Jamelle Bouie’s sweet setup

Every week we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

New setup interviews are posted every Monday; follow us on RSS or Twitter to stay up to date.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jamelle Bouie, and I am a staff writer for Slate magazine. I cover politics and policy, I do photography, and sometimes I go on TV.

What is your current setup?

It’s pretty straightforward.

Jamelle Bouie's Mac setup

My main machine is a late 2013 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro. I maxed out the RAM, but otherwise it’s the base configuration. If I weren’t also a photographer, the Retina screen would be overkill. As it stands, it’s been fantastic for doing editing in the field.

It’s attached to a 27-inch Thunderbolt monitor, and is paired with an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. Attached as well is a Blue Snowball microphone—for podcasting and Skype calls—and a Western Digital passport drive for backups.

What software do you use and for what do you use it?

For work, I use a small handful of apps. Apple Mail for handling my personal and work email, Things for scheduling my life and tracking projects, Evernote for taking notes and storing the tremendous amounts of information I collect during the day, Byword + Marked for drafting and writing, Tweetbot for feeding my Twitter addiction, Rdio for listening to music, Droplr for sharing links and files, and the Kindle app for doing research and finding book notes.

For photo editing, I use Lightroom and the full suite of VSCO Film presets, and for recording audio—which I do when recording Skype interviews—I use Piezo. Safari is my preferred browser, Reeder is my preferred RSS reader, and I rely on 1Password to remember all of my sensitive information. Fantastical is the gold standard for Mac calendar apps, and I use it constantly for keeping track of my schedule, and TextExpander helps facilitate my laziness. Backups are through Dropbox and Time Machine, and I keep my menu bar uncluttered with Bartender.

There’s other stuff too, but those are the important ones. And, given the extent to which I’m using the more-or-less standard suite of OS X productivity apps, I’m sure you can guess what else is on the computer!

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I’m pretty close to my ideal, I think. It would be nice to have a dedicated stand for the MacBook, and a Retina Thunderbolt monitor would be amazing. But at the moment, there’s nothing I’d change.

I have a Kindle Paperwhite for reading most books (mainly non-fiction and history), and I have an iPad, but the most important things about it are Comixology and Marvel Unlimited. Instead, I’ll quickly share my iPhone homescreen too.

Jamelle Bouie's iPhone setup

The important things here are Audible (I listen to a lot of audiobooks), 1Password (self-explanatory), Day One for journaling, Things (thank goodness for the recent update) and the apps in the “Photos” folder: VSCO Cam, Lightroom Mobile, and Lumy. VSCO Cam is ideal for filters and photo editing, and I hope the developers take advantage of iOS extensions for photo editing. Until Photos for OS X comes out, Lightroom Mobile is how I sync my iPhone photos with my computer. As for Lumy, it tells you when the morning/evening “magic hour” is for any given day, and it’s incredibly useful.

If there’s an app I couldn’t live without, it’s Evernote. So much of my life is in Evernote—from work notes to travel plans to recipes—that I would be useless without it.

Well, that’s an exaggeration. But you get what I’m saying.