Sunday, March 24, 2013

Optimizing EDC for Spring

As winter becomes spring in the northern hemisphere, a person's mind turns to... optimizing one's set of everyday carry (EDC) items. My jacket pockets have become heavy with items not worthy of a shorts, trousers, or shirt pocket in warmer weather. Depending on one's profession, this list of items will vary. I'm a homeowner and IT geek in a past life, so my EDC layout reflects that. For some, EDC implies self-defense; that seems overly specific to me. I'm not fearful of attacks, but just want to be generally prepared for the tasks I may face on any given day. That said, I think nearly everyone can benefit from a good knife.

I used to carry a cheap jackknife until 9/11 permanently ejected that knife from my keychain. Abandoning the knife was a critical step to becoming pickier above knives as tools. I now have many quality folding knives, but I keep coming back to Spyderco knives for simplicity and quality for everyday use. I've pretty much settled on the Sage 2 (above in picture) and Ladybug 3 Hawkbill Salt (below in picture) for my EDC layout. The hawkbill is package opening perfection that can go on a keychain. The Sage 2 is a great, simple slicer that rivals knives over $300. Get informed and a quality blade will serve you well.

I also recommend a good LED flashlight bright enough to illuminate a walking path on a dark night. A more common use for me ends up being to illuminate computer labeling of jumpers and connectors. My 40+ year old eyes aren't what they used to be and more light really helps. I've been happy enough with a Fenix E05 on my keychain. In retrospect, I'd choose a light that can go on a keychain ring and still stand on its base to illuminate a small room or space.

I used to carry a wallet full of cards, paper money, and cruft. Some of the cards have been transferred to CardStar or other apps. Thankfully, my new debit card no longer has embossed numbers; it fits so much better now. I somewhat envy those in countries and cities that have made the transition to better e-payment; no such luck here yet. I've been experimenting with a card wallet and separate paper money clip for the last year plus. Alas, I think I'm heading back to a unified, yet thin, nylon wallet. I'm not a vegan, but leather is for murderers and old-school yuppies. ;-)

Living in a semi-rural area, I have both a car and truck. The car has an electronic keyfob with hidden, internal physical key. The truck is older and has a separate key and fob on a ring. Future and some current vehicles sort this out with app/Bluetooth-proximity entry and remote start. I want! And badly enough, that I may look into thirdparty remote unlock and starting systems. It's borderline stupid that one can't unlock and start one's car from one's phone in this modern age!

I should be carrying a USB stick, but haven't quite found what I want. Most of us probably have several old, small, semi-useless USB sticks. I want a single USB3 multi-stick (switchable boot partition) for modern use. Any recommendations? Eventually, smartphones will render temporary use of USB sticks obsolete.

Last, but not least, we have a smartphone. I started out with an original iPhone and upgraded every other release: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S. Now I'm itching for a Nexus 4 or HTC One. The Nexus 7 was a cheap gateway device for me. The N7 weaned me off the Apple ecosystem and onto the Android ecosystem and Google services. Despite the recent Google Reader flack, Google is now giving me the services and features I want compared to Apple. Recent iTunes changes also seem like a disincentive to stay with Apple. Samsung nails it in their anti-Apple commercials from a few months ago: Apple has become the platform of choice for kids and grandparents! Don't get me wrong, I've been back with Apple since 2003 and still love my late-2008 MacBook Pro. Apple abandoned the enthusiasts, not the other way around!

Always soliciting input for little gadgets that others out there find indispensable. What are the critical items or philosophies behind your EDC layout?