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 Courtney Stanton

Courtney Stanton

Co-founder (Feel Train), podcaster

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Courtney Stanton, and I'm a member of Feel Train, a creative technology cooperative. I volunteer at Stream PDX, a recording and podcast studio. That's where I record the weekly podcast, JoJo's Bizarre Explainer, where I talk about the manga and anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure with Darius Kazemi and Eliz Simins. Because I work from home, I've taken to alternating working out in my apartment while watching television with running around the park a block from said apartment. I also read a fair amount every day.

What hardware do you use?

Oh gosh, this is where I'll begin to disappoint you, reader, because I super don't care about computer hardware. I'm writing this on... some kind of... PC tower? I grew up in a Cult of Perfectionism about a lot of things and I finally wrote myself one big blank check of "it's okay if it's good enough" and I've been free ever since, and unfortunately for y'all, "hardware specs" appear to fall under this umbrella. There is apparently a CyberPower PC keyboard involved, because I can read the logo. I assume it's also a CyberPower PC mouse because the logomark matches. Oh hey, it's the same logomark on the tower too, there we go, mystery solved. My husband picked this computer out and he felt very passionately about the keyboard and mouse being wired instead of wireless so that's some more information for you. He also cares a lot about how clacky the keyboard keys are. I couldn't give a fuck.

I performed the correct rites and rituals to access this information from the Tower, and it tells me there are 48GB of RAM within it, and it has an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz processor. I hope we all feel good about that, I'm sure the computer does.

I also have a laptop but it lost the ability to charge itself a month ago and I haven't gotten around to taking it in to get fixed yet. Said laptop is a Lenovo ThinkPad, which are secretly really wonderful machines IMHO.

My desk is a vintage tank desk I bought second-hand, and my desk chair is a rather fancy home office chair that we got for free years ago when some friends who have a startup ran afoul of the City of Boston's fire codes for business furnishings. (All office furniture has to be treated with flame retardant chemicals that home furnishings don't have on them -- who knew! Free Aeron chair for us.)

For podcast recording, the Stream PDX studio is itself a piece of hardware full of hardware -- a vintage Airstream trailer turned recording studio with 4 Sennheiser e 835-S, studio headphones, and a Zoom R16 multitrack recorder. I do podcast episode planning in a notebook that was a piece of speaker swag at a conference (I think?)... I honestly have no idea where this thing came from. It's a blank notebook and it's an odd size.

For the working out in front of my TV, I use this weight bench and these weights. (I tried to buy weights and a bench off Craigslist, but somehow everyone thinks their weight bench that's coming out of their garage is mint and worth the same price as a new one. Also those weights are incredible and take up basically no room, which is what I need for a small apartment.) I've got this TV because I'm a silly big TV person, and either you're one of those people or you aren't, and you probably already know that about yourself and have that sorted in your own home. I track my workouts in a little Field Notes graph notebook and I use a Uniball Vision Needle micro pen (I guess... we have the most of that one in the drawer so that's what I end up grabbing). For the running around in a park, I've just started using these shoes and have had great results (read: faster times), so do with that what you will. I use PowerBeats wireless headphones when running because reviews said they had better bass than most models and I listen to a lot of hip hop when I run. The larger "lifted weights/ran/lifted weights/ran/rested" calendar tracking happens on a wall calendar that hangs in our home office.

I do almost all of my reading on my 4-year-old iPad Air and the rest happens on my iPhone 6 Plus, neither of which I plan to replace any time soon. (I feel the same way about computer hardware as I do about cars and other depreciating assets: buy outright and use until total failure.)

And what software?

This PC tower I'm on is running Windows 10 Home, which I jumped to from Windows 7. The only thing I regret about the move is that I can no longer play The Sims Medieval, which was an incredibly weird, underrated game. Like all good product-humans, I use a variety of Google services (Drive, Mail, Docs, Sheets, Calendar), with Boomerang added onto Gmail so I can actually keep track of correspondence and follow up with people (and just archive everything so it's out of the way). I also use GitHub paired up with ZenHub to manage the main Open Source project our company is working on right now. I cannot say enough good things about ZenHub -- it essentially fixes Github and makes it usable for people other than programmers.

I use Spotify both at my desk and while running (and while running I pair it with Runkeeper). I use the default Apple Podcasts app/Netflix/Hulu/Amazon in a roulette fashion to find something to keep my attention while weight lifting, because counting to 10 gets dull fast.

What would be your dream setup?

I don't really have a lot of "gear" fantasies. My biggest dream setup is probably Universal Basic Income at this point, and/or health insurance that covered transgender healthcare. That sort of thing would help my work out a lot more materially than if someone released Yet Another To-Do List App. That said...

For 2018 I'm planning on using a Hobonichi Techo planner to consolidate my various scheduling/tracking/planning activities (both the stuff I've mentioned here and all the stuff I haven't), and that's a tiny dream come true right there.

I also eagerly await the day Apple actually gets the Watch to the place where it's a real Dick Tracy Wrist Phone. At that point, I think my ideal computer hardware setup will be Apple Watch, iPad Pro, PC Tower. I don't actually like being "bothered" by apps or using them when I have idle time very often -- I'm a "default to no notifications" person, I don't need a lot of apps on my phone, etc. But I do want to be reliably available, so the idea of having a sort of hybrid pager-phone on my wrist that lets me make calls when I need to (and go running without a damn phablet strapped to my upper arm), is incredibly appealing to me. Then the super-iPad for all the things I currently use my laptop for (and traveling a few pounds lighter), and the PC honestly just for videogames. (I'm struggling to think of work applications for a mouse and keyboard... I suppose I do still have times when it's easier and faster, when working in giant spreadsheets for hours. So occasionally that.)