The people who use our boards.256 interviews since 2018
The people who use our boards.
Christine SeemanSenior Software Engineer
Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?
I am Christine Seeman, a senior software engineer working at WP Engine on their Identity team. I work with anything in the customer authorization and authentication domain, which is a technical space that is always evolving. I am a full stack engineer, focused primarily on Ruby, and the second focus currently seems like YAML (anyone having to work with CI/CD will understand).
Outside of work, I play the viola with a local Omaha (Nebraska, USA) community orchestra, and I am president of the orchestra board. I am a crazy cat person with three cats at home (two brown tabbies, Jake and Elwood, and one orange tabby, Mango), one human kiddo (Hazel), and my husband (John). So a pretty full house! I love, love, love to read, mostly science fiction or fantasy, and whatever my Ruby (WNB.rb) meetup book club reads. Currently, we are reading as a group Algorithms Illuminated by Tim Roughgarden, so I am trying to re-remember a lot of math that I promptly forgot once I graduated college. I also love to try to do handstands (I fail a lot), work on the primary Ashtanga yoga series, and get overly invested in the Great British Bake Off.
What hardware do you use?
Professionally I use a MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with an LG UltraFine 5k 27” monitor with a black ErgoDox EZ Glow keyboard. I am one of those odd technical people who prefers just one monitor. I understand needing more screen space, but it hurts my neck, thinking about staring off in those weird angles. Personally, I am even more boring and use a Mac mini M2 with an old HP monitor. I just need it for The Sims and my extensive ebook library. 😁
And what software?
I keep Alacritty (+tmux) up all day for my terminal needs. I try to Vim (Neovim) but still reach for a full-blown IDE, which is RubyMine. I program a lot in Ruby and in React, Typescript, and Go sometimes. For communication, I am in either Slack or on a Zoom call. My team loves to do group programming on a lot of our work, so we have gotten adept at handing off the keyboard to whoever handles the physical programming part. This gives me a first-hand view of all my teammate’s developer environments. My teammates know a vast amount about Vim and showed me what I was missing by not using it. Over the past few years, I have gotten more comfortable using my keyboard to navigate and work in a terminal and emulator. However, I still find ways of getting into trouble (I am looking at you, Tmux configuration). I couldn’t handle as many passwords and usernames as I need in my work without 1Password.
What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?
On my ErgoDox EZ, I started with a Natural Mac layout and then tweaked some of the keys to take advantage of the tap dance functionality. I am particularly fond of my Screen+ button; it allows me to easily highlight a specific part of the screen to screenshot, then keep it in my copy buffer or save it to file. As a software engineer, I am trying to share what I see on a UI constantly or output from a CLI command. It is amazing how many screenshots you take and share in a day, so having one key to control that is helpful. Also, I do have a key devoted to just for hacking, aka F12 😉
I mostly use the keycaps that came with the ErgoDox EZ, but I recently put some HyperX Pudding Keycaps (Double Shot PBT) onto my letter keys and top row numbers. I really enjoy how much of the keyboard’s glow you can see through them, and I needed to know which number had which symbol when I used the Shift key. To show off the new keycaps, I switched over to some neon Synthwave-inspired colors, having the keys different colors per row.
What would be your dream setup?
I would love to move to a sit-stand desk, and, frankly, have some southern exposure to bring more plants into my room. My current view out my window is my neighbors’ air conditioning and DirecTV antenna, so something more scenic to see would be amazing. Besides that, I have been working from home for a while now, and I have figured out many other ergonomics that you overlook until you use your home office full time. In future Ergodox EZs, I would love to see more glow keys, but the pudding keycaps help the light shine through with my current setup.
I try hard to disconnect from work at the end of the day, so much of what I do personally does not occur on a computer. So over time, I have actually started caring less about what hardware I use or own. To me, as long as my development environment is running fast, can boot up any software I need, and my shoulders and wrists don’t hurt at the end of the workday, I am happy.
Portrait of Christine Seeman by Kimberly Dovi Photography