The Setup

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

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Avery Edison

Avery Edison

Stand-up comedian, writer

Posted

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Avery Edison, and I'm a stand-up comedian and humor writer. Odds are low that you know who I am, but if you do it's probably because of my Twitter feed. I also have a bunch of small side-projects, which are listed at averyedison.com.

What hardware do you use?

I spend most of my time on my 2.8 GHz 17" MacBook Pro, with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. It's a little too big for me to move around with, so it's often perched on a shelf in my desk and connected to an Acer X223W 22-inch monitor. I use an Apple Wireless Keyboard and a Magic Trackpad.

I have an iPad 2 (32GB, white), and take it everywhere with me, along with my iPhone 3GS (8GB, black) and the most recent iPod Touch (32GB), for carrying around music that won't fit on my iPhone. I use an Airport Express to provide wifi for my tiny apartment.

I don't back-up as often as I should, but when I do I use a 1TB Western Digital My Book. I have a Sony α200 which I pretty much leave alone because, well, I'm not very good at cameras. But that's probably a blessing, because the last thing the internet needs is another hipster who thinks she's a photographer.

When I'm motivated enough to make videos, I use a Flip UltraHD and Blue Yeti microphone. The Flip camera is also useful for recording the stand-up gigs I want to show to people on the internet.

And what software?

I live in Google Chrome, although every couple of months or so I try Safari again. I do all my email through Gmail (with Notify letting me know if I have something new), I keep track of feeds in Google Reader, and when I'm writing something collaboratively I use Google Docs

When I'm writing by myself I use Byword and Marked (I caught the Markdown bug a couple of months ago). If what I'm writing needs to be in screenplay format, I use CeltX. I have Pages for the rare occasions when someone wants text all dressed up and fancy-like.

I edit my videos in Final Cut Pro X (I never got the hang of Final Cut Pro 7, so I figured that if I was going to be in unfamiliar surroundings, they might as well be the latest unfamiliar surroundings) and am experimenting with some very simple animations in Motion.

My many blogs are run on Tumblr. I'm slowly trying to move the best of my "work" over to my Media Temple account. I'm writing the HTML for that transition in Textmate, and doing the CSS in CSSEdit. I've never been good at remembering code, so CSSEdit is a godsend.

Things that are constantly open in the background: Skype (I'm in a long-distance relationship, so Skype is essential), Quicksilver, Jumpcut, QuickCal (which makes creating new events crazy simple), BusyCal, and MiddleClick. I usually have iTunes playing, and Coversutra is great for finding and selecting music without having to switch apps. All my important documents are backed up with Dropbox so I can get to them when I'm not in front of my computer.

For the few photos I take, I use Aperture, and any other image editing is done in Photoshop CS4. I'm planning on blowing the dust off of my copy of InDesign soon to make posters and programs for my comedy night.

I've recently started learning Hebrew, and couldn't imagine doing so without Rosetta Stone.

My most-used iPhone app is Birdhouse - I draft my tweets there (of course), store ideas for stand-up bits, keep simple to-do lists, and keep track of all my countdowns (days until school ends, days until my visa expires, days until my birthday, etc. It's mildly obsessive). Birdhouse is wonderful, and I can't sing its praises enough.

Aside from Birdhouse, I use Tweetbot (it's the only way I read Twitter), Yelp (as an Englishwoman living in Canada, it's useful for finding North American versions of the stores I grew up with), and Ego

I have bi-polar disorder, and I use an app called My Mood Tracker to keep track of how I'm feeling and monitor for any sudden changes or dangerous trends in my emotional state.

When I'm performing at open mics, Voice Memos is a simple way to record my sets and listen to them at home. There is some truly terrible stand-up comedy living on my iPhone, people.

I mainly use my iPad for reading, so my dock contains Reeder, Kindle, iBooks, and Instapaper. I'm a big comic book nerd, too, so I have Comic Zeal and Comics.

For text-editing on either device, I use Nocs, which has Dropbox-sync and Markdown support. I like to play The Incident and Words With Friends, and I'm addicted to Peggle. Still. It's been years at this point. Send help.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd like to have an Apple Thunderbolt Display, just because I'm shallow and would like my laptop, keyboard, mouse and monitor to match. I recently had a chance to experiment with shooting video on a Canon 5D, and I was astonished by how gorgeous the results look. So I'd like one of those.

I have a really specific - and lazy - software wish. I'd like a quick way to switch between music and podcasts in the Music app on my phone. I have a whole weird system in my head for which activities are music-activities, and which are podcast-activities, and on a busy day I have to go through the menus in Music.app at least a dozen times.

It feels like the "I wish for world peace" of internet nerdery at this point, but I'll pledge lifelong allegiance to whatever entity or organization sets us all up with truly ubiquitous wi-fi.