What's in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. Show us your bag in this forum post. This week, we're featuring Bryan Bishop.
It took me a while to put together my collection of go-to gear, but once I landed upon the right mix things have stayed remarkably stable. Over the last 13 months the collection below has served me through a number of trials, events, moves, and cross-country trips. Basically, along with a couple of t-shirts, it's all I really need to survive. Here it is, as photographed at The Verge’s CES compound this year.
Kata 3N1-33 Backpack
If the Kata looks familiar, that’s because it’s the same backpack carried by our own Nilay Patel (and yes, I chose it after reading his What’s in your bag? in 2011). It’s an enormous backpack that can carry a ton of gear, and that’s exactly what I love about it. From huge chargers to MagSafe 2 adapters, if you need a pouch or storage area for something, the Kata 3N1 has you covered. That said, I do find myself valuing portability more and more, and I think a messenger bag will join the rotation very soon.
13-INCH MACBOOK AIR
No point in beating around the bush here. I’ve used Macs since the IIsi, and no machine has made me happier than this 2012 MacBook Air. The 1.8GHz i5 is more than speedy enough for my needs, and while I was concerned that 256GB of storage would be on the meager side, it’s proven adequate as long as I keep my music collection off the SSD (and for the record, yes, kick in for the upgrade to 8GB of RAM). The Retina displays some of my colleagues enjoy are certainly tempting — and I’ll get there one day — but for now I’ll take the lighter, smaller machine.
I’ve been a Nikon user for quite some time, having upgraded to this camera body from my trustworthy D70 (the advantage of waiting six years between cameras is that your mind will be well and truly blown upon trying out your new purchase). As for lenses, I turn to the 40mm micro for product shots — it’s just this side of magic when it comes to snapping pictures of gadgets and gear. For live blogs or general-purpose work, I use the 18-200mm zoom. There are crisper and faster lenses out there, but for the price it’s hard to beat.
32GB iPhone 5
I’ve tested the Android waters numerous times over the years — most recently with Jelly Bean on the GSM Galaxy Nexus — but I always find myself returning to the iPhone. It’s a combination of aesthetics and workflow; I prefer the way iOS apps look and feel as a whole, and over the years I’ve found that the limitations of the operating system don’t really matter in my day-to-day usage. I’m actually one of the few that prefers iOS 6 Maps to the new Google Maps app — but that’s due to my lack of love for Google’s app design more than anything else.
Pen and paper
I spend most of my day huddled inside BBEdit, but when it’s time to take notes or brainstorm, I prefer the physical realm. My current notebook of choice is the Moleskine Classic Pocket Soft-Cover Squared. It jams into any pocket, and the grid-paper tracing makes it perfect for all tasks. As for the pen, I’ve formed a lifelong bond with the Uni-ball Signo 207 Micro. Its gel ink runs smooth and clean, but the fine point lets me write on both sides of a sheet of paper without bleedthrough. Try this pen. Seriously.
Gadgets don't serve any real purpose unless you can, you know, actually turn them on. In addition to the usual assortment of adapters and spare batteries, I carry a Mophie Powerstation and the Plugbug adapter. The Powerstation lets me keep my iPhone topped off, while the Plugbug adds a USB charging port to my MacBook Air power brick on the fly.
Tools of the trade
Sony’s ICD-AX412 Digital Voice Recorder is my go-to for interviews. Cinnamon Altoids ensure said conversations are pleasant for all involved parties. Business cards are for when the fun’s all over.
Prada SPR70G sunglasses
Perhaps the most ostentatious item in my bag, these suckers are loud. They have a perverse, Tyler Durden-esque charm to them, and they’re wide enough to wrap around my large cranium. Win.
Sadly, not long after this photograph was taken the glasses met an untimely demise — but their memory will live on, shining and bright, forever. I'll never let go, Prada sunglasses. I promise.
I carry two pairs of headphones with me: one for when I want things to sound decent, and another set for everything else. For decent sound, I use these Logitech UE 600s. They’re good, not great — but I’ve yet to find a pair of in-ear headphones that I truly love. The rest of the time, I use the plain ol’ Apple earbuds. I actually find the EarPods that came with the iPhone 5 to be a huge improvement over the traditional pair pictured here, but I left them at home. Life lesson? Bring an extra pair. Of everything.
LG VL600 LTE USB stick and Novatel 4510L MIFI (not pictured)
Internet access isn’t a luxury for what we do — it’s a baseline requirement. Thankfully, both major carriers have robust LTE networks to siphon from. My phone is on AT&T, so when it comes to dongles I carry Verizon. The MiFi is a great little box that serves me well most of the time. However, it also gets extremely finicky whenever there’s a lot of Wi-Fi signal being bandied around a room; i.e., whenever I’m at an event and need to get online immediately. That’s when the LG VL600 comes in. It may require clunky Verizon software. It may jut awkwardly from the side of my laptop. It’s also the fastest, most reliable way to get on the internet in my arsenal. I’ll give it up when you pry it from my cold, dead USB port.