Whats in my backpack?

I have seen a few posts online recently about the tools and technology people use on a day to day basis.    A few components that I have no one seems to have mentioned yet.  So I thought it was probably a good idea to share my list. I will probably do a separate list of the software I use at some point as well.

Below is a list of the things that I tend to carry in my bag.  I don’t always have all of them with me but I typically swap out what I need as appropriate depending on if need to go to a datacentre or just a meeting/onsite client work.

  • Macbook Air 2018 ( My goto machine)
  • iPad Pro 9.7  & Apple Pencil allows for quick sketching but also used as a presentation remote.
  • Anker Powercore 20100 ( Huge battery for keeping iPhone/Ipad charged)
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones.  Equally useful in a noisy datacentre or a noisy office.
  • 2.5″ USB Drive caddy
  • Bunch of USB Sticks typically with a few different ESX builds 6.0, 6.5 and 6.7 and an empty one just in case
  • EasyAcc Wireless Storage PowerBank – Battery powered AP ( Insanely useful device)
  • Huawei 3G Mifi
  • Startech USB KVM (Another lifesaver)
  • Apple Lightning to HDMI Adaptor + HDMI cable
  • Leatherman Wingman
  • Led Headtorch
  • Dymo portable label printer
  • Trusty vendor supplied notepad and pens.

Based on the recommendation of Chris Lewis I have also added some Whiteboard & Flipchart Pens


Oh and a Tie……



In this day and age, two-factor authentication (2FA)  is basically a must. I try and use it on any system that supports it. I have a Yubikey and I am a massive fan of this but not everything supports U2F and sometimes it’s not convenient.  I recently have seen an announcement that Yubikey is developing a Lightning based version including USB-C which is awesome,  as at the moment I have a suboptimal experience with my new Mac.





For the systems that don’t support my Yubikey but do support the Google authenticator protocols, I have moved to using Authy as the 2FA application.  The primary reason behind this Is that I use multiple devices and having to add secrets multiple times and then keep them in sync is a pain. For me using multiple devices (2 iPhones, iPAD, Mac & Work Laptop) It was too much hassle to try and keep them in sync. Authy has a sync feature that totally solves this.  Add once and the token is passed to all your other devices.  One feature that I only found out post install is that Authy works on an Apple Watch.  For me, this is a killer feature that I didn’t even know I needed.  I have had occasions in the past where I have been away from home and my iPhone has a flat battery etc.

Some people may be unhappy with the secret synchronizing feature of Authy. For me, this is a very acceptable trade-off.  It can be turned off if required and in the event of a device loss, I can revoke access from any of the other devices.


I recommend having a look at twofactorauth and adding any company/device that supports it.   A few companies were listed that I use but wasn’t aware they supported 2FA

I have a few more of my lab systems to add but at the moment I have 16 services in Authy with a subset shown below