What’s In My Bag?

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I have always been fascinated with what people carry around with them on a day to day basis. Whether you simply carry a wallet, keys, & phone, or if you carry a big bag with you, it’s always been interesting to me. I want to know the specific stuff that people bring with them. What brand of bag is that that guy using? I wonder what’s inside said bag? What specific phone is that lady using?  These are the things I wonder when I am people watching. The internet is perfect for supporting this habit of mine. Sites like this one on Flickr (or this one), Timbuk2’s  tumblr site, & the editors of the theverge.com’s posts, there are no shortage of places to satisfy my cravings. Today I want to do my own what’s in your bag post. These are the things that I carry with me everyday. I like to be prepared for any kind of situation I might find myself in. What if some emergency comes up & I don’t get to go home for a few days? Do I have all of my chargers for my various devices?  What if I need to hit the road at a moments notice? I want to have all of my stuff. So without further ado, here is my bag and the contents within it.

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First of all the bag itself. I am currently using a Timbuk2 Q backback which I bought on sale on timbuk2.com a while back. I could not be happier with it. It is super comfortable and has all the necessary pockets & padding that I need. My one gripe is it doesn’t have a water bottle pouch but this is a relatively minor annoyance.

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The first item in my bag would have to be my Mid 2011 13″ MacBook Air with a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel i5 and a 128gb ssd drive. This is by far the best computer I have ever owned. It’s incredibly light, has solid battery life, and is more than fast enough for everything I do on it.

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Next would be my 16 gb Verizon LTE iPad mini w/ Red Smart Cover. I have heard the iPad mini described as the best tablet ever. I can definitely see the argument.  Insane battery life, the best selection of tablet apps by a mile, & so thin & light it almost seems impossible. The one downside to the mini is the sub par display (non-retina) but I understand that to get the battery life & the thin casing to where it is, this was necessary.

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Now on to my camera. I carry a Sony NEX c3 mirrorless camera with the 18-55mm lens. This is the best camera I have ever used. I got it as an open box item at my local Best Buy about a year ago and it produces some absolutely stunning images, even with my decided lack of camera skills. I am hoping to buy a new lens very soon, specifically the  Sigma 30mm f/2.8, but I am pretty happy with the lens it came with. I love mirrorless cameras because you can get dslr caliber images with a much smaller and more portable camera body. I also keep a spare battery for my camera in my bag as well.

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Next up is my Nintendo 3DS XL. I’m a lifelong gamer and I have always had a soft spot for portable game consoles. The 3DS XL is a great little system. I had the original 3DS and to be honest the battery life & the small screen were not to my liking. Both of these issues have been fixed with the XL and it is a much better system for it. I am currently playing Professor Layton & the Miracle Mask, which is quite good.

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I also bring my Sony PS Vita with me quite often. This system is very impressive technically (roughly as powerful as the PS3/360) but is suffering from a lack of support unfortunately. I really like mine but there are not a ton of quality games coming out for it. I am currently playing through the excellent Rayman Origins on it.

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I keep two pairs of headphones in my bag, Apple’s Earpods and my Bose QuietComfort 15 noise cancelling headphones. The Earpods are the ones I use everyday & the Bose QuietComforts are what I use if I need to relax or am travelling. Apple’s EarPods are much improved over their previous ear-buds. The Bose QuietComforts, which I bought used for less than a third of retail are quite good. They will block out nearly all outside noise, even on a plane. They are also very comfortable.

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I carry a few chargers with me in my bag – my MacBook charger, a 10w iPad charger for both my iPad & iPhone, & a generic usb charger.

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I carry various cables with me. 30 pin cable for my iPhone 4s, Lightning cable for my iPad mini, Lightning to SD card adapter for putting my Sony NEX pictures on my iPad mini,  & a micro usb cable because you just never know.

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I keep this Energizer battery pack in my bag in case one of my devices is running out of power & I don’t have access to a power outlet. It is very handy & holds a charge for months, which is great.

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I keep this Mediabridge portable surge protector in my bag  for when I do find a power outlet. It turns 1 outlet into 3 and adds 2 additional usb chargers.

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Lastly I keep these various small items in my bag. 8 & 16 gb flash drives for transferring data, a microfiber cloth for cleaning all of my touch screens, two pens, a stylus, and a camera lens cleaning pen (very handy).

So that is what’s in my bag at the moment. Feel free to comment below with what kind of bag you carry with you or the things you like to carry inside it.

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Things That I Like

I have been wanting to do a post for some time now highlighting a few relatively inexpensive (Nothing more than $60) things that make living with technology easier and more fun. These are all things that I have bought myself and that I think are worth the money being charged for them. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make for a much more enjoyable time with your devices. In no particular order here are five of my favorite things that I have bought in the last year.

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1. Quirky Cordies – If you are like me, you probably do a lot of charging of your devices at night on your nightstand. It’s very convenient to charge things overnight. I have no less than four or five cables at all times on my nightstand. One source of frustration with this setup however is that my cables were always sliding off my nightstand and falling on the floor. That’s where the Quirky Cordies come in handy. It has a good weight to it so it itself won’t slide off and you simply set it on your table and run your charging cables through it. You can fit 8-10 cables easily if you stack them through the four openings. Now all of my cables are not only always on my nightstand, but they also are much more organized as well. Buy now on amazon – $12.99

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2. Mountek nGroove Universal CD Slot Mount – I have always liked the idea of a mounted cell phone in the car. You can see who’s calling you, follow GPS instructions, & see your notifications easily and hands free, which is great. I don’t however like the typical windshield suction cup type mounts. Every suction cup mount I have used has to be re-applied every few days because it loses suction.The last thing you want to happen is for your iPhone to fall onto your dashboard or car floor and shatter its screen. Also in the Texas heat that I live in, phones can get extremely hot when they are exposed to the sunlight coming through the windshield, especially when using GPS. All of these reasons are why I absolutely love the Mountek nGroove mount. This mount comes in the box completely assembled, requires no tools, nor any modification to your car. There are no adhesives, screws, or suction cups to mess with. You simply slide it into your car’s cd drive, tighten up the little knob & you’re done! It is a very secure tight fit and it doesn’t seem to loosen at all over time. It also is very adjustable as to the size of your phone. you simply press the button on the top of it to open the sides to their widest, then just squeeze both sides until your device is snug. I like that it is a universal mount and that it works with so many different phones whether they have a case on them or not. It also swivels pretty well so you can have it face one side or the other of your car & can turn to have your phone held vertically or horizontally. Lastly it has a hole in the bottom where the phone rests for connecting a charging cable. One note, this mount does make the cd drive in your car kind of useless. As someone who never uses the cd drive in my car, I am more than happy to give it up for this mount. If you still listen to a lot of cds, this mount is supposed to work in a horizontal crack in your dashboard as well. I have not tested this out but I find no reason not to believe them. This is probably the thing that I am the most happy I found over all of the other items in this post. Buy now on amazon -$24.36

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3. Belkin Flip Blade Stand – If you have an iPhone or more likely an iPad you have probably wanted a stand for it. iPads specifically seem to benefit from some type of stand, especially for photo slideshows or watching a movie. My previous favorite stand was the twelve south Compass . It is a beautifully designed stand, very high quality, & very portable. Unfortunately, the legs that hold up the iPad are too far apart on the Compass for my new iPad mini. I really like this Belkin stand because not only does it hold the iPad mini extremely well, it also works great holding my iPhone. It also folds down very flat making it great for travel just like the Compass stand I had been using. Note. there is a newer version of this stand, the Belkin FlipBlade Adjust Stand which is tablet specific and lets you adjust the tilt of your device. I went with the older model stand because I like how I can use it with my iPhone as well. If you just want a stand for your tablet though, the FlipBlade adjust is probably the one to get. Buy now on amazon – $19.95

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4. Belkin Bluetooth Car Hands-Free Kit – I have a 2006 Chevrolet HHR. It has an auxiliary input, which is the sole way to get music from my iPhone through my speakers(not counting one of those terrible FM radio transmitters). I used to be jealous of people with newer and nicer cars with built in USB ports & Bluetooth. I no longer have to be. I purchased the Belkin Bluetooth car kit and I couldn’t be happier. Setup is simple. It is one button device. You mount the big button onto your dash somewhere where your voice can travel easily to as you can use it for voice calls. Then you have 2 things coming from the button, a cigarette lighter adapter & an auxiliary cable. You plug the cigarette lighter adapter into your cars cigarette lighter as well as the auxiliary cable into your cars aux jack. You then do the initial pairing of the Bluetooth to your phone and you are set. Now any music or sounds from your phone are going through your car’s speakers and you can easily take and make phone calls completely wireless. When you start your car the button will be red. Simply press the button once and it will connect to your phone, turn blue, and start playing your music. If you receive a call you press the button to answer, it will automatically pause whatever you were listening to. Press it again to hang up, and your music will begin playing again. Use the same button to play a song, pause it, or double tap it to skip to the next one. You can even use Siri by holding the button for a couple of seconds. Another nice touch is that the cigarette adapter has a USB port built in so that you can charge your phone while in the car. I chose this thing over replacing my cars radio with a new deck for a few reasons. One, I like how my stock radio looks. Two, I can take this thing very easily into another car and use it there. Three, it is a lot cheaper than replacing my stereo. It is amazing to me how affordable it is to have Bluetooth hands-free calling as well as music streaming in your existing vehicle (provided that your car does have an auxiliary input). Buy now on amazon  – $54.99

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5. Mediabridge Portable Surge Protector – A must have for the road warrior. This thing is really quite simple to explain. It turns 1 outlet into 3 as well as adding two high powered USB ports for charging, as well as being a surge protector for everything plugged into it. Also, the plug part of it folds flat for easy travel in your bag or backpack. This thing will make you very popular at the coffee shop, airport, or wherever there are a shortage of outlets. It’s just a really great product. Buy now on amazon – $19.95