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 Derek Powazek
Image by Heather Champ.

Derek Powazek

Designer, writer, small dog appreciator

Posted in designer, mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Derek Powazek and I'm a writer, designer, and geek. I'm fascinated by the fertile intersection between online community and offline media. I've written books (Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places), started companies (JPG Magazine), and designed more websites than I can remember. Currently I publish Fray, the magazine of true stories and original art, and consult with HP on MagCloud, where anyone can publish their own real, printed magazine.

What hardware do you use?

I've been using Apple products since before it was cool. If it wasn't for Apple, I probably would have never touched a computer.

In order of most mobile to least: I have an iPhone 3GS that is the piece of electronics I use the most. I've owned every iPhone they've released and plan on buying whatever they release next. I have a MacBook Pro that I take to cafes and meetings to work. And the desktop computer is the oldest of them all, a 24" iMac from a few years ago. It's the last model they made with a matte screen and I refuse to upgrade it until they give me a matte option on the newer iMacs. (It's funny, I'm perfectly fine with the gloss on the iPhone, but it really bugs me on computers that don't go in my pocket.)

Other hardware that I cant work without: a Canon EOS 5D for making photos, a Dymo LabelWriter Twin Turbo for printing mailing labels, a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine and beans from Four Barrel in San Francisco for the vroom-vroom.

I also have a large collection of Star Wars Lego, but that doesn't seem relevant here.

And what software?

The Adobe Creative Suite is where I spend most of my time. I'm still using CS3 - the new window stuff in CS4 scared me off. Apple Mail is probably where I spend the rest of my time, even though it's a frustrating app that Apple could (and should) improve. I really like WriteRoom for creative writing. I open Microsoft Office apps only as a last resort.

Managing Fray subscriptions requires a whole bunch of other apps. I use a FileMaker database to keep track of subscribers and print labels to the Dymo and Endicia to print postage. I love being able to drop off prepaid shipments at the post office.

What would be your dream setup?

I covet the new 27" iMacs, in spite of their stupid glossy screens. And I'm going to buy an iPad as soon as possible. I'm really hoping for that it bridges the divide between the web and print media. If an Apple device can do to the print industries what the iPod did to the music biz, I'll be the first to say thanks.