Unbagging Dave’s be.ez LAbesace


It’s been some time since we discussed my mobile gear and never with the precision of jkOnTheRun or Engadget’s new Unbagging series – which inspired this post. So, without further adieu, let’s jump right in…

be.ez LABesace – I’ve always had something of a bag fetish, but until picking up the LAbesace, my primary gadget bag has been a backpack. I’m not sure what inspired me to go full-time with the shoulder strap, perhaps it was the more adult look. But sometime before CES in December 2008, I picked this up via Newegg site for sixty or seventy bucks. I had wanted the orange interior, but it wasn’t yet available in the US, so I went with green. And I’m man enough to carry a possibly Parisian woman’s tote. The LAbesace has a 13″ laptop sleeve and a hardened, domed area which nicely protects all sorts of things. Check out Engadget’s photo for a good look at the interior. The only thing the bag lacks is a little handle, which would be helpful getting it in and out of the car.

13″ Macbook – I wasn’t entirely sold on the need for a new laptop, but Best Buy’s Black Friday sale ($150 off) motivated me to pick up the 13″ unibody Macbook last November. More than OS X, I love the symmetry of the hardware and its humongo trackpad. In addition to the aforementioned Mac operating system, I also run Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 through VMWare Fusion. Although, I’ve had some third party memory problems – when installed, the Macbook doesn’t resume from sleep. Initially loading these virtual machines with the standard 2GB can be painfully slow.

Earplugs – These let me sleep on the plane, blog is noisy cafes, and tune out the kids on school trips that often seem to use the same hotels I do.

Cottonelle Flushable Moist Wipes – Cleanliness is next to godliness. These are on my short list for “gadget” of the year, along with the MiFi. ;) I also carry a packet of Kleenex face/hand wipes. And, no, I don’t suffer from OCD.

iPhone 3GS – Despite Apple and AT&T’s restrictive practices and questionable coverage/service, it’s still a great phone and my primary handset. Although, I am somewhat bored and recently unloaded my Nokia N95 and Blackjack 2 in preparation for a new round of mobile device purchased. I’m most assuredly picking up the HTC Hero running Android. The only question that remains is will I import it for AT&T or jump ship with it to Sprint? The caseless 3Gs doesn’t usually live in the bag, residing, instead, in my front left pocket.

Nokia E71x – This phone is a loaner from Nokia’s UK social media outreach group and I’ve got to say it has possibly the best mobile QWERTY keyboard. Symbian also runs very well on the hardware. I considered picking up my own E71x, but the constant network selection nags and E72 leaks (why buy last years hardware?) held me in check.

Sprint Blackberry 8830 – I carry this mobile because I’ve been instructed to do so. Sprint’s coverage is excellent compared to my iPhone on AT&T. Otherwise, there’s not much to say – it’s a Blackberry and obviously excels in the corporate world.

Sprint MiFi The MiFi has replaced my USB Sprint aircard and Cradlepoint CTR500 in the gadget bag. It’s both a 3G aircard of sorts and a WiFi router. Some folks don’t appreciate it and/or object to the pricing, but I use this little guy daily and there’s no going back for me.

Fossil Pill Case – I think this was a gift from someone, and I use it to keep a few Advil, Tylenol, or aspirin handy for those days I OD on caffeine.

Griffin TuneBuds – Earbuds are a necessity for the Mac, iPhone music streaming, and various in-flight entertainment options. These Griffin TuneBuds were a review item that I didn’t particularly care for when initially received. However, after misplacing my Shures for a few weeks, spending some quality time with the Griffin TuneBuds changed my opinion. They’re less bulky and more comfortable than my Shures and do a good enough job blocking some ambient noise. The cable is wrapped in nylon so it doesn’t stick to itself and looks kinda cool. TubeBuds also incorporate an inline mic, although I’ve never used them to take a call.

2GB SanDisk SD/USB Card – I’ve had “the flippy” for several years now and can’t imagine ever going back to a standard SD card. Not only do I use this SD card in my camera, it’s also come in handy on so many occasions in transferring data between computers – allowing me to retire the USB keyring thumb drive. I’m only disappointed that SanDisk seems to have abandoned this line, as I’d appreciate more capacity and faster access.

Monster Outlets to Go – This basically splits one outlet into many, which comes in handy when spending time in airports and hotels. I’ve got the 3 jack edition, but Monster makes more capacious (and bulkier) models. The only caveat with this bit of gear is the lack of surge protection.

Cables – Of course, I also travel with a small contingent of cables. Shown above are a flat Ethernet cable and USB extension. For the sake of a cleaner photograph, I left out some of the power cables I often travel with, including a half Macbook power solution, MiFi adapter, and iPhone sync cable.


Panasonic Lumix FX9 – I can’t say this is a great camera, but the compact, 6mp Lumix FX9 has served me well over the years. I’ve finally mastered the UI and have learned to rarely use a flash. I tried to replace it prior to CES with the Lumix DMC-FX37, but Amazon shipped the camera box loose in a larger box. I don’t know much about precision optics but I’ll attribute the blurry pics to their poor packaging. And as you might suspect, I sent it right back. Recently, I’ve contemplated picking up the waterproof 12mp DMC-TS1 (~$350) which also shoots HD video. But I’m obviously in no great hurry.

Analog Materials – I haven’t given up on paper yet and routinely tote magazines for blowing time in airport terminals or stuck 2+ hours at the DMV. Not shown are the freebie pens swiped from tradeshows along with a small spiral-bound pad for blog notetaking.

8 thoughts on “Unbagging Dave’s be.ez LAbesace”

  1. Been thinking about picking up a mifi. Does the mifi allow traffic between two computers connected to it? Does it have decent configurability like reserved IPs and port routing. Overall experience using it good, i.e. not flakey?

  2. TiVoboy – It’s not the gadgets you have, it’s how you use them. ;)

    Jeremy – Yah, it routes traffic locally like any other WiFi device. The web console configurations are not nearly as sophisticated as the Cradlepoint this replaces for me, but it seems decent. I believe I did see port forwarding and I don’t know that I looked for static IPs. The only flakey thing seems to be it’ll drop the WiFi broadcast is things aren’t connected for active for X period of time. All it requires is pressing the button again to establish the network, but I’d rather it didn’t decide for me. Perhaps I’ll cover the config options in more detail in an upcoming blog post since I’m getting many questions (and blog traffic) on the MiFi.

    I should also mention I’m looking at both the Jawbone Prime and Blueant Q1 for review purposes. And I was thinking I should do a similar roundup of my car tech, which TiVoboy will find even less worthy.

  3. I would appreciate it. Also the car tech. It’s one thing to come up with a list of stuff that looks good and another to have a list of something on which a tech savvy person depends. I carry an airport express everywhere. In part because it’s easy/small/light, but also because it’s damn flexible.
    I was curious about the ports for using dyndns. Obviously not an always on type thing, but might be useful in some situations I deal with.

  4. Yep, I hear you on covering the stuff we use regularly. My Cradlepoint router wasn’t much bigger than your Airport Express, other than the power cable. Not only did I use it as a cellular broadband WiFi router, I’d hook it up to hotel Internet (or similar) to wireless share landline broadband. There are probably a few occasions where I’ll miss that, but I have another small router (cheapie Belkin) I sometimes bring with me.

    Regarding the MiFI, doesn’t look like issuing static IPs is in the cards but I gave it just a cursory look.

  5. As I said above, I left out some of that stuff for a clean pic. But I also try to travel as light as possible.

    The MiFi power cable is the only one that always comes with me these days. I don’t usually travel with a Mac charger on weekdays – I have one at home and one at work and my battery lasts me a reasonable 3ish hours. When I do take it with me, it’s just half the charger. Which is hard to explain unless you’re a Mac user.

    I also don’t travel with the Blackberry USB charger – I have one at work and home. When I’m on the road, a generic USB charger will power multiple devices of mine. I do regularly have my iPhone sync cable in there for charging.

    The camera battery drops into a rectangular wall wart, which I rarely travel with. With infrequent usage, I get a couple weeks of battery life. Or, it’ll last me a several day trip of a couple hundred pictures.

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