Blog Post

What's In Your Bag, Scott Blitstein?

What's In My BagEarlier this week Simon asked us to share what we carry with us when we go mobile. Unlike Aliza, my forays out of the office tend to be short, usually for things like client meetings or local presentations, so my needs are pretty sparse. I bring with me what I need to accomplish my trip’s goals, plus the general tools that I find I may need no matter where I am headed.

There’s nothing particularly fancy inside, but it is all functional and each piece fits its required role perfectly.

The Bag

Like Simon, I’m a big fan of the backpack. I’ve had a Targus Sport for going on five years now and it is holding up quite well. Easy to sling over my shoulder, well padded for the laptop and filled with miscellaneous pockets for all sorts of supplemental stuff. Padded shoulder straps make it a comfortable carry even on a long walk.

The Laptop

My current laptop is an IBM ThinkPad R50e (s ibm), which I’ve had for a few years. I prefer a 15-inch screen for a good mix between portability and usability. I’ve bumped up the RAM to the 2GB maximum, but otherwise it still works quite well for everything I can throw at it.

I’m a big fan of the ThinkPad line of laptops in general. In my experience, they have proven to be very reliable and offer a lot of functionality at a good value. I imagine my next laptop will also be a ThinkPad.

A lot of people tell me I should go Mac (s aapl), I say I’ll consider it when I can get one with a TrackPoint , as I honestly can’t imagine my primary machine not having one (yes, I’m “the guy who likes the TrackPoint,” mock away…) My current model doesn’t even have a touchpad, which is ideal for me.

I do have an extra battery I bring along for long trips and a power brick that is easily accessible.

The Connection

For connectivity, I use the Sprint Mobile Broadband (s s) service in conjunction with a Novatel S620 card. The coverage here in my area is excellent and the speed is good enough to avoid any frustration. It’s nice to not have to worry about finding hotspots and just knowing that I can connect anywhere. I wish I could avoid the monthly fee but on more than one occasion it has proven to be indispensable.

The Phone

I just recently moved into the smartphone era with the purchase of a Samsung BlackJackII . In addition to phone calls, it also works quite well for handling my other data needs. It syncs beautifully via IMAP with Gmail, my calendar is kept up to date with the help of GooSync, and Tiny Twitter keeps me connected to my friends there. I don’t do much browsing on it but I do recommend the upgrade to Opera Mobile, which I prefer over IE Mobile. My phone was cheap through AT&T (s t) and has proven to be a good mobile companion.

I have a Bluetooth headset but I find it so horribly uncomfortable that except when I’m obligated by law to use it (like when driving in Chicago) I tend to forgo it. The lack of a good headset tends to keep me off of the phone while driving, which is probably a good thing anyway.

The Camera

I’m not much of a shutterbug, I guess. I take the miscellaneous photo with my phone or for “heavy duty” needs I’ll borrow the Nikon E3100 from my wife.

The Tunes

To keep myself sane in a noisy environment or to grab myself some entertainment, I use a set of either Shure E2C or E3C sound isolating earphones which do an amazing job at both. They have been discontinued, but the SE210 appears to be the logical replacement. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with them.

I also have an ancient MPIO FL100 MP3 player which continues to serve me well for the limited times I need it.

The Extras

I also keep handy various power bricks and adapters to keep things charged. I’ve got a USB key with PortableApps on it which can let me be productive on someone else’s machine if necessary, and there are always a couple of blank CDs handy as well.

The Non-Tech

I take advantage of the multiple pockets in my backpack to carry along the basics like notebook, pens, tissues, mints, hand sanitizer and I usually try to remember to bring along a book for “offline” time.

That’s what I carry. What’s in your bag?

5 Responses to “What's In Your Bag, Scott Blitstein?”

  1. I used to use a Thinkpad for software consulting. It was pretty much the first laptop I ever used regularly and I couldn’t imagine a better solution for mousing around than that little TrackPoint. After that I found track pads a horrendous solution for moving a mouse around.. until I got my Macbook that is. I can’t imagine losing all my multi-finger gestures…

  2. About 6 months ago, I bought a Thinkpad to replace my 1st gen Mac Book Pro. When looking at Thinkpads, I told my self to that I needed a Trackpad, because that stupid TrackPoint will never be used. I was totally wrong! My right hand barely has to move off the home row for me do use the mouse. I love it, and wouldn’t go back to a mac for nothing. Also it helps having awesome linux support for the thinkpad.