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 Haley Rose Smith

Haley Rose Smith

Android engineer, tech lead (Slack)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Haley, and I'm an Android engineer & tech lead at Slack. I grew up in Napa Valley and now live in Oakland with my husband, André, and my cat, River. When I'm not selling my labor, I'm attending a local Farm School program and working in my garden. I also cook a lot - a LOT - and can spend hours researching recipes and coming up with menus for dinner parties and cookouts. Other than that, I'm either shitposting on Twitter, devouring a space opera or fantasy epic, or staring at the large black shrine in my living room.

What hardware do you use?

At work I have a 15-inch touchbar MacBook Pro laptop from 2016 that's almost always plugged into my ergonomic workstation setup. I have a sit/stand desk with an ergonomic chair, a keyboard tray, a Kinesis Freestyle2 Bluetooth keyboard, and an Evoluent vertical ergonomic mouse. I'm in love with the 27-inch LG monitors that are standard at our Slack workstations - mine is mounted on an AmazonBasics monitor arm. I used to get terrible shoulder pain and pinched nerves, but ever since getting this ergonomic setup it's really improved a lot. For Android stuff I'm usually testing on a Nexus 5X. I have an Elago M2 stand that I keep it on that's really convenient and nice.

Recently I got a pair of JINS SCREEN blue light-blocking glasses for working, with slightly weaker prescription for looking at a computer screen (I'm nearsighted). My migraines have decreased significantly!

I almost never go on the computer at home unless I have to work from home for some reason, so when that happens I just plug into my husband's gaming setup, which is this rainbow light-up PC keyboard and a Razer mouse. My personal laptop is a 2010 MacBook Pro that I've shoved an SSD and extra RAM into. It does just fine.

For personal stuff, the most hardware I ever use is my PS4 plugged into an old 40" LG non-smart TV, and my Polk Omni soundbar. In addition to gaming, the PS4 functions as a set-top box - it has Plex, Netflix, Crunchyroll, all that stuff. Scattered throughout the house also a bunch of Google Home & Chromecast devices that I've gotten for free over the years of attending Google conferences. They kind of creep me out but I misplace my phone about 1000 times daily and it's so convenient to say "Hey Google, where's my phone?" to make it ring. I also have a Nexus 9 (thanks, Google I/O 2015) on a stand in the kitchen that's basically a digital cookbook.

My daily items are my trusty Pixel 2 (yes, I upgrade every year, it's gross of me) running Android 8.1.0 because I'm not brave enough to run the 9.0 beta on my primary device, my Withings (no, Nokia) (no, Withings) Activité Pop step tracking watch, and my Kindle Paperwhite - did you know that the San Francisco Public Library allows patrons to check out e-books for free? You don't even have to live in San Francisco!

And what software?

At work I basically live inside of Slack. We are absolute power users of our own product and fully 50% of my day is spent inside that sweet sweet Electron window. For development I use Android Studio, a fork of IntelliJ maintained by Google and full of goodies that make life easier for Android developers. Most Android applications are written in Java, but my team has also started incorporating Kotlin, a new programming language by JetBrains that now has official Google support. Our codebase is at about 15% and it's been fun to learn a new language for the first time in almost 10 years!

My browser is Chrome, I take notes in TextEdit, and without 1Password I'd be locked out of my life forever. Alfred is a huge productivity help for me, and I have F.lux turned on max at all times to help prevent migraines. I love using Dropbox Paper to write documentation - we've used many different collaborative document editing tools over the years here and Paper is by far my favorite.

At home, like I said I don't spend a lot of time on the computer, but Pepperplate is this great recipe archiving app that has a backlog of every recipe I've stolen from the internet or come up with myself over the past 5 years. For crop management I use the open source website Growstuff. I also read constantly and for all its faults Goodreads has been an excellent way to chronicle what I've read & get recommendations from friends. I listen to music on Google Play Music, I talk to my friends on Signal, I track various aspects of my life with Daylio, Clue, and Migraine Buddy, and I manage my household's finances with YNAB. My husband and I use Wunderlist to collaborate on grocery lists and the like but I think Microsoft is sunsetting it soon so we need to find something else - probably Google Keep?

What would be your dream setup?

We just bought a house so I'm really gunning for a 5.1 surround sound setup for our living room, but we are still struggling to figure out the best living room configuration. I've also been eyeing the PS4 Pro and PS4 Move/VR kits for ages but we already have an original PS4 and a Slim so my husband and I don't have to take turns gaming. For the home office I'd love to get an ErgoDox keyboard and one of those LG monitors for myself but I don't WFH enough to justify how expensive they are.