Digital Road Warrior’s iOS Ditty Bag


I do a fair amount of travel as a consultant; 75,000 miles give or take in the past 18 months. Working on the road, comfortably and efficiently, takes a bit of practice. Inevitably I'm traveling to make a presentation, and that presentation is rarely complete before my trip begins. So that means completing it, 'on the fly'; literally. Over time, I have adopted a “whatever can go wrong, may go wrong” mentality, when it comes to packing.
It’s a bit of a running joke with my friends that I am “high-maintenance”. It may be my BSA training -- “Be prepared, prepared, prepared, the motto of a true scout” -- or maybe I’m just a little too organized, but for better or for worse, when anybody I’m traveling with suddenly needs something, guess who they ask? And more often than not, I have what they’re looking for.
So with this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share with my fellow digital sojourners, a checklist list for my iOS Ditty bag, which in my case is a black mesh, two compartment zipper job that came with my Wenger (Swiss Army) backpack.

I’ve even done the shopping for you!

iOS Ditty Bag Contents

1.  Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic - $79  from Apple. Frankly, for similar money, there are many alternative earbud solutions available online. What I appreciate most about my earbuds, is not the sound quality, which is excellent, but rather, the nifty case. Unfortunately, I believe Apple has discontinued this product. If you hurry, you may still be able to order these on close out, somewhere.
2.  Back-up Earbuds - Standard Apple issue here, included with every iPhone.
3.  Apple SD Card Reader for iPad - This item is sold as part of the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit; $29 from Apple vs. $23.99 on

4.  Apple USB Adapter for iPad - This item is also sold as part of the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit; $29 from Apple vs. $23.99 on

5.  Apple iPad 10W USB Power Adapter with Data Cable - $29 from Apple and as low as $15 on If you standardize on the 10w adapters you can use for charging iPhones and iPads alike, and your iPhone will actually charge faster than it would using the standard iPhone power adapter.

6.  Apple Dock Connector to USB Cables - $19 each from Apple and $5.18 on You need at least one for every iOS devices you have, plus an extra to be safe.

7.  Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Headset - $39.06 on These have really come down in price. I’m pretty sure I spent in excess of $100 for mine. Jawbone has done a super job with the Noise Assassin technology, but the headset itself is poorly engineered from the standpoint of attaching to your ear. Jawbone has tried several different approaches from wire hoops (terrible) to plastic inserts they call “ear gels” (slightly better). IMHO, there is only one viable solution that equals the elegance of this headset technology. (see item #9, below).

8.  Jawbone Power Adapter (included with Jawbone headset), this also doubles as an extra iPhone power adapter, if need be.

9.  Jawbone Prime Custom Molded Earpiece - $69 from If you understand the Jawbone technology, you know that it is critically important for the Jawbone to maintain contact with your jaw -- or it doesn’t work. None of the earpiece apparatus that Jawbone sells with the device manage to do this reliably. It’s maddening! You can hear your party, but they can’t hear you. I was actually in the process of returning my Jawbone Prime to the local Apple Store, when another customer mentioned Avery Sound Labs to me. Once you place your order, they send you a kit and detailed instructions for how to create an impression of your ear using quick set molding compound. You then send this impression to their labs, and they manufacture your earpiece. The whole thing is a bit of an arts and crafts project, but the results are stellar. You can literally go jogging with your earpiece on and it will stay in place while you run and talk.You can order your earpiece in a variety of colors. I chose clear, but I might rethink that if I were to reorder, as the clear tends to discolor over time.

10. Jawbone Charging Cable (included with Jawbone headset)

11. Japanese-style 1:3 AC Adapter - This compact gem turns one outlet into three. Unfortunately, these adapters cannot be purchased in the US because their compact design requires bypassing the third prong ground found on most electronics plugs.

12. Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter for MacBook Pro - $49 from Apple vs. $44.80 on This cable is designed to power your laptop in-flight, and it works great, assuming your airline offers AC outlets throughout the cabin, and the outlets are actually in working order. The latter is surprisingly not always the case. By the way - this cable will not charge your laptop, simply power it.

13. Mophie External Battery - Mophie makes various battery packs, but I chose this one because it can actually recharge an iPad! I also wanted a model that I could keep in my pocket and tether to either my iPhone or iPad via a data cable, rather than having to attach the battery directly to the iOS device. Two other great features about the Mophie products are their LED power-level indicator lights and an on/off switch which prevents the battery from losing it’s charge over-time. The new version of my battery, will also work with DROID, HTC and Blackberry.

14. Generic Compact Camera Case - Another way to stay organized is to package certain items together in their own case or bag. It makes packing and “grabbing” the items much easier. I use this case to carry my external battery and the two pictured cables. It is made by Case Logic. Case Logic manufactures various sizes and styles.

15. USB Charging cable (included with external battery).

16. Griffin USB to Dock Connector Cable (Coiled) - $14.20 on This compact cable is not only handy for use with my external battery, it doubles as my extra iPhone/iPad dock connector cable, as mentioned in # 6, above.

17. Belkin Velcro Cable Ties - These velcro straps are a great way to keep your cables organized and tangle-free. Several types are pictured, but I prefer the Belkin Velcro Cable Ties; $2.99 for a set of 6.

18. LED Flashlight - Always handy to throw in any ditty bag. The flashlight pictured is actually a trade-show trinket I picked up somewhere, but there are plenty of similar flashlights available from

19. Carabiner-style Key-ring - Many uses for these; another handy item for the well-equipped ditty bag. I found this exact style and many other alternatives at

20. Apple iPad VGA Adapter - $29 from Apple vs. $22.99 on

21. Apple Mini Display Port to VGA Adapter  - $29 from Apple and $27.55 on

22. Apple iPad HDMI Adapter - $39 from Apple vs. $30.62 on

23. Apple Mini Display Port to DVI Adapter - $29 from Apple and as low as $13.99, new, on

24. MINI 1/8 Stereo Female to 1/4 Stereo Male Cable Adapter - Many options available. Here is a list from

25. Mini 1/8 Stereo Splitter - This handy little item allows you to share your iPod, iPhone and iPad media with a friend; perhaps on a long plane ride or while waiting for a delayed flight. There are many similar products to the one pictured in the $2-$3 range on

26. Monster 3.5-mm Headphone Adapter for iPhone - $2.52 on This adapter is an interesting legacy from the original iPhone which had a recessed headset receptacle that would not accept many third party headsets -- coincidence, Apple? I have since used this adapter several times to get me out of a few jams with certain 3rd-party iPhone and iPad covers obstructing a proper connection with 3rd party headsets.

27. Jabra CRUISER2 Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone - $56 on I love this device. The sound quality is great, plenty of volume, and it seems to run forever on a single charge! It is very lightweight and it doubles as a desktop speaker phone if I am working from a hotel room, etc.

28. BoxWave Capacitive iPad Styra (Jet Black) - $17 on I’ve tried several other stylus manufactures and for my money, BoxWave is not only the best, but this model of their's also doubles as a conventional writing pen -- another ditty bag essential!

29. Targus 4 Port Ultra Mini USB 2.0 Hub - Very handy to have. I use mine on nearly every trip. Targus is definitely the leader for these mini USB hubs. The styles change often, but they all pretty much to the same thing. Here’s a link to a comparable model; $9.99 on

30. Sandisk USB Memory Keys - Always smart to throw one or more of these into the ol’ ditty bag. I like SandDisk; they are reliable, and again the cost has come way down; starting as low as $4.03 for 8GB on

31. Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth Headset - $77 on By now you may have noticed my inclination toward redundancy. Unlike the Jawbone and Jabra solutions above, this headset can be paired with both my MacBook Pro laptop and my iPhone, simultaneously; making it a great solution to handle both Skype and iPhone conversations.

32. USB to Micro-USB Cable - $1.95 on This cable doubles a charging cable for both my Jabra speakerphone and my Plantronics headset. FYI - If you are ever in a pinch, I believe this is the same cable Blackberry and some Droids use for a data-cable. Good to know. ;-)

33. Wired USB Mouse - Why a “wired” mouse? Because you cannot use wireless mice in-flight; although, I did so for years before getting caught one day by a flight attendant. It never occurred to me that I was breaking the rules. What’s pictured is an old Macally clear USB mouse, that I have had for years. I still think the clear housing is pretty slick looking. There are lots of similar wired mice for under $10 on

34. Logitech Wireless Mouse - $19.99 on In-flight work sessions aside, I prefer a wireless mouse while working on my laptop. The Logitech mice have a great weight and balance, which make them my preferred choice.

35. Microfiber Cleaning Cloth - Package of 5, $3.99 on Keep your screens clean and smudge free with a microfiber cleaning cloth. Needless to say, NEVER use tissues or paper towels to clean your screens, as you run the risk of scratching.

36. Jewelers Screwdriver Set - I’ve had my kit for years, but I recently found an updated alternative: the Silverhill 20 Piece Tool Kit for Apple Products for $12.99.

Please leave a comment to let me know if you found this article helpful, and/or if you think of something that I should have included. Happy trails!

Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros.



IOS Folder Management Tips

This post is for anyone with lots of apps on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. who is having a hard time keeping track of them...

Recently a friend of mine mentioned how he hates Apple's IOS navigation model of flipping through page after page of icons. I replied that I didn't have any trouble finding apps on my IOS devices. I have most of my apps organized into folders and everything is on one of two two pages. So, my friend, decided to put me to the test. "Do you have a webpage screen grabbing app on your iPad?", he asked. "I don't recall," I replied, "Let's see..." One swipe, one click, and three seconds later, "Yes: Webshot. It's in my utilities folder." 

"Wow! That's impressive", says my friend. He then went on to share that the real problem, was getting his head around the task of organizing hundreds of apps into folders. It just seemed like an endless time sink...

Sound familiar? Well I have a strategy for performing this task that makes it easy to organize your IOS screen life.

Get Organized!
Step by Step Folder Management

1) On your iPhone or iPad, navigate to your last page of icons. Click and hold on any icon, to enter edit mode (wiggling icons).

2) Drag all your apps off the lower tool bar and onto the last page, including the apple apps. If your last page is full, go to the next page.

3) With and empty tool bar navigate back to the first page (Home) -- pressing the round physical button will take you there directly.

4) Now reviewing the icons on your home page, drag any two similar icons onto each other; this will create a folder. For example: if your home page included Facebook, a Twitter client and the LinkedIn app, you could drag the Twitter app onto the Facebook app, which will create a folder called "Social". You can rename it if you like. Then drag the LinkedIn app onto the Social folder. This will result in three icons inthe single folder named, "Social". Repeat this process, creating folders for any other like categories, on the page.

5) Drag the folders you created from your home screen onto the empty tool bar. The iPhone will accommodate four; the iPad, six.

6) Now, with folders in tow, navigate to all the other pages (screens) of application icons, dragging appropriate apps into the folders on the toolbar.

7) When you get to the last page, and you have grabbed all the apps that fit the folders on your tool bar, drag these folders off the toolbar, and repeat the process.

This is a really easy way to organize your apps. The big idea here, is bringing the folders to the apps, instead of trying to drag the apps from screen to screen in search of folders -- you'll likely go mad, doing that!

Once you have everything organized by folder, you can use the toolbar to relocate your folders to whatever screen you desire. Most people prefer certain, "heavy use apps", to be free standing. My home page is a mixture of both icons and folders, and as I have already shared, all my apps fit on two screens!

IOS Folder Capacity
On the iPhone, you are allowed a maximum of eight screens; each screen can accommodate 16 folders or icons, plus the ubiquitous toolbar which can hold a combination of four icons or folders.Each folder can house a maximum of 12 apps. If every slot is dedicated to a folder, that means the iPhone has a maximum capacity of 1584 apps, or until you run out of memory.

8 pages x 16 folders x 12 apps/folder + 4 potential toolbar folders x 12 apps each = 1584 apps

    On the iPad, you are allowed a maximum of 11 screens; each screen can accommodate 20 folders or icons, plus the toolbar which can hold a combination of six additiional icons or folders. Each folder can house a maximum of 20 apps. If every slot is dedicated to a folder, that means the iPad has a  maximum capacity of 4520 apps, or until you run out of memory.

    11 pages x 20 folders x 20 apps/folder + 6 potential toolbar folders x 20 apps each = 4520 apps

    Folder Names 
    Obviously, you can name your folders any way you chose, but here is a list of potential folder names that may be useful:

    • Apple Apps
    • Social
    • Business
    • Productivity
    • Entertainment
    • Shopping
    • News
    • Travel
    • Reference
    • Graphics
    • Drawing Apps
    • Paint Apps
    • Photography
    • Note-takers
    • Utilities
    • Bookmarks
    • Games
    • Kids

    One last tip, to find an app gone AWOL...
    Navigate to the the home screen and enter the find mode, by either swiping to the right or by pressing the round physical button at the bottom of your screen. Once on the find screen, type in the name of the app you are looking for. It won't take you to the app, but it will confirm it's presence and you can launch it, which is probably why you were looking for it in the first place. :-)

    Now go forth and organize! 


    Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros, and CyberIsland Studios.