What's In Your Gadget Bag, Xeni?

Effervescent Bollywood advertisements, e-voting, and food-as-porn photoshop remixes. I didn't cherry-pick those three topics from Xeni Jardin's BoingBoing contributions to achieve some eclectic frisson — those posts just happen to be her last three. They may be indicative, though, of Jardin's many tentacled exploration into dozens of subjects, not just as one of the four cornerstones of BoingBoing, but as a contributing writer for WIRED Magazine and on-air commentator for NPR's Day to Day radio program, as well as her duties as conference and art show organizer extraordinaire. Who better to ping with a packet of, "What's in your gadget bag?" (Am I getting good at these, or what? Thanks, Xeni!)

Sweet little Motorola V600. Fat 65k color screen. Bluetooth. Built-in VGA cam with zoom. I'm co-curating "SENT," the first major exhibit of phonecam art in the US. As the project's sponsor, Motorola provided V600s for each of the participating artists (names include Mark Cuban, Megan Mullally, Randal Kleiser, Penelope Spheeris, Weird Al Yankovic). We also got a batch of pre-release V710s which are sweet to the tenth power, but carrier availability isn't here just yet.

I'm also carrying around an older Sanyo 5300 cameraphone from Sprint. I'm ashamed to admit it, because the phone stinks. But a year ago — before number portability hit — it was about the best cameraphone Sprint offered. Since then, I've been too lazy to do a thorough plan-comparison and switch carriers, so it's still in my bag as a primary phone. Among the many cons: Power hog, and Sprint's interface for SMS sucks. You have to slog through a painful web connection before you can get to your text. Plus, Sprint sends phonecam images as embedded links instead of attachments. Retarded.

Pink iPod mini. If it were a boy, we'd elope. Vegas. The Elvis chapel. He'd bring the tunes. I'd program the playlist. Guys in polyester tuxes, bridesmaids in lucite stripper pumps. Much rice would be tossed. Seriously, this thing just makes me happy, and I carry it everywhere. Usually it's on my left upper arm, thanks to this cool neoprene armband accessory. Top three playlists right now: oldschoolandfunkydub (includes: Pete Rock, Gang Starr, Minnie Riperton and the Rotary Connection, Pharcyde, Roots Manuva, Augustus Pablo); depressinglovesongs (includes: Nina Simone, Lola Beltran, Oscar Brown Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Bebel Gilberto) and sambasambasamba, because I just started studying Brazilian dance again with a maestra from Rio de Janeiro. If you can make it through my samba playlist without suddenly realizing that all is well with the world, you need meds. Mini-moment of mini-iPod zen: Running in the Hollywood hills, plugged in, reaching the top of the hill, panting, looking out over a smoggy city skyscape, spotting that 20-story iPod wall ad on the side of a Hollywood building. I love my city. I love it even more when it's accompanied by loud, downloaded music.

Recording gear for taping NPR segments in the field. Right now, a lame little minidisc recorder with a borrowed unidirectional mic. I download the content to my laptop, cut it locally, and FTP it up to my producer at NPR. But in about a week, I'll start using a 100% digital setup with a flash-based recorder from Marantz, with a better mic. Still shopping for both.

Cameras. Got a Canon thing going right now. If the shots matter, I'll carry Canon D30 digital SLR camera with a slew of lenses (general-purpose, portrait, telephoto; some used and some new). Bought the camera (and some of the lenses) on eBay, followed astute advice from two friends who are professional photographers. If I'm just shooting snapshots for fun, I might pack a superportable Canon Powershot SD10 Elph (4.0 Megapixel, 5.7x digital zoom), or a slightly larger and superior PowerShot S50 (5.0/4.0 megapixel, 3x Optical/4.1x Digital Zoom), both of which can also record short movie clips (this *still blows my mind).

Little bitty laptop for traveling: Dell Latitude X300.

Big honkin' laptop for closer to home: Dell Inspiron 8500.

Sure I'd rather be on a Mac. But that's what's in the bag right now. So shut up.

About the bag. Got two of them. I cram a Prada messenger bag full of gear for close-to-home work (sorry, can't find the exact model online, was a Christmas gift, maybe it's discontinued). And this Talene Reilly "Silouette" bag is always prepared for long-distance. They make great bags for girls. Lots of handy pockets and secret storage compartments inside; has a padded, zipped sleeve for your laptop; helps you avoid pack animal syndrome because it looks like a big purse so you don't have to haul a purse and a laptop bag and five other bags on the plane like an overworked yak.

NARS lipstick, "Heat Wave." And a new pair of stilettos. Or two. Digital, no. Essential, yes.

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