Travel kit just got weird

I used to travel regularly and extensively, until I realised that I just got older and although it was fun, so too was sleeping in my own bed.

One of the techniques I used during that time as a “road worrier” was to keep a list to check off items so as not to forget important things.  Well it so happens that I’ve another trip in my future and decided to dust off the old list to assemble my things.  What a surprise!  Seems like digital archeology isn’t dead and the insight it gave me to previous behaviour (and technology) was insightful.  Take a look:

Shoes 1 1 1
casual Jeans a a
Casual shirt a a
Hat Opt
Shoes 1 1
Jacket a a a
Entertainment Painting Pad a a
Watercolour kit a a
Swimming trunks a a a
goggles a a a
Workshop Marker pens a a a
Camera a a a
Whiteboard Opt Opt Opt
Flip chart paper Opt Opt Opt
Laptop Laptop a a a
Product CDs Opt
Blank CDs Opt Opt
Lock a a a
Charger a a a
Battery a a a
Ethernet cord a a
Telephone cord Opt Opt a

The 3 last columns are for short, medium and long-stay trips (2-3 weeks and so on) and the increasing levels of gear meant that I could quickly take the essentials such as passport without bagging up the baggage.  Traveling light is the best way of travelling and extra stuff is the bane of comfort.  Don’t have it?  Just buy it when you’re there if really needed.

A couple of things stand out – I used to paint for relaxation sitting in some hotel rooms alone.  It was better than watching the TV or reading a book (- too heavy to take enough at the rate I read).  Nowdays, of course, I take an e-reader (not convinced about tablets yet, too heavy and batteries don’t last) but alongside the bulky camera for taking pictures of workshops and process diagrams, there were CDs and telephone cords.  Telephone cords!  Who uses those now?  Everyone uses WiFi in hotels and I haven’t seen a need for ethernet for ages.  Sounds crazy but my kit has just got whole lot lighter and between my smartphone and the Apple MacBook Air I think I can reduce my carry load of 10 years ago by 40%.

Do you have any similar stories?



“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power” – Abe Lincoln.

I once tallied my power sockets distributed around my house at 84 active outlets. That’s a whole lotta power!  Of course my home has far more gadgets than that – more likely closer to 200 things which could reasonably consume power at any one time – but this was the count of active, powered outlets which could deliver power right then.  It may amaze you, or dismay you, or even simply make you say “so what?” but that gives an average of nine outlets per room in my mid-sized English semi-detached house.

Do I really have 9 things in each room which need power?  Is my home occupied at a ratio of almost 10:1 powered things to people?  Counting CPUs it gets crazy as I once estimated that there were over 32 intelligent things in my house, and that was about 5 years ago.  Since then my light bulbs have firmware updates and I don’t even have an internet TV, however everything else seems to have processing power in some way.

I’ve been on a drive to lower the whole cost of this and recently powered down my dual-CPU, dual-core server rack (with added acoustic padding and low-speed fans) as the Minecraft server herein was no longer needed.  It has been replaced by a smaller, more efficient rack of wall-mounted micro systems (of which see below) and I am saving up to replace them and move the NodeRED stuff to to use Docker in place of the underlying Debian.  I like the idea of mixed hardware and movement of services across my environment, however don’t think the system services such as NodeRED nor Nginx are decomposed enough yet into micro-services.  Or are they?  Should I check?

Whatever, power demand from my farm has dropped by whopping amounts quarter on quarter and I am aiming to take it down further over the winter months by upgrading domestic appliances where possible, and monitoring and switching off low-power standby things overnight.  We shall see!