what's in my bag? 2020 edition
Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash
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Another year, another update on my remote, travelling setup for work and play...
After seeing others post how they travel, I decided it would be good to give some ideas on how I do it. After 2018 and 2019, let's see how my setup has changed for 2020.
So... that trusty 2017 MacBook Pro that I had as of last year? Well, I'll link to it soon, but I'm selling it. Why? Because I upgraded and invested in the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro (with new and improved keyboard!).
Why did I upgrade? Simple, 16GB of RAM just wasn't enough for my daily development and working life. So, I moved up to the 8-core i9 model with 64GB of RAM! I also upgraded to the 1TB hard drive because on my last machine, I started to feel constrained by the 500GB (especially when consolidating all of my data - I was using my main drive on the mac as the intermediary space from drive to NAS).
Also... the new keyboard brings back all my beloved memories of my 2014 MacBook Pro. May the butterfly keyboard never show its face in my house again.
I mean, I did say last year that "I think I might need to move to a laptop and platform that allows me 32GB + mobility", and well, I got to stay in the Apple family, so that's cool.
I also sold my iPad Pro (both the USB-C and the Gen2 Lightning models). I replaced them with a Google Pixelbook, Core i7, 16GB of RAM, NVMe SSD drive.
Why, you ask? Because I've been able to use it as a light weight development machine when I am on the road and don't want to bring the 16-inch MacBook Pro with me. Also, it's super lightweight, runs Chrome OS so I get all that stuff with me, is also on USB-C, touch screen, and pretty solid for my airplane media watching as well.
I should get around to posting the rest of my series on developing Go Services while using my Chromebook...
Tools and Accessories
Tzumi PocketJuice 20,000 mAh Powerbank (non-affiliate link) - still rolling with this from last year. Still holds me down on the juice for my devices. Probably the longest-tenured piece of tech in my travel kit (aside from my Bose QuietComfort 35 IIs).
Apple Watch Series 4 / Garmin ForeRunner 935 XT I still love my Garmin 935XT, but as a daily driver, it was getting pretty quirky. Dealing with my obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis means that I like to track my sleep for actual health purposes, and it wasn't that great. It also was too sporty - and when the Apple Watch Series 5 dropped, I ended getting an amazing deal on the Series 4 with Cellular (clearance + Amazon Points + coupon = < $100). It's been great being able to hike, run, and otherwise be active and completely not need my phone with me at all. My 935XT is back to being in use for serious half marathon and cycling traning (and my eventual push to do my first triathlon).
Bose QuietComfort 35 II I'm gonna add another "still" to what I said last year: "Still the best headphones that I’ve purchased for zoning out when coding and overall avoiding ambient noise (airplanes, loud cafes, etc). Seriously worth the investment". These are my straight up coding in public and/or long travel headphones of choice.
Powerbeats Wireless Pro Yes, I have headphones just for the gym. Doesn't everyone? The pros on these: much better battery life than AirPods, much more comfortable for longer periods than the AirPods, fully wireless just like the AirPods, case gets you up to 40 hours total before you have to charge them and the case, which is waaaaaaaay longer than my AirPods, and yeah, they're basically best for the gym and long outings. If they ever drop a wireless charging case for them... GAME. OVER.
AirPods Honestly, I only use these when I'm shopping or walking around the 'hood. I hate them for the gym. The battery life is pretty trash after only having them for a year... and they're essentially about to phase out of my bag life completely.
iPhone Xs Max Yes, still got the iPhone XS Max. Nope, I am not upgrading to the 11/11 Pro series. And when the 12 comes out... I'm gonna stand pat as well. I plan on getting a solid 3+ years out of this phone... and I'm only one year in.
CalDigit TS3+ When travelling for longer periods (read: not a weekend trip) and I know I'll need a work setup, I drag this beast of a dock along. Has all the USB3, USB-C and TB3 ports one could ever need (except at home, I have a second one I use with this... more on that when I post about my home setup). It's not always in my bag, but when it is, my workstation on the road is baller.
WD My Passport 1TB SSD Drive It has the smallest of footprints as an external USB-C SSD drive, but all of the benefits and speed. It's SATA SSD and not NVMe, but it's still 540MB/second read speeds, which is excellent when I'm writing code on the go (or listening to music/watching movies). It also works well with my Pixelbook, so I can use it on the road when shooting photos out in the wild. I can't say enough good things about this drive.
And there you have it. New year, some new bag friends, some mainstays.
What about you? What are you carrying along with you on the road?
Jayson is a former(-ish) DJ turned software engineer and now leader, having written code or led teams for over 18 years. Currently, he's a Senior Engineering Manager, speaker, bootcamp instructor, and sometimes distance runner.
In his downtime, he can be found trying to put dent in his Netflix queue, playing FPS and fighting games, and livestreaming code and technology on his Twitch channel.