Hi. My name is Jeff Smith. Welcome to punchingIN.

I started punchingIN because I wanted a place to share my thoughts about technology and design and keep it separate from my other writing on the web. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you find something here that makes you think, or laugh or both.

About Me

I am the founder of modernis_, a consultancy which I founded in 2008 and provides Product Design, Research and Strategy services to its clients. Our mantra is “No Crappy Products” and I particularly enjoy helping smaller tech firms figure out how to build amazing things. Prior to modernis_, I spent over 20 years at Microsoft working on a wide range of products.

I live just outside of Seattle and have the pasty complexion that comes from living 15 years in the dreary northwest. I’m originally from Canada, but I became an American citizen in 2010. I have been married to my wonderful wife for over 12 years and we have two children. I am a runner and log about 25-35 miles a week, almost all of it in the rain. I am an avid fan of Formula 1, drink far too much coffee and, based on most of my shots, feel embarrassed referring to myself as even an amateur photographer.


I currently have a 2008 Mac Pro as my primary computer. It is connected to Apple’s 27” LED Cinema Display, Wireless Keyboard, Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse. It’s configured with a 240Gb OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD as the boot drive and a a striped RAID array of two 2Tb Western Digital Caviar Black hard drives for data.

Backup is important to me, so I also have a second striped array of two Samsung 2Tb drives as an internal Time Machine, an external Western Digital Essentials drive I back up to with CrashPlan, an offsite backup to CrashPlan’s cloud-based servers, two portable drives (one Seagate, one Western Digital) that I image my SSD onto using SuperDuper, and an additional copy of my photo library on the Seagate drive. The whole setup is plugged into an APC uninterruptible power supply, as well. Like I said, backup is important.

I recently sold my faithful 13” MacBook Pro to a friend, replaced it with a 32Gb WiFi + 3G iPad, and in March of 2011 replaced that with a white 64Gb WiFi iPad. I used to use (and loved) the DODOCase, but now I am smitten with my new (punchingIN Orange) Smart Cover. I carry an extra Apple Wireless Keyboard with me to write longer pieces and the whole shebang gets tossed into the awesome Timbuk2 Freestyle Netbook Messenger bag before I head out the door.

I have an iPhone 4 that is on AT&T and I’m not planning on switching to Verizon right now. AT&T works pretty well here in the Seattle area, and when I travel, I find bitching about the AT&T service in my destination city a great way to meet people.

I use an Epson WorkForce 600 for what little printing I do, a Fujitsu ScanSnap 500M to scan every paper that crosses my desk and a Dymo LabelWriter 400 Turbo for postage.

I’m at my desk for hours on end every day, and depend on my Shure SRH840 headphones, connected through a nuForce uDAC-2 amplifier to keep myself entertained.


  • I store bills, receipts, my kid’s artwork and pretty much anything that will fit through my scanner in Evernote
  • Every document I write is in my Dropbox
  • I’ve tried them all, and prefer to track my tasks in OmniFocus
  • I use TextExpander, but not well
  • I write long documents on my Mac in Scrivener
  • I write on the iPad in Writer
  • Business finances get tracked in Xero
  • Personal finances get tracked in Quicken Essentials
  • I use Apple iWork for some documents, and Microsoft Office for some others. I believe that Excel may be one of the best pieces of software ever written.
  • Aperture is how I manage and process my digital photos
  • I stopped using the same password for everything when I installed 1Password
  • I also keep track of my books, DVDs and gadgets in Delicious Library, but I am not sure why
  • I wrangle the whole thing with the keyboard utility, Alfred

Most posts on punchingIN are written using either Writer or Writeroom. This site uses WordPress, is hosted on Media Temple and uses a modified version of the Ari theme. All coding and customization of the site is done using Coda. The fonts are provided by TypeKit. The punchingIN logo is set in Adelle Web by TypeTogether, while titles and body text are in Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson. Code snippets and monospaced text use Anonymous Pro, also by Mark Simonson.


I am forever trying out new online services. I try to use the username mynameistaken if it is not, uh, taken. Feel free to connect with me if you’re a user of any of these, as well.



Please see my contact page for the best way to reach me.