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 Dave Pell

Dave Pell

Writer, news gatherer

Posted in mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Dave Pell. I write the NextDraft newsletter and iPhone/iPad app. Every morning I down about seven inches of black coffee, open up a hundred tabs or so, and from that swirling nightmare of information quicksand, I pluck the top ten most fascinating items of the day, which I deliver with a fast, pithy wit that will make your inbox or iPhone vibrate with delight.

I also write longform essays (mostly on the intersection of the realtime Internet and our real lives). My posts are regularly syndicated on Time, NPR, Gizmodo, and several other news sites.

In addition to my writing, I have been investing in Internet startups since the early days of the first Internet boom. Recent investments include GrubHub, Hotel Tonight, Marin Software, and Liftopia.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my wife and two kids.

What hardware do you use?

My significant other is the latest generation, maxed-out, 13 inch MacBook Air, custom fitted with a fancy skin. I usually plug this into an old school keyboard, scrolling mouse, and Cinema Display monitor all of which sit atop the makeshift, standup desk in my office. While I've heard about this cloud thing that enables one to access one's data from multiple computers, my Air and I prefer to kick it old school. Wherever I go, it goes (and vice versa).

I am pretty much all Apple all the time, so my other hardware is mostly predicable. I have the latest generation iPhone and an iPad Mini, both skinned in a similarly ego-maniacal manner. I've never been one for reading on an iPad, so I also roll with a Kindle Paperwhite.

And what software?

I use pretty much all the modern web browsers, but I mostly stick with Safari because of its reading list functionality. Just about every word I've published in the last decade and a half has been keyed into BBEdit. My HTML skills don't extend much past the insertion of the occasional line-break (and perhaps a few blink tags back in the day), but I've always loved this program. I'm writing in it right now.

I used the fine tools offered by Mailchimp to send out my newsletter. And I've long used Wordpress for all my blogging needs. Other pieces of software that I use daily include Simplenote, Notational Velocity, Adium, and Rdio. I often use Fluid to make app versions of web tools I use on a regular basis. And Woopra is my drug of choice for feeding my sick obsession with my own web stats.

What would be your dream setup?

For the most part, my current setup is only two inches short of my dream setup. I have been begging Apple to come out with a 15 inch MacBook Air. I'm convinced that Tim Cook is unwilling to release this model because he fears the power I'd have with that rig. The whole Internet might go on tilt. I'd also love a pile of old Mac Pro keyboards so I wouldn't have to be so worried about the day I finally tap the life out of the last one I've got.