What's in my bag

Up until a few years ago, I didn't use a backpack. I worked at the same company for many years. Other than a small lunch bag, my iPad and my blood glucose meter, most of what I needed for the workday could be found at my office. All that changed when I went back to consulting when my role at my employer was eliminated. I now have a backpack — I finally unpacked the one a vendor had given to me — and it was quickly filled up. I don’t travel for work but as a consultant, I want to avoid using my client’s resources for my personal or business affairs. The things I chose to carry in my backpack are mostly what I think I need to get through the workday. The backpack has a lot of compartments and a built-in rechargeable battery. Cables thread through the backpack to the front pouch where they end at a joint mini-USB, micro-USB and 30 pins dock connector. Here’s the stuff that chooses to keep in the backpack.

  • iPad Air/MacBook Air — I alternate between these two. I use them similarly but prefer the iPad for reading. Mostly these devices are for note taking during meetings, catching up on emails, and updating my calendar. I can also track client time, do invoices and pay bills.
  • Apple Magic Mouse and MacBook Air power charger
  • 2A USB charger. Sometimes I forget to charge my devices overnight and I need to give them some juice.
  • Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Air. I love this keyboard. Not quite as good as the keyboard in the MacBook Air. It also doubles duty as a sturdy iPad Air.
  • Bamboo iPad Sleeve by Grovemade. This case is falling apart but I prefer it when storing the iPad after a binge of reading. It’s been replaced by a newer sleeve.
  • Pentel Graph Gear 1000™ Mechanical Drafting Pencil and 0.9mm graphite refills. I’ve had this pencil for several years. I started using mechanical pencils in engineering school and the habit stuck. I like the weight of this in my hand. It’s what I use to take notes.
  • Moleskine Squared Notebook. The Pentel and Moleskine are perfect together. Although I don’t draw circuit diagrams anymore this one makes nostalgic for the past when I did.
  • Harmon Kardon BT Over-Ear Headphones with Bluetooth. A little muddy in the midrange and base but these help me stay sane and music while I work. They are also great as a hands-free accessory for phone calls.
  • ACCU-CHEK Aviva Combo glucose meter. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes almost 8 years ago. Most people don't have a need for an ACCU-CHEK device. The Aviva Combo device takes a sample of blood via glucose test strips and provides a reading of my current blood glucose. The Aviva Combo also controls my ACCU-CHEK Spirit Combo insulin pump. Together with a Dexcom G4 CGMS, I am able to successful manage my diabetes.
  • Doxie Go Wi-Fi Scanner. When I started consulting I needed to sign and return a stack of paperwork. I also need to keep copies of printed documents related to my contract and time sheets. This Wi-Fi scanner has a rechargeable battery and easy to use software quickly became an indispensable part of my mobile office.
  • Kingston 8GB USB Vault Privacy flash drive. Hardware-based, 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) because there are some things I want to keep to myself.
  • Cross ballpoint? pen. Sometimes I need to sign things. Like contracts. This pen is one that my father gave to me when I graduated from high school. That was a long time ago. Other than my Sony Dream machine, it's the oldest thing I own.
  • Mophie PowerStation 4000mAh 2.1A External Battery Charger. For when I have to travel to New York City or I am in meeting all day long and don’t have access to an electrical outlet. This PowerStation will charge my iPhone several times or my iPad twice.
  • Soft cloth screen cleaner. Apple devices seem to attract greasy fingers.
  • Adapters. Yep. I have a lot of these. I didn't want to show up to a meeting to or presentation only to find that the projector didn't have a video adapter for my iPad Air or MacBook Air. I have Thunderbolt to VGA, Thunderbolt to DVI and Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters. That covers the display needs of the MacBook Air. For the iPad, I have Lightning to VGA and Lightning to HDMI adapters. Just for when Wi-Fi proves unreliable but an Ethernet port is available I have a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter. I also need a Lightning to USB cable for charging the iPhone and iPad and a USB to micro-USB cable for charging the Mophie.
  • Lunch.
  • Smarties candy roll. I carry several rolls on me to treat hypoglycemia. The main ingredient in Smarties is dextrose, a form of sugar. One roll of Smarties has about 6 gram of carbohydrates. One tablet of the glucose tablets sold at the pharmacy is about 5 gram of glucose. I can buy an entire bag of Smarties for the price of three glucose tablets. I don't know what 2015 has in store for me. Perhaps I will continue consulting. Perhaps I will be convinced by an opportunity to become an employee again. Who knows what will be in my backpack at the end of 2015.

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