Frances Berriman


Frances Berriman

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Frances Berriman. I'm a British designer, developer and artist living in San Francisco. I do a variety of things, including freelance product design consultancy and front-end development but most notably I have tended to work on public sector technology projects. For example, I worked on the award-winning re-design of GOV.UK for the UK Government Digital Service and later worked with Code for America.

These days, I am focusing more of my time on my other interests — IoT and Smart Homes, via my site Sensors and Sensibility, and illustration and fine arts painting.

What hardware do you use?

I use a 2013 13" MacBook Pro for development and design work and this is the device I travel with, but I also use a Chromebook Pixel for just general browsing or writing at home. I recently got an iPad Pro v2 10" and Apple Pencil, but I'm still warming up to that for art. My current phone is a Google Pixel v1 and I'm sticking with that because the new version has no headphone jack for my must-have Bose QuietComfort 20s. I also love my Pebble Time Round and wear it constantly, as I prefer to get alerts to that rather than pulling my phone out every other minute. For similar phone-avoiding reasons, I also like to have a Kindle to hand for reading and currently use the Kindle Voyage. I also carry this adorable cheero PowerPlus Nyanboard Nyanbo battery.

On the art side, I work in oil paint, watercolour and gouache, and I cart everything around in a Fjallraven Foldsack No.1 in copper green.

And what software?

I spend a large amount of my time inside Chrome, so my OS generally doesn't matter hugely, however I absolutely hate the OSX Dock and hide it completely on my Mac. Instead, I get around my machine using Alfred and Terminal. Google Calendar and Gmail (with very heavy filters and labels) rule my days, and I've been experimenting with using Todoist now it has GCal integration. When I've wanted real power-tools for todo lists, though, nothing has beaten GQueues.

For code, I use Sublime Text, but honestly it could be Notepad for all I use the advanced features, and I've been playing with Glitch lately for fun little personal projects. On the design side, I prefer to actually just knock-up actual websites to show wireframes, so I'd be lost without Chrome DevTools.

I have Spotify on every platform, and prefer just throwing on a Daily Mix and seeing what comes up.

What would be your dream setup?

I can work pretty much anywhere and on any hardware, so I don't have a dream in those terms but if I could pick an aesthetic for my ideal live/work location, it would probably look something like Ferris Bueller's-best-friend Cameron's house or the Blueshore ELC building used as a filming location in Legion — all glass walls and wood in a beautiful natural environment. I work best with lots of natural light and a very controllable environment in terms of sound and temperature and I like to be in a space that responds automatically to my needs – it's probably why I'm drawn to smart home technology. I'm pretty happy with my setup today, though, and I couldn't really ask for much more.

Maybe a teleporter to more easily pop back to London?


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Jack Chen


Jack Chen

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hey! My name is Jack Chen, but I'm mostly known as 'chendo' on and off the internet. I love solving problems, building products, and working with technology.

I build things at Ferocia, currently building a new digital-first banking experience named Alt. Before that, I was the CTO of a telemedicine startup, and built the cloud backend for connected lighting at LIFX.

For fun, I like to build things, go fast in go karts, and play video games. My usual creative outlet is photography.

Some of the things I've made that you may have encountered:

I have a keen interest in human-machine interfaces and am especially looking forward to thought-based control when they become a thing (and iron out security issues!).

What hardware do you use?

My primary machine is a 15" MacBook Pro with the controversial TouchBar. I kind of like it, but it desperately needs haptic feedback.

I always have my iPhone 6s with me, and I usually wear my Apple Watch S0 assuming I don't forget to charge it the night before.

At work, I use a LG UltraFine 5K display with my MacBook Pro open. Sound isolation is provided by a pair of Bose QC35s.

For desktop gaming, I went a little overboard and put together a i7 6700k, 32GB RAM, GTX 1080, a bunch of SSDs encased in Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX with tempered glass sides. I have a Logitech G910 keyboard (which I'm kinda meh about) and a SteelSeries Rival 310 for input devices. My headset is a SteelSeries Arctis 7.

I have a Nintendo Switch, Xbox One S and Steam Link for living room gaming.

I enjoy toying with home automation. I use LIFX lights for general lighting and basic information emitters. I have the Hello Sense for sleep tracking and environmental sensors, and I reverse-engineered their API to push sensor data into Datadog for monitoring and dashboards. I have a Google Home for voice control, but find the grammar for light control rather limiting.

For energy monitoring, I have a Smappee energy monitor, and I push this data into Datadog for monitoring to have alerts set up for abnormal sustained usage.

Data is stored on a Synology DS2415+ with mostly WD Red drives, with an SSD cache. Routing of 100/40mbit internet is done by an ASUS RT-AC68U running AdvancedTomato for improved bandwidth limiting and QoS, with bandwidth and latency data pushed into Datadog for monitoring.

I recently picked up a Sony a7r ii as an upgrade to my old Panasonic GH2 and absolutely love it. I also have a GoPro HERO5 Black for go karting and occasional snowboarding.

And what software?

The basics:

Development tools:

I use BetterTouchTool to set my heavily-used global shortcuts for my most commonly used apps for idempotent shortcuts that require minimal cognitive overhead. Usage stats show I average about 500 invocations on the average work day!

For photography, I used to use Aperture but am experimenting with Picktorial.

What would be your dream setup?

If we somehow ended up in a world where human-machine interfaces were secure, I'd love to have bionic eyeballs, the ability to naturally invoke mental commands, external memory storage, a thought augmentation engine and my own AI agent — kind of like Clippy, but less annoying.

Otherwise, I guess I'd settle for unobtrusive high-resolution augmented reality glasses that cover my entire vision with built-in eye tracking. It would run an intent-centric shell of my own design. If safe thought control was viable, I'd use that. If not, positional input would be through eye tracking, and high bandwidth input would be a chorded split keyboard if I was able to learn to use that at an effective speed.

I'd be sitting in some sort of zero gravity chair for minimal stress on the body. Ideally though, I'd love to be able to upload myself to the internet so I can be everywhere and live forever!


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Ashley Baxter


Ashley Baxter

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Ashley, founder of With Jack. I'm building a platform that makes insurance more affordable and accessible for freelancers. With Jack is laser-focused on freelancers, so the idea is that you're never asked questions that aren't relevant to the work you do and you get the exact insurance you need. Instead of filling out a traditional proposal form, you'll have a chat with Jack. I'm building this from an office in Glasgow, Scotland which is a converted shipyard.

When I'm not building With Jack, I'm playing video games (currently Horizon Zero Dawn), taking photos and sharing them on Instagram. A lot of my hobbies are screen-based, so I make sure I take plenty of walks with my dog, Indie, in the Scottish landscape.

What hardware do you use?

I'm using a 2015, 13" Retina MacBook Pro as my main machine. I'm doing a lot of traveling at the moment as I'm going through an accelerator programme, so this comes everywhere with me. In the office I have a 21" iMac, which could probably do with being upgraded. It's a little slow — especially when editing RAW files.

I'm using a Canon 5D MK IV for photos. My house was broken into this year, so I bought this camera with the insurance payout. It's a dream. It's mostly accompanied by a 50mm ƒ1.4 lens. This is a really nice set-up and what I use to take most of my photos. I've also started making videos for YouTube, so a wider lens like the 24mm ƒ1.4 is great for that.

My favourite gadget right now is my FitBit Surge. Spending a lot of time at a screen, I like to hit 10,000 steps a day and workout 4 times a week. I like tracking all of this stuff with my FitBit and getting a weekly email of my activity.

And what software?

For my insurance business, I use Pipedrive to track my sales funnel, ConvertKit to communicate with customers, and Zapier to automate a few tasks.

Customer development is really important to me. I want to know my customer. Iterate is a new app I've been using to get feedback on what I'm building.

I delegate most of the development because I'm only slightly technical, but when I do code I use Sublime Text.

Photography-wise, my software needs are pretty lightweight. I use Lightroom to manage and edit my photos.

I'm bootstrapping my business, so I try to keep my software set-up pretty lean!

What would be your dream setup?

I'd definitely upgrade my iPhone 6 to the iPhone X. I'd also like to get a quality photo printer. Lots of my photos are uploaded to Instagram and then forgotten about. It would be nice to have a quality printer at phone.

Even though I have an office which I love (and can take my dog to work!), I do also like to work from home. I'd love for my home office to have more light and space, and even an extra desk to have friends come over and collaborate. My home office looks into a car park, which isn't very inspiring. My dream set-up would have a view of a park or nature of some sort. I'd have an espresso machine in the corner, so there's always the aroma of fresh coffee.


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Patrick Ewing


Patrick Ewing

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Patrick Ewing, and I'm a narrative game designer, Twitter Eng veteran and recovering Ruby programmer.

I helped make Firewatch along with the good citizens of Campo Santo, and I'm currently making a game about the future of cities, AI, and emotional survival. You play as a Lyft/Uber driver struggling to stay alive on her star rating, as autonomous cars take over the streets. It will be very difficult, and at times sad, but also very funny, I hope.

What hardware do you use?

For the bulk of my development, I'm using a custom-built PC: Intel i7 CPU, two GTX 1080ti GPUs that are SLI'd together, yadda yadda yadda. I built it just after Firewatch shipped, when I thought making an adventure game in VR might be a good idea. I quickly decided against this, and it's now way-overpowered for the kind of game we're building instead.

I use two 4K displays from LG, a Das Keyboard with Cherry MX switches with some lovely "trans colored" pink and blue pastel key-caps, and some cheesy wireless gaming mouse I wouldn't recommend to anybody. I'm using a Jarvis adjustable-height standing desk and a Focal mono-pod stool for when standing gets old.

And what software?

I'm using Windows 10, because Video Games. Not a day goes by that I don't curse this life that I've chosen. It's an inferior OS in almost every way that I use because Apple doesn't ship computers with modern GPUs.

My team (we're called Chance Agency) uses Slack for all our creative coordination, and appear.in for video conferencing.

We're building out game in Unity 2017, using ink as our narrative scripting language and Spine for our animated characters. I write code in Visual Studio, VS Code and Sublime Text, depending on what language I'm in. Git with Git LFS for version control.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be a collaborative physical computing environment, something like Dynamicland that worked remotely. I was to lay code components out on a table and see my coworkers physically rearrange them to make new connections. I want our version control to be incorporated into the 3D game environment. I want to set up a scene by manipulating game objects with my hands, like Timoni's amazing Unity VR demos.

This is a little more far-fetched, but I'd also love a Mac laptop that can run 3D games at 60fps.


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Annie Segarra


Annie Segarra

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Annie Segarra and I am a YouTuber (Annie Elainey), content creator, actress/singer, speaker, and activist. My content is typically about my experiences and observations as a disabled (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and comorbid conditions and disabilities) and queer woman of color and how these aspects of my identity intersect and affect the way I navigate the world.

What hardware do you use?

I use an EZ Lite Cruiser to get around and an ergonomic foldable-cane by CareX for activities requiring me to stand/walk for less than 1-2 minutes (my average limit), unless I have an injury and/or pain or I am having dysautonomia symptoms/flares, in which case, I am completely unable to stand up. For the hypermobility in my fingers, I use a full set of ring splints and for air-born allergies, I use a Vogmask. I use Ace knee, ankle, and wrist braces as they are my most vulnerable parts, and try several things in attempts for pain relief including muscle creams, acupuncture mats, heated blankets, compression, and other tools.

My laptop is a 2012 Asus with Windows 7 and my phone is currently a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which I may be updating soon! Because of chronic pain and chronic fatigue and dysautonomia symptoms, I'm often in bed and use the first version of AdapDesk (the updated version available for pre-order) to work in bed.

For filming, I use a Nikon COOLPIX P7700 and recently started using a Canon G7 X Mark II, and for recording vocals I either use the mic in my phone or the Yeti mic.

And what software?

For video editing, I use Adobe Premiere Pro and to create my thumbnails I often use an app called PhotoLayers on my phone, which allows me to cut out backgrounds and layer images, and it's a FREE app! So there's a hack for fellow broke creators! For journaling, note-taking, and other writing I use Google Docs on Google Drive, Evernote, and Grammarly. For recording music and attempting some sound editing I use the free software Audacity.

What would be your dream setup?

Maybe the AltWork Station where I'd be able to recline and sit up as my back and blood vessels need but maintaining support no matter my position. I'm pretty happy with my current power chair, though a flying chair would be cool! Haha! Realistically, maybe a hands-free (of the ones available I'd get a blue one) or more modern looking chair. And I'd LOVE a cool looking accessible vehicle like the Kia Sorento by Freedom Motors!


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Lake Sharp


Lake Sharp

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Lake Sharp. I'm the owner of two business. I'm co-founder & marketing director of EVERYBODY, a radically inclusive gym and wellness center in LA and the owner/sole operator of ARRAY, a design service that focuses primarily on native landscaping, interior design, ceramic works and occasional textile/garment works. I'm also a mom to one toddler, which has really helped shape what I do. Motherhood has given me a lot of clarity about my priorities, how I want to spend my time when I'm not with her and how I want to model "work" for her.

What hardware do you use?

Hardware is my jam! For both businesses I rely heavily on my iPhone and new MacBook Pro, which is whatever, but I'm more into my tools! I love tools. In my design work I rely heavily on them. I love my Ryobi drill, and I have many well worn spades, rakes, and trowels. I own two wheelbarrows and I'm especially fond of my mattock. It would take me FOREVER to name all of my ceramic hardware, but I love my Pacifica wheel and my Bailey slab roller and my two used Cress Kilns. I gifted myself to brand new Viking straight stitch and serger sewing machines last year – good old workhorse sewing machines are great, but a brand new quality sewing machine is a dream.

And what software?

For the gym, we use MINDBODY, which has a corner on the market. It's not the best, but it is ubiquitous. I hand draw all of my landscape designs. I muscle through Pages to make invoices, client inspo boards and all other work-related paperwork.

What would be your dream setup?

Oooo, I'm very close to my dream set up. I just need a compostable toilet out by my home studio. The nice ones are surprisingly expensive, but I'd like to build a cute little outhouse back there. I'd love to have a really cool gardening tool storage set up, which seems totally possible, I just need to do it!

Right now, we have a little Airbnb in our basement apartment. Once we can afford it, I'd like to take over the space and move my home office down there. That way I'll have room for an industrial straight stitch and serger and be able to have a full studio set up instead of having to take stuff in and out of storage. I'm so close though, which is radical.


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John Karel


John Karel

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm John Karel. I'm primarily a computer animator. I make GIFs and animated videos for a living, working as a freelancer.

What hardware do you use?

My main computer is a Late 2013 iMac. I alternate between an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and a Logitech wireless solar keyboard for when i need a number pad. My mouse is the Logitech MX Master, which if it broke today I would buy a new one tomorrow. I also have a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which I use mainly to draw on. My phone is an iPhone 6s.

I used an art supply store gift certificate to buy a bunch of Copic Markers last year but have hardly used them… have been really meaning to make some drawings with them though.

And what software?

For 3D modeling and animation I use Autodesk Maya and Blender (separately, not both on one project). For video editing I use Apple's program Motion and Adobe Premiere. For drawing I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. My goal is to drop both Maya and Motion from my workflow though and only use Blender and the Adobe suite in the future.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream set-up would be a large room with large windows. A dual monitor set-up with a computer more substantial than an iMac. Surrounded by houseplants and a water cooler.


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Jeremy Wortsman


Jeremy Wortsman

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jeremy Wortsman and I am the founder and managing director of The Jacky Winter Group, a creative representation and production agency with offices in Melbourne and New York City. Our artists complete thousands of commissions a year for some of the world's leading brands and businesses and we just celebrated our ten-year anniversary!

I also manage Lamington Drive, our bricks-and-mortar gallery space, and most recently, our luxury guesthouse and artist residency, Jacky Winter Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges. I am also the host of the Melbourne chapter of CreativeMornings and a founding member of The Contemplary.

In a previous life, I was the co-founder of the design practice, Chase & Galley, as well as one of the founding publishers and designers of Is Not Magazine. There are some other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting, but reading the question all I can think of is those Arnold Schwarzenegger prank calls so I got distracted.

What hardware do you use?

My 2017 15" MacBook Pro drives pretty much everything along with my trusty iPhone 7+. When seated at my workstation, I'm running a 29" LG Ultra Widescreen Monitor. Bose QC30's are my sanity maker, and are probably in my ears at least half the day. I use an Anker Vertical Mouse and Apple wireless keyboard. All our workstations are also fitted with 12 South Fermata headphone stands and HiRise 2 stands, as we use our mobiles for all telecommunications via Bria. We use Synology units for local file access, with their great cloud sync feature so we can keep portfolios updated via Dropbox. All our desks are standing desks – some of them manual WorkFit-D units from Ergotron, and some electronic ones from IKEA – all with custom tops. We also have a treadmill desk (of course) from Lifespan, which we love.

In our Collingwood office we also run a pretty robust production space, including a dedicated VR room running a HTC Vive off an Alienware 15. That room adjoins our printing operation, New Blank Document, which runs a 44" Epson Stylus Pro 9900, a Graphtec FC8600 plotter and cutter, plus an Riso A2 machine – the only one of its kind in Australia. We also run Ring products for our doorbell and entryway, which have been total lifesavers, except when we actually got burgled when we had to recharge one. Whoops!

Our podcast setup is also key, where we run a Focusrite 18i8, and three Shure BETA 87a's all running from an iMac.

We also just started a digital life drawing event in our gallery called Looking Glass, which provides all participants with 12.9" iPad Pros, along with Apple Pencils, which we also use for our in-agency marketing meetings.

I like hardware.

And what software?

Google Apps, Slack, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud, 1Password and Xero run all the day to day stuff, nothing new there. Basecamp runs most of our projects, and it's all hooked up to a custom Filemaker Pro setup which we have been delicately maintaining and developing like a bonsai for the last ten years. We also have a suite of custom-made web apps that we use – some built into our WordPress setup, some totally bespoke. It's all held together with various APIs and plugins so that everything talks to each other, which is really nifty.

Our podcast is recorded with Zencastr, which is amazing for connecting our New York and Melbourne Offices, using Zoom for video meetings. We use Envoy at our reception desk to announce visitors and handle couriers.

Wunderlist is our to-do manager for everything internal. It's so fast and just works. We manage our internal wiki and documentation in Evernote. We're also joining the cult of Airtable and Dropbox Paper to phase out some Google products. Sonos handles all our music, with Spotify for the shared playlists (Like Slate's Summer Strut!) and discovery, with Apple Music for an actual library. Overcast on iOS for podcasts, where I listen to everything at 2x.

Droplr is indispensable for screenshots and markup. I also couldn't live without Keyboard Maestro for recording macros, and TextExpander as well. The Great Suspender is the one Chrome plugin that has also been the best thing I have ever run to improve laptop performance and speed, and I cannot recommend it highly enough, along with the Gboard iOS keyboard for swipe input.

I live and die by my RSS feeds via Newsblur.

Reading through all this, I realise I haven't even scratched the surface of all the actual hardware and software we use on a daily basis, and I think I may have an actual problem.

Of course, this is why I endorse the Insight Timer app for 2x 30 minute meditation sessions per day, so I can try to forget about said hardware and software.

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly, I think it's pretty close to actually being achieved! Typing is a bit of a bummer sometimes. Something that would allow me to type my thoughts would be awesome, but in the meantime voice recognition will have to do, so I'm really excited for it to actually work properly someday. 32GB of RAM in an Apple laptop wouldn't be too much to ask either, maybe? One can dream…


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Roxane Gay


Roxane Gay

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Roxane Gay with one n. I am a writer and an associate professor at Purdue.

What hardware do you use?

I use several different machines because I live in two places and travel several times a month. I travel with a tiny pink Macbook. It is so cute and dainty and looks ridiculous in my hands because I am cute but not dainty. At home in Indiana I use an iMac and a MacBook Air. In Los Angeles I use a MacBook Pro I hate. It's the new one with the Touch ID and it's just designed all wrong. MY FINGER CONSTANTLY HITS THE ESCAPE BUTTON AND OMG I'm mad just thinking about it.

I also use an iPhone and iPad as needed which is to say constantly. I'm not allowed to get an Apple Watch but if I were I am really ashamed to say I would get one even though I don't like watches or wearing things around my wrist.

I listen to music on Sonos speakers. I have conversations with my Amazon Echos in both homes. Sometimes, my niece has shockingly long, in depth conversations with Alexa. Straight up, there is no better person to talk to a curious, chatty five year old than Alexa. It's so delightful to watch. Also, it took only two visits for my niece to figure out how to talk to Alexa. The first time, she would shout, "Alexa," but then wait an excruciating minute to say something else, by which time Alexa had moved on to other things. The next visit, she was ready for Alexa, had her requests and jokes ready. She asks Alexa to play Ariana Grande and music from Frozen, A LOT. She never runs out of questions for Alexa and Alexa never runs out of patience. Hell takes on different forms for us all.

I watch TV on Samsung TVs that are garishly large with accompanying sound bars. I use an HP laser printer that is no longer made but it is perfect. I think it is the M400 or something. I hope it never breaks because if it does, I just don't know what I will do.

And what software?

I use Google Suite, Google Keep, Microsoft Word, Final Draft, Chrome, Adobe Creative Suite, and a bunch of apps on my phone to make it appear as if I am on top of everything when I am not — respective banking apps, apps for American, Delta, United, and Alaska Airlines, Kayak, TripAdvisor, Carey, Uber, blah blah blah. Also Scrabble and Words With Friends, Candy Crush Saga, Pokémon GO, Snapchat, Twitter, and Dropbox. I have a bunch of other apps on my phone but I generally use them once and then never open them again.

What would be your dream setup?

I pretty much have my dream set up but if I were to get really outrageous with my dreams, I would spend less time staring at screens and simply have an ocular implant and be able to think my thoughts into the cloud and write and do research and waste time that way. At the very least, I want to be able to project things from my laptop onto the wall so I can see what emojis I am working with. They are so fucking tiny on the phone. I feel we're fewer than 33 years away from this technological nirvana. Fingers crossed.


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Ian MacLarty


Ian MacLarty

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm an independent game designer, artist and programmer from Melbourne. I make a lot of small experimental games often with a visual focus. You can find my portfolio here: http://ianmaclarty.com. I'm currently working on an abstract puzzle game.

What hardware do you use?

I mainly use a MacBook Pro (2017, 13", no touch bar). I don't use any external keyboards, mice or monitors. I dislike having to plug and unplug things and I like working in the kitchen where there's plenty of natural light. I also have an older desktop (Intel i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, GTX660 GPU, 1TB mechanical HDD, 23" monitor) with Linux and Windows 7 that I use less often, mainly for testing or playing games.

I have an iPhone 6 that I use for testing and sometimes for music production. I also have an older iPad and some older iPhones and a cheap Android phone that I use exclusively for testing. I have a pair of KRK KNS-8400 headphones and a Behringer C-1U microphone for audio work.

And what software?

I mostly work in the terminal and use vim as my editor. I use the standard Terminal app on Mac and whatever the default terminal on Linux Mint is. On Windows I use MSYS and rxvt. I often write bash or node.js scripts to automate repetitive tasks.

I use my own game engine called Amulet which is written in C++ and uses GNU make as its build system. I use the Clang, GCC and Visual C++ compilers. I've found Valgrind very useful for tracking down memory errors and leaks. I rarely use a debugger, preferring print statements (this is somewhat ironic, because I did my postgraduate research on debuggers). I write my games in Lua and use LuaJIT on desktop and vanilla Lua on mobile and browser.

For 2D graphics I'm currently using Acorn, but will sometimes use GIMP when I'm working on Linux. For audio I use Audacity on Mac and Linux and on my iPhone I've used Figure to produce music and Animoog to produce sound effects. I've also used SFXR.

I occasionally use Blender for 3D modelling or trailer production. Sometimes I'll also use iMovie for trailers, though it doesn't give as much control as Blender. I use GIF Brewery 3 and QuickTime to record GIFs and gameplay footage respectively and Handbrake to transcode between video formats.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm pretty happy with what I've got. I'd like to get more into music production so if I could afford it I'd purchase Ableton Live and maybe get one of those fancy Ableton Push devices.


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