Since I really enjoy blog articles where people present the tools and equipment supporting their work and play, I thought I’d do the same. We’ll start from the top, and work our way down through the details.
On the beach…
Our office is located on the mediterranean sea, in beautiful Marbella, Spain. It’s a wonderful place to work! (PS: If you happen to be a cream of the crop hacker, looking to work in a cool company in a cool location, please do get in touch!)
I used to sit at the other end of the office, with the sea view, but I was spending half the day walking back and forth to the big room to chat with Alex. All that chatter, in turn, bugged Arto, who likes his quiet focus space. So I then traded desks with Arto, and now sit directly across from Alex, where we can bug each other all day long. (And Arto can now work around the clock in solitary confinement.) Here’s my setup:
- Apple MacBook, sitting on a Griffin iCurve
- Apple 23″ Cinema Display
- [[[Belkin USB hub]]]
- Apple Bluetooth keyboard
- [[[Logitech MX 500 mouse]]]
- iPod Shuffle dock
- [[[Herman Miller Aeron Chair]]]
My buddy Narayan and I share a common affliction, we’re bag freaks, and always have been. We just can’t seem to control that urge to own a bag for every possible occasion. During an instant message therapy session one time, Narayan pondered whether the secret to long-term bag satisfaction is modularity, and I tend to agree.
It wasn’t long ago that I was having a close look at this bag, from Timbuk2. Like many bags today, it’s got a pocket for every imaginable item you might want to carry. That’s fine and dandy, until you need to switch bags for some other purpose (like from your office laptop bag, to the weekend beach bag). Then you’ve got to rumble through every little nook and cranny of the first bag, extracting all the bits you need to transfer to similar nooks and crannies of the second bag. Inevitably I’d end up somewhere and realize, “Oh crap, I don’t have my wallet. It’s sitting in the custom wallet slot in the outside accessory pouch of my office bag.”
The solution to this is, of course, modularity. Buy big open bags, and then carry your bits and pieces in smaller interior bags. Then, when you need to switch purpose bags, just transfer your one or two interior bags, and you’re good to go.
So, apart from a Timbuk2 messenger bag, my main open bag is a Salewa Cumbra 38 Backpack. This is, without a doubt, the best backpack I have ever owned. Every little detail is well thought out, and just perfect. I use it in my daily transport to the office. I use it on the weekend for mountain climbing. And I use it for almost everything in between. (In the above photo, the top of the bag, which can be used independently as a fanny pack, has been detached.)
When traveling back and forth to the office, I carry the following four things inside:
- Waterfield MacBook Sleeve Case
- Semi-transparent document folder.
- Outdoor Research ditty bag
- Waterfield Cable Bag
I’ll explain the purpose and contents of each below.
Outdoor Research ditty bag:
The OR ditty bag carries the things that are almost always with me. This is the single bag that I transfer to any other open bag I use (like the Timbuk2 messenger bag). Here’s the contents:
- 5G iPod, enclosed in a Waterfield iPod case.
- 2G iPod Shuffle, piggybacking in the elastic strap of the Waterfield iPod case
- Jack Wolfskin zipper wallet.
- Leatherman Juice S2 knife and utility tool.
- Nokia 5100 ruggedized mobile phone
- Philip Nike Sport Skylon headphones
- USB/auto/wall-socket Nokia phone charger
- Garmin GPSmap 60Cx GPS
- Spare batteries for the GPS (four AA)
- Faber Castell e-Motion pen and pencil set
- Conceptronic Wifi network detector
- Canon IXUS 850 camera, spare battery, spare 1GB SD card, enclosed in a slim [[[Case Logic case]]].
- Canon PowerShot camera battery recharger
- Advil (for when those jiu-jitsu sessions take their toll on my joints.)
Waterfield make some of the highest quality bags and pouches out there. Construction quality is superb, as is attention to detail (like the orange colored internal fabric, to provide contrasting visibility to bag contents.) Here’s what I carry in mine:
- Firelite 120 GB 2.5″ external hard drive, with firewire cable
- Sharper Image USB Skype phone
- MacOS X-bootable 2GB USB memory card with repair utilities installed.
- Elgato Turbo.264 USB hardware H.264 video encoder
- iPod cable
- IOGEAR USB SD card reader
My MacBook travels safely, and in style inside a Waterfield sleeve case. The sleeve, as you can see from the image, contains a velcro protective strap to keep the laptop inside. It also contains a loop on the other side, the function of which I’ve never quite figured out.
Semi-transparent document folder
Finally, to carry around all my papers and Moleskin notebooks, I purchased a plastic, semi-transparent document folder. I also never did quite figured out what that small hole in the cover flap is for…
So, there you have it — my personal road warrior kit!