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Becky Stern

Director of wearable electronics (Adafruit)

in hacker, mac, teacher, video

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Becky Stern, director of wearable electronics at Adafruit, a DIY kit and educational company in New York City. Our goal is to make the world a better place through the sharing of information to help inspire the next generation of makers, artists, hackers, designers and engineers. I make step­-by-­step guides for building electronics into your clothing and accessories, teaching hardware, software, and textile techniques along the way. I'm a video producer and an equal­-opportunity hobbyist :)

What hardware do you use?

I use a high­-specced iMac for most of my heavy­-duty video editing, with 24TB of external storage split between work and home for backing up everything I've ever made in more than one location. I also rock a stickered 13" MacBook Air when I'm on the go. For focusing in an active factory environment, I wear a pair of Sennheiser 518 headphones. I recently upgraded from a Nexus 4 to a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone. I prefer to think of it as a tiny tablet that also makes phone calls.

For recording project videos and photos, I use a Nikon 5100 camera with 35mm and 40mm prime lenses. I suspend the camera over my work station with a Manfrotto Magic Arm with Super Clamp or Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod. For capturing voice I'll use either Sennhesiser G3 wireless transmitter/receiver pair or a Zoom H4N audio recorder. My favorite light source is the sun, and I fill it with a Westcott Spiderlite TD6 with softbox and an Avenger stand. For more about my documentation setup, check out this MAKE article.

To build projects, I rely on my Hakko FX-­888 soldering iron, Singer CONFIDENCE sewing machine, Gingher shears, and Akro­Mils organization bins & drawers. My desk and chair is from Global Industrial.

And what software?

In order of frequency of use:

Chrome, Safari, 1Password, Wordpress, Final Cut Pro X, Arduino, Wirecast, Google Drive, Dropbox for Business, Google Hangouts, HipChat, MPEG Streamclip, Photoshop, Illustrator.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd really like one of those motorized standing/sitting desks, but the "everything within reach all the time" aspect of my space restricts that idea (I have shelves and louvered bin panels affixed to my desk), and I find myself standing a fair amount anyway. I'm about to put arm rests on my chair, which is a big deal for me. Otherwise I have every tool I could ever need, and access to dozens more if I ever feel compelled.