Tim Maughan


Tim Maughan

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a writer. I use both fiction and non-fiction to explore technology and how it impacts on people and their lives. I've got a particular fixation with the future of work at the moment, but I'm also constantly fascinated by cities, public spaces, surveillance capitalism, and how emerging technology impacts class and inequality. I've got a novel, Infinite Detail, being published next year by FSG. It's about what happens if we decide to destroy the internet.

I also do a lot of collaborations with artists, filmmakers, and speculative designers like Liam Young and Superflux. With Liam we made the first narrative film shot entirely by drones, and we made a short movie set in Detroit shot entirely on LIDAR laser scanners.

Away from writing my main obsession is electronic music, and especially techno. It's true to say I actually spend the majority of my time listening to, thinking about, or trying to make techno, even when it looks like I'm doing something else.

What hardware do you use?

A few years ago I made a trip up the consumer electronics supply chain to look at the labour and environmental impact of manufacturing and our lust for new technologies. We spent a week on a container ship, visited electronics and Christmas factories in China, and ended up at a toxic lake in Inner Mongolia that is the result of rare earth mining. It's basically a 5 mile wide pool of semi-radioactive sludge that's the byproduct of polishing smartphone screens and making the magnets in your earphones.

Since then I've been really conscious of trying to cutdown on the hardware I buy. When people see the images of the lake and ask me what they can do, the best answer I can come up with (short of some kind of armed insurrection) is try and make your devices last longer. As such I've become quite anti-upgrading. I have, however, literally just bought a new MacBook Pro, as my last one was from 2010 and the drive had finally failed. I'm hoping I can make this new one last 7 years too.

Similarly I'm still using my iPhone 6s, which I'm hoping I can get a good few more years out of. I use it extensively for note taking, as well as all the usual work related stuff. I also have an iPhone 5s, which has an EU sim card in it for traveling. I also keep the amount of personal data on it to a minimum, which makes me more comfortable when I'm crossing borders.

Apart from them, the main other thing in my bag is a cheap-ass 50 buck Sony voice recorder, which I use as a backup for doing interviews/capturing audio in case my phone battery is dead. It's super reliable and easy to use. It's got like 3 buttons and a USB jack. Sometimes I wish most the stuff I use was that simple.

And what software?

Mainly Pages on the Mac for writing, and Keynote for presentations. Calendar keeps me organized. Editors and people I collaborate with love to use Google Docs, and luckily it's got a lot better over the last few years. But I'm never happy having my work on servers I don't own or control, to be honest. There's something very disturbing knowing that my words are being consumed by the world's largest semi-automated advertising network. I personally use Dropbox for sharing and backing up, but I'm not under any illusion that my data is any safer from algorithmic surveillance on there as opposed to Google or Apple.

For music my main platform is Ableton Live, alongside Native Instruments' Reaktor. I also use NI's Traktor – and increasingly Pioneer's rekordbox – for DJing. But to be honest I'm getting tired of using the computer to make music, I really want to be stepping away from the screen when I do it, so am hoping to move into a more hardware focussed set-up.

The other piece of software I've become reliant on is Freedom. It's a cross platform app that allows me to block my own access to Twitter apart from a few hours a day. It keeps me both productive and sane.

What would be your dream setup?

What I'd love – and maybe this exists somewhere – is a semi-dumb phone. Basically a touch screen phone that gives me calls, texts, emails, a camera, and maps – and nothing else. And everything has to be local, it doesn't connect to any cloud services. I can't install apps on it. And that when I tap in a simple PIN it wipes all my private data and images instantly.

For music – well, I still daydream of owning the classic 1980s Roland gear. The 808 and 909 drum machines, a SH-101 synth, maybe a Juno-60 and an Akai MPC for good measure… but they're all collectors items now, and prohibitively expensive. Ironic, as the music I love was only made possible by how cheap they were in the 80s and 90s.

Apart from that – looking around at the world today – I can't shake the feeling that the technology everybody needs to embrace the most is the guillotine.



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Arwen Griffioen


Arwen Griffioen

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a machine learning researcher, data scientist and bookworm. I have a husband who's also a data geek and a 6 year old son. We're joined by Relu cat, and a small flock of chickens. I maintain a hard line between work and life. Work enables life, it doesn't dictate life. I try to grow my own fruits and veggies as well as develop a mostly native garden to attract birds. I spend a great deal of time just pottering around the yard, reading, and playing.

Machine Learning has the power to be of immense benefit or detriment to humanity and the world. I chose to focus on the beneficial and did my PhD Research in developing machine learning algorithms for ecological modeling. I continue to align my belief in the benefits of ML with the projects and positions I undertake. I work as a data scientist at Zendesk, teaching machines to make customer service better for everyone.

What hardware do you use?

At work I use a combination of a MacBook Pro and data/compute servers. Most often the MacBook functions as a music player since all of my research work is done via ssh to AWS P2 GPU instances.

At home I have an old but robust Dell Studio XPS 9100 with 24GB of memory. I've recently given it a boost with an Nvidia 1080 so my husband and I can do deep learning at home. (It might see lots of gaming too). The home hardware that sees the most usage is a steel wheelbarrow, pair of secateurs and a shovel. With these three tools I manage almost every part of my garden and create amazing mud pits for playing in.

And what software?

Generally I code in Python. When writing testable code I work on my laptop and use VS Code. When doing ML work though I use Jupyter Notebooks for quick and dirty prototyping and Vim for more enduring work. This is not by choice but a requirement of how we must manage our data. Most of the models I develop are either scikit-learn based, for more traditional ML, or TensorFlow for deep learning. When I get the chance to develop entirely new ML algorithms I tend to work in R using RStudio because I find it has the cleanest translation from pure maths/stats developed with pencil & paper to code.

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly I'm pretty happy with my current setup and job but if was living in my fantasy land…

I'd have both work and home near the beach. I'd like to be able to walk my son to school on the way to work and get to sneak in a lunchtime swim. All publicly and privately held ecological and environmental data would be open access. Governments and Industrial Complexes would fund high quality objective research so we could balance growing population needs and the environment. My ecological modelling company would be able to support a large team of environmental scientists, ML researchers and engineers and have a large bank of Google TPUs or AWS 16xlarge GPUs.



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Carta Monir


Carta Monir

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Carta Monir – I'm a cartoonist and podcast host living in Ann Arbor, MI. I'm also just starting to print other people's comics. I make my money primarily from freelance art and writing assignments.

My podcast is called We Should Be Friends – it's a book club podcast where we focus on a different indie cartoonist each episode.

What hardware do you use?

For making comics, I generally draw on paper using traditional methods, then scan it into my HP Spectre laptop. It has a pressure-sensitive stylus that works with the screen directly, so I'm able to edit the work and add tone without attaching an external tablet. From there I send it off to my editor, or print it on a cheap laser printer and scan it into my Risograph GR 3770 machine, which I use to print posters/zines if I'm doing them myself. I just got my hands on a Martin Yale 1501 paper folder, which I bought second-hand from a lawyer in my area. It's a game-changer because I can fold hundreds of pages a minute with very high consistency!

And what software?

Almost exclusively Photoshop CS5. I've had it since college, and it still works perfectly for my needs. I'll use Illustrator occasionally, but mostly I stick to Photoshop. I use Kyle Webster brushes for inking/tone if it applies to my current project.

What would be your dream setup?

I would really like to get a fancy electric booklet stapler, but my setup as it currently exists is already better than anything I could have hoped for. I'm very lucky! My bedroom looks like a state-of-the art print studio from 20 years ago!!



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Nick Heer


Nick Heer

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hey there, I'm Nick Heer. I'm enthusiastic about taking photographs, but I'm not a photographer. I've been writing Pixel Envy for about seven years, but I'm not a writer either. I write "web designer/developer" in the Occupation field of official documents. I'm a professional converter of coffee into bytes.

I live right smack in the middle of Calgary.

What hardware do you use?

I have a maxed-out mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Air that still works very well, and it is connected to my Thunderbolt Display about 95% of the time. I use one of Apple's aluminum Bluetooth keyboards and a second-generation Magic Trackpad.

I keep a lot of stuff connected to the Thunderbolt Display, including a 2 TB Buffalo MiniStation which contains my fairly large iTunes library. I also have a USB digital-to-analog converter that goes through an amplifier and powers a couple of bookshelf speakers — tragically, Bose — so the music I play actually sounds like, well, music.

I use a black Caran D'Ache 849 and various notebooks for drafts, outlines, and general jotting.

I use a "Space Grey" iPhone X and an iPad — the 9.7-inch one that has no suffix.

I use a Canonet QL-19 "New" and a Leica Q to make photographs.

I use an AeroPress to brew Monogram or Phil & Sebastian coffee.

And what software?

Websites are built using Coda, Transmit, and TextMate. Because I started designing websites in the early 2000s, I still use Photoshop (CS 5.1!) to create mockups and build graphics.

I write in MarsEdit.

I use Fantastical to keep track of many days, Things to keep track of what I need to do every day, and iTunes to keep my ears occupied all day long.

I waste time in Slack and Tweetbot.

On my iPhone, I keep up with the news using Reeder, check how cold Calgary is using Weather Line, and find out when the bus arrives using Transit.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd like to have something faster and more capable for handling the very large RAW files off my camera, and being able to have Slack open in the background. The non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro is very appealing — especially when paired with a 5K display — but I have worries about the keyboard's long-term reliability and I do wish it had an SD card slot. The 5K iMac also looks tremendous, but I still want portability for that 5% of the time when I really need it. I guess I'll see what WWDC brings this year.

Truth be told, though, I'm still very happy with what I have. I replaced my last computer — a 2007 MacBook Pro — after five years, and it felt like it was on its last legs by that time. This MacBook Air still feels very fast most of the time, and does everything I ask of it. And the Thunderbolt Display is something I like so much that I wrote an obituary for it after Apple announced that they would no longer be making displays. They have since reversed that position — thankfully.



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Andrew Janjigian


Andrew Janjigian

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a Senior Editor at Cook's Illustrated Magazine, and America's Test Kitchen's resident breadhead (I develop about 2/3 of the bread and pizza recipes we do in the magazine). I'm also a bread baking instructor at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT, where I teach people how to make professional quality breads and pizza in a home kitchen setting. I also like to think of myself as a fairly decent photographer; when I'm not baking bread, I probably have one of my film cameras in hand.

I have two Twitter accounts, one for my food & bread-related Tweets (though these days I find myself mostly retweeting the Trumpocalypse), and another for photography-related stuff.

What hardware do you use?

In my bread baking classes, I emphasize the idea that while technique is important, the secret to success is in having the proper tools for the task at hand. And there is a handful of tools I'm always recommending people use. I love my Danish dough whisk, which is a cross between a balloon whisk and a wooden spoon that works better than either when mixing sticky doughs by hand. And since bread baking is a precise science, and many of my recipes call for minute amounts of certain ingredients, I recommend people use this surprisingly accurate $10 digital gram scale.

Good pizza has to be baked as quickly as possible, so the crust can be crisp before the interior overcooks. Since most people don't have wood-fired ovens (lucky for me, I do, the next best thing is a Baking Steel, a quarter-inch thick slab of steel you use as a baking surface instead of a stone (steel is way more conductive than ceramic, so pies cook in about half the time on one).

For my own baking, I like to use freshly-milled flour, which I mill in a tabletop Komo Mill.

My computer is a mid-2012 15" Retina MBP, which is the best laptop ever made. I'm not all that interested in the new-fangled USB-C, Touch Bar-equipped style MPB models Apple is pushing now. It's the perfect machine for my needs, and if it craps out, I'll probably end up getting another one much like it (thankfully, for the time being at least, they are still available).

As for cameras, I am mainly a medium format shooter, and use either a Mamiya RZ67 or a Mamiya 7. The great thing about shooting on film is that professional-grade cameras that would have been beyond my means when they were current are relative bargains now (though they can be expensive to repair and maintain, for sure). I recently started shooting large format on a 60-year-old Speed Graphic.

I shoot a lot of peel-apart instant film (which I can use in both the RZ and the Speed Graphic). Sadly, my favorite film, FujiFilm FP-100c, was discontinued last year, and I don't know what I'm going to do (besides cry) when the supply I have in my basement fridge runs out.

I used to be the sort of person who upgrades his iPhone every two years, but since I don't shoot digital all that much anymore, my 6S Plus is perfectly adequate for now, and I'd rather spend that money on buying film. When I do use it for photography, I often use a Moment wide angle lens.

And what software?

For keeping track of bread formulas, I use BreadStorm on Mac, and the companion iPhone app. It's designed for bakeries to use, so it's kind of expensive for the average home baker, but I couldn't live without it, especially since I might produce 50 versions of a recipe for the magazine before it's ready for publication.

For writing stories, taking notes, and for collecting recipes, I have used nvALT for years. I like working in plaintext, and I love that nvALT is just a wrapper for a folder of text files. I keep everything in Dropbox, and use 1Writer to access my nvALT files on my phone.

For keeping track of what is happening in the world and what everyone else is up to, I use Reeder and Tweetbot, both on my Mac and my iPhone.

Like most photographers, have a love/hate relationship with Instagram (chronological feed, please), but it is where I share most of my work. On the Mac, I'm a big fan of Flume, which lets you do nearly everything you can do on the Instagram app, but with a normal-sized keyboard and screen.

What would be your dream setup?

To be honest, I'm pretty happy with the setup I have now. I just hope the tools I do prefer to use don't become hard to find, difficult to repair, etc. And I'd like it for Fuji to bring back peel apart film.



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Brodie Lancaster


Brodie Lancaster

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Brodie Lancaster, a writer and editor. On a good day I call myself a critic too.

I started my ~career~ at 20 as the managing editor of Portable TV, a culture website that no longer exists. I self-published and edited the zine Filmme Fatales for a few years. It was an unpretentious publication about women and film. I did interviews and ran comics and jokes and poems and short stories, but didn't do reviews. I like to think you'd get as much out of reading the first issue (written in 2012, released in 2013) now as you would've on its release. I made eight issues, and it's been a year since I put it on pause indefinitely.

As a writer I've contributed to Rolling Stone, Rookie, MTV News, Pitchfork, Elle.com, Smith Journal, Frankie, Hello Mr, Junkee, Jezebel, Vulture, The Guardian and other places I can't remember right now.

In July 2017 my first book, a pop culture memoir called No Way! Okay, Fine was published by Hachette. I guess now I can call myself an author as well.

I co-hosted and produced a podcast called Can U Not? from late 2016 through mid-2017, and I sometimes DJ.

I've been working at Single Double (a copywriting and content studio formerly called The Good Copy) since 2013. I do a lot of jigsaw puzzles and want to write a horror movie.

What hardware do you use?

I'm so bad with technology I recently went into the Telstra shop to complain that my iPhone 7 was bugging out, only to learn I had an iPhone 6S Plus. Ay carumba. I have 2 or 3 external battery packs for my phone because I play too much Blossom Blast so it always dies at lunch time. I also don't want to keep upgrading my phone because I hate those Bluetooth headphones and resent that Apple wants us all to use them!!!!

I'm using a 13-inch MacBook Air from early 2015. I got it from a guy on eBay who felt like he had to explain how laptops work to me before we did a dodgy-looking cash exchange at a café. I bought a USB disc drive for it because I still like to burn CDs when I DJ. (NEVER TRUST THAT A DECK HAS USB DRIVES AND THAT YOU'LL REMEMBER TO BRING YOURS.) I have a tiny handheld Zoom recorder for doing interviews, and use one of those SD card adapters to get the Zoom's contents onto my computer. I also recently bought a Canon PowerShot G7 X for filming videos for the YouTube channel I'm kind of embarrassed I have.

I'm pretty analogue about organisation, and have never found a list-making or calendar app that works for me as well as a physical planner and notebook do. I use a Ban.do planner, a Rollbahn grid notebook, a pad of Kikki.K to-do lists that don't have too many "inspirational" messages on them. Checking things off a list is a huge motivator for me. And I use black Pentel EnerGel pens in 0.7 width. (If I need a red pen I prefer 1.0).

At work I have an A4-sized whiteboard with a calendar on it. Using about 7 different-coloured pens I can map out all the client work I do so I can visualise everything that's coming up and (hopefully) not get too overwhelmed with surprises. When I finish a job, I erase it from the whiteboard.

I have an old iPad I bought at the Apple store at JFK while Joel Edgerton was there getting a charger. It only connects to wifi because I Know Myself Better To Have Another Thing That Goes Online On Its Own. I use it to read from when I have to give talks, and to read my saved articles on Pocket. (I have about 6 years of unread stuff in there. It's a constant source of guilt.)

Oh and I recently bought an old iPod Classic with the goal of spending more time listening to music and reading (as opposed to listening to podcasts and staring at my phone constantly), but it's just another thing to charge now.

And what software?

I write everything in iA Writer Classic. On my laptop it ends up in a mix of Dropbox, Excel, Drive and nvALT. At work I also use Airtable and Dropbox Paper because they make submitting and getting client feedback smooth. The reality of working in "content" means I spend a shitload of time inside Facebook Business Manager.

My portfolio is on Squarespace. I chat on Slack, download questionably-legal things using Snowfl with ExpressVPN turned on, and watch them on VLC. Stream stuff on Netflix, hayu and Stan.

If I need to edit audio, video or photos I use Adobe stuff. I taught myself very basic InDesign to make the first four issues of Filmme Fatales, before a designer came on board to save me from myself.

I like to own music, so always have iTunes running. I recently, finally paid for a Spotify subscription because my "End of 2017" list was so embarrassing I decided to use it more now. But ever since I started using Spotify again my data has been out on control and I remembered why I stopped years ago.

On my phone the Apps I use most often are: Inbox by Google, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, BOM Weather, CommBank, Instagram, Podcasts (I HATE THE NEW UPDATED APP IT SUCKS PLS RECOMMEND SOMETHING BETTER FOR ME), Uber Eats, Blossom Blast.

I need Pages and Adverts for work; TimeScroller is essential if you have friends overseas or need to set up an interview/FaceTime date across time zones; ImgPlay is great for making videos and GIFs from stills; I've been relying on Sleep Cycle to wake me up and track my sleep for like 7 years now; I've just started collecting points on the PappaRich app every time I eat roti with curry sauce; Footy Live is my go-to during AFL season (Go Tiges); depending on my mood I flick through Raya and Tinder on the toilet; Pocket for reading (though I don't love reading off my phone); Clue for period stuff; Health for occasionally tracking my steps (I hate when I'm exhausted after a physically huge day and it tells me I've done like 3,000 steps fuck u man I'm aching); Tinybeans for seeing my friends' kids; K-Box for karaoke; Later for scheduling clients' 'grams (thought I'm moving to Schedugram); Voice Memos for all interviews (make sure you're on airplane mode while you record or risk losing your recording when you get an annoying call!!!!); 1SE, which I've been using for a total of 5 days so far.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be Dropbox for everything, but with all the shit on my various hard drives organised perfectly. A new laptop with an audio jack and a new laptop with USB ports. (HI APPLE R U LISTENING???) I am resistant to change but always adapt to it eventually. So honestly my "dream setup" doesn't exist but I could probably make it happen with what I have now if I just reclaimed maybe 8-14 full days and sat in a cool room with a steady supply of Coke Zero to properly categorise every single digital file I've ever stored somewhere in the depths of this machine.



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Sara Mauskopf


Sara Mauskopf

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Sara Mauskopf, the CEO and Co-founder of Winnie, an app that helps parents find great places to go with their kids and get the advice and information they need to be successful. Prior to founding Winnie, I worked as the Director of Product at Postmates, was a Product Manager at Twitter for 4 years and before that worked at YouTube and Google. I graduated with a Computer Science degree from MIT.

I currently live in San Francisco with my husband Eric and my daughter Bryn and another daughter on the way! Between my company and my family I don't have time for many hobbies but I love to explore new places with my daughter and enjoy the simple pleasures in life with her like going out to brunch and playing at the playground.

What hardware do you use?

I have probably the least ergonomic setup of anyone ever. I slouch in front of my MacBook Pro without any monitor or keyboard. I know it's terrible.

My phone is an iPhone 7 Plus. I also have a collection of Android phones I use for playing with Winnie on Android because it's really important to us to have best of class apps for Winnie on both iPhone and Android.

I have the best laptop bag in the world. Okay, it's technically a diaper bag, but I removed the changing pad and instead put my laptop inside the nice cushioned section and it is really an incredibly sturdy and versatile bag.

And what software?

So much software. When it comes to company tools, we use Slack really heavily, along with the Google suite of products (Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and Drive). We use Asana to track tasks we're working on, Sketch and Zeplin for design work, and Dropbox to share large files. I use Gusto for payroll and Pilot for bookkeeping. I also spend time on Facebook during the day (for work!) since we get quite a bit of traffic to Winnie through posting great Winnie content to our Facebook page and having it shared by our users on Facebook and other social media channels.

Much of Winnie runs on AWS like DynamoDB and CloudSearch. We use SendGrid to send emails and Mixpanel and Google Analytics to track our metrics.

As far as software for personal use goes, I'm a big social media user. I am addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course, Winnie.

What would be your dream setup?

I like to work in comfort so my dream setup would be to work from bed. That's not really possible when you're running a company (or in most jobs) so instead I'd like to get a nap pod like this for our office one day. I'd also like to have onsite childcare, an epic lactation room, and a fridge stocked with fresh fruit and healthy snacks.



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Helen Rosner


Helen Rosner

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Helen Rosner. I'm a writer — mostly about the culture of food, mostly for the New Yorker. I also write about other things (gaming, business, feminism) and do a fair amount of freelance editing. Up until recently I worked at Eater, where I founded the longform and features department.

What hardware do you use?

When I left my full-time job in October I had to give back my laptop, and I decided, as a perverse experiment, to try to live without one for a while. I wrote the first drafts of a 4500-word feature for Eater and a 1600-word story for NewYorker.com on my rose gold iPhone 6S, and switched over to a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with a Bluetooth keyboard when it was time for revisions. I hated working on the iPad; last month my bizarre hardware-oulipo experiment came to an end and I now have a 13" MacBook Pro with all the add-ons, in sexy space gray, with a CharJenPro side dock so I don't have to mess with converter dongles. (I also pretty regularly commandeer my husband's 27" iMac for big editing projects, video meetings, and late-night deadline dashes — nothing beats working at a gigantic monitor.)

Even though I have a laptop now, I still do the majority of my work — emailing, writing, researching — on my slow, beat-up iPhone, and I do a ton of note-taking by way of snapping photos. I have an old unlimited data AT&T plan, and prefer to always be at max screen brightness, so I live (or die) by external batteries. After years of Mophie allegiance I finally switched to Apple's house-brand silicone charging case, which I love both for its slimmer profile and for the fact that it has its own battery indicator on the lock screen. I've been through dozens of battery blocks, but my favorite is one I picked up in a moment of desperation at the Cleveland airport: it's a myCharge AMProng+, which has a fold-down plug so the whole thing goes right into the wall.

I have two pairs of Bose QuietComfort headphones — in-ear and over-ear. I use the in-ear at home and commuting, and bring the over-ears with me on airplanes. Both pairs came from those Best Buy vending machines at JFK, a couple years apart, before six- and ten-hour flights when I forgot to bring my own noise-canceling headphones. (I used to have a pair of Sonys, but the Bose are seriously so much better.) I travel a lot, and I'm moderately disorganized, so I end up doing a lot of emergency shopping at airports.

Paper notebooks are deeply important to me; I like top-bound notebooks when I'm reporting, and side-bound ones when I'm making lists and brainstorming. Ideally I'd only use Rhodia top-bound and Behance Action Method side-bound, but I end up having a ton of Moleskines because (surprise!) they're easy to find at airports. (Also train stations!) I usually get the lined or gridded Cahier journals, which are soft-covered and come in sets of three. I buy superfine Pilot Razor Point marker pens by the case, in black and green, and keep handfuls of them in every backpack, tote bag, purse, and coat pocket.

The most important piece of hardware I currently own is my Nintendo Switch, and maybe also my Amazon Echo, with which I am codependent.

And what software?

I use Wunderlist for basic to-dos, Trello to organize my projects, and I have a pro Zoom account for video calls (especially for remote interviews when I'm reporting: it's great to have the built-in recording function). I do most of my writing either in the Notes app on my phone, or in a Gmail draft on my laptop. I can't write first drafts in word-processing software, it psychs me out. I prefer to edit (my own work and others') in Google Docs, but will use Microsoft Word if an editor or writer prefers it. I'm still trying to find a research workflow that works for me, right now I save tons and tons of things to Pocket, which isn't really what Pocket is designed for — it's a reading app, not an archive app. I record phone calls using TapeACall Pro and use the Rev integration to send the recordings on for transcription. I get obsessive about phone games, right now I do two or three crosswords a day in the New York Times Crossword app, and I have a crappy backgammon app I play pretty mindlessly all day.

What would be your dream setup?

All of the above, plus an app that lets me add notes and comments to the photos in my camera roll, plus a full-time human research assistant, who also reminds me to bring my headphones when I travel, so I don't end up dropping hundreds of dollars at an airport vending machine ever, ever again.



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Emily Griffin


Emily Griffin

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Emily Griffin! I grew up in a suburb of Houston, Texas and relocated to Brooklyn about 2.5 years ago. I've been styling for Stitch Fix while balancing and growing my illustration career.

I studied marketing and minored in art, with a focus in watercolor. Though I was never encouraged to pursue art professionally, it has been a constant for me. When I moved here, I began painting more by making watercolor avatars for friends on Twitter. That side hustle grew into making couple and family portraits, and more recently, pet portraits! Art is now a consistent part of my work schedule, which I am incredibly grateful for.

You may have seen my work featured on BuzzFeed, Brooklyn Magazine, Tumblr, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, or featured in tech presentations, like Sarah Groff-Palermo's "Adventures in the vBuffer" at 2017's Strange Loop conference. I do weekly illustrations for my column "A Wednesday Cute" on HelloGiggles! I do sky paintings and cartoon/mini-comic panel style pieces on my own time as well, which you can check out on my Instagram along with a few selfies!

Aside from art, I am a huge fan of true crime podcasts, watching basketball (go Houston), and karaoke. I enjoy makeup (I recently wrote a piece about highlighters for Women's Health online), shopping for vintage clothing, and the color pink. I love New York, but am constantly missing Sonic happy hour and good brisket.

What hardware do you use?

I work from home in my room. I have a tiny little IKEA desk, but you'll usually find me working from the floor (I have recently invested in a velvety floor cushion) or sitting on my bed. I know it's bad! I'm a real troublemaker.

My laptop is a 2010 MacBook Pro that somehow made it to 2016 before I realized that having a spinning hard drive for that long is WILD and I quickly replaced it before disaster could strike. This is where I do my styling work and answer some emails.

Most of my drawing from the past year has been done on a first generation 9.7" iPad Pro + Apple Pencil, but I recently traded that one in for the newer iPad Pro 10.5" since I needed more memory than I had initially planned for.

When I work traditionally, I depend on BIC mechanical pencils, black Micron pens (usually in size 2 or 3), mixed media paper, Copic Ciao and Winsor and Newton brushmarkers. My paints are a mix of Winsor and Newton liquid watercolors, with Turner gouache for metallic and neon accents. Then I've got my plastic palette, a collection of round tip brushes (some cheap, some sable) and a good ol' cup of water 🙂

I'll photograph traditional art with my phone, but these days I am usually working digitally.

While I work, I will listen to podcasts on my iPhone X!

And what software?

The biggest surprise here is that I don't have Adobe Creative Suite, I am still learning it! So when I purchased the iPad Pro, it was to encourage my journey into digital art since i'd only worked on paper before. It definitely helped bridge that gap – I use Procreate and love it! I've purchased some amazing brush sets from Ben Lew that I use a lot.

I browse the internet on Chrome, or Safari on my phone, and use the email app Spark to send files to clients. I will often edit art and photos with vsco before posting.

I keep long-form notes, budgeting, and daily/hourly schedule lineups in Simplenote, and smaller lists for shopping or upcoming monthly events in tick.

I also use Philips Hue bulbs for my main lighting – I turn off all my other lamps and keep the light on a dim "relax" setting before bed 🙂

What would be your dream setup?

Ideally, a way bigger room – I feel like most people in Brooklyn would say that. I'd love to have my own apartment with another bedroom to use as an office and studio space, with great natural lighting and room for a larger desk as well as storage for my paints, markers, and paper. With a larger room, I'd also have space for a printer with high-quality color to produce my own prints and easy shipping labels. Finally, I'd love to have a more lightweight MacBook Pro, since this 2010 one is pretty heavy to carry around to coffee shops!

If I could have the creative hustle and community of NYC combined with some sunshine and mountains outside my window, that would be my ultimate dream. I adore mountains. I'll have to keep exploring for a place like that!



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