James Primate


James Primate

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello! My name is James Primate and I am a musician, video game developer and general internet basement art type person. For music, I'm mainly known for Bright Primate, a chiptune/vocal duo with my writing partner Lydia, as well as some assorted video game soundtrack work. As for game development stuff, in 2013 I co-founded a little company called Videocult with the lovely artist / programmer Joar Jakobsson for the purposes of making our current project (and white whale) Rain World, published by Adult Swim Games for PS4, PC, whatever.

What hardware do you use?

Odds and ends mostly! For ye olde chiptune music band I use a collection of repurposed old Nintendo Game Boys that have been customized for better sound quality and backlit for visibility on stage. I also use a number of iPads for performance, either for live-triggering samples or as touch based synthesizers, etc. Lydia uses a TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2 for live vocal effects. Little of my music performance gear is what one would consider a proper musical instrument, though I do have a microKORG XL keyboard that I use for coding and the occasional melody line.

For game music and sound design it's a fairly boring array of low spec laptops, cheap MIDI keyboards and old iPads. I have an 17" Asus X750JB laptop that I use for the bulk of my audio production work, and it serves my purposes just fine. My go-to MIDI keyboard is a Novation Launchkey 49, which I have surprisingly strong feelings for considering it's a generic plastic thing you can find anywhere. I got that one specifically because it can work off of USB power, so doesn't need cables or batteries beyond just the USB input itself, AND it works perfectly when plugged into iPads, which is awesome and rare for something with so many keys!

Speaking of which, I use iPads and iPhones a ton these days for synths and audio waveform manipulation. There's so many strange and interesting iPad music creation apps and tools that are out there these days! When I was coming up it was all about weird VST programs that you'd find on some Russian guys website late at night, but now that culture seems to have all moved over to the App Store, which is pretty awesome. I really need to get some new iPads though, as my 2s aren't doing so hot these days.

I have a collection of keyboards and hardware synths, but mostly they just collect dust I'm afraid! Same goes for the assorted guitars and such, though I do have a Korean-made Kraken brand 8-string electric that I've used for sound effects and the occasional lush chord or plinky plink where necessary. For field recording and random audio capture I use a Zoom H4n Pro which is much nicer than I deserve considering I mostly use it to record the sound of dirt being crunched under a boot or various bits of metal junk being smacked together.

As for video game production (AKA my real job), up until a few days ago I had mostly been using the same old Asus X750JB laptop from above and had been feeling pretty smug about it. I'm kind of anti-gear, like "you don't need expensive equipment to make art!" sort of philosophy, so having a workman-like middle of the road laptop appeals to me on that level. But right now I'm working on the TV trailer for Rain World under a super tight deadline and the limited spec GPU and RAM of that workman-like laptop just couldn't handle dealing with the high quality 60fps 1920×1080 video capture or editing! It was awful! Would crash even just when scrubbing through the clips! So I ran out (literally), rushed to MicroCenter and picked up this horrible ugly monstrous abomination of a gaming laptop, and despite all my silly pretensions I totally absolutely love it. It's an Asus Predator 17 (lol) and it eats raw video for breakfast, spits out 4k renders like it's nothing. I'm hereby converted. It's got super tacky backlit red keys and is so obviously styled like Optimus Prime's codpiece, lmao. I feel like I need to go out and get a Call of Duty hoodie to complete my ascension.

And what software?

For hardware chiptune on Game Boys I use a program called Little Sound DJ (LSDJ for short), which is a synthesizer and sequencer built into a Game Boy cartridge.

For general audio stuff and sound design I use Cockos REAPER for my music DAW (note: I believe this blog interviewed one of the creators of Reaper, right?). I really love Reaper. The workflow is so easy and unfussy, it's updated constantly with new features, plus it's vastly cheaper than anything remotely comparable. Because of how lightweight it is and the way you can nest tracks I usually have an entire soundtrack saved to one single project file! I even can drop in video to use as a guide to help tighten up SFX timings, or line-up music cues for videos, etc. REAPER does it all!

I use a ton of interesting iPad apps for music and sound design that I definitely want to shout out, as I feel like people never talk about app music tools. First and foremost is Samplr, which is a live waveform manipulation tool, so you can literally grab the waveform of the audio with your fingers and manipulate it, outputting all manner of wild sounds. I also love Moog Music's Animoog synth, which is a super deep motion synth that also has a similar touchscreen component where you can manipulate the envelops and timbres using all 10 fingers, and give some stunningly nuanced sounds when used cleverly. Waldorf's Nave is another synth app that gets used a ton and I couldn't do without. I have had a number of Waldorf's hardware synths, such as the Blofeld and even an old Microwave (real synth nerd stuff), and the Nave blows them away, IMHO.

With the iPad you have so much more processing power at your disposal compared to some purpose-built hardware keyboard, plus menu-diving is a breeze on the large iPad touchscreen compared to some cheesy half inch tall LCD display with buttons and a knob. I could probably go on for hours about music apps, but for the sake of some semblance of brevity I want to do a final shout-out to my favorite app, e-l-s-a, which is a super novel loop-based sample synth that makes some hauntingly beautiful sounds from rubbish audio capture, and that's what I love!

For gamedev my personal workflow is mostly on bespoke software, editors and devtools that Joar wrote specifically for Rain World, but beyond that it's fairly standard stuff: Unity, Microsoft Visual Studio, Adobe CS stuff like Photoshop, Illustrator, Director, etc. For video work I'm using Magix Vegas Pro 14 (used to be called "Sony VEGAS").

What would be your dream setup?

As mentioned before I'm pretty indifferent to gear so I don't have much in the way of dream equipment or aspirations in that direction (other than maybe a Roli Seaboard at some point), but being comfortable and quiet is key for me. I have pretty sensitive hearing, so I like to have some white noise in the background to cover up the assorted noises of the outside world. Also ideally this would be in a location where there is a good variety of food a walkable distance away; long enough to where one can think things over on the way but close enough to where it wouldn't interrupt the day to take a food break. Basics!


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Jasmine Greenaway


Jasmine Greenaway

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jasmine Greenaway, an engineer at GitHub on the Editor Tools team. We take your GitHub workflow in the browser to your favorite text editor or IDE. Our current projects are GitHub for Visual Studio and GitHub for Unity. I'm also adjunct faculty at LaGuardia Community College, where I currently teach Introduction to Web Development and/or Dynamic Web Design. Outside of work, I co-organize BrooklynJS.

What hardware do you use?

I work mostly in a Windows environment, so my main work machine is a Dell XPS 15. Some days I'll work with my MacBook Pro. I use my iPad Pro for smaller tasks like answering emails, planning tasks, and scheduling. I also use Tile to keep track of important things I own, like my computer, keys and wallet.

I also own a pretty pink desktop computer named Cecelia that I normally use for gaming, but sometimes to get some work done. She's got a GTX 660 graphics card, ASUS Z97-A motherboard, Intel i5-4690K, Razer BlackWidow keyboard, and a Razer DeathAdder mouse.

And what software?

I write C# all day, so I spend most of my time in Visual Studio, building and running my code. I started using Visual Studio without any extensions or enhancements, and never bothered with trying them out in the 6 years I've been using it, so I don't have anything like ReSharper installed. I'll use Atom when I'm working with Markdown or when live coding in front of my students. I was a fan of Atom before GitHub! When I need to quickly build a website outside of Visual Studio, I'll use Yeoman. For command line I use Powershell on Windows and Bash on Mac.

I use Slack to communicate with coworkers and friends, Google Inbox for mail, Google Calendar to view and organize my day, and Google Slides for all my presentations. I use the mobile app versions of all of these.

What would be your dream setup?

In terms of hardware and software, I wouldn't change a thing in my current setup. I'm very content. The only thing I wish I had is my own office space. I have this awesome Gundam collection that I want to set up on own desk; they've been couped up in a box for a while!


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Nicklas Nygren


Nicklas Nygren

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! My name is Nicklas Nygren. Under the name Nifflas I create and release videogames. I've just wrapped up a new game called Uurnog, for which I developed integrated algorithmic music software. Now that it's released, I plan to take a deep dive into algorithmic music.

What hardware do you use?

I do most of my development work on my Dell XPS 15 and a pair of AKG K712 headphones. To code sign for macOS, I use one of the cheapest Mac Minis.

I have a sound experimentation setup which I use for creating instruments for my music software. This setup consists of a Yamaha PC-100 PortaSound, a Yamaha KX-400 tape cassette deck, a Waldorf Streichfett, a Behringer V-Amp 2, an Electrix Warp Factory, an Alesis airFX, a Korg volca fm, a Nintendo 3DS, and finally two Teenage Engineering pocket operators (PO-12 and PO-32).

An interesting thing is back when I was a beginner at this, I'd use far more complicated synthesizers with way more parameters, as if it was the parameter count or price tag that made things good. My music also usually had way more tracks than anything I do now. These days I get excited when I find an early 80's toy keyboard at a second hand store.

And what software?

I develop games in Unity. Though I used to compose music in Renoise, I'm moving toward primarily composing in Ondskan, which is an algorithmic composition tool which can be integrated with games and allows for very unusual game-music interactions. Though I use too many VST plugins to list them all here, my favorites are generally the ones that can manage to sound unique and interesting without the use of too many parameters. Some of those include Chromaphone, Drumaxx, JuceOPLVSTi (a fantastic OPL emulator) and Microtonic. I particularly like wavetable synthesizers and plan to make one of my own in the future.

What would be your dream setup?

I don't have one in the traditional sense. There's some specific music software I really need, but they don't exist yet so I have to make them. I need to experiment more with procedural music, audio DSP, and learn C++ and a bit of neural networks to get there. Thing is, a year ago when I started to plan my music software, getting to where I am now was my goal. It, however, appears the goal already moved before I could reach it. For this reason, even though I'll be releasing software, I'll probably never actually reach it and be like "OK, now I'm done with my setup and happy". It's lucky I enjoy the process so much!


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Sylvain Tegroeg


Sylvain Tegroeg

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello! I'm Sylvain Tegroeg, a French designer based in Amsterdam. I'm a multi-disciplinary creative with a broad background in design and applied arts. I've been working for three years as a freelance designer following my graduation at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. While working for myself, I take on commissions for a large range of projects – product design, graphics, but mostly illustrations. I also enjoy photography and 3D modelling in my spare time.

What hardware do you use?

I love to make things with my hands, and this is the reason I've stuck with hand-drawn illustrations. Most of the time I use thin fine liners/Rotring pencils (0.5mm) to create intricate details. I've been sketching in drawing books for at least 10 years, and I still feel the most comfortable with a "minimalistic" black and white art style.

And what software?

I do use high resolution scanners to copy my illustrations and import them into Adobe Photoshop, and to make minor changes to contrast and to keep the maximum authenticity and quality of the image. Once in a while I like to make vector illustrations, and Adobe Illustrator is the perfect tool for that. I used to work in Solidworks and Maya before switching to Rhino for modelling and 3D printing purposes.

I recently learned to work with Unity on the game Hidden Folks, which was a step forward in making my illustrations animated. To communicate while working in a team, I love to use Slack and Trello for their ease of use and organisation.

What would be your dream setup?

This is a tough question! I never really project myself into the future, even though I'm quite imaginative. Maybe I'm already living my dream by making my passion into my profession, working with great designers. So my wish is to keep this going as it is, and have more cool projects come along!

I might like to set myself up a bit away from the dense city life, have my own studio space/gallery or a pop-up shop to show off my earlier and upcoming projects.


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Dominik Johann


Dominik Johann

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi, I'm Dom, a graphic designer and illustrator based in Germany. I'm the art director and a co-founder of Crows Crows Crows. We've made games like Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, And The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist, and Accounting for Virtual Reality. Right now I'm also working on the monochrome Zelda-like Minit. I'm into old cartoons, plants, and music.

What hardware do you use?

Most of my digital art is done on a 13" MacBook Pro. I've got the one with the weird touch bar and it's been glitching out on me a lot, to the point where I can't turn off the keyboard light sometimes.

I draw on a Cintiq screen (which I'd recommend over conventional tablets because it feels a lot more precise and immediate), but at home I've got a big Thunderbolt-knockoff Dell display. There's a little button connected to a cable connected to a hub that switches from my Mac to a PC. That one's used for Real Gaming, or when I bolt virtual reality headsets to my face.

Sometimes I do music and voice work, so I've got a Rode NT1-A microphone hooked up to a bright red Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface. Both are pretty affordable and make voices sound nice. My headphones are Beyerdynamic DT-770, huge but lovely and comfortable.

Sketches, notes and ideas go into a small Leuchtturm1917 book with dotted pages. I can't really deal with pencils so I use Staedler pigment liners exclusively. The 0.2 mm version works perfectly for me.

And what software?

Most of my time is spent in Photoshop CC, a heavy duty tool for almost everything I do in 2D. The animation engine is terrible and unreliable, so I've been trying out Aseprite for pixel art and animation. Illustrator is great for vector things but I recently switched to Affinity Designer, pretty good so far!

My team works in the Unity game engine, which I'm using in combination with Substance Designer for node-based textures and materials. I love to prototype story ideas in Twine, a free little tool for interactive fiction.

There's Ableton Live for music composition and sound design, or when I need a five minute break to just mess around with little loops. Web and application design happens in Sketch, which gets really really good if you use Sketch Toolbox and its plugins!

The more boring ones: odrive to manage my synced Dropbox and Google Drive files (AKA most things on my computers). Sublime Text for code and quick notes. Discord – The Chat for Gamers – for team communication, Asana for planning and productivity, Tower for version control.

On my iPhone, I use Tweetbot and Headspace to adjust my level of calm. And since most of my work is visual I listen to lots of podcasts with Overcast on the side.

What would be your dream setup?

Most days I dream of this: a standing desk, a neutral room with a smooth concrete floor, flooded with natural light, in an office with friends and collaborators doing the same sort of things I do. But I've been travelling a lot and I just wish your typical digital art setup could be more mobile, disconnected from any specific work space. No tower PC rig, laptops only, and I'd love to draw on the go, outside in the grass, maybe on an iPad? There should be lots of cool flora and bird ambience, and a cabin for cooking, music and contemplation.


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David Lublin


David Lublin

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is David Lublin and since 2004 I have been half of a company called VIDVOX that makes software for artists. I do a bit of everything, which includes coding, design, sales, support, marketing, tutorials and documentation, beta testing, blogging, tweeting, community building, managing freelancers and a bunch of other things.

We find that open standards are particularly important for creative communities and we maintain two open source projects that we are especially proud of. The first is the Hap video codecs, a set of movie formats that use GPU accelerated decompression for playback of extremely high resolution video on Mac, Windows and Linux machines. The second is ISF (Interactive Shader Format), an open specification for writing GLSL shaders that can be used as video generators and image filters across different host applications on desktop, mobile and web platforms. A bunch of our other useful low level code for working with specifications like MIDI, OSC and OpenGL is also available on GitHub.

I also sometimes make art!

Mostly I am known for VJing, which is live video performed remixing, usually along with music. I've gotten to do a lot of fun shows over the years including a performance at Lincoln Center and a tour with Girl Talk back in 2011. For geek points, the one time I got to fill in for The Eclectic Method for a Doctor Who fan meet up at Comic Con was maybe my top moment personally so far.

Recently I have been making a number of Twitter bots, most noteworthy of which are @TVCommentBot (a bot that watches live broadcast TV and inserts its own closed captioning) and @TVFaceBot (a bot that looks for faces on live broadcast TV and tweets them), and a few spin offs like @StarTrekTVBot (because I've run out of Star Trek episodes to watch) and @TVCrimeBot. Related to this I am also now developing a website for bots to find love online called bot.dating.

Probably the project that I am most passionate about is MIDIDogs.biz which is a website where I post videos of digitally synthesized barking dogs singing your favorite TV themes and pop songs along with puntastic titles like "Paw and Order" and "Fluffy The Vampire Spayer" and "Game of Bones" and "Doggie Howser" – I take requests.

At the most recent Stupid Hackathon my project was the low tech "Yell Hole" which is basically a bucket with sound insulation that you can put on your head and yell into without disturbing your neighbors.

What hardware do you use?

Currently my primary development machine is a 15" TouchBar MacBook Pro with an LG 4k display. I miss the physical escape key but otherwise very happy. I've used a similar setup of a MacBook Pro along with an external monitor for over a decade and this is the best version of it yet.

For work I have a lot of Macs for testing, we need pretty much every GPU and macOS combination readily available in case a user has a problem. Along these lines I have several high end audio interfaces (e.g. the MOTU 828 and YellowTec PUC2 on my desk right now), video capture devices (Blackmagic UltraStudio 4k & Mini recorders, a few Logitech webcams, some old DV / Firewire gear in the closet..), MIDI controllers (lately enjoying the Numark Orbit, APC mini, Korg NanoKontrol and a Serato DJ-style controller when doing my own shows but I probably have over a dozen others in storage), plus some DMX lighting gear (most used are ENTTEC ArtNet boxes and a few older Mega Pixel LED bars from American DJ) and other random things we support like WiiMotes. I also have a handful of cheap-ish external monitors that we sometimes use for testing multi-screen output configurations. We are always getting new stuff, usually when someone has a problem with something we don't have on hand already.

Right now @TVCommentBot and @TVFaceBot are running on a 2010 Mac mini that is plugged into my living room TV so that I can watch the feed instead of regular TV. The system gets broadcast TV over the airwaves through a standard antenna and a cheap digital TV receiver which outputs HDMI that is captured with a BlackMagic Mini recorder. A MIDI controller is connected for adjusting some parameters of the software without having to access the keyboard and mouse which are difficult to reach.

I have an iPhone 5s for all of the things you'd expect someone to have a smartphone for that gets used constantly and a 3rd generation iPad which does not get much use. So far I haven't had a compelling reason to upgrade either to a newer model.

For headphones I've had the same pair of Sony MDR-7506's for about a decade. I also often use the standard iPhone ear buds outside of the house.

My desk is a GeekDesk which I confess is usually used in sitting mode lately. I am thinking about installing some basic drawers for holding the small pieces of gear that end up cluttering the top area.

The best purchase I have made in the last few years is a peg board with hooks for organizing my large cable collection that makes it possible to connect all these things together.

I have had the same HP LaserJet 1320 printer since 2004 and have tried out lots of different kinds of small notebooks over the years (currently making my way through a small graph paper book from Muji). I have a couple of typewriters that I've collected over the years, a newer Olivetti MS 25 Plus manual sometimes gets dusted off for use.

And what software?

When VJing and otherwise making video art I typically use VDMX which is software that we primarily work on at VIDVOX. Sometimes I'll connect it to other custom software using Syphon or MIDI / OSC.

I write most of my code in BBEdit, Xcode for compiling and Tower as my Git client. When needed I am ready to get down with Terminal.

Online I use Chrome for web browsing, Adium for chat and Transmit for FTP. Squarespace for blogging and Vimeo for video hosting.

TextEdit for writing words and Keynote for making presentations. I often use Stickies app on my Mac for keeping quick notes and snippets.

When creating new video filters typically I will use our free ISF Editor, an in-house tool we released for writing and previewing GLSL shaders. Though not as often as in the past I also still make use Quartz Composer from time to time.

For making video tutorials ScreenFlow is my favorite. I will sometimes also use iMovie or QuickTime Player 7 Pro as part of my video workflow. Lately I have been trying to use Affinity Designer and Photo for the basic image and vector design work that I need to do.

Some of my bots make use of open source machine learning techniques – I got started with one called DeepBelief which is still what powers the object detection for @TVCommentBot, though nowadays there are lots of even better libraries like TensorFlow available for this kind of stuff.

What would be your dream setup?

A giant science fiction laboratory that includes a Holodeck from Star Trek that somehow fits inside my apartment in NYC and is also sound insulated because I love working from home but being able to walk across the street for a bagel / slice of pizza pretty much anytime of day is also a requirement.

A way to directly interface my brain thoughts with machines that doesn't involve installing a microchip in my head.

In the meantime I am thinking of getting a second desk or workbench to make it easier to divide work / art time and having a real life living human assistant would be amazing.


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Jenn Schiffer


Jenn Schiffer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jenn Schiffer and I'm an engineer and artist living in Jersey City. I say I live there "on purpose" to thwart tired Jersey jokes and because I'm originally from Brooklyn – so, honestly, I've ~done my time~. I'm in the city virtually every day, though, especially since I started my shiny new job at Fog Creek. They recently hired me as a Community Engineer for Glitch, which is a cool in-browser IDE built around the idea of an inclusive community of coders and learners. I made up the title "Community Engineer" because I think it reflects that this product is for everyone and not just seasoned developers. I have also been engineering some cool stuff with it.

Lately I've been more focused on art and community than on being patient with expensive hardware and software, as is reflected in my mostly hand-me-down Apple collection.

What hardware do you use?

In the office I have a 15" MacBook Pro. I'm still trying to figure out how to get Siri to leave me alone. I keep it in the office because it's ginormous and doesn't fit in my backpack with the rest of my things. At home I have 13" Macbook Pro that I bought off of my last job, so it's a few years old, no Siri to be found! I recently purchased a huge Mac display from a local startup that shut down and needed to liquidate and I keep that on my kitchen table. I also have an office with 2 large HP monitors but it's also my art studio and so it's hard for me to work with all the paper and markers I'm way too busy to properly put away. So, yeah, that's why I have a ginormous display on my kitchen table.

Most of my hardware has been monopolized by Apple just by pure convenience. I just got an iPhone and I love how they don't crack as soon as it hits a surface harder than a pillow feather. If anyone at phone manufacturers are reading this, I want you to know that I know this technology existed well before we put a HABITABLE SATELLITE INTO OUTER SPACE nearly 20 years ago. Anyway, if you asked me the model of my iPhone, all I could say is "it's pink and it doesn't crack anymore, also I wish Siri would leave me alone."

And what software?

I like to live dangerously by browsing with BLEEDING EDGE browser versions like Chrome Canary and Firefox Dev AKA Aurora. Sure, it makes doing video conferencing a living hell because there's always a browser update that breaks it, but video conferencing is supposed to be a living hell to prepare us for the real one.

Over the past month I've been writing all my code in Glitch, but outside of that I've been using Atom. I use the regular Terminal.app that my computers come with but they work for me thanks to custom dotfiles that I've made to add emoji to bash and each command start by addressing me as "princess jenn."

I always have an IRC client, Slack, a BLEEDING EDGE browser, Spotify, and Messages open. Today I had to open Skype, which has been emotionally taxing. Please keep me in your thoughts.

What would be your dream setup?

I would love a 13" Macbook Air that can have 16GB+ of memory. And I would like to be able to take it apart to mod it like I used to be able to do to all my old iBooks. I also wish Apple would stop doing that thing where they decide to Thunderbolt everything and then a year later USB-C everything. And taking away the headphone jack was annoying as fuck. I used to build machines for Windows and Linux, but they work so unpredictably (if at all) with various peripherals (ie. any of the 900 projectors I encounter when speaking at conferences) that I cannot adopt them full-time unfortunately. Maybe one day. I just really want Siri to leave me alone.


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Zahra Zainal


Zahra Zainal

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Zahra Zainal, an illustrator and graphic recorder based in Melbourne, Australia.

What hardware do you use?

For illustration: I use a 12.9" iPad Pro + Apple Pencil.

I used to always carry a sketchbook for sketching on-the-go. Now, it's my iPad Pro. I'm pretty in love with how clean it is to use. I used to scan my paper drawings and refine them digitally, and the iPad cuts out that step altogether. It makes sharing stuff with clients easier too. It's also the closest thing to a digital sketchbook for me.. I found Cintiqs really hard to get used to!

For design work and admin: I currently have an iMac desktop, with a medium sized Intuos tablet. I'm about to switch over to a 15" MacBook Pro, as I need my entire set-up to be packable for travel.

For writing, exploration and planning: LAMY Safari rollerballs, and large, hard-cover ruled Moleskines. I always try to get Moleskines when they are on sale. Otherwise, it becomes a pretty pricey habit!

I'm also using a Moleskine Monthly notebook to plan. It helps me see what I've spent my time doing, and what I'll be doing in the future. I draw little heart characters at the end of my week, which indicate the overall vibe of the past 7 days.

Bose noise-cancelling headphones help me get into Concentration Zone.

And what software?

Procreate on the iPad Pro is simply divine. The Procreate interface responds the usage patterns of long-time Photoshop users, who are starting to make the switch over to devices. I also sometimes like Tayasui Sketches Pro, or Adobe Sketch for their brushes and blending.

The Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, mainly Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat.

Google Docs and Sheets for planning and sharing.

What would be your dream setup?

A super light, strong, foldable laptop that packs into its own tiny bag. It can also transform into a tablet, to be used with a responsive, pencil-like stylus. It's like if this Kathmandu foldable backpack, the MacBook Pro and the iPad Pro had a baby. Same Moleskin diaries, except they now weigh nothing. THE MOST ULTRA LIGHT SET-UP!

A sun-filled home studio to work out of, or on an Internet-equipped boat, with the sea in front of me.

My cat sitting on my lap as I work, but by choice. This is the part of the dream that is probably hardest to achieve.


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Katie Rose Pipkin


Katie Rose Pipkin

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm KR Pipkin, I make generative books, bots, games, and software. I also make drawings on paper, and collaborative work under the label Withering Systems. I'm currently in Pittsburgh, PA, at Carnegie Mellon University. Right now, I'm thinking a lot about the commodification of commons on the internet.

What hardware do you use?

A MacBook Pro, fairly close to the start of its life. A Brother laser printer and a Star receipt printer. I keep notes in the Mac OS Stickies app (some hundreds of thousands of words at this point) and I keep a physical notebook of no particular brand which fills up roughly every 8 months and gets placed on a shelf with the others.

(I'm also currently borrowing an AxiDraw pen plotter, which has changed my life!)

I generally travel as much as I can, so much of my work becomes centered on the screen or is pocket-sized. I'm still getting used to having a studio where I can gather equipment. It is a luxury~

And what software?

Almost entirely just JavaScript/Node.js. I sometimes end up using various JS frameworks, or Unity, but I tend to regret it – right now it is easier to just roll my own systems than deal with confusing documentation or other people's solutions. I'm looking forward to having a project that needs a level of system management beyond my capacities, though!

What would be your dream setup?

Um, well, I'd really like more toys to be honest. I'd love to have a good color printer or a risograph. I'd die for a plotter of my very own. I think a touchscreen or Wacom tablet would change my process in possibly-interesting ways. I'm interested in drones. I love arches paper and copic pens. I miss living with a piano.

(I'd really like all of these things in house in a desert.)


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Nora Reed


Nora Reed

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Nora Reed, and mostly I'm known for making Twitter bots. My most well known ones are @thinkpiecebot, @infinite_scream, and @TumblrSimulator, but I have over 70.

What hardware do you use?

Currently, I use an ASUS ROG G752VY-DH72 gaming laptop – I wanted a PC that I could take to my lovefriend's house so that we can play Overwatch together from the same room, and I use the same machine for my bot work/writing/etc.

I also use a Logitech M570 trackball mouse, which, since it's a trackball, I can put anywhere. Right now I'm sitting cross-legged and it's on my foot.

I had to buy a special backpack to carry this monster of a laptop around, and Brinch is the only company that makes one that doesn't scream "gamer". I can put all my computer stuff in there and carry it around, though.

And what software?

I do most of my work from inside Chrome; I code everything in Tracery's visual editor and then copy it over to Cheap Bots Done Quick when I'm done. I often make lists in Notepad and then use delim.co to turn them into usable code.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm pretty happy with what I have, my only complaint is that the only laptop that I can use for both my art and gaming weighs approximately six thousand pounds. I could probably just get a lighter laptop to work on, but I am stubborn about using one machine to do everything. My dream setup is probably the same as what I'm already using, except with some kind of robot butler that carried it all around for me.


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