Matt McManus’ Mac and iPhone 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.

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Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Matt McManus. I’m currently working full-time as a Senior Software Engineer at Yapp and (when I can) as co-founder of OwnersUp. Right now, I spend most of my time doing Ember.js and Rails development, but in the not-too-distant past have done product and interface design.

What is your current setup?

Matt McManus' desk

I’m running a late-2013 13″ MacBook Pro with Core i7 and 16 GB of RAM. I love this machine. When I’m at my desk, it sits snuggly in the Twelve South BookArc and connects to a 27in Dell monitor that is attached to a monitor arm. My keyboard is the Microsoft Sculpt, and it’s the most comfortable keyboard I’ve used (I’ve got some serious tendonitis in my hands, so this is critical). My mouse is the Anker Vertical Ergonomic Mouse. This cheap mouse is surprisingly comfortable.

My desk is a hand crank standing desk with an Ikea table top that I’ve repurposed several times now. The monitor arm and desk I bought second hand, so I don’t have links for those. I use the Cumulus Pro standing mat when I’m standing and this drafting stool when sitting. I intentionally chose the stool because I knew it wouldn’t be the most comfortable, and that encourages me to move back and forth between standing and sitting.

Where can we find your macOS wallpaper?

I chose this wallpaper when the first round of images were coming back from the New Horizon’s Pluto fly-by. Here is a high res version of it.

Matt McManus' desk

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

  • OmniFocus: I would not be able to function without this app. After years of use, it’s second nature to capture everything I think that I need to do in here.
  • Evernote: I use Evernote for everything else that OmniFocus can’t do. I copy the contents of any article I read, use it as a scratch pad for my random thoughts throughout the day, keep track of all my Kindle highlights, backup my tweets, and anything else that I may want to reference.
  • Day One: I now have a solid five years of regular journaling in this app, and it’s hard to communicate just how important this app is to me. It has a weight that most “apps” could never have.
  • Alfred: Good Lord, what would I do without this app? Especially since it now supports snippets!
  • I believe I’ve reached email-client zen. The best email client is no email client at all! I regularly hop between a Fluid app with Google’s Inbox, Mail.app, Airmail and lately Spark, depending on whether I’m writing emails, processing my inbox, or keeping an eye on things.
  • Hazel: I have several rules that automatically delete screenshots from my desktop, creates “Unprocessed” folders for other files that sit for too long, automatically zips and moves git repositories that I haven’t touched in a year, and a bunch of other maintenance tasks.
  • Tweetbot: It’s worth the extra cost for the mute filters that sync between clients. I never see a tweet about Pokemon, Vine, Trump, Clinton, and a slew of others, and I’m a happier person because of it.
  • I probably use 50 other apps on a regular basis. Atom is my code editor, Arq is for off-site backups to Google Drive, SuperDuper for local backups, Bartender to keep my menu bar free from distractions, Viscosity for VPN connections, Gifwit for gifs storage, Little Snitch as a powerful firewall, and Tadam for pomodoros.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I’m constantly tweaking my setup to make things a bit easier, like velcroing a 4 port USB hub under my monitor to improve the connection of the keyboard and mouse. I’m at a spot though that I’m relatively happy with things. If I were to change anything, I’d consider investing in a proper saddle stool, but I can’t quite justify their extremely high cost.


What iPhone do you have?

Matt McManus' iPhone

I’m running the 64 GB iPhone 6s Plus in space gray.

Where can we find your wallpaper online?

Regular backgrounds always feel too busy to me, so I go with solid black.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

My iPhone is primarily a long-form reading and listening device. I’ve kept social media and news apps off of my phone for most of this year.

  • Kindle & Goodreads: I read a lot of books on my phone and use Goodreads to keep track of 100+ books to-read list.
  • OverDrive: Lately, I’ve been checking a lot of classics out of the library on audiobook (1984, Fahrenheit 451, etc.)
  • Instapaper: I rarely read an article on the original website. Instapaper acts as my inbox for the internet. Anything interesting I come across during the day goes in there. When I’m in between books, I’ll tear through my backlog of articles before moving on to the next book.
  • Pocket Casts: I don’t listen to a ton of podcasts, but when I do, I use this app. It’s one of the most beautiful and functional apps in the App Store.
  • Notabli: I’m not a fan of Facebook, especially for sharing photos of my kids. My wife and I use Notabli to share photos and quotes of the little ones with close friends and family.
  • Reeder: I’m still holding onto the dream of RSS. Lately, I’ve been adding the RSS feeds for any interesting YouTube channel I come across, and it’s made for great short-break video watching.
  • Scanbot, Evernote, Day One, and Headspace are other apps that I use very regularly as well.

Which app could you not live without?

OmniFocus with Siri dictation. I use Siri to “Remind me to…” 20 times a day, which OmniFocus automatically consumes. I also have a “Today” perspective that I regularly reference to see what else needs to completed today.


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