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 Jim Munroe

Jim Munroe

Writer, founder of No Media Kings

Posted in linux, windows, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jim Munroe, and for the past fifteen years or so I have been making indie culture via my imprint No Media Kings: post-Rapture graphic novels, lo-fi sci-fi movies, and political video games. I also co-founded the Hand Eye Society, the first video game arts organization in the world.

I just launched a Kickstarter for a web series I created about a near-future video game subculture. I also tweeted for the first time today. TOTALLY COINCIDENTAL.

What hardware do you use?

Sigh. My feelings around gear are complicated (it took me a year and a half to answer this interview) as I feel like a sucker buying anything and feel smart making garbage computers work. I am attracted to shiny shiny new new, but also resistant to it. I am like a horny monk when it comes to technology.

My monitor is a 32" LG 32LD450 that lives in my living room to serve double duty as workstation and media player. It works pretty good for me - after the first week I didn't notice how absurdly large it was. The speakers were pretty shitty (case rattles with base) so I have had to supplement with a pair of powered Insignia speakers.

I bought a cheap PC tower seven or eight years ago. Four years ago someone gave me their old Intel® Pentium(R) D CPU 2.80GHz × 2. I upgraded the video card two years ago to a GeForce GT 220/PCIe/SSE2. Plays 720p smooth, but recently the guys I'm working with on the webseries are sending me 1080p and I have to ask them to downsample it, like an old man asking for large print books. Plus the CPU's overheating and locking up while streaming video pretty consistently, which drives my kid nearly to tears sometimes.

So now I have to upgrade, right, Internet? I don't want to make my kid cry, do I?

And what software?

Again with the fucked-up conflicts. I run Ubuntu like any good freethinking citizen but then almost exclusively within that nice clean shell use the dirty Google privates. Gmail, Calendar, Docs, the fucking works. Plus an Android phone because it syncs so nicely with all that shit.

(I personally see myself being more and more dependent on Google services: having been frustrated for years by incomplete syncing options, the fact that they've done it well has engendered in me an almost pathetic gratefulness. But any centralized power is prone to exploitation and, in an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket way, is vulnerable. It's nice that the culture at Google is currently anti-Evil. But cultures change. And the people who start innovative companies that become huge & powerful are one type of person: the kind of person who is attracted to huge, powerful companies are a different kind of person. When this second wave take the reins they'll make different decisions.)

I dual boot with Windows 7 because sometimes I need to use the power tools Adobe offers. When I can I make do with the manual screwdrivers of Gimp, Scribus, and Avidemux, but not without cursing their primitiveness. I play games on iPad and Windows, though the Humble Bundle guys are making it more and more unnecessary via their Linux porting.

I use BitTorrent to avail myself of the wealth of human artistry, and that's one thing I'm not conflicted on -- I have plenty of cultural karma in the bank.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm not good on these "dreams" you speak of. For a sci-fi writer, I have a hard time thinking outside what is possible within my ethical/financial boundaries. I will be buying a new system this month with an eye towards value and being able to reuse all the feasible innards of my current gear -- much like the original digital natives, who used every part of the computers they obsoleted. But I may treat myself to an SSD. A small one.