Egg Freckles
By Thomas Brand



The following interview was inspired by The Setup, a collection of nerdy interviews, asking people from all walks of life about the hardware and software they use.

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Thomas Brand. I dropped out of art school to spend time behind the Genius Bar. Today I work at MIT, and run up hills for fun.

What hardware do you use?

  • I built a 4.9 GHz i7-9700 Hackintosh with upgradable graphics and expandable storage. It mostly runs Windows 10 these days as I have been using it to play games and WFH during the pandemic.
  • I use a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro "Escape" running High Sierra for work on the go. I am a big fan of owning a powerful, ergonomic desktop and a light, portable laptop. The butterfly keyboard bothers me, but I have never needed to have it repaired.
  • In my pocket I carry an iPhone 7 named "Courage" connected to T-Mobile’s “legendary” $30 a month unlimited data plan. I have been using a Android phone with expandable storage and a headphone jack as my portable media player during the pandemic.
  • On my wrist I wear a Omega Seamaster 2531.80 Chronometer. I used to wear an Apple Watch Series 2, but the gimmick of closing my rings wore off, and now I just run with my phone.
  • I traded in my Apple Extended Keyboard for a Das Ultimate S; the Darth Vader of mechanical keyboards. I am all about full size keyboards and Cherry MX Blue switches. The clickier the better.
  • My MessagePad 130 rarely leaves my desk these days, but remains my favorite Newton.

And what software?

  • I split my time evenly between Mac OS, Windows, and Unix
  • I write all of my email, code, and prose in Vim
  • Through the power of MOSH and a FreeBSD server I take my Vim environment with me everywhere I go
  • Vim’s undo branches are my poor man’s version control system
  • I read email in Alpine, RSS in NetNewsWire, and HTML in Firefox; everything else I send to Instapaper
  • Images are edited in Acorn, compressed in ImageOptim, and published to the web via Fetch
  • Blog posts are published in edited in Marked, and published by MarsEdit

What would be your dream setup?

I started my career in graphic design because I fell in love with the Mac.\ Today I value the freedom to choose my own platform. Choice keeps me interested in technology.