This year for Christmas, my stocking contained a couple 6-inch NiteIze GearTies from my mother (Hi, Mom! I love you!) which I absolutely loved. In fact, they got me thinking I could use quite a few more and some longer ones, and I’d finally tackle the rat’s nest that had become my laptop bag. In all honesty, my laptop bag is far from a rat’s nest. But, as anal-retentive as I can be about such things, it felt like a rat’s nest. While I had everything out, I started yanking out some old, obsolete items like a DB9 to DB25 Serial Adapter. I wound up consolidating down a little bit, but not necessarily all the way down to the least common denominator. I have a few items which could be considered redundant, but I like having a couple extras just in case I need them.
My laptop bag is a MobileEdge MEBPS1 that I bought in a closeout deal for $30 more than six years ago. I wanted to link to the backpack, but wasn’t surprised when I couldn’t find any. About the closest I could find was this MobileEdge Select Backpack on Amazon.com. Aside from the awesome “Dr. Pepper/Black” color combination on it, I love that the product description specifically mentions CDs and PDAs, two things people probably don’t carry around a whole lot these days. I’m sure there are better bags out there right now, but I’ve really liked this bag and have not been given a reason to upgrade it.
- "The Diabetes": My glucometer, test strips, etc… I don’t (can’t) usually go far without this.
- MobileEdge Select Backpack
- Panasonic RP-HC101 Headphones: My ears are anti-earbud, so an over-the-ears set of headphones is a must.
- USB Micro On The Go Cable: This cable has come in handy a time or two in order to write files from my phone directly to some sort of USB storage. usually when doing some sort of backup/restore of the phone.
- 3-foot Micro USB Cable - White: Used primarily for plugging phones/tablets into computers’ USB ports.
- 5-foot Micro USB Cable - Black: Used primarily for plugging phones/tablets into a power adapter.
- 3-foot USB Extension Cable - Clear: This came with one of my very first flash drives and wound up being handy a time or two, so I’ve kept it.
- 10-foot CAT5e Network Cable - Blue : Pretty self-explanatory.
- 6-foot Mini USB Cable - Black: I’m not 100% sure why I still carry a Mini USB cable. My digital camera has a MiniUSB port but my use of an Eye-Fi card makes it a bit of an extravagance.
- 6-foot USB 3.0 Extension Cable - White: For when my other 3-5 feet of USB cable just isn’t enough.
- 6-inch NiteIze GearTie: Extras just in case I decide to buy a new cable and my overpowering anal-retentive nature can’t be corralled.
- Bobino Cord Wrap - White: This also was a stocking stuffer. If my ears weren’t earbud-resistant, they’d work awesome with this. It seems like it’d come in handy for some unknown cable down the road, so I keep it near by.
- 12-inch NiteIze GearTie: See above, plus I use this tie to wrap up the other loose ties.
- Mini to Micro USB Adapter: I picked this up when I bought my first Micro USB device and figured it’d be handy so I could keep using my Mini USB cable. Little did I know that I’d be overrun with Micro USB cables a year or two later.
- Ethernet Crossover Adapter: A crossover adapter for a network cable just in case I wanted to network two computers together, or the odd occasion where I need to plug into a piece of hardware like a router or a switch.
- Micro to Mini USB Adapter: Considering my glut of Micro USB cables, I thought one of these would be handy, and I could possibly quit carrying #9 above.
- Micro USB to Lightning Adapter: As a recent iPad Air user, I figured a couple of these would save me money from having to buy additional cables from Apple.
- Dual USB 4.2 Amp Travel Charger: A portable charger with enough output to charge both my Nexus 5 and iPad Air at the same time.
- Universal 18650 Battery Box: This is just a little portable battery box, there’s an 18650 battery cell inside and it can be used as an emergency charger for both the Nexus 5 and iPad Air if needed.
- Canon G12 Digital Camera: My digital camera.
- Work Laptop: Nothing special; I hope to switch this in and out with a Chromebook depending on whether I’m headed towards a personal or professional destination.
- iPad Air: I decided to try a bigger tablet when my company started a bonus program to subsidize iPad purchases.
- RJ45 Coupler (not pictured): I’ve been waiting for these to show up from Amazon, for when a network cable provided just isn’t long enough and I’m too lazy to go find one of the appropriate length. I can think of a couple hotels I stayed at before which had wired networks but no WiFi and loaned out horrendously short network cables.
So, there’s a little bit of redundancy in my choices. I have multiple Micro USB cables, but I carry multiple devices which require a Micro USB cable to charge. I’d hate to be put in a position between charging my phone or my tablet. I also have enough adapters to ditch the Mini USB cable permanently, but in the event that my Eye-Fi can’t talk over WiFi to transmit my photos, I’d like to have the cable handy just in case. I don’t find myself in data centers nearly as often as I did ten years ago in my career, so a lot of the tools that I used to see in my backpack have been relocated over time. However, because of my own network I wired up in my house I decided some sort of network tester would be a good idea. Thankfully, the Pocketethernet was brought to my attention, and in a few weeks I’ll be adding it to my bag. I’d definitely like to pick up some sort of nice, compact screwdriver set just in case I do need to get into a computer away from home.
One thing you’ll notice is the absolute lack of any kind of installation media, not even Operating Systems. Thankfully, an app called DriveDroid has made it unnecessary to tote around a bunch of software DVDs. I keep whatever’s important enough in ISO form on my phone, and in the event I ever need it, then DriveDroid will let me mount the ISO and boot right off the phone’s storage via USB.
Suggestions and Feedback
Aside from the items I mentioned above, what other kinds of things am I missing from my bag? For the items I’m considering adding, do you have any recommendations on products that I should try? Finally, what kinds of things are you carrying and why? Please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments!