Uses This

1281 interviews since 2009

A picture of Marco Arment

Marco Arment

Developer (Instapaper, Tumblr)

in developer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a web and iPhone developer in New York. I cofounded Tumblr and serve as its CTO. At night, I make Instapaper and occasionally write at

What hardware do you use?

My home and work setups are identical: early-2008 octocore Mac Pros, each with two 24" Dell monitors, 6 GB of RAM, two-disk software RAID-0 with a third disk as an internal Time Machine, the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, and the Magic Mouse.

At work, I sit in an Aeron at an electrically height-adjustable desk so I can stand when I feel like it. Fog Creek generously showed us theirs and we ordered the same ones. At home, I sit in an Embody at a Galant.

If I'm not listening to music, I'm probably not working. At work, I live in my Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones, which have nicely softened and molded to fit my head over their six-year lifespan so far. At home, I use Paradigm Atom Monitor speakers connected to an Onkyo stereo receiver, because I've never met a pair of "computer speakers" that I liked. The whole setup looks a lot like this.

I scan every piece of paper I get with a Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M that I got after reading this article. I then shred and recycle anything non-critical.

I use a summer-2009 15" MacBook Pro with an Intel X25-M SSD as my travel computer, which also gets used every day during my 30-minute train commute from the suburbs. It was the first unibody laptop that offered a matte screen, but had I known that the next version was finally going to increase the screen resolution, I would have waited for it. That kills me.

I love the iPhone 4, especially for the high-resolution display. Its camera is so good that I don't think I'll carry a point-and-shoot again. For serious photography, I use a 5D Mark II.

And what software?

I love Mac OS, especially because of the respect Apple shows for my time and attention.

I live in TextMate for both coding and writing. AckMate recently saved me from the frustration of Find In Project's performance in large projects.

I always have a Soulver window open for quick calculations.

My desktop is usually covered in Terminal windows.

I use Google Reader for feeds and Tweetie for Mac for Twitter. I rarely use iPhone apps for either of those, preferring the speed at which I can use them on the desktop.

I keep basic to-do lists in TaskPaper and strong passwords in 1Password. I rarely need office software, but when I do, I use iWork.

I use very few third-party iPhone apps.

I have an iPad, but I haven't yet figured out how it fits into all of this.

What would be your dream setup?

For portable use, a MacBook Air with a high-performance SSD (in the same class as today's Intel or SandForce-based models), a Gigabit port wedged into the side somewhere, and the highest-resolution screen that could possibly fit into its size without too much eyestrain. And in matte, of course.

But I love having a separate, always-on, high-performance, highly expandable home desktop as well. I'd love to see significant progress made on synchronization between multiple computers, especially for iTunes and iPhoto.

I love iPhoto's interface, workflow, integration, and file management, but I also love the lossless RAW editing in Aperture and Lightroom. I would love Aperture if its editor could be a drop-in replacement to iPhoto's without its separate program and library that I don't care for. I'm currently floating between iPhoto and Lightroom because I like them both but don't love either of them. So my dream photo-management app doesn't exist yet.

Finally, I'm dissatisfied with the quality and direction that Dell's monitors have taken. I'd love if Apple used the LCD panel from the 27" iMac to make a new Cinema Display. And while I'd take glass over nothing, and I recognize there's very little chance that this option would exist, I'd really love for it to be available in matte.