Periodically there are discussions about what various people carry in their computer bags. Mine has changed a little bit since I last wrote about it, so I figured it was time to update it.
I carry a bag these days that mostly looks like a laptop bag. In the past I did not, but I didn't have much choice with my newer bag. I'm using an Eagle Creek bag that can be carried like a briefcase, over the shoulder, or as a back-pack. I really like that, but these days I'm trying to avoid carrying it over a single shoulder, because it bugs my back if I carry it too long that way. It's kind of heavy currently for carrying very long in hand, so I mostly carry it as a backpack. I bought this case primarily because of the 3 options, but these days I'd probably be just fine with a backpack that had a handle at the top.
Anyway, here's what I'm carrying these days:
TV-Be-Gone, a universal IR remote control that cycles through all the different "turn off" codes for various TV brands. Will turn off most TVs within a few seconds, cycling the full set of codes take around a minute.
Two small LED flashlights, one is a Photon Microlight 2 (which I definitely prefer over the 3), and one is a free one I got at Graceland.
A swiss-army knife. I've been through several of them because the TSA keeps selling mine on ebay. Currently it's one I've had a long time that is a larger one with 2 blades, scissors, saw, Phillips screw driver, can and bottle openers two blade screw drivers, tooth-pick/Ogg player resetter... This one I'd be bummed to lose to the TSA, but is big enough I'd probably not forget to take it out before I travel.
1 to 2 dozen business cards.
Breath freshener. As Farmer Ted says, "Fresh breath is a priority in my life."
A bunch of pony tail holders for when my hair is bugging me. Or I am bugging my hair...
Several different flavors of trackpoint caps, spares for myself and my posse.
The IR remote control for my previous camera. Also, importantly, the IR remote control for Evelyn's camera.
My Ogg music player and it's USB charging/transfer cable.
A pair of Etymiotic 6i isolation headphones. 25db of isolation, great for noisy environments. They are basically ear plugs that also have little speakers in them. Great because you can play them at very low levels and not be distracted by surrounding noise. They saved the life of a small child when I had to share a shuttle with he and his mother. :-)
A pair of Sennheiser SX-100 headphones. These were my previous headphones, and I don't use them a whole lot these days but they are more comfortable then the Etymiotic. The Etymiotics are way more comfortable than most in-ear headphones, but it feels not unlike parking a bus in your ear-canal -- they are full. After an hour or two, I usually need a break.
A sharpie or two. The dual-ended ones with thin and thick points. Good for writing on CDs.
A cheap but respectable fountain pen, which usually is not out of ink.
A 3M microfiber cloth for cleaning my glasses.
A bunch of sealed, pre-moistened screen/glasses wipes for when my screen or glasses need a tough cleaning. Also often used to clean my keyboard and surrounding area after cleaning my glasses and screen.
A couple of, usually pretty crunched, granola bars. Handy to have for munching, particularly if there's a computer emergency that conflicts with my or efm's meal.
A headset for my cell phone, great for when I have to be on the phone and type as well.
A 7 foot extension cord with 3 plugins on one end. Retrofitted with a Velcro cable wrap that cost as much as the cable did.
A 12 foot version of the above. These are extremely handy for getting power and more outlets at the coffee shops we frequent. Sometimes for us, sometimes for Hacking Society sometimes for other patrons. This week there were 5 other people plus 3 of us tummy folks all trying to use a 2 socket wall outlet. Scott carries a power strip, so we now have plenty of plugs. Extremely handy.
Power brick for my laptop.
Waterproof cap, great for when it is raining out, to keep my glasses from getting all wet.
USB data/sync cable for my phone.
Two blank CD-Rs.
Several "handy wipes".
These nifty fingernail clippers that dangerjim introduced me to.
Several copies of Ubuntu Live to use or give away.
Additionally, in my pockets I carry:
Digital camera. Great for taking photographs of installed equipment for documentation, labels that are in hard to reach places, video of the boot process to catch something that flashes quickly across the screen, etc.
In the camera I have a SanDisk SD Ultra II Plus USB 1GB card. This is a 1GB SD card that you can "snap" in half to reveal a miniature USB plug, so you can plug the card directly into a computer. I never carried a USB "thumb drive" until my SD card just became one. I mostly use it for photos, but have used it for copying data between computers and for recovery purposes.