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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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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Kyle Kingsbury


Kyle Kingsbury

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name's Kyle Kingsbury, and for reasons I've never fully understood, machines around me tend to break down in unusual ways. I'm making the best of that curse by testing distributed systems to see whether they're safe. I introduce network partitions, clock skew, and other failures, and carefully observe the system I'm testing to see whether it loses data, makes stale or invalid data visible, or allows transactions to interleave improperly. I write reports and give talks on my research, and also offer consulting and training classes at companies and conferences.

In past lives I was a photographer, physics student, aikidoist, IT support person, network ops engineer, and backend developer. I've published some very minor research in Physical Review Letters on chaos in nonlinear quantum systems. I blog about software and wrote some open source projects, like Riemann. I've also made woodcuts, websites, 3D renderings, shirts, short stories, furniture, music, books.. and just finished making a lamp last week. I like creating things, even it's just as an amateur!

What hardware do you use?

The safety analysis work I do is CPU and memory intensive, and readily parallelizable. Comcast gave me an OSS research grant to build a machine for that work, so my desktop is a ridiculous 48-way Xeon (2x E5-2697v2), with 128GB of ECC DDR3 and 11 TB of miscellaneous SSDs & spinning rust. The motherboard is wonky and refuses to find half the disks on boot. You can crash the box by using certain USB ports. We have a complicated relationship.

There's definitely a trade-off between performance and being locked into a tiny set of weird motherboards that support that kind of hardware. I don't necessarily recommend it unless you like being the kind of person who opens their case every few weeks, muttering "what is it THIS time" under their breath.

I use a standard layout Das Keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches, and cannot believe that I'm the sort of person who cares about that. Maybe it comes with bring a Vim user. There are no labels on the keycaps (it was the only model they had on sale) which means it takes me forever to type passwords — and every time I use Mutt is a game of Russian Roulette. I use a Logitech G5 laser mouse, which may be the closest to the Platonic ideal pointing device as it is possible for late-stage capitalism to produce.

My display is a 32-inch 4k Dell — I think it's a UP3216Q. It's a wonderful screen for editing photographs and for rendering lots of xterms, which, let's face it, is 90% of my computing life.

I sometimes shoot with a Nikon D700, which has spectacular autofocus and low-light performance — but when traveling I prefer my D7000 with a 28-300mm Nikkor. It's lighter, offers better resolution, and that lens is incredibly versatile. I really like Nikon's ergonomics, though most of my photo friends shoot with Canon.

Some of my talk slides are drawn using Sakura technical pens and Whitelines grid notebooks. I take photos with my phone or camera on a tripod, and clean them up in GIMP. That process doesn't work well for color work or for editing on planes before the talk, so I've moved to an iPad Air 2 with the Paper app and Pencil stylus. It's honestly kind of a pain — the stylus is unreliable and palm rejection doesn't work, so I have to redraw things a whole bunch. But the flexibility, and being able to spit out a PDF with a few taps is great.

And what software?

I run Debian (hi Jess!). It's mostly stock except for ZFS, and using OpenBox+GKrellM+xfce-panel as my window manager. I love having virtual workspaces and configurable bindings for everything. I use irssi for IRC, Mutt/Geary for mail, Chromium for browsing, and Pidgin for IM. I edit photos in darktable and The GIMP, and do my vector work in Inkscape. Morganastra sold me on the Fish shell a few years ago and I've never looked back.

I'm hopelessly reliant on middle-click-paste. Laptop trackpads drive me nuts. This is entirely my own fault.

Every so often I try to become a Normal Computer User so I can spend less time futzing with my weird tools, try OS X for a week, and give up. At this point I live in perpetual, mild trepidation that the people who maintain the Galapagos island of software I rely on will stop caring, stranding me in desktop Linux limbo.

I have a terrible memory and need to see everything on the screen at once, or I'll forget! So when I'm writing software I live in six to twelve gnome-terminals. Most are running Vim, editing the different namespaces I'm calling through at that time. Then there's usually a clojure repl, and a test runner that automatically reloads and runs tests when I write files to disk. Maybe a window for git commands and running various tools.

I think I learned this way of working from my Dad, who's a UNIX hacker — works on filesystems, operating systems, that kind of thing. We were chatting about work setups last year, and even though he works in C and I'm using this high-level functional Lisp, we still use the same tools. We both have poor memories and have to see the whole call stack laid out across the screen in order to reason about a program! I see people program in one window on a laptop sometimes, and that just seems like… some kind of code sorcery! Must be cool.

Aphyr.com is a big mass of custom Ruby+Sinatra running on a Linode. Jepsen.io is a Clojure site, running on Skyliner. The articles are written in Markdown and preprocessed with Pandoc. There's a lot of LaTeX in my life, come to think of it.

There are a bunch of miscellaneous Clojure, Ruby, and Perl scripts for various things too. You know those movies — like, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, or Wallace and Gromit — where they pan through an inventor's household and they have all these ridiculous gizmos for making eggs and answering the phone? That's kinda what my ~/bin is like. There are daemons for taking ZFS snapshots and backing things up to my NAS and S3. Keeping SSH reverse tunnels open. Scripts for tearing apart PDFs, adding my signature to a page, and stitching them back together again. Spinning up clusters of Debian nodes in LXC for Jepsen tests. Setting the color of the lights in my living room by generating color schemes and downloading them from websites. Rsyncing my phone's photos to an SFTP drop. There's a daemon on aphyr.com that parses email describing current prices in EVE Online's market, loads that into sqlite, and uses a hilarious n-way self-join to pathfind efficient trading routes. Compute Goldberg machines everywhere.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm sure there's an upper limit to the number of xterms I can reasonably have in front of me, but I don't think I'm anywhere near it yet. A 50" curved display might be nice? Also I'd like keys with labels on them, so you could tell what buttons will, say, mark an email as unread vs delete the entire thread and forward jockstrap selfies to your clients.

Also a computer which turns on reliably and doesn't crash when you plug in a keyboard. Maybe I'm setting unrealistic goals here.

On the software front, I'm still hunting for a good email client. Geary's typography is confusing, Mutt is nice but I really like being able to see prior emails while composing a new one, and Thunderbird crashes every ten minutes. I'd also like better color management in Linux, but I can't even begin to characterize how the current setup is broken.

I'm also blowing enough money on AWS clusters these days that it might be cost-effective to build a physical 5-node cluster for Jepsen testing in my apartment. That'd be pretty swell, because LXC containers all share the same clock, which keeps me from testing clock skew locally.


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Larry Crane


Larry Crane

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Larry Crane. I am the editor and founder (1996) of Tape Op Magazine; a mag about the art of recording music. I founded Jackpot! Recording Studio in 1997 and have produced, recorded, and mixed many artists, including Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney, The Go-Betweens, She & Him, and many more. I am also a musician, and have made records and toured as a band member. I also do instructional videos about music recording and mixing for lynda.com.

What hardware do you use?

Many analog recording devices. A 32 channel Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console allows analog mixing and monitoring, even of digitally recorded music. I have three Otari tape decks set up for 24- and 16-track on 2-inch tape and a 1/4-inch deck for mixing to. I have BURL and Avid converters for taking the sound from analog to digital and back. A vintage EMT 140 plate reverb provides great effects. I have over 100 microphones of all types.

And what software?

I use Pro Tools 12 HD as it’s the most commonly used in music recording. I am a huge fan of iZotope RX5 which allows detailed sound restoration and editing. The Universal Audio UAD platform hosts some of my favorite plug-ins for mixing use.

What would be your dream setup?

After 20 years of running a commercial studio I feel I have surrounded myself with amazing tools. I wouldn’t mind a Pro Tools HDX system in order to cut out latency issues, but the cost is ridiculous and it also limits your system from running other DAW software, like Logic. Annoying. Buying and maintaining computer systems for a pro studio is frustrating and not very satisfying compared to buying and using quality analog gear, but it is how the marketplace works now.


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Jem Selig Freeman


Jem Selig Freeman

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jem Selig Freeman and I run a furniture design and manufacturing business called Like Butter. We make a whole range of our own furniture and other custom jobs that come our way. I trained as an Industrial Designer with very few skills, then formed the business with Laura Woodward (now married!) – she taught me to weld, and everything since has been self taught and developed on the job.

What hardware do you use?

An abbreviated list in order of current perceived importance: Multicam CNC Router, Lamello Zeta P2, SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw, Festool ETS 150/5 sander, cheap eBay calipers, Tajima tape measure, Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones, iPad Pro, iPhone 6, unbranded workstation PC, twin 24" Dell IPS displays, Canon 7D. My all-time favorite PC keyboard is the Dell SK-8115.

And what software?

Chrome and Gmail because the emails are endless. Rhino 5 is our standard CAD package in the business – this started as a budgetary consideration but has since become our best friend for all drafting, designing and CNC preparation. For CNC programming we use EnRoute 5 and 6. SketchUp gets a look-in occasionally when I need to mock up an image for a client in a hurry.

On the iPad Pro I use Adobe Sketch for drawing and the iOS Notes app for organising my daily tasks and client meeting notes.

WorkFlowy and Slack form our task management and team communications package – they're both fantastic for managing a small team and 30-60 jobs per month. I use Adobe Lightroom to manage and edit product documentation.

What would be your dream setup?

It's almost there, really – I'm always pushing for less dust and more light, so I suppose the dream would be a clean-room with powerful centralised dust extraction and stacks of natural light through double glazed windows. A lush country paddock for morning tea and maybe a deaf workshop dog to play frisbee. More robots, always more robots, a wide belt thickness sander and some general assembly robotic arms.

All that said, the heart of Like Butter is the team – I'm really lucky to have found and been found by an awesome squad of talented individuals.


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Jamie Sanchez


Jamie Sanchez

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jamie Sanchez, a full-time creative consultant. My bread and butter is custom WordPress development for clients but I frequently work on branding, event planning, and community building projects for Chicago-based nerds and organizations.

My biggest personal project is Bit Bash, an interactive art festival celebrating games with artistic intent, local cooperative games, and unique installations like VR or custom controllers you'd only find in a festival or museum setting.

My other main project is AnimeChicago, a non-profit anime club catering to young professionals in their 20s and 30s who deep-dive into the academic side of the medium.

Lastly, I'm also a WordPress Mentor for Skillcrush where I help new developers launch their freelance businesses or make drastic career changes to pursue a more fulfilling life.

What hardware do you use?

I'm using a maxed-out 2009 MacBook Pro that desperately needs replacement. I've loaded this machine with 8GB sticks of RAM, upgraded to a blazing fast SSD, and have even swapped the little $6 feet when they started chipping off. It's on its second battery and the “Service Battery" notice came back a few months ago. I'm a firm believer that technology shouldn't mirror fast fashion, and that minimalism includes caring for your tech items long term.

My productivity increases with dual monitors, so I'm using a 27 inch LG at home and a hand-me-down Wacom Cintiq 20 with busted pen input at my co-working desk. Magic Mouse, Bluetooth keyboard, and headphones are a must for desk mode.

And what software?

Most of my design time is spent in Illustrator and Sketch since I work on both print and web projects frequently. Craft does a good job filling in the gaps between Sketch's native tools. Photoshop is still my BFF photo editing suite. I also do some digital illustration on the side but have been waffling between SketchBook, Clip Studio, and Krita. Utilities like Noun Project, RightFont, LittleIpsum, and Sip make the day a little easier.

WordPress websites are a strange blend between admin GUI and text editing. I spend hours each day in Sublime Text and have really customized the environment, but the allure of Visual Studio Code is growing strong. I've used dozens of file transfer tools but Transmit really takes the cake. Chrome has been my go-to testing tool but my BrowserStack subscription has been absolutely invaluable for debugging and launching websites as a solo developer. Command line is fine but visual tools like CodeKit and Patterns really help dispel some cognitive load.

As for productivity software.. I have opinions. OmniFocus is a great tool but leaves a lot to be desired for long-term planning, so some Google Sheet worksheets fill in those gaps. For collaboration needs, Slack, Dropbox, and Google Docs have worked perfectly. 1Password, Focus, Calendly, Harvest, YNAB, and Quickbooks Self-Employed have paid for themselves a thousand times over. I absolutely love Spotify and Numi, which are just nice perks.

What would be your dream setup?

Realistically: The latest 15" MBP all tricked out, three new 27" displays for all three desks, Cintiq 13HD tablet, and the best noise-cancelling headphones and dictation software suite on the market.

Fantasy land: A tablet like the iPad Pro, with high-end pen sensitivity like a Cintiq, maxed out like a pro-gamer tower, that could function as my primary machine and dock into any station imaginable. Just output to a desk setup with monitor/mouse/keyboard setup, plug right into a VR setup, stream to a media system, or transform right into a karaoke suite.

Someday, I'm sure!


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Dana Schwartz


Dana Schwartz

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I'm Dana Schwartz and I'm an entertainment writer at the Observer. I also wrote a Young Adult novel that's coming out in May called AND WE'RE OFF, and I'm writing a memoir that's going to come out.. sometime after I finish writing it.

What hardware do you use?

I'm constantly on my iPhone 6. I write on a 2016 MacBook Air that I had to buy because I dropped my previous laptop in my eagerness to get to the door for my Seamless delivery and cracked the screen. Internet distraction is a huge problem for me, and so I also invested in a Freewrite – a typewriter that saves your work and uploads it directly to the cloud. I find I use it a lot for diary writing and idea generating. I'm terrible at maintaining physical journals even though I love writing by hand. I tend to use whichever one of the millions I've bought is nearest to me at the moment, and I always lose them before they're filled up.

My physical planner is essential though – I'm not an iCal person. I need my to-do list and schedules on paper, written in front of me, or I'll never remember to do anything.

And what software?

The Twitter app: constantly, obsessively, to my detriment. I used to write in Microsoft Word, but when I got the new computer I didn't want to buy it again, and so I've been writing in Google Docs. At work, we're putting our articles up through WordPress. I've taken classes on Adobe Premiere for editing videos, but honestly when I'm doing something for work I usually fall back on my middle school instincts and use iMovie because it's so much quicker for me.

What would be your dream setup?

A giant, very neat, gorgeous desk with fresh flowers and a notebook and a black pen that you don't have to press too hard and doesn't bleed through the page. And a laptop that's not connected to the internet. And my phone very far away, in the other room, which will only ding if someone really cool texts me. And a nice view.


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Daniel Zarick


Daniel Zarick

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Daniel Zarick and I live in Chicago. Right now I'm wandering a fair bit, trying to write more, and exploring new projects. Mostly I design+build building software and websites. That said, I don't really think of myself as a designer or a programmer, and generally try to avoid defining myself with -er words. People pay me to do those things, but I like to think my skills are in figuring out interesting and creative solutions to problems. The output for those solutions just happens to be mostly code.

What hardware do you use?

Right now I use an 11" Macbook Air from a few years ago. I've been considering upgrading to a newer MacBook Pro to get some more power and a Retina screen (it's difficult to design websites and apps these days without Retina), but I'm finding the current iteration of Apple laptops to be uninspired. Otherwise, I always have a nice pair of earbuds in my pocket. This pair is nice, but I'm not religious about any specific brand.. I rotate every few years as I beat them up. I take photos with a Leica Q (new purchase, but a very good one. I love it.). I have an iPhone 6s, but am always trying to use my Punkt MP 01 more to get away from smartphones and apps.

And what software?

Mostly write code in Atom but might go back to Textmate (less stuff, simpler). I design sometimes in Sketch, and do command line things in iTerm. Chrome for my browser, Messages.app for texting my friends during the workday, Google Hangouts in the browser, and Letterspace for note-taking. Unfortunately I use Spotify for music (RIP Rdio. Typical, I know. A designer who misses Rdio). Outside of those, I try to stick to simple, great-at-what-they-do tools for little tasks (Miro Video Converter, GIF Brewery, Flinto for Mac, Dropbox, CloudApp, 1Password, f.lux, etc).

What would be your dream setup?

I like my tools simple and straight-forward. That said, my dream setup would be less tools. Less software. Less computers. Less phones. It'd be nice to feel less compelled to work on software and websites all the time. Maybe a cabin somewhere to escape to regularly. Happiness and creative fulfillment. Technology is difficult and frustrating.

But here I am, so I guess a new lightweight MacBook Pro with an amazing battery.


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Ashlyn Anstee


Ashlyn Anstee

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Ashlyn Anstee, and I'm a storyboard artist and director, who moonlights as an author, illustrator, and GIF maker! I currently work for Nickelodeon doing writing and boards for an unannounced project. I have two picture books out for little ones that I wrote and illustrated (No, No, Gnome! and Are We There, Yeti?), both with Simon & Schuster! I love writing and drawing and making things, in a lot of different forms.

What hardware do you use?

I swap it up a LOT. Just like with traditional media, my hardware changes depending on what I'm working on. I have a Cintiq Companion that I use for storyboarding at home, and occasionally work off of an old 2011 MacBook Pro if I want to type up something & don't want to lug around my Companion.

I keep my iPad Pro in my purse, with the Apple Pencil & keyboard ready to write and draw anywhere. It's become my mobile workstation of choice.

And what software?

Depends on what I'm doing!

  • iPad Sketching, I pretty much exclusively use Procreate.
  • Storyboarding, I mainly use Storyboard Pro, now!
  • Video/GIF editing, I use After Effects (I know – editing a whole video in AE seems like madness, and it is. Whoops!)
  • Illustration, I scan a lot of paintings, and prod at them in Photoshop!

What would be your dream setup?

If I could have all the power of the Cintiq Companion on something the size of the iPad Pro, it would be my dream. Having to only run iOS apps on such a great setup like the iPad is such a shame!


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Zoltan Istvan


Zoltan Istvan

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Zoltan Istvan, and I'm a futurist, journalist, and entreprenuer. Most people know me as one of the leaders of the transhumanist movement, a social movement of a few million people worldwide that want to use science and technology to radically modify the human being and human experience. I'm currently also running for California Governor under the Libertarian Party.

What hardware do you use?

Currently, I use a Toshiba Satellite laptop for most of my writing (I write journalism articles every week). But at home I also use an iPad Air for browsing and quick communication. And probably most of all, I use an iPhone 6S for calls, texts, and tweets.

I haven't been thrilled with the laptop, but it's such an ordeal to switch machines. But I was at Best Buy the other day looking at Microsoft Surfaces.

And what software?

Much of what I do revolves around Microsoft Word, since I write so frequently. So as a result, I'm still a PC guy when it comes to my laptops, and therefore a Windows person. I also use Yahoo SiteBuilder, for managing websites. It's simple stuff and quick and easy for me to update, or for designers to do so. But it's another PC application.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm not thrilled with Windows, but, again, it's hard to make the switch to anything else, so my dream setup would include a Microsoft Surface 4 with keyboard, with full Office suite built-in, and the latest version of Premiere. I do a lot of video and audio interiews.

Regarding my phone, I'm pretty thrilled with the capabilities of my iPhone and iPad. For me, the quest is really to upgrade to a better laptop, since that is such a vital component of my daily work life — and night life is watching videos too.


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