Donovan Sears starts his backup before we start talking. Methodical, fastidious, usually pretty cagey, Donovan is relaxed and in good humor this afternoon. His neighbor, Luke, keeps peeping over to see what’s going on. We ignore him. Donovan sets aside his jelly jar of Dr. Pepper and braces himself for the 5 question interview.
Donovan: Just 5 questions right?
CM: Right. OK, what’s your favorite website?
Donovan: Oh God…(sighs)…I’ll have to go with John Nack’s blog.
CM: John Nack?
Donovan: He’s from Adobe. He writes about Photoshop and inDesign.
CM: OK. Why?
Donovan: Oh, there’s lots of cool stuff on there. He’s real off the wall sometimes and it all relates to our field. It’s nice to look at. (He pulls up the site) See? It’s orange (Laughs and points to his orange sweater).
CM: Right. OK, Bottom or on the side? Where do you prefer your dock?
Donovan: Bottom. Definitely the bottom. I’m a bottom feeder. I used to have it on the side when I had an iMac, but now that I’ve got the big screen… I grew out of that phase.
CM: Did you know you could have the dock on the top? Ashley had never heard of it.
Donovan: No, I never heard of that. Is that some kind of utility?
CM: No, it’s a hack.
CM: I’ve noticed you keep your desktop unnaturally clean. Why is that?
Donovan: Clutter does not help me work. And I read that the computer runs faster without a bunch of stuff saved to your desktop.
Luke: I am the complete opposite. My desktop is completely saturated with crap.
CM: (ignoring Luke) You don’t even have your hard drive on the desktop. How’d you do that?
Donovan: It’s in the Finder preferences. Right there, see? (Pulls up Finder Preferences).
CM: Well, there you go. I’ve learned something new today. OK, which dock icon do you click on the most?
Donovan: Probably Camino. Do you know what Camino is?
CM: Yeah, I know what it is.
Donovan: I should pick something more obscure, something weird. Like Automator. Put Automator. I like Robots.
CM: (laughing) What IS automator?
Donovan: It automates things. It’s a visual way to tell the computer to write a script. But you know, every time I try to use it, I can never make this sumbitch work like Steve Jobs does in his presentations.
CM: So you have it in your dock, but you don’t know how to use it?
Donovan: I don’t use it. I just click it (laughs). See, it makes the robot jump.
CM: All right. Do you have a profile on MySpace, LinkedIn, or Plaxo, etc.?
Donovan: MySpace, Plaxo and Facebook. I just set up my Facebook page last night.
CM: Which do you use the most?
Donovan: Well, I need to get into Plaxo more, for the business networking, and I just set up Facebook, so I’ll have to go with MySpace. I just check it to see if there’s someone new I haven’t talked to in years.
CM: Yeah, I just had someone get in touch with me that I shared a cubicle with about 13 years ago.
Donovan: It’s like having your own page in the phone book. I also use it to check out local bands. It’s like an RSS feed for local music.
CM: Hmm. OK, last question. What’s your problem?
Luke: He’s a d***.
Donovan: (ignoring Luke) Let’s see. What’s my problem? Do I have a problem? I guess my only problem is that I don’t yet have a giant log cabin in the woods. (laughs) I don’t really have a problem.
CM: You want a log cabin? I assume you’re not talking about the syrup.
Donovan: (laughs) No. I want a giant log cabin by a lake. Not a little shack, a big shack.
CM: You got a place picked out?
Donovan: No. Not yet.
And we begin gathering our things, both lost in thought, both continuing to ignore Luke.
In the 1920s, a company called Burma Shave — producers of brushless shaving cream — started putting signs up that delighted and educated drivers. These