The Setup

I, being the geeky girl that I am, was really fascinated by the Use This interviews wherein designers, developers and writers detail the hardware and software they use on a daily basis. I’m not nearly as famous or influential but if you’re interested in the things I use, read on.

Who are you?

I’m just going to skip this part ’cause I’m not famous or anything. Suffice it to say I do a lot of graphic design work, primarily of the print variety. I also spend a lot of time organizing data for the community theatre I volunteer with which means I make lots of forms, keep lots of spreadsheets, and actually (yes, in 2012) print lots of things onto actual trees.

What hardware are you using?

My personal Mac of choice is a 13″ MacBook Pro and is about three years old. At home, it’s connected to an ancient Cinema Display which, while old, serves me just fine. At work, I use a mid-2010 27″ iMac but have a 15″ MacBook Pro for use when I travel or give presentations. I mouse using an older Wacom Graphire on my desktop; mice, even the Magic Mouse, exacerbates my wrist troubles. I also have a new iPad which I primarily use for reading and low-key work like note taking. My previous iPad didn’t have the ability to be connected to an external display so I look forward to seeing whether I do more of that with the iPad as opposed to a laptop with this new model.

The iPhone 4S is my life. It’s presently my favorite device and I wish I could figure out how to make it my primary machine. I’m a designer though, and I do actually like typing on a physical keyboard, so that’s not going to actually happen, but in all other respects it’s incredible. It’s fast, the display is brilliant, and I’m so much more productive now that my calendar is in my pocket at all times.

My home printer is a Samsung CLP-315 color laser. Due to my work with the theatre, I do a lot of printing because often we don’t have the budget for commercial print jobs.

I take photos with a Canon Rebel XSi with its standard lens for close and portrait shots and use a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens for distance. I know a lot of people have been moving increasingly to their iPhones as their primary cameras but I just don’t get the kind of control I want from it. Unless I know a photo is destined for social media, I don’t use my phone.

And what software?

I use the CS5 Design Standard for my creative work, primarily Photoshop and InDesign; I don’t do much illustration but I spend a lot of time laying out documents for print and editing photos for those documents. For less intensive projects which aren’t destined for a commercial print shop, I use Pages. It’s got the most killer gridline system I’ve ever used and is an absolute dream when it comes to inserting and modifying images. I love Coda for any web work I do for my actual day job and the theatre.

For media consumption—and I do a lot of that—I prefer Reeder, Tweetbot, and Instapaper for reading, tweeting, and later-reading respectively. My daily news comes primarily through blogs, newspaper websites, and Twitter, and these tools help me control the flow. I read actual books using the Kindle app, primarily because books from Amazon are almost always cheaper than their iBooks counterpart, not because I necessarily love it more. Sharing things I read and communicating with my friends is done through Cloud and Messages.

I take notes with Pad & Quill, keep my schedule in iCal, my to-dos in Things, and my browser of choice is Safari. I would probably die if Dropbox didn’t exist because keeping my life in order across multiple machines is critical. Recipes live in MacGourmet and I use my iPad in the kitchen. Awaken gets me up every morning.

My favorite game is Puzzlejuice although I also have a Wii, Xbox 360 and Kinect, and DS Lite. I blame previous boyfriends for getting me on the Nintendo bandwagon as my console of choice; while the Kinect has been fun, the interface on the 360 is the most awful thing I’ve ever used since I ditched my last Windows machine. My cats like to play Cat Fishing 2 and Paint for Cats.

What would be your dream setup?

The tools I have now really meet my needs. The laptop-connected-to-a-display setup gives me a lot of power and flexibility and I’ve got the mobile tools to take my tech with me. Honestly, the thing I want most in my day job is a window to the outdoors!

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