“Whats in your bag week” Day 3 : Matt McGraw

Oct 29

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Matt McGraw is a full time, at home dad in Northern California, USA. He has 3 awesome kids and the most beautiful wife in the world. In his free time… never mind, he doesn’t have free time. When his kids are sleeping he writes at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net and tries to put out 2 episodes of his podcast, The G33k Dad Show! each month. You can follow him on twitter @sahg33kdad and on Google+ at google.com/+MattMcGraw.

Greetings Wisegirls and Wiseguys! ┬áThis is Matt, the Stay at Home G33k Dad from Northern California, USA. Knightwise has committed a grave error and asked me to contribute a guest post for What’s In My Bag week, so here is my contribution. There is a photo of my stuff laid out on the floor which accompanies this article, so I’ll just go through it now.

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First off, the bag itself. It is a messenger-style bag with a zippered main compartment, a zippered, exterior compartment at each end, and 4 large pockets surrounding the main pocket inside the bag. As I am the Geek Dad, this bag is, in fact, a repurposed diaper bag. We got several diaper bags with our two kids and this particular one was never used, so I decided to use it for my tech bag. As an added bonus, one of the end pockets is designed to transport a bottle, so it is insulated! You will most often find either a bottle of water or a bottle of Diet Mtn. Dew in this pocket.

Moving on to gear, you will notice I am a mobile type of guy. Front and center is my mobile phone, an LG G3 on the Sprint network. We recently (last week at the time of writing this) switched from Verizon to Sprint. I left my Galaxy S3 behind and moved on to the G3. I love the phone, the only downside is battery life. To combat this, I turn the brightness way down and I have associated my calendar and contacts with my ownCloud server running on Digital Ocean. Using calDav and cardDav, I have all the functionality I need and, for some reason, the fewer Google services I use, the longer my battery lasts! Along with my phone are a pair of earbuds which I use to listen to music and podcasts while driving or on the treadmill, and a micro-fiber cleaning cloth for all my devices (and my sunglasses)

The item at center left, is my kindle. I am an avid reader and I love my ebooks. I have the kindle app on my phone, too. With the kindle are a micro usb cable along with a 110 volt wall charger and a 12 volt car charger. These will charge both my phone and my kindle.

Continuing clockwise, you will see a small tripod and a mount that holds a cell phone. I keep this so I have a place to set up my phone if I want to watch a video or if I want to use skype or google hangouts for a video call.

Next to that is a notebook with a mechanical pencil for those rare occasions when I want to jot down an “analog” note. Above this is a collection of cables including a usb extension cable, a 1/8″ stereo patch cable and a full size HDMI cable. I use these along with my…

Acer C720 Chromebook which you see in the middle of the photo, sitting on top of a Case Logic sleave-style case. You may also notice, sitting on the chromebook, is a stack of business cards. These are for my website and podcast. (http://g33kdad.thestrangeland.net) I love my chromebook. In fact, I am writing this blog post on it right now. Just about everything I do, I do on the web so I live in a browser; this includes writing, social networks, managing websites, and general organisation of my disorganised life. My friend and co-guest blogger, Daniel Messer, The Cyberpunk Librarian, says his favourite operating system is Firefox. In keeping with the slider ethos, he runs firefox on Mac, Linux, and Windows and is able to keep all his data synced and sliding. I feel the same way about Chrome. I run it on my linux laptops and of course, on my chromebook. I do run Chrome OS on my chromebook, by the way. Many people suggest that the best use for a chromebook is installing an open source bios and running linux on it; someday I may do that. However, I like keeping this machine lean and nimble. And with 2 minor exceptions, it does everything I want it to do. Those exceptions are Skype and audio recording/editing. When I record my podcast or an episode for Hacker Public Radio, I use Ubuntu and run Audacity.

Rounding out my bag is a stack of USB flash drives and a 300GB Western Digital USB hard drive. I have LOTS of USB sticks. I have one that simply runs TAILS linux, so I can boot into an anonymous OS. Another is set up with Multiboot so I can carry clonezilla, system rescue cd, super grub disk, as well as a couple of Linux distribution ISOs. I have one stick that just contains media; like music and movies. I also have a couple just for whatever. I subscribe to the theory of redundancy which states, if it doesn’t exist in three places, it doesn’t exist. To that end, I always have plenty of storage media with me.

So, that wraps up “what’s in my bag.” I carry this bag almost every day. It is very comfortable and it serves my purposes quite well. I do swap some things out… or add in my waterproof, digital point and shoot camera from time to time. But, for the most part, what you see is what I carry. You may notice I do not carry a charging rig for the chromebook. That is mainly because this machine gets days of battery life. If I am traveling extendedly out of town, it is easy to slip the charger into the mix.

Thanks for checking out my post. If you want to find more of me, visit my website at http://g33kdad.thestrangeland.net. There you will find articles on the intersection of technology and parenting and also my fledgling podcast, The G33k Dad Show! Take care all, and I’ll see you in cyberspace.

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