Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

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Catherine Flick

Senior Lecturer in Computing & Social Responsibility (De Montfont University)

Posted in game, mac, podcaster, professor, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Dr. Catherine Flick, a Senior Lecturer in Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. What that really means is that I study the intersection of technology and society, and look at it from an ethical perspective. I've written papers about Facebook and informed consent, responsible research and innovation in various technological industries, and other things to do with technology and ethics.

I'm currently doing research on how to get the tech industry to innovate more responsibly, am the ethics manager on a project to do with gaming and hearing aid tuning, and am pursuing my own area of interest - video games and societal impact. You may have seen me at PAX East with the last lot of research. Oh, and I teach undergraduate research methods and ethics, have a bunch of PhD students doing fantastic things, and run an online ethics module.

What hardware do you use?

I run most of my life from my mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro (which I'll probably update next year), my iPhone 5 (give me a SE already!) and my iPad Air 2. I also have a self-built gaming PC which I recently updated with a new motherboard (MSI Z97-GD65), CPU (Intel i5), SSD, PSU, 8G RAM and an 8GB R9 390 graphics card, which has dramatically improved my gaming life (Ultra settings! Woo!). I use a pair of AKG K240 headphones with this setup for best gaming experience. For my relatively new podcast, I have a Zoom iQ5 microphone that I plug into my iPhone, but I'm still trying to work out the best settings. At work I have an old Acer Aspire Predator that I rescued from the video games lab which was top of its line about 5 years ago, but which still kicks the arse of any of the usual desktop PCs the IT team installs for us academics.

Other fun stuff I'll be able to play with soon (this summer) is a Virtual Reality gaming rig which has a full pitch/yaw/etc. driving simulator (a CKAS Thruxim Pro) - I'll be investigating immersion in gaming with it.

And what software?

I'm a pretty connected academic (though I don't trust Facebook - too privacy-scope-creeping!): I interact with lots of academics, gamers, developers, and other interested parties on Twitter (both official and unofficial accounts!). I use Tweetdeck on Windows and Tweetbot on Mac/iOS to manage these. Sometimes I show up on my local Yik Yak to help students with their questions about academic stuff. They don't know it's an actual lecturer answering them, which is how I like it. I'm also active on Reddit in most of the academic subreddits, I use Alien Blue on my iPhone for this.

Other things I use in my everyday workflow include Zotero for reference management (the collaborative reference lists is super helpful!), Evernote for tagged quote management (very helpful when you are writing papers about similar topics but need to rewrite the basic background each time), Flycut to link the two of those, Microsoft Office and Scrivener for most of my everyday writing, basic spreadsheets/analysis and presentations, Dropbox for storage, NVivo for qualitative data analysis, Trello for to-do list management, KeePass/PassDrop for password management, bossjock studio and Audacity for podcasting, Wordpress for my websites, Pinboard for bookmarks, and the usual suspects at uni for management of classes and assessments - Blackboard and Turnitin.

It took me a long time to sort out my workflow, but I'm really quite happy with the Zotero -> Evernote -> Word writing setup I have so I don't lose good quotes from good papers I've read!

What would be your dream setup?

Ideal setup - I think I've pretty much got my writing workflow sorted, though I'd love to get a top of the range current MacBook Pro and an iPhone SE - I love small phones and my hands are small so I was very pleased to hear about the SE! I'd like to get some better quality recording equipment too, perhaps a Shure BETA 87A or an Audio-Technica ATR2100 or something like that. I could do with a Blackboard alternative while we're dreaming - it's not something I can change at work but it's such an awful piece of software that I'm sure there must be something better out there.

Otherwise, just give me more hours in the day to do more research and write please!