Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham

Writer, artist, adjunct professor (RMIT)

in artist, mac, professor, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a writer - I've had four books published and have two more on the way - and a sometime artist. I also teach, do some arts administration and public speaking.

What hardware do you use?

I have a MacBook Pro which I use most of the time for almost everything I do. I used to hook that up to a larger screen but I don't much anymore as I tend to move around a lot when I work (stand, sit, lie on the couch, work at the kitchen bench etc). I have a separate keyboard and mouse at my office which I use if I'm there. I use the MacBook for writing books, lectures, class planning, lots of emailing and carrying on with calendar and diary management.

I also have a iPad Pro (10") which I use for art and reading but when I travel I use a portable keyboard and then do email and other basic tasks using the iPad. I am particularly keen on the iPad when I'm giving lectures as I can hold it like a sheath of paper.

I have an iPhone 6S Plus, which I like because the camera is good, and because the screen is large enough that I can read emails and use for social media (which I am currently trying to cut down drastically on). My sight is getting worse as I get older. I don't think I could handle a small phone anymore. I have inherited an Apple Watch which I use mainly for exercise purposes though getting messages on it is useful. I also use a standing desk, a planning desk, paper and and paint I carry a drawing pad and drawing pens with me.

And what software?

I have Microsoft Office and use Word a lot. Partly out of habit and partly because most people I work for/with use it. When I'm writing my books I use Scrivener which I love and am quite evangelical about. Whenever I teach I tell other writers to use it. I have tried software for things like planning, and work flow management, but they don't tend to stick. I'm basically pretty happy with Word/Notes/Scrivener and lost interest in software which requires me to change my working habits. I use Saasu for my accounts which I do on my MacBook. Oh, and I use iCal to nudge me, and alarms for the same reason.

I use the Notes function on my phone a lot. I use the camera constantly as a prompt for writing and art. I sometimes use the microphone on the phone to record things. I use Planets (for fun) and the digital edition of Pizzey & Knight Birds of Australia (birdwatching).

I use Procreate on my iPad Pro for drawing and creating images. iBooks for reading. Paprika for keeping track of recipes. Instagram for @sophtreeofday on which I post a picture of a tree everyday. I've deleted Facebook, Twitter etc. from my various devices, but I still check into the websites now and then.

What would be your dream setup?

I confess I have a partner who thinks about these things on my behalf a lot, so I suspect I am pretty close. I suppose my dream set up would involve a bit more physical space. I could spread out with painting, and have a larger desk for writing (i.e. I could throw books around on) and which was also adjustable. And I'd like more storage/shelves etc. But when it comes to computers and devices I'm extremely well set up.

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