What's in My Bag

What’s in my NOW? — Mekkel Richards

Issue #146

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My name is Mekkel Richards. I am 30 and own a home in Detroit, MI. I work in the field of IT services. Really interested in New Deal politics, music, history, and the outdoors.


Dell Latitude laptop

Since 2014, when I started in the IT field, I have only purchased Dell Latitude laptops for both work & personal use. They are extremely durable, repairable, and cost-effective. Right now, I am using a model 7390 that was purchased new in early 2018. It’s been dropped on concrete a few times (and does have some chips), sandwiched in very tight bags, and overall not well taken care of, and yet, it continues to serve me daily without a single hardware issue. The Latitude line is a business-class line of laptop, and since businesses often upgrade their fleets of computers pretty often (between 2-5 years), there are tons available used on eBay at a very high discount. I never recommend a friend/family member that they purchase a new consumer-grade laptop when these are an option.

Harbor Freight 3/8 in., ¼ in. Drive SAE & Metric Socket Set, 40 Piece ($7)

For only $7, you can’t beat this ratchet/socket 40 piece set. I have bought 4 of these. One to leave in my car, one for my shed, one for my basement, and one spare. Many times I have been somewhere and needed to work on my car (replace air filter, tighten battery terminals, etc.) or was helping out a friend with yard equipment and just having this set in my car was a massive help. The quality is not the greatest, but for the price and convenience, there is no match.

CraftKitchen Stainless Steel Sporks ($15)

Having one tool that can accomplish the tasks of many is often beneficial. I am a guy who prefers to use a spoon over any other utensil. You can eat soup or cereal with it, cut tender meat, or scoop up vegetables with one. BUT, there comes a time when having a fork is almost necessary. The spork tackles both duties pretty well. I used a few different brands of spork until I settled on this brand because they are a good size, not too big, not too small, and they are also magnetic steel.


InoReader RSS Reader

There are two important eras of humanity. The time when Google Reader was around and the time after. InoReader is an RSS Reader that allows you to add a website’s feed (or subreddit, twitter feed, Facebook page, Google News page, newsletter, Telegram channel, etc) to your feed list. As the website publishes new posts, they appear in your list. This makes for very efficient news consumption. It’s a lifesaver during my breaks at work. You can add up to 150 feeds with the free ad-supported version and up to 500 feeds if you cough up $1.67 per month. The ads are mostly non-intrusive and the paid option is very fair if needed. I have tested out every RSS reader out there, and InoReader seems to be the closest to what Google Reader was.


Not a day goes by where I don’t use Greenshot for taking screenshots on my PC. The app makes it very easy and satisfying to select a portion of your screen using a keyboard shortcut, and a menu instantly appears once selected that allows you to: copy the image to clipboard, open with an image editor, or instantly upload to Imgur (and auto-copy the Imgur URL!). These features are invaluable for someone like me in the IT field. I can see this being useful for most office jobs.


Do the easy stuff now, and do 80% the rest as soon as you can.

Let’s say you have a to-do list of 10 things. Knock out the 5 easy tasks that will take you less than 1hour immediately, immediately. Now you have 5 hard tasks, which is still a daunting number. I have found that if I work on a few of the tasks now and take them to 80% completion pretty quickly. The last 20% takes a long time, but have the first 80% done will make the tasks seem like much less work. This has helped me a lot as a homeowner.


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