After Hours

Go to the head of Trek Class with this gear

Syracuse University's Trek Class inspired Star Trek fan Edmond Woychowsky to do some online browsing for back-to-school items.

It's back to school time, and this means picking up laptops, flash drives, paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, phasers, tricorders, and tribbles. What? Do you have a problem with the school supply list? If so, then you're just not taking the right class.

Assistant Professor Anthony Rotolo of Syracuse University School of Information Studies is teaching the course Star Trek and the Information Age (aka Trek Class) this semester. In Trek Class, episodes of Star Trek and the concepts that it popularized (or in same cases, introduced) in the modern world are discussed. The fall semester's Trek Class started this week, but it's not too late to follow and join the class discussion on Twitter (@TrekClass).

The Syracuse course got me thinking about what one would buy for Trek Class, since I'm pretty sure most universities frown on students carrying phasers. I did a little searching to see what back-to-school merchandise caught my eye, and I narrowed my findings to three items from ThinkGeek that would be useful to cadets, eh, students (or even Trekkies who work in an office).

The Bag of Holding Messenger Bag

Anyone who has ever taken even one class knows that the weight of the books far exceeds the number of your limbs available to carry them. This leaves the average person with two possible choices: get extra limbs grafted on or get a bag like ThinkGeek's The Bag of Holding Messenger Bag. As attractive as the first option is, personally, I'd go with the second.

The Bag of Holding Messenger Bag is functional and stylish; it's charcoal gray with a black shoulder strap. You'll look sharp whether you're being chased by Klingons or Orcs — or Orcs that have been beaten around the head with a ball-peen hammer so they look like Klingons. Whatever the case, this bag is roomy and the strap is wide enough not to hurt, even under a heavy load of Romulan Ale, I mean, books. (The fact that the bag is actually a D&D item only adds to your gred cred, in my opinion.)

Cost: $59.99 (This item is currently on backorder.) Slide Rule

Another item that the monkeys at ThinkGeek have is a Slide Rule. If you're unfamiliar with slide rules, they were neolithic computational devices, related to stone knives and bear skins. Remember that the Prime Directive states that there can be no interference with alien civilizations and that introducing advanced technology is interference. So, if there is any chance that you could be doing homework at your grandparent's home or anywhere you don't have access to advanced technology, then use the slide rule. Not doing so is a violation of the Prime Directive and may result in court martial or having to fix the grandparent's laptop.

Cost: $14.99 on sale (The original price is $29.99.)

Credit: ThinkGeek

FreeLoader Pro Solar Charger

Let's say that you're in college on an alien planet, and your communicator is running low on power, which makes it about as useful as a tribble at a Klingon family reunion — in other words, not very useful. For this chore, I like the FreeLoader Pro Solar Charger, because all you need is sunlight to recharge your device. (The FreeLoader Pro Solar Charger can actually be used with iPods, iPhones, BlackBerrys, and more.) Now that I think about it, this device would give me a good excuse for eating lunch outside.

Cost: $79.99

Get more ideas

Take a look at what's available in the StarTrek.com Store. If I were an instructor, I'd give any students in a Star Trek class extra credit for showing up in Spock ears and in full costume.

What geeky back-to-school product have you seen that you wish you had an excuse to buy?

Required TechRepublic reading for Trekkies

Note: TV.com and StarTrek.com are CBS brands.

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