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Q&A with Klint Finley

Reporter for Wired, columnist at TechCrunch

I'm Klint Finley and I'm a reporter for Wired. I also write a column for TechCrunch, co-host a podcast called Mindful Cyborgs, write fiction and record experimental noise art.


I have an old Asus UL series laptop and a Samsung Galaxy S3 Android phone.


I'm still using Windows 7. I also have a Linux partition that I don't use much. Right now it's Peppermint with KXStudio, but I'll probably replace it soon with Bodhi, elementary or Mint.

I do most of my writing in Zim, which I also use to store and organize my research. Zim is sort of a cross between Evernote and Notational Velocity. Like Notational Velocity, everything you write is stored as plain text files. But like Evernote app, you can create nested folder structures to organize your notes, and you can add attachments. For mobile access, you can use Dropbox or any similar program, since everything is just text files. I just swittched to Zim from Evernote because I wanted something that used text files instead of a proprietary database, and that runs on Linux. I love it so far.

For the podcast, I use CallGraph to record calls from Skype, but I'm going to have to find some other because apparently Skype is changing its API. For noise art, I mostly use Ableton Live with a ton of plugins.

I use MyLifeOrganized to manage my tasks and projects. What I like about it is that I can have one tab that's a huge list of projects, full of tasks and sub-tasks, and another tab that filters the big list into something manageable. It does this by only showing me projects or tasks where the start date is today or earlier, and only showing me the next sub-task of any project. That way I can put everthing I think of that I need or want to do, but I don't have to be overwhelmed by the enomity of the list. It makes managing a "next action" list and doing reviews of old tasks a snap.

MLO works really well for me, but it's Windows only, apart from the iOS and Android app. So I've been looking closely at Getting Things GNOME, an open source task management platform that also filters tasks by date and sub-task. I don't think it's quite ready for my needs yet, but it has a lot of potential.

For e-mail I've been using eM Client but it sort of drives me nuts. If it doesn't shut down properly it does this database check when you startup again that takes 20 minutes. It also doesn't have a conversation view, which seems like a pretty basic feature. But it's the only responsive IMAP client I've found that has an "Outlook style" column on the right side that shows you forthcoming appointments, flagged e-mails messages, etc. I need to have my appointments for the week in front of my face all day every day so they don't sneak up on me. Thunderbird and Outlook are dreadfully slow at handling IMAP, and clients like Apple Mail, Geary and Claws don't have the right column. So I'm stuck with eM Client for now.

Freedom is another killer app for me. It kills your internet connection for a set period of time. That's all it does. You can specify anywhere from 15 minutes to 480 minutes. Once it starts, the only way to get your internet back is to either wait for it to finish or to restart your computer.

I run my blog on WordPress and use the Social Network Autoposter plugin to syndicate my posts across different social media. I also use IFTTT to push stuff from Wired to Twitter. I just started using an RSS reader again, Feedly, after having taken a break from RSS for the past couple years. I MetroTwit to post to Twitter from my laptop, and on my phone I use the official Twitter client, unless I'm posting a link, which I use Plume for since it supports Bitly accounts.

On my phone, I rely on Pocket for managing and reading articles, Dropbox for managing and editing files, and MyLifeOrganzied for task management.

Dream setup

I don't know. I've been thinking about getting a Macbook Air, but I'm not sure I want to go to the Apple route. I've resisted it for so long! But the price difference isn't as great as it used to be, and there's plenty of quality, mature applications. But my real ideal setup, I suppose, would be a Linux laptop, maybe an X series ThinkPad. But that would mean a bit more maturity out of a few open source applications, like Getting Things GNOME and Giada. I prefer open source software, but I don't feel like absolutely everything I use needs to be open source. Being cross-platform and using common standards is more important.


A lot of my inspiration comes from just seeing what other writers and artists have done. Looking at other people work is always a kick in the pants. If it's better work than I can do, it motivates me to get better. If it's worse than I can do, it motivates me to get my voice out there more. Also, one of the best work habits I've picked up is keeping a "done" list as well as a to-do list. It's satisfying to look at what I did at the end of the day, and it can be motivating early in the day because I want to start adding stuff to it.