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 Eric Socolofsky

Eric Socolofsky

Data visualisation developer (Uber)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Eric Socolofsky. Right now, I visualize data for a living (on Uber's Visualization team; before that, Stamen, and before that, the Exploratorium). I've also designed science exhibits (at the Exploratorium), made video games (at Gamelab and as an indie dev), digital/physical installation art (at Eyebeam), and some other bits and bobs. The best bobs and some of the good bits are up on transmote.com.

What hardware do you use?

Most of the stuff I do now is web-based, which means my MacBook and MacBook Pro are my main tools. I'm also a long-time fan of Rhodia 1/5" graph pads and uni-ball Vision Elite pens.

I used to use a lot of Arduinos and a few Raspberry Pis. Point Grey cameras and 3M capacitive multitouch screens too. And don't forget about all those Happ buttons! So many Happ buttons. And you can't go wrong with Unistrut and 80/20.

And what software?

Writing mostly for the Web these days, the answer to the Software? question is obvious: JavaScript.

More specifically, almost everything I build these days is a React app.

My toolchain is usually npm, Yarn, Babel.

My main visualization tools include D3, Vega, and the Vis.gl suite, specifically deck.gl and kepler.gl. I should make more Observables. For my installation and artworks, I still <3 Processing, tinker with openFrameworks, and have used PixiJS to good effect.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be to have someone else take care of all of the infrastructure bullshit I have to deal with on a regular basis (toolchain, local env setup / maintenance, continuous integration, deploy) so I can just design and write code. It would also be nice to be able to play all my old mp3s from Spotify, so I'm not stuck listening to the same new music over and over again.