The Well-Prepared Mobile Superhero

By Paul Chin

Originally published in Intranet Journal's Chin Music (16-Jan-2009)

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When I was a kid, I always wanted to be Batman. Sure, he didn't have any superpowers. He couldn't fly or see through walls. He wasn't bulletproof like that goody-goody Superman. But what Batman did have was a dark edge, cool mask with pointy ears, and a utility belt containing all sorts of gadgets that always seemed to get him out of dangerous situations.

Being the imaginative and industrious tyke I was, I gathered up my motley collection of toys and homemade "weapons" and assembled my very own superhero kit. Suffice it to say, I didn't have as much success fighting crime in the schoolyard as Batman did fighting crime in Gotham City. But that didn't stop me from refining my gear. Today, I have a very different kind of kit: A kit for the mobile writer.

Last month's Chin Music, Netbooks: The Perfect Stocking Stuffer, led to several discussions among friends and colleagues as to what constitutes an essential piece of mobile gear. Some of the suggestions were indispensable; others were rather superfluous (a flask of whiskey... really?).

The gear you choose to carry with you is very personal and highly dependent on your profession and mobile needs (the Flickr pool, "what’s in your bag?", is dedicated to showcasing contributors' kit contents). My mobile superhero gear—usually carried in either a messenger bag or briefcase—contains everything I need to get a job done while in the field. Although it might vary slightly depending on what I'm working on, my kit usually contains the following items (from top to bottom; left to right):

Mobile superhero kit

I'm a minimalist and prefer to carry only what I absolutely need with me. But a lot of people fall prey to the cliché, Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it". They believe they're Sherpas, hauling half their office with them when they're only going to be out for a single day. Not only will this slow you down considerably, but with all that gear you’re dragging behind you, it increases the likelihood of misplacing or losing something. So the next time you see the Bat-Signal in the sky, ask yourself whether that portable printer is going to prevent you from catching some villainous thug.

Copyright © 2009 Paul Chin. All rights reserved.
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