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Nate Boateng’s sweet 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.

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 Nate Boateng, tech junkie. On the web, I guess I’m known for occasionally writing, although (admittedly) I don’t write as much as I would like to. Generally, though, you can find me talking nonsense on Twitter. Off the web, I spend most of my time with my lovely wife and two sons. I also work in healthcare, doing communications for a large area hospital.

What is your current Mac setup?

Nate Boateng's Mac setup

Right now I primarily work on a mid-2011 13” MacBook Air. It suits my needs perfectly. Being three years old you would think it would be slowing down, but this thing is a tank—anyone with an Air would agree, I’m sure. To augment the 128 GB SSD, I have a Buffalo 1 TB Thunderbolt drive that is pretty great. I basically use that for cold storage—keeping things that don’t necessarily need to be on my Mac.

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

This could get long… I’ll keep it to the essentials.

  • Sparrow: Yes, that Sparrow. The state of mail apps on the Mac fills me with a special kind of sorrow. I’ve tried all of them. They all make me sad, with the exception of Sparrow. And that’s crazy considering how long ago the app was bought by Google, and essentially abandoned. For those reading this, yes, I’ve tried whatever you’re going to suggest and most likely did not enjoy using it, but thank you.

  • Things: Yes, that Things. Anyone that knows me knows that I have a serious problem sticking to a specific task management app, but Things has always been the one I come back to. It works with how I think and has the best sync in the business. I still recommend it to people despite Cultured Code’s slow development cycle.

  • Tweetbot: The best Twitter client for Mac. The end.

  • FoldingText: FoldingText is a pretty fantastic plain text editor. It’s actually kind of hard to describe, but it’s totally customizable, scriptable, and extensible. I like to work in outlines, and FoldingText is perfect for it.

  • Marked 2: Brett Terpstra’s Markdown-preview-magic-thingy is just superb. It’s like FoldingText’s right-hand man.

  • Reeder 2: Like most others, I use Reeder every day to stay up on news. Feedbin is my back-end of choice.

  • Notefile: My buddy Mike Piontek’s Notefile is another staple for me. It works beautifully for quick notes I jot down throughout the day.

I use a ton of other stuff, but there are some utility apps that I must have in order to get work done. I’d die without Dropbox (duh), FastScripts, 1Password, Fantastical, TextExpander, Hazel, Alfred, Name Mangler, and Droplr.

How would your ideal Mac setup look and function?

Honestly, it would be pretty similar to my setup now. Since I use my Mac a lot for work, portability is key. I guess if I had my choice, I’d move into a retina Mac, but I prefer the 13” size, so a 13” MacBook Air with Retina Display Unicorn Edition would be my pick. Other than that, I wish I had an unlimited app budget. There’s so much great stuff out there. I’d also add a quality standing desk. I’ve wanted one for a long time. In my office, I lifehacked an old hospital bed tray to work as one, but it’s certainly not great.

What iPhone do you have?

Nate Boateng's iPhone 6 setup

As of this writing, I have a 16 GB iPhone 6 in Space Grey.

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

Apps have to fit a couple of criteria for me to use them long-term. Call me what you will, but they need to look good. This is actually really important to me. Secondly, they need to provide some serious utility, especially those on the first screen. Here are the ones I love most.

  • Ecoute because it’s a gorgeous music player.
  • iShows because I’m addicted to television and I’m also forgetful.
  • Weather Line because it’s the best weather app I’ve ever used.
  • Scanbot because I scan a lot of documents and save them to Evernote and Dropbox. This app is the easiest (and prettiest) way to do that.
  • Drafts because…I don’t even know how to explain how useful Drafts is to me. There’s tons of articles around that can articulate it way better than I can. * cough *
  • Unread because RSS is better when it’s paired with a great app. Unread is unbelievably good.
  • Dispatch because mail shouldn’t be hard on iOS. Despite a few shortcomings, Dispatch’s actions make it a joy to use.

Which iOS app could you not live without?

Right now, I’d have to say Overcast. It’s a great podcast player, and considering I listen to a ton of shows, this is probably my most used app right now. Plus, the unique features like Smart Speed and Voice Boost make it stand out.


There are more Sweet Setup interviews right here.