dell exclusively for my son's telescope software and my Zoo Tycoon game.) I keep my current Macbook in a Cache, but now I'm seriously considering getting a Brain Cell if it's still available for my size. I doubt I'll go under 15", since I do image editing.

    I think the Brain Cell was my second TB purchase, after my Imago. It was exactly what I was looking for-- something I could put in a bigger bag, but also attach a strap to on its own.

    Also, I am sad about the I/O. It is a nice camera bag. I use it either on its own or in my Super Ego. Man, everything I love is discontinued!

    Leave a comment:


  • Darcy
    replied
    Good questions all around!

    When we decided to retire the Brain Cell, we made large batches of most sizes in order to use up all of the remaining specialized Brain Cell parts (mostly the core and foam that create the hard-sided protection that the Brain Cell offers) to allow those who may want to purchase a Brain Cell time to do so before sizes begin selling out and the Brain Cell is officially retired. Until that happens, the Brain Cell will still be listed in category pages and mentioned in the descriptions of bags because it's still a great laptop case and it's still available for order.

    PaulT00 makes some great points about laptops and protection and where that's headed. The Brain Cell remains popular, but most folks seem to favor the Cache.

    The Brain Bag + Cache combination is quite popular (as is the Brain Bag itself), so there are no plans to retire the Brain Bag.

    Annex Clips for attaching the Brain Cell are currently included with the Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Tri-Star, Western Flyer and Empire Builder (these are the only bags that allow for a Brain Cell to be clipped-in.) At some point in the near future, we plan to remove Annex Clips from those larger bags and instead pair them with the remaining Brain Cells, as that makes the most sense to us as the Brain Cells are being phased out. Note that we will keep the webbing loops to which the Annex Clips attach in the larger bags for a good while longer; that way people who already have a Brain Cell can still clip it into a newly purchased Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Tri-Star, Western Flyer and Empire Builder.

    It's never an easy decision to retire a design, especially one that's well-loved and has been around, well, almost forever. Note how many different designs and colors we offer, especially for a company our size! Tom and Nik are designing up a storm these days, though, and some bags will need to be retired to make way for new designs (which won't always be replacements for the designs that are retiring).

    Leave a comment:


  • SecurityGuy
    replied
    Originally posted by ceepee View Post
    Since the Brain Bag works fine as a large backpack without a Brain Cell I don't see why they would discontinue it.

    Not everyone needs the protection of a Brain Cell ...... I'm guessing there's not enough 'need' to warrant keeping it in the line-up.
    Without the Brain Cell, the Brain Bag is just that -- a big backpack. It isn't suitable for carrying a computer unless you add some third-party protection.

    The Brain Bag has no padding on the bottom or between the back (laptop) and front compartments. I suppose if you only put soft items in the front and were careful you might get away with a simple sleve on your notebook, but I carry camera gear and other stuff in the front pocket.

    Leave a comment:


  • tpnl
    replied
    I do not believe the Western Flyer will receive the rail loop treatment. moriond had asked about this a while back and was told there were no plans to do this:

    Question about Western Flyer


    However @Perseffect has a nice workaround:

    Cache with Rails in a Western Flyer


    Hope this helps

    Cheers!

    Leave a comment:


  • PaulT00
    replied
    I suspect that the reasons for retiring the brain cells have a lot to do with the changing face of portable computing.

    My first personal laptop was a Sony with a 16" screen and a 30GB hard drive. It was big, heavy (3 or 4 Kg!) and fragile. Before I discovered TB, I spent a sizeable chunk of money on a big, heavy Samsonite 'mobile office' briefcase with a padded central section much like a brain cell, to protect the (£2.5K) investment.

    My replacement for that was a 13" black polycarbonate macbook. Still a standard hard drive, but 300GB instead of 30GB. £1300 instead of £2500, and much more capable. It swam in the Samsonite, but I got a fitted hard slipcase with padded interior for it (again, much like a brain cell). I still have the macbook, but the hardcase was replaced a few years ago with a cache.

    My latest replacement laptop is a 12" retina macbook. £1300 again, but other mac laptops are less expensive - I went for the version with the biggest SSD. It has almost no moving parts - solid state drives are not as fragile as traditional HDDs; it weighs a tiny fraction as much as even the black macbook, and has an aluminium outer shell which is pretty robust. It has a cache, or travels in my Ristretto with inbuilt cache. I did actually drop the macbook the other day - not a scratch, and certainly no damage sufficient to cause a functional failure. If I wanted to put it in a brain cell, I would have to wrap it quite thickly to prevent it from sloshing around in there!

    The trend is, mostly, toward smaller, lighter, less expensive, less fragile pieces of hardware which no longer need as much in the way of heavy duty protection. Even commodity laptops these days use SSDs, which - let's be honest - are the main reason why older laptops are less robust than newer ones. Couple that with the inexorable move toward tablet form factor devices (the macbook retina nearly qualifies on size and weight grounds, then there's the whole iPad range including the iPad Pro, plus the Microsoft Surface range) and I would guess the demand for brain cell carrying capacity and protection capability has dropped like a stone over the last few years. Potentially TB could redesign the brain cell? Make it smaller, lighter, perhaps tougher (thinks: carbon fibre outer shell?) and more appropriate for things like current high end laptops (13"/15" MBP and the like) but I suspect the market is still pretty limited. And with the pace of evolution in hardware, even something like that might be obsolete within a couple of years for the majority of users.

    Leave a comment:


  • loma
    replied
    I wonder if the Western Flyer will be updated to have rail loops.

    Leave a comment:


  • ceepee
    replied
    Since the Brain Bag works fine as a large backpack without a Brain Cell I don't see why they would discontinue it.

    Not everyone needs the protection of a Brain Cell ...... I'm guessing there's not enough 'need' to warrant keeping it in the line-up.

    It will be interesting to see if TB will come up with other ways for us to use the Annex clips and webbing though.

    ETA: I do think it would be wise for Tom Bihn to remove reference to the Brain Cell from the Brain Bag product page though ….. since they're basically advertising a selling point that will shortly no longer exist.
    Last edited by ceepee; 08-09-2016, 04:49 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • SecurityGuy
    replied
    This is very disappointing. The whole point of the Brain Bag was that you could buy a Brain Cell for a new notebook and clip one or more into the bag. The hard sides and bottom of the Brain Cell are essential to protect the notebook from other contents of the bag. If I wanted to put my new Macbook in a neoprene sleve and shove it into a backpack I wouldn't have bought from TB.

    I assume this also means that the Brain Bag will be discontinued as well. Without a Brain Cell it is not an appropriate backpack for a computer.

    Leave a comment:


  • feijai
    replied
    I'm still trying to figure out why the Brain Cell is being discontinued. Surely it's one of TB's most prominent items. Like many here, the Brain Cell is *why* I have a TB bag in the first place. It has a very definite advantage over Caches, whose protection is almost entirely cosmetic. Is the Brain Cell not selling well? It TB out of annex clips? Are they going to get rid of the Brain Bag? Are they getting rid of the Brain Cell straps in all the backpacks, and if so, what replaces them in the Brain Bag? If the Brain Cell is being discontinued, why is it listed in Laptop Items with no indication of its status? Was this just a typo?

    Some explanation would be welcome.

    Leave a comment:


  • Alicia
    replied
    Does anyone know if the large padded organizer pouch was discontinued?

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

    Leave a comment:


  • David Prescott
    replied
    I will be very interested to see what's next. Just the same, I bought a BC today because (as many others have observed) it's what got me into TB as well.

    The more I have sought the perfect balance of portability and accessibility (and the more I've watched airline pilots -- who need both -- in action) the more I appreciate bags like the Tri-Star and Western Flyer.

    More importantly, though, I've come to see space and durability as values alongside economy of space, if that makes any sense. I have been perfectly happy to trust my laptop (which basically holds my life and everything I need at my destination) to the overhead bin knowing that it was in a BC inside a TB bag, even if it took up more space than was minimally necessary.

    Again, I am very interested to see next steps, but for me the cache has never quite brought about psychological comfort when traveling on something like an A-380, which can land with enough force to make it seem that the pilot was landing an apartment building and not an airplane. I love the built-in cache of the Founder's bag for everyday travel, but still....

    Leave a comment:


  • AVService
    replied
    Originally posted by tpnl View Post
    Oh - don't get me started

    The Brain Cell was one of the original "Bag in Bag" TB items. You could pull it out of your Brain Bag / Smart Alec backpack or Empire Builder / Zephyr / Ego briefcases and it would become an ultralight briefcase with the webbing handles. As you mentioned, it also was an integral part of the Western Flyer / Tri-Star series of travel bags.

    To further the ultralight briefcase idea, the elastic side pockets were good to carry a power supply, pens or a small note pad.

    Protection-wise, it was one of the best items. It was the only soft sided case (ie - not hard PVC type plastic like the Pelican models) that had the level of protection I wanted. The sling design, good internal padding, corrugated plastic sides and Cordura (now Parapack type) outer cover all added up. Brenthaven came close but the outer covering was not as nice and did not have the versatility of the pockets. Waterfield had heavy neoprene and leather which, while very beautiful, really will not protect from a true fall and Thinktank even has something but I doubt it would survive a true fall. I know that the sling is in the wrong orientation when the Western Flyer is carried in backpack mode but that fact that it is firmly attached to the bag via the Annex Clip probably mitigates some of the loss of sling protection.

    I have used it as my personal item when flying and it does go through the TSA scans without needing the laptop removed from my experience. I also posted about adding Side Effects and even an SA-Lower Module Pocket to make it an even more versatile minimalist bag.

    I know that it is bulkier but I am ok with that if I can get the protection. Despite being in IT, I do not change my electronics as often (4-5 years) so I want my stuff protected against (my) constant human clumsiness

    Hopefully TB will make something similar - I actually saw an early TB briefcase that I would like to see again - basically instead of the elastic pockets, it had a flap.

    Cheers!
    In fact Waterfield did make a bag with the exact same protection design as the BC.
    The Racer-X has a sling and it is adjustable too like in the BC,I have 2 of these bags.
    One is for the 12" Powerbook which I loved dearly and is still a useful size for me sometimes and the other was for the 15" Macbook which I also still use.
    These are also great,sturdy well built and thought out bags so of course they too are discontinued!

    The Racer-X is more than just a computer sleeve though as it has a few sections and organization and is a briefcase all by itself.
    My favorite feature is the mountain bike handle as the bag handle,just a great bag and fresh design.

    I also have no Cache at all but several of the Waterfield Sleeves which I still use all the time,if its not broke why fix it?

    There are also a lot of bags that have a pocket for the computer that does not touch the bag bottom at all to provide the same basic protection and the oath Face bags use stretchy Neoprene for the pocket which does give some of the same dynamic protection as the BC.
    Last edited by AVService; 04-09-2016, 01:03 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • tpnl
    replied
    Oh - don't get me started

    The Brain Cell was one of the original "Bag in Bag" TB items. You could pull it out of your Brain Bag / Smart Alec backpack or Empire Builder / Zephyr / Ego briefcases and it would become an ultralight briefcase with the webbing handles. As you mentioned, it also was an integral part of the Western Flyer / Tri-Star series of travel bags.

    To further the ultralight briefcase idea, the elastic side pockets were good to carry a power supply, pens or a small note pad.

    Protection-wise, it was one of the best items. It was the only soft sided case (ie - not hard PVC type plastic like the Pelican models) that had the level of protection I wanted. The sling design, good internal padding, corrugated plastic sides and Cordura (now Parapack type) outer cover all added up. Brenthaven came close but the outer covering was not as nice and did not have the versatility of the pockets. Waterfield had heavy neoprene and leather which, while very beautiful, really will not protect from a true fall and Thinktank even has something but I doubt it would survive a true fall. I know that the sling is in the wrong orientation when the Western Flyer is carried in backpack mode but that fact that it is firmly attached to the bag via the Annex Clip probably mitigates some of the loss of sling protection.

    I have used it as my personal item when flying and it does go through the TSA scans without needing the laptop removed from my experience. I also posted about adding Side Effects and even an SA-Lower Module Pocket to make it an even more versatile minimalist bag.

    I know that it is bulkier but I am ok with that if I can get the protection. Despite being in IT, I do not change my electronics as often (4-5 years) so I want my stuff protected against (my) constant human clumsiness

    Hopefully TB will make something similar - I actually saw an early TB briefcase that I would like to see again - basically instead of the elastic pockets, it had a flap.

    Cheers!

    Leave a comment:


  • davys
    replied
    Originally posted by catherder View Post
    Speak to me of the benefits of brain cells. They are a lot more weight and bulk than a cache, and in a Western Flyer a horizontal brain cell is in the wrong orientation when carried in backpack mode. However, in an otherwise empty bag they are much more protective, and the harder sides give more peace of mind. Am I missing something?
    Hmmm that's something I never thought of, the extra weight one Brain Cell over the Cache - thanks for the heads up!I didn't see any mention of weight in the item descriptions so I may check with customer support to see the difference before I order. Must admit I'm thinking that I'd be OK with the cache, just need to know that the slide rails will fit the ID.

    ETA: Just seen on the website that the Cache is 8oz lighter!
    Last edited by davys; 04-09-2016, 09:57 AM.

    Leave a comment:

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