All-in-one or one for each?

I’m prepping for a trip to Anaheim, Calif., for Cisco Systems’ Networkers conference. At some point I have to face my stable of gadgetry and the George Carlinesque conundrum: Where am I gonna put all this stuff? (Link here, but coarse language alert.)

What do I take and what do I leave behind? The laptop is non-negotiable; if it stays home, so do I. MP3 player an absolute necessity for that length of time on a plane – an LTJ Bukem remix is just the prescription for jangled nerves. I could take the Mio GPS loaner, with the built-in media player and PDA. Need a camera, probably the HP, because it has a nice optical zoom. But there’s a camera in the Blackberry smartphone …

Rather than be a walking CE retail shop, I could go all-in-one. It’s one device to keep track of, one device to guard with your life against theft, one device to pack. But there are good reasons not to. A, I’ve never encountered an all-in-one that did everything (sometimes anything) as well as standalone units. And 2, after four hours of MP3 sedation, are you going to have any battery left to call a cab from the airport.

There’s an optimum somewhere between carrying one device and an entire Future Shop. My standard complement is maybe a bit much – cell phone, laptop, digital camera and MP3 player – but they’re all pulling their not inconsiderable weight. So I’m curious: What’s your optimum travel set-up? Tell us all, and be specific – brands, models, the whole nine yards – if you can. Or maybe outline what you’d carry in a perfect world, availability and expense notwithstanding.

(As a BTW, closing night entertainment for Networkers is Kiss. I’m not sure whether to be excited or mortified, but the hopeless ironic in me is bursting at the seams.)

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