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A picture of Matt Hodges
Image by Matt Hodges (Photo is copyrighted by Matt Hodges, used with permission).

Matt Hodges

Political technologist

in developer, mac, politics

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Matt Hodges - a political technologist with a career intersecting Democratic presidential campaigns and software engineering. I was Joe Biden's Director of Engineering, and I built a lot of tech for Hillary Clinton. I spend most of my professional time incubating new technology solutions in service of Democratic and progressive movements and advising political tech startups and teams. I'm a big fan of Open Data, and I think a lot about ethics in software and artificial intelligence.

What hardware do you use?

About ten years ago I became an Apple person, and I hop between a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air. Accordingly, I also use an iPhone. I'm not someone who takes a lot of photos, so I've recently stopped buying the highest-end iPhones when I upgrade. I also have a couple Apple TVs.

I adore my split keyboard, the Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue. I really don't like trackpads, so I use a Magic Mouse.

I've been working from home since 2015, and I recently upgraded my workspace to a 60"x30" bamboo UPLIFT standing desk with a Zilker monitor arm, and a 4k 28" monitor.

One of my favorite pieces of hardware is my VIZIO Sound Stand. I think it sounds great for tv, movies, and music - better than any sound bar I've tried.

I travel with a Jackery Bolt 6000mAh portable charger.

My 2012 Kindle Paperwhite is still going strong.

And what software?

On the desktop, Firefox is my browser of choice, but I'm on Google for email, documents, and spreadsheets.

When I'm coding I'm in VSCode unless it's something small and quick, in which case I'll pop into Vim to feel smart.

I've had much need for (or been any good at) image editing, but when it comes up, GIMP is more than sufficient for me.

I customize my macOS experience with Amphetamine to keep my system awake, and Rectangle for window snapping.

My entire day runs in Todoist. Everything that enters my to-do list has a due date, and I don't go to bed until everything is either completed or updated with a later due date. Of course, Todoist is also front-and-center on my phone.

Mobile: Almost all of my chatting happens in Signal. Over the years, I've managed to convert (insist) my friends and family to users.

Firefox Focus is my default mobile browser. It really changed how I use my phone. The app doesn't let you open any tabs, and all local data and caches are cleared on every open. It's great to treat web browsing as ephemeral. If I need something longer-term, I'll pop it over to Instapaper or Firefox for iOS.

I'm a Pro subscriber to Bear, which I use for notes. I appreciate their privacy model, and it syncs perfectly to desktop.

I use Apple Music; it works great across my phone and Apple TVs.

My health app setup is: Peloton for workouts, Lose It! for dietary tracking, Water & Coffee for caffeine and water tracking and reminders, and Apple's Health app as a data hub between them.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm a big subscriber to the Inbox Zero model, and no one did that better than Mailbox. I no longer use 3rd-party email clients, but I wish Gmail offered something a bit closer.

I love my Bluetooth split keyboard, but I want to find and try something similar that's mechanical.

I've never had dual monitors, but I would if cost were no concern.

I don't like my desk chair. It's some piece of junk from IKEA. I haven't put much effort into finding something I like better, mostly because I have a standing desk. But a chair upgrade is almost certainly in order.