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My gadget bag

Gadgets gather around me like iron filings gather around a magnet, which means I have to be pretty tough with myself about what I makes it into my bag. I try and keep things minimal – but, as you will see from what I carry, that’s often a forlorn hope.

Ally Capellino 11in laptop bag. I originally got this to tote around an 11in MacBook Air which sadly got stolen, but it’s proved to be a great bag for the iPad too. It’s not big enough for a weekend away, but overnight it suffices.

iPad Air 32Gb WiFi and Cellular. When I travel with my bag, this comes with me. It’s removed the need to carry a laptop on almost every occasion I travel. Combined with a Zagg Keyboard Folio case (recommended to me by Harry McCracken) it makes a great laptop replacement.

The big advantage it has over a laptop, apart from portability, is built-in mobile data. Yes, I could tether to my phone, but tethering is inelegant. It never feels robust enough to me.

The only regret I have about the Air is that I scrimped on memory. As you use the iPad more as a day-to-day computer, you end up needing more storage. My 32Gb feels cramped, and the next iPad I have will definitely have 128Gb instead.

On the rare occasions I need to carry a laptop (maybe once every three months), my MacBook Pro 13in with retina display comes along. Having a Chromebook Pixel (which acts as my “backup” computer) persuaded me I wouldn’t get a non-retina machine again. Once you get used to this kind of screen, you don’t want to go back. The MacBook Pro wins over the Pixel primarily for its battery life, which tops seven hours in regular use for me.

iPhone 5S. I’ve tried other phones – most recently a Nexus 5 – but the iPhone remains my phone of choice. That’s partly down to the apps (I spend a lot of time in my to do list, and OmniFocus is the best GTD-based list there is) but also the details. iPhones always feel like they’ve been put together with every detail thought through. Although other phones have some good points – I like the N5’s screen size, for example – nothing feels as good as an iPhone in my hand.

Mophie Helium iPhone battery. The iPhone usually lasts a full day for me, but there are odd occasions on long journeys where I get battery anxiety. Hence the Mophie Helium, which gives me enough battery life to make a full 24 hours. I don’t generally keep the Mophie on the iPhone unless I need it, but it’s nice to know it’s there and I can snap it on for a charge.

Moleskine Evernote notebook. Evernote is where I put all my notes, clippings and scans. I’ve used Moleskine notebooks for a while, and the Evernote ones come with three months free Evernote subscription. Evernote’s ability to recognise my scrawl and make it searchable is pretty amazing.

Doxie Go. The Doxie Go is a recent addition, and although I don’t always take it with me it’s incredibly useful and is becoming a more frequent traveller. I still get given a lot of paper, and having the ability to scan it quickly and send it to the cloud (via a Eye-Fi WiFi SD card) is great. When I first got it, I spent half a day clearing a vast amount of old paper which gave me back three shelves.

Apple VGA adaptors (Thunderbolt and Lightning). These are classic examples of “just in case”. I rarely go anywhere to present which doesn’t have a Mac or iOS adaptor, but when I do need one, you can guarantee there won’t be anywhere close by I could get one from if I didn’t have them with me.

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