Troy Patterson’s Mac and iOS 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 Troy Patterson, and I work in translational science for an oncology drug discovery company. That’s the day job, but I have written for many sites about baseball and soccer, and I also maintain my site where I talk about everything including how my family has cut cable. My baseball work has appeared in ESPN and The Hardballtimes. Additionally, I cover Everton FC news for Royal Blue Mersey on the SB Nation network. I also do quite a bit of gaming on my Apple systems and write about it on my site.

What is your current setup?

Troy Patterson's iMac and desk
You can find Troy’s iMac wallpaper here.

I am working on a mid-2010 27″ iMac with 1TB hard drive. This has been my primary workhorse for nearly 6 years now. While it loads a little slower these days, I think it works great for my needs. I use this for my writing work and all my non-console gaming.

I have a Twelve South HiRise for my iPhone while I write and a USB Apple keyboard and Magic Mouse. I use the connected keyboard because I work with numbers a lot when I write, and filling out a data table with only the top row of number keys is a pain.

I’m also testing the Netgear AC1900 Nighthawk because the Verizon Gateway router is a terrible device for the $200 they charge you. The signal was unreliable and would fade at the far corners of the house. This device has great coverage and (so far) has been very reliable — even with three TV streaming devices, an Xbox, and many wireless devices on it.

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

Alfred — I use Alfred after being a long-time user of Quicksilver, and found Alfred to be a solid follow up. I like a very minimal setup, so only a few apps are in my dock (which is hidden anyway). I find/open everything with Alfred and get started on my writing quickly.

Dropbox — I’ve tried most of the cloud services, and Dropbox just works for me. I also use a lot of apps that connect to it (like Scanner Pro), so it just makes sense. I have my Byword tied to this as well.

Byword — This is my primary writing app on iOS as well as OS X. It’s simple and efficient. I can then move it to publish as needed and add any pictures or content before publishing it.

LastPass — I got started with LastPass and have never looked back. I’ve tried a few others, but never found them worth the large amount of work it would take to switch.

Simplenote — When I’m working on something quick and easy or need something more easily retrievable for future reference, I use Simplenote. I like using Simplenote because of the many ways I can get to my notes. The web app also helps when I am on a PC at work.

Twitter — I’m fine with the stock app on OS X in this case. I’m a pretty straight-forward user and just need to see what is going on and interact with some of the users talking about my interests.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I wouldn’t want to spend any money to change this, but if I had my way, I would probably go with a MacBook Pro and at least two monitors. I have the 27″ now because I like to work on 2-3 programs at once and this is the best way I found to do it. Trying to look at stats or numbers in Excel and then switch over to a writing app is not how I work.


What iPhone do you have?

Troy Patterson's iPhone
You can find Troy’s wallpaper here.

I have the iPhone 6S Plus, and while I do enjoy it, I think I would go to the iPhone SE if I hadn’t gotten such a good deal on my current phone. I also think having an iPad Air 2 has recently made watching and consuming media easier, and I might not need such a large iPhone screen.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

Once again, I go minimal on my layout and I try to put everything I need most front and center, or it’s something I don’t mind putting in my Today notifications page.

Overcast — I’ve soured a bit on Overcast as the setup for finding new podcasts is not very good, but the Smart Speed effect really does help me get through more episodes than I could otherwise.

Unread — I try to keep this cultivated to sites that will give a good amount of posts, but won’t overwhelm. I like to follow as many of my interests that I write about as possible and keep up to date on topics of oncology drug discovery.

Wunderlist — This is mainly for grocery lists since I can share with my wife, but I do use this for a running list of topics I’d like to write about. I also keep a running list of things to get done around the house. As for work, I use pen and paper.

Simplenote and Byword — Same as on iMac and for similar reasons. Still not very efficient at writing on my iPhone, but I’m trying to get better and use it more.

Tweetbot — I enjoy using this much more than the stock app on iOS. I talk about everything on Twitter and try to keep on top of everything that I write about.

Outlook — I am a big fan of apps that solve multiple needs instead of just one. I’d much rather use an app that combines mail, calendar, and cloud storage access. Not only does Outlook do all this, but, in my opinion, it does it very well.

Which app could you not live without?

Outlook is a must for me right now because I use it for so much. Like I said before, it does all my email as well as calendar planning and provides easy access to all my Google Drive and Dropbox files.


Which iPad do you have?

Troy Patterson's iPad
You can find Troy’s iPad wallpaper here.

This year I bought an iPad Air 2 with 64GB storage since prices dropped and I got a great deal on it. I’m still exploring the best use for me, but I’m trying to use this as an entertainment device and a writing device when away from my computer.

How are you using your iPad on a daily basis?

Entertainment device is my number one use. I watch a lot of sports and TV shows on here. I play a few games, but it’s Wi-Fi only so I don’t game on it as much as my iPhone. I also read on it some and use it as a recipe book for cooking.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

Byword — Same as my iPhone, but I use it a lot more for writing — it’s where I am typing this right now. The simplicity is great and saving to Dropbox makes it a breeze.

PlayStation Vue, Netflix, MLB.TV and NBCSN — If there is one thing I use this device for, it is streaming content. As a family without cable, we use streaming set-top boxes, but also use tablets to watch our television. I’m also constantly following baseball and EPL soccer with MLB.TV and NBCSN.

Polarr — Working on pictures requires a slightly bigger display, so I’ll try to do a lot of my editing on here. This app takes a bit of getting used to, but is pretty strong when it comes to editing. This is something I have tried to do more of but am still learning the ropes of this app.

Paprika — I love to try new things when cooking, and not only can I import recipes easily, but I can review them and leave notes on the difficulty of making them. Reading here is also much easier than trying to use my iPhone for cooking.

Which app could you not live without?

On the iPad it would have to be Netflix. I’m currently working through season two of Daredevil and this is where I watch a lot to keep the kids from watching along. I also have a huge backlog of shows I’m trying to get through, so there is always one more show to watch.


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