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 Jessica Lord

Jessica Lord

Software engineer (Atom, Electron)

Posted in developer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jessica Lord. I'm an engineer at GitHub on the Atom/Electron team. I get to write open source for work which is pretty awesome! I also do a lot of open source not for work. I'm really passionate about building tools that are accessible and hopefully empowering.

My degree is in architecture and I used to be an urban designer for the City of Boston. A few years ago, a year as a Code for America fellow turned me on - and empowered me - to build open source software. So that's why I'm where I am now but I'd like to bridge the gap one day.

I also like to sew. I used to do so more before I started programing and am trying to get myself to disconnect more and get back to it these days.

I like to travel, but hate flying. I like painting nails. I love walking!

What hardware do you use?

I have a 13" MacBook Pro, it's my work computer and life computer because I can't deal with syncing.

Even though I said I can't deal with syncing, I have an 11" ASUS Chromebook because I wanted a little computer just for writing in cafes and not feeling like I was "working". This is how I learned that ARM processors were a thing and that dream wouldn't really be like I thought it would be. So now I mostly use it to test Atom and Electron on ARM because I think it would be great to have more software that works on these processors.

I have an iPhone 6S and this fun cat battery pack I got in Taipei, I love it so much!

I have a retina iPad mini for reading books, articles and blogs or streaming Law and Order episodes next to my laptop.

I recently treated myself to a Bernina 350 sewing machine. A Bernina has been a dream of mine to have and it's like butter. Like butter! I inherited an older Simplicity serger from my Grandma and it's been so fantastic to have.

I have a Fuji X100T camera that I'm sad to admit that after a year I'm no better at shooting manual with. But I like that it's so compact, I do take it with me most places and try my best! I also really like using the wifi it has to put photos directly on my phone or take photos with the camera from my phone.

And what software?

I code in Atom, no surprise! I write Markdown documentation in Atom, too, because the Markdown preview is great. But I usually also have something like 15 unnamed pages open in iA Writer or Byword (I can't pick!) with notes and lists. It's kind of a mess.

I use the GitHub Desktop app for checking diffs when I care about the diffs ;)

I don't put my work email on my phone and most of the time I stay logged out of GitHub on my phone, too. I've also turned off Swarm and Twitter notifications. Niceeeee. But I do love Swarm and checking in places!

I have a terrible photos situation with some on my computer and edited with Lightroom (which I don't know how to use) and some in the Mac Photos app (which I dislike) and some on Flickr and some not. I really want to get my photos act together.

I was periodically using Rdio (RIP) but I too often forget to play music at all. This makes me feel like somehow I'm less human.

On my iPad I use the Kindle app for books and Reeder for syncing blog posts when I'm traveling. And I have Instapaper Pro. I sync highlights from it to Tumblr then use IFTTT to sync that Tumblr to a Google Spreadsheet and then from there it's displayed my website with Tabletop.js. Ha.

I use Google Spreadsheets as a lightweight database a lot and have a library sheetsee.js I made for doing fun stuff with that data.

I use Feedly to read way too many design and Scandinavian interior blogs.

Oh, and I use mojibar for finding the right emoji.

I've gone without a car since 2007 have have had the same 1980's Fuji road bike since almost then. But I recently got myself a step-through European bike from Craigslist because I was tired of feeling a part of an aggressive pack of urban commuters. I want to feel chill and upright like a Berliner or Dane. It was a good choice! I got the Linus Sac bag that clips onto a rack - it's so great not carrying things on your back.

Paper! Pens! I jot a lot. Getting a new planner each year is a big deal. I have a lot of notebooks but mostly use Muji ones with Muji pens or Pilot Hi-Tec-C pens in .3 which are my all time favorite.

What would be your dream setup?

I think I'd like a like a smaller computer as a primary machine. I'd like a Photos app that was basically just a file manager with a few more features for viewing photos and didn't duplicate your photos or make them hard to find. I'd have AirDrop work 100% of the time and batteries that lasted twice as long. Also if we're dreaming, I'd also have an industrial Juki in my basement so I could make all kinds of thick things.

But I'd forgo those things for a different kind of dream setup - a room that was minimal and peaceful where I sat quietly, maybe with a book, tea and pen and paper.