We are in the middle of an interesting transformation in our relationship to technology: we carry incredibly powerful computers in our pockets and use them to play music and make phone calls; we blithely upload and store files that would have seemed ridiculously huge 20 years ago; we work with far-flung people using a combination of remote communications technologies that allow us to swap files or stream audio and video.
There are a lot of really powerful technologies out there, and the only thing more pleasurable than finding a way to make them work for us is finding out how other people might be using them too.
I'm excited to introduce a new, regular Q&A feature. Windows Supersite will be talking to a wide variety of tech-savvy professionals to see what tech makes their jobs (and their lives) better or worse. Please enjoy our inaugural Q&A.
Who are you?
Describe your current hardware set-up: What kind of desktop or laptop computer(s) do you work on and what operating system are they running?
I run 2 different setups:
At the office, I use a 2013 MacBook Pro that runs OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) paired with a 21” Thunderbolt display. For personal projects, I rely on my personal rig: a 13” MacBook Pro running OS X 10.11 (El Capitan). That’s usually paired with a Wacom Bamboo tablet.
What desktop apps do you absolutely depend on to do your job?
Which desktop apps do you absolutely depend on to do your life?
Which desktop app(s) do you begrudgingly use and why? What would you change about these apps if you could?
Adobe’s Creative Suite. Every time I open up Illustrator or Photoshop, I get a little bit sad over what they could be. Adobe CS is incredibly powerful and flexible, but it’s incredibly bloated and slow-moving, which burns valuable time. I’ll still use them when Sketch doesn’t fit the bill, but only when it is absolutely non-negotiable.
What's your current mobile set-up? How many different devices do you have and what do you use them for?
I travel light - an iPhone 6 and an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. The phone is used for everything from photos (VSCO) to list-keeping (Wunderlist) to client demos (InVision, Principle, and Sketch Mirror). The Kindle carries my entire library in my back pocket - essential when I need to look something up or just escape to another world for a little bit while I’m on the train.
What are your must-have mobile apps? Why?
VSCO has been invaluable for capturing moments. The photo quality and ability to edit on the go is really awesome. I’m constantly listening to podcasts, so Marco Armament’s Overcast is an essential part of my day. Lastly, Audible is a must-have app for me. Audiobooks are the easiest way i’ve found to consume information and learn new things, and Audible is the best i’ve found for that.
What cloud-based services do you use and love? How do you use them and why do you love them?
I actually use a ton of cloud-based services — Wunderlist keeps my life in order, Evernote lets me not forget the ideas I have while I wander, InVision lets me demo, review and test designs anywhere I need, and Dropbox holds everything from wedding photos to personal projects.
Lastly, I’m an avid Slack user, both in work and in my personal life. I started just using it around the office, but it quickly turned into the best way to keep in touch with a whole community of creatives and friends from around the world.
What one weird and nonintuitive app or device helps you do your work better?
Nonstop audio. I rotate between Spotify, Overcast, and Audible while I work to keep my brain fresh and new ideas flowing.
What other tech in your life or household rocks your world?
I’m dreaming of a smart-house based around the Amazon Echo, but I’m not quite there yet. For now, I’m in love with my Nest thermostat and am hunting for the perfect combination of If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes to automate my life.