Andrew Kirpalani (aka Kirps)
Sr. Applications Engineer, Bunchball
Who are you, and what do you do?
Developer by day, Startup Weekend Facilitator and Organizer by night, Full-time Facial Hair Enthusiast.
What hardware are you using?
I have two 15” MacBook Pros, one personal and one provided by the company I’m working for. The company provided one has a 256GB SSD and 16GB of RAM which makes is lightning fast. My personal machine is slightly slower but also has a bootcamp partition for Windows 7 for those times I get sucked back into the Windows world. I use a Thunderbolt Display, Magic Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard at home and just the laptops themselves when I’m out and about. I have an iPhone 4S and don’t currently use a tablet.
And what software?
I run all my files through a paid Dropbox Plan and that’s been the best choice I’ve ever made. I can pick up either my personal machine or work machine and immediately be productive. I use identical toolsets on each machine. I primarily write client-side JavaScript these days so Sublime Text 2 is my editor of choice. I use the Package Control package manager and the JSHint and SublimeCodeIntel packages. Firefox with Firebug and Firebug Autocompleter is my primary development browser. I also use the Web Developer Extension and User Agent Switcher Add-on extensively. The Charles Web Proxy is invaluable for modifying and recording web traffic.
I also use a number of sites like jsbeautifier.org, regexpal.com, quirksmode.org, pastie.org and stackoverflow.com for sundry tasks.
Finally, I use Chrome for general browsing, Evernote for note taking, Toggl for time tracking, Git (Github and BitBucket) for version control and Spotify for music.
What would be your dream setup?
This. Just kidding. I’d like a second Thunderbolt display to do the daisy-chaining and get two 27in. monitors driven of my MacBook. I like my Apple peripherals but I’d like to try out the Das Keyboard, maybe even the blank version. I don’t have another mouse on my mind right now, but I’d like a Leap. I’d like the biggest SSD I could get along with my maxed out RAM. On top of that I’d like a couple of these for media storage and possibly backups. Finally, I want a ridiculous number of Sonos speakers along with everything else they’ve made.

Andrew Kirpalani (aka Kirps)

Sr. Applications Engineer, Bunchball

Who are you, and what do you do?

Developer by day, Startup Weekend Facilitator and Organizer by night, Full-time Facial Hair Enthusiast.

What hardware are you using?

I have two 15” MacBook Pros, one personal and one provided by the company I’m working for. The company provided one has a 256GB SSD and 16GB of RAM which makes is lightning fast. My personal machine is slightly slower but also has a bootcamp partition for Windows 7 for those times I get sucked back into the Windows world. I use a Thunderbolt Display, Magic Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard at home and just the laptops themselves when I’m out and about. I have an iPhone 4S and don’t currently use a tablet.

And what software?

I run all my files through a paid Dropbox Plan and that’s been the best choice I’ve ever made. I can pick up either my personal machine or work machine and immediately be productive. I use identical toolsets on each machine. I primarily write client-side JavaScript these days so Sublime Text 2 is my editor of choice. I use the Package Control package manager and the JSHint and SublimeCodeIntel packages. Firefox with Firebug and Firebug Autocompleter is my primary development browser. I also use the Web Developer Extension and User Agent Switcher Add-on extensively. The Charles Web Proxy is invaluable for modifying and recording web traffic.


I also use a number of sites like jsbeautifier.org, regexpal.com, quirksmode.org, pastie.org and stackoverflow.com for sundry tasks.


Finally, I use Chrome for general browsing, Evernote for note taking, Toggl for time tracking, Git (Github and BitBucket) for version control and Spotify for music.

What would be your dream setup?

This. Just kidding. I’d like a second Thunderbolt display to do the daisy-chaining and get two 27in. monitors driven of my MacBook. I like my Apple peripherals but I’d like to try out the Das Keyboard, maybe even the blank version. I don’t have another mouse on my mind right now, but I’d like a Leap. I’d like the biggest SSD I could get along with my maxed out RAM. On top of that I’d like a couple of these for media storage and possibly backups. Finally, I want a ridiculous number of Sonos speakers along with everything else they’ve made.

Rachel McClung
Design Lead, Goodsmiths
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m a designer. My job is to synthesize various kinds of information into one cohesive visual form. It’s not all pretty pictures and games, though — I put logic behind every design decision.
What hardware are you using?
I have a 17” MacBook Pro from 2009. Last fall, I upgraded to a solid state drive, and it’s like having a new computer (can’t recommend SSDs enough). I like to keep up on the latest Apple products, but since models change all the time, I try to make the most of what I have while the AppleCare lasts.
When working at a desk, I use a Magic Trackpad to keep my wrist neutral. To keep tabs on everything else, I use my iPhone 4. It’s my first smartphone, and the ability to look up anything almost anywhere still amazes me.
I like to use unlined paper for notes and sketching. Sharpie recently came out with a line of pens that I’ve been experimenting with, but I’m still hunting for the perfect writing utensil.
And what software?
As a designer, I’m tied to the Adobe Creative Suite for design work. Overall, CS5 is a relatively stable product and doesn’t crash much, but some of the inconsistencies between programs for shortcut keys and other tasks bother me.
Chrome is the browser I use the most, followed by Firefox. I find Safari’s approach to be more dated, as I have a habit of typing search queries into the address bar.
Other go-to programs include TextEdit and Focus Booster. TextEdit is nice and light for saving short notes or removing formatting from text. Focus Booster is a free timer app based on the Pomodoro Method. I use it as a tool to get me started on those tough to tackle projects. It’s also handy for keeping small tasks from taking longer than they need to…
What would be your dream setup?
I’d like to pay once for the internet and be able to use it everywhere — on my phone, in the car, at home. At a super high speed, of course.
For software, I’m waiting for that magical web design program that will combine the pixel-precision of Photoshop with the organizational power of InDesign. Ideally, it would have the ability to manage copy globally with styles that could export into a CSS file.
Also, looking forward to an OS (Mac OS XI maybe?) that is built around a web-based workflow. The downloads folder is a major component of my day, so I suspect that ways to organize and structure files coming from the web will be continue to grow in importance in the future.

Rachel McClung

Design Lead, Goodsmiths

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m a designer. My job is to synthesize various kinds of information into one cohesive visual form. It’s not all pretty pictures and games, though — I put logic behind every design decision.

What hardware are you using?

I have a 17” MacBook Pro from 2009. Last fall, I upgraded to a solid state drive, and it’s like having a new computer (can’t recommend SSDs enough). I like to keep up on the latest Apple products, but since models change all the time, I try to make the most of what I have while the AppleCare lasts.


When working at a desk, I use a Magic Trackpad to keep my wrist neutral. To keep tabs on everything else, I use my iPhone 4. It’s my first smartphone, and the ability to look up anything almost anywhere still amazes me.


I like to use unlined paper for notes and sketching. Sharpie recently came out with a line of pens that I’ve been experimenting with, but I’m still hunting for the perfect writing utensil.

And what software?

As a designer, I’m tied to the Adobe Creative Suite for design work. Overall, CS5 is a relatively stable product and doesn’t crash much, but some of the inconsistencies between programs for shortcut keys and other tasks bother me.


Chrome is the browser I use the most, followed by Firefox. I find Safari’s approach to be more dated, as I have a habit of typing search queries into the address bar.


Other go-to programs include TextEdit and Focus Booster. TextEdit is nice and light for saving short notes or removing formatting from text. Focus Booster is a free timer app based on the Pomodoro Method. I use it as a tool to get me started on those tough to tackle projects. It’s also handy for keeping small tasks from taking longer than they need to…

What would be your dream setup?

I’d like to pay once for the internet and be able to use it everywhere — on my phone, in the car, at home. At a super high speed, of course.


For software, I’m waiting for that magical web design program that will combine the pixel-precision of Photoshop with the organizational power of InDesign. Ideally, it would have the ability to manage copy globally with styles that could export into a CSS file.


Also, looking forward to an OS (Mac OS XI maybe?) that is built around a web-based workflow. The downloads folder is a major component of my day, so I suspect that ways to organize and structure files coming from the web will be continue to grow in importance in the future.

Jason Nissen
Co-Founder, Far Reach
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Jason, and I’m a partner and co-founder of Far Reach, a custom software and web consulting company in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I’m also a developer. I started Far Reach with four friends almost five years ago.  We were tired of the corporate, cubicle life and wanted to start a company that focused on doing great work while offering a creative and flexible environment for our employees.  We’ve stayed good friends through the process, and are really proud of what we’ve built.
I live in the “big town” of Fairbank with my amazing wife, two great kids, and an annoying pug.
What hardware are you using?
For my work, I’m running an early-2011 15” MacBook Pro (2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, SSD drive) hooked up to a 27” Apple Thunderbolt display.  The Thunderbolt display is at home, and at the office I’m reduced to using a 24” Apple LED.
For listening to music, reading books, and playing games I use an iPad (when I can pry it out of my children’s hands).  I just upgraded from an iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4S.  I’ve only offended Siri once so far, but I’ll keep working at it.
And what software?
After that list of hardware, you’d think I’d qualify as an Apple fanboy, but I run Parallels with Windows 7 on my MacBook.
I use Visual Studio 2010 to develop applications for the Web (ASP.NET, Silverlight) and Windows (WPF).   I do some occasional iPhone development and use XCode for those projects.  Once in a while when I feel like being creative, I will open up Photoshop.
For my own productivity, I’m a fan of SimplyFile for Outlook and Dropbox.  Snagit is a great screen capture app that I use quite a bit. I manage my dual monitor workstation with Display Fusion.  I’m not hugely into social media, but I do think Flud has an amazing UI and use it to keep up with news and to share what I think is relevant.
And then there’s my music obsession – specifically alt/indie music —my wife constantly tells me I spend way too much money on music.  I use Spotify, Zoom, iTunes, Shazam and the SiriusXM app, all on a daily basis.
As a consulting company and services provider, Far Reach uses Basecamp for project management and team communication.  Our development team uses Telerik’s TeamPulse.  We track our work time and billable hours with Harvest, and use Highrise for Customer Relationship Management.
What would be your dream setup?
I have to say, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.  Since I don’t always need the portability of a MacBook Pro, I’ve considered making the switch to a Mac Pro, which would then tempt me to further indulge in dual 27” Thunderbolt displays.   If I were to really go for it and humor my introverted ways, I’d mount it to a Stressless recliner and work far, far away from distractions on a secluded beach in Molokai.  Hey, you asked for my dream setup, right?

Jason Nissen

Co-Founder, Far Reach

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Jason, and I’m a partner and co-founder of Far Reach, a custom software and web consulting company in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I’m also a developer. I started Far Reach with four friends almost five years ago. We were tired of the corporate, cubicle life and wanted to start a company that focused on doing great work while offering a creative and flexible environment for our employees. We’ve stayed good friends through the process, and are really proud of what we’ve built.


I live in the “big town” of Fairbank with my amazing wife, two great kids, and an annoying pug.

What hardware are you using?

For my work, I’m running an early-2011 15” MacBook Pro (2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, SSD drive) hooked up to a 27” Apple Thunderbolt display. The Thunderbolt display is at home, and at the office I’m reduced to using a 24” Apple LED.


For listening to music, reading books, and playing games I use an iPad (when I can pry it out of my children’s hands). I just upgraded from an iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4S. I’ve only offended Siri once so far, but I’ll keep working at it.

And what software?

After that list of hardware, you’d think I’d qualify as an Apple fanboy, but I run Parallels with Windows 7 on my MacBook.


I use Visual Studio 2010 to develop applications for the Web (ASP.NET, Silverlight) and Windows (WPF). I do some occasional iPhone development and use XCode for those projects. Once in a while when I feel like being creative, I will open up Photoshop.


For my own productivity, I’m a fan of SimplyFile for Outlook and Dropbox. Snagit is a great screen capture app that I use quite a bit. I manage my dual monitor workstation with Display Fusion. I’m not hugely into social media, but I do think Flud has an amazing UI and use it to keep up with news and to share what I think is relevant.


And then there’s my music obsession – specifically alt/indie music —my wife constantly tells me I spend way too much money on music. I use Spotify, Zoom, iTunes, Shazam and the SiriusXM app, all on a daily basis.


As a consulting company and services provider, Far Reach uses Basecamp for project management and team communication. Our development team uses Telerik’s TeamPulse. We track our work time and billable hours with Harvest, and use Highrise for Customer Relationship Management.

What would be your dream setup?

I have to say, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got. Since I don’t always need the portability of a MacBook Pro, I’ve considered making the switch to a Mac Pro, which would then tempt me to further indulge in dual 27” Thunderbolt displays. If I were to really go for it and humor my introverted ways, I’d mount it to a Stressless recliner and work far, far away from distractions on a secluded beach in Molokai. Hey, you asked for my dream setup, right?

photo credit: Eric Rowley/Juice
Jake Kerber
CEO, Locusic
President, KerberTech
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Jake and I’m the founder and CEO of Locusic, a local music streaming service. Our purpose is to give free exposure to local bands, encourage attendance at live shows, and support local businesses. You open the app, pick a genre, it detects your location, and music plays from the local scene.
I’m also the president of KerberTech, a custom software development company - focused on B2B. I design and build web-based (and other) applications to solve complex problems.
I live in Ankeny with my wife and our twin baby girl and boy.
What hardware are you using?
For most tech work, I use an HP Pavilion dv7 laptop with a huge screen.
When working at a client’s site, I use whatever hardware they have for me to use.
I have a Mac Pro that I got a couple years back. It was pretty high-end at the time (dual quad core Xeons if I remember right). I was going to use it for a lot of audio and video production, but that never really happened. Now I just use it as a test machine and to play movies during late night coding sessions.
For a mobile phone, I’m using my original Motorola Droid. I’ll probably upgrade soon.
For mobile entertainment, I use a Zune. I also have an iPod touch, but I mainly just use that for testing.
I also use a ton of paper (sorry trees). I take a bunch of notes and do a lot of thinking and design on paper. I’ll use about any non-spiral 8.5x11 notebook that’s available. I think I’ve filled up about 6 while working on Locusic so far. I use mechanical pencils. I can’t stand using pens. Lately I really like the Pentel Forte .5 mm - they’re cheap so I can keep several at my desk at home and a few in my Targus laptop bag that I take with me everywhere.
And what software?
I use Google apps pretty heavily - specifically gmail.
Chrome is my browser of choice.
I use an old version of Photoshop for image editing.
I mainly develop with the Microsoft stack, so when writing code, my Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. I use SQL Server Management Studio for database work.
I use the standard MS Office suite for docs and spreadsheets. For shared documents that other members of my team are collaborating on I use Google docs.
What would be your dream setup?
My dream setup would be more about people than devices. I’d love a PA that could file all my paperwork and keep my office de-cluttered. And I’d love more smart people who are passionate about local music (and tech) to join the Locusic team.
For tech, I guess in a dream world, I’d like everything to be always on, always connected, with super fast access, and no concerns about privacy or malware.
Also, I wish the iTunes interface was more like the old Musicmatch. I don’t like the UI of iTunes so I don’t use it. And I know I’m missing out on all kinds of inter-connected-ness because of it. I also wish mainstream portable entertainment devices would just let you drag/drop files to them just like any other external hard drive - like I used to do with my ancient Archos Jukebox - circa 2001. Geez, I sound like a grumpy old man! “I don’t like things now compared to the way they used to be!” So my dream setup would perhaps include more open standards and platforms.
I’d also like more time. Lot’s more time - to do all the projects I’d like to get to “some day”.

photo credit: Eric Rowley/Juice

Jake Kerber

CEO, Locusic

President, KerberTech

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Jake and I’m the founder and CEO of Locusic, a local music streaming service. Our purpose is to give free exposure to local bands, encourage attendance at live shows, and support local businesses. You open the app, pick a genre, it detects your location, and music plays from the local scene.


I’m also the president of KerberTech, a custom software development company - focused on B2B. I design and build web-based (and other) applications to solve complex problems.


I live in Ankeny with my wife and our twin baby girl and boy.

What hardware are you using?

For most tech work, I use an HP Pavilion dv7 laptop with a huge screen.


When working at a client’s site, I use whatever hardware they have for me to use.


I have a Mac Pro that I got a couple years back. It was pretty high-end at the time (dual quad core Xeons if I remember right). I was going to use it for a lot of audio and video production, but that never really happened. Now I just use it as a test machine and to play movies during late night coding sessions.


For a mobile phone, I’m using my original Motorola Droid. I’ll probably upgrade soon.


For mobile entertainment, I use a Zune. I also have an iPod touch, but I mainly just use that for testing.


I also use a ton of paper (sorry trees). I take a bunch of notes and do a lot of thinking and design on paper. I’ll use about any non-spiral 8.5x11 notebook that’s available. I think I’ve filled up about 6 while working on Locusic so far. I use mechanical pencils. I can’t stand using pens. Lately I really like the Pentel Forte .5 mm - they’re cheap so I can keep several at my desk at home and a few in my Targus laptop bag that I take with me everywhere.

And what software?

I use Google apps pretty heavily - specifically gmail.


Chrome is my browser of choice.


I use an old version of Photoshop for image editing.


I mainly develop with the Microsoft stack, so when writing code, my Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. I use SQL Server Management Studio for database work.


I use the standard MS Office suite for docs and spreadsheets. For shared documents that other members of my team are collaborating on I use Google docs.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be more about people than devices. I’d love a PA that could file all my paperwork and keep my office de-cluttered. And I’d love more smart people who are passionate about local music (and tech) to join the Locusic team.


For tech, I guess in a dream world, I’d like everything to be always on, always connected, with super fast access, and no concerns about privacy or malware.


Also, I wish the iTunes interface was more like the old Musicmatch. I don’t like the UI of iTunes so I don’t use it. And I know I’m missing out on all kinds of inter-connected-ness because of it. I also wish mainstream portable entertainment devices would just let you drag/drop files to them just like any other external hard drive - like I used to do with my ancient Archos Jukebox - circa 2001. Geez, I sound like a grumpy old man! “I don’t like things now compared to the way they used to be!” So my dream setup would perhaps include more open standards and platforms.


I’d also like more time. Lot’s more time - to do all the projects I’d like to get to “some day”.

photo credit: Joe Pyle Photography
Josh Cramer
CEO, Cramer Dev
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Josh Cramer and I am an Internet Entrepreneur. I lead a team of designers, software engineers, and product managers that help startups launch software based apps and ventures. My role is urging and demanding quality from the team through design, product, and architecture reviews. I am also pretty involved with scaling our team and getting the right people on the bus. I work with a lot of startups in the ideation phase and help through an Ideation Process that allows us to discover the customers and products that we build.
I love what I get to do every day and am thankful for the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented team.
What hardware are you using?
I run a Core i7 15” Macbook Pro with a high-res screen and 8 GB of memory. I also have dual Ergotron desk mount arms that support my laptop and a 23” external LCD. I also have an iPhone 4 and iPad 2. My desk is made from a custom cut and stained solid core door that sports Ikea legs.
Since the team I work with is distributed across the US, I’ve been on a quest to find the ultimate headset / mic combo. I’ve burned through many different sets and have ended up on the Bose In Ear Mobile headset and a Sennheiser PC 151 with noise canceling mic and a Headset Buddy adapter.
For video conferencing, I have managed to hook up a GoPro HD Hero 2 camera to use as a webcam through an analog to firewire adapter. Audio comes through a Audio-Technica side address cardioid condenser mic that comes in through a Blue Icicle audio adapter.
Each day, I ride one of two bikes to the office: (1) A BMC Racemaster SLX 01 road bike with an SRAM Rival full group; or (2) A Niner One 9 custom built single speed mountain bike with a 180mm crank arm and rigid front fork.
And what software?
My iPhone apps are too numerous to mention. On the mac, I dump almost everything into Evernote for safe keeping. I usually take notes at every meeting and also push thoughts and ideas into notebooks as well. Evernote remembers all of the details of things that I can’t on my own.
Recently, I’ve been using Wunderlist for task management. The seamless syncing between desktop, web, iPhone, iPad is great.
If I code, which is rarely these days, I do it in TextMate with the Pengwynn Menlo theme. I’m a power Skype user, although our team just switched our group chat from Skype to Flow Dock.
I used to use Exchange for email, but maxed out the number of rules you could make for incoming messages. We then migrated to Google Apps and I haven’t hit the max yet, although I’m sure I’m in the upper 1% for number of filter rules on an email account.
What would be your dream setup?
I like the bikes I have, but wouldn’t mind a Mission Bicycle Company Custom Fixie and a cyclocross bike if space, budget, and practicality wasn’t a concern.
I’m holding out for the 15” Macbook Air. I almost bought the new 13” Air, but decided it didn’t have enough memory capability for my needs. I am also looking to get all of my externals hooked up through just one single Thunderbolt port.

photo credit: Joe Pyle Photography

Josh Cramer

CEO, Cramer Dev

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi, I’m Josh Cramer and I am an Internet Entrepreneur. I lead a team of designers, software engineers, and product managers that help startups launch software based apps and ventures. My role is urging and demanding quality from the team through design, product, and architecture reviews. I am also pretty involved with scaling our team and getting the right people on the bus. I work with a lot of startups in the ideation phase and help through an Ideation Process that allows us to discover the customers and products that we build.


I love what I get to do every day and am thankful for the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented team.

What hardware are you using?

I run a Core i7 15” Macbook Pro with a high-res screen and 8 GB of memory. I also have dual Ergotron desk mount arms that support my laptop and a 23” external LCD. I also have an iPhone 4 and iPad 2. My desk is made from a custom cut and stained solid core door that sports Ikea legs.


Since the team I work with is distributed across the US, I’ve been on a quest to find the ultimate headset / mic combo. I’ve burned through many different sets and have ended up on the Bose In Ear Mobile headset and a Sennheiser PC 151 with noise canceling mic and a Headset Buddy adapter.


For video conferencing, I have managed to hook up a GoPro HD Hero 2 camera to use as a webcam through an analog to firewire adapter. Audio comes through a Audio-Technica side address cardioid condenser mic that comes in through a Blue Icicle audio adapter.


Each day, I ride one of two bikes to the office: (1) A BMC Racemaster SLX 01 road bike with an SRAM Rival full group; or (2) A Niner One 9 custom built single speed mountain bike with a 180mm crank arm and rigid front fork.

And what software?

My iPhone apps are too numerous to mention. On the mac, I dump almost everything into Evernote for safe keeping. I usually take notes at every meeting and also push thoughts and ideas into notebooks as well. Evernote remembers all of the details of things that I can’t on my own.


Recently, I’ve been using Wunderlist for task management. The seamless syncing between desktop, web, iPhone, iPad is great.


If I code, which is rarely these days, I do it in TextMate with the Pengwynn Menlo theme. I’m a power Skype user, although our team just switched our group chat from Skype to Flow Dock.


I used to use Exchange for email, but maxed out the number of rules you could make for incoming messages. We then migrated to Google Apps and I haven’t hit the max yet, although I’m sure I’m in the upper 1% for number of filter rules on an email account.

What would be your dream setup?

I like the bikes I have, but wouldn’t mind a Mission Bicycle Company Custom Fixie and a cyclocross bike if space, budget, and practicality wasn’t a concern.


I’m holding out for the 15” Macbook Air. I almost bought the new 13” Air, but decided it didn’t have enough memory capability for my needs. I am also looking to get all of my externals hooked up through just one single Thunderbolt port.

Tyler Bell
Founder, Made by Bell
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Tyler Bell, 19 years old, and I started Made by Bell. Whether I’m attending Iowa State University fulltime as a computer science student or I’m developing a new mobile app, I strive to be on the cutting edge of innovation. Being a student in this technological era and the limitless possibilities that come along with it excite and motivate me.
What hardware are you using?
Apple devices are my devices of choice. My computer is a mid 2010 15” i7 MacBook Pro with the high-resolution screen and 8GB of RAM. When I am able to actually work at my desk, a second monitor is used to extend my screen real estate.
Some of the other devices that I use are a 16GB White iPad 2 and my roommate’s old Android powered HTC Desire for testing purposes.
My phone is a 32GB white iPhone 4S.
When not working on one of my devices, my glass-topped desk serves as a handy dry-erase surface for crunching numbers and for problem solving.
And what software?
My operating system is Lion. After several switches back and forth, Safari has finally beaten out Chrome as my web browser of choice. For email, Sparrow is a beautifully designed client that makes email decently tolerable again.
I use the Adobe CS5 suite for designing the interface for my apps. Xcode (iOS) and Eclipse (Android) are used to piece them all together.
The Microsoft Office 2011 suite is used to compose a document or to create a presentation, as that is what I have grown up using. If given the chance, I wouldn’t mind trying out Apple’s own iWork suite.
For task management, I’ll use Wunderlist and Evernote as both applications sync my data seamlessly across all of my devices.
What would be your dream setup?
My dream setup wouldn’t deviate much from what I currently have on the software side of things, but my hardware could use some work in the aspect of screen real estate. My dual-monitor setup is nice, but I’ve always dreamed of having at least three monitors. Having three identical monitors excluding my MacBook’s would really make my day.

Tyler Bell

Founder, Made by Bell

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Tyler Bell, 19 years old, and I started Made by Bell. Whether I’m attending Iowa State University fulltime as a computer science student or I’m developing a new mobile app, I strive to be on the cutting edge of innovation. Being a student in this technological era and the limitless possibilities that come along with it excite and motivate me.

What hardware are you using?

Apple devices are my devices of choice. My computer is a mid 2010 15” i7 MacBook Pro with the high-resolution screen and 8GB of RAM. When I am able to actually work at my desk, a second monitor is used to extend my screen real estate.


Some of the other devices that I use are a 16GB White iPad 2 and my roommate’s old Android powered HTC Desire for testing purposes.


My phone is a 32GB white iPhone 4S.


When not working on one of my devices, my glass-topped desk serves as a handy dry-erase surface for crunching numbers and for problem solving.

And what software?

My operating system is Lion. After several switches back and forth, Safari has finally beaten out Chrome as my web browser of choice. For email, Sparrow is a beautifully designed client that makes email decently tolerable again.


I use the Adobe CS5 suite for designing the interface for my apps. Xcode (iOS) and Eclipse (Android) are used to piece them all together.


The Microsoft Office 2011 suite is used to compose a document or to create a presentation, as that is what I have grown up using. If given the chance, I wouldn’t mind trying out Apple’s own iWork suite.


For task management, I’ll use Wunderlist and Evernote as both applications sync my data seamlessly across all of my devices.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup wouldn’t deviate much from what I currently have on the software side of things, but my hardware could use some work in the aspect of screen real estate. My dual-monitor setup is nice, but I’ve always dreamed of having at least three monitors. Having three identical monitors excluding my MacBook’s would really make my day.

photo credit: Anna Jones
Brian Hemesath
CEO, Catchwind
Co-Founder, VolunteerLocal
CTO, Tikly
Minority shareholder, NotifyWorks
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Brian Hemesath, a self-taught developer who enjoys sales and business development. Can’t really say if I like any one thing more than the other. I love being busy and having more on my plate than I should.  I’ve been called a serial entrepreneur, but I’d call myself more of an accidental entrepreneur.  I see opportunities and leverage them to build cool stuff and bring people together.
What hardware are you using?
I’m overdue for new hardware.  I have a 5 year old Dell XPS at home with 2x 23” monitors. My buddy was the CEO of BFG, so I got a kick-ass deal on 2 8800 GTS graphics cards, which I can run in SLI mode to play games when I procrastinate.  At the office I’m on a 4 year old Dell Vostro laptop, running Windows Vista.  I believe I am the only person who actually liked Vista. I have a Lenovo U400 all picked out as soon as I can convince myself I need the upgrade.  I bought a Galaxy Tab 10.1 the day they came out and absolutely love it.  I have a rooted Samsung Conquer on Sprint.
And what software?
I’m pretty old school about my software.  I hand code in a program called EditPad Pro, which is Notepad on steriods.  I use 3D-FTP for file transfers, but recently tried FileZilla. I do a lot of command line stuff for both the OS and database, so AbsoluteTelnet is an important part of my day.  I don’t do much with graphics, but I use a 13-year old version of Paint Shop Pro for basic slicing and editing. It works great, but I do break out Photoshop for more serious stuff. This isn’t software, but Stack Overflow is my go-to for JQuery questions. I develop on the LAMP stack.
What would be your dream setup?
It is hard to call this a “dream” setup, but I suppose that Lenovo U400 with a device to support dual monitors.  We’re talking less than $1K, here, so I realize I’m dreaming pretty small. If I had money to burn, I’d like to have a tablet that ran on 3G/4G vs. just WiFi.  I like to keep things simple.

photo credit: Anna Jones

Brian Hemesath

CEO, Catchwind

Co-Founder, VolunteerLocal

CTO, Tikly

Minority shareholder, NotifyWorks

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Brian Hemesath, a self-taught developer who enjoys sales and business development. Can’t really say if I like any one thing more than the other. I love being busy and having more on my plate than I should. I’ve been called a serial entrepreneur, but I’d call myself more of an accidental entrepreneur. I see opportunities and leverage them to build cool stuff and bring people together.

What hardware are you using?

I’m overdue for new hardware. I have a 5 year old Dell XPS at home with 2x 23” monitors. My buddy was the CEO of BFG, so I got a kick-ass deal on 2 8800 GTS graphics cards, which I can run in SLI mode to play games when I procrastinate. At the office I’m on a 4 year old Dell Vostro laptop, running Windows Vista. I believe I am the only person who actually liked Vista. I have a Lenovo U400 all picked out as soon as I can convince myself I need the upgrade. I bought a Galaxy Tab 10.1 the day they came out and absolutely love it. I have a rooted Samsung Conquer on Sprint.

And what software?

I’m pretty old school about my software. I hand code in a program called EditPad Pro, which is Notepad on steriods. I use 3D-FTP for file transfers, but recently tried FileZilla. I do a lot of command line stuff for both the OS and database, so AbsoluteTelnet is an important part of my day. I don’t do much with graphics, but I use a 13-year old version of Paint Shop Pro for basic slicing and editing. It works great, but I do break out Photoshop for more serious stuff. This isn’t software, but Stack Overflow is my go-to for JQuery questions. I develop on the LAMP stack.

What would be your dream setup?

It is hard to call this a “dream” setup, but I suppose that Lenovo U400 with a device to support dual monitors. We’re talking less than $1K, here, so I realize I’m dreaming pretty small. If I had money to burn, I’d like to have a tablet that ran on 3G/4G vs. just WiFi. I like to keep things simple.

Jesse VanDerPol
Web Designer, SmartyPig
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Jesse VanDerPol and I am Web Designer for SmartyPig. I like shiny new hardware, video games, beautiful design, and having a few too many toys on my desk to be taken seriously. My number one goal is to make things pleasing to the eye while keeping them easy to use. I am currently working on SmartyPig’s PhilanthroPig project, which is a payment engine & web app CMS for non-profits. I handle the web site design and front-end development.
What hardware are you using?
I am typing this at work on an 21” iMac (3GHz Core2Duo, 8GB RAM) connected to a 25” display. I also have a Quad-Core HP (3Ghz AMD X4, 6GB RAM) which I remote into for source control and testing.
I have a computer hoarding problem. Much to my wife’s dismay, I own a 15” MacBook Pro (2GHz CoreDuo, 2GB RAM) from 2006 & in need of replacement, a PowerMac G5 (2.5GHz Quadcore PowerPC, 4GB RAM) from 2005, a personally built game PC (3GHz AMD X4, 8GB RAM), 13” MacBook (2.2GHz Core2Duo, 2GB RAM) and two older AMD custom boxes. I no longer turn on the PowerBook or iBook that sit on a storage shelf.
I spend most of my computing time on one of the Macs, my iPhone4 or most recently the iPad2.
For virtual sketching I use my Intuos4 Medium or if traveling a Bamboo Pen&Touch.
For physical sketching and note taking I use a Uniball Vision .07mm, which are wonderful pens with great flow for an affordable price (and spin-able!). Moleskins are what I primarily do my chicken scratching on.
And what software?
As funny as this would sound to my past self, I primarily use Adobe CS5 Illustrator for web mockups. Adobe has made real strides in making Illustrator a solid web mockup tool. I fall back to Photoshop and more recently Pixelmator for the really detailed pixel pushing. While for sketching I use Autodesk SketchBook.
When it comes to front end development I am constantly bouncing around to different editors, most recently sticking with TextMate 2’s alpha release. If I had to say what I spend most of my time in, it is Coda or Espresso.
I use iA Writer for MarkDown creation, Chrome for browsing, Google for email/calendars/photos/documents, Transmit for FTP, Trillian for IM, Rdio for music and 1Password/Dropbox for keeping track of the important stuff.
My web servers are LAMP stacks on Amazon or Rackspace.
What would be your dream setup?
I am dreaming the new 15” MacBook Pro will be in the MacBook Air form. I would output the video onto two 27” Thunderbolt displays. Panic would release Coda2.

Jesse VanDerPol

Web Designer, SmartyPig

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jesse VanDerPol and I am Web Designer for SmartyPig. I like shiny new hardware, video games, beautiful design, and having a few too many toys on my desk to be taken seriously. My number one goal is to make things pleasing to the eye while keeping them easy to use. I am currently working on SmartyPig’s PhilanthroPig project, which is a payment engine & web app CMS for non-profits. I handle the web site design and front-end development.

What hardware are you using?

I am typing this at work on an 21” iMac (3GHz Core2Duo, 8GB RAM) connected to a 25” display. I also have a Quad-Core HP (3Ghz AMD X4, 6GB RAM) which I remote into for source control and testing.


I have a computer hoarding problem. Much to my wife’s dismay, I own a 15” MacBook Pro (2GHz CoreDuo, 2GB RAM) from 2006 & in need of replacement, a PowerMac G5 (2.5GHz Quadcore PowerPC, 4GB RAM) from 2005, a personally built game PC (3GHz AMD X4, 8GB RAM), 13” MacBook (2.2GHz Core2Duo, 2GB RAM) and two older AMD custom boxes. I no longer turn on the PowerBook or iBook that sit on a storage shelf.


I spend most of my computing time on one of the Macs, my iPhone4 or most recently the iPad2.


For virtual sketching I use my Intuos4 Medium or if traveling a Bamboo Pen&Touch.


For physical sketching and note taking I use a Uniball Vision .07mm, which are wonderful pens with great flow for an affordable price (and spin-able!). Moleskins are what I primarily do my chicken scratching on.

And what software?

As funny as this would sound to my past self, I primarily use Adobe CS5 Illustrator for web mockups. Adobe has made real strides in making Illustrator a solid web mockup tool. I fall back to Photoshop and more recently Pixelmator for the really detailed pixel pushing. While for sketching I use Autodesk SketchBook.


When it comes to front end development I am constantly bouncing around to different editors, most recently sticking with TextMate 2’s alpha release. If I had to say what I spend most of my time in, it is Coda or Espresso.


I use iA Writer for MarkDown creation, Chrome for browsing, Google for email/calendars/photos/documents, Transmit for FTP, Trillian for IM, Rdio for music and 1Password/Dropbox for keeping track of the important stuff.


My web servers are LAMP stacks on Amazon or Rackspace.

What would be your dream setup?

I am dreaming the new 15” MacBook Pro will be in the MacBook Air form. I would output the video onto two 27” Thunderbolt displays. Panic would release Coda2.

John Henry Müller
Founder / Creative Lead, What Cheer
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is John Henry Müller. I spend my days making fancy websites at What Cheer. I focus on user experience and visual design.
What hardware are you using?
I keep notes and doodles in composition notebooks with a Pentel Twist-Erase 0.7mm mechanical pencil. We just installed 6’ x 4’ porcelain whiteboard for collaboration.
I am on my third 17” MacBook Pro in a little over a year. Thanks, Apple Care! At the studio I plug it into a Thunderbolt Display, keyboard and Magic Mouse. I read on an iPad 2. I use an iPhone 4 for an alarm clock and endangering other drivers.
And what software?
Things by Cultured Code helps me organize my day. Gmail (Google Apps for Business) is my next stop to collect, read and send email.
For graphic work I use Adobe Fireworks. Fireworks is the best piece of software for designing and optimizing graphics for the screen. Photoshop works just fine for editing pictures.
For HTML/CSS development, I use Coda. I run MAMP for a local web server and Tower to help me push stuff in the right direction for Git. I like Google Chrome Inspect Element for debugging.
We use Freshbooks for time tracking and invoicing. For collaboration, we use Google Docs and Campfire with Hubot to keep the jokes coming.
Instapaper helps corral articles found via Twitter or Hacker News.
What would be your dream setup?
For making fancy websites I have a nearly ideal setup. If I follow my dreams to become a lumber jack, an ax and more flannel shirts would be useful.

John Henry Müller

Founder / Creative Lead, What Cheer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is John Henry Müller. I spend my days making fancy websites at What Cheer. I focus on user experience and visual design.

What hardware are you using?

I keep notes and doodles in composition notebooks with a Pentel Twist-Erase 0.7mm mechanical pencil. We just installed 6’ x 4’ porcelain whiteboard for collaboration.


I am on my third 17” MacBook Pro in a little over a year. Thanks, Apple Care! At the studio I plug it into a Thunderbolt Display, keyboard and Magic Mouse. I read on an iPad 2. I use an iPhone 4 for an alarm clock and endangering other drivers.

And what software?

Things by Cultured Code helps me organize my day. Gmail (Google Apps for Business) is my next stop to collect, read and send email.


For graphic work I use Adobe Fireworks. Fireworks is the best piece of software for designing and optimizing graphics for the screen. Photoshop works just fine for editing pictures.


For HTML/CSS development, I use Coda. I run MAMP for a local web server and Tower to help me push stuff in the right direction for Git. I like Google Chrome Inspect Element for debugging.


We use Freshbooks for time tracking and invoicing. For collaboration, we use Google Docs and Campfire with Hubot to keep the jokes coming.


Instapaper helps corral articles found via Twitter or Hacker News.

What would be your dream setup?

For making fancy websites I have a nearly ideal setup. If I follow my dreams to become a lumber jack, an ax and more flannel shirts would be useful.

Scott Rocketship
Digital copywriter, UX consultant, and independent broadcaster. I work for myself.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Scott Rocketship. I help people make things. I am a newly independent copywriter, broadcaster, and event organizer with extensive web and mobile experience. I love to talk, think, write, and consult about user experience and working creatively. My favorite recent project was producing over 30 episodes of The Flyover Effect, a weekly podcast about startups, design, and all things internet with the team at Bitmethod. I’ve focused my survey responses on the broadcasting side of what I do.
What hardware are you using?
The rig I used to produce The Flyover Effect was a very DIY-affair pieced together with a lot of equipment I already owned for other reasons. I ran a couple of inexpensive dynamic stick mics and my pride and joy Electro Voice RE320 broadcast microphone into a barebones four-channel Shure mixer. That mixer kicked a one-track mixdown into an M-Audio FastTrack USB audio interface, which was then fed into my 13” MacBook Air.
I had some $30 stands and $15 pop filters, and cables from Monoprice. It was not ideal but good mic technique and patient editing can take you a long way. I used a MiniDisc deck of all things to record a backup for the first dozen or so episodes, but the Air has been so rock solid I stopped bothering with it.
Moving forward with some new podcasting projects, I’m upgrading to a Mackie Onyx 1220i mixer/interface, some Rode Procaster mic kits with boom arms and shockmounts, and a threeQ mic preamp for my personal mic based on recommendations from Dan Benjamin of 5by5.tv on his Hive Logic blog. I’m switching to a 21” iMac for recording and editing as the Air doesn’t have Firewire or ethernet. I’m hoping the stock iMac will work but if the drive is noisy I might have to pop in a silent SSD — that was a nice benefit of using the Air.
I’m all iPhone all the way. I hope they keep getting better and better and I am still using one when I am old. Best device I’ve ever owned, it converted me from being a PC user to a Mac user.
And what software?
I’ve been using the free Audacity program to record podcasts locally, and Skype + Audio Hijack Pro for episodes with remote guests. Skype is nice for its ubiquity (haven’t found a guest yet that didn’t have an account), but it does take a little finagling to make sure it works well. I also use Audacity for editing. Given the less-than-ideal gear I’ve been working with, I usually run a combination of noise removal, normalization, and compression filters with custom settings to punch things up a bit. Moving forward, I’m probably going to pick up Logic Pro 9 for multi-track recording and editing.
Productivity-wise, my most used apps are TextMate, Wunderlist, Tweetdeck, Gmail (web), Google Calendar (web), Chrome, iChat, 1Password, and Day One (a journaling app). I’ve also recently sworn off of paper notebooks and started carrying a notecard-based Hipster PDA and a Fisher Space Pen. I’ve captured more notes and ideas in a week of using my Hipster PDA than three years of carting around legal pads and notebooks.
What would be your dream setup?
I miss the well-engineered rooms and gear in the Des Moines Radio Group building when I worked for Lazer 103.3. My dream setup is more about the space than the equipment — a high counter, nice chairs, and a soundproofed room with nice acoustics would do a lot more for my productions at this point than any equipment. Making your guests and co-hosts comfortable is an important part of the process. My dream setup also includes an administrative assistant.
As long as I’m dreaming, I’d also love for all of my guests to have custom-fit, in-ear, flesh-colored earphones like the Ryan Seacrests of the world use on radio programs that are also video recorded.

Scott Rocketship

Digital copywriter, UX consultant, and independent broadcaster. I work for myself.

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Scott Rocketship. I help people make things. I am a newly independent copywriter, broadcaster, and event organizer with extensive web and mobile experience. I love to talk, think, write, and consult about user experience and working creatively. My favorite recent project was producing over 30 episodes of The Flyover Effect, a weekly podcast about startups, design, and all things internet with the team at Bitmethod. I’ve focused my survey responses on the broadcasting side of what I do.

What hardware are you using?

The rig I used to produce The Flyover Effect was a very DIY-affair pieced together with a lot of equipment I already owned for other reasons. I ran a couple of inexpensive dynamic stick mics and my pride and joy Electro Voice RE320 broadcast microphone into a barebones four-channel Shure mixer. That mixer kicked a one-track mixdown into an M-Audio FastTrack USB audio interface, which was then fed into my 13” MacBook Air.


I had some $30 stands and $15 pop filters, and cables from Monoprice. It was not ideal but good mic technique and patient editing can take you a long way. I used a MiniDisc deck of all things to record a backup for the first dozen or so episodes, but the Air has been so rock solid I stopped bothering with it.


Moving forward with some new podcasting projects, I’m upgrading to a Mackie Onyx 1220i mixer/interface, some Rode Procaster mic kits with boom arms and shockmounts, and a threeQ mic preamp for my personal mic based on recommendations from Dan Benjamin of 5by5.tv on his Hive Logic blog. I’m switching to a 21” iMac for recording and editing as the Air doesn’t have Firewire or ethernet. I’m hoping the stock iMac will work but if the drive is noisy I might have to pop in a silent SSD — that was a nice benefit of using the Air.


I’m all iPhone all the way. I hope they keep getting better and better and I am still using one when I am old. Best device I’ve ever owned, it converted me from being a PC user to a Mac user.

And what software?

I’ve been using the free Audacity program to record podcasts locally, and Skype + Audio Hijack Pro for episodes with remote guests. Skype is nice for its ubiquity (haven’t found a guest yet that didn’t have an account), but it does take a little finagling to make sure it works well. I also use Audacity for editing. Given the less-than-ideal gear I’ve been working with, I usually run a combination of noise removal, normalization, and compression filters with custom settings to punch things up a bit. Moving forward, I’m probably going to pick up Logic Pro 9 for multi-track recording and editing.


Productivity-wise, my most used apps are TextMate, Wunderlist, Tweetdeck, Gmail (web), Google Calendar (web), Chrome, iChat, 1Password, and Day One (a journaling app). I’ve also recently sworn off of paper notebooks and started carrying a notecard-based Hipster PDA and a Fisher Space Pen. I’ve captured more notes and ideas in a week of using my Hipster PDA than three years of carting around legal pads and notebooks.

What would be your dream setup?

I miss the well-engineered rooms and gear in the Des Moines Radio Group building when I worked for Lazer 103.3. My dream setup is more about the space than the equipment — a high counter, nice chairs, and a soundproofed room with nice acoustics would do a lot more for my productions at this point than any equipment. Making your guests and co-hosts comfortable is an important part of the process. My dream setup also includes an administrative assistant.


As long as I’m dreaming, I’d also love for all of my guests to have custom-fit, in-ear, flesh-colored earphones like the Ryan Seacrests of the world use on radio programs that are also video recorded.