This post has been inspired by the following website: The Setup (http://usesthis.com). Warning: this website is a time sink.
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Duncan and I’m a designer that lives in Haarlem. I occasionally think of myself as a product designer, a graphic designer or an open source designer, depending on how much coffee I have consumed recently. I’m also @dncnmckn on Twitter.
What hardware do you use?
I’ve got a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge that is maxed out to the nines with 8GB RAM and 500MB HDD running Windows 7 linked up to a small Wacom Bamboo. This is the main workhorse for when I’m in, out, or shake it all about.
On top of that there’s an old white Macbook with OSX, an old iPad 64GB WiFi 3G, a very old blueberry iBook running OS 9.2 (for “experiments”), an Acer TravelMate, and a really old Dell Dimension that runs Ubuntu 12.04 to help me pretend that I’m really geeky. The theme here appears to be old, but why get new tools if the old ones still do the job?
I’ve got a really old Nokia N95 8GB that I’ve had forever. I don’t need a new phone that full of whizzbangs and the 5MegaPixel Carl Zeiss Optics are still pretty good for photos.
Plus, a lot of paper, colouring pens, pencils, hand tools and moleskines.
And what software?
I can’t live without Spotify as this creates the soundtrack to the studio. Also, mostly for professional work: Illustrator, PhotoShop and InDesign, Acrobat and Rhino 3D. For studio projects I try and use only use Open Source tools: Inkscape, MyPaint, GIMP, Scribus, Blender, Aptana Studio and Calibre are the most common. Where possible these are portable apps in my dropbox so I can access them anywhere and if my system should ever go down it takes about 5 minutes to be fully up-and-running again.
Blender is my new favourite tool because it can do so much, but I’m still learning it. I mostly use it for rendering and animating product concepts.
I’m learning Python (2.7) because I’m an autodidact and can’t stop learning and I use the Dell for this. A lot of Open Source graphics software add-ons can be created through Python and so knowledge of this could be useful in the future.
For web it’s a mix of Chrome or Firefox. I have never made the decision between which one. Firefox is Open Source, but I use Google Apps and the Chrome integration is great.
The iPad is stripped down and pretty much contains bookmarks, iBooks (for instruction manuals, technical documentation, etc), Kindle (for novels: mostly sci fi, fantasy and beat generation related), Readability (for articles), Skype, Twitter, Alien Blue (for Reddit) and a selection of games for my 3 year old who know how to use it better than I.
What would be your dream setup?
One day I’d love to be able to run everything through Ubuntu on a maxed-out desktop, the largest Ubuntu One cloud storage there is, 2 large screens and a set of really good speakers. Plus, a small Ubuntu notebook for sketching, presentations, coding, tweaking and writing for when I’m out and about with clients.
I’d also love a makerbot or similar home 3D printer and a small home lasercutter in the studio. That would be fun.