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A picture of Frank Rausch

Frank Rausch

UI designer, app developer, typographer

in designer, developer, interface, type

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Frank Rausch and I am a user interface designer, iOS app developer, and typographer. I consult, I teach, and I make apps.

What hardware do you use?

A huge part of my design work requires deep thinking. The products I create are digital, but the most creative and meaningful ideas happen in my head and evolve on paper. I always carry a pocket-sized blank Moleskine and a black Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen, 0.38mm.

My main work device is a 13″ MacBook Pro, Late 2016 (3.1 GHz i5, 16 GB RAM, 1TB SSD). I was crazy enough to pre-order it when it first came out, and I think I got lucky: While the keyboard does suck, at least it still works. If only the keys had more travel - plus the old inverted-T arrow key layout and a proper escape key! The Touch Bar is useless to me because I never look at the keyboard while I type. I do appreciate the switch to USB-C and I don't mind having to use dongles for a while. I vividly remember people whining when Apple killed the CD-ROM drive or when Apple replaced the 30-pin dock connector with the much better Lightning plug. Or even when Apple's first iMac didn't have a floppy disk drive! Sometimes advances in technology come with a period of inconvenience. I'm alright with that.

Laptop portability is important to me - I previously had a maxed-out 11″ MacBook Air (Late 2014). I think it was my favorite computer to date. Not only because it had a much, much, much better keyboard than all current Apple laptops, but because it was so incredibly small and lightweight.

Whenever I work at my desk, the MacBook Pro is tethered to an LG UltraFine 5K monitor, a Filco MajesTouch Ninja Tenkeyless with Cherry MX Brown keys that I bought in 2013, and a Logitech MX Master 2S. For my left hand, I have an Apple Magic Trackpad 2. Yes, I use both pointing devices at the same time. Sounds weird, but I do my pointing with the right hand and my zooming and scrolling with my left hand. I highly recommend this setup. It feels super productive and professional and futuristic - and it puts less strain on the mousing hand.

I have collected a few generations of iOS devices to test my apps. My main phone is an iPhone X.

And what software?

I use Alfred many times a day - to launch apps, to find documents and contacts, to navigate the file system, and to access special characters.

I design user interfaces in Sketch. My designs are often indeed sketches rather than production-quality mockup, especially when I also get to code the actual product. Whenever I save production assets, I let ImageOptim do its thing.

My apps are mades in Xcode. All other coding, scripting, and text editing happens in Sublime Text. I am super fast with multi-cursor editing - it's a huge productivity win. For writing, I use mostly iA Writer. Kaleidoscope is my go-to app for diffing code, text, and images.

Keynote is what I use for all of my public speaking and lectures.

The Terminal is great for all sorts of things. I run a customized iTerm with Oh my ZSH!. I manage my command line tools with Homebrew; for example ImageMagick for batch image processing and ffmpeg to convert videos.

I use GitUp and Transmit. My to-do lists live in Things. My web browser of choice is Opera.

My scripting and programming notes go into nvALT. This is my one place to put all the code snippets and terminal commands that I know I'll forget right away but need later. I wish I had Stack Overflow when I started programming in the mid-90s.

The CamingoCode font is my default for all writing tasks - not only for code, but also for emails and prose. I use versions of the Monokai color theme in both Xcode and Sublime Text. Novel Mono is the typeface I use on my website and for correspondence.

On my iPhone, I look up stuff in my own Wikipedia reader app, V for Wiki. Other apps that I frequently use are Fantastical and Weather Line.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm quite happy with my setup. It has become so much more powerful and reliable than the first computers I saw in the early 90s. Technology got better, but most software is still hard to use for many people. Seeing all those bad user interfaces all the time is a great motivation to keep teaching app design, usability, and typography.

If I had one wish, I would love a powerful MacBook Air with low-profile mechanical keys.

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