Uses This

1279 interviews since 2009

A picture of John Gruber
Image by George Del Barrio.

John Gruber

Writer (Daring Fireball)

in mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm John Gruber. I write a web site called Daring Fireball. A few years ago I created Markdown.

What hardware do you use?

My sole work computer is a 15-inch 2.5 GHz MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive. I got it in March 2008, so it's not one of the new ones with the black keyboard. Mine has a matte display. At my desk in my office, I connect it to a 20-inch Apple Cinema Display, Harmon Kardon SoundSticks, and an Apple Extended Keyboard II (by way of a Griffin iMate ADB-to-USB adapter).

I own a 16 GB iPhone 3G that I have with me whenever I expect to remain dry.

Miscellaneous other hardware that might qualify as work-related, roughly in order of how much affection I have for it: a Ricoh GR-D point-and-shoot camera; a Canon Rebel XT DSLR, with 28mm and 50mm f/1.8 prime lenses; a Flip Ultra pocket video camera; a Kodak Zi6 pocket video camera; a pair of 250 GB Lacie hard drives I use for backing up my internal MacBook Pro drive on a rotating basis; a 1 TB G-Tech G-Raid2 for video storage; an Apple Time Capsule which serves as both a Wi-Fi base station and a lame but convenient server; a 10-year-old Logitech mouse; and a Kensington 7-port USB hub.

I carry a paper notebook and pen with me everywhere. Currently: an unlined soft cover Moleskine and a 0.38mm Uni-ball Signo RT (black).

And what software?

On my Mac, again roughly in order of affection: Yojimbo for storing and tagging notes, bookmarks, passwords, and etc. -- at this writing I have 4,675 items in my Yojimbo library. BBEdit for writing and coding. After several years of switching back and forth between Quicksilver and LaunchBar every few weeks, I settled on LaunchBar about a year ago. NetNewsWire for feed reading. My main web browser is the nightly build of WebKit. BusySync is a wonderful tool for sharing iCal calendars with my wife. If Twitter counts as work-related, and I suppose it does insofar as I often find stuff to link to from it, Twitterrific. Script Debugger for AppleScript scripting. Numbers for spreadsheets and the occasional graph. Every night I use SuperDuper to clone my MacBook Pro's internal drive to one of the two aforementioned Lacie hard drives. Sound Studio for podcast recording.

I use MarsEdit for posting articles and links to Daring Fireball. TypeIt4Me for system-wide text snippet expansion. DragThing for a system-wide drag-and-drop shelf. ExpanDrive for SFTP. Keynote for the one or two speaking gigs I accept each year. Acorn for simple image editing, Photoshop CS1 for non-simple image editing and design. (Photoshop is the first app I've listed which I'm not using the latest version of.) I use Apple Mail for email, along with SpamSieve.

I use both FastScripts and Keyboard Maestro for executing scripts and macros I've created to automate frequent tasks. I have a handful of custom system-wide Services menu items I created using ThisService, which lets you creates services from simple AppleScript and shell scripts. I started using Dropbox recently, but because I spend nearly all my time on a single computer, I don't seem to use it much. For tracking tasks, I use a baffling, embarrassing mish-mash of OmniOutliner Pro, Things, and, for the past week, Potion Factory's just-hit-beta The Hit List. Using more than one piece of software for this is madness, but there are things I both like and dislike very much about all three of these apps.

On my iPhone: Tweetie, Things, Instapaper, and NetNewsWire. (And MobileSafari and MobileMail, of course.)

Server-side, Daring Fireball runs Movable Type, but, in the words of Han Solo, I've made a lot of special modifications myself. Not the least of which is Markdown, which I use for everything I write. Six Apart offers a very nice "iMT" plugin for Movable Type which provides an iPhone-optimized web interface.

What would be your dream setup?

The only software I'm dissatisfied with are the aforementioned plethora of task managers.

Hardware-wise, a 30-inch display and a Canon 5D Mark II would be nice.