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 Nick Heer

Nick Heer

Web designer, developer (Pixel Envy)

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hey there, I'm Nick Heer. I'm enthusiastic about taking photographs, but I'm not a photographer. I've been writing Pixel Envy for about seven years, but I'm not a writer either. I write "web designer/developer" in the Occupation field of official documents. I'm a professional converter of coffee into bytes.

I live right smack in the middle of Calgary.

What hardware do you use?

I have a maxed-out mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Air that still works very well, and it is connected to my Thunderbolt Display about 95% of the time. I use one of Apple's aluminum Bluetooth keyboards and a second-generation Magic Trackpad.

I keep a lot of stuff connected to the Thunderbolt Display, including a 2 TB Buffalo MiniStation which contains my fairly large iTunes library. I also have a USB digital-to-analog converter that goes through an amplifier and powers a couple of bookshelf speakers -- tragically, Bose -- so the music I play actually sounds like, well, music.

I use a black Caran D'Ache 849 and various notebooks for drafts, outlines, and general jotting.

I use a "Space Grey" iPhone X and an iPad -- the 9.7-inch one that has no suffix.

I use a Canonet QL-19 "New" and a Leica Q to make photographs.

I use an AeroPress to brew Monogram or Phil & Sebastian coffee.

And what software?

Websites are built using Coda, Transmit, and TextMate. Because I started designing websites in the early 2000s, I still use Photoshop (CS 5.1!) to create mockups and build graphics.

I write in MarsEdit.

I use Fantastical to keep track of many days, Things to keep track of what I need to do every day, and iTunes to keep my ears occupied all day long.

I waste time in Slack and Tweetbot.

On my iPhone, I keep up with the news using Reeder, check how cold Calgary is using Weather Line, and find out when the bus arrives using Transit.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd like to have something faster and more capable for handling the very large RAW files off my camera, and being able to have Slack open in the background. The non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro is very appealing -- especially when paired with a 5K display -- but I have worries about the keyboard's long-term reliability and I do wish it had an SD card slot. The 5K iMac also looks tremendous, but I still want portability for that 5% of the time when I really need it. I guess I'll see what WWDC brings this year.

Truth be told, though, I'm still very happy with what I have. I replaced my last computer -- a 2007 MacBook Pro -- after five years, and it felt like it was on its last legs by that time. This MacBook Air still feels very fast most of the time, and does everything I ask of it. And the Thunderbolt Display is something I like so much that I wrote an obituary for it after Apple announced that they would no longer be making displays. They have since reversed that position -- thankfully.