The Setup

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Rob Beschizza

Photo by Heather Beschizza.

Rob Beschizza

Managing editor (Boing Boing), storyteller, artificer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Rob Beschizza, a writer, artist and game developer. I love ambiguous and liminal things. My heart's always at home exploring strange places or searching for what's hidden in plain sight. I'm the managing editor of Boing Boing, where I can tell stories about secret histories and mystic technology. I made TinyHack, a nasty little roguelike in 9x9 pixels.

What hardware do you use?

A Parker 51 that was my grandfather's. Cheap unlined notebooks. 2B graphite sticks, more fun than pencils.

Together, my iPad Mini and Logitech keyboard cover form a quasi-laptop that's great for writing. I've had all sorts of terrible tiny computers - the Jornada 720, the NEC MobilePro, the Fujitsu U810, the Sony Vaio P - and the iPad's the first that isn't completely daft.

For design work and painting, I have a 27" iMac with an Intuos 4 graphics tablet. An iPhone 5S sits in my pocket, but for the longest time I held out with a Moto F3, a $15 e-ink mobile slabphone adored by tragic minimalists. I have a TRS-80 Model 100, too, but you just can't get anything done with something like that. It's just there, haunting a shelf!

My Shuttle Cube PC - a tool for playing games - lurks in a corner.

For photos, I have a Lumix GM1, a tiny interchangeable-lens camera no larger than the point-and-shoot it replaced. And yet the images are wonderful. I also have a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, an unwieldy box designed to produce more filmlike results than a similarly-priced DSLR. I've barely scratched the surface of what it can do, and look forward to continuing to imagine all the wonderful things I'll never get around to filming. I might trade it in for the Digital Bolex, similar but more ergonomic.

And what software?

Games! Games as far as the eye can see.

I'm a sucker for the latest writing and painting apps, but never seem to stick with any given one for long. Textwrangler on the desktop. Photoshop. I have an expired Corel Painter trial, and a vague determination to buy a full license. I make music in Impulse/Schism Tracker and Reason.

Game development used to involve Flash; now JavaScript. Work means PHP. To me, programming feels like trying to snake drains with licorice straws. I was never smart enough to understand the discipline, and only became marginally competent through dumb persistence - and Stack Exchange.

I've just about had it up to here with Gmail.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be a proper laptop of similar dimensions to an iPad Mini, an item of singular beauty and simplicity that I'd become as attached to as a sorcerer to a demon familiar. It would even brew tea.

I look forward to the cochlea-radio, retina-projected future we've all been waiting for, but it seems silly to imagine how work would work when all that finally comes to be. All I really want is a campfire, a well-lubricated audience, and twenty minutes. That's all you need to tell a story.

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