Paige Icardi


Paige Icardi

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! My name is Paige Icardi. What I do currently is drastically different than what I've been doing for the past 5 years.

Previously I was extremely immersed in the food industry via Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco. It's a wonderful specialty grocery store that prides itself in curating the most high-quality, thoughtful and amazing tasting food, whether it's the produce, meat or unique pantry goods.

My start there was originally as a cashier and turned into one of those situations where I moved on up for the next two years, eventually to a store manager and then maintained that position for three more years. I've always loved food and cooking – something that I still was heavily involved in even as a store manager – but still never saw myself in a management role.

It took me two years of stress and one year of being extremely ill to finally have the sense to quit.

That leads to me what I currently do. While I continue my recovery, I've been practicing a lot of yoga, which has done a great deal for helping me with pain management. It has been such an integral part of my life now, so much so that I also wanted to quit so I could study yoga more and eventually teach it too.

Since I'm technically unemployed, I've also been keeping myself busy and making some money cooking for a family that shops at the market. For her and her family I cook a handful of meals and recipes that fit their diets with only ingredients from Bi-Rite, which makes me happy that I still have some sort of tie to the store. It's been a really wonderful way to keep busy doing something I'm very passionate about, and to make a little extra money on the side.

What hardware do you use?

Currently my hardware consists of my yoga mat, some props and cozy clothes. I absolutely love the yoga brand, Alo Yoga, which is where my mat is from, along with lots of my comfy leggings. I live on their mat, and am currently typing this atop it.

I also get a lot of help from my MacBook Air and iPhone 8. Despite my age and generation, I'm not the most technologically savvy and like to keep it simple.

And what software?

I actually use a fantastic app/website to take yoga classes when I'm not practicing alone called Alo Moves, formally known as CodyApp. It's way more affordable than going to yoga classes in San Francisco, and I absolutely love the variety of amazing teachers and types of yoga it has to offer.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream set up consists of having my own space for me to practice. All I want in a space is peace and quiet, plenty of room/wall space – and hardwood floors! Right now I'm currently in a living room in a 1 bedroom apartment and, while my husband and I are luckier than most to have a roomier apartment, it's still cramped and we would benefit from a little more space. We have been discussing for quite some time now the idea of buying a house, potentially in the Pacific Northwest, so the dream setup will hopefully become a reality sooner than later.



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Maize Wallin


Maize Wallin

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Maize! I'm a Melbourne based composer, sound designer, and audio programmer. My focus is in 3D spatialised audio, and dynamic music, using cutting edge techniques.

Lately I've been really in love with being the middle person, when it comes to implementing a composer's audio. Developers often fall in love with someone's music, but that someone might not have ever worked on a game! So, I've been the one that helps the composer understand the dynamics of games, and together we design systems to help bring the FULL POWERS of music and games together. I do continue to do lots of composition and audio too!

I've recently been appointed to the Widget board of directors, representing the field of audio in videogames, and also drawing on my non-binary community.

I've also been making an educational gardening game, about seasons and produce in Victoria. It's been combining my passions for tech, teaching, facilitating, and food.

What hardware do you use?

Oooooof. Compared to devs, musicians don't have it easy. We use a LOT.

Maize's musical instruments.

My latest piece of kit is my Shamisen. I also use lots of little instruments, but my main instrument is the guitar. I also use a lil Zoom H4n.

Maize's computer setup.

My laptop is an MSI Stealth Pro, 15", with a GeForce 1070. I recently got a Samsung Odyssey, which I'll be using as my main VR setup from now on. It's suuuper great. I used to use the Vive, but this is so much more portable, and quick to set up!

My main headphones now are the Bose QC 25's. They're SUPER good on the plane, but even great at when I have to work at the office.

I work from home most of the time, and there I have my Yamaha HS50's. I have five of them, and the 10w sub as well. But I don't work in surround sound any more, so I mostly only use a stereo setup, and I put the extra speakers by the projector to watch epic nature documentaries with.

I use a little Focusrite 2i2 as my audio interface. I also have a MOTU 8/8 around, but I only use that for live art stuff and surround sound that I used to do. It annoys me so much that I had to buy a new 2/2 interface, because my old one was totally fine, they just stopped making drivers Windows 10, and I had to change this piece of code every time Windows updated, which is like, every day.

Maize's MIDI keyboards.

I also have a few MIDI controllers. I've always been really focused on being very portable, so my favourite setup is to have my Roli Seaboard Block, and my Launchpad Mini, with my laptop. But I'm pretty good at not using any instruments and just composing from laptop.

And what software?

Ableton, Izotope RX, Reaper, Unity, Wwise (in that order.) Oh and Excel, and Google Docs. Spreadsheets run my life.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup is a totally AR office, so that I can sit under a tree and type onto the grass. It's getting there. Cortana is getting really great at text dictation.

I really want to live in a tree house, with super fast internet, and drones delivering my groceries. I'd live quite a hermit peaceful life.

I'd also like to move to Mars. For similar isolation reasons really! I absolutely adore the times I've done longer artist residencies in countries where I don't speak the language, and had time to make art.



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Haley Rose Smith


Haley Rose Smith

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Haley, and I'm an Android engineer & tech lead at Slack. I grew up in Napa Valley and now live in Oakland with my husband, André, and my cat, River. When I'm not selling my labor, I'm attending a local Farm School program and working in my garden. I also cook a lot – a LOT – and can spend hours researching recipes and coming up with menus for dinner parties and cookouts. Other than that, I'm either shitposting on Twitter, devouring a space opera or fantasy epic, or staring at the large black shrine in my living room.

What hardware do you use?

At work I have a 15-inch touchbar MacBook Pro laptop from 2016 that's almost always plugged into my ergonomic workstation setup. I have a sit/stand desk with an ergonomic chair, a keyboard tray, a Kinesis Freestyle2 Bluetooth keyboard, and an Evoluent vertical ergonomic mouse. I'm in love with the 27-inch LG monitors that are standard at our Slack workstations – mine is mounted on an AmazonBasics monitor arm. I used to get terrible shoulder pain and pinched nerves, but ever since getting this ergonomic setup it's really improved a lot. For Android stuff I'm usually testing on a Nexus 5X. I have an Elago M2 stand that I keep it on that's really convenient and nice.

Recently I got a pair of JINS SCREEN blue light-blocking glasses for working, with slightly weaker prescription for looking at a computer screen (I'm nearsighted). My migraines have decreased significantly!

I almost never go on the computer at home unless I have to work from home for some reason, so when that happens I just plug into my husband's gaming setup, which is this rainbow light-up PC keyboard and a Razer mouse. My personal laptop is a 2010 MacBook Pro that I've shoved an SSD and extra RAM into. It does just fine.

For personal stuff, the most hardware I ever use is my PS4 plugged into an old 40" LG non-smart TV, and my Polk Omni soundbar. In addition to gaming, the PS4 functions as a set-top box – it has Plex, Netflix, Crunchyroll, all that stuff. Scattered throughout the house also a bunch of Google Home & Chromecast devices that I've gotten for free over the years of attending Google conferences. They kind of creep me out but I misplace my phone about 1000 times daily and it's so convenient to say "Hey Google, where's my phone?" to make it ring. I also have a Nexus 9 (thanks, Google I/O 2015) on a stand in the kitchen that's basically a digital cookbook.

My daily items are my trusty Pixel 2 (yes, I upgrade every year, it's gross of me) running Android 8.1.0 because I'm not brave enough to run the 9.0 beta on my primary device, my Withings (no, Nokia) (no, Withings) Activité Pop step tracking watch, and my Kindle Paperwhite – did you know that the San Francisco Public Library allows patrons to check out e-books for free? You don't even have to live in San Francisco!

And what software?

At work I basically live inside of Slack. We are absolute power users of our own product and fully 50% of my day is spent inside that sweet sweet Electron window. For development I use Android Studio, a fork of IntelliJ maintained by Google and full of goodies that make life easier for Android developers. Most Android applications are written in Java, but my team has also started incorporating Kotlin, a new programming language by JetBrains that now has official Google support. Our codebase is at about 15% and it's been fun to learn a new language for the first time in almost 10 years!

My browser is Chrome, I take notes in TextEdit, and without 1Password I'd be locked out of my life forever. Alfred is a huge productivity help for me, and I have F.lux turned on max at all times to help prevent migraines. I love using Dropbox Paper to write documentation – we've used many different collaborative document editing tools over the years here and Paper is by far my favorite.

At home, like I said I don't spend a lot of time on the computer, but Pepperplate is this great recipe archiving app that has a backlog of every recipe I've stolen from the internet or come up with myself over the past 5 years. For crop management I use the open source website Growstuff. I also read constantly and for all its faults Goodreads has been an excellent way to chronicle what I've read & get recommendations from friends. I listen to music on Google Play Music, I talk to my friends on Signal, I track various aspects of my life with Daylio, Clue, and Migraine Buddy, and I manage my household's finances with YNAB. My husband and I use Wunderlist to collaborate on grocery lists and the like but I think Microsoft is sunsetting it soon so we need to find something else – probably Google Keep?

What would be your dream setup?

We just bought a house so I'm really gunning for a 5.1 surround sound setup for our living room, but we are still struggling to figure out the best living room configuration. I've also been eyeing the PS4 Pro and PS4 Move/VR kits for ages but we already have an original PS4 and a Slim so my husband and I don't have to take turns gaming. For the home office I'd love to get an ErgoDox keyboard and one of those LG monitors for myself but I don't WFH enough to justify how expensive they are.



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Laura Hall


Laura Hall

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Laura E. Hall — I'm an artist, writer, puzzle-maker, and environmental narrative designer living in Portland, Oregon. Along with my producer, Nora Ryan, I run Timberview Productions, a company building immersive games and interactive experiences. These run the gamut from intimate, narrative-guided puzzle adventures to massive online events streamed for players around the world. Our new location, Meridian Adventure Co., is opening in Portland later this year.

I’m a proud board member of the PDX non-profit Portland Indie Game Squad and the Enthusiasm Collective, a pay-what-you-can workspace for artists and activists.

I’m also a writer and speaker. I focus primarily on the intersections between arts, culture, and technology, especially in gaming. I’m currently exploring the topics of environmental narrative design, Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), the future of virtual reality, and the magical potential of real-world physical gameplay. I wrote Katamari Damacy for Boss Fight Books, out soon.

As an artist, I love creating ephemera-based stories, environmental narratives, scavenger hunts, and mysteries.

What hardware do you use?

I use a MacBook Air and an iPhone 6, plus a Windows PC setup at home for playing games and VR (mostly HTC Vive). I have a Nikon D5100 and a little Canon EOS 60D for snapshots, although I mostly use my iPhone for photos now. I recently got a Fujifilm instax mini 9 and love playing with it. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and am getting back into the habit of reading a book a week.

For designing and brainstorming, I use a double-sided whiteboard and set of colored Expo markers. Everything that goes onto the whiteboard is in service of some work product, be it a talk, a brief, or a design, so we take photos and archive them but happily I rarely need to reference them. I'm always grateful they exist when I do, though.

I use a red Moleskine notebook for note-taking and lists. Until I started using Moleskines (about 5 years ago) I never managed to fill a journal. Now I go through a few a year.

Whenever I find a pen or pencil I really like the feel of, I buy them in bulk. Right now I like InkJoy 300RT ballpoint pens, but I also like writing with whatever pens I pick up at the bank or doctor’s office. I use Pentel Click mechanical pencils and Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens for drawings and diagrams. Sharpies and index cards are indispensable for prototyping game ideas.

There's a lot of tech that goes into the escape rooms we create. We use Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, Android devices, and Macs, plus cameras for monitoring gameplay. The escape rooms also use mechanical components like switches and electromagnets.

For the escape room game buildouts, we use typical workshop and woodworking tools, plywood, and foam board, plus whatever other materials are necessary to create a specific atmosphere.

It's like crafting a theater set, in that it has to look and feel right, but not be too real. As an example, a real office is probably pretty boring, with fluorescent lights and cubicles and random piles of paper. So we have to craft something that feels like an office, but one you’d see in a movie, or come across in an adventure. It also has to be pretty indestructible, because so many people are going to be interacting with it.

And what software?

Our company uses Asana, G Suite, and Slack for just about everything. We use weekly kanban boards and set up capture boxes so that nothing ever falls through the cracks, supplemented with weekly meetings to set goals and work through projects or backlog tasks.

We use OmniGraffle for outlining story and user flows, plus Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for graphic design and layouts, and SketchUp for 3D modeling.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd love to have a massive workshop with loads of fancy and expensive specialty tools (plus a budget to pay those specialists), attached to a bustling shared community workspace that's open to all, within which I have a private office with a door I can close for concentration.



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Tyler Feder


Tyler Feder

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Tyler Feder, an illustrator and soon-to-be-author living and working in Chicago. I just finished illustrating Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin's Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space, and now I'm working on my first solo book, a graphic memoir about losing my mom to cancer when I was a teenager. I also run an Etsy shop called Roaring Softly where I sell prints of my artwork (and offer portrait commissions whenever I have a free moment).

What hardware do you use?

Right now, I do the majority of my illustrations with an Apple Pencil on my 10.5" iPad Pro (which is rose gold because I will take any opportunity to add pink to my life). When I'm not illustrating digitally, I'm pretty low-maintenance and use whatever art supplies I can get my hands on (Micron pen with cheap watercolor is my favorite combo). I prep my artwork for printing on my trusty 21.5" 2013 iMac and print everything with a Canon iX6820 printer.

And what software?

I am an absolute convert to Procreate on iOS. It's the most intuitive digital art program I've used, and the process videos it automatically generates are so fascinating to watch! On my desktop, I occasionally use Photoshop (reluctantly) and Acorn (my preference) to edit illustrations.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd love to take everything from my current setup and plunk it into a larger dedicated studio space. I work out of my itty bitty studio apartment, and lately I've been drooling over 2 bedroom apartments on Craigslist. A separate room just for art sounds like heaven!



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Louie Roots


Louie Roots

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Louie Roots, I run a space in Melbourne called Bar SK. I curate exhibitions, create controllers, run the bar and sometimes make or mod games. Previously I've worked in Denmark at a company making mobile games, and I ran my own studio in Perth called SK Games, creating games for events and social spaces.

What hardware do you use?

I have a lil' Lenovo laptop that has done me well – it used to have a touch screen but it started wigging out so I had to disable it, but for a while I could swipe my finger across the screen in meetings and change the slide and people would be VERY impressed. I should also shout out to the Bracton 2-Keg Kegorator which is keeping our most important beers cold and pouring smoothly.

My main piece of controller-making kit is called an I-PAC – it sits between the arcade buttons and the PC, telling the PC that it's a keyboard. I use old arcade hardware like buttons and joysticks for two reasons; it's hardy and will withstand a beer or two, and also they're immediately understandable for people who may not know how to use the latest game pad for whatever console is current. An easy supplier is Austin Amusements, but googling "arcade components" might show you somewhere closer.

For the controllers I use old furniture, scrap wood, IKEA bits and Kmart bobs. I have a wonderful toolbox on proud display in the bar, full of tools for construction, wiring and deconstruction, as we canabalise the controllers regularly, and nothing stays intact very long at the bar. The back room is packed with scrap wood, bigger power tools, boxes of buttons and joysticks, crates of power and video cables, all sorts of decorations and lighting, and of course, beer.

And what software?

Notepad.exe – I use it to take notes, to plan my day, to get thoughts out, and to program the I-PAC keyboard encoders I use for custom controllers. As for games, I've been using Unity since my university days. I stick to Unity mainly because I'm terrible at programming and Unity has a very accessible wealth of online resources; I usually just google the thing I want to do and copy paste my way to trash games. I'm also a fan of modding old games, using whatever weird specific software it requires, giving my laptop untold viruses in the process. I'm still searching for a good email program 🙂

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be a big workshop with space and storage – oh wow, space and storage, I would be so happy. I recently did some work in London for a festival called Now Play This and they provided me with some time in a workshop. It was amazing having access to so many different types of power tools – I can't believe how much I love drop saws. I also dream of a huge wall of shelves and drawers for buttons and electronic components, with a ladder on a rail like an old library.

I also dream of a bigger bar – I'd love something in an old building, where you can see the character in the bricks and the layout that shows its previous use. Somewhere with a backyard and some good trees, somewhere central to Melbourne, with cheap rent – okay, now I'm really dreaming.



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Philipp Stollenmayer


Philipp Stollenmayer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Philipp Stollenmayer, and I'm a mobile game designer. My most popular ones are Okay?, Zip Zap, and Pancake – The Game.

What hardware do you use?

I have a 13" MacBook Pro (Mid 2014), and a Magic Mouse. That's it basically, no external screens, no stands, no graphic tablet. Every 100 years, I use my Time Machine for a backup.

I test my games on an iPhone X, an iPhone 6, an iPhone 4S, an iPod 3G, an iPad Mini and an iPad Air 2. On the Android side, I have a Moto X, because it works with Google Daydream, and a Samsung Galaxy S2.

I try to make my games work on pretty old phones – that also makes debugging memory leaks easier.

And what software?

All of my games have been made with Corona SDK. I love it because it's super easy and super fast, and it cuts out all the unimportant and complicated stuff. Box2D physics are built-in, so I don't have to use any plugins. When it comes to programming I don't want anything but the original code, to have as little potential for traps as possible.

For code editing I use Sublime Text, and I always have only two code files: main.lua is the game itself, and data.lua is all data like the levels, texts, colors etc. A bit like HTML and CSS.

But for my next games I'm also learning Unity, to be able to make 3D games.

For image editing, I use Illustrator CS6 and Photoshop CS6, because I can't see why I should pay for those on a subscription basis. Normally I design my icons and stuff in Illustrator, to put together into a spritesheet in Photoshop.

I make the trailers with After Effects CS5.5 and Premiere CS5.5. I hope I can find a nice substitute for After Effects when it stops working because it's too old.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm a huge fan of space, so I have the smallest MacBook Pro, and only the minimum requirements. My hard drive is constantly full, but before I get a new MacBook Pro I have to become friends with USB-C. I like the satisfying magnetic pull of MagSafe too much, and don't want to own 100 adapters.

The Creative Suite is nice, but it is a shame that it can't be bought any more. I hate running costs, so I would rather use CS6 forever, but I fear that it will some day refuse to work anymore. Should try Affinity instead.



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Elisa Bryant


Elisa Bryant

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Elisa Bryant and I am a Melbourne-based visual artist. I am currently working on a series of digital collages with imagery taken from the 1960/70's era.

My collages figures are taken from magazines that are craft based, predominantly knitting and crochet. I source the magazines and pattern books from op shops (which feeds my op shopping addiction beautifully). I find the expressions of the models interesting, and the way that fashion photography was taken back in that era, it’s unlike anything you would see today.

The background images are taken from old books from the same era, mostly garden and flower books. I also love using baking books… cake decorating books are a favourite.

I like to make digital collages as opposed to analogue as I can create smooth edges. My background is in fine art printing and digital imaging, so I can use these skills to help refine my collages and make images that are more lifelike than standard cutout collages. I also like to leave the books and magazines intact – I couldn’t bare to cut up the books, they're so lovely.

What hardware do you use?

To scan the imagery I use the Epson V700 A4 flatbed scanner. My computer is a 27" iMac, and to calibrate I use an i1 Display Pro. It's really important that I balance the colours of these collages – the imagery I use is so old it's mostly discoloured, so colour management is important. I couldn't get a decent print unless I calibrated the monitor regularly.

And what software?

To scan I use the SilverFast software – it's basic, but delivers if you can tweak it correctly. To browse catalogues I use Adobe Bridge, and to collage I use Adobe Photoshop CC.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be what I used to use when I worked as a fine art printer, which was a custom built PC machine with a NEC monitor (any of them, I just want one please.) I was also lucky enough to use the Microtek 9800XL, which was incredible for art reproduction – this would mean that I could scan larger-scale artworks or imagery, and it's a higher-end scanner designed to scan artwork rather than documents.

If I was REALLY lucky I would add on an Epson P6070 24" fine art printer to the mix so I could start and finish my work without outsourcing.



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Ben Wurgaft


Ben Wurgaft

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Ben Wurgaft. I'm a writer and historian, and currently a Visiting Scholar in Anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My work reflects a diverse spread of interests: my doctoral education was in European intellectual history, and my first book in that field is about philosophy, publicness, and the figure of “the intellectual” in the mid-twentieth century. But I’ve also written on food and culture since about 2001, contributing essays to journals and magazines like Gastronomica and Meatpaper, and I sometimes speak at conferences on food, specialty coffee, and the like.

During my first postdoctoral fellowship, at the New School for Social Research, I became very interested in the history and anthropology of science, and my next book is about laboratory-grown meat and the futures of food; this book draws on about four years of ethnographic research, conducted beginning when I was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at MIT. So you could say my tasks are reading, writing, observing with eyes, ears, nose and mouth, interviewing, and thinking.

What hardware do you use?

I write on a late 2011 MacBook Pro with a 13” monitor. It’s usually connected to a Dell 24” external monitor, with the laptop sitting on a Griffin iCurve stand so old (perhaps 2007) that the sticky pads have become unsticky. What now keeps the laptop from sliding off the stand and smashing, are the duct-taped halves of the cork from a 2016 bottle of Donkey and Goat Winery’s Lily’s Pet Nat, which is a really delicious natural wine I drank with a few friends on a farm one late summer evening. Corks from other wines are likely to work just as well, but I recommend this one. The stand keeps my laptop at eye level and I normally keep documents open on both monitors at once, moving between them. Also at eye level is, usually, an open book held in a wire book holder, elevated on a stack of other books. Keeping everything at eye level helps me minimize neck strain. I type on an external Gold Touch split keyboard, which I adopted in grad school to avoid developing carpal tunnel, and it’s working so far. My wrists rest on foam. The foam is wrapped in fabric, and it rests on more foam in the shape of two triangles set at a very low angle; an ergonomics expert I knew in Oakland, California set this up for me in exchange for breakfast for her and her husband. The overall effect is to keep my arms and hands angled in around the elevated split keyboard, a little bit like I’m doing Qi Gong exercises. An Apple Magic Trackpad sometimes occupies my right hand. I have a pair of external speakers for music, about which, more below. I also use an early 2014 iPad for reading PDFs, light Internet browsing, and some writing, although my hands are too large for comfortable typing on most portable device keyboards. The iPad probably plays as much music and displays as many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as it does PDFs of journal articles.

I write in cafes a fair amount, and bring my laptop (sans external gear) when I do, but I also like to write in notebooks when traveling or doing fieldwork. They also come in handy when I’m at home and want to see if pen and ink can inspire thoughts the keyboard can’t. I have quite a few Muji notebooks (small, black, lined, but also some unlined, for drawing freehand), to the point where I need a new strategy for organizing them; I also like the size and feel of Field Notes journals, as well as moleskins. A good notebook is one that can lie flat, opened, on its own. I write with Muji pens, usually of the .38 size but also sometimes the .5s, .7s, and now the .25. I do own some more expensive pens from Itoya, but my Muji pens are a desert island necessity. About bags: when I’m on foot my day bag is a North Face backpack, a 2006 model called the Slingshot, and while I’m not an especial fan of the company, I’m impressed by the bag’s longevity, and by the fact that when the seams ripped (too many heavily packed trips) the company was willing to patch the bag and send it back to me gratis. I plan to upgrade to the Tom Bihn Synapse 25 fairly soon. When I’m on my bike, which is as often as possible, I carry everything in a 2001 Baileyworks Super Pro courier bag (size L), which was originally hunter orange but which has faded over seventeen years to the color of certain west coast sunsets. I love this bag and recommend Baileyworks bags to anyone who rides. In general, I like bags that last a long time (10+ years), get better with use, and that are not overdesigned – so not too many straps or doohickeys for specialized tasks that I may never perform. When it comes to bags and other bigger-ticket items I’m willing to pay more for items that were made by craftspeople who receive a respectful salary, either in the U.S. or abroad. The material conditions of my labor are by and large positive, and I wish that could be true for everyone who makes the tools I use.

If I’m conducting interviews I either use my iPhone 7 Plus (whose camera is more than adequate for my less-than-pro food photography needs) or a Tascam DR-05 voice recorder, whose sound quality was much better than my old iPhone 5, but is not necessarily better than my iPhone 7. My best recent technology decision was to leave all social media off of my iPhone, and I also find that the large form factor of the iPhone 7 Plus leads me to use the phone less often – because it’s clunky – and this is a blessing.

The human body is not exactly hardware, and the things we do with it are not exactly software, but it’s worth saying that the work-hours I log are supported by exercise of various kinds. The key to my writing practice isn’t my ergonomic setup but, rather, hours of yoga, hiking, swimming, running, and cycling. I’m very lucky that my life and body currently support this routine, because I know how much my work would suffer without it. I try to log short periods of desk time (45min-2 hours) interrupted by activity – a run, some yoga practice, a bike ride, or a stroll to the kitchen to make coffee or tea. This may seem inefficient, but it is the opposite; my time away from the computer is when things crystallize, and then I return and write them down. About coffee: because I need my coffee “massaged” (as a friend put it) I have massage gear: I heat water in a Breville electric kettle, pour it into a Hario gooseneck kettle, and then use this to pour the water (I’m skipping a few steps here) over coffee weighed on an electric scale and ground in a Capresso burr grinder. This coffee sits in a filter in a clever dripper, either one with a pressure plate at its base or with a mechanical lever system. I have a wire travel coffee dripper, and filters that travel with me if I think there won’t be good coffee on the road.

I use Passport external hard drives to back everything up, because I have a cumulative mistrust of cloud storage.

And what software?

Here my old-fashioned tendencies, and failure to learn new things, show themselves. I still use Word 2008 for my daily word processing, even though it is full of distracting panels and options I don’t use. I listen to music on iTunes, despite its myriad frustrations. I browse the Internet with Firefox. And I make very little use of apps on my phone or iPad (except for Merlin Bird ID, produced by ornithologists at Cornell, to identify birds) largely because my love of learning new things doesn’t seem to extend to technological tools.

I have writing methods that mimic the functions of software, though. One of them I copied from John McPhee, one of my major inspirations in nonfiction writing. When I’m trying to compose, I write down all the units of research or thinking for the writing project in question (facts, anecdotes, stories, theoretical claims) on index cards or other pieces of paper. These I place in separate envelopes, each marked with a major organizational element — perhaps a chapter — of the work in question. This means that when I want to work on a chapter, I open its envelope and look at the contents, forgetting about everything else. I spread them out on a table and move them around, and allow structure to emerge. Or is this hardware? It’s paper, anyway.

I wrote my first books to the music of The Tallis Scholars, Zoe Keating, Brian Eno, and Roomful of Teeth (especially Caroline Shaw’s Partita for EightVoices). I listen to a lot of ambient and contemporary composed music while I write.

What would be your dream setup?

My modest dream is that my current gear lasts me a few more years, because personal electronics have a terrible environmental footprint and entail terrible labor practices. I try to keep my stuff running for as long as possible, and to repair rather than replace. I’d also like better writing software than Word, better music-listening software than iTunes (wouldn’t we all?), and a well-lit office space with a few friendly plants, with the aforementioned coffee massage equipment nearby. I plan to adopt a setup in which different functions are disaggregated from my laptop so that I listen to music on a stereo and treat the computer as a word processor only, while writing. It would be nice if my phone were an “old-fashioned” cell phone rather than a smart phone, but I travel a fair amount and find the smart phone useful.

But overall, the most important tools for my work are intangible and, in a sense, intimate: a reasonably good mood, minimal emotional distraction, energy, and a rested and exercised body. And, of course, coffee.



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Kamina Vincent


Kamina Vincent

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Kamina Vincent! Hi!

I’m the Producer at Mountains, and we recently released Florence on iOS and Android. I take care of the project schedule, the team, and general business of running the company. I drink a lot of tea and, when big looming tasks occur, I rely on a lot of chocolate.

Outside of my work at Mountains, I mentor women and other underrepresented people and speak at various events (GCAP, Get into Games Ballarat, and others). I’m passionate about inclusion and diversity and use these opportunities to demonstrate that there are different roles and people within the games industry.

I was a recipient of the inaugural Film Victoria Women In Games Fellowship. This allowed me to not
only travel to embed in some amazing companies (Thank you Media Molecule, ustwo, and Stoic Studios!), but also enrol in diplomas focusing on learning project management, business, leadership and management.

I’m also the volunteer coordinator for Games Connect Asia Pacific, a game developer conference held here in Melbourne during Melbourne International Games Week.

I’ve recently been diagnosed with ADHD which has helped me understand how my brain works and getting systems in place to help me get things done!

What hardware do you use?

I use a MacBook Air at work with a second monitor. I’ve got the laptop resting on an iPad Pro box to get it to the right height. This all sits on a standing desk that I’m using to prop up my monitor but I’ve not used it standing yet.

I love the swipe gestures and multiple spaces/desktops. I don’t know if it’s a Mac specific thing but it works for me, especially with the Magic Mouse.

I have a physical notebook that comes with me everywhere! Everything goes into that book. Turns out it’s a great way to cope with some of the issues my ADHD brings up. Which means that I have a lot of pens. My favourite are the four colour pens (Pink! Purple! Light Blue! Lime Green!) which means that I have a fast visual guide to tasks, meetings, actions, and notes for myself. I am trying to be more digital though!

I have a whiteboard on my desk that I use for bandaids (public declarations of tasks that I just need to rip), and larger tasks that need a checklist. It’s a way for me to communicate with and be held accountable to the team about what I’m doing (and struggling with!).

When I travel for work, I’ll use either the Mountains iPad Pro, work laptop, or my own. There’s always something that needs to be done!

Of course, my phone (Samsung S7) is always with me!

And what software?

Does Google count? I do spend a decent chunk of my time using it to find solutions to problems, answers to my questions, and learning.

Related to that, I use Google Drive. A lot of my work involves a lot of docs and spreadsheets.

Calendars are super important to me. I try to plan out my week on the Friday before and that way I have a visual guide to how much time I can allocate to each task.

At Mountains I use Slack, Trello, Google Drive, and Spotify. Music plays a big part in helping me focus!

Being able to create spaces/desktops is super helpful for me. On my external monitor, I have a desktop with my Trello board and a calendar for the day so I can easily see what I’m doing and when. The next monitor desktop is for whatever task I’m currently working on. The laptop monitor is for any other sites I need to support that work. Spotify is always the first, then Slack, then work, and occasionally I’ll have a social media desktop.

For my personal projects, I’m currently migrating to Asana. It’s a very similar idea to my work set up: different spaces/desktops depending on task, Spotify, calendar, and a notebook. I use the Chrome extension Forest, which is based on the Pomodoro technique and blocks access to any sites that I haven’t whitelisted. It helps me think of what I need going into a task, rather than just diving straight in!

What would be your dream setup?

I’m pretty flexible about where I can work. I need some noise to keep me focused and a space that’s dedicated to work or study so I don’t get distracted. I enjoy working from cafes, especially if I’m part of a study group.

Mountains is based in the Arcade, which is a co-working space for game developers. It’s great because I can ask people for help and generally chat to people about what’s going on. It’s also close enough for me to cycle which means I’m forced to exercise each day!

I’d love to have another monitor and more fairy lights everywhere but I’m pretty happy with my work setup!



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