What’s in My Bag, 2014

As the start of a new year’s tradition, I’d like to take inventory of what I carry around in my backpack, which I have with me almost everywhere I go. I’m constantly iterating and changing what I carry around, so I hope it’s interesting to see this vignette of what I’ve found to be the best or most effective items to have with me all the time. With the things in this backpack I can be productive pretty much any place on the planet with a wifi or LTE connection.

  1. Kensington international adapter, I like this one because it has two USB ports, but every adapter I’ve used seems a little janky.
  2. Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 with charging case, as I mentioned in my headphones post.
  3. Kindle Voyage. Love love love.
  4. 64gb USB stick.
  5. Lockpick set.
  6. Apple Thunderbolt / VGA adapter. (I can probably stop carrying this around.)
  7. Samsung Level Over, as I mentioned in my headphones post.
  8. Macbook power adapter, and Moto Hint bluetooth headset.
  9. Audrey Hepburn deck of playing cards, and business card holder. The last few items are on a Gridit holder, which I like but seems to drop items as I walk around.
  10. Macally double USB charger, which I like because the plug pivots, and it can charge an iPad at full speed.
  11. Thunderbolt to thunderbolt cable, which is great for transferring between computers, andĀ Belkin audio cable splitter, with an old Beats cable wrapped around which I use with the Samsung headphones.
  12. Retractable HMDI cable.
  13. Garmin chest strap heart rate monitor, for running.
  14. Miscellaneous retractable cables: Jawbone UP24 charger (not using the UP at the moment, just the Basis), 1/8th inch audio cable, ethernet CAT5e, USB mini type B.
  15. Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom, with a gold cord taco.
  16. Jetpack notebook for taking analog notes.
  17. Some bag balm in a little plastic holder, an Aveda Blue Oil that I find relaxing, and some Advil for when ouches happen.
  18. TP-LINK TL-WR702N Wireless N150 Travel Router, which works so-so.
  19. Chargers for the two watches.
  20. Mpow Streambot Mini Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter.
  21. Apple Magic Mouse, still the best.
  22. Moto X second generation, with walnut back and orange highlights.
  23. Not pictured, iPhone 6+, because it took the picture, space grey of course.
  24. Miscellaneous swag and trinkets, and a T-mobile SIM card.
  25. Maison Bonnet sunglasses and cleaning cloth.
  26. Lamy Pico Pocket Ballpoint pen.
  27. Brand new passport! No stamps in it yet. Unfortunately picture was taken when I was still in the mustache competition.
  28. Basis Peak watch, which I like a lot overall.
  29. Garmin Forerunner 620, for quantifying running along with the chest strap in #13.
  30. Westone ES49 custom earplugs, for if I go to concerts or anyplace overly loud.
  31. Bucky eye shades, like an eye mask but has a curve so it doesn’t touch your eyes. I don’t use this often but when I do it’s a life-saver.
  32. Retina Macbook Pro, 15 inch, with a few stickers and the custom W light cut-out.
  33. The bag that holds everything pictured: Old School Laptop Rucksack. I wish it had a few more interior pockets for organizing things. It’s starting to get pretty worn, I probably need to treat the leather on the bottom.
  34. Not pictured: Incase dual USB 2.4 amp carĀ charger, a Belkin car mount, and a retractable lightning cable. (They were in the car when I took this.)

So if you add it all up, there are about 53 unique items I’m carrying around all the time. I’m curious how this total number changes over time as well. If you have any recommendations for a better, lighter, or more functional item than what I’m carrying please leave it in the comments!

Over on the BruteProtect blog they have a look at the Jetpack Bloat Myth, and find that counter-intuitively even though Jetpack has more comprehensive functionality it’s faster than using individual plugins to do the same things. There are economies of scale to Jetpack’s approach, and it doesn’t even include the impact of doing things more advanced and complex like Related Posts. There’s a reason why some web hosts like WP Engine ban most related post plugins but encourage the use of Jetpack.

The performance of the plugin code, though still faster, is still a small difference when compared to the benefit of offloading certain tasks like image resizing, related posts, stats, video transcoding, and more in the future to the WordPress.com cloud (which is now across 11 datacenters worldwide).

Of course if you don’t need the functionality at all it’s always faster to have nothing, but that’s a shrinking minority. There are still more optimizations to be had, and in line with a performance focus in 2015 look for more improvements to come in the future. In the meantime, check out the Jetpack benchmarks.