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Nick Smerker

Nick Smerker
Traveling Consultant
Western Campuses

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Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Nick Smerker, and I’m a traveling Media Commons consultant based in Pittsburgh. I support video and audio project work at ten Penn State campuses (imagine a triangle between Erie, Harrisburg and Uniontown, and I cover all of the ones that fit inside – well, and Mont Alto – okay, this doesn’t quite work) and I also work with the Penn State Center in Pittsburgh.

My background is formally in instructional technology, where I’ve provided one-on-one, tailored assistance for faculty and students around a variety of digital learning endeavors. Informally, I’m a self-taught multi-hyphenate who loves combining photography, video, music and design in a lots of different settings, most often freelance web development.

What equipment do you use?

I live and die by my iPhone at this point, having externalized most of my scheduling into its calendar years ago. Honestly, I only have the vaguest sense of where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing most days without its constant reminders.

Like the rest of the Media Commons team, I’m MacBook Pro-based and have always been an Apple user as I find the operating system does a much better job of both getting out of my way and anticipating what I might do next. (Factoid: the Mac was “born” just 20 days after me in January 1984.) Given the nomadic nature of my job, I’m not too picky about the set up for my hardware, just as long as I have a relatively quiet spot to dig in to work tasks – and a strong cup of coffee.

When I travel outside of the day-to-day, I always take my Sony QX-100 lens-style camera with me to up the ante on iPhone shooting. I think it’s done a pretty good job over the last few years.

What apps are your favorite?

I spend most of my time these days in web-based apps like Google Docs, WordPress and similar. I wouldn’t have anticipated this years ago but I like the flexibility this provides as far as the where/when of work. Amongst traditional desktop applications, I’m often working in iMovie, even when I’m not teaching it (it does a good job with little overhead!) and the Photoshop/Illustrator portion of the Adobe suite. I miss having reasons to work in InDesign, though, as it was my favorite. I’m fairly Instagram and Tumblr obsessed on the mobile side. The blood of many hours killed are on the hands of those two…