Edith Prakoso


Edith Prakoso

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello! My name's Edith Prakoso and I'm a graphic designer. Some may know me as Subfauna. I've just started working in an architecture studio called ARM Architecture as their in-house designer a few months ago. I mainly work on project proposals, tender submissions, external communications, social media and occasionally some environmental graphics. I'm also passionate about colours, pattern and surface design on the side.

What hardware do you use?

At work I have to use a PC as it's an all-Windows office. At home I mainly work on a 15" MacBook Pro, but if it's a more time-intense project I would hook it up to a larger screen along with a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet that I use just as a mouse. For sketches, drawings and other experimental visuals I use an iPad Pro. I also have an AxiDraw, which I use to "draw" vector artworks for one of my ventures called Autogiraffe.

Most days I use my iPhone for taking photos and videos but also have a Fuji X100s, a Yashica T4 35mm film camera and a Sigma DP2S, an old digital camera that is a bit slow and cumbersome but still brings up the best colour I think.

I have a SONOS Play:1 for room vibes but also have my trusty AIAIAI TMA-1 headphones, that I've used and travelled around with for almost 7 years now.

And what software?

I use the whole range of Adobe CC (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, LightRoom), for most of my work. Vectoraster for colour and pattern explorations. Patternodes to generate patterns and animate them. InkScape to operate my AxiDraw. Also sometimes I look at one-off vector generating apps such as TexTuring and StippleGen. I use Procreate, Sketches, Adobe Draw, Adobe Sketch and iOrnament on my iPad Pro. I also have Procreate Pocket on my iPhone just in case I'd like to "record" colours or just feel like sketching something.

iA Writer for writing and Sublime Text for note-taking and (very) basic WordPress/HTML/CSS editing. Trello for Kanban-style project management, which has been especially useful for my in-house position so far as I can just show everyone what I'm up to and what needs to be bumped up in priority.

There are times when I would play around with 3D programs such as SketchUp or Rhino3D, but I never use them often enough and so everytime I open them I've forgotten how to do everything and it would feel like starting from scratch again.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm pretty happy with my setup, but would ideally like a bigger space where I can have a small photography studio and a space to do hand-drawn illustrations or paintings and to just make random stuff. And a CNC router would be great too.



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Scott Jon Siegel


Scott Jon Siegel

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Scott Jon Siegel! I'm a game designer currently residing in Oakland, California.

I've spent the last decade making free-to-play casual games, primarily for Facebook and mobile. Some of my most successful projects were Zynga's Café World and Playdom's Gardens of Time, both of which had millions of people playing them every day, which still blows my mind. My proudest work to date was iterating on a variety of game prototypes at PopCap/EA, and I've given talks on supporting active prototyping efforts within large game companies.

As a designer of casual games, I like to tell people that I make games for everyone. My favorite experiences are those that everyone can play, and anyone can enjoy. This means that I prioritize experiences that are delightful in their simplicity, but offer satisfying and accessible challenge for players of all ages.

These days I'm consulting and contracting, working with some truly great clients on a variety of exciting projects. I also sing karaoke mashups, which is exactly what it sounds like.

What hardware do you use?

My main computer is a 13" 2014 MacBook Pro, which I strongly feel is "peak Apple": Fantastic back-lit keyboard (that doesn't get jammed); Trip-proof MagSafe power connector; glowing Apple logo on the lid. With an SSD and maxed-out RAM, it's still lightning fast even after four years, and I'm in no rush to upgrade.

Scott's MacBook Pro.

At home I have a 21.5" 2017 iMac with a second monitor, which acts as home base for all my media, and for more memory-intensive projects like music and video. My phone's an iPhone 7, since I've become somewhat allergic to early adoption.

I do a lot of commuting to and from San Francisco by BART and bicycle, and spend most of my time working either out of coffeeshops or clients' offices. I haul my gear around in a Timbuk2 Command Backpack, which has a gloriously excessive number of pockets and compartments. One constant in my backpack is a portable 14" whiteboard, because I can't imagine working without a whiteboard and get kind of salty when a client doesn't have one.

And what software?

Some game designers are numbers-focused, with a lot of the design work focused on tuning variables within spreadsheets. Because I'm an experience-focused designer, my most important tools are those that let me explore interaction concepts, and help visualize and share design direction with others.

Sketch has quickly become the most important piece of software I have. I use it to create mockups, wireframes, and even to just play around with game ideas. Since I design most often for mobile, I use Sketch Mirror to see how the designs look on my phone, and use Sketch's simple prototyping features to test UX flows. For sharing prototype flows with others I use Marvel, which lets me easily send direct links to prototypes that can be easily viewed on desktop or devices.

I use OmniGraffle when I need to visualize how game systems connect together. Most games I work on have interconnected "metagames" around the core gameplay, and part of design and documentation is visualizing how those systems interact with each other (e.g.: which features generate which resources, and what those resources are used for). I can't figure out the best design without drawing the arrows, so Omnigraffle's the perfect tool. Those same flow charts become an important part of documentation when describing the game's structure to the rest of the team.

Scott's Gardens of Time flow chart.

My design specs are usually written in Google Docs, or on a Confluence wiki, where I can spread out more complex feature documentation over multiple pages that can reference each other. Recently I've actually been using Google Slides for simpler specs, since it forces me to organize the documentation into sections on different slides, and encourages me to use more visuals and fewer words. (Though I'll always use Apple Keynote for actual presentations.)

I save most of my files in Dropbox to keep them synced between my desktop and laptop, and to give me easy access to everything from my phone. Since my desktop also has all my media I use BackBlaze to run regular backups.

My brain lives in the cloud. I use Wunderlist to keep track of all my tasks. 1Password remembers my umpteen-million logins so I don't have to. And I've been using Simplenote to take notes on literally everything for the past ten years (which reminds me I really should backup my Simplenote archive. brb)

What would be your dream setup?

Portability's the most important thing for my current work dynamics. Give me a fast laptop, a comfy bag, and an easy way to doodle ideas, and I can be productive from pretty much anywhere.

If I found myself tethered to a single office for a while, I'd love to have a fast desktop machine, a convertible standing desk, and a real good chair.

Oh, and and whiteboards. I'd cover every surface with whiteboards. Whiteboards for days.



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Molly Lewis


Molly Lewis

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Molly Lewis. No one has ever put a hat on my head and said "this is your job" so I just keep trying on hats: I'm a songwriter / ukulelist (if that's a word) / YouTuber / illustrator / podcaster / Twitch streamer / hyphenate. I'm not sure if none of the hats fit, or if I just really like collecting hats.

Each hat comes with its own tech kit, a fact which has made this interview very difficult to sort out. This is the operational kit as of September 2018, but the landscape is shifting constantly.

Currently I'm running a Patreon on my own behalf, where I'm previewing original songs before they hit my YouTube. I'm also the producer & host of Peanuts Gallery, a podcast where me & my pal Josh A. Cagan revisit the Charlie Brown / Peanuts animated primetime specials chronologically.

What hardware do you use?

Ho boy I sure do have a lot of different gizmos. My partner & I tend to surround ourselves with tech in the same way a bird gathers shiny plastic garbage for their nest / mating display / etc. So, I own & have used more tech than is listed here, but this is the stuff I'm currently using / on a first name basis with.

Overall I use a 15" 2013 MacBook Pro for most of my production, and am generationally bought into the Apple walled garden of products (starting with a hand-me-down Newton from my dad all the way back in the 1990s). There is also an Alienware PC laptop that I've borrowed from my partner for gaming/streaming & refuse to understand any further.

VIDEO

For any video I generally use an iPhone 6S Plus, often with a Moment wide angle lens on it. I occasionally use an Osmo Mobile gimbal for stabilization, but usually I can't be arsed to pack it – it feels like a selfie stick with something to prove. With the iPhone I can AirDrop footage straight to my laptop to edit, it's the BEST.

In special cases I've used micro4/3 cameras to shoot video, specifically the Olympus E-P2 & Panasonic DMC-G5 bodies, with a 14-42mm Panasonic Lumix G Vario lens (which is basically a pancake lens that can also zoom, it's perfect). I have a real soft spot for the E-P2, and I'd use them more but I hate juggling SD cards when there's a perfectly good iPhone camera sitting right there.

I do also have a Ricoh Theta V camera, for spherical video, and the attendant Ricoh TA-1 microphone that Audio Technica made, for spherical sound. Those almost exclusively live on a Vanguard VEO AM-264TR monopod. It's maybe the most excited I've ever been about a camera, except maybe the Game Boy Camera.

AUDIO

My main music microphones are a stereo pair of Ear Trumpet Edwina condensers – their names are Gred and Forge.

This gets pumped into my Mac through a FocusRite 18i8 interface (sometimes a 2i2). I'm still not totally sure what the FocusRite has 18 or 8 of, I rarely use about more than 3 inputs at a time. I have a pair of M-Audio BXS reference monitors in a closet that I also refuse to understand, but should probably plug those into the FocusRite at some point.

My podcast microphone of choice is an Audio Technica 2035, which I found through Tested's breakdown of their podcast kit.

For both podcast/live music recordings I use a Zoom H6. Sometimes I snake aforementioned mics into it, sometimes I use the little microphone nodules it comes with. It's also a great XLR-USB interface to your computer when traveling (she said, having learned this well after she already bought it).

This is all assuming that I can be arsed to pack a tech bag. For as long as I've been doing this, I've been perfectly happy with the audio/video quality on the camera built into my most current Apple device, and have only ever upgraded my technical setup because I'm told that it would seem more professional, i.e. other people appreciate a difference that I don't notice. I tend to angle for the simplest / most idiot-proof setup possible, and anything else tends to feel like calculus.

INSTRUMENTS

I have a lot of instruments. I haven't made public-facing things with most of them yet though, which means I don't have to itemize them here, Hooray!

The non-ukulele sounds that are asked after the most are the Suzuki Omnichord & the Stylophone Pocket Synth. These are VERY FUN & I'd recommend them to anybody.

I will itemize all my ukuleles, but these are the main ones:

For recording I have a custom MyaMoe concert ukulele. This used to be my touring uke also, but then the top wood fractured along the grain while inside its case – the good folks at MyaMoe replaced the top with a less brittle wood, & it's retired from the road.

My main performing ukulele these days is a Blackbird Clara tenor ukulele. It's molded out of some linen composite that is similar to wood acoustically, but humidity neutral. The guy in the store I bought it from told me I could leave it in a hot car without a problem. To charge its pickup it comes with an absolutely demonic-looking power wort that is AC plug on one end and 1/4" instrument cable on the other. Other musicians who see it think it's cursed.

Here is a list of all my ukuleles (that I know of), alphabetically.

  • Blackbird Clara tenor
  • Kala tenor (basic)
  • Kala baritone (basic)
  • Kala travel-sized soprano
  • Kala UBass bass
  • Magic Fluke™ Flea soprano (w/ pickup)
  • Magic Fluke™ Fluke concert (FIRST)
  • Magic Fluke™ Firefly banjolele
  • Maxitone antique banjolele (almost 100 years old)
  • Mya-Moe concert (custom)
  • Mya-Moe 6-string baritone (custom)
  • Ohana soprano ukulele (pear-shaped)
  • Ohana concert ukulele, brown
  • Ohana concert ukulele, orange (on loan to a friend)
  • RISA TE tenor electric ukulele (newest)
  • Junky blue plastic soprano ukulele (party favor from JoCo Cruise 2017, everybody on the ship got one)

And what software?

I edit my video in Final Cut Pro & my podcasts in Logic Pro X. (I no longer edit my own songs, because that is a process unending.) To capture audio clips for my podcast I use Piezo by Rogue Amoeba. I use Notability on an iPad w/ a Pencil to make all my video thumbnails of late.

For songwriting I have always used Evernote, because Evernote lets you record voice memos in line with the text, and tag notes. I have never used Evernote for anything else & literally can't imagine songwriting without it.

I'm also, at any moment, using about 8 different personal org / task management apps at a time. It would be both tangential and boring to talk about that here, but tweet me at @molly23 if you wanna ask about those.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would include someone on retainer to buy the tech, plug it all in & troubleshoot it for me.

I don't know what CDZA's setup actually was, but the most attractive thing to me is how tidy & unencumbered it was, and how the musicians seemed fairly free to move. I'm sure there was a headache-inducing amount of planning involved though.

I also really love the freedom that comes with working out of my home but it would be really lovely if I didn't have to store all my recording gear & these 15+ ukuleles in my allotted closet. A short commute between my home and a studio space would be really nice for maintaining some kinda work-life separation, even if that means parking an Airstream in my yard & filling it with ukuleles.



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Felix Salmon


Felix Salmon

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Felix Salmon. I'm the chief financial correspondent at Axios (subscribe to my weekly newsletter here), and I also host the Slate Money podcast. Occasionally I send out a personal newsletter.

What hardware do you use?

I used to be a huge fan of Apple hardware; I even wrote a column once saying that the titanium PowerBook G4 changed my life. I admit in that piece that I once believed in the tenet that "buying Apple hardware is an even better investment than buying Apple stock." I don't believe that any more, even though I still use Apple hardware exclusively, as I have done since I bought my beloved LC II in 1992.

I have a brand-new MacBook Air at work (which they might switch to a MacBook Pro so that I can run a dual-screen setup), I have a personal 2015 MacBook Pro, and then there's the 27" iMac Retina 5K in my home office, which is the last really good personal computer that Apple made. It's beginning to show its age, and I recently spent $300 to replace the failing SSD, but I'm not ready to give it up yet, especially since Apple's still shipping essentially the exact same model, at pretty much the same price I paid. I always use the Apple extended keyboard, which I love, and either an Apple mouse or an Apple trackpad, I think the mouse is better but for some reason I have a trackpad in my home office. I have a second screen where I keep Slack and TweetDeck.

One reason I hate the new Apple laptops is that they don't have USB ports, despite the fact that USB has become a universal charging protocol. When I'm traveling I often use my laptop as a portable battery to recharge various other devices, including my electric toothbrush and my Bose QuietComfort 35 cordless headphones. (I'm not a huge fan of those, either, they're a bit too bulky, I don't like the way they keep on talking to me about what they've connected to or disconnected from, and they tend to press on the arms of my eyeglasses.) I love anything that doesn't come with battery anxiety, like, well, my Masahiro Maruyama eyeglasses, or my original Withings Activité watch, which is waterproof, so I almost never take it off. It measures how much I sleep, and how many steps I take each day. I think I've changed the entirely standard watch battery three times since I bought it in 2014. They've come out with a whole bunch of updates, none of which are really improvements; the only thing that would persuade me to upgrade would be something which measured my heart rate but didn't have any kind of display. Sensors are cheap; displays are expensive (if only in terms of battery life). If I want to find out what my heart rate was, I'm happy to ask my phone.

The phone is a black T-Mobile 128GB iPhone 7, which I use naked (without any kind of case). The design is too sleek and beautiful for me to mar it. I've had to replace the screen only once after dropping it. T-Mobile doesn't come close to having the best coverage, but once you've experienced the wonders of free international roaming, you'll never use any other carrier. I also have a black AT&T 128GB iPad mini 2, which is a clunky horrible thing and slow as molasses. I use it for catching up on news in the morning, for reading books and PDFs, and as a data modem on the road. It's not great at any of those things, so it's probably next on the upgrade list, as soon as the new iPad minis come out.

My most recent upgrade was a reluctant one, at the strong urging of my wife, who was sick and tired of looking at my battered old Osprey backpack. I loved that thing, but I went out and bought a new Thule Paramount, and I really love it – I should listen to my wife more often. There's a super-clever rear zipper just for the laptop compartment which makes getting the computer in and out a breeze, and everything else is the perfect combination of good-looking and rugged. It even has an external pocket for my umbrella, a small old Hammacher Schlemmer model they no longer make and which I'm going to be very sad when it dies.

My best big hardware purchase was undoubtedly my Jarvis standing desk, which singlehandely cured me of a really nasty pain across the back of my shoulders. Given the choice I probably wouldn't choose the Evolve model again, because the depth of the drawers starts to dig into my thighs when I'm sitting. But it's effortless to go up and down, which I do multiple times a day. I also have a manual FlexiSpot device that sits on top of my desk at work, which isn't nearly as sleek or lovely.

I'm always promising myself that I should read more books, and I have the perfect device for doing so: an Eames Aluminum Group lounge chair with ottoman. I've put a little circular side table next to it which is perfect for a glass of wine or whisky, alongside an Artemide Tolomeo floor lamp; it's my own little corner of modernist bliss.

And this really is a productivity tool, although it was never intended to be one: My sea serpent bracelet from Jill Platner. I put it on and take it off dozens of times a day, and slide it back and forth between my hands. It has the perfect weight and feel – I do it without even thinking about it. Let the teens have their fidget spinners; I have something way more beautiful.

And what software?

My biggest change in recent years has been from writing in apps to writing in browsers. I used to write all my blog posts in Ecto, which would upload them straight to my blog; longer stuff I'd write in WriteRoom. Now, almost everything happens in Google Docs, except for when I write straight into the Axios or Substack CMS. (Both of which are lovely, WYSIWYG, very simple and easy to use.) My terror of web browsers eating my work has disappeared.

For desktop I use a lot of native Apple apps, including Mail, Notes, Calculator, Preview (which is powerful and very underrated), even Safari. Always open are Slack and TweetDeck. I have lots of old RSS readers in my dock, but don't use any of them any more. I use Excel a fair amount, but I hate anybody who forces me to use Word or (even worse) PowerPoint.

In iOS I use the native Twitter app, Outlook for mail (but Gmail to search my mail archives), and, of course, Slack. I use Overcast for podcasts. For reading it's Instapaper, the Kindle app, and the native iBooks app. I use Nuzzel a lot, along with the NYT and WSJ apps. To record interviews I used to use Voice Recorder but now I'm using Alice. There are very few pieces of software I really love, but 1Password comes close. I have lots of messaging apps (Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp, Messenger, you name it) but don't really live in any of them other than Slack and Twitter. If I've missed your message, I'm sorry.

What would be your dream setup?

Would I love a couple of iMac Pros, one for home and one for the office? Sure! With a nice big second screen, and possibly even a third vertically-oriented screen for reading PDFs. (I had that for a while when I was at Reuters, it came in more useful than you might think.) A Bloomberg terminal. A CMS which allows multiple simultaneous editors like GDocs does. And some kind of magical subscription to everything I might ever want to read.

Mostly what I want is a single app that consolidates, prioritizes and archives all my messages, whether they're Twitter or Slack or Instagram DMs, email, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, everything. Failing that, maybe just a way to search Twitter DMs. And an "edit tweet" button. Come on, Jack, how hard can it be?



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Jenn de la Vega


Jenn de la Vega

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jenn de la Vega, a culinary artist.

I cater custom events as small as dinners at home to BBQ-themed weddings. I wrote a cookbook called Showdown last year and I just finished artist residencies at Kickstarter and Taste Cooking. I'm currently freelancing as a recipe developer and tester.

What hardware do you use?

I have a MacBook Air with a dead battery, so I am tethered to a wall most of the time.

I take photos and video with my iPhone SE. I did have a 6, but it really cramped up my tiny hands.

My Amazon Basics tripod is fitted with a Square Jellyfish mobile phone adapter.

My kitchen is lab-like, outfitted with an Anova sous vide circulator, Excalibur dehydrator, Aroma rice cooker, CrockPot, Griddle Gourmet panini press, spiralizer, Searzall, digital scale, Cuisinart food processor, popcorn machine, Whynter ice cream maker, and ice crusher (great for impromptu shaved ice parties). I still have the same chef's knife from dropping out of culinary school, a Mercer.

There is always a spare phone battery charging somewhere in my house.

And what software?

On my iPhone, I use Todoist to prioritize my projects and Google Docs to manage them. Buffer helps me schedule social media, always full to the brim with 100 posts. For safety, 1Password keeps track of all my logins (that I promptly forget). Timepage is Moleskine's gorgeous calendar app that has a countdown widget that I use to motivate me for upcoming vacations.

It costs a pretty penny but Scrivener was great for syncing my cookbook via Dropbox to my phone so I could write on the NYC subway.

I lost my Adobe license when I left my desk job but Canva is a good, free alternative for making menus and flyers for events. If you ever need free stock photos, Pexels is a helpful database.

What would be your dream setup?

The dream is a kitchen studio with cameras in the fridge; really good track lighting, photography surfaces (I am really obsessed with Surface Archive). Outside I want a smoker, grill, automated spit rotisserie, and enough land to bury a pig. I need a legit camera and a MacBook Pro to do more video!



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Aaron Edwards


Aaron Edwards

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Aaron Edwards, and I work on special projects at Pop-Up Magazine, a magazine that's experienced live and on a stage. I work with writers, radio producers, filmmakers, photographers, artists, and musicians to translate, adapt, and produce shows for audiences across the country. Before that, I was one of the founding editors of The Outline. I've written for The New York Times, built a news app at BuzzFeed News, and hosted a podcast.

What hardware do you use?

I use an extremely reliable 2012 MacBook Pro that I'm convinced I will own until I'm dead, an iPhone 8 Plus, a pair of Ncredible1 wireless headphones, a notebook from the Dollar Tree across the street, and any fine-point black gel ink pen I can get my hands on. When I'm working from home, I use an iHome iBT72 Bluetooth speaker to play music. I hate the gym, so in true stay-at-home-dad fashion I sometimes read drafts or listen to tape on an Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike. Emphasis on sometimes. Not always. Sometimes.

And what software?

The Google Suite is my go-to for all the basics: emails, writing, editing, scheduling, video conferencing, etc. Spotify for music, Tidal for Beyoncé. I stick to the Reminders app and Slack commands for actionable short-term tasks, and the Momentum Chrome extension for broader to-do lists. I have upwards of 30 news apps installed, but I only get news alerts from BuzzFeed News, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd like to not feel encumbered by capitalism! A window and desk facing a lake would be nice, too.



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Kailee McGee


Kailee McGee

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am a human named Kailee McGee who lives in Los Angeles, California. I am an artist, writer, and filmmaker. I make content for screens of all sizes and sometimes real life too. I like blurring the line between fiction and reality and life and art.

I have directed numerous music videos, short films, digital new media pieces, and written/produced/directed three feature films. I have also created video content for brands and entertainment marketing campaigns for clients including A24, Mattel, Toca Boca, Sesame Street, HGTV, Focus Features, ESPN, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Disney.

I just finished a short film called The Person I Am When No One Is Looking – about a filmmaker who attempts to reshape her identity through a highly curated social media presence. I am currently working on writing another feature and practicing how to live everyday as art.

I was raised in Laguna Beach, California, and I am a New York University Tisch School of the Arts alumna and proud member of the Alliance of Women Directors. I'll also add that I am an ENFJ, Virgo, and animal lover.

What hardware do you use?

I do most of my writing and producing work on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012). I do all of my video and editing work on my iMac (Retina 5k, 27-inch, 2017). I use my iPhone 5s as my phone-phone simply for talking, texting, Lyfting, and music in the car. My iPad Mini 2018 is my main device for using and consuming iOS apps. And, I use my old iPhone 6s Plus to post to Instagram (as the iPad app squishes the 9×16 images). My main digital camera is a Sony α6000.

And what software?

Google Docs. Google Slides. Google Sheets. Final Draft. Adobe Premiere. Chrome. Afterlight. LINE Camera. Notes. Photo Booth. Voice Memos. Elgato's Video Capture system to digitize VHS and Mini DV footage.

What would be your dream setup?

Right now I work from home, which is great and not great in ways. I would love my own personal sunny studio to venture to daily to create as well as store my supplies and past projects. I would also love to take up a messy hobby, like painting.



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Walter Parenton


Walter Parenton

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! My name is Walter, and I am a video editor at Funimation by day, and an illustrator for the internet at night. I work in the Promotional Video Department at Funimation, where we make the trailers and commercials for the anime we license from Japan, such as Dragon Ball Z and One Piece. In my free time I illustrate, from mobile apps to editorial and clothing brands.

What hardware do you use?

A few years back my MacBook Pro died, along with my external HD, losing everything, so I decided it was a good time to reset and minimize. I bought a new 2015 MacBook Pro, and a Magic Mouse, all of which I am still playing on. I decided to take illustrating seriously, find my style, and start posting work non-stop!

But before I really got into illustrating on the computer, I went through a long journey buying every pen and marker that ever existed, hoping to find the one pen to rule them all and make me a good artist.

After experimenting with all kinds of styles, with all kinds of pens, on all kinds of paper, I came to the conclusion that such a magical tool does not exist. I was also tired of all the steps – sketch, ink, scan, color – so it was then that I decided cut the steps down and just go fully digital. But hey, that's the process, and it's evolved quite a bit over the past 5 years, even as of today!

I do carry one notebook and one pen to draft ideas with. Right now, I am currently using a Montana Acrylic Paint Marker, which mimics how I illustrate on the computer – thick and bold!

And what software?

For software, I nearly use the entire Adobe Creative Suite! Premiere for editing, Photoshop and Illustrator for illustration, and After Effects for motion graphics. Oh, and Adobe Media Encoder to encode videos for online.

Google Drive to upload my work, so I can then download it to my phone and post. Google Keep to make mental notes and pin references.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be having my studio at The Philip Johnson Glass House. Surrounded by lots of natural light, greenery and quietness.



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Scott Jenson


Scott Jenson

Who are you, and what do you do?

I research and develop next generation UX for Android. Most recently I did the "Shush" gesture on the latest Android P release which is all about promoting digital wellness. I'm also still very active in the Internet of Things, specifically around the UX of making smart devices work better.

What hardware do you use?

Just about everything, actually. My daily driver is a high end Chromebook, as the majority of my work these days is on the web, Gmail, Google Calendar, Hangouts of course, but also Figma for drawing and Dynalist for, well, EVERYTHING. I've used Macs for over 30 years (sheesh, that makes me feel old). At work I have a Mac Pro connected to a 4K 50" display (which actually raises some challenging UX issues) and at home an aging Mac Mini (come on, 12 September announcement!) as my home machine. However, I also have two Windows 10 laptops (a personal and corporate one) that I use occasionally.

Mobile I use a range of Android phones. I've currently got 3 with me: my Pixel 1 XL is my daily driver, but I also am using a Pixel 2 and, it shouldn't be a big surprise, I also am testing an unreleased Android.

I've been using Google Wear for 4+ years now but the primary use case is my own custom watch face, which shows the entire day as a single handed 24 hour circular face. This allows me to layout my days meetings as arcs on the edge so I can easily see my day at a glance. I don't use it for fitness tracking. I love the tension between having a 'slow time' single hand face with the desire to know EXACTLY what time it is right now (usually for meetings.) I've got about 20 variations and I'm always tweaking them.

I never use tablets.

I realize this puts me all over the map but I find it very helpful to be 'multi lingual' when it comes to various UIs.

And what software?

I alluded to that above – mostly web stuff. What I love about web apps is that I can use them (if they're written well) on any device. That data portability is critical to me.

My superstar and most favorite app in the world is Keynote (which I appreciate violates my previous rule) and I'm deeply saddened that Apple has mostly abandoned it. Now, before your readers jump all over me saying that Apple is actively updating Keynote, that's technically true, but the vast majority of their work is in the iPad version. Like most things at Apple these days, all they can think about is mobile.

I don't want to get into the ridiculous mobile vs desktop discussion as it's not one or the other, but for most (at least in the West for now) it's both. I'm a professional speaker and when I use Keynote it'll always be on a laptop, for the simple reason that it has a big display and a useful file system. I get rather worked up over the loss of functional file systems on mobile – it's a huge UX loss. I've written about this on my blog.

What would be your dream setup?

As I've played with so much hardware, what I dream about mostly is software and data more than the hardware itself. Ultimately I want most of my work to be available to all of my devices. We're getting there slowly, so I can use my phone on the go and the 50" 4K monitor at work. This applies not only to me, but my colleagues. Figma, for example, has revolutionized how we share designs. More of that please.



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