Here’s an old joke that usually gets a laugh. When someone says “I feel like a fool,” you should immediately reply, “So do I, but where are we going to find one at this time of the day?”
Think about it… think about it. These are the jokes the Muppet Show refused (grin). Anyhoo, the thing is that I just realized that I’ve been causing myself a lot of unnecessary hassle, and now I have the solution I cannot believe how silly I’ve been.
So here’s the deal… Do you recall when I dropped my backpack and smashed my computer whilst on a trip to speak at the Embedded Live conference in London toward the end of last year? It wasn’t really the backpack’s fault – the one I was using wasn’t padded and it was never intended fo rcattying computers around.
On my return I had to purchase a new computer. Initially I was also planning on purchasing a padded computer case type thing, but I really do prefer to use a backpack when I’m travelling. Thus, I was delighted to find something called a Swiss Gear IBEX Computer Backpack, which is capable of holding any notepad up to a 17-inch display.
This little beauty is padded and protected and is just really, REALLY well designed and implemented (even the handle on the top has a steel cable running through it). Your computer itself goes in a specially padded and reinforced area in the middle of the pack, but there are numerous other pockets all over the place to hold papers and power supplies and travel documents and … all of the stuff you end up carrying around with you when you travel (Click Here to see my original blog).
So why do I feel like a fool? Well, my backpack has ended up as the repository for all of my portable electronic devices, including my notepad computer, digital still camera, digital video camera, Kindle e-book reader, headphones, and – more recently – my new iPad 2
The thing is that I’ve been sticking all of the cables in the same pocket in the backpack. Isn’t it amazing how easily a bunch of cables can entwine themselves together – it’s almost like they are intelligent life forms that devote themselves to performing topological exercises.
So for months now, when I pull my notepad’s power cable out of the backpack it has invariably been entangled with my headphones, and my Droid smartphone cable is always tied in knots with my iPod cable, and … you get the picture.
Anyway, when I was preparing for my trip to DAC 2011
last week, I had everything unpacked sitting on our kitchen table because I wanted to make sure that I’d (a) removed any superfluous items and (b) wasn’t missing anything I would need. During this process, I was looking warily at the pile of cables when a metaphorical light bulb turned on inside my head.
What was the answer? You will laugh when I tell you…
I put each cable (apart from the notepad power supply, which I use every day) in its own Ziploc plastic bag.
That’s it. No magic. Nothing outrageously clever. Just common quart-size plastic bags. But I tell you, the difference this has made to my life is amazing. In addition to saving oodles of time this has dramatically minimized my frustration coefficient (grin).
I told you you’d laugh. This really is so obvious that I cannot believe I didn’t think of it before.