What I Use: Shaun Wilson’s Windows-Loving Mac

Our What Readers Use series continues with designer and video editor Shaun Wilson, who takes the relatively unusual approach of not using his Mac as a Mac. Read on to find out why, and where iPhone and a DeLorean fit into the mix.I am a bit of a split personality when it comes to work – I’m a partner in both a design business (at which I do corporate video and web development) and a production company. I have two separate workplaces. I take my laptop between them, and my edit suite sits at one.


I use a 13” MacBook Air (2011) running Windows 7. I really like Apple hardware and this is the best laptop I’ve ever had, but I can’t stand Mac OS. I’m not bother going to get in to the Mac verus PC thing, I just have some fundamental issues with how Mac OS operates from a UI standpoint. Frustrates me no end. Windows 7, on the other hand, runs great and suits the way my brain works. And I can boot in to Mac OS to do iOS development, so it all works out very nicely.

I have matching USB hubs at both workplaces with mice and network running through them, so I just throw my laptop on the desk at whichever place, plug in power & one USB cable, and I’m set. No plugging in a million cords or packing accessories in to my bag, all I take back and forth is my (wonderfully small and light) laptop.


I have an Intel Q6600 quad core 2.4Ghz with 4GB of RAM and a few TB of storage, most of it in RAID 1 for redundancy & speed. I have a 24” Dell LCD as my main monitor and a 20” secondary LCD for video playback. Those are Behringer B2031’s either side running through a little Xenyx mixer.

Yep, it’s an edit machine. I cut in Avid Media Composer, because it’s solid and very fast to edit with. Its inbuilt grading tools don’t compare to something like Apple Color, but because they’re inbuilt I can jump between grade & edit without drama. I composite footage & build title animations in After Effects CS5 because it’s quick and powerful. I couldn’t live without TMPGEnc Xpress for encoding – ridiculously cheap, great workflow, and makes beautiful MPEG2’s for DVD. I use that instead of Adobe’s media encoder for most stuff.


Productivity-wise, my data floats between Outlook 2010, Google and my iPhone. All my addresses forward to a Gmail account I access through IMAP in Outlook, and my calendar syncs with Google Calendar. I use Outlook because every time I try another mail/calendaring/contacts app, some key piece of functionality is missing. Outlook actually does everything I need and does it well.

Chrome is my everyday browser of choice, largely because it’s fast and simple, and the only extension I use is Adblock. But I use Firefox for web development because Firebug is unbeatable.

I switched back to Trillian for chat recently, thanks to the “Simple” setting that makes it wonderfully minimalist.

I have ResophNotes for SimpleNote access, but also use OneNote for more complex stuff I need to put somewhere I won’t lose.

I use SpiderOak for backup & cloud access to my laptop’s data from my phone. But I’ll probably switch to using Dropbox when they finally deliver “any folder” sync, because I use it alongside SpiderOak anyway for collaboration, and Dropbox’s API is widely used in third party apps.

I use Final Draft 8 for script writing & editing – it’s a bit clunky, but does the job and means I can easily work with everyone else who uses it.

Adobe CS5 Master Collection covers my development and video needs – I use Dreamweaver and Photoshop for web development (and Flash when I have a gun pointed to my head). I’ve tried dedicated IDE’s for PHP, but I just find Dreamweaver does the job without adding a lot of needless complication. It does have a horribly slow FTP client built in though, so I use FileZilla a lot.


My phone is an iPhone 4. I find Android to be a bit of a mess. I have a lot of apps installed but honestly don’t find myself using much often beyond the basics, which iOS does a great job of. My mail and calendar sync with Google, while my contacts just sync with Outlook when I plug in – Google Contacts is an unreliable mess, and I don’t really need over the air sync for contacts. I do use SimpleNote instead of the inbuild notes app, as it’s nicer to use, has tags, and syncs well. I just wish Microsoft would hurry up and release their OneNote app internationally so I could use that too.

And there’s a small time-travelling de Lorean parked on my right speaker to keep me sane. Or remind me I’m not. One of those.

Thanks Shaun! Want to tell us about your own setup and why it works? Send us the details by email to [email protected].

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