We’re regular readers of The Setup. We really like it. We like it so much that we’re doing a local version for the Lab. Matt is up first.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Matt Phillips.
I work in the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. I try to make libraries better, usually by writing software.
What hardware do you use?
When I’m not in the office I use an i5, 15″ Mac Book Pro. I love this machine.
We have a few Dell PowerEdge machines sitting in a closet upstairs we use for testing, data crunching, and to serve up our public site. We also have a couple of Amazon EC2 instances we use for Library News and a skunkworks project.
That’s the bigger hardware.
My head spends about a third of its day wrapped in Sennheiser HD 515 headphones.
I occasionally break out of the digital world and scratch things out on paper. This usually happens when I’m trying to architect a piece of system or I’m working through some tough logic. I’ve found that I really like strips of paper for drawing out ideas. 8.5″ x 11″ pieces cut lengthwise are perfect.
Rollerball pens are my go to.
Paper also enters my workspace when I’m proofing a draft of a blog entry or something that I think might reach more than a handful friendly people. Paper and pen are so easy to use. They require very little cognitive overhead. They let you focus on the content and not the tools.
I have a first generation iPad and a third generation Kindle, but I rarely use them. If I want to do computer stuff, I use my laptop. If I want to read a book, I’m generally on paper. I’m not a paper fetishist, it’s just that my library generally lends me non-digital items.
My iPhone 4s gets regular use during the day. I use it for music and for quick pictures and videos.
And what software?
I rely heavily on Quicksilver for application launching.
I have a whole bunch of different user accounts and API keys. I use Keychain to keep track of them.
I manage myself using lists. Lately, I’ve been hot on Trello.
Spotify for tunes.
I like to check the weather to see if I’ll be able to spin the bicycle around for a few miles after work. I’m into WeatherSpark for forecasts.
What would be your dream setup?
I could go wild with the dream setup, but I feel like bounding it a bit. Here’s what I think might be feasible in a couple years with a generous office budget.
I want a really great laptop. A third generation, i7, Retina display, 15 inch MacBook Pro. I’d pair it with a 27” Apple Thunderbolt Display. I’d pile all of that on a standing/sitting desk.
I’d also create an ideal office space. No office mates. A glass wall that insulates sound very well. I want to be able to see what’s going on in the common work areas and I want people to see that they can get me if needed, but I don’t want the noise when I’m focusing. I’m sold on the Joel Spolsky office setup.
Quick access to great coffee and water would be nice too.