Show Me Your Desktop, Duncan Riley

27 February, 2008

What's On Your Computer

Phew… Finally some time to blog again. I usually publish a Show Me Your Desktop interview on Sundays, but due to the screen writers’ strike we’ve had delays this season… Ok that’s not true, the cursed work has kept me busy, but now all important projects and presentations are done.

If you missed last week’s interview with Sarah Meyers head over here to read it. Sarah just launched

This week it’s Duncan Riley’s turn to Show Me Your Desktop. If you Google Duncan Riley a lot of different articles and posts comes up. Many of them are about why he left b5media in 2006. That’s 1½ year ago, so there isn’t anything interesting in that anymore. Instead I’ll focus on what Duncan does now.

He is one of the more controversial bloggers. His posts on TechCrunch often starts a heated debate. This particular debate extended into this blog post on Duncan’s personal blog. I’m still not sure what the Australian government’s plan is, but what I gather it sounds really stupid.

Duncan also hosts a really interesting podcast show on thepodcastnetwork. Here he interviews a very mixed crowd from local Australian web experts to American money makers.

He is also a VERY active twitter. I remember Michael Arrington once told him to Wtwit less and write more.”

And now on with the interview.

What is your background picture?

The Apple store in San Francisco I took in July 2007.

Why did you chose that picture?

It seemed appropriate for my Mac Pro. The picture itself has the Apple logo on the store nearly dead middle

If you have a personal and a work computer, which program do you use the most on your personal computer?

I have two computers. A Mac Pro at home, and a Macbook Pro (17″) for when I’m on the road. As I work for myself there’s no personal or work computer as such.

Twitteriffic would get the best work out on both computers, aside from the browser and Mac Mail.

Internet Explorer or Firefox?

Until days ago I would have said Flock. It’s a great browser that in my experience at least is less of a memory hog than FF2 was. I’m now using the latest beta of Firefox 3. The first beta still had memory issues, but as of beta 2 it’s a pleasure to use, and it’s very memory efficient (even more so than Flock). It looks like Mozilla has finally fixed the memory leaks that ruined Firefox 2.Why do you use Fireox?

I was a windows user until nearly 12 months ago, and even then I used Firefox over Internet Explorer. I’m a heavy tab user and Firefox has done tabs from pretty close to the beginning. IE 7 is a vastly improved browser over IE6, but by that stage, like a lot of people, I’d switched to Firefox and had no interest in going back.

What is your favourite program?

Skitch. Being able to do 95% (perhaps more) of my image editing tasks super quickly and without having to open Photoshop has been a blessing for me, and it’s made me far more efficient in my day to day workWhich program is the worst?

Cyberduck, but to be fair FTP on a Mac just never seems to be as smooth for me using any program as compared to Windows.

Do you have any tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your computer or blog?

You need to have the right tools so that your focus is on blogging, not fighting with the software you have installed. Switching to Apple products was the best move I’ve ever made, I no longer worry about whether my operating system is getting a virus, or needs maintaining…or anything really. Macs just work.

In terms of other tools look for products that make your blogging easier. I use Skitch for basic image editing, Grammarian for US English grammar and spell check, iMovie to mix videos and Garage Band to mix podcasts. All make my life a lot easier and I think my work is better for using them. If you’re blogging for yourself, there’s a range of desktop blogging tools available as well, unfortunately for me the quirks of my main writing gig at the moment for TechCrunch means that I have to use WordPress directly, but presuming you don’t have a similar issue, use a blogging client.

Last tip: multiple monitors are a god send. I have twin 22″ monitors, on my left monitor I run Twitteriffic and Firefox, on the right monitor mail, Skitch and any other program I may want to run. This allows you to have a document or email open and visible at the same time you have access to your browser (or blogging client), negating the need to switch between windows when writing a blog post. You can go for one bigger monitor, but cost wise 22″ monitors in Australia at least are down to around the $300 mark ($275 US), much cheaper than say one 30″ at $1500-$2000, and ultimately you get more desktop with the twin monitors. Some suggest 3 works better again, but in my case I’d need a bigger desk first icon smile Show Me Your Desktop, Duncan Riley

Click to see a larger image

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions Duncan. The dual 22″ monitor made me a bit envious. I’m pretty sure three monitors would be overkill. I’m not sure what the benefit of that would be.

Personally I use two 19″ monitors (one HP and one IBM), but an upgrade to 22″ wouldn’t be too bad.

How many monitors do you use? Which size and brand? And why do you use more than one monitor?

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