Uses This

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A picture of Adrian Hon

Adrian Hon

CEO (Six to Start)

in game, mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m CEO and lead designer at Six to Start. We’re best known for making Zombies, Run!, a smartphone fitness game with ten million players, and we’re launching Marvel Move this summer too. I’ve also made games and weird interactive experiences like The Walk, We Tell Stories, and Perplex City.

Outside of my day job, I do a lot of speaking and writing about games and technology. Last year, my book critiquing gamification, You’ve Been Played: How Corporations, Governments, and Schools Use Games to Control Us All was published. I recently wrapped up a monthly column for EDGE magazine, I do various bits and pieces for newspapers, and I have a newsletter, Have You Played?, where I talk about a new game each week; my 12,000 word deep-dive on Disney’s Galactic Starcruiser “Star Wars hotel” is the most popular one so far!

What hardware do you use?

I use a MacBook Pro 14” M1 Pro for all my work, with a Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Magic Trackpad. The MacBook sits on a Twelve South Curve stand next to my Apple Studio Display; I love how I can use a single Thunderbolt cable for power and data into the laptop. I occasionally test our apps, so I have a Pixel 7a and an Apple Watch Series 8.

If there’s no-one else around to disturb, I’ll just use the Studio Display mic and speakers for everything, but otherwise I listen to music on AirPods Max and do calls on AirPods Pro. The built-in webcam on the Studio Display is good enough since I have good natural lightning where I work, but if I’m on a really important call, I’ll usually mount my iPhone 13 Pro with a Belkin iPhone Magsafe Mount for Mac Desktops on the Studio Display for that sweet depth of field, and use my Blue Yeti mic with pop guard.

Also on my desk: an Elgato Stream Deck with shortcuts for apps and websites and controlling Zoom, plus a Magsafe charger in a Twelve South Forté desktop stand, plus an Apple Watch fast charger on top. There’s an LED bar lamp with swing arm clamped to desk which cycles between different light temperatures, which is handy during the long Scottish nights.

Furniture-wise, Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, and I sit on an old second hand Steelcase Leap chair whose arms are disintegrating.

That’s my setup for my day job and writing. I play a lot of games for my newsletter and journalism, so I have all the things: a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, original Nintendo Switch, Playdate, Meta Quest 2 with Elite strap and extended battery, Apple TV 4K 64GB (2021), and a Steam Deck 512GB (plus Steam Dock).

Most of these are plugged into an 55” LG C8 OLED TV that itself is connected to a Sonos Arc, Sub Mini, and two Era 300 surround speakers. There’s also an 8Bitdo Pro 2 Bluetooth controller for the Steam Deck.

I do most of my reading on an iPad Pro 11” (2021). Oh, and I have a trusty Brother HL-L2360DN laser printer.

And what software?

We have a pretty normal setup at work: Slack, Jira, Notion, Dropbox, Google Workspace, that sort of thing. I’m an evangelist for MeetingBar, an app that tells you when your next online calls are coming up and lets you connect to them with a single click. Since Six to Start is completely remote, it’s a godsend. Also: Pastebot is amazing, I don’t know how writers and editors cope without it.

My own blog is hosted on Wordpress. I used to self-host but keeping it updated was a pain and quite expensive. My newsletter is on Substack, and I have a custom email on Fastmail.

Apple Notes and Apple Reminders are probably my most-used apps for my non-day job stuff. I’ll write 10,000+ word essays in Apple Notes because it has rock-solid syncing between all my devices, so I can jot down ideas and edit from anywhere. It’s pretty scary that it doesn’t have revision history, though. I’ll use Google Docs and, rarely, Apple Pages for everything else.

I wrote my most recent book in Scrivener but, if I’m being honest, I could’ve done most that in Apple Notes too, it’s just that it made me feel more of an Actual Writer to be using Scriviner.

I use BetterTouchTool to create shortcuts on my keyboard and trackpad; three-finger swipes for volume control, remapping keys to control apps, and so on. AirBuddy is really helpful for forcing my Airpods Pro to connect to my computer for calls when I’ve been listening to podcasts on my phone.

I do a lot of my internet reading via RSS, using a combination of Feedly and Reeder; other long articles get saved to Instapaper or Apple Books. I have a lifetime membership to Plex, which works really nicely running on my MacBook, even when it’s asleep.

Finally, Audio Hijack for recording my system audio for podcasts; SwiftScan on my phone for scanning in paper documents (there are probably better apps but I got a lifetime membership ages ago); and Ivory for posting to Mastodon and reading Bluesky via the Sky Bridge “magic server”.

What would be your dream setup?

I like buying new tech, but to be honest I’m pretty happy with my setup. If everything blew up tomorrow however, I’d get an Apple Pro Display XDR with an Insta360 Link webcam, and MacBook Pro 14” with M2 Max chip.

I might get a nicer Uplift LED Desk Lamp E7 with Clamp, and I’d definitely get a new Steelcase Gesture office chair. The one thing I don’t have is a proper gaming PC, but I hate using Windows and having a box lying around, so maybe I’d get the new Asus ROG Strix Scar X3D laptop.

I used to think my current TV was a bit dark, but then someone pointed out I could just turn off Eco mode to boost the brightness, so now it’s fine. Still, I like the look of the 65” LG G3 OLED TV, which supports VRR and is even brighter.