Mac Setup: The Office of a Creative Director & User Experience Designer

Oct 4, 2014 - 20 Comments

The amazing office of a Creative Director and User Experience Designer

This weeks featured Mac setup is the office of Creative Director and UX designer Stewart A., who not only has a stellar workstation with a lot of great hardware, but he also shares some excellent backup tips that could help out everyone. Let’s jump right in and learn more about this great setup!

(Click on any picture to view a larger version)

What do you use your Apple gear for?

As a Creative Director and User Experience Designer, my daily tasks vary wildly but include; web site design and programming, mobile interface wireframe conceptualizations and interactive prototyping, video editing, advertising and marketing communications, and corporate identity and branding.

Stewart Altschuler Home Office 06

What hardware does your Mac setup consist of?

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What apps do you use most often? What are some of your favorites for OS X and iOS?

Stewart Altschuler Home Office 09

Do you have any tips or helpful info you want to share with OSXDaily readers?

Time machine alone is not a sufficient backup resource. While it’s useful for restoration and versioning of files (as many as the disk space will permit), you should have two other external backups at any given time, preferably in different locations and updated on a daily, weekly or at most, monthly schedule, for complete protection. Why? It’s not a question of “if,” but “when” will a hard drive or SSD fail and destroy your digital life forever. 

As an example, I use a large hard drive (speed is not a consideration) for hourly Time Machine backups. At 4TB, that’s often 6 months worth of data (i.e. I can restore any version of a file, even if deleted, from six months ago). Each night after work, I use “ SuperDuper” an easy-to-use, inexpensive application that makes a complete clone of my internal 1TB SSD and then shuts down the computer for me when complete. Should the internal SSD fail, I can immediately reboot from the external clone and get back to work while I repair or replace the internal mechanism that failed. Lastly, each week I make clones of all my primary work drives using portable, external USB 3 or Thunderbolt hard drives of the same capacities. Then, those drives are stored in a fire-proof safe or at an offsite location. In this manner, even if my home office literally burns to the ground, I have lost no more than one week of work.

Cloud based backup services are certainly convenient, but I don’t use them for the following reasons; there’s ongoing monthly/yearly expense, there’s little or no guarantee of protection or privacy of those files online, and backing up to the cloud, regardless of your ISP bandwidth, is often painfully slow. In other words, it takes forever. 

If you archive files to offline storage, recordable Blu-ray (BD-R) discs are the best price-to-performance ratio and are far more reliable that their DVD equivalents (DVD-R). Still, just to be safe, you must make a backup of those discs (with a program such as Roxio Toast) and save that disc image to another type of storage medium (such as a hard drive) to another location

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Do you have a great Mac setup you want to share with OSXDaily? Take a few good pictures and answer some questions about how you use your workstation, and send it on in to

Not ready to share your workstation? That’s OK too, browse through other featured setups to get inspired and learn how others are using their Apple hardware!


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Posted by: OSXDaily in Mac Setups


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  1. Corey says:

    in your article you say

    “Cloud based backup services are certainly convenient, but I don’t use them for the following reasons; there’s ongoing monthly/yearly expense, there’s little or no guarantee of protection or privacy of those files online, and backing up to the cloud, regardless of your ISP bandwidth, is often painfully slow. In other words, it takes forever.”

    If your using crash plan the data is encrypted on your end in a 448-bit Blowfish key, the only data that they cloud is getting is the actual ones and zeros of your encryption. I use crash plan the cost for the home user is rather small.

    You are correct about your ISP if you don’t have a large upload connection then your hosed. I am lucky to have verizon fios where i live and my upload is 75mbs. I have about 6tbs of data stored in the cloud.

    • Stewart says:

      You are correct. There are several popular cloud-based backup services such as BackBlaze and CrashPlan that do encrypt your data, thereby ensuring privacy. In fact, CrashPlan will let you encrypt your data with an additional password (beyond the 448-bit Blowfish key before upload) that even their own administrators cannot access. Even the upload stream is encrypted during transmit!

      Still, upload speeds are slow no matter how fast your internet connection. Having recently used the aforementioned solution for a small business client myself, it took approximately 3 months, day and night, to send nearly 4TB of data to their servers. Though once complete, daily incremental backups were more than fast enough and rarely impacted other tasks on the host computer.

  2. Doriadra says:

    Very Nice and cosy setup.

    Where are those élégant bookshelves from?

    Love those desks too.

    • Stewart says:

      Thank you for the compliment. As for the the bookshelves, they were purchased from IKEA. However, I believe they are only now available in either black or white finishes.

  3. tt says:

    Why do you have a VHS player?

    • Stewart says:

      Good question. It’s actually a dubbing deck for digitizing old magnetic tape formats, in this instance VHS and DV, so that they can be restored and edited into a modern codec playable on a tablet device or the web. One of my hobbies is is the restoration of “memories” that are usually collecting dust in some basement somewhere, and allowing them to see the light of day once more.

  4. Ivan says:

    It’s just so… cozy <3


  5. Jimmy Jamm says:

    What wallpaper are u using??

  6. Shilo Watts says:

    What type of desk/tables are you use?

  7. Cleyton Joseph says:

    Love your Yamato Battleship, awesome setup! Now I gonna read all the article :)

    • Stewart says:

      Thanks! I actually bought that on a business trip to Japan (They have the best toys). Also, if you haven’t seen it, watch “Space Battleship Yamato 2199.” It’s a near remake of “Star Blazers” from the 1970’s in HD with far better animation.

  8. Sandro says:

    Is it possible to know the brand/model of the Whiteboard on the left wall?
    I like it :)

  9. dan says:

    I couldn’t find that exact poster, but the official Star Trek store has a lot of other really cool posters

  10. I want that Star Trek Voyager poster!

  11. Andy says:

    Wow this is an awesome office! I can’t even see the Mac Pro, it must be tucked behind the Dell 30″? For a moment there I thought the frosted glass bookshelves were server racks.

    And a fellow Voyager fan! LOVE the poster and models too, any lead on where we can find any of those?

    • Stewart says:

      Unfortunately, that Voyager poster was purchased many years ago from a company that’s no longer in operation. I’ve tried to find it myself on the web in the intervening years to no avail. Sorry.

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