What’s in My Computer Bag?

By Eric Newell | January 30, 2013

OK - this post doesn't have to do anything specifically with Dynamics, but as I've accumulated some time on the road over the past few weeks and few years, I thought it might be helpful to write a post about what's in my backpack and why.  Trust me - I've given this more thought than it probably deserves, but I'm the kind of person who can get flustered if I don't have the right tool for the job.

  • The bag - first things first, right?  My sister is a chiropractor, and a few years ago when I visited her clinic to trade services she had these backpacks available for sale there.  I'd been toting around my Convergence 2005 complementary backpack for quite a while at that point and it would bug my back when I had to haul it around the airport.  She showed me these Airpacks System backpacks that have a blow-up air compartment in the back to cushion the blow to your back from your full bag banging against it.  I absolutely love the backpack - it's more comfortable than anything I ever had before and it has the perfect set of pockets.  One big one with a laptop compartment and room for papers, another bigger one for all the gadgets, a small pocket for business cards, pens, Tylenol, etc. and a mesh one on the front where I put my receipts.  It's got a cup holder on one side and an odd pocket on the other side that works for carrying yogurt.  It's sturdy and lightweight too; I wouldn't trade it for any other backpack.
  • The laptop - once I figured I'd be on the road a little more, I decided I wanted the thinnest laptop I could find that had some power.  I am very happy with my Sony Vaio Z series laptop - it's very thin, weighs about 2.5 pounds, yet it has a quad-core Intel i7 processor, 8 GB RAM, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, 1080p resolution and a 256 GB solid state hard drive.  Typing takes a little getting used too, and it's not a cheap laptop (around $2k), but for someone who uses it all the time, it was a great investment.
  • The power cord - I found a deal on Woot a few months back for an Innergie universal power adapter.  They make thinner varieties, but what attracted me to this device is that it was cheap ($30) and it has two USB ports to power up your phone and another device while you power up your computer.  I also bought it when I wasn't sure what new laptop I was going to buy, so it worked great in that it was compatible with anything I was going to end up with.
  • The travel mouse - I didn't go for the top of the line mouse, but I really like my Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse.  It's small, has a nano USB receiver and I like the metal scrolling bar which is very easy to use.
  • Speakerphone - we use Lync for PC to PC calls at Stoneridge and we used it a ton at Microsoft too.  When you're on the road, it always seemed weird to me to be on a call where you're yelling at your computer because you're using it as a speakerphone.  The Polycom CX100 Speakerphone is great for conference calls when you're away from your regular desk.  It's especially helpful if it's more than just you on the call.
  • Bluetooth headset - I have an older version of what's now the Plantronics Legend UC which is a headset that can pair to your phone and your computer.  With this device, you can take calls from your computer with a wireless headset, which is very nice when you're mostly listening and need your hands free.
  • Presenter remote - I give a lot of presentations and it's just so much easier if you have a presenter mouse and don't have to sit down to run a presentation or move down to click a button on your computer to go to the next slide.  If you ever give presentations, it's worth the $45 to have one.  I have a Kensington Wireless Presenter Pro with a laser and it's perfect for what I need.
  • Portable hard drive - since I have USB 3.0 ports on my machine, I recently upgraded to a USB 3.0 portable hard drive with 1 TB of storage.  It's great for storing installation media and VHDs of CRM or AX that I may need to pull out at a moment's notice.  With USB 3.0 connectivity, the performance is pretty good.  I have a Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive.  As soon as 256GB SSD drives with USB 3.0 connectivity become reasonably priced, I'll probably upgrade to that.
  • Other stuff - I have two retractable USB to micro USB cords for my peripherals and phone, an HDMI cable for when I need to do a presentation, and I always make sure to carry along business cards, Tylenol, Kleenexes, pens, a highlighter and a wired headphones for listening to music on the plane.  I have Bose headphones which I will use at times, but they are bulky for every day travel, so I only pop them in the bag when I am flying (and I remember).

Hopefully you found this interesting, and if you have a device that's really cool that would be an upgrade for something I have today, I'd love to learn more about it.

Eric Newell

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