Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Mark Jardine. Most people know me from my work at Tapbots, a tiny iOS software company. I’m sort of a jack of all trades, master of none kind of guy. I struggled as a web designer for 10 years and finally realized that I’m a tiny bit better at designing user interfaces for software. In another life I’d be an illustrator or photographer.
What hardware do you use?
On my desk I have a 27” Core i7 iMac with 8 GB of ram. I interface with it via an Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse. I also have a Magic Trackpad but don’t use it often. My desktop is extended to an external 24” Apple LED Cinema Display and the audio is sent to a pair of M-Audio Studiophile AV40’s. My system is backed up to a 1TB Lacie d2 Quadra over FW800 and my work is archived to a Drobo with about 6TB’s of space. I’ll occasionally have my Audio Technica AT2020 USB Condenser Mic connected when being a guest on a podcast or for recording voiceovers in demo videos. Once in awhile I’ll connect my Microkorg XL or M-Audio Radium 61 keyboard to play around in Logic or Garageband.
When I’m on the go, I choose between my second generation iPad or my 11” Macbook Air depending on the type of work I plan to get done. It’s a good thing they both fit into my tiny Tom Bihn Ristretto: bag (though not at the same time). I also never forget my Shure SE530 earbuds to drown out the outside world.
Related to my portable life, I also have a Sony PSP-Go and a Nintendo 3DS. But I rarely take them anywhere since my trusty iPhone 4 is what I always have on me. I take it EVERYWHERE except for in the shower. If only it were waterproof.
When I feel like pretending to be a photographer, I take out my trusty Canon 5D Mark II. People think I’m a real photographer when I set up my 430ex and 580ex Speedlites on stands firing through 2 shoot-through umbrellas. And I really impress them with my 35mm 1.4L, 50mm 1.2L, 16-35 2.8L, and 70-200mm 2.8L IS lenses. When it comes to video, I’ll occasionally use my Steadicam Merlin or indislider Pro.
And what software?
Obviously, my main OS of choice is Mac OS X. I try to stay away from 3rd party software as much as I can. Apple’s software just works and works great for my needs. I love Safari. It syncs bookmarks to my iOS devices and I think it renders text the best out of all the browsers. I rely heavily on iCal, Address Book, and Mail. They all work very well with each other and with my iOS devices. I also use iChat for IM. I think it’s the best chat client by far.
I keep my notes in Notational Velocity because it’s fast and it syncs with SimpleNote on iOS. Also, life would be unbearable without Dropbox. It is the key to being able to own and use more than one computer. I usually have Twitter for Mac running, but I don’t have much time to keep up with it these days. iTunes is the center of my media life. Besides music, I keep all the ripped (that I own) and digitally downloaded movies in iTunes format so they can play on my iOS devices as well as on both of my Apple TV’s in the house.
On the work side of things, Photoshop is key. 99% of my design work is done in Photoshop. For more complicated vectors, I’ll launch Illustrator. When marking up websites, I switch between Coda, Espresso, and Textmate, but the latter is my pick if I could only use one. Transmit is also a very handy tool that gets a good workout on occasion.
When dabbling in video, I use the full Final Cut Studio suite. I import all my photos to Aperture, but still rely on Photoshop for my heavy image editing. I’m trying to learn Logic, but I always get frustrated and drop back down to Garageband. I really do love Apple’s Pro Apps.
What would be your dream setup?
Two “27” Cinema Displays connected to the top of the line Mac Pro with 16GB of ram, a big SSD drive for the system and a redundant raid setup for my data. Oh, and for gaming, I’d want to build my own top-spec PC. But in reality, I just hope the next generation iMacs are significantly faster with some sort of SSD + HDD setup. I think they provide the best bang for the buck.