23-ways-to-be-the-IT-departments-MacGyver_SQOne of the most popular television shows in the 1980s was MacGyver. Angus MacGyver was a special agent who could work his way out of any situation, fashion non-lethal weapons from chewing gum and paperclips, hotwire airplanes with a shoestring and build parachutes from saran wrap. While Mac relied heavily on his brains and his ingenuity, he didn’t fashion solutions out of thin air. There was always something close at hand that he could use to solve the problem. Here is a list of things you may want to keep nearby so that you too can pull off a “MacGyver”.

1. Duct tape

Duct tape was one of MacGyver’s go-to tools. Gaffer Tape is also good as it’s stronger and easier to tear by hand.

2. Swiss army knife

Mac was never without his Swiss Army knife. If you are a road warrior, look for one with a removable blade so you can keep it with you even when boarding a plane.

3. Pocket multi-tool

If you prefer a more modern approach, go with a multi-tool. There are versions from mini-pocket sized to ones you wear in a belt pouch. They can include pliers, torque wrenches and other specialty tools.

4. Wallet multi-tool

Whether you go with traditional or modern, step your game up a notch by including a wallet-card type tool so you have something with you even if you’re at a black-tie affair.

5. Hacking putty

Hacking putty is simply awesome. You can fashion almost anything out of it: patch leaks, replace handles and bind broken pieces together.

6. Multi-tip screwdriver

One of the most useful tools you will ever have is a magnetic screwdriver with a plethora of bits, including standard, Phillips, torque, hex, etc.

7. Velcro strips

Whether you want to just manage the wild tangle of cables under your desk or route network cables out of the way, always have an assortment of Velcro strips close at hand. They come in a variety of colors, so you can color-code your work.

8. Flashlight

Whether you go for a little $4.00 egg-shaped LED light or a full flashlight, always have a portable light source handy in case you’re working under desks and dark spaces or you need both hands free.

9. Pen/stylus/flashlight/laser pointer

Toss a multi-function pen in your bag that includes a ballpoint (ink), a stylus for your phone or tablet,  a flashlight and a laser pointer. Don’t forget a small notepad.

10. Smartphone

Everyone in IT has a smartphone but how many of you use it like MacGyver would? Most have a flashlight app and the camera can focus close enough for you to take a photo of areas you can reach but not see. Pictures are also good ways to remember how things were set before you start changing them and you can even take a movie of a boot sequence and the slow the playback down to see messages.

11. Adapters and extenders

Keep an assortment of cable extenders and adapters like a multi-tip USB cable. Someone always needs a video cable with various adapters to connect in the conference room. It’s also worth having a mini-HD to VGA cable for the sales guys and their tablets.

12. USB video adapters

These are awesome when you have a laptop but need a second screen for doing side-by-side comparisons or just need more real estate on-screen.

13. Chewing gum

Mac saved the world with chewing gum. A piece of gum will keep those hunger pangs at bay.

14. Hands-free speaker phone

Whether it’s USB, Bluetooth or 1/8” cable, having a small speakerphone can let you get everyone on a call without the lousy experience of many cellphones’ built-in speakers.

15. Spare USB thumbdrive

You can never have enough bandwidth or enough USB thumbdrives on hand. There’s always someone in need of one around the office.

16. Bootable USB key or CD with recovery tools

Just keep of couple of the largest ones with a bootable version of Windows or Linux and your favorite data recovery tools. A dead computer may just have a corrupt boot sector or trashed operating system, and booting from a USB key or CD to retrieve critical files might rank up there with saving the world to someone whose system has crashed.

17. USB to SATA/IDE adapter

If you think that a machine will never boot again or has reach retirement age, the little hard drive inside may still have some data worth keeping. Keep a USB to SATA/IDE adapter so that you can recover some f the data and copy it to another machine.

18. Portable USB battery

MacGyver would have been proud of these. No more dead phones. A USB battery in your backpack can provide enough juice to keep your phone on until you reach a mains socket.

19. USB cigarette lighter adapter

A cigarette lighter adapter with USB power is an easy way to power up your phone when you’re on the road.

20. Power strips

There is never enough power in a conference room. Have an assortment of power-strips, but make sure you label them so they make it back home when the work is done. Carry a small half-meter 3-plug with USB power in your backpack. It could come in handy in hotel rooms with only one outlet.

21. USB chargers

Keep them stocked in a drawer in your office. You’d be surprised how many people forget their charger behind them. Be their hero.

22. PowerPoint presenter

If you’re often giving presentations, invest in a presenter’s gadget that includes a laser pointer. Never use the mouse or pad to change slides.

23. Awesome knapsack

Knapsack, back pack, messenger back or magic bag of holding – call it whatever you like, but don’t go without something durable to haul your gear in. If you travel a lot, look for the TSA-approved type that lets you keep your laptop inside when going through airport security. If you’ve never seen MacGyver, here’s a quick introduction.

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