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Paul Sufka’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.

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?

My name is Dr. Paul Sufka and I’m a rheumatologist (physician who treats autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus) working in St. Paul, MN.

I’m involved in medical education with Regions Hospital and the University of Minnesota, and am also involved in multiple projects in the social media side of medicine. The two biggest of these are The Rheumatology Podcast, where we typically cover both a medical topic and a tech topic that applies to physicians, and the other is RheumJC, a newly formed online rheumatology journal club on Twitter.

I write some of my own thoughts at my own blog at paulsufka.com.

What is your current setup?

Paul Sufka's desk
Editor’s note: you can find Paul’s desktop wallpaper here.

I have a 13″ mid-2013 MacBook Air with 1.7GHz dual i7, 8 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD that I bought refurbished from Apple. Buying refurbished allowed me to max out all of the system specs for about the price of a more basic setup, so I suggest this method to everyone.

When I’m able, I prefer using the Apple Magic Mouse and usually use the Apple EarPods, although I also have a simple pair of Bose AE2 headphones that I use when recording podcasts. For recording audio, I recently switched to the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Dynamic microphone, since I found that my Blue Yeti would pick up more surrounding sounds than I liked since it is a condenser microphone.

I take my MBA with me between my clinic, the hospital, and home as part of my EDC to work on all of my projects outside of direct patient care. I used to carry an iPad mini with Retina Display, but our toddler has become interested in it, so we covered it in an Otterbox and stripped it down to just a few apps for him.

I try to keep a paperless office at home as much as possible and have a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i scanner. I tend to follow a lot of the ideas in the MacSparky Paperless Field Guide.

For backups, I have a Western Digital 2 TB My Book attached to an AirPort Extreme that I use with Time Machine. I make clone backups and store extra data on a 1TB Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive. I also have a File Transporter with a 500 GB drive, which we use to share files for our podcast, and I also use to offload extra pictures and video.

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

Chrome is my browser of choice, since it easily syncs with all of my devices and the PCs I’m stuck using at work. I always have both Tweetbot and Spotify running. I couldn’t access anything without 1Password to keep track of all my accounts.

I stay organized using Clear for simple lists and use OmniFocus for bigger projects, both of which sync to my iPhone.

For writing, my current workflow is to write in Markdown using Scrivener, and preview and convert to HTML using Marked 2. My current text editor is TextWrangler. I use Evernote to store all of the various notes and webpages for things I’m researching for later.

I use SuperDuper! for clone backups, although things are also backed up on Time Machine and either Dropbox or File Transporter. For additional redundancy, everything is also backed up with Backblaze.

We use Slack to coordinate both The Rheumatology Podcast and RheumJC. Podcasts are recorded using Audio Hijack Pro on top of a Skype session.

I keep things on my system efficient using both Keyboard Maestro and TextExpander.

Since I’m often working on things late in the evening, I use f.lux to minimize exposure to blue light, which helps me fall asleep.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I’m still waiting for Apple to come out with the perfect machine: the MacBook Air with Retina Display. I like to travel light, so I prefer the minimal profile of the Air, but adding Retina would make it perfect.

We’re looking into a standing desk at home in the next few months, and I’d like to get a 27″ monitor to go with it.


What iPhone do you have?

Paul Sufka's iPhone 6
Editor’s note: You can find Paul’s iPhone wallpaper here.

I have a Space Gray iPhone 6 with 128 GB of storage. It was a worthwhile upgrade for me because of the better camera — I try to take a lot of pictures and videos of our son.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

I’m a huge fan of podcasts, and Overcast quickly became my podcast listening app of choice because of the Smart Speed and Voice Boost features. I also listen to about 1-2 audiobooks per month with Audible. I usually have the audio speed turned up between 1.5-2x with either of these.

1Password, Chrome, Clear, OmniFocus, Dropbox, and Evernote keep me synced with my MBA.

The calendar app I use is Week Cal, which has a great mini month view that allows me to see a great summary of everything I have coming up.

I use Drafts to record various thoughts before deciding if they should be tweeted, sent to Evernote, or used elsewhere.

I use Day One for organizing the best pictures and journaling various events as our son grows up.

Since I live in Minnesota, a good weather app is necessary, and I highly suggest Dark Sky.

We recently picked up a Sonos:3, so the Sonos app has been getting a lot of use lately.

Which app could you not live without?

Tweetbot. Since I follow a number of other rheumatologists and physicians, Twitter has actually become the best way for me to keep up with new medical information, which sounds strange to my less tech-savvy colleagues. If there is a new important article or other medical news, I’ll either pick it up in my timeline, or else see that a number of people that I follow have mentioned it with the app Nuzzel.


There are more Sweet Setup interviews right here.