Nicholas Felton’s Sweet Mac Setup

Who are you, what do you do, etc…?

Nicholas Felton. (Photo by Ellen Warfield.)

My name is Nicholas Felton. I am a graphic designer based in New York City. I focus primarily on data visualizations… making charts and graphs and maps for print and online. I also run a website called Daytum that I founded with Ryan Case to help people count the big and little things in their lives and compile these statistics into pages like my own Annual Reports.

What is your current setup?

Nicholas Felton's Setup

Nicholas Felton's Setup

My work machine is a dual quad-core Mac Pro with a 30″ Cinema Display. Away from the office, I use a 13″ aluminum Mac Book.

Why this rig?

The first Mac I owned was a Quadra 840AV and I’ve used Mac towers continually since the G3 days. I may migrate to an iMac for the next office machine, but I like having lots of internal drives in the tower. The internal drives are cheaper and seem to last longer than external backups. I also like how easy it is to upgrade the memory, and that I can hang onto the monitor when I swap the computer out.

My favorite laptop was the 12″ G4, so when Apple did the aluminum MacBook refresh, I bought the 13″, and it still holds its own for travel and home use.

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

  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign CS3 (with occasional excursions into CS5) for design.
  • Textmate or Coda for web work (css and html).
  • I use Processing to make little data visualization and mapping applications that I output to pdf and import into Illustrator.
  • I use Apple’s Numbers and Pages as Excel and Word clones.
  • I also use TextEdit all the time, for writing notes or answering interview questions and saving data sets. It’s remarkably useful.

How does this setup help you do your best creative work?

In plain terms, it’s fast enough, doesn’t crash too often and tends to not get in the way of what I want to do. Fundamentally, it lets me do my best work because I am familiar and comfortable with the way everything is set up, so I spend very little time looking for things. If it weren’t for email, I would be a very productive person.

Nicholas Felton. (Photo by Ellen Warfield.)

Nicholas Felton. (Photo by Ellen Warfield.)

How would your ideal setup look and function?

If Adobe would kill the feature creep and focus on software that’s fast and doesn’t crash I would be most of the way to an ideal setup. Apart from that, I just need a big monitor, a CPU that can keep up and some decent speakers to be happy.

More Sweet Setups

Nicholas’ setup is just one in a series of sweet Mac Setups.


The three photos of Nicholas were taken by Ellen Warfield.
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