Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Romain Guy

Romain Guy

Software developer, photographer

Who are you, and what do you do?

Romain Guy. I'm a software developer and photographer. I work at Google where I've spent the past 6 years helping ship every version of Android. I have also done a lot of developer community support and outreach through talks, articles, etc. I recently changed team a few weeks ago to join a new exciting project. In a past life I worked as a tech journalist for French magazines, a books translator, a University teacher, a tech writer...

Photography is mostly a hobby but I sometimes license my work. One of my photos was part of the recent Nexus 5 launch and marketing campaign, for instance.

What hardware do you use?

At work I rely on a powerful workstation, a 12-core Mac Pro with 24 GB of RAM, hooked up to a 30" HP ZR30w and a 24" Dell 2408WFP.

I do most of my photo editing and processing at home on a 2008 8-core Mac Pro with 8 GB of RAM and a 30" Dell 3007WFP. I use a large array of internal and external hard drives - both USB and Firewire - to create 4 daily backups of my work. It seems overkill but in an incredible string of bad luck I once lost 4 of my 5 copies during the span of 2 days.

For pretty much everything else I use an 11" MacBook Air. I take it almost everywhere with me and it's powerful enough that I use it for photo editing and processing when I'm on the road or traveling abroad. It's the machine on which I do all of my writing and presentations editing.

I use a Nexus 4 everywhere I go and I sometimes bring along a Nexus 7 (2013) or a Kindle Paperwhite. The Kindle is probably the best device I've ever owned and it's a great companion when I'm waiting for sunset when I'm out taking photos.

Speaking of photography, I now use a Canon 5D Mk III for all of my landscape work. For street, travel, portrait and personal photography I rely on a Leica M. The Leica M is both the best and one of the worsts cameras I've used. I love using it for its simplicity and the feel of it. Ming Thein describes it best in his piece about "tactility".

My equipment is carefully chosen to fit in a small Domke F-803 shoulder bag. I can pack a MacBook Air 11", a Leica M with a couple of lenses, a Kindle or Nexus 7 and have everything I need to write software, give talks at conferences and take and process photos.

And what software?

I'm a big fan of IDEs for software development - I used to use 3 at the same time when I was working on Android: IntelliJ IDEA and 2 instances of Eclipse. TextMate is my swiss-army knife for everything else.

After trying numerous alternatives years ago, I have settled on Lightroom to do all of my photo editing and processing. Photoshop CC is a vital part of my photo processing workflow but I also use it for UI design and to illustrate articles and talks. It's rare to find apps one actually enjoys using for long hours, but both Lightroom and Photoshop are such apps for me.

I do all of my writing in Byword and Marked. I love being able to work distraction-free in simple environments that let me focus on content. I am a big fan of Keynote and OmniGraffle to create technical presentations. I wish Apple dedicated more resources to Keynote as it's starting to feel a little stale. The recent update is a welcome refresh but I hope to see more soon.

There are a few other tools I could not be productive without: 1Password, Sparrow, DropBox, Evernote and Wunderlist. These applications are fantastic content lockers that help me free my mind. Evernote, for instance, is my digital library where I store all the reference material I need for my various projects. Chrome is another important tool to me. Its profiles feature helps me juggle between 4 different Google accounts with ease and with the recent introduction of Chromecast it has even become one of my best media players.

On my Android devices, I'm an avid user of Pocket, Press, Falcon Pro, Hangouts, Gmail, Google Music, 1Password, Dropbox, Evernote and Wunderlist.

What would be your dream setup?

I am always looking for lighter, thinner and more powerful devices. I would love to see an 11" MacBook Air with a high-density display and a (much) better gamut. The current 11" is pretty terrible for serious color work. The Leica M is a heavy camera and I would love to use a lighter one that's as enjoyable to use. Maybe the Sony A7R?