What’s in your bag? 2016

I’ve always been a fan of these kinds of posts so every couple of years I do an update of what I keep in my work bag and what I have as my every day carry:

Knomo Kilkenny

The Bag

The bag itself a messenger bag designed for “11 inch laptops” by Knomo. I’ve had a look and it appears that it is now discontinued but it’s still going strong for me.

I got it back in 2014 to use with my Surface Pro 2. In my original post I speculated that “it will hopefully last even longer than the technology it will hold.” and I was right. It’s a perfect fit the Surface Book too.

I usually wear it just on one shoulder when going short distances but it it works fine across my body too. Previously I’d had larger backpacks for work, but these days the stuff I carry is so small and light that a messenger bag is the best option and just using one shoulder doesn’t cause any physical issues for me.

Surface Book

The main compartment of the bag is used by whichever Surface Book I am using at the time; I have one for work and another one for personal use.

The Surface Book is a beautiful machine and way better than the clunky and huge Dell or HP laptops I used to use for work.

It’s worth mentioning here that I do not carry a power adaptor with me by default. I have Surface power adaptors both in my home office and at work, plus the battery life is just fine for most situations where I am out and using the machine for work.

What's in your bag?

Notebooks

The middle compartment sometimes gets used for other things, but mostly it is where I carry my notebooks.

As a huge stationery nerd I often try out new pens and pencils – but one certainty is that I’ll have my Arts & Science leather case containing my Hobonichi, Field Notes, and whatever my pen of choice is at the moment.

Analogue Note-Taking

Check out my analogue note-taking setup for 2016 for more information on the setup I had at the start of the year, or follow me on Instagram if stationery is your thing.

Analogue and Digital Pens

In the front compartment there are a couple of pen slots – at the moment it is currently holding:

  • Surface Pen
  • Zebra Sharbo X ST3

While the Surface Pen has a magnet to clip to the side of the device, I find that I prefer to keep it in it’s own place when I am storing it in my bag. I don’t want there to be any chance of it falling off and scratching the laptop.

The Sharbo X is probably my favourite multi-pen and I use it a lot when taking notes in meetings. It’s really handy to keep this one in my bag so I have a pen, pencil, and highlighter to hand at all times.

small-items

Small Accessories

Finally, there are also a small number of other miscellaneous items I carry in a zipped pocket:

  • Small USB Cable
  • USB Type C adapter
  • micro SD card and USB adapter
  • Pen knife
  • Cleaning cloth

And that’s it! I really love how much lighter my bag is compared to previous years.

What’s your every day carry? 2016

I’ve always been a fan of these kinds of posts so every couple of years I do an update of what I keep in my work bag and what I have as my every day carry:

Every Day Carry

All-Ett Wallet

I’ve been using the same All-Ett leather sports wallet for just over four years now and I still love how small it is. I would definitely recommend this kind of wallet to someone who’s looking for something minimal.

I usually carry between four and six cards, some folded money, and any receipts or note cards I have recently collected.

The thought of replacing it has crossed my mind… not because it is in any way defective, but because I think I’d like to get a wallet which blocks radio signals passing through. This would block the contactless card inside from being used unless it is removed from the wallet.

Of course, All-Ett do a version which is just like the one I have with the addition of this blocking technology. I’ll probably get one of these next time I feel like I need an upgrade.

Windows Mobile

I’ve used Windows mobile phones for over a decade now, and I still feel most productive when I have a Windows device on me at all times.

I got the Lumia 950 XL a year ago and it’s still one of the best Windows phones on the market. Yes, I know that for many people the platform isn’t moving fast enough for them, but I don’t currently have any interest in switching – most of the apps I want are already here.

The top uses for my phone are productivity (Outlook, OneNote, Wunderlist), communication (Slack, Skype, Messenger), and entertainment (Groove, Audible, Pocket Casts). It has 200 GB SD card loaded up with tonnes of music and offline maps for use while driving. It’s also the the camera I use the most, and I have it synchronised with OneDrive so that everything goes up into the cloud.

One of the biggest complaints about the Lumia 950 XL was that it isn’t particularly eye-catching. I tend to agree, and the standard plastic back was quickly replaced with a premium cover by Mozo. I find it makes the phone feel significantly nicer in the hand, and the real leather on the back gives the phone a warm feeling and a nice grip.

Wallet and Phone

As well as the Mozo cover, I also use a leather sleeve from FitBag. I mostly use this when I’m travelling or putting my phone in my bag or my jacket pocket. It protects the screen complements my leather wallet really well. I have actually found that putting the phone in the sleeve makes me less likely to check it for no real reason – when in meetings, for example.

Overall I’m happy with the Lumia 950 XL for now, and I hope it’ll keep me going until Microsoft builds an ultra-portable Surface which includes ink support.

Microsoft Band

Since my last every day carry post there have been two versions of Microsoft Band, and I’m currently using the Band 2. The old Fitbit got me started with health tracking, but having a device on my wrist is much better.

I really like the Microsoft Band, but it’s possible that this might be the last version of it. Rumours are that the Band 3 has been cancelled and there’s no replacement coming. I have a spare Band 2 to keep me going for now, and I’m just going to hope that there is a Windows-power wearable device in the works.

Band and Lumia

KeySmart & Car Key

And last of all… keys. Everyone has to have some keys in their every day carry.

I got a KeySmart in June last year when I moved and had the opportunity to reduce the number of keys I have to carry around. I’ve dropped it a couple of times since and they’ve been just fine – and I’ve never had them come apart in my pocket or anything like that.

I love how they don’t jingle and move around when I run, but the lack of jingle also means I often double-double check I have them with me! As before, I keep them separated from my car key.

What’s next for Microsoft Sticky Notes?

The desktop version of Windows has included Sticky Notes for a while; the Tablet PC edition of Windows XP included a Sticky Notes application, Vista included a Sticky Notes gadget, and then Windows 7 introduced the Sticky Notes app that most people are familiar with. This version was also included with Windows 8, 8.1 and the first version of Windows 10.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update featured a number of improvements with the Windows Ink Workspace. One of the new features included was an updated Sticky Notes app, now rebuilt for the Windows Store and upgraded with ink and some basic integration with Cortana and Bing.

It’s worth mentioning that some users of the original Windows 10 Sticky Notes may have been a bit grumpy as the new app didn’t migrate notes properly. It also uses different fonts and generally behaves differently to the previous version. Overall, this upgrade wasn’t completely welcome to existing users and therefore the app store ratings are fairly low (1.8 out of 5 at time of writing).

sticky

I used the original Sticky Notes occasionally, but after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, it became a bit of a curiosity of mine and I’ve been wondering what future it has in store for this kind of short term digital note taking.

Right now, the features are as follows:

  • Create Sticky Notes – A simple and smart design that makes capturing all your notes – small and big – easy, quick and fun.
  • One click access – Access your Sticky Notes with just a click of your Surface Pen to bring up the Windows 10 Ink Workspace.
  • Type or write, the choice is yours – Use your Surface Pen with Sticky Notes to capture your ideas in your very own handwriting or if you prefer to type, tap away.
  • Create Cortana Reminders – Never forget a note again with Cortana. Simply jot down a time or date with your note and it will be highlighted. You can then tap on it to create a Cortana reminder.
  • Added intelligence – Get to where you need to go with one click. Sticky Notes detects addresses, emails and cell numbers so all you have to do is tap the highlighted text to open Maps, Mail or Skype.
  • Track your flights & stocks – Keep an eye on an upcoming flight or stock option by typing a flight No. or stock ticker with ‘$’ at the front. Bing then delivers the information you need to your note.

Something new is coming…

Recently, the development of the Sticky Notes application has moved into a new Notes team over at Microsoft. According to the Microsoft Careers website, the Notes Team has been founded by some of the creators of OneNote and Wunderlist, and they are working on a new service to power new mobile apps and a web experience.

The Notes team also seems to be on GitHub, which makes me wonder if they’ll be open sourcing any of their next generation app.

By the sounds of it, their focus is on short-term note taking. I’m thinking this is just a continuation of Sticky Notes up in to the cloud and mobile devices.

Hopefully, this new Sticky Notes will bring some of the following features I’d be interested in seeing:

  • Synchronisation across machines
  • Mobile apps (including Windows 10 Mobile)
  • Move a note into OneNote or Wunderlist
  • Integration with other upcoming productivity offerings

As well as a next generation of Sticky Notes, I’d be interested to how it all fits together with Microsoft’s next generation to-do app (Project Cheshire?) and their upcoming universal clipboard / collection app (Cache?).

Keep in mind all of this is yet-unreleased and speculative. I get the feeling that Microsoft is trying a lot of different things in an effort re-enforce their desire to be known as the productivity company.