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I’m Ewen, a math student in a master’s degree program. As I take correspondence courses, I have a lot of free time. I spend a lot of time coding but am not paid for that — it’s mostly personal projects with games or optimization (in order to save time in the long term). I’m also interested in something that looks like origami using long paper ribbons instead of a square, and I published some videos explaining my ideas about it. It’s not exhaustive; I still have a lot to post. I also create some puzzles (here is an example) and board games, and will probably post some of them here. I also try to listen to audiobooks or watch movies while I’m working, often accelerated with Video Speed Controller or MPV.
Here are a few of the games I’ve created:
My main computer is an MSI GP62 with an Nvidia GTX950M GPU and an Intel I5 CPU. Now, I use only one screen but I usually split it into two or more. I have a second and less powerful HP Pavilion but with the same software config.
Since I have an ErgoDox EZ Keyboard, I use it most of time — more than 95% for typing/coding/shortcuts and 80% for mouse tasks. I have the tilt/tent kit, and I find it useful not only while I’m typing but, for example, when I put both parts in the same small box if I need to go somewhere else. Sometimes I type without them. I have Kailh Silver (linear) switches.
I also sometimes use a Roccat Kiro mouse because it has 5 extra keys, can be customized, and is symmetrical, which is necessary/non-negotiable because I’m left-handed. I also switched the two main buttons (left/right) for the same reason.
I also use a Bookeen Cybook Muse e-reader quite often to read when I don’t have my computer with me or while I’m doing something else on my computer. I can use either the touchscreen or keys to turn pages. I often prefer keys, and I like when I have choices. It has 1 month of battery life — actually, “1 month” means “15 hours” (one month if you use it 1/2 hour a day), but it’s the same for all e-readers.
Since I almost always use my ErgoDox EZ keyboard with the ZÉPY layout (something I created, a modified BÉPO layout), I at least had to move some i3wm shortcuts. I also changed my i3blocks bar. From left to right: virtual desktop (red = focused), several indicators for CPU, RAM, etc., colored white/black when values are too high, NumLock/CapsLock indicator, date, some software icons.
I3wm is a “tiling window manager”, so if I use one application or more, I never see the background/wallpaper — so my wallpaper is monochrome — and I never see half a window. It’s modal: I can define some modes (a bit like Vim, but here I can easily define how many there are) with different keyboard shortcuts for each of them.
My main activity when I’m not studying is programming. I don’t use a true IDE but a separate text editor, NeoVim. It’s like Vim for shortcuts, and they can share the same config file and compiler (like GCC). (Neo)Vim can look like a true IDE if used with some plugins. The ones I use the most are UltiSnips (snippets; increases my code typing speed), Deoplete.nvim (completion; also increase my typing speed, but not in the same way), Vim Airline (better status bar), and Vim-Easymotion (jump to any word with a few keys).
I use the terminal a lot: GNOME Terminal (any terminal that allows zooming is good for me) and Guake, with Zsh shell and Oh-My-Zsh, which is like Bash but with better keyboard shortcuts, themes, and plugins. I use a few plugins: zsh-syntax-highlighting, zsh-autosuggestions, Z (to change directory faster than with cd), and Git.
I also use tmux to have several open tabs and the ability to split the window of every terminal.
I often try to make the keyboard and mouse act almost the same way in several applications, because I want to be able to do most of my tasks using the keyboard only, without excluding the mouse or making it harder to use than before. For example, in (Neo)Vim, I remapped some keys to
kzz (to go up/down and move the cursor to the middle of the screen; I rarely need two separate shortcuts for “move cursor” and “move text on screen”). With i3wm, I don’t use the mouse a lot, but when I focus on a different window, I want my mouse to follow.
When I want to listen to audio, music or otherwise, on YouTube, I prefer to do it outside of YouTube and use youtube-dl for downloads or youtube-viewer with MPV if I simply want to watch/listen to them.
I also use CopyQ in order to remember what I copied (whether pasted or not) when it’s more than one item.
For standard web browsing, I mostly use Chromium, but sometimes Vivaldi, Firefox, or Tor, all with some extensions: Ublock Origin (to avoid ads), Dark Reader (enables dark mode on almost every website; I have dark mode enabled for other aps, too), and Video Speed Controller (for when people in videos and movies speak too slowly for me, which is always). My favorite web search engine is DuckDuckGo.
I learned BÉPO, an ergonomic layout for French, a bit less than one year ago, and my typing speed increased by ≃15% in 2.5 months. That was before I brought my ErgoDox EZ keyboard. By then, I’d already changed a few things from standard BÉPO. For instance, I don’t like to type with only 9 fingers (i.e., the two thumbs share one key: the spacebar), so I decided that the keys above the spacebar (V, B, N, M in QWERTY) are for the thumbs, too, and had to move some other keys around. These keys were AltGr (right alt for more symbols in some layouts; I use it for the arrow keys, too), Shift, Super (I use it for i3wm shortcuts), and something I call “ControlGr” — used on very few keyboards and sends “ISO_Level5_Shift” with the right control key — because I didn’t have enough letters with AltGr.
But that still wasn’t enough:
That’s why I now use an ErgoDox EZ. I didn’t really customize the keycaps — I simply switched some keys — but I built something to bind both parts together using Velcro, so I can choose the position of each part and it will not move while I’m typing. I don’t have the Wing wrist rest, so I built my own. I also changed a lot of things in my layout again, even after BÉPO, because BÉPO is optimized for conventional keyboards.
My layout and configuration changes:
!?-:"()=<>), and I can always directly access
.,/'even if I have digits on the top row, so I decided that the NumLock key could be used to switch between those two modes.
How I personalized my ErgoDox EZ:
My typing speed increased again. It was up ≃25% after 5 months, including the first few months with BÉPO, and a bit more now — probably 35%.
I’ve already spent lots of time customizing most of the tools I use daily, so I almost have my “dream setup”, with a few exceptions: