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Aaron Riddle’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 Aaron Riddle, and I am the professional cartoonist behind Buy a Drawing. I draw custom cartoons of anything for anyone! I also illustrate greeting cards for a variety of occassions which I sell through my website as well.

What is your current setup?

Aaron Riddle's desk

I have a late-2012 27-inch iMac configured with 32 GB of RAM as my main computer. I have two additional montiors (an older ViewSonic VA2702w and a newer Dell UP2715K display). I have always been a second display kind-of-guy, but after I found I had an extra monitor laying around, I decided to mount one to the wall, and now I love having the third display for applications that don’t require my attention all the time (iTunes).

Along with my main computer, I have various external hard drives to back up my work (all Western Digital brand), a Canon LiDE 220 Scanner (for scanning my hand-drawn artwork to color on the computer), a Brother HL-L2340D laser printer, and a Canon MX520 color inkjet printer.

I also have a 2013 MacBook Pro that I use for when I am out of town or on the go.

Where can we find your OS X wallpaper?

I’m a minimalist and highly organized when it comes to my digital files, so I don’t even use a wallpaper…only a blank background of a dark grey color!

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

Whenever I purchase a new Mac, the first pieces of software I install are Chrome, Dropbox and 1Password. I use those three applications each and every single day, so I could not imagine my workflow without them. Chrome is obviously for internet browsing and email, Dropbox is for all my file syncing, and 1Password is for storing not only passwords, but all sorts of information (I love being able to store secure notes in it).

Since I have been using a Mac since the age of 8 (the good ‘ole SE!), I guess I am classified as a power user, so Alfred is also a must-have app. I use it as a application launcher and have many workflows set up to automate many of my tasks (one of which is creating a folder for each drawing I do). After that comes the entire Adobe CC suite, being an artist and all. TextExpander is also a must for quickly using information I email or type daily.

I use Transmit for uploading files to my web servers, Sublime Text for editing web code, and an old app called DropSync for syncing all of my files to my external hard drives. There are many other apps I use now and then, but those I listed are pretty much used on a daily basis.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I honestly love my setup as is (maybe a window in my home office would be nice if we are talking about wishes!). I try to keep my computers current, so whenever I upgrade, my wife and children benefit by my old computers! Living in the mountains of Virginia, I also do not have the fastest internet connection, so I guess Google Fiber internet would be nice too.


What iPhone do you have?

Aaron Riddle's iPhone 6

I have the iPhone 6 (normal size).

Where can we find your wallpaper online?

Again, my wallpaper is pretty boring…a plain black background. My lock screen, however, is interesting as I made it styled after my Buy a Drawing brand.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

I use both the default Apple Mail app and the Gmail app to check my email and keep work / home accounts separate. I tried using Airmail, but found myself going back to the same Mail / Gmail setup.

I also use Messages to text family and Hangouts for work-related messaging.

As with my Mac, Dropbox and 1Password are must-haves for the same reasons as stated before. Although it is one of the most basic apps, I use the Clock app daily for setting my alarm and other various timers.

Google Maps is my go-to mapping application when traveling. Wunderground is the most accurate weather app I have used, so it has found a place on my homescreen.

I also listen to a few podcasts daily, and the default Podcast app meets my needs in that area. Finally, I use Reeder for checking out my RSS feeds via my Feedly account, and Genius Scan+ for scanning and emailing / Dropboxing documents to myself (most often receipts for accounting purposes).

Which app could you not live without?

I’d have to say the Gmail app and Messages. 99% of my work communication is done via email, and I cannot imagine being away from my computer for a long duration and not know what is going on with my business. My wife and I have been texting each other daily since we married in 2004, so Messages has saved us quite a bit of text message expenses!


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