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Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Rachel Hyman

Rachel Hyman

Software developer, writer, publisher

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Rachel Hyman. I am a software engineer, writer, and publisher. By day, I'm an iOS Engineer at Belly. On nights and weekends, I work on the songwriting app Hum and make maps for Maps For Good. I also recently ran a side business making Twitter bots called Hotline Bot Club.

On the literary side, I write mostly poetry. My poetry chapbook Dear S came out in 2015 on Big Lucks press. I also co-edit a literary journal called Banango Street and an echapbook publishing offshoot called Banango Editions. I started a project called Anthology of Chicago that publishes neighborhood-focused poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. I co-curate a reading series called Welcome to the Neighborhood that brings together storytellers, poets, and essayists to perform pieces about Chicago's neighborhoods.

What hardware do you use?

At work, I have a 15 inch MacBook Pro and 27 inch Thunderbolt monitor. Bose noise-canceling headphones are a must in my open office. My personal computer is a 13 inch MacBook Air. The Hotline Bot Club bots have been running on a System76 Meerkat Linux server.

Lit-wise, I letterpressed the covers for the Anthology of Chicago chapbook on a Vandercook 325G printing press at Signal Return in Detroit. I used an awl and bone folder to hand-bind the chapbooks. If I'm writing on paper, it's most likely in a Moleskine notebook.

And what software?

Software I use every day is Xcode for iOS development, iTerm2, Oh My Zsh, Git, and GitHub. I also use Postman, a Chrome plugin, to test API requests, and Charles Proxy to intercept requests made in-app. Mapbox is my favorite platform for designing beautiful maps. I use Sublime Text for Rails and JavaScript development. Mispy's twitter_ebooks library was integral to building twitter bots. I frequently visit picresize.com to resize pictures for Slack emoji, a very important part of my job. And I use Spotify for music.

The websites for my literary projects are largely running on Wordpress. The Banango Lit blog and Banango Editions are both on Tumblr. I reluctantly use Adobe InDesign to create the PDFs for Banango Editions.

What would be your dream setup?

More so than any specific hardware or software, I'd love to have a quiet office space full of natural light with tea and water close at hand. Apart from that, I could use a second Thunderbolt monitor -- iOS development takes up a lot of space and I've always felt the second laptop screen to be awkward and hard to use. I'd also love a perpetual license for Sublime Text so they stop bugging me, and more Dropbox space so I can stop backing up my iPhone photos in 10 different places.

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