As you have become aware, Julie challenged us to open our everyday carry bags to share what has become our standard gear. It was an interesting exercise, I used the opportunity to get rid of some gear that has remained in my bag, but when I was done, I still had a lot. You can click on the picture for a closer view. Let’s take a look at my gear.
I figured I would categorize my gear to help sort things out:
- ThinkPad Twist. (Upper left) A few years back I tried an experiment and purchased a MacBook Pro as my primary machine. I don’t regret the choice, but when I had to replace it I was happy to return to the ThinkPad. I never really adjusted to the Keyboard on the MacBook Pro, and though the Twist is a redesigned keyboard, I still prefer its feel to any other laptop I have used. I also wanted a touch screen and Windows 8 to get some exposure. I have quickly grown to love having a touch screen (I don’t think I will buy another laptop without it) and also actually like Windows 8. I know that is not the cool thing to say, but there I said it, I like Windows 8.
- Nexus 7. (upper right) I am surprised how much I like this tablet. I have used a number of tablets, and always thought I wanted something in this form factor. What do you know, I was right. In addition, the ability to have multiple users setup on the tablet, and the fact that this is a Nexus device, and gives me access to vanilla Android are huge pluses.
- Sony Reader T1. (Bottom Middle) I do a lot of reading on my Nexus 7, but I still like my Sony Reader. This is the 3rd one I have owned, Janet reviewed it a while back. I love the Wi-Fi, and use it a lot to download library loans directly to my reader. I also ended up buying the cover with the light for late-night reading. I find reading on an e-ink device less straining on the eyes than an LCD display.
- Samsung Galaxy S3. (Bottom Middle) This has been my main phone for a while now. I generally like it. I don’t like that it has the Samsung UI, and I don’t like the order of the buttons (which is not the standard order) but beyond those compromises I am happy with the phone. Coupled with my Vaja Agenda Case, it is a great combo.
- Pebble Watch. (not pictured) I did not get this in the picture, but I really enjoy this watch. If you read Bill Kuch’s review, you know he was underwhelmed. Consider me sufficiently whelmed. I get a solid 7 days on each charge (the SGS3 connects via low-power Bluetooth 4.0) and the integration with RunKeeper has been a great add. I’ve played with a number of watch faces, and look forward to the continuing development of this watch.
- Flash Drives, LOTS of Flash Drives. (Middle) It seems I never throw away a flash drive. The lavender one is actually a Lexar 64 MB one. That’s MEGAbyte. I think it just keep that way to say “back in my day…” I also have a 256 MB and 1 GB Jumpdrive Sport. Not sure if you remember those, but they had an available MP3 player you could plug them into. I thought it was a great design, and was the future. I was wrong. I still have the MP3 player though. My favorite is the SanDisk Cruzer with the retractable USB. Caps just get lost.
- Western Digital 1TB My Passport with USB 3.0. Sometimes you just need to bring out the big guns.
- Targus Multi-Format Reader. This is a compact reader that supports Compact Flash, SD, MemoryStick along with other media. It has a Mini-USB port that I use to connect to my computer.
- Plantronics Marque M155. (Upper Left – Middle) I really like this Bluetooth headset. Good battery life, good sound quality and it connects quickly to my phone. So quickly that when the phone rings I can grab it, turn it on, insert in my ear and answer that call before it goes to voice mail.
- Westone TS-1 earphones. (Bottom Left) These earphones changed my attitude about ear buds. These are not even the high end models, but I found the quality to be noticeably improved over any earbud I have used in the past. The case does a great job of keeping them in good shape, and easy to find in my bag.
- Sony Ericsson MW600 Hi-Fi Wireless Headset. (Top Middle) I don’t use this a lot anymore, but I have always like this device. It is essentially a Bluetooth plug for your Bluetooth-enabled device. You can plug any headset into the jack, and that headset gets a wireless connection to your phone, tablet, or computer.
- Logitech M705 Marathon Mouse. (Middle-Left) For the longest time I only used Bluetooth mice with my laptops. Then I was on a project with a Dell that had no Bluetooth and gave this a spin. That battery life on this mouse is phenomenal. I am currently using it in my Twist even thought it ties up a USB port. I have had the same AAs in it for almost a year, and no sign of needing to replace them.
- LiveScribe Pen and Notebook. (Bottom right) I bought this after reading Julie’s review back in 2008. This piece of technology is probably the one that has had the greatest impact on my work process. I am a consultant who works on Instructional Design and Business Analysis projects. As a result I find myself in many meetings. Being able to come with a simple notebook and pen, and capture the the notes digitally, as well as recording the audio if desired for the meeting has been a huge boon. I still have a Pulse pen. I have not upgraded because the one big negative is that LiveScribe has never come up with a way to transfer your journal to a new pen. They come up with all kinds of reasons why you don’t want/need to do that, but I both want and need. As my pen is almost full, I will likely be upgrading soon. I have tried to find another solution (mainly do to their attitude of the aforementioned missing feature) but there is really no substitute that offers the same feature set.
- Arctic C1 Mobile Portable Universal Charger. (Middle) This is getting a little long in the tooth (I reviewed it over 2 years ago.) Its 4440 mWH battery seems really small for today’s devices, and I don’t use the Solar charging ability, but it is handy in a pinch.
- USB AC Adapter. I have quite a collection of these anymore. This one happens to be from my old Motorola Droid X, but it is indispensable when I need to charge a device. I carry a few cords for charging that fit into this, and any device with a proprietary connector has a hard time making it in my bag. The only two that do are the Pebble (which has a 7-day capacity, and the trade off is that its waterproof) and the LiveScribe pen (the newer models now have micro-USB ports).
- Mini-Display Port to VGA Connector. (Upper Left) My twist only has mini-hdmi and mini-display ports for video out. This will let me connect to any VGA compatible projector or display. I just bought the cheapest I could find on Amazon.
- Kensington Network and USB cable. (Upper Left) Sometimes you need a hard connection to the network, or a USB cable. I am not sure how long I have owned this, but it has been a great gadget on many occasions. With a touch of the button it retracts into the case. The USB has a mini-USB connector, so useful for fewer and fewer devices, but still needed on occasion.
- Micro-USB Cable. (Middle Left) Once again, I have collected a number of these, but the one that travels with me is my old Motorola Droid X cable. It seems to be the sturdiest one I have owned.
- Micro-USB Cable/Handstrap. (Middle Top) This was the bonus strap that came with the Draco S3 bumper. I attached it to the Arctic C1 battery so I would always have a connector.
- Belkin Retractable Type-A to Type-B USB cable. (Middle Left) I don’t know when I last needed this, but it takes up very little space, and I imagine I will be glad I have it sometime in the future.
- Targus 4-Port Hub. (Middle Right) This is a very compact and self-contained 4-port hub. Handy in a pinch.
- LiveScribe Charger. (Bottom Right) As I mentioned above, the older version of the LiveScribe I have requires a proprietary connector, so this is a single-use cable. I will be happy when it hits the gadget bin.
- Retractable Badge Holder. (Middle Left) A fact of work life is the ubiquitous badge. I always try to have a retractable holder available for my next gig.
- Post-it Flag Holder. (Middle Bottom) A small red tube that holds a pack of Post-it note flags. I use these a lot, and love the convenience of this storage tube.
- Excedrin. (Middle Top) Technology can cause headaches. When it does, I always have some of this available.
So that is a snapshot of what I carry when I am on the go. It was good to filter out the stuff I no longer use, and I look forward to looking back on this post in the coming years.