What's in your bag ? (part 1)

Jun 15

What is in your bag : Part one : The absolute minimum.

have been a great many posts on the Internet about this very topic. A
topic considered rude if we should ever pose that very same question to
a member of the female sex.
Just imagine the slap in the face you
would get when asking a girl “whats in her handbag” For many women,
it’s one of the unholy questions , straight up there with “what do you
weigh ?” and “how old are you ?”. But when it comes to geeks, the
question “whats in your bag” does open up an entire debate about what a
geek carries around on his daily trek through “meat-space”.

is of course no laughing matter : Packing up sufficient supplies to
survive a trek through the land beyond the keyboard. A wondrous journey
that takes you away from the homely range of your wireless router and
is filled with perils and dangers. Like an explorer running out of
water in the middle of the desert, so can your average geek become
trapped in a dangerous situation where he or she can be cut of from the
constant flow of information from the interwebs. Whenever the oasis of an open Wifi
access point is nowhere in sight .. What is a geek to do ? The answer
is the same.. both in the exploration of the Sahara Desert, as in the
life of a road warrior : Preparation Preparation Preparation !

coming to the question ” what is in your bag ? “, we are confronted by
two kinds of geeks: The digital pack-rats who would lug around a 19inch
server-rack if it had a carry strap, and the Digital minimalists who
would do just about everything (including remote controlled robotic
brain-surgery) using their smart phone. Sometimes it seems like there
is no middle ground. Either you are a binary “hunchback” who has an
entire backpack with enough devices to fill a storefront at wall-mart,
or you are a digital gunslinger that has the power of the inter-webs
tucked to your waist like a sidearm.

My addition to this whole
debacle is to hold a “center ground” and look at the two extremes in a
different way. I try to “pack for the weather” and stuff in my bag
those things I “might need” during my trip. ” What is in my bag ”
depends on what the trip through meat-space is going to bring me. Is
this a little trip to the shop or a full fledged digital safari that
will require a high level of digital versatility. Depending on the
scenario, “what”s in my bag” differs.

Level one ” A quick pop to the shop “

first level of digital connection is not as much “in my bag” as it is
“on my waste” My trusty companion that goes with me everywhere is my
Blackberry Curve 8310. The GPRS linkup to my mailbox is my digital lifeline. Added applications like Twitterberry keep my in touch with the Twitterverse, the Facebook App hooks me up with that side of my social life, Googlesync pulls and pushes my contact and calendar info to the cloud .. and whatever communications remain via voice and SMS also go via the Blackberry.
Additionally I carry my Ipod Touch anywhere for my portable multimedia entertainment. The built in Wifi is a great way to detect open wifi
spots (and access a “broader band” of Internet connectivity) , plus the
myriad of applications I find on the apple store (for free) offer
functionality that the blackberry does not have. But the most important
functionality is as an entertainment center. Downloaded podcasts and screen-casts are stored on the touch + any music.  The Usb stick that is hooked to my keychain comes loaded with a set of portable (windows) applications AND a version of Ubuntu, enabling me to jump start any computer with my own version of Ubuntu booting from the stick.

Level two ” The waiting Room”

second level of the absolute minimum features all the items mentioned
above PLUS the addition of my Sony PR-505 for my reading pleasure.
Whenever I’m going somewhere that will require me to “sit down and
wait”, I need something to keep me entertained. To prevent useless
fondling of the blackberry (changing one”s ringtones
50 times to pass the time) I take a good read along with me, since I
have over 500 books stored on the Sony E-reader. Plug in the earphones
from my Ipod, put the blackberry on the tabletop and I’m zoned out for at least a few hours, still able to keep in touch with the web.

In the next part of the series , i pick up my “geek bag” and show you the next level of my digital packrat lifestyle.

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