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1279 interviews since 2009

A picture of Jason Shellen

Jason Shellen

Product guy, designer

in designer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jason Shellen and I'm a product guy. I'm an artist & designer by training, but I've spent most of my career merging that with product strategy and business development to great success. Some products I've helped form were Blogger, Google Reader, Plinky, Brizzly & most recently the all new AIM at AOL. Now I'm co-founding a new social app with my friend Zack Taylor called "Tapedeck", coming this fall.

What hardware do you use?

After years of carrying 15" MacBook Pros I'm finally down to just a 13" MacBook Air, hooked to an Apple Thunderbolt Display. My chiropractor couldn't be more pleased. However, those new Retina displays do look nice.

I have used Wacom tablets for years, and the latest is the Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch Tablet alongside a full-sized Apple Keyboard (I got tired of batteries dying in the Apple Wireless Keyboards every few weeks). The Wacom has the nice side-effect of acting as hardware security, since everyone is confused about how the pen on the tablet replaces a mouse.

I can usually be found under a pair of Sennheiser HD555's at the office and a similar wireless set-up at home. When I'm not using headphones we have a Sonos and an iHome iP4 Boombox for iPhone. We may have too many ways to play music at the office.

I have an iPad 3 with Verizon service for the commute in on the train, wrapped in a Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio. The keyboard batteries are solar charged, so that's one less adapter to worry about. As cool as that is for reading and quick email from the train, I'm increasingly blown away by my new Google Nexus 7. If it had Verizon I would probably stop using my iPad altogether. In my opinion, the Google Nexus 7 is the best Kindle on the market.

After a brief trial of an Android phone last fall, I'm definitely an iPhone man. I have an iPhone 4S and despite terrible AT&T service most places it's a nice tiny pocket texting computer thing.

In February I was invited to the product unveiling of the Nike+ Fuelband in Manhattan and they gave everyone a Fuelband to take home. I haven't taken it off since. I tried the Jawbone UP (which I liked but broke) and ordered a FitBit (it's still in the box after one use) but there was something elegant about the Fuelband. It convinced me to start moving and challenging myself and before you know it I had lost over 25 pounds!

While we're on amazing hardware, I have two Nests at home and one at work. I love it and highly recommend it. I'm glad it's ultimately going to save energy but I'm happier to have a clear interface for a previously opaque device that my family and I wrestled with on a daily basis.

I'm trying to carry less and less, so I'm carrying that around in a small Crumpler Skivvy. It's just enough room for the 13" MacBook Air, a notepad, a tablet/iPad and a handful of adapters.

And what software?

On my MacBook Air:

I love the new Adobe Creative Suite. I'll never be a version late on Photoshop & Illustrator again. I'm using Coda from Panic. I browse in Chrome and test in Safari, but this might be the first machine I don't have Firefox on. I use Apple Keynote for presentations and Google Apps/Drive for docs, spreadsheets and anything else.

Peeking at my taskbar, I run Dropbox, PandaBar (a minimal Pandora client), CloudApp, Twitter for Mac, Caffeine, Alfred & 1Password.

Other desktop apps I rely on as needed are: Skitch, Sparrow, Sonos Controller, & Spotify.

On my iPhone I seem to be using Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, RunKeeper, Spotify, Pandora, Checkmark and the Nike+ Fuelband apps a lot.

On the iPad, I use Amazon Kindle, GoodReader, Penultimate and Diet Coda on the iPad.

What would be your dream setup?

I love the Google Chrome/Chromebook idea of living life in the cloud but as someone who needs real processing power for Photoshop or a developer environment for hacking around, it doesn't seem realistic.

My near term dream set-up would be an iPhone that used NFC to communicate with something simple, powerful and inexpensive like an Apple TV/Mac Mini that logged me in, connected me to cloud services and stored preferences and larger files locally on the physical device. I could have one at home and one at work connected to a display, and only need to shuttle my phone back and forth (which we all do anyway).

Additionally, an iPad Mini or Google Nexus with Verizon for commuting and other in-between times would complete the set-up. While we're at it I might as well ask for a pony. How about a set of glasses that do the job of the display so I could theoretically take my computing set-up with me anywhere? Not reality augmentation glasses, just a replacement for a display. I'm looking at you, Apple.