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 Warren Binford

Warren Binford

Law professor, pediatrics professor

in mac, professor, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am an international children's rights scholar and advocate whose work took me round the globe pre-pandemic. I am currently transitioning from being a law professor and director of the Clinical Law Program at Willamette University in Oregon to a pediatrics professor and chair in children's law, policy and ethics at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine. This year I am working at both institutions, which is especially challenging as nothing is integrated. I am a mom of two school-aged kids, and having a relatively young, active family adds a whole other complicating dimension to what I do and how I do it.

What hardware do you use?

Right now I am using a Dell Latitude E5470 issued by Willamette, and am looking forward to getting a new PC from the University of Colorado this spring. I write and edit a ton and find that PCs work well for all of the word processing I do, but I have a MacBook Pro (13") for my personal use. My Mac does not work well with the Microsoft Office Suite, but it is much more compatible with my 256 GB iPhone XS and our family's Apple devices, so I keep it for managing photos, videos, etc. My previous iPhone did not have nearly as much capacity and so I really appreciate having more memory for both work and family.

Because of the international nature of my work, I traveled a lot pre-COVID and was highly dependent on my iPhone XS to create hot spots, a portable printer (Epson WorkForce WF-110), and a portable battery (Dell Notebook Power Bank Plus), which simultaneously charges my computer and multiple cell phones - critical when colleagues and I are working late in a remote location with no outlets.

I have to do a lot of Zoom calls, presentations, and media interviews from home during lockdown, so I have become very dependent on a highly adaptable desktop lamp that adjusts quickly to different contexts (NH-LEDMAS-B). Finally, because my life is so disaggregated at times, I do maintain a physical organizer. For years, I used Franklin Covey, but in 2019, I migrated to TUL, using a Pilot G-2 black gel roller pen.

And what software?

Since I am transitioning between universities, I am having to work across about a dozen different platforms, which is maddening. Willamette uses a Google platform and the University of Colorado uses Microsoft so I use Gmail and Outlook for email correspondence (I prefer Outlook) and calendaring and Google Docs and Word for word processing. I use both PowerPoint and Google Slides for presentations and Clio for law practice management (the Clinical Law Program is a fully operational law office staffed by students under faculty supervision), Westlaw TWEN for course management, designated drives for internal documents, as well as Google Drive and DropBox for collaborative research projects.

For dissemination of our work to the public and keeping up with friends and family, I use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For online teaching, meetings, and interviews since the pandemic, I use Zoom. Although people message me on all of these apps, as well as by text, for confidential messaging, I use Signal. For international calls, I frequently use WhatsApp.

When I travel, I usually use Google Maps or Waze for navigation depending on where I am and how strategic I need to be around traffic flows. Since the pandemic hit, we have been spending most of our vacation time on the PCT and have been using Guthook for trail mapping.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream set up would be fully compatible and integrated hardware and software that supports robust word processing, collaborative drafting, document, and project management from all of the leading developers, manufacturers, and platforms - Apple, Microsoft, Google - and presents the user with one seamless experience. Given the unlikelihood of that, my more realistic dream set up involves a treadmill/stationary bike desk, two monitors, a large flat surface where I can spread out documents, and in the evenings, an easy chair, a down blanket, a fireplace, and most importantly, an ergonomically correct lapdesk! When traveling, I dream of a small, but powerful solar-charged battery, a satellite phone, and a lightweight, foldable keyboard.

Uses This is supported by ZSA, makers of the Moonlander, ErgoDox EZ and Planck EZ keyboards. They also publish an awesome newsletter.