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A picture of Jenn Schiffer

Jenn Schiffer

Artist, engineer (Fog Creek)

in artist, developer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jenn Schiffer and I'm an engineer and artist living in Jersey City. I say I live there "on purpose" to thwart tired Jersey jokes and because I'm originally from Brooklyn - so, honestly, I've ~done my time~. I'm in the city virtually every day, though, especially since I started my shiny new job at Fog Creek. They recently hired me as a Community Engineer for Glitch, which is a cool in-browser IDE built around the idea of an inclusive community of coders and learners. I made up the title "Community Engineer" because I think it reflects that this product is for everyone and not just seasoned developers. I have also been engineering some cool stuff with it.

Lately I've been more focused on art and community than on being patient with expensive hardware and software, as is reflected in my mostly hand-me-down Apple collection.

What hardware do you use?

In the office I have a 15" MacBook Pro. I'm still trying to figure out how to get Siri to leave me alone. I keep it in the office because it's ginormous and doesn't fit in my backpack with the rest of my things. At home I have 13" Macbook Pro that I bought off of my last job, so it's a few years old, no Siri to be found! I recently purchased a huge Mac display from a local startup that shut down and needed to liquidate and I keep that on my kitchen table. I also have an office with 2 large HP monitors but it's also my art studio and so it's hard for me to work with all the paper and markers I'm way too busy to properly put away. So, yeah, that's why I have a ginormous display on my kitchen table.

Most of my hardware has been monopolized by Apple just by pure convenience. I just got an iPhone and I love how they don't crack as soon as it hits a surface harder than a pillow feather. If anyone at phone manufacturers are reading this, I want you to know that I know this technology existed well before we put a HABITABLE SATELLITE INTO OUTER SPACE nearly 20 years ago. Anyway, if you asked me the model of my iPhone, all I could say is "it's pink and it doesn't crack anymore, also I wish Siri would leave me alone."

And what software?

I like to live dangerously by browsing with BLEEDING EDGE browser versions like Chrome Canary and Firefox Dev AKA Aurora. Sure, it makes doing video conferencing a living hell because there's always a browser update that breaks it, but video conferencing is supposed to be a living hell to prepare us for the real one.

Over the past month I've been writing all my code in Glitch, but outside of that I've been using Atom. I use the regular that my computers come with but they work for me thanks to custom dotfiles that I've made to add emoji to bash and each command start by addressing me as "princess jenn."

I always have an IRC client, Slack, a BLEEDING EDGE browser, Spotify, and Messages open. Today I had to open Skype, which has been emotionally taxing. Please keep me in your thoughts.

What would be your dream setup?

I would love a 13" Macbook Air that can have 16GB+ of memory. And I would like to be able to take it apart to mod it like I used to be able to do to all my old iBooks. I also wish Apple would stop doing that thing where they decide to Thunderbolt everything and then a year later USB-C everything. And taking away the headphone jack was annoying as fuck. I used to build machines for Windows and Linux, but they work so unpredictably (if at all) with various peripherals (ie. any of the 900 projectors I encounter when speaking at conferences) that I cannot adopt them full-time unfortunately. Maybe one day. I just really want Siri to leave me alone.