Rogie King’s Sweet Mac Setup



Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Rogie King, a designer based in Helena, Montana. I’m a self-employed designer working under the company, Komodo Media. I love designing user interfaces, websites filled with character and spirited illustrations. I’m also a front-end developer specializing in JavaScript, CSS3 and HTML5 development.

What is your current setup?

Rogie King's Sweet Mac Setup

I’ve worked on nearly everything from old school pizza box Dells, to home made machines pieced together from Newegg parts; a Quad-Core Mac Pro to my current setup of a 2010 15-inch, Quad Core i7 MacBook Pro/8GB Ram/128GB SSD/Hi-Res Matte screen with an external 24-inch Cinema Display.

For the most part, I’m pretty pleased with my MacBook Pro.

Why this rig?

I’m really mobile. Last year I traveled for 2 months, this year nearly 4 months of travel. I work a lot from the road. However, I’m known to sit on the couch or bed with my laptop as well. A 17-inch monitor has always felt crazy big and seemed like a brick to lug around. 13 inches is too small. So, I opted for the 15-inch with the high-res monitor and matte display. I LOVE the matte display. I’ll never go glossy again. High-res is a bit teensy, but I still love the details and extra screen real estate.

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

I use Coda by Panic to code up HTML, CSSEdit by MacRabbit to create CSS. Terminal is always open committing edits via git. MySQL running natively to run all of my databases locally.

I use VirtualBox for running Windows 7/XP for testing. It’s still a pain and by no means ideal, but I just don’t have the will to own a Windows box and set it all up. I’d hardly use it so it’d be a waste.

For quick small screen recording sessions to explain something or describe a bug, I use Screeny by Drew Wilson. For screencasts, Quicktime. I use Sparrow for mail — it just feels simple and that simplicity drives me to want to keep it simple, to keep my inbox empty and tidy.

I’ve tried hoards of task-managing software, to-do lists, and attempted to use calendaring apps. None of them ever stuck. Except one. Fantastical. Yeah, yeah, I designed it blah blah blah, but I’ve been known to design things I never use, like whole websites n such. The magic of Fantastical isn’t so much its aesthetic (which was my part), but in the simple intuitive, natural language parsing part of it. Now, I add events to my calendar like a boss. I actually use this thing.

For rapid CSS3 production, I use Less.app. This year, I’ve been using SASS, however the more CSS-like syntax of Less combined with Mark Otto’s bootstrap.less and Less.app makes for lightning fast CSS production.

I’ve always struggled with the speed of development with editing a file, saving, going to my browser, reloading. It takes so long. Last year, I found ReCSS and it rocked my world. ReCSS enabled me to reload my CSS only and not the underlying code. Much faster. This year I found LiveReload which essentially monitors the file system, waiting for changes to underlying code, be it ruby files, CSS, or script files. When they are changed, the browser instantly refreshes. If the change is purely CSS, only the CSS reloads. Magic. So. Much. Faster.

I design all websites and user interfaces with Adobe Fireworks CS5 and until recently, I did all illustrations in Fireworks as well. Driven by a want to grow more as an illustrator (as well as the more powerful features), I made the jump to Illustrator CS4 about 2 months ago. Just last month, I purchased the upgrade to Illustrator CS5 for the refined web features.

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

Two screens is huge. I split my cinema display with about 1/3 CSSEdit and 2/3 Coda and on the right display, my MacBook Pro on the left shows the current browser I am testing. I love not having to constantly minimize and maximize windows to reveal other programs — everything is right there.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I think I’ve finally figured it out. I think.

Next year, when the new iMacs are refreshed, I’m gonna grab the highest spec’d out model. No need for a SSD. I really like SSD’s but I’m not all that impressed like others. Sure, reboots and rapid file access are lightning fast. But when it comes to speed and snappiness, say in a design program, it does little for me. So I need more power, but not all the expense.

I still love my MacBook Pro, so instead of selling it, I’m gonna rock that spec’d out iMac with this couple year old, yet fully capable MacBook Pro running at it’s side. I’ll get a 27-inch Thunderbolt display to run as a secondary 27-inch monitor. Two 27-inch screens running side by side. Bliss. I’ll use the laptop for my travels or couch jam sessions.

More Sweet Setups

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