Tim Bornholdt’s 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 Tim Bornholdt, and I am a co-founder of The Jed Mahonis Group, a mobile app development shop based in Minneapolis, MN. I also film and edit C Tolle Run, a weekly show about running and fitness hosted by Olympian athlete, Carrie Tollefson.

When I’m not working, I’m generally out for a run, trying new craft beers, listening to podcasts, or hanging out with my gorgeous wife.

What is your current setup?

I subscribe to the John Gruber philosophy of laptop upgrades: purchase a top-of-the-line machine, use it intensely for years, run it into the ground, and repeat. My previous laptop, a 2011 15″ Macbook Pro, served me well until I started seeing weird GPU issues.

Tim Bornholdt's desk

Last July, I purchased a 15″ Retina Macbook Pro with a 2.8 GHz i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 500 GB SSD. It’s been incredibly useful as I’ve gone further down the rabbit hole of development and video production, both of which require powerful machines.

My home office was recently commandeered by my yet-to-be-born child as a nursery, so my wife and I moved my desk out into the corner of our dining room. As part of the arrangement, I was given permission to decorate my corner as I saw fit. I tried to keep the tacky Star Wars and Simpsons paraphernalia to a minimum, but I couldn’t help myself to a few choice items. We’re still working out where I’m going to hang my 1998 “Three Deep” poster of Jake Reed, Cris Carter, and Randy Moss. Since she’s a Packers fan, it’s going to be a tough sell.

Tim Bornholdt's desk toys

My desk is the classic Ikea Galant desk with an inexpensive Target-brand chair I got as a gift for my birthday. I have a 23″ Samsung S23A550H, which has led me to save 28.9 trees through its “Eco” mode, apparently. For a keyboard, I use the Microsoft Sculpt mouse/keyboard combination. I’ve been using the same Creative Labs Inspire 4400 speakers that I bought in 2002, and I’m impressed that they still hold up quite well. If I need to print something, I use my trusty HP C4680. I also have a Canon P-215 for scanning in photos and other important documents as needed. Finally, I keep all of my data backed up to three different hard drives named after Star Wars character portmanteaus (I currently have Jed Adi-Mundi, Jed Windu and Jed Porkins), and my dad, who works for Seagate, will be pleased to see that they are all Seagate-brand hard drives.

I haven’t made time to port any of my apps over to the Apple Watch yet, so the only wearable I own is a Fitbit Charge HR. It initially gave me a lot of syncing issues, but lately has been rock solid. I’ve used that in conjunction with MyFitnessPal and Runmeter to keep tabs on my fitness.

Tim Bornholdt's desk and devices

I switch between a steady amount of devices while developing apps: currently in my line of sight, I have a Nexus 5x, iPad Air 2, Sony Xperia Z1s, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 6s.

On the video production side of things, I use a Canon C100. I have a handful of lenses for it, but I love my tried and true 50mm f/1.4. My SLR is a Canon T1i that I purchased in college, and it still serves me well (I don’t do enough photography to justify an upgrade in that department).

Going between places, I have an awesome Timbuk2 messenger bag that I received a few years ago. Inside it, you’ll find a Moleskine notebook and my Sony MDR-7506 headphones, but most importantly, you’ll find a Skooba cord organizer. If I need to switch bags (like when I’m biking to work or traveling), I can grab that organizer and have everything I need in one place. I always have a Lightning cable, a 30-pin cable, a Mini-USB cable, a Micro-USB cable, a USB 3.0 cable, a travel-sized surge protector, a couple USB wall outlet plugs, a USB battery charger, a screen wipe cloth, and an 85W MacBook Pro charger.

Where can we find your OS X wallpaper?

I set up a Dropbox folder with my favorite pictures and rotate through them every 30 minutes. I used to be really into landscape backgrounds, but I’ve found it’s more motivating to me to occasionally move to my desktop and see an old memory.

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

My app development job has me programming in several different environments. When I’m building iOS apps, I’m mostly in Xcode. When I’m doing web development, I’m using TextMate 2, Cyberduck, and Terminal.

When I’m doing video production, I’m stuck in my Final Cut Pro 7 ways. FCP doesn’t play nicely with the M2T files that my Canon C100 generates, so I have to use ClipWrap to convert them into ProRes clips. Once my editing is done, I drop the file into Compressor and export it into a YouTube-ready format. Once the export is complete, I run the completed file through Handbrake to compress it down further into an iTunes-ready format. I also export a WAV of the audio in FCP and run it through Marco Arment’s audio encoder shell script to get a nice, compressed MP3.

Besides those specific programs, I have a few must-use tools at my disposal. I’m sure most readers here are using the standards (1Password, TextExpander, Slack, and so forth), so I’ll just mention the few that people may not be using:

  • Karabiner is an awesome keyboard remapping tool that lets me use a Microsoft Sculpt keyboard on my Mac.
  • Take Five gives you an easy way to pause your iTunes music and automatically restarts it after a given period of time. It’s one of those utilities that sounds useless, but once you give it a try, you’ll go crazy without it.
  • Alfred is my launcher of choice. I haven’t gotten as into the workflows as I would like, but hopefully I can find time to learn that awesome feature soon.
  • FileShuttle is a toolbar shortcut that lets me upload screenshots to my FTP server via drag-and-drop.
  • SelfControl lets you provide a list of sites you don’t want to visit for a given period of time, and then prevents your computer from loading them. It’s perfect for someone like me who gets frustrated easily with a work problem and habitually turns to Reddit to avoid dealing with those problems.
  • Backblaze plays a big role in my backup strategy. I’ve used CrashPlan in the past, but after a couple of years, it started bringing my computer to a grinding halt.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I’m incredibly happy with what I have right now. It’s not all that important to me where I physically work as long as there is a fast internet connection and a fast computer. My new laptop will be plenty fast for the foreseeable future, and we just bought some powerline ethernet connectors to speed up the network in our house. If I could add one piece of hardware, it would be a 27″ Retina monitor.

On the video production side, I’d love to take some time to learn Premiere. I’d also love to get more video gear. A Phantom 3 drone is highest on my list right now, and a Steadicam of some sort is shortly behind it. I don’t shoot as much as I would like, but maybe getting that gear would motivate me to go out and shoot more things. Hopefully, my kid isn’t too embarrassed to have the dad who is recording their various events using drones and high-end stabilizing equipment, but nuts to them, this is my ideal setup.


What iPhone do you have?

Tim Bornholdt's iPhone

I just got a 64gb Space Gray iPhone 6s at the end of March.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

I like to use as many stock apps as possible (so Safari, Mail, Messages, Photos, Camera, etc.), but there are a few apps that I’ve found that I prefer to use:

  • Fantasical — That natural language processing and widget are unbeatable.
  • Runmeter — It was one of the first apps for the iPhone 3Gs that tracked runs, and I’ve been using it ever since. I love that it integrates with MyFitnessPal and Strava, so I continue to use it.
  • Fitbit/MyFitnessPal — You can never have enough health tracking apps, right?
  • Dark Sky — I’m still trying to find a weather app that I really love, but Dark Sky has been the closest to that for me. The hyper-local weather reporting has saved my butt a couple of times when I’m bike commuting to work.
  • Instapaper — My queue is unruly right now, but Instapaper was the first app I ever paid for, and it’s one of the apps I’m quickest to recommend to people who haven’t heard of a “save web pages to read later” kind of app.
  • Untappd — I’ve been using this app religiously for the last 3 years and just passed my 1,000th unique beer a few weeks ago. If you’re a fan of the craft beer scene, you’d be foolish not to have this social network on your phone.
  • Scanbot — Such an awesome PDF maker. The developers of this app have struck an ideal UX balance between functional and enjoyable.
  • Twitterrific — Haven’t tried Tweetbot, but as long as the Iconfactory keeps up the quality work, I don’t see any reason why I would.
  • Reeder — I switched to Reeder after NetNewsWire got a little long in the teeth, and it’s been a great app for browsing RSS feeds.
  • Overcast — I’ve been incredibly happy with Overcast since day one, and Marco keeps improving it all the time (shout out to the 67 hours I’ve saved with Smart Speed so far).

Which app could you not live without?

Right now, it’s between Overcast and Untappd.

Overcast is my gateway to a wide range of high-quality podcasts. I’d consider myself a podcast power user, and this app caters to my consumption needs incredibly well. Also, the craftsmanship used to build the app represents a high mark for me to live up to when developing my own apps.

Untappd is my beer brain. Every single one of the ~2,000 beers I’ve had since mid-2012 is logged in here. I started adding pictures for every check-in, and because of that, an unexpected bonus is I can randomly select a beer I’ve had and be brought right back to a moment in time, whether it’s something as simple as sitting in front of the TV eating dinner, to something more significant like my wedding day.


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