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 Mara Altman

Mara Altman

Freelance journalist, writer (Bearded Lady)

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Mara Altman. I'm a writer. I mostly write long-form memoir. For example, I wrote a treatise on my mind battle with body (and chin) hair. I spend the other half of my time staring at my dusty computer screen. The dust only bothers me from about 2:18pm to 3:20pm when the sunlight streams through my window in a very specific way. I don't know why I haven't cleaned off the screen yet, but now that I'm telling you, I am feeling some shame about it.

What hardware do you use?

I use a MacBook Pro. I bought it in December 2013. I needed a new one, but what pushed me over the edge was that Apple was offering an online special. If I bought one, I'd get a $150 dollar gift certificate. I purchased!

I believe it has a 15-inch screen, but I don't have any more information about it than that because I don't remember. I'm only concerned with whether or not I can write on a machine and if it's light enough to carry in a backpack. Everything else - the look, the memory, the cutting-edgeness - is something I'll worry about after it's too late to return it.

Also, I hate to admit it, but my husband is a computer security consultant so I don't retain computer information because I expect him to know everything. Couples can really be lazy and annoying like that. He uses me to know where he last put his glasses, so I guess in a sense it's kind of even. But I think I should know how many RAMS and BITS and things my computer has and I think after I'm done with this interview, I'm going to learn.

And what software?

When you say software and hardware, I think, 'why soft?' and 'why hard?' and 'a dude came up with that, right?'

What would be your dream setup?

I guess I already have my dream setup. It's kind of surprising, because before you asked, I didn't think I had my dream anything. I suppose I'm low maintenance when it comes to computers. All I need is a blank screen and buttons with all of the letters on them, but if I could change anything, I might supplement my setup with a puppy.