Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done

A picture of Charlie Gleason

Charlie Gleason

Designer (Heroku), developer, musician

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Charlie Gleason, a designer, developer, musician. I push pencils and pixels at Heroku, working on brand, design, and front end development. I have a deep affection for creative coding, and released a library, Sandpit, to make it easier to experiment with. I also spent a bunch of time on exploring music and the web, with projects like Tweetflight, Drag It Down On You, and Koya. I studied design at university, and then went back to do computer science, and then went back to do sound production for a bit. I never want to stop learning.

What hardware do you use?

For most things, a MacBook Pro from 2012 that I affectionately call the Ship of Theseus --- every single piece has been replaced at one point or another. I tried to sell it recently and my cat bit through the display as I wrote the ad. It will bury me.

Other than that, I tend to sketch ideas out on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. I had initially thought the Apple Pencil was super gimmicky, but like everyone who hated on the AirPods, I was wrong. Plus I find it super cathartic to rotoscope photos while listening to plaintive folk. It's soup for the soul, especially if you've run out of actual soup.

For music I use a whole ton of bits and pieces I've collected over the years. The key pieces, beyond my laptop, are Teenage Engineering's OP-1, Novation's Launchpad, Focusrite's Scarlett 2i2, and a Radial DI and microphone splitter. I love Radial Engineering --- their stuff could fall out of a plane and it would still work. That's surprisingly rare with music gear.

And what software?

For design and development, Sketch and VS Code. The real secret sauce is the Operator Mono font, though. It makes all development infinitely better.

Oh, I also recently moved from Chrome to Safari, so I'm basically a maverick. AMA.

For music I use Ableton with Fabfilter's creative plugins. I love the design of Fabfilter. It has an incredibly clean, clear UI, which is beyond a rarity for software plugins.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be to live in a world without internet comments. If that's off the table, I'd settle with the smallest, most souped up MacBook Pro (sans touch bar) and a fancy Kindle Voyage. I lost my Kindle dragging my suitcase through a very snowy London and I'm terrified that eons from now someone will find it and base their understanding of the human race off my incredibly odd assortment of young adult fiction and romance novels. It keeps me up at night, and Amazon does not offer a remote wipe option. Trust me, I checked.

I'm not sure this is the right place for it, but following on from #2, I'm selling a cat. Just in case anyone is interested.