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David Chartier’s sweet setup

Every week we try to 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?

I’m David Chartier and I am a Content Strategist and Writer. I run marketing and PR for AgileBits (makers of 1Password and Knox) and a few clients. I also run Finer Things in Tech and got my start in the industry as a blogger for TUAW, then an Associate Editor at Ars Technica and Macworld. I freelance occasionally for Macworld, The Mac Observer, and The Wirecutter.

Editor’s note: David was kind enough to provide us with his Mac, iPhone, and iPad setups. To keep it all straight, we’ve deviated a bit from the normal format, but everything is labeled so you can enjoy the read.

What is your current Mac setup?

A 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a Thunderbolt Display, and a Rain Design mStand. Since I’m obsessed with bags: I have a Booq Mamba Shift backpack (the funky cream-colored one).


(You can grab my Mac wallpapers here and here.)

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

I’m all over the place and try new stuff fairly often. For work, my go-to apps are a mix of Byword, Mars Edit, Acorn, Skitch, Transmit, TextExpander, Evernote, OmniFocus, Ember, Cloak, Google Drive, WordPress, Screenflow, Reflector, GIF Brewery, BreakTime, Freshbooks + ChronoMate, Fantastical, Moom, Reeder (yep, I love feeds!), and Twitter. Of course, 1Password is next to Finder in my Dock.

I feel like most of those are self-explanatory, but I’ll highlight some of the lesser known apps. Ember is fantastic for collecting inspiration, images, and other things that aren’t quite right for Evernote. Cloak is a killer personal VPN service if you travel or otherwise tend to use hotspots in public and coffee shops.

Screenflow is like iMovie for screencasts. Toss in Reflector to show your iOS device live on your Mac, and GIF Brewery for making GIFs, and you have a great setup for screencasting and GIFing apps for marketing and support uses, including iOS apps.

If you get lost in your work a lot, BreakTime is a great utility to make yourself take the all-too-necessary breaks. It can lock your display at an interval you set, reminding you to stand up and stretch your legs.

Freshbooks is my time tracking and invoicing service of choice for clients, and ChronoMate is a menubar utility to do all the heavy lifting. You can switch projects and time tracking quickly, and it catches you if you go idle for a while so you can choose to keep the time or set the clock back.

Moom is invaluable for automatically resizing windows. You can setup templates for different workflows and it’ll resize them all to your specifications. If you hook up to external displays, Moom is super extra invaluable because it can resize windows based on when you plug and unplug.

I recently discovered PopClip, and it’s rocking my world. It recreates iOS’s popover tool whenever you highlight text in most places, except you can customize the options it presents to you as well as download add-ons. So, you can send that text to Maps, Day One, OmniFocus, Google Translate, or any number of other things. It’s fantastic.

Speaking of Day One, I love using it as a personal journal. Like many, it is singularly responsible for getting me back into reflecting more often on a personal level and cataloging the important things in my life, mostly for no one but myself. Plus, between its design and overall experience, Day One is one of my favorite Mac apps of all time. Even if you aren’t into keeping a personal journal, I can’t think of a better app to explore simply for fun and design inspiration, or to show off what the Mac can do.

How would your ideal Mac setup look and function?

I’m guilty of switching MacBooks a little too often because I’m never happy, but I’m pretty darn close now. I love having a portable MacBook and a larger external display for when I need the extra space, yet not juggling two different Macs and all the idiosyncrasies of that workflow. About the only thing that will make me happier is a 13-inch Air with a Retina display, but it has to keep that insane battery life, which I’m sure is at least part of the reason Apple hasn’t pulled it off yet.

What is your current iOS setup?

On the mobile end of things, I use a white, 64GB Verizon iPhone 5S. No case. I sure hope the next one hits 128GB.

David Chartier’s iPhone

(That wallpaper is via Kyle Gray over on Dribbble.

I also own an iPad Air, 128GB, WiFi + 4G (Verizon). I am eager for a 256GB edition. I carry it in a Booq Boa Courier 10.

David Chartier’s iPad

My wallpaper is “Spiral Hill” from the wonderful Louie Mantia.

What iPhone apps do you use the most, and why?

Dispatch for email, Launch Center Pro to do awesome, OmniFocus to keep my head on straight, Facebook Messenger because Apple doesn’t get messaging or social and doesn’t show signs of doing so anytime soon.

Evernote to save everything and write more of my stuff, Writing Kit and WriteUp also to write, Terminology to help myself from not feeling too stupid, Pocket Casts, Tumblr, Pushpin (thanks to this site!), TextExpander, Day One, Twitter, Phlo as a universal web search app, iPhoto because it can finally delete photos, Amount to convert numbers, Pocket, Reeder, Foursquare to remember all the places I need to try, and Rego to catalog locations I want to photograph (especially stuff like abandoned buildings).

What iPhone apps could you not live without?

I’ll set the ground rule that Apple’s apps don’t count (since they’re preinstalled and non-removable). In that case, this is a tough one. I can’t get very far on the internet without 1Password, but I also can’t get much done without a task manager like OmniFocus. Can we call a tie?

What iPad apps do you use the most, and why?

My aforementioned writing apps, as well as iBooks, ComiXology, Phlo, Reeder, Launch Center Pro, TextExpander, Day One, and Safari. Oh, and Facebook and Twitter.

How are you using your iPad on a daily basis?

Lots of reading, social media, and increasingly, writing. I use a mix of Evernote, Writing Kit, and WriteUp for writing. I love being able to leave the house with nothing but that small satchel and a device that’ll let me write and research all day, no matter where I am (thanks to 4G data).

Which iPad app could you not live without?

Hrm, on iPad that’s a different question. I’d have to say Evernote, since I review a lot of the stuff I save and get more and more of my writing done there.

There are more Sweet Setup interviews right here.