Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Cate Huston

Cate Huston

Mobile lead, Automattic

Who are you, and what do you do?

I work at Automattic as the 📱👑. Expressed in words rather than emoji (although why would you want to), I lead a team of 27, including designers, iOS, and Android developers. We work mainly on the WordPress mobile apps.

Outside of my job I have various projects, including running a newsletter called Technically Speaking with my friend Chiu-Ki.

What hardware do you use?

So much hardware. I have two phones, two tablets, and two computers.

Google Pixel - I love this phone. Great camera, fingerprint unlock. Big improvement hardware-wise on my last Android phone (I think that was a Nexus 5).

iPhone 7, in rose gold, super pretty, love the camera.

Pixel C with Keyboard. My "work tablet", actually I'm writing this on it. I love the keyboard, although hardware keyboard support on apps (even Gmail!) is not always the best. I prefer working on this than the iPad, partly because of the keyboard, partly because the Google apps are better. I just wish emoji was easier. Also pro-tip: at airports they think it's a laptop. Which I guess is fair - it's about as heavy as one.

iPad Air 2. My fun tablet, I mostly use it to watch TV shows in the gym and on planes. I sometimes write on it, or read articles.

2016 Macbook, pink. My personal computor, aka "pinkputor". It's tiny and light enough to carry in most of my handbags (weighs less than the Pixel C), and completely adorable. But also fast and powerful enough to do most things I want to do on it without any problems (even running Android Studio!)

2016 MacBook Pro, Space Grey 13". Work computer. Yes I have the Touch Bar. I didn't realise until I got it that it has Touch ID on it! That's super awesome. I'm so tired of constantly typing passwords.

Kindle. Love that thing. I don't read books any other way.

I used to have a pink Apple Watch, but it died. Before I had a Moto 360. I prefer the Android Watch UX, but they don't seem to make them for women - they are all too big for my wrists. For now, I've given up on smart watches. I have a Nike Fuelband which tells me the time, and a Spire that tells me when I seem tense.

Aside from devices, headphones are important to me. I've not bought Earpods (yet!) - they look nice, but I have too many Android devices and I'm worried I'll lose them. I love my noise cancelling Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones, and after years of searching I've finally found the perfect Bluetooth headphones - beautiful pink Sony h.ear on Wireless.

And what software?

Simplenote! I live in this app. It's where I keep my running documents of things to do or think about in a given week, where I draft all my blog posts and letters. It syncs across every device, so I always have it there to capture what I'm thinking.

WordPress - so much WordPress! I run my main site (cate.blog) on it, and also my photo blog (photo.cate.blog) and various other sites. We also use it very heavily at work. I tend to use the web on the computers, and the apps on my devices.

GitHub. For code and issues, but we also use it for Technically Speaking

Google Docs. For things that can't be checked into GitHub (or shared on a blog).

TinyLetter. We use this for Technically Speaking, and I also use it for my personal newsletter Where the Hell is Cate.

Slack. Main communication for work (aside from internal blogs, or "p2s"). I also co-admin a Slack team for newer eng managers.

Twitter. I use DMs instead of texting and most of my friends are on there!

GMail. I hate email. For my personal inbox I mainly respond in The Email Game. The UX is not the best, but it makes me respond to 50 emails at a time which is helpful.

Photo apps (mainly iPhone): Google Photos, Instagram, Rookie Cam (so many filters), and the one I made - Show & Hide.

Spotify - on all my devices, I listen to music constantly.

Xcode and Android Studio - because I'm still a developer at heart :) Also SourceTree, because I find it makes Git easier.

What would be your dream setup?

I wish Apple and Android devices worked together better. Sometimes I use my Android phone more, but I can't pair it with my Watch (and when I had an Android wear, I couldn't pair it with my iPhone). I can't use my Android Tablet with my Apple TV. If things work across platform, it's normally because of the apps. Although I'm currently a bit mystified as to how Google Photos has selected which photos to back up from my iPhone and why it didn't back up all of them. I find myself going to certain devices for certain things, and sometimes this is good - like having a separate device with all my work accounts. But for my personal stuff, I wish it would flow between things more easily.

This is also the case within platforms when it comes to developer tooling. Why can't I run things on my phones from Xcode or Android Studio via Bluetooth?

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