ErgoDox EZ Users

Gerald Spreer

Software Developer / Freelancer
Gerald Spreer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Gerald Spreer and I live in Rothenburg, Germany, with my wife and son. I work as a Software Developer and I have been writing code for almost 30 years.

Nowadays, I am “on Rails”, and I do a lot of Angular/Typescript projects. I work exclusively from home, and besides enjoying time with my family, I play the piano, tinker with electronics, and like to work on cars. Recently, I got into mountain biking and I enjoy riding the many beautiful bike trails around here.


Rothenburg
Rothenburg

What hardware do you use?

office
Gerald's office setup

My main workhorse is a 27” iMac (Retina 5K, 32GB RAM). It delivers a lot of performance without breaking a sweat. I also have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro (15 Inch, 8GB RAM) in our living room. All of its fans were replaced a while back and I upgraded it to an SSD. It’s connected to a BENQ BL2410 monitor.

home
Gerald's home setup

When I do contract work, I sometimes need to use a computer provided by the customer. Those “guest” machines get hooked up to a BENQ PD2700Q monitor.

I bought my first ErgoDox EZ two years ago after I had been struggling with serious back problems. The split design allows me to keep my hands in a natural position, which in turn relieves tension in my back. I have not had any problems since I made the switch.

I use a Logitech MX Ergo Multi Device Trackball on all my machines and, in my office, I work at a standing desk. I carry an iPhone X that is always on silent and has notifications turned off.

When I need to focus, I put on my Bose GQ25 headphones — sometimes even without any music or sound.

And what software?

My development environment consists of iTerm2, tmux, and Neovim. I have used many different IDEs in my career, but after making the switch to “the terminal”, I never looked back. I use Slack for messaging, Chrome as my browser of choice, and Hammerspoon for automation tasks.

As far as Chrome plugins go, I use uBlock Origin and Vimium. I also use Ankii as my spaced repetition system.

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

I have two ErgoDox EZ’s:

  1. DSA profile, black, labeled keycaps, Cherry MX Brown switches.
  2. Hot swappable, black, sculpted keycaps, Kailh Gold switches.

ergodox_no_2
ErgoDox EZ No. 2

For my DSA model, I did order some blank keycaps from Signature Plastics. I used those to replace the labeled modifiers.

blank_modifiers
Blank modifiers on ErgoDox No. 1

I have a set of Oblotzky GMK Oblivion V2 keycaps incoming from Drop.com in October, and I can’t wait.

I use a custom layout which I have changed countless times. I do not use the graphical configurator but compile the QMK firmware myself. This way, I can keep everything under version control. At this time, I only use two layers: one for editing text, and the other layer for function keys, arrows, and various combinations of Alt-Left, Cmd-Backspace, etc. I also have a special modifier that helps me with German umlauts. In order to turn U into Ü, you have to press Alt-U U on a US keyboard. So, one of my modifier keys just does Alt-U with one keypress. I have the Umlaut-Modifier on both halves of the keyboard.

What would be your dream setup?

I am pretty much there. However, I am thinking about using a curved monitor, but I still need do some research on that. A small audio mixer would be nice so I could switch between speakers and headphones by just by pushing a button or a slider.

My layout is still based on QWERTY, but I will be moving to Colemak within the next couple of months. Many people are very happy with the Colemak layout and it makes a lot of sense to me.