Speaker kit

I thought I might list the gear I pack when presenting at conferences

  • 15″ retina MacBook Pro — my favorite Mac ever. Great for presenting, coding, and preparing slide decks
  • iPhone 5 (AT&T) — my constant companion. Tethering via Personal Hotspot usually beats hotel / conference WiFi every time. Also, I often run Presentation Clock on it while I’m speaking to help me budget my time (propped up by a Glif).
  • iPad mini with Verizon LTE — often my demo device. The non-retina screen actually makes for a better presentation device. Also an alternate tethering source for internet. Having both AT&T and Verizon as data options helps cover all the bases. Recently I’ve had luck running demos on the iPad mini while displaying via AirPlay and Reflector.app back onto my MacBook all driven by the iPad’s Personal Hotspot. This lets me avoid Xcode and the iOS Simulator during presentations.
  • Kensington wireless presenter (with extra lithium batteries) — rock solid and works great and means I’m not tied to my laptop or the podium.
  • 3 x 4 GB USB thumb drives — for distributing slides and sample code at the beginning of the talk (have I mentioned that conference WiFi is usually terrible?)
  • Mophie juice pack with charging cable — I could probably leave this at home, but it’s nice to have a backup and offering power is a great way to meet people.
  • 2 Lightning to USB cables — for charging phone and iPad simultaneously. Or for debugging (perhaps running Instruments on) an iOS device during a demo.
  • 2 x 12W USB Power Adapter — why would I cart these larger iPad chargers around when traveling? Well I figure you often only get a limited amount of time with an outlet, so you need to make that time count. For that reason I actually upgraded to the 12W adapters (the ones that come with the iPad 4) from the 10W adapters that accompanied the first 3 iPads, merely for the modest gain in charging time. Having 2 means I can charge the iPad and iPhone simultaneously or else the iPad and the Mophie (typically what I do overnight)
  • 1 x 5W USB Power Adaptor — so why bring this one at all? Well, I hate having to remember to swap devices between a limited number of chargers. This allows me to charge my iPhone plus the iPad and the Mophie overnight, so they all start each day fully charged.
  • 4 outlet portable power strip — great for many hotel rooms that often offer only a single outlet in any one place. This lets me plug in all 3 chargers plus charge my MacBook.
  • Lightning to VGA Adapter — in case I need to do VGA out directly from my iPhone or iPad. This is strictly a contingency plan. But also nice that you can do so while debugging or running Instruments via the integrated Lightning port (this used to be a feature limited to the HDMI adapter).
  • mini-displayPort to VGA adapter — for connecting my MacBook to the projector. Typically the conference always provides these but you should always carry your own.
  • MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter — in case the power adapter at the podium / presenter’s table is the original MagSafe. Lately though, conferences have been supplying both flavors!
  • Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter — this is really more of a WWDC thing, but you never know when you’ll need access to ethernet.
  • Lightning to 30-pin Adapter — I’m only carrying Lightning devices and cables, but this is just in case I need to charge from a 30-pin cable (perhaps when riding in a car; I haven’t upgraded my car chargers to Lightning since my wife is still on an iPhone 4S)

So that’s what I’m currently carrying to conferences. I enjoy the convenience of leaving my full-sized iPads at home and only having to bring Lightning-flavor accessories. What are you carrying to conferences?

Author: Mark

Mark is an American computer programmer living in Switzerland.