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 Nathan Edwards

Nathan Edwards

Senior Editor (Wirecutter)

Posted in editor, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I'm Nathan Edwards, and I'm a senior editor at Wirecutter, a product reviews website now owned by The New York Times Company. I oversee a bunch of beats including PCs, computer accessories, gaming, networking, and pet gear. I've recently edited articles on automatic pet feeders, game controllers, Wi-Fi extenders, and ultrabooks.

What hardware do you use?

My phone is a Google Pixel XL. I like Pixels because they get fast Android updates and monthly security patches, and the cameras are good enough to catch toddler shenanigans.

I've worked from home for five and half years, so I have a pretty solid setup, most of it current or former Wirecutter picks. For work I use a company-issued 13-inch Touchbar MacBook Pro, but mostly as a desktop, because of its pizza-box keyboard and bad battery life. I have a Satechi Thunderbolt 3 hub plugged into it that goes to a USB switcher that goes to the USB hub on my Dell U2715H monitor. Plugged into that are my keyboard (Leopold FC660C), mouse (Logitech MX Master), webcam (Logitech C920), and my USB mic (Blue Yeti) which has a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones connected to it. The USB switcher is also connected to my desktop PC, so I can use all the same peripherals, and switch between computers with three button presses. I also have a Muji planner and a couple of gel pens I really like. And a Pomodoro timer shaped like a tomato. I love Field Notes; I got a subscription to their quarterly plan for one year about five years ago and I'm still working my way through the surplus. I have a sit-stand desk that mostly sits.

The desktop is self-built, mostly circa mid-2012, with an Intel i7-2600K and 16GB of RAM, a GTX 1070 graphics card, a 3TB spinny drive and a couple of SSDs. I built it when I left Maximum PC (a print magazine about desktop computers, with a defunct website), and used it for work and gaming until I got a work computer for the former and kids that mostly prevent the latter. When I game at all now it's on a Nintendo Switch, which is maybe the best gadget I've bought in years.

And what software?

Since I use an Android phone, a Mac laptop, and a Windows PC, I love cross-platform apps. At Wirecutter we use the Google suite: Gmail, Docs, Sheets, etc. Slack is crucial, since so many of us work remotely. We use Airtable for a bunch of organizational stuff and Zoom for video meetings. I use Simplenote for, uh, simple notes, and my to-do list is split between Todoist, my paper planner, various post-it notes, Slackbot reminders, and people reminding me that I owe them edits. It's a very elegant system.

Patrick Ewing's "Warm Focus" playlists on Spotify are great instrumental music for working with words. Pocket is for saving articles so I don't get sidetracked, and then never looking at them again. Mobile apps: Twitter is for nonsense, Instagram is for pictures of babies and pets, and Stronglifts 5x5 is for slowly transforming into a less noodly noodle.

What would be your dream setup?

Pretty much the same thing except with a KVM switch built in to the monitor. Maybe a functioning attention span.