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 Tracy Chou

Tracy Chou

Software engineer, diversity advocate

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Tracy Chou and I'm a software engineer and diversity advocate, currently hacking on some new ideas while also advising and investing in startups.

I was previously an engineer at Pinterest and Quora and consulted for the U.S. Digital Service. I also co-founded the non-profit Project Include and the initiative #MovingForward, and started the tech diversity data collection project "Where are the Numbers?"

What hardware do you use?

I'm currently on a late 2016 MacBook Pro, 13", with a Touch Bar. I deeply regret the MBP - 1: dongle life, 2: the lack of a physical escape key makes coding in emacs very difficult, 3: the keys on the butterfly keyboard are constantly too loose or totally stuck, 4: so much beach ball.

When I am not in digital nomad mode bopping from sublet to sublet, I like to plug into a Thunderbolt Display, and I use a Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse. At this exact moment, though, all my accessories are in storage somewhere in Yonkers and I'm just working off my laptop.

As for my phone, I have an iPhone 8.

And what software?

My typical coding setup is emacs in iTerm2, with Z Shell for the shell. Depending on what I'm building, I like Chrome for web development and debugging, and the Expo toolchain for hacking on React Native.

For longer-form writing, I switch somewhat randomly between iA Writer, Byword, and Medium (in the browser). I sometimes even use Medium's editor to compose even if I don't intend to publish on Medium, because it's so beautiful.

For random notes or snippets, I use nvALT on my computer synced to Simplenote on my phone via Dropbox. I track personal todo's in Todoist.

Other applications I use frequently: 1Password, Slack, PureVPN, Photoshop, LICEcap (for creating screencaps to be shared with teammates or added to GitHub PRs, particularly for UI changes).

What would be your dream setup?

I'd replace my MacBook Pro with a MacBook Air. Long live the MacBook Air!