Charlie Gleason


Charlie Gleason

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Charlie Gleason, a designer, developer, musician. I push pencils and pixels at Heroku, working on brand, design, and front end development. I have a deep affection for creative coding, and released a library, Sandpit, to make it easier to experiment with. I also spent a bunch of time on exploring music and the web, with projects like Tweetflight, Drag It Down On You, and Koya. I studied design at university, and then went back to do computer science, and then went back to do sound production for a bit. I never want to stop learning.

What hardware do you use?

For most things, a MacBook Pro from 2012 that I affectionately call the Ship of Theseus — every single piece has been replaced at one point or another. I tried to sell it recently and my cat bit through the display as I wrote the ad. It will bury me.

Other than that, I tend to sketch ideas out on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. I had initially thought the Apple Pencil was super gimmicky, but like everyone who hated on the AirPods, I was wrong. Plus I find it super cathartic to rotoscope photos while listening to plaintive folk. It's soup for the soul, especially if you've run out of actual soup.

For music I use a whole ton of bits and pieces I've collected over the years. The key pieces, beyond my laptop, are Teenage Engineering's OP-1, Novation's Launchpad, Focusrite's Scarlett 2i2, and a Radial DI and microphone splitter. I love Radial Engineering — their stuff could fall out of a plane and it would still work. That's surprisingly rare with music gear.

And what software?

For design and development, Sketch and VS Code. The real secret sauce is the Operator Mono font, though. It makes all development infinitely better.

Oh, I also recently moved from Chrome to Safari, so I'm basically a maverick. AMA.

For music I use Ableton with Fabfilter's creative plugins. I love the design of Fabfilter. It has an incredibly clean, clear UI, which is beyond a rarity for software plugins.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be to live in a world without internet comments. If that's off the table, I'd settle with the smallest, most souped up MacBook Pro (sans touch bar) and a fancy Kindle Voyage. I lost my Kindle dragging my suitcase through a very snowy London and I'm terrified that eons from now someone will find it and base their understanding of the human race off my incredibly odd assortment of young adult fiction and romance novels. It keeps me up at night, and Amazon does not offer a remote wipe option. Trust me, I checked.

I'm not sure this is the right place for it, but following on from #2, I'm selling a cat. Just in case anyone is interested.



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Addie Wagenknecht


Addie Wagenknecht

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Addie Wagenknecht, I'm an artist and sort of a writer and my major vices are coffee, dogs, chocolate and travel — I live for traveling — not in the sense of 5 star hotels, although those are amazing too, but dirt roads not on Google Maps, befriending stray animals to share dinner with and camping on the beach in Mozambique.

What hardware do you use?

Depends on what I am making. My laptop is probably my most used hardware — it's a Lenovo X1 carbon — and my Pixel 2 phone is what I use for every image or video I make.

And what software?

I use mostly FLOSS/FOSS software on Ubuntu — I have a love/hate relationship with GIMP and Inkscape. I really had to relearn how to do everything when I switched from OS X 12 years ago. I really found it horrible and painful when I was used to everything Adobe.

What would be your dream setup?

I recently lost my studio, so I'm working from my couch and kitchen table everyday, so my dream setup would be a real space I can work in again, and mess up the floors, and leave projects out and everywhere without having to think about the dog stepping on them or eating stuff… πŸ™‚ I'd love a big warehouse that's well heated — like, Mark Bradford's studio looks amazing, or like Picasso's Cannes studio — somewhere I can escape to and not be bothered.

I really have dreams about having unlimited space and materials to experiment with, without having to think about where it's going to dry or be stored…



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Tiffany Taylor


Tiffany Taylor

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is is Tiffany and I am product designer. As a multidisciplinary designer, I do a range of things like user experience design, user interface design, visual design, user research, and user testing. I currently work for Versus Systems in LA, but I also do a little bit of freelance design work when I can find exciting projects. I also had a past life as a front-end developer but I rarely code much now, outside of my personal site or side projects. And I like to do photography and illustrate on the side, mostly for fun.

What hardware do you use?

At home, I have two computers: a 2011 21.5-inch iMac and a 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro. I used to feel silly having two computers, but once I moved to LA I was working remote for my old job in SF and really found that I needed a laptop if I wanted to get out of the house and work from coffee shops. Also, at the same time I'm glad I got my MBP when I did because I do not like the newer Apple laptops with the touchbar. My company laptop is also a 15" 2015-inch MacBook Pro. For photography, I usually use my Google Pixel, but if I want to shoot with an actual camera I will choose from my Nikon D3000, my Instax, or my newest camera purchase (a Pentax Espio 125M 35mm film camera from 1998 that I bought while on vacation in Osaka in December 2017).

I'm not sure it counts as hardware, but for design, I heavily rely on my Rhodia Black Dot Pad for taking notes and to sketch out ideas. The dots help keep things neater than a blank sketchbook. My writing tools of choice are MUJI's Capped Ink gel pens and Zebra Mildliner highlighters.

I work in the game industry so I also have to mention my gaming hardware. I have a Playstation 4, a Nintendo 3DS, and a Nintendo Switch.

And what software?

For my design work, 90% of the time I am working in Sketch. I have been using it since 2012 and and it's become my go-to app for UI design, as well as creating things like user journeys and other UX documents/visuals. Although I even created my resume and business cards with it. For work, now that I work on a team of designers I use Abstract to manage and version-control our shared Sketch files. For sharing prototypes with developers and clients, I use InVision. To sync all of my files for work, I use Google Drive to keep copies of my projects on my home and work machines. When I am coding, I use Sublime Text. I work in Google Chrome because I love their developer tools and plugins. I recently started using a NordVPN since I work in so many cafes and am frequently connected to public wifi.

My current team at work heavily relies on Notion to document things and our processes. It's a great tool! I am considering using it in my personal life as well.

For illustration, I typically start with pen/paper and edit it in Photoshop, but if it's a vector illustration I'll use Sketch. To edit photos taken with my phone, I use Snapseed and VSCO. I only post photos now to my Instagram, since it seems other photo sharing sites are a bit dead now. For photos I've taken with my DSLR, lately I've been using Adobe Lightroom.

What would be your dream setup?

I really need a monitor! The problem is my home office is very small, and my desk is a secretary desk that won't even fit my 21.5" iMac. I'd like a different desk setup so I can add a monitor, but I live in a studio so I have to be aware of space constraints. This was never an issue for me until I started my new job, where I get to work remotely 2x a week.

Also, I don't have a large TV for console gaming. I have been using an old 21" monitor/TV, but I'd like a larger and newer TV. I used to have one of those fancy curved TVs until I moved to my own place, so even though it's an old model now, I think that I'd like one of those again.

And finally, I love my Nikon but it's so heavy. It's a little troublesome to carry around, hence why I use my phone or my smaller film camera. I'd like a smaller digital camera, something small and simple like the Sony Alpha a6000. And I've dropped my poor Pixel so many times. I really need a new phone, but I'm waiting until my phone totally dies before I upgrade. I'm looking at the Pixel 2 because I love my original Pixel so much.



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Heather Styka


Heather Styka

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a singer-songwriter based out of Chicago, IL. I've been touring for the past seven years, and I'm currently releasing my 5th studio album, North. The fun thing about this line of work in this day and age is that you can be really hands-on in every part of the process — booking, tour routing, promotion, graphic and web design, recording. I have a team of people who help out with various aspects but I enjoy the DIY nature of it. There's a lot of freedom in making all the decisions, even if there's a lot of effort that goes along with all that. In addition to all the songwriting and performing (which is the main point), I enjoy getting to collaborate and make videos, album cover art, all that good stuff.

What hardware do you use?

Well, it all starts with a song on my 00-18 Martin guitar. He's a shy Martin — it doesn't have the Martin logo on the headstock. I like that he's sorta sneaky/subtle like that. I also have an Epiphone Casino Coupe that I use with a Fender Blues Junior amp when I'm rocking out. And a 1980-something Omnichord that I break out on rare occasions. Driving across the country involves my 2008 Prius named Ondine, equipped with a 12-volt car kettle (that takes 40 min. to heat up water) and an Aeropress, to make perfect coffee wherever I am. Yeah, in terms of importance, I'd say my equipment is 1. Martin Guitar, 2. Toyota Prius, 3. Car Kettle, 4. Aeropress.

I use an iPhone SE, mostly because I've got little hands, and I'm not a huge fan of latest trend of big screen phones. My phone has become a huge part of my songwriting process, because it can capture that moment of inspiration wherever I am, both in terms of quick recordings and notes on ideas or lyrics, across devices.

I also use a 13" MacBook Pro from 2012, for all the administrative stuff and occasional recording. I still think of it as my "new laptop." I've got a Blue Snowball that's handy for capturing song ideas if I want the recording to be slightly more hi-fi than a phone recording.

My 2016 album, The Bittersweet Tapes, was recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder, Tascam Portastudio, that my dad bought me from a thrift store when I was a teenager. I love recording analog, because it forces you to make creative decisions in the moment and then live with those "mistakes," which usually end up becoming my favorite parts of the recording. And I'm a fan of that low-fi sound.

We recorded the new album North with Beehive Productions out of Saranac Lake, NY. They brought their whole set-up to a cabin in northern Wisconsin, and we recorded live with a backing band from Denmark, The Sentimentals. When it comes to recording, I've tried a lot of methods, but I find the most engaging, real performances happen when it's happening live, the same way albums used to be made before Pro Tools and other advances in recording technology.

And what software?

For songwriting, I use the basic Voice Memo app on my iPhone all the time. It helps me keep track of all my ideas, and I use it in tandem with the Notes app to keep track of lyric ideas. Nothing fancy, but I find simplicity is the best method for me when I'm trying to capture a song idea quickly.

I use RapidWeaver for my web design, which makes everything so easy for anyone with rudimentary coding experience. I use Google Docs to keep track of all my accounting and such, and I actually use Pages for a lot of my poster design etc. Overall, there's not a lot that I can't accomplish with the most basic Mac set-up, accompanied by some Google apps. The ability to work across devices and have everything I need at my fingertips — that's key when you're on the road.

I'm also a fan of Dropbox — I'm in a weekly songwriting group where we upload a song a week to a shared Dropbox, which helps keep us creative and community-oriented no matter where we are all touring. On the creative end, I love being able to reference RhymeZone and ChordBank when I'm writing.

What would be your dream setup?

I've been curious about Spire — I know some friends who love theirs. It's a portable multitrack recording device. I like to travel light, and I'm a minimalist at heart, but it would be nice to be able to produce really high-quality recordings wherever I am. A lot of folks dream of a home studio, but I'm more interested in capturing the collaborations I have with other musicians on the road. So portability is a big selling point.

I do dream of having a setup to do more programming and synthesizer stuff with my laptop. The only thing holding me back is that there's a real learning curve with so much of that. And I'm a folk musician at heart; at the end of the day I'm always picking up my acoustic guitar and writing whatever feels right. I guess my dream set up would be able to put folks like Beehive Productions (and all their gear) in my pocket so I'd always have someone brilliant available to turn the knobs and capture the best recording.



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Fran Hoepfner


Fran Hoepfner

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Fran Hoepfner, and I'm a bunch of things. Professionally, I'm the Associate Video Director for The Onion. In addition, I work as a freelance culture writer as well as a stand-up comedian.

What hardware do you use?

At the office, I use a new 13" 2017 MacBook Air that is provided for me; at home, I use a still very good 13" 2015 MacBook Air. I have an iPhone 8 that I use even though I think my hands are marginally too small for its size. Despite almost constantly having headphones in, I just buy whatever earbuds are on sale at Target whenever a pair die out. I also wear a Fitbit Alta in black. Though I use Google Calendar at work, I swear by Moleskine Planners for all of my personal appointments and commitments.

And what software?

I use Final Draft 10 to edit scripts at work (revisions mode is wonderful). I use Trello to check in on projects. I use Frame.io to leave notes in post-production. Much to my own dismay and distraction, I use Slack to chat with coworkers and occasionally send assets more quickly. In addition, I use G Suite (Gmail, Google Documents, and Google Calendar) to make some sense of what I'm doing from minute to minute. A lot of this carries over into my freelance and comedy work as well. When I'm writing or drafting essays and articles for publications, I'm always in Google Docs. A lot of my comedy is multimedia-based, and I use Keynote to make presentations. To make my work life — much of which is starting into screens all day — more tolerable, I also use f.lux to take some of the blues out of my screen.

Because I often write about movies and occasionally television, I also have subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Hulu, and FilmStruck. I love the New York Times crossword app and I am trying to better my German using Duolingo. In the interest of fun and keeping track of what garbage I listen to, I have a Spotify Premium account.

What would be your dream setup?

My ideal set-up is more or less what I have now, because I'm very lucky to be able to do the kind of work I do with the resources available to me. The only thing I'd add is a newfound interest in good headphones.



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Nathan Edwards


Nathan Edwards

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I'm Nathan Edwards, and I'm a senior editor at Wirecutter, a product reviews website now owned by The New York Times Company. I oversee a bunch of beats including PCs, computer accessories, gaming, networking, and pet gear. I've recently edited articles on automatic pet feeders, game controllers, Wi-Fi extenders, and ultrabooks.

What hardware do you use?

My phone is a Google Pixel XL. I like Pixels because they get fast Android updates and monthly security patches, and the cameras are good enough to catch toddler shenanigans.

I've worked from home for five and half years, so I have a pretty solid setup, most of it current or former Wirecutter picks. For work I use a company-issued 13-inch Touchbar MacBook Pro, but mostly as a desktop, because of its pizza-box keyboard and bad battery life. I have a Satechi Thunderbolt 3 hub plugged into it that goes to a USB switcher that goes to the USB hub on my Dell U2715H monitor. Plugged into that are my keyboard (Leopold FC660C), mouse (Logitech MX Master), webcam (Logitech C920), and my USB mic (Blue Yeti) which has a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones connected to it. The USB switcher is also connected to my desktop PC, so I can use all the same peripherals, and switch between computers with three button presses. I also have a Muji planner and a couple of gel pens I really like. And a Pomodoro timer shaped like a tomato. I love Field Notes; I got a subscription to their quarterly plan for one year about five years ago and I'm still working my way through the surplus. I have a sit-stand desk that mostly sits.

The desktop is self-built, mostly circa mid-2012, with an Intel i7-2600K and 16GB of RAM, a GTX 1070 graphics card, a 3TB spinny drive and a couple of SSDs. I built it when I left Maximum PC (a print magazine about desktop computers, with a defunct website), and used it for work and gaming until I got a work computer for the former and kids that mostly prevent the latter. When I game at all now it's on a Nintendo Switch, which is maybe the best gadget I've bought in years.

And what software?

Since I use an Android phone, a Mac laptop, and a Windows PC, I love cross-platform apps. At Wirecutter we use the Google suite: Gmail, Docs, Sheets, etc. Slack is crucial, since so many of us work remotely. We use Airtable for a bunch of organizational stuff and Zoom for video meetings. I use Simplenote for, uh, simple notes, and my to-do list is split between Todoist, my paper planner, various post-it notes, Slackbot reminders, and people reminding me that I owe them edits. It's a very elegant system.

Patrick Ewing's "Warm Focus" playlists on Spotify are great instrumental music for working with words. Pocket is for saving articles so I don't get sidetracked, and then never looking at them again. Mobile apps: Twitter is for nonsense, Instagram is for pictures of babies and pets, and Stronglifts 5×5 is for slowly transforming into a less noodly noodle.

What would be your dream setup?

Pretty much the same thing except with a KVM switch built in to the monitor. Maybe a functioning attention span.



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Polina Fearon


Polina Fearon

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Polina Fearon. I am a Belarusian-Canadian illustrator and visual designer and mom of two little boys! I started attending art school at the age of four and graduated with a Bachelor Degree of fine arts in Technical and Scientific illustration. I've had the pleasure of applying my design and illustration skills to all kinds of projects and for a wide range of clients. I've worked at an agency as a Designer at Fuel Industries in Ottawa, Canada, a UI artist at a mobile gaming company in SF (Pocket Gems) and a Visual Designer for Idean, a Finnish UX agency, in the Bay Area.

I've been able to pick up all kinds of visual design, illustration and UX skills along the way. Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom who spends her free time doing freelance work and creating a children's book and illustrations.

What hardware do you use?

Typically all of my traditional and digital work starts out the same way – in a Moleskin sketchbook or on a piece of paper of some sort. I'm a firm believer in starting out with exploration through drawing and sketching, before moving on to the computer. For my digital work I either scan or take a photo with my iPhone 7 Plus of the final sketch, and after that I move on to my 13" MacBook Pro, which I sometimes hook up to a 27" monitor. I also only use a Medium Wacom Intuos Pro when I work – no mice or track pads.

My traditional media pieces can be a mix of Prismacolor pencil crayons and watercolor, pen and ink on mylar, Staedtler fineliner or acrylic paint. My illustration work is often a mix of digital and traditional media.

And what software?

I often use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for my illustration and design work. InDesign comes in handy for books and other print projects. For web design I will also use Sketch, although I will often use Photoshop and Illustrator for this as well. Spotify is usually on while I work.

What would be your dream setup?

I would love to have a little studio set up in my home with an easel, a drafting table and a wooden desk (which my husband Dave has promised to build for me) for my future iMac and my Wacom tablet. I'd love to have a large scanner and a printer, which, in my dream, would never run out of ink!

My studio would also feature a giant window with some sort of body of water outside and a comfy couch, where I can use my sketchbook and iPad Pro for research and drawing and gaze outside. I would also love some framed art and family photos in the room, for inspiration.

Ideally I would also like a shelving unit to help organize art supplies, canvases and paper and to help hide the general chaos.



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Zoya Feldman


Zoya Feldman

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Zoya Feldman, and I am a designer and illustrator. I help run Hype Machine, a music discovery service we've been working on since 2005. I also make cards, stickers, buttons, and t-shirts about the 3 Cs: cats, carbs, and computers.

What hardware do you use?

I split my time between a 2010 Mac Pro with a 27" Cinema Display, and a 2011 MacBook Air you can pry from my cold dongle-free hands. I use a Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet and a CanoScan LiDE 120, and I recently got a new Canon PIXMA iX6820 printer because the power supply on my old one burned out. A printer that can go 13" wide is so nice for mocking up everything from posters to shirts.

For drawing/lettering, I start with a Pilot Fineliner, Speedball pens, or Mack brushes on tracing paper. I have an Alvin cutting mat which doubles as a baseline grid, and I cannot overstate the convenience of a good bone folder for cardmaking.

And what software?

After scanning in drawings, I rework them in Illustrator or color them in Photoshop. My default way to work is vector, but sometimes raster graphics are the right call. I use a lot of public-domain imagery in my designs; Flickr Commons is an absolute goldmine and I wish it well every day of my life.

I use Glyphs Mini for making fonts, and Skala for previewing layouts and graphics on mobile. (It's also the best way I've found of sending images from Photoshop to my phone.) I edit CSS and transfer files in Coda, collect data with Typeform, and meet up with my coworkers in HipChat.

What would be your dream setup?

Pretty psyched on my office nook, though I have been considering getting a mini water dispenser so I don't have to walk the 20 feet to my kitchen.



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Louis Rossetto


Louis Rossetto

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm full circle back to describing myself like I did when I graduated from university — namely, a writer. In between, I've been an entrepreneur, the co-founder, E-I-C, publisher, and CEO of Wired, a web pioneer (Hotwired), a chocolate maker (TCHO), a father, a contrarian, and a troublemaker (what it says on LinkedIn).

What hardware do you use?

Lots. My main computer is a sturdy Mac Pro (mid-2010, 2 x 3.46 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon) hotrodded with 64GB of memory, an OWC PCIe RAID 480 SSD that holds only the system and apps, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics card, USB3 card, a PCIe RAID filled with 4TB of mSATA SSDs for all my photos, a bunch of other hard drives inside the Mac Pro for data and clones, a 27 inch Apple LED Cinema Display and a 23 inch Apple Cinema HD Display. I have ScanSnap scanner, as well as a Epson Perfection V600 photo scanner, as well as a Nikon slide scanner. I have a Dymo 4XL mailing label printer (love it), and a Brother Pro DX for PTouch labels.

I have a bunch of iPads including Minis.

I also use a MacBook Air when I'm traveling.

I have a mid 2011 iMac 3.4Ghz Core i7 with 32GB of memory in my writing office with a solid state drive holding the system and apps.

I shoot RAW photos with a Sony Ξ±6000 and a Sony RX100 V. Love them, they're small, light, fast, sharp, and shoot beautiful color. I also have a Nikon DSLR, but haven't touched it in three years.

And then there are all the Mac Minis running music, backup, and mail servers. And racks of D-Link 24 port switches. And iMacs repurposed to show slideshows.

I have a Synology RS812 4 disk NAS and its RX410 4 disk expansion unit, running WD Red 4TB disks, for 32TB of online storage and backup (CrashPlan).

I use an iPhone 8 with 256GB memory.

For sound, I have a dozen Sonos Connects driving three AudioControl 700 10 channel amps running the whole house music sysem. I have an MSD Gold DSP and Monarchy Audio massaging the digital signal. I also have a bunch of Sonos Plays, a couple of Sonos Ones. I used to have a Crestron system, but it was slow, expensive, and inflexible. And I have Dynaudio speakers, a California Audio Labs CD player, and a Krell amp for critical listening.

For video, I have a 60 inch Samsung LED, a Denon receiver, Dynaudio speakers, Sony Blu-Ray, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, DirectTV satellite (but on the way out). All controlled by a iPad Mini running Simple Control.

For home automation, I have a dozen Alexa Echoes, a dozen Hue bulbs, Nest thermostats, TP-Link and Wemo outlet switches, Neato robot vac, August locks, a hundred Hyperikon and Philips Warm Glow LEDs. And a Vantage Controls whole house lighting system.

No 3D printing, I leave that to my son.

And what software?

In no order: Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite (of which I use Lightroom, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat), DxO PhotoLab, TeamViewer, VMWare Fusion so I can run Windows (the Vantage whole house lighting software can only be programmed from Windows), Dropbox for storage, 1Password, Carbon Copy Cloner, FontExplorer X Pro, CrashPlan for backups, Notes, EverNote, Apple's Mail, Safari Technology Preview, Firefox, Fantastical for calendaring, Apple's Contacts, Scrivener for complex writing, Spotify, VueScan for scanning, SpamSieve for junk mail screening, Remote Desktop, Screens, DiskWarrior to fix messed up hard drives, Hue software, iConnectHue, Yonomi.

What would be your dream setup?

I suppose I'm waiting for the new Mac Pro, but Apple's been passive aggressive about their computer business that I have no faith that they understand the needs of professionals any more, nor the power of the halo of high end systems on their entire business. I don't really have a dream set up at this point. I have an ecology of equipment I use, which is in a process of constant maintenance, upgrade, or replacement. I'll probably upgrade my Synology NAS to the new RS818+, because the current model I'm running is feeling slow. I'm probably going to upgrade the screens to 4K so I can work on my photos better.



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Erica Joy Baker


Erica Joy Baker

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Erica Joy Baker and I abuse parentheses like it's my job. My actual job that pays me is Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon. I manage Patreon's Infrastructure team (which is also known as Devops or SRE at other companies) and will be managing our soon to exist Data Engineering team. It's my job to make sure the people who keep Patreon's architecture up and running have everything they need to succeed, and then sing their praises loudly (or quietly if that's what they prefer) when they do.

In my copious spare time, I'm also on the Board of Directors for Girl Develop It and am a Founding Advisor for Project Include (this means I'm a cofounder that isn't actively working on the project).

I also do other stuff, like being a Diversity and Inclusion Advocate and an avid genealogy researcher. My life goal is to reassemble the family trees that slavery tore apart, using applications of traditional and non-traditional genealogy methods, genetic genealogy, good algorithms, and a robust data set. Sadly all the good data sets are locked up in proprietary sources, so you can't do any truly useful querying over them. If Ancestry let you do decent queries, you could probably figure out the trees of several families in a small county and how they were all related to one another in about a week, which would put Ancestry out of business because their whole business model relies on you constantly coming back to do more research. I pushed to have Google focus on creating good and free to the world genealogy data sets (as part of the Google Books project) while I was there, but nobody was interested. So, I have Big Ideasβ„’ for how to create that data set, I just need to wait until I have enough money to do it, or until I can get the folks at the Internet Archive to talk to me about it.

People often ask me why I haven't founded my own startup, and I tell them "because nobody would fund a genealogy startup" and they kind of nod in agreement and stop asking that question, because that answer is so true it hurts. I often wonder if people who are constantly looking toward the future are capable of seeing the value in the past. Anyway, I'm rambling, on to the next question.

What hardware do you use?

Almost all Apple everything. I use an old (like 2011) iMac occasionally (though not lately because it decided it was pissed at me for sending it across the country and back for no reason), a 15" MacBook Pro for work (with the Touchbar, which I love unlike many other folks), another MacBook Pro for home (because working on personal projects on the work laptop is a Bad Idea), an iPad and an Apple Pencil for when I need to take notes. I have this screen protector on my iPad which makes it feel like I'm writing on paper.

I fly a lot and use my Purple Bluetooth Beats headphones on the plane. People say they aren't the best audio quality or whatever, but they block out the noise on the plane and that's good enough for me. My phone is an iPhone X. I have 2 Razer Chroma keyboards, one at home, and at one at work. My friend Chris gave me the one I have at home for Christmas one year and I bought the one at work on my own. I'm not really into keyboards or anything, I just like that I can configure them to shoot rainbows out when I type.

I have an Apple TV in my bedroom and a Roku attached to a projector in my living room. I wear a Verily Study Watch every day as part of Project Baseline.

And what software?

I mean, in a world where we spend so much time in the browser, what even is "software" anymore? πŸ€·πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ I'll give it my best shot: on the iMac, I'm running Plex Server. I mostly use it for that and Lightroom. On the iPad, Gmail, Slack and GoodNotes (the best iPad note taking app) for Serious Business. My iPad is also my "the video selections on the plane suck, I'm downloading a whole season of something on Netflix/Amazon Video to promptly fall asleep to instead" device.

On the work laptop, Alfred 3, Next Meeting, Fantastical 2, 1Password, iTerm2, Chrome, Slack, Sublime Text 3, Spotify, and Signal. Most of my job happens in either Slack or in Chrome (Gmail, Asana, Dropbox Paper, GitHub, AWS, the usual stuff). Everything that is on the work laptop is on my home laptop with the addition of Quip, Trello, VLC, Pixelmator, and Todoist.

Chrome at home is a different story. I live on Ancestry, GEDmatch, 23andMe, and GenealogyBank. I deactivated my Facebook a few months ago and I occasionally log into Twitter but mostly I'm limiting my time on social media right now. I'm trying to heal my heart and mind after a brutal 2017 and social media is decidedly not helpful for that. To that end, I don't have any social media apps on my phone except Tumblr (although I install Snapchat when I get on a plane to go somewhere, then delete it again when I land back at home).

I have far too many apps that I don't use on my phone, but most of my time is spent in Calendar, Slack, iMessage, Signal, Tumblr, Tile (I have Tiles in everything I tend to lose), and Two Dots. I should note that I am not logged into work Slack on my phone because work/life balance is important and burnout is real. Also the only thing allowed to alert me on my phone is iMessage, in case my brother sends me new pictures of my nephew, which always makes my day a little better. I used to use Couch to 5K on my phone a lot, but I haven't run since it started raining in December. Don't worry, I'm judging myself plenty about that.

What would be your dream setup?

Shuri's whole situation in Black Panther is my dream setup.

If I'm limiting myself to what's possible in our current reality, then in my office, a 55" Microsoft Surface Hub running macOS. The idea of doing family tree research on what is essentially a giant whiteboard with a computer inside makes me giddy, but I am too attached to macOS to use Windows (I'm sorry, Scott). Also, a Peloton Tread, because I really should start running again and I'd love a trainer to help me do it. I'd continue using my MacBooks, but would have them always connected to screen sharing sessions from the Hub whenever they were on my wifi network so I could seamlessly switch between devices. I'd have a little nightstand computer (a tablet or something I guess) that at night functioned as the thing that played whatever media I fall asleep to. In the morning, it would function as my alarm clock, and when I silenced the alarm, it would display and read my meetings for the day. Also it would be smart enough to wake me up at the right time based on what I had scheduled for the day.

I dream of having a Sonos in every room type system in my apartment (not in budget currently), so I could have the sounds of Beyonce, I/O, Daft Punk, Cautious Clay, or any other fave fill the whole space on demand. I'd also have Hue lights in every fixture, so I could make my whole apartment mimic the boat tunnel scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for those situations that warrant it.

Ok that was a lot of text! If you've read it all, thank you, and also, I'm sorry, but mostly thank you. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–



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