It’s something that all IT guys have in common… the assortment of tools that we carry around daily. Constantly ready to tackle the next networking issue or server emergency. While many are constantly on the move, engineers that move from site to site have to make sure everything fits in their bag or too I am lucky that I have an office, and my area of work is restricted to the school I work for.
Before I get into this post, why am I writing this. Well simple I have gone back and forth from carrying a lot to carrying next to nothing in a small slim bag. Though I found I keep coming back to carrying a lot. So I thought I would write out what I carry one to post something -it’s been a while- and two to justify what I carry.
That being said I still tend to carry all of my gear back and forth. Granted my gear is not huge but I still like knowing where it is when I need it. So firstly the list;
- 2018 MacBook Pro 15”
- iPad Pro 2019 12.9” (Wifi + 4G)
- Apple Smart Keyboard Folio or Muse Case.
- Apple Keyboard
- Apple AirPods
- MacBook Pro USB-C Charger
- Satachi USB-C Hub
- Grid-IT Organiser
- A range of adapters and cable types.
- Ubiquiti Frontrow
- 3SIXT Action Camera
- USB to Serial Cable
- Serial to RJ45
- Cable ties
- Screwdriver set
- Samsung T5 1TB/2TB
- Raspberry Pi 4
- Logitech Anywhere2S
- Cygnett 2700mAh powerbank
- MXL Tempo Microphone
- Logitech c920 Webcam
- Hand Sanitiser
All of this is stored in a Molle Style Tactical Backpack I picked up on eBay for $25. Yes, it is very military in style but I got it for 2 reasons. The first being I hat everyone being just dropped in a single pocket back and this one has many many pockets. The second being that it is huge when at full size and I often carry lots of stuff on the weekends with kids so this back works well for that as well.
So let’s go into some of the items in more details about the other items.
2018 MacBook Pro 15” Silver;
In 2005 I brought my first iMac, it was the last of the G5 iMac’s and it served me well up to 2013 when it was eventually retired, its last life as a Media Centre in the kitchen before I had children.
Since around 2008 though I have generally always worked on MacBook Pros. And the reason for that is simple, built-in terminal, great hardware and it is the only hardware that will legally let me run any Operating System. I can’t purchase a Windows notebook and legally install a macOS VM. But I can purchase a MacBook Pro and load Windows, Linux, macOS VM’s to my heart’s content. Until I can do that with no Apple Hardware I will be sticking with them.
iPad Pro 2019 12.9″ Silver;
I always liked iPad’s but knew they were only for consuming data and not creating data. However, when the first-gen iPad Pro came out I got one on sale and found it a great device. I have since had the 11” and now the 12.9” of the iPad Pro’s and love them. Most of this article was written on my iPad Pro.
I pair it with 1 of 2 cases, either the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio or the Muse Case depending on what I am doing.
Apple Keyboard/Logitech Anywhere 2S;
When my iPad is the in the Muse Case I still need to do some typing… so the Apple Keyboard and Logitech Anywhere 2S are great for extending typing.
I am a big fan of Logitech mouses, I have 2x Logitech MX Master 2S. One life on my work desk and the other lives at home. Some of the best mouses out there.
MacBook Pro USB-C Charger;
Since my MacBook Pro and iPad Pro both use USB-C to USB-C cables for their chargers, I quickly got into the habit of leaving my iPad Pro brick in the office and I just carry my MacBook Pro brick with me.
Satachi USB-C Hub;
This is a lifesaver, with USB, HDMI, USB-C, Ethernet and SD-Card readers in it it is the only dongle I carry around. I originally got it so I could connect my USB to Serial cable and ethernet, but it has been used so many more times when connecting multiple USB type devices to my MacBook Pro and iPad.
I hate the mess, so the Grid-IT Organiser is great for keeping cables together and in order. I carry a range of cables around and sometimes multiples of each, so having this organiser is great for keeping them tangle-free.
This was an impulse purchase that I don’t use enough, but I do like having it around for when I am doing work on a rack or a server room and want to get a time-lapse of it. I also have the neck strap for it attached and will throw it around my neck when out with the kids to capture time-lapses.
3SIXT Action Camera;
I brought this for diving (a hobby I rarely get any time for). And since I had the camera I thought I would keep it in my bag, since I carry this bag with me a lot it is nice to have if I need it.
USB to Serial Cable/Serial to RJ45;
Using the prolific chipset, since my notebooks no longer had serial cables it became a must and this combo of cables I have had for about 10 years.
Samsung T5 1TB/2TB;
I tend to work on different virtual machines, and holding them and a series of ISO’s or other files. And the Samsung T5 drives are so fast it’s scary.
Raspberry Pi 4;
This is a new toy to my kit, I am working on configuring it as a Wireless Tester that I can carry around, and also testing having an always-on Pi-Hole for my MacBook Pro and iPad Pro when I am on the go.
Update… since originally writing this the world has been struck by the Novel COVID-19, so two new additions have been added to my bag, I split my work between in the office and at home and not always clear where I will be each day they are now constantly in my bag each day.
MXL Tempo Microphone;
Yes, I always have my AirPods with me, though recently I have found myself in more and more video conferences as we all have, and a microphone I didn’t use that much has suddenly found its way into my everyday use, a simple MXL Condenser microphone I find it gives me a nice clear voice and doesn’t have to worry about the batteries running out of people not able to hear me. I also found it gives people who attempt to walk into my office a very clear indication I am on a call.
Logitech c920 Webcam;
I have had this webcam for a couple of years, I found my monthly web meetings it was useful to have a clear webcam instead of the crappy MacBook Pro or Thunderbolt Display webcams just didn’t cut it. Now that I am regularly having web meetings each day, and I also don’t know if I am going to be in the office from day to day it like my webcam is now a constant part of my bag.
Nothing special, just some wife approved (I’m terrible with knowing what type is good or bad) hand sanitiser so that I make sure I don’t catch anything.
And that is it… yes there a some other items that come and go I didn’t bother to mention, or ones that are always there like my wallet. Though back to the end of the first sentence, justifying what I carry?
Yes, I may change things at time though I like to keep my bag with the items I need day to day, or I could need day to day. For example I actually haven’t needed to serial into a switch at work for 4 months, but if I do suddenly need it I must have that piece of gear.