Reader Setup: Gordon Barr

Gordon Barr lives in Glasgow, Scotland. He is a part-time programmer, part-time webmaster, part-time IT support helper, and part-time architectural heritage campaigner. He has been described in the newspapers as a ‘boffin’ during attempts to promote Chemistry as a fun and interesting subject through the medium of a life-size fibreglass cow, and as an ‘expert’ when trying to convince people not to knock down interesting old buildings unnecessarily. In his spare time, he runs the online Scottish Cinemas project to catalogue, record and research old cinema and theatre buildings.

Gordon’s Setup:

1. What does your desk look like?

Gordon Barr's Setup

Gordon Barr's Setup

Gordon Barr's Setup

2. What is your current Mac setup?

At work have a Mac Pro (2x Dual Core 2.66Ghz) as my primary workstation, and a Mac Mini 1.66Ghz Core Duo. I’ve three 20in Cinema Displays between them; one on the Mac Mini, and two on the Mac Pro, with a single mouse and keyboard shared between them. At home, a first generation unibody 13in MacBook. Oh, and an iPhone or two, obviously.

3. Why are you using this setup?

Much of my ‘proper’ work (i.e. that I actually get paid for) involves tying together old legacy Visual Basic and Fortran code and trying to make it play nicely together, so Windows is a necessity. As a result, the Mac Pro is running Windows XP in Bootcamp rather than MacOS X. Pleasingly, the Mac Pro was purchased after I specced up the equivalent Dell workstation at the time, which was nearly UKP £2000 more expensive (!). Who says Macs are pricier?

The Mac Mini is so I don’t have to spend all day in Windows land, and it runs everything else. The cinema displays were gradually purchased over time – I started out with just one of them and added more as budgets allowed.

4. What software do you use on a daily basis, and for what do you use it?

I use Synergy to share a single mouse and keyboard between the two machines; I couldn’t live without it. I write and edit manuals and other technical documentation for in-house software, and I could do a lot more on the Mac rather than in Windows if there was still a Mac version of Framemaker (are you listening, Adobe?!). There’s always some Terminal windows open, and often some stuff running over X-windows from our Sun servers too.

I use Spaces to keep things separated – the default one has Mail and iCal which are always open, another with a bunch of terminal windows for local servers, etc., another for Safari and Tweetie, and one for Things.

I’ve recently started using Things (thanks to the review on this very site) to manage my work to do lists, and its ability to sync with the iPhone equivalent is crucial to keeping me (relatively) organised. The venerable but incomparable GraphicConverter is still in my Dock, and used almost daily, even after all these years.

For my side-line in architectural heritage, I take a lot of photos, and managing them is a bit of a nightmare. I’ve recently converted to Aperture for this, and am gradually getting a handle on it. The excellent FlickrExporter for Aperture is also used frequently for my Flickr uploads.

On the Mac, TextWrangler is my editor of choice; on the PC-side, SciTe is rather good.

5. Do you own any other Mac gear?

A Time Capsule at home for backups; a large box under the bed full of old cables, power supplies and about 7 different Apple laptop display dongles of various vintages, and a pristine Mac SE that still goes bong when you turn it on – I must find an old keyboard and mouse so I can play with it properly!

6. Do you have any future upgrades planned?

My iPhone is a 3GS; I appear to have Compulsive Upgrade Disorder when it comes to these things. So when they release a new one, I suspect I will be there. Luckily, I have a bunch of friends who are not such early adopters I can sell last year’s model on to.

More Setups:

Gordon’s setup is just one in a series of Sweet Mac Setups.

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