ErgoDox EZ Users

Cassaundra Travaille

Senior Software Engineer @ Walmart
Cassaundra Travaille

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Cassaundra Travaille and I am a Senior Software Engineer at Walmart in the Information Security department. I work on a team of people who are responsible for keeping unapproved data from leaving our network. My day-to-day consists of enhancing a web application to highlight anomalous user behavior.

Outside of work, I have so many hobbies. I do road biking, woodworking, whittling, macramé, leather carving, Lego building (does this count??), container gardening, tabletop board games, role playing games, video games, miniature painting, designing a personal website that I’ll never finish, and researching new hobbies like aquascaping. I just like hanging out with friends and doing creative things. The issue is which interest I take the time to pursue that day. I try to limit my screen time when home, but it’s difficult when things like Animal Crossing come out. My partner shares a lot of the same interests as me so she puts up with my shenanigans and joins in.

What hardware do you use?

Home setup:

hardware_home

I came across a really good deal on this monitor. Previously I was using a small Samsung TV as my computer monitor. Relative to that, I have zero complaints with this device. I like the little circular stand because it allows me to throw my keyboard there whenever I’m at the “desk” not using the computer. However, I’ll be honest and admit I’ve not got enough experience with monitors to put it above any other. But I’ve had this for over a year and it works for me.

For “Baby’s First Gamer™ Desktop”, this is a great setup. If you can’t connect directly via ethernet, I would suggest upgrading to a wi-fi card. The setup comes with a USB dongle, but it was not doing the trick a floor away from the modem. Oh, also, immediately recycle the keyboard/mouse.

Needing to replace my keyboard and mouse, I went for Razer. There’s something special about a gamer aesthetic and I just had to have it when purchasing my first setup. Went for the Razer Naga for the mouse because of the buttons on the side. I’ve got tiny girl hands and reaching for the number row is just not happening. For the keyboard, I went with the Cynosa Chroma instead of the BlackWidow because I liked the feedback on the keys better and more lights. My opinion is that the mechanical switches on the BlackWidow are annoying. If you feel the same about clicky switches then the Cynosa has a good quiet BUMP.

desk_home

Work setup:

I’ve got a Dell Desktop, 4 Dell monitors (U2718Q 61-cm). I’ve also got a MacBook Pro for on-the-go work. I use a lot of monitors because I’m a hot mess and don’t focus on one thing at a time and don’t like tabbing through all of the applications I have open.

I love the monitors, and my machines are more than capable of me having all my applications working, but I’m not doing major rendering or video/graphical editing.

My mouse is an ergonomic wireless mouse for small hands. I love it. I cannot recommend this enough for people with small hands. Other ergonomic mice that I have tried have been too tall or make me have my fingers straightened out. For those that have not yet switched to an ergonomic mouse, it really makes a difference in your quality of life. Spend the $20, bring it to work, and change your life.

desk_work

The keyboard — the moment you’ve all been waiting for. I’ve got the ErgoDox EZ black, Cherry MX Clear switches, with the Shine component.

The Good:

Everything I don’t like about this keyboard can be replaced; it’s a matter of money and motivation. Use of this keyboard has greatly improved my posture, neck and shoulder tightness, and lower back pain. I can’t put a price on the improvement in the way I feel. As a woman with a large chest, a regular keyboard can really have you cramped and hunched. I really like the thumb placements and the orthogonal layout.

The Bad:

Since I wanted to bring this into work, I went for black to match the rest of my setup. This was a mistake. Dust is everywhere always, even when wiped down every day. This might just be a me problem, but still keep in mind if keeping in a shared space.

I’m not a fan of these keyswitches. They are advertised as having a firm tactical bump, but I get more BUMP from my Razer Cynosa. The second problem with the switches is on the upstroke the springs make a “ting” sound when the keys go back to resting position. I’m not sure if use will fix this, but it’s noticeable in the office and feels cheap. I will be making the effort to change these out and buying a switch test kit since I have not been impressed with Cherry MX Clear.

The Funny:

Your coworkers’ reactions.

And what software?

On my team, we’re a .NET shop, so I’ve got Visual Studio, SSMS, and Azure Data Factory on Mac. I’ve got Docker on the Mac to also set up a SQL server in a Linux container.

For git, I always use Sourcetree to visualize my source control. I know some people are command line purists, but we don’t have to live like that anymore.

For communication software, I use a mix of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. Something that Slack does really well is connect people based on topics. So if I’ve got a question about React, then there’s a channel for that. Teams is great for collaborating on a project and chatting with your team. And Zoom does video conferencing really well.

I use Photoshop and XD now for any of my design needs. I used to use Sketch, but it got in the way being a Mac-only product.

All my notes are in OneNote. This interview was typed out in OneNote. I love it.

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

keyboard-mouse_work

Currently, I have the default setup. Since I took this keyboard to the office, reconfiguring on a corporate device is a no-go. However, I want to make a couple of changes that would make it easier for me to program.

  • New layer where [ is I, ] is O, { is K, } is L, ( is <, and ) is >

    • Parenthesis, brackets, and braces are common when programming
  • Change lights per layer of keyboard

    • I get lost
  • Change the Page Down key to the Escape Key

    • Often when I program, there are suggestions that pop up that I just want to escape

What would be your dream setup?

In my dream setup, I can move from my standing desk in my office to the living room on the couch while I hang out with the family. I really like the flexibility of the Switch; let’s bring that to PC gaming. I don’t think there’s a great solution for me yet, but here’s what I’ve got: