I started thinking about the tools I tend to carry, especially when I venture out to help someone with a problem or new computer. They generally are in my biggest laptop carrying case, rather than one of my desk drawers, just so that they are easy to grab when needed.
First are my tiny screwdrivers, I have a modest number of tiny straight and phillips blades, as well as a bunch of tiny hex bits. Hint: you can find most of them in the tool department at Sears, and for less than you'd spend at an electronics store.
Next are my cables. I carry ethernet, USB and Firewire cables, and I have several adapters for the Firewire cable. In addition to the old standard 6-pin Firewire 400 connectors, I also have adapters for mini video camera connections, the wide iPod connection and the newer Firewire 800 connector. The last one is a new addition, necessary for working on the newer computers.
Finally, I have a tiny 4 gig Firewire drive that I've used in the past for all of my diagnostic/repair software. I started using that when it wasn't possible to boot up a Mac from an external USB drive. Today, with high capacity USB thumb drives being so inexpensive, It's time for me to upgrade. Amazon currently has a SanDisk 16 GB for under $30. I plan to install a minimal system, then add SuperDuper! and DiskWarrior.
With all of these things, I can usually handle just about any job, be it transferring files to a new computer or installing a new drive or more memory. And before someone jumps on me for not having an antistatic strap in there, I don't use them. Never have. Before I touch the inner workings of anything electronic, I touch something metal to discharge any possible static. My father taught me to do that when I was 7 or 8 years old and working on old radios and TVs.
So, what's in your tool bag?