ErgoDox EZ Users

Garrett Dimon

Designer/Software Developer and Author
Garrett Dimon

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Garrett, and I’m a sort of hybrid designer/developer focused on Ruby. In a previous life, I designed, built, and eventually sold a bug and issue tracker called Sifter. I also wrote a book about the operational side of building and running a SaaS application as a sole founder called Starting & Sustaining. (It’s free to read on the web.) These days, I’m splitting my time between Ruby on Rails consulting and starting a site to help other amputees become more active.

Outside of work, I spend as much time as possible outdoors. We live in the mountains of Colorado, so on any given day that could be hiking, camping, mountain biking, snowboarding, or a variety of other activities. Staying active as an amputee has been challenging and really helped us think more about how to help other amputees with the logistics of staying active despite missing limbs.

What hardware do you use?

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Garrett's hardware setup

A 2017 15” MacBook Pro runs the show, but it will be replaced as soon as Apple upgrades their laptop keyboards. Fortunately, the keyboard on the laptop doesn’t matter with the ErgoDox EZ. The laptop is flanked by two 27” LG UltraFine 4k displays.

All of that is mounted on a GeekDesk Max with casters and a set of Jarvis Fully arms to keep things off the desk. Having a desk on casters is huge for redoing wires and keeping clutter under the desk instead of on it. (Yes, it does stay as clean as it is in the picture. With the exception of a beverage or some dot grid paper, it stays pretty clutter-free.)

Flanking the desk, there are a couple of HomePods stereo paired for music. Despite their limitations, being wireless helps reduce desk clutter. And there’s a pair of Beats Studio 3 for video calls, podcasting, or audio editing.

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Garrett's hardware setup

There’s a Heil PR-40 mounted to the desk and accompanied by a DBX 286 Preamp/Processor and a Focusrite Scarlett Solo for podcasting. It’s all mounted under desk to keep things off the desktop, and it all runs through a Furman surge protector mounted under the desk as well. It helps keep all the wires nice and tidy and out of the way with just a single plug from the desk to the wall.

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Hardware mounted under the desk
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Hardware mounted under the desk

I’ve tried to use more ergonomic mice, but I keep coming back to the Apple Magic Mouse. It’s been the most comfortable and natural mouse for me. I alternate between sitting in an Aeron and standing. I’ve found that mixing it up works best for me so I’m never in the same position too long.

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Keyboard half and mouse

A Gather keeps analog tools like pens and pencils organized, and there are always some Field Notes and a Baron Fig Mastermind Week Pad right in front of me to help stay organized. And I keep a rearview mirror because my family likes to sneak up on me while I’m deep in concentration. I have a few writing utensils, but lately, I’ve been loving my Grovemade Pen and stand for most of my daily work.

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Digital and analog tools

For the last 10 years, I’ve had an officemate named Mack. (Inspired by the computer, of course.) He’s a Shih Tzu and kind of does what he wants but helps mitigate the loneliness of working from home.

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Mack

And what software?

I’ve explored quite a few programming languages and frameworks, but Ruby and Rails have always been the most enjoyable. Pairing those with good old web standards has been the most productive combination for me.

All the code is written in Sublime Text 3, and version control is managed through Sublime Merge. It’s felt like the best balance of customizability and advanced features with just enough interface to make it friendly.

iTerm2 handles everything command-line, and Safari and Firefox both play their roles in browsing and web development work. It’s all rounded out with OmniFocus and 1Password.

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

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Garrett's keyboard

It’s a black ErgoDox EZ Glow with Cherry MX Brown switches. The setup is fairly standard but slightly tweaked with some convenience keys for programming in Ruby. It has blank keycaps, but vertical columns of lights (using colors from my syntax highlighting theme) helped adjust to the ortholinear layout so I could look down and know which finger I should be using for a given key. I’m more comfortable with the ortholinear layout now, but I still leave the lights on most of the time.

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Vertical columns of lights

I added a mouse layer and a numpad layer, but I haven’t quite indoctrinated myself to using those consistently yet. The three layers are the desktop backgrounds on the displays so that I can quickly check something if I’m unsure. That definitely helped with learning, but now I don’t use it as much. If/when I make time to switch to Colemak, I’m sure that approach will come in handy again.

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Keyboard layers as wallpaper

What would be your dream setup?

After 20 years of fine-tuning, I think I’m there. I wouldn’t complain if one of the new Mac Pros with a couple of those new Pro Displays magically showed up, but that’s really overkill for what I do.