What’s In Our Gadget Bags: Giles Turnbull


What have I got in my pocketses?
What have I got in my pocketses?

We’re nosey as anyone here at Cult of Mac. We are also complete nerds, which means that we’re always peeking into people’s bags at conferences, or checking out what gear people use.

And we figured that you all might be just as bad, so we figured we’d rip open our man bags, handbags and purses and show you what’s inside, and why we carry what we do.

We’ll be doing this periodically from time to time. This week, we take a look into the bag – or perhaps we should say pockets – of apps reviewer Giles Turnbull.

1. Panasonic Lumix GF1, with 20mm f1.7 lens

A classic micro four-thirds camera/lens combo, this is the camera I carry with me everywhere. It usually sits in the adjacent unbranded case, which I bought very cheaply from Amazon. Although I also own a DSLR and a handful of lenses, this is the camera I use for almost everything. I can depend on it to take great photos in any circumstances. It’s small, fast, quiet, reliable, several years old, and takes excellent pictures.

2. iPhone 4 (enclosed in a case by Speck)

The GF1 is the camera that I always have with me; the iPhone 4 is the phone I always have with me. Essential apps include Tweetbot, Simplenote, Dropbox, Wikipanion, Weather Pro and TuneIn Radio. The case was one of the ones offered for free by Apple in the wake of the so-called “antennagate” issue, which was never an issue for me at all. But hey, they offered me a free case, so I took it. I like this one because it provides good protection without bulk – I can still slip the phone into the front pocket of my jeans without any discomfort.

3. House keys.

4. US Navy pocket knife.

I was about 15 or 16, I think, when my step-sister married an American at a church in the idyllic English countryside. I was asked to be an usher for the day, even though I’d never met the groom before. Shortly before the wedding, he took me to one side and said he had a gift for me, a thank-you for doing the ushering job. It was this knife. I’d only ever seen Swiss Army knives before, I had no idea the US Navy ones existed. This simple 6-blade knife has been in my left front pocket ever since, and has saved me from disaster, embarrassment, awkwardness, tiredness and plain old inconvenience more times than I could possibly count. I could get by if I lost the iPhone; but if I lost this knife, I’d rush out to buy a new one immediately.

5. Cheap leather wallet.

I used to be a full-size wallet man. I used to carry a proper wallet around, one you had to fold in half. Then I realized that the stuff I actually needed with me all the time was only a fraction of what padded out my wallet to enormous proportions. So I emptied it, pulled out only the plastic cards that are actually useful or essential, and put them into this: a cheap leather zip-up wallet. It has room for the nine cards I need to carry around, for a few £10 and £20 notes, and for three or four business cards for those three or four times every five years when someone actually asks me for one. It does the job, and like the pocket knife and the iPhone, it fits in my jeans pocket.

And that’s it. If at all possible, I prefer to leave the house without a bag – just with the essentials in my pockets and the GF1 slung over my shoulder. If I’m taking stuff with me (iPad, MacBook Pro, overnight gear, anything), I’ll usually take it in a Berghaus rucksack that I picked up for a fiver in a charity shop; occasionally, I use a black version of this Ally Cappellino satchel.

Generally speaking, my approach is: buy little, but buy high quality. That’s why I spend a lot on a pair of shoes or a winter coat; I want to spend my money on something that will last. That’s also why I buy iPhones and Macs. I know there are cheaper alternatives, but I’d rather pay more for something I can depend on.