Every Day Carry – EDC

After my first attempt at organizing an emergency bag (or Bug Out Bag, B.O.B.), I haven’t done anything to refine/complete the setup. This is mainly due to lack of time. However, recently I started listening to In the Rabbit Hole podcast and there are a trove of useful information. From the EDC episode, I realize my EDC (Every Day Carry) is really inadequate so last week I set out to improve it.

Previously I had a Fenix EO5 flashlight and Leatherman Squirt PS4 on my keychain. When Leah gave birth to the girls I gave her the flashlight and Leatherman for her diaper bag, and I bought myself a JETBeam BA10 and Leatherman Juice CS4 as replacement. They are obviously too big to be on the keychain so I carry them in my messenger bag for my daily commute. After listening to the podcast, I realized some important items are missing.

First, because of the increased number of items I want to carry with me, it is much easier and better organized if I store the items in a bag. I picked the Maxpedition E.D.C. Pocket Organizer and put my JETBeam and Leatherman on the left hand side. A spare battery is added for backup. A disposable lighter (I’m not a smoker but the ability to make fire is useful in any emergency) and a simple first-aid kit round out the left hand side of the organizer. On the right, I added the iPhone charger and cable so I will be able to keep my phone charged in an emergency. That plus a iPhone backup battery pack from MonoPrice and a face mask goes into the pocket. The face mask will help me through any dusty situation. Having the equipment in the Maxpedition mean I can just pick it up from my messenger bag and put it into the Timbuk2 Stork messenger/diaper bag when we go out during the weekends.

For the keychain, I added three items. First, a PocketToolX Brewzer. It is kind of mini-multitool in that it has a flat head screwdriver, a box opener, and a bottle opener. It is made of high-grade stainless steel and is TSA compliant. Then I have the LaCie iamakey USB flash drive. I can use it for carrying general files, but the feature I wanted it for is the built-in encryption software. This allows me to store scanned copies of our legal and travel documents (passports, driving license, greencards, etc.) on the flash drive securely. And since the software for decryption is on the drive, I can use it on any computer as I won’t need to download and install any software. Finally, the green tube is a glow ring. It is basically a plastic tube filled with a small amount of tritium gas (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) which glows as it decay. Why is it useful? If I drop my keys while I was out in the dark, say while camping or a park, the glow ring will allow me to find it if it is within about 30 feet. It is not available for sale in the US and I purchased mine from Nite GlowRing in the UK.

I’ve also learnt a lot from the podcast about other items that I should include in the B.O.B. In addition to the B.O.B, I’m going to build a baby B.O.B. for the girls specifically and a mini B.O.B. for the car. All of these will be in future posts.

What? A year already?

How time has flied! It has been a year since I joined ThoughtWorks. In the last 12 months, I've:

  • Visited ThoughtWorks India in Bangalore
  • Worked in 3 totally different projects (.Net desktop app, build & deploy at an enterprise level, and Agile coaching) in 3 different locations (London, Connecticut, New York)
  • Became a committer of an Open Source project, DbDeploy.net
  • Attended ALT.NET conference in Seattle
  • Started ALT.NET NYC with a bunch of great, like-minded developers
  • Edited 4 ThoughtWorks IT Matters podcasts
  • Helped out with recruitment (code reviews, office interviews, phone interviews)
Skills and tools that I've learnt/developed that I didn't think I would otherwise:
  • Agile project management, planning, estimation (Mingle)
  • Presentation and coaching (PowerPoint!, public speaking)
  • Build & Deploy (CruiseControl.NET, Cruise, TeamCity, NAnt, MSBuild, PowerShell, etc.)
  • iPhone development
  • Mocking (NMock, Moq)
  • UI Automated testing (Selenium)
What I can't quantify is the amount of learning I've done during this time. Working with smarter people than myself drove me to self-improvement in ways that I did not think I can or would.
I don't know what would happen in the next 12 months but one thing for sure, I would definitely enjoy it.

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Information Blackhole

Despite podcasts being on the interweb for at least 7 years, many of my friends (some are tech savvy, some not) are still not utilizing this really useful medium. Even for those who listen to podcasts, they only have around 1 or 2 in their iTunes podcast subscriptions list. Am I the only person in my social group who listen to more than 2 podcasts?

Here is the list of podcasts that I subscribe to. Perhaps you'll find your podcasts in it?
Similarly, RSS feed has been around for a long time and most of my friends are still not using it to consume news or websites. Currently I subscribe to 59 RSS feeds. Am I just more efficient at consuming news or am I just an information junkie?

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ThoughtWorks podcast

One of the cool thing about working with ThoughtWorks is that there are always something I can get involve with outside of the day-to-day consulting work. Not only I help out the recruitment department in NY with code review, phone interviews, and office interviews, recently I've also started helping out with ThoughtWorks podcasts (iTunes). So far I've edited one series of podcasts, "Web 2.0", which is divided into three parts. The first two parts have been available for download for a while now and the reason I haven't blogged about it until now is that I want to wait until I got the acknowledgment in part 3 from Michael, the producer. Otherwise, no one is going to believe me! Fast forward to 25:25 towards the end and you can hear the proof 😀

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Productive Friday

Accomplishment of the day:

  • Went to the gym
  • Drop clothes to dry-cleaner
  • Got haircut
  • Visited chiropractor
  • Arranged dim-sum lunch with cousin and his girlfriend
  • Edited ThoughtWorks podcast using GarageBand for the very first time
  • Caught up with lots of outstanding podcasts
  • Updated my iPhone code to beta 5 SDK's new API
  • Watched Turkish F1 GP Friday practice
  • Watched two days of Daily Show & Colbert Report from two weeks ago!
  • Read last week Autosport

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