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 Andy Hertzfeld

Andy Hertzfeld

Developer (Macintosh), software designer (Google+)

Posted in designer, developer, interface, linux, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Andy Hertzfeld and I'm currently a software engineer and UX designer at Google, working on Google+. In the early 1980's, I was one of the main developers of Apple's original Macintosh computer (see and I subsequently co-founded three companies: Radius (1986), General Magic (1990) and Eazel (1999). In 2004, I wrote a book about the development of the Mac called "Revolution in the Valley".

What hardware do you use?

I use lots of different hardware. My main machine at home is an aging 8-core Mac Pro with 18GB of RAM and 14TB of disk, connected to an Apple 30" display. I also use an assortment of iMacs and Mac minis in different rooms. I have a MacBook Air but these days I spend far more time using my iPad 2 when I'm not programming. I always have an iPhone 4S in my pocket, and I have a second iPad that I take with me when I travel. I'm very impressed with the new Galaxy Nexus phone that I just got for Christmas, but I think I will stick with the iPhone as my main phone.

I have been an enthusiastic Kindle user since it debuted in November 2007. I love my Kindle 3 but I have to admit to being disappointed with the Kindle Touch and will probably stop using that soon. I also shouldn't neglect to mention my recently acquired Nest thermostat, which I love.

I have a T1 line in my basement connected to some servers that serve the site among other things. Most of them are old Dell boxes running Fedora Linux, and there is a Cisco router.

At work, I use an HP box that runs a Google-ized variant of Linux, as well as a 15" MacBook Pro.

And what software?

I use a web browser far more than anything else, mainly Chrome but I also use Safari quite a bit and occasionally Firefox. For text editing, I mainly use BBEdit or TextEdit. For music and video, I use iTunes a lot, but I also use Plex, VLC and Handbrake. I use Calibre to manage my ebooks, and harbor an ambition to rewrite its web UI. I use Dropbox for file syncing and Photoshop for image editing. Recently, I've been enjoying a BitTorrent client called Transmission. I like playing around with GarageBand occasionally.

What would be your dream setup?

In the short term, I'm hoping Apple will come out with a better Mac Pro soon with Thunderbolt, etc. Of course I want all of my devices to get smaller, faster, lighter and more capacious and energy efficient. Ultimately, some kind of wearable computer with a telepathic UI would be ideal.