Apr 27 2009
Everything I try write seems to go the same way: I start off with a simple
idea that should make a nice little article and I end up with an epic saga.
I wanted to do a simple little piece on the stuff and the gadgets that I carry
around in my backpack with my iBook and then I got to thinking …there’s the
stuff I have, and those things are fine but there are also alternatives to what
I have and some of them are better, maybe cheaper or just as good but better
suited to some of you than they would be for me. Thinking can get you into trouble.
So, like everything else I’ve tried to write as a single simple article, this
is another series and, from what I can tell, it’s going to be an on going series
that will be interrupted by other Road Warrior Wednesday ideas and resumed as
new gadgets come to light.
Enough of the introductions! This week we’re looking at tools. Here’s what
I have in my pack:
Swiss Army CyberTool – This baby was designed with geeks in mind.
It has the standard issue Swiss Army knives, scissors, pliers, can opener,
bottle opener, corkscrew and awl but adds to that roster 8 different driver
bits (including Torx), a dip switch setter, wire stripper, wire cutter,
wire crimper and more (depending on which model you buy).
MicroÃ¯Plus – This tiny Transformer wannabe goes from keychain
to pliers/screwdriver set in a few easy twists. Contains two slot drivers
and two Phillips drivers in the handles of the miniature pliers
UtiliÃ¯Key – Looks like a very hi-tech key but it is actually
a simple knife and driver tool that may not be enough for big jobs but,
since it stays on you keychain it is almost always within easier reach
than any other tool you might use. Functions as a mini and micro slot
driver, small Philips head driver, bottle opener and knife.
wrenches – I carry a couple sizes of Hex wrenches with me: a 2mm to
fit the screws on the underside and a smaller one (1.5mm I think) that
fits the screws around the screen. Using them will void your warranty
and that sucks, but having a cracked open iBook in the middle of nowhere
eyelighter – This is simply one of those super bright LED lights fixed
to a hook that fits around your ear. Okay. It looks silly and you will
look silly wearing it but I can’t deny that it comes in handy and it’s
more comfortable than chewing on the end of a Maglite. If you’re everyone’s
“computer friend” you will most likely find yourself sprawled
underneath someone’s desk, squinting in the shadows trying to see if this
person’s CD-ROM drive is set to master or slave. Things will go a lot
faster if you can see what you’re doing.
Those are the tools I have, but I’ve been eyeing those collapsible-pliers multitools
lately. You know the ones? Like the Leathermans? (Leathermen?) I did a little
nosing around and it seems like there are those with very strong opinions for
and those with equally strong arguments against the Leatherman as a brand. With
the exception of my choice of computing platform, I tend to stay away from brand
wars. I don’t even have a preference between Coke or PepsiÃ³I can’t be
bothered. The conclusion I’ve come to (with the help of one very informative
salesperson at my local House of Knives) is that, for the Road Warrior, the
deciding factor in choosing a compact multipurpose tool is not about the knives
or the saws but the screwdrivers and specifically the bit sets, the way they
attach to the multitool and the sturdiness of the multitool itself.
SwissTool X – For sturdiness of the tool, test have shown the Victorinox
SwissTool X to have superior steel and more ergonomic blade placement
than other tools. Do not be tempted by the SwissTool “Plus”
with the wrench and screwdriver bit set. The problem with the SwissTool
Plus driver bit set is that it doesn’t actually attach to the multitool
itselfÃ³it is a separate tool. What were they thinking? Stick with
the standard SwissTool X and read on to find a better way to screw.
Wave Tool Adapter – The farmer and the cowman my agree to disagree
but the SwissTool X and the Leatherman Wave Tool Adapter can
be friends. Though it was built to attach to the Leatherman
Wave, it actually fits quite well on to the Victorinox SwissTool X
and comes with 6 standard size 1/4 inch driver bits. Make sure you ask
for the Leatherman Wave Tool Adapter as the
standard Leatherman Tool Adapter will not fit the SwissTool.
Well, that’s it for this week…