Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Flourish Klink

Flourish Klink

Story-teller, lecturer, IF writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Flourish Klink. I'm Chief Participation Officer for The Alchemists Transmedia Storytelling Co. That means that I go around and talk to people in the entertainment industry about how to get folks more involved in their storyworlds, sometimes in lectures, sometimes in workshops, sometimes one on one. I also end up doing a fair amount of writing in-character Facebook updates et cetera, and even some basic interaction design.

Mostly I work in Rio de Janeiro and LA. I'm also the Minister of Magic for Ascendio 2012, a Harry Potter fan conference. That means I'm the head of the concom - "the Galleon stops here." Sometimes I teach courses at MIT. Finally, I'm an author of both interactive and non-interactive fan fiction for a variety of stories (right now I'm working on something based on Lord of the Rings). Basically, I'm a professional fan.

What hardware do you use?

My primary computer is a MacBook Pro from about a year ago - a 15-inch Intel core i7. It plugs into a 10 port USB hub into which is also plugged an ancient 17-ish-inch Dell monitor (so old that I can't find a link for it). I also use a Logitech Performance Mouse MX when I'm at my desk. It backs up to a 750 GB Seagate Freeagent GoFlex external hard drive.

I have a slightly weird desk setup, due to how small my condo is. My desk is a plain foldable table (the kind with vinyl wood-grain on top and brown metal legs) which slips underneath my kitchen's black granite breakfast bar. The breakfast bar (which is a height to sit at on a stool) overhangs the desk by about 8 inches, and my monitor and currently-being-consulted books sit on the breakfast bar. Then the laptop, USB hub, and miscellaneous other crap is on the desk itself. It means that I use my laptop's keyboard to type on, and my displays are set up one on top of the other, the laptop's below and the Dell monitor above. I sit on a knock-off black Eames Eiffel Base chair.

For portability, I also use a white Acer Aspire One ZG5 as a netbook (I would rather have had Linux on it, but it was a gift); it has an extended capacity battery which makes it much longer-running. I carry my iPhone 3G with me at all times - it's the first 3G model, so it's pretty old by now. I absolutely could not live without my Discovery 975 Plantronics Bluetooth headset - whenever I'm on the phone, it's in my ear, and I have two charging cases for it so I can go 15 hours of constant use without having to plug anything into a wall. (It's the same model as Nick Fury uses in the Avengers, by the way.) I use ancient foldable Skullcandy headphones or the regular Apple ones - I'm no audiophile - and when I work out I have a little gold 2gb iPod shuffle.

Until recently I was a FitBit devotee - I ran mine through the wash recently and haven't gotten a new one yet, but they really help me remember to take breaks and stand up instead of working at my desk all day. I do a lot of my reading on a Kindle Keyboard (mine doesn't have 3G). I also rely on a Nooka Zub Zot watch to tell the time most days, especially when I'm teaching and don't want to pull out my phone to look at the time.

(I also have an Xbox with Kinect and a PS3, but those are for fun, not for work. Ask me about FEZ!)

And what software?

I am slowly trying to wean myself off Google, so I always have Mail open. I have a goal of running my own mail server sometime soon and doing things through the Terminal, but I'm not there yet, so it's sort of hobbling along. I use NewsFire as an RSS feed reader. Skype is almost always open so that I can speak with my colleagues in California and Brazil - we're working on getting a FlourishCam installed so that I'm virtually in the LA office at all times. iCal is good enough for my calendar, but I support it with Fantastical, which is a truly fantastic app for anyone who doesn't have an assistant. My browser is typically Firefox.

I do a lot of word processing in Pages, because (1) I hate the Office suite with the burning fire of a thousand suns; (2) OpenOffice makes ugly documents, and (3) despite having a lot of feelings about how important free software is I never seem to put my money where my mouth is. Also, I spent many years using LaTeX for all my word processing needs and got used to pretty kerning, but now I have to do too much odd formatting for LaTeX to be at all time-efficient. This is particularly important because when you're at a con, you need one canonical paper copy of all the important documents, agreements, etc. so that if the concom gets run over by a bunch of trucks someone else knows what's going on - and I like that paper copy to look nice. Plus, again, entertainment industry. People care about the packaging, not just the ideas.

I also use Keynote very frequently - at first, I hated making decks, but now I see how useful they can be for communicating things best shown graphically. For long-format writing, I usually use Scrivener, which is a complete godsend - seriously, if you are a fiction writer and you're not using Scrivener, what's wrong with you? It's the main reason that I can't envision myself switching away from Macs anytime soon. I also use Final Draft to read and work on scripts - it's the industry standard.

Mostly if I need to use a spreadsheet it has to be shared with other people (ex: conference budgets) so then I just swallow my Google-grudge and use Google Docs. Preview is good enough for my PDF viewing and annotating. If I'm coding something I use TextWrangler. Fetch is my FTP program. Very rarely, I use Freedom to force myself to get a boring task done. Mudlet is my MUD client, and VLC makes my life easier on many, many levels. I also find myself taking lots of photos in Photo Booth for some unknown reason. I'm hoping to soon catalog my and my partner's 3k+ books and movies using GCStar.

Mobile, I use Instagram (who doesn't?) and Pocket MBTA to help me get around in Boston.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd probably get two 27-inch Thunderbolt displays - I'm always, always longing for more desktop real estate, because I'm so frequently comparing four or six different documents at a time. I'd plug them into a MacBook Air and a giant external hard drive of some sort - probably a Seagate, I've had good luck with them - and I'd be able to ditch my USB hub. I actually don't have any reason to have a higher-powered computer than a MacBook Air, since I don't do much non-console graphics-heavy gaming these days, plus it would mean that my mobile + non-mobile computers were the same thing, which would make my life a lot easier.

I'd add a Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate Silent Keyboard but stick with my existing mouse. I'd also upgrade my iPhone to a 4GS and add a physical keyboard case or possibly switch to an Android - depending on whether I actually got my mail server working. If we're dreaming, I'd also like to add a Tread to a standing desk so as to stay active while I work; I feel like my brain goes better when I'm walking around. I'd also need to have a space to put it, of course, and that would involve moving to a larger place (my 650 square foot condo ain't working for that), which would probably mean an office with built-in bookcases and and and....

Finally, if we're talking about gaming... I sure wouldn't mind a Gauntlet 2 cabinet to play on my breaks. (I'm actually, genuinely in the market for that, so if anybody knows of one for sale in New England...)

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