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 Rupert Parry

Rupert Parry

Creative technologist, musician

Posted in musician, technologist, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi, I'm Rupert Parry, and I'm a creative technologist and musician. The majority of my time right now is spent at Google Creative Lab in Sydney, hacking up experiments around how computers can help us write fiction in new ways using ML, and how we can augment our ears using spatial sensing.

On the music side, I record and play as Milo Del Mar. I can be found online at my little web house, right this way.

What hardware do you use?

I have a Surface Laptop 13" on which I do the majority of my work outside Google. I moved on from MacBooks without much fanfare, and love this little machine - it even has a touch screen and pen for quick drawings. When I'm on the move, I have a Pixel 4 in orange in my pocket.

On the analog-side, I'm rarely anywhere without my notebook, a B5 spiral-bound guy from Appointed which I've sworn by ever since I found it. I've also been experimenting with planning out my days using a dot-grid Moleskine. Finally, I have a little black pocket notebook for quick jottings that lives in my shirt pocket, which I process at the end of the day (I prefer to scribble something down than type it into a phone when I'm with people). I carry around a novel with me too, currently The Earthsea Quartet.

All this stuff is carried in a Bellroy Tokyo Tote, which has ample pockets for various bits, pens, pencils, chargers, etc.

For music, back home I use Ableton with an Ableton Push 2, a little Focusrite 2i2 for getting audio into and out of my computer, and a variety of guitars & basses, both mine and borrowed. An AT4050 is my main mic for vocals, with an SM7 for guitars, and a tweed Fender Blues Jr to get everything loud enough.

And what software?

Google Calendar and Evernote are at the centre of my digital world, and have been since I can remember. I've been using Evernote for all my thoughts, ideas, research, musings, and project plans for years now and it's been indispensable (and holds a big archive of my life).

Dropbox holds my files and docs. I now surf the web with Firefox (the web is better when it's not dominated by one browser), write code in VSCode, and do terminal things in Hyper. I design using Figma. ZEIT hosts my website and their tool "now" is a gift to all web developers. I wish I got the opportunity to write more Ruby code.

Even though I tend to rage-quit Adobe products (don't we all?), I still have a subscription and use the Creative Suite when I need to. I write and record music in Ableton, with VSTs from Arturia and Tal among others (Reverb Machine is an amazing source for presets).

Honestly though, my favourite software is my brain connected to some nice pens and a big blank sheet of paper.

What would be your dream setup?

My ideal setup would be one where I rely a lot less on screens, and a lot more on natural interactions with the physical environment, and perhaps voice. Humans aren't built for sitting down all day and staring at a dumb bright rectangle, and our big spatial brains, with our bodies designed to precisely navigate 3D space, are wasted on this tiny flat world we have created for ourselves.

I'm not sure exactly what that world will look like, but I hope to devote some energy over the next few years to do more experiments around sound and physical computing to learn more. I'll be publishing and open-sourcing those on my website as I go, so stay tuned.