Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Matt Fitzgerald

Matt Fitzgerald

Preacher, essayist, podcast host

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a preacher, an essayist and a podcast host. I live in Chicago with my wife, who is a psychotherapist. We're joined by our three kids and Zeus, a pit bull mix. She kills rats. I serve the best liberal church, Saint Pauls UCC. I also write devotions that elicit outraged email from strangers.

What hardware do you use?

My beautiful bicycle was stolen, so I ride a Surly Karate Monkey with a gigantic Wald basket to visit hospitals and see people in their homes. I'd call myself a bicycle commuter, but I live in wonderful church housing less than 100 yards from Saint Pauls. To get there I walk down a rat infested alley. To kill the rats that get in our yard I use Zeus. To kill the rats in the alley I use a combination of glue traps and three feral cats, all of whom live at the church.

For computer hardware, I have a 2013 27 inch iMac, an iPhone 7 and an ancient, balky iMac at home. At the church I print to a Canon iR-Adv photocopier. It is as big as a small car. At home I print to a Brother I got on Amazon. I use a Blue Yeti mic for podcasting. I bought two of them, but I haven't been able to figure out how to run both simultaneously, so I've got an Audio Technica too.

I listen to a lot of music, both to put liturgies together and to energize or soothe myself. I sold all my records. At home I stream from my phone to vintage stereo receivers using Airport Expresses. We've got three of these set up throughout the house, they all run through an Airport Extreme.

At work I have a Razer Leviathan soundbar hooked to my iMac. During the workday I make coffee with an Aeropress.

And what software?

My office is gigantic, elegant, wood-paneled, old. Imagine the office Dumbledore would have if he were a senator. It's ridiculous. There are walls of built-in bookshelves that hold a large theological library. I use books every day, old school page turning. I have too many books because I once believed I could learn my way to God.

I write short, quick things in Word for Mac 14.7.3, Courier, 14 point font. If I need to start something I know I won't finish before dinner I write it in Google Docs so that I can open it at home or on my phone. I should switch to Google Docs exclusively, but I don't quite trust it. Not the security, the ether. But I use Google Calendar. The option to have it sound an alarm on my phone ten minutes before an appointment begins has saved my ass more than once.

I record podcasts with Audio Hijack. I love this program. It always works and is very simple. If my guest isn't in my office I use Skype with the video turned off. Video conferencing unnerves me. I make to-do lists with a Uni-Ball Signo and scrap paper. I talk to church members on a land-line phone, over email (when will it end?) and in text messages.

What would be your dream setup?

To be honest, I've got my dream setup. Maybe less email and a more reliable home computer. As a kid I wanted a stand-up architect desk that I could adjust at an angle, but why? I'm terrible at math.