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 Jessica Lord

Jessica Lord

Software engineer (Atom, Electron)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jessica Lord. I'm an engineer at GitHub on the Atom/Electron team. I get to write open source for work which is pretty awesome! I also do a lot of open source not for work. I'm really passionate about building tools that are accessible and hopefully empowering.

My degree is in architecture and I used to be an urban designer for the City of Boston. A few years ago, a year as a Code for America fellow turned me on - and empowered me - to build open source software. So that's why I'm where I am now but I'd like to bridge the gap one day.

I also like to sew. I used to do so more before I started programing and am trying to get myself to disconnect more and get back to it these days.

I like to travel, but hate flying. I like painting nails. I love walking!

What hardware do you use?

I have a 13" MacBook Pro, it's my work computer and life computer because I can't deal with syncing.

Even though I said I can't deal with syncing, I have an 11" ASUS Chromebook because I wanted a little computer just for writing in cafes and not feeling like I was "working". This is how I learned that ARM processors were a thing and that dream wouldn't really be like I thought it would be. So now I mostly use it to test Atom and Electron on ARM because I think it would be great to have more software that works on these processors.

I have an iPhone 6S and this fun cat battery pack I got in Taipei, I love it so much!

I have a retina iPad mini for reading books, articles and blogs or streaming Law and Order episodes next to my laptop.

I recently treated myself to a Bernina 350 sewing machine. A Bernina has been a dream of mine to have and it's like butter. Like butter! I inherited an older Simplicity serger from my Grandma and it's been so fantastic to have.

I have a Fuji X100T camera that I'm sad to admit that after a year I'm no better at shooting manual with. But I like that it's so compact, I do take it with me most places and try my best! I also really like using the wifi it has to put photos directly on my phone or take photos with the camera from my phone.

And what software?

I code in Atom, no surprise! I write Markdown documentation in Atom, too, because the Markdown preview is great. But I usually also have something like 15 unnamed pages open in iA Writer or Byword (I can't pick!) with notes and lists. It's kind of a mess.

I use the GitHub Desktop app for checking diffs when I care about the diffs ;)

I don't put my work email on my phone and most of the time I stay logged out of GitHub on my phone, too. I've also turned off Swarm and Twitter notifications. Niceeeee. But I do love Swarm and checking in places!

I have a terrible photos situation with some on my computer and edited with Lightroom (which I don't know how to use) and some in the Mac Photos app (which I dislike) and some on Flickr and some not. I really want to get my photos act together.

I was periodically using Rdio (RIP) but I too often forget to play music at all. This makes me feel like somehow I'm less human.

On my iPad I use the Kindle app for books and Reeder for syncing blog posts when I'm traveling. And I have Instapaper Pro. I sync highlights from it to Tumblr then use IFTTT to sync that Tumblr to a Google Spreadsheet and then from there it's displayed my website with Tabletop.js. Ha.

I use Google Spreadsheets as a lightweight database a lot and have a library sheetsee.js I made for doing fun stuff with that data.

I use Feedly to read way too many design and Scandinavian interior blogs.

Oh, and I use mojibar for finding the right emoji.

I've gone without a car since 2007 have have had the same 1980's Fuji road bike since almost then. But I recently got myself a step-through European bike from Craigslist because I was tired of feeling a part of an aggressive pack of urban commuters. I want to feel chill and upright like a Berliner or Dane. It was a good choice! I got the Linus Sac bag that clips onto a rack - it's so great not carrying things on your back.

Paper! Pens! I jot a lot. Getting a new planner each year is a big deal. I have a lot of notebooks but mostly use Muji ones with Muji pens or Pilot Hi-Tec-C pens in .3 which are my all time favorite.

What would be your dream setup?

I think I'd like a like a smaller computer as a primary machine. I'd like a Photos app that was basically just a file manager with a few more features for viewing photos and didn't duplicate your photos or make them hard to find. I'd have AirDrop work 100% of the time and batteries that lasted twice as long. Also if we're dreaming, I'd also have an industrial Juki in my basement so I could make all kinds of thick things.

But I'd forgo those things for a different kind of dream setup - a room that was minimal and peaceful where I sat quietly, maybe with a book, tea and pen and paper.