Ask The Readers: Your Tips For Lightening Your Gadget Load?

by Brad Isaac on June 22, 2007

As a self professed Pocket PC addict, the idea of lightning my gadget load may seem strange to some. But I will tell you what, filling up my pockets and  belt with a cell phone, Leatherman Wave, USB drives, Bluetooth headset, Pocket PC, Moleskine Journal and Fisher space pen  has gotten ridiculous at times.    These gadgets are heavy to carry around.    My pockets are full people!

I’ve read about  the Man Purse (Murse) at  SlackerManager  but I don’t know if that’s for me.    Maybe a  laptop and bag?   BAH! I don’t want to have to keep up with it.  

I just might have to make some tough decisions and start to cut back on the gadgetry I do carry.

So help me out… are you a gadget guy or gal who’s recently abstained from the number of utilitarian gizmos you carry, what did you cut and what did you keep?

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John Caron June 22, 2007 at 11:33 am

I am struggling with the same issues. I have a MFD (multifunction device) which has cut down on the load. I was using it as an MP3 player as well, but I gave up on that because of the poor UI. I am a consultant and the main motivation I had for the MFD was to sync data at my client sites. Now with corporate security getting tighter and tighter, I find that my MFD is an overweight cell phone.

With the advent of web-based apps that are cellphone friend and newer Java based cellphone software, I am beginning to wonder if a good, lightweight cell phone that is internet capable might be the best way to go. I still want a usable querty keyboard, though, which limits my options.

June 22, 2007 at 2:49 pm


I bought my last Palm Pilot (Tungsten T5) because it would allow me to work on Word files, spreadsheets, PowerPoints, and other business material, and also play back images, video, and MP3′s. All that in addition to calendars, address books, and all the other typical Palm software. That means that, even without my laptop, I have the capacity to work on many types of projects and amuse myself – all with one device.

Beyond that I keep a small notepad and pen (in case the Palm dies on me) and me cellphone and a set of collapsible headphones.

But, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t mention the fact that I recently acquired one of those briefcases with a handle and roller wheels that some use as an overnight bag, but I stuff with external harddrives, cables, notebooks, pens, audio recorders, chargers, and any other item I think I might use if stranded on a desert island! It weighs about 20 pounds with the laptop inside and I drag it back and forth to work every day on the subway.

Andrew Seltz
The Go-To Guy

June 22, 2007 at 9:01 pm

I’d just about kill for a Pocket PC phone with enough space to function as a video iPod (with of course some kind of iTunes client for Windows Mobile). I was using my Pocket PC to play the podcasts I download, but I finally got a video iPod, which I love. I also have to carry my cell phone. That’s 3 devices. I always keep my cell in my left front pocket. When I go to work, I keep my Pocket PC in my shirt pocket and I carry my iPod in my right front pants pocket. When I don’t have a shirt with a pocket, my Pocket PC goes in the laptop bag as I listen to the iPod in the car through a cassette adapter.

It’s complicated, but I’ve come to rely on the 3 devices. Every time my cell phone comes up for an upgrade, I tell myself I’ll get a Pocket PC phone but my wife talks me out of it in favor of a less expensive model.

June 23, 2007 at 4:56 am

Hi Brad,

I’m a field sales consultant and a couple of years ago I was
one of the people that used to carry around a single device/tool per specialized job, which meant I had to remember each one everytime I went somewhere.

Being very forgetful, it simply didn’t work ‘coz I usually end up in exactly the kind of situation where I would need one of my gadgets, and that would be the one I’d have forgotten!

So I went and forked out a wad of cash and got myself an i-Mate Jasjar, currently with a 2Gb SD-card. Yes, it’s big, lumpy, expensive, and initially I had to cringe when I let it fall once or twice, but I soon got used to the size and adapted accordingly, and the money was WELL worth it!

Apart from it’s size (really it’s only negative aspect), it’s absolutely great! I have it loaded with just about any program I could possibly use (you can fit a lot on 2Gb!), have a couple of DVD’s I converted with SPB Mobile DVD, all my favourite albums in wma-format (uses less space than mp3′s), and ALL my work’s spreadsheets and documents…

I do ALL my time management on it, keep track of EVERYTHING discussed with clients, do quotations on it since I’ve got a business calculator loaded, etc etc etc…

It’s even got a nifty little ruler-app, should I need to measure something…

I use it with a bt-headset, so I can work on it and pull up data while talking with a client (eliminating the need for a seperate cellphone and pda, or pen and notepad), and it’s large qwerty-keyboard means I can type up long reports and take notes as easily as you would on a laptop!

The only other “gadget” I have is a leatherman multi-tool I keep in my car’s glovebox, for the more techical stuff, and a simple Bic Clic pen in my shirt pocket, which doubles as a “more comfortable to hold”-stylus, especially if I’m afraid I might lose my real stylus!).

Off course I do have a small briefcase-like bag with a hardcover, handle and zip to carry printed document around in, and which can also double as something hard to write on, but this lives in my car, since I don’t use it otherwise.

I sometimes thought about going back to a smaller device, but losing the large screen and laptop-like form-factor stops me. I don’t own a laptop, and I can’t sync my device on our work-pc, so my device is really ALL I have, and it serves EVERY purpose beautifully!

And if you want to complain about the fact that Win Mobile 5 can’t quite do everything a full pc does, well, go and invest in WebIS Pocket Informant and Flexmail – it more than takes care of the lost functionality in Outlook Mobile! (oh and Opera Mobile takes care of IE Mobile’s lost functionality on the web-surfing side….)

“There a thing in my pocket, but it’s not one thing – it’s many!”


June 23, 2007 at 10:40 pm

In my line of work, I carry a clipboard with my calendar, invoices, work orders, and brochures on it. In my pocket, I carry a cellphone and my car keys. That’s it. No purse. The clipboard is useful as it makes me look official, especially when I am in places where looking authoritative can spark new business.

Brad Isaac June 25, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Great suggestions!

Johann, I agree, I’d be lost without my Axim. It keeps me up to date, especially the alarms that remind me what I’m ‘supposed’ to be doing. I too use Pocket Informant and Flexmail. Alex Kac is a great developer.

Lucy, hadn’t thought of the clipboard trick. You say it attracts new business? I’d like to know more.

June 26, 2007 at 7:30 pm

Hi Brad,

I own a natural residential and commercial cleaning company. We have clients in high end apartment complexes, and high rise condominiums, not to mention office suites. Carrying a clipboard (and wearing a badge with my company name, Healthy Cleaning Solutions, on it) attracts attention in these high visibility venues. If people are going to see you doing your business, look efficient and competent. People have commented on the fact that I was carrying a clipboard and wanted to know what my function was. And that opens the door…

I dress as though I am an executive going to work in an office. I wear tailored clothes, very stylish shoes and require my assistant to do so as well. You would not believe how many people stop and ask, “Do you do cleaning? You certainly don’t look like maids.” (Well, that’s because we are raising the bar for the entire industry)

My signature scent is lavender and I have actually had a person ask if I could come clean their place and make it smell that good. You just never know what will catch someone’s attention. Believe me, though, the clipboard works for me. And I use it too.

Andy Oxford August 19, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Two words, man: “iPhone.”

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