by Wayne M. Krakau - Chicago Computer Guide, February, 2002
Here are some odds and ends products that aren't appropriate for their own, individual columns. They include some of the oddest ends I have ever seen.

We will start with Levi's Mobile Dockers (www.dockers.com) The first you might have heard of these pants is their commercial, in which a woman plays voyeur using x-ray glasses, and, after snooping on various individuals, ridiculing them as she goes, finally settles on a man wearing Mobile Dockers. She is immediately very impressed and simultaneously embarrassed for getting caught staring.

There is something of a double standard at work here. If the voyeur had been a guy, the end of the commercial would have shown him being led away in handcuffs through a jeering crowd, soon to be added to his state's list of registered sex offenders.

Of course, if the voyeur had really been a guy, the only electronic gadget he would be thinking about would be a digital camera, and, specifically, how he could attach it to the x-ray specs and post the resulting photos on the Web to impress his buddies.

Then, again, there is the geek factor. While the pants look relatively normal while standing, there could be telltale bulges when sitting or crouching. That, of course, would beg the question, "Is that a Palm in your pocket, or are you just being friendly?" Worse, it could beg the same question using "palm" instead of "Palm." Either way, it would be just as bad as the classic pocket protector as an indicator of relative geekness.

On the good side, walking around looking like a refugee from a Dilbert comic with multiple devices and tools hanging from your belt is probably less attractive than having these devices neatly stowed in the various hidden pockets of the Mobile Dockers. (Hey - wait a minute! That sound like me!) In fact, just wearing Dockers instead of some of the other things that I've seen some really hard-core geeks wear is probably an improvement. They lend that nice touch of "business casual" to the ensemble.

Of course, there is the contrarian point of view to consider. If we buy into the claim by some "experts" claim that holding a cell phone near your head fries brain cells, we run into an interesting question. If Mobile Dockers get really popular, should you invest in fertility clinics (assuming the use of headsets, of course)? Perhaps brain cells aren't the only human cells eligible to fry.

If the multi-pocketed Mobile Dockers either don't have enough room or are not compartmentalized enough for you, you can really go for high-tech personal storage with the SCOTT eVEST (www.scottevest.com). (That's the way they spell and capitalize it!) This article of clothing seems to be a direct descendent of the photographers' vests that I so admired back in the days when my 35MM SLR - and its many lenses and accessories - meant more to me than my computer. (Anyone want to buy 6,000 or so slightly used, completely disorganized 35MM slides - stored mostly in their original photo processing envelopes - from a former photo-geek?)

However, they have gone the photographers' vest one better. As well as having 15 pockets, many having specialty features of their own, the SCOTT eVEST has a form of conduit combined with Velcro to provide protected paths for cables to connect your various devices to each other or to headsets and microphones. They call this system a Personal Area Network, or PAN. (FYI: They have a really interesting Web site design, too.)

Please note that if you wear both of these storage-oriented articles of clothing and actually fill the pockets with various electronic gizmos, you will probably not need to actually pass through a metal detector to set it off. Merely passing within 50 feet or so of one should be enough for your personal electromagnetic field to trigger the alarm.

Also, don't forget that although you can remove the eVEST to actually go through a metal detector, removing your Mobile Dockers while waiting in line might be a bit problematical.

Next month I will continue with some additional, though not quite so odd, odds and ends.

Meanwhile, have you heard about the e-mail message that Bill Gates sent to everyone at Microsoft telling them that security is now their number one priority. A cynical point of view (who, me?) might be to see that Bill Gate has a new title at Microsoft - that of Propaganda Minister.

On the other hand, I do have my hopeful, optimistic side, too. If Gates really means it, it could be a breakthrough. If the Microsofties can muster up enough organizational skill to eliminate the bulk of their security problems, the elimination of most of the non-security bugs could be within their grasp!

©2002, Wayne M. Krakau