A lil’ time with… Chris

CJ Martin

Who are you, and what do you?

Hello, I’m Chris Martin, one of the resident nerds here at Flickr who keep everything running smoothly. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia but I don’t have a southern accent and this seems to disappoint people pretty regularly, I apologize for that.

My focus at Flickr is on mobile engineering and making sure people can get their lovely photos out of their pockets and on to Flickr; and vice versa. In real life I’m a professional travel writer/photographer. I’ve never written anything and my photos are sub-par, but I have to justify traveling around the world somehow.

What hardware are you using?

At work I use a 15″ MacBook Pro hooked up to two 24″ Dell displays, one for code and one for browser windows etc., they are both quite useful for creating a barrier to hide behind during the regular FlickrHQ foam dart wars. I also have a variety of mobile devices that we use to test our own code, 3rd party integrations, and API apps. My Flickr Moleskine and stack of post-it notes are also integral parts of my work hardware setup.

At home I have a pretty assorted collection of hardware, the most interesting of which is probably a 450MHz G4 Cube that sits quietly on my desk and still does a great job as a file server. Rounding out my fanboy worthy collection of Apple products are a unibody 15″ MacBook Pro, an iPad, and an iPhone 4 that replaced my 1st gen iPhone which I’ve used for the past 3 years (and still do for testing). I have two “hackintosh” machines; one desktop with a couple terabyte drives hooked up to my Samsung TV as a media center, and a 12″ ASUS 1201n which I find myself using more than my MacBook Pro because I like it’s small size when I’m out, and I hook up to a 24″ display when I’m at my desk at home.

In my “retired” collection are a linux PC that used to be a MythTV media center, an original eepc 701 that served me well on a 5 month backpacking trip, an ancient original iMac, and an assorted collection of iPods. I have a problem saying goodbye.

It’s probably appropriate to include camera gear as well… I have a Canon 350D which usually wears a 50mm f1.4 lens; it’s starting to show it’s age but has seen and faithfully captured many great trips over the years, a Kodak M1033 which isn’t the greatest camera in the world but it’s built like a tank and was the least obscenely expensive thing I could find in India after leaving a Canon on a train, and a Panasonic Lumix ZS3 that takes excellent video. However, I still take most of my photos with my iPhone.

And what software?

Obviously I’m an OSX guy, ever since I moved from Gentoo linux to a powerbook in college. I love the polish of the Mac GUI, and the raw power of Unix that’s just below the pretty surface.

I use the assortment of standard apps (Safari, Mail.app, iCal, and address book) as my primary browser, mail, and calendar applications. I’ve moved around a bunch in the past in this area, but the apple tools have finally started playing nicely with the google suite of services and they work well enough to keep me happy and in sync with my iPhone.

For development I primarily use TextMate (web-dev) and xCode (Cocoa), with the occasional trip over to Coda when I need to quickly touch something I’m doing any front end development on. I don’t have any special tools I use for source control or file transfer, that’s all svn, git, scp, etc. in terminal.

A few other apps like Linkinus, Adium, and Echofon live in my dock all the time, and of course I pull out photoshop when I need to mock something up.

As for utilities, I absolutely can’t live without Visor, a SIMBL plugin that makes my terminal appear on command from the top of the screen, teleport is a nifty tool for sharing one keyboard and mouse between multiple computers, DeskLickr keeps my desktop beautiful with photos from Flickr, and MenuMeters gives me a quick view of how the computer is doing from the menu bar.

On my phone, I use Echofon for twitter, Reeder is my absolute favorite RSS reader of all time (I wish there were a desktop version), Instapaper, AutoStitch to make panorama photos, iTimelapse for time-lapse video, and of course m.flickr.com and the Flickr app for browsing Flickr.

What would be your dream setup?

As much as I love laptop computers and the amazing mobile devices we have today, I can’t wait until our computing experiences are more thoroughly integrated into all of the other objects we use in daily life. I don’t just mean “connected things”, but more along the lines of augmented reality. I guess my dream setup would be a pair of contact lenses that I could put in in the morning and immediately start seeing extra information in every day life. I’m sure it will be done, but it will be a fine balance between adding to reality, and completely removing ourselves from it; I hope we do it well.