ErgoDox EZ Users

Jer Lance


Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

I am Jer Lance, director of engineering for Quicken Loans overseeing document technologies. I’ve also been a software developer for the better part of 25 years, so I still play with projects in C/C++, PHP, Python, Perl, Javascript, or whatever else seems fun to use. I’m also the more easily distracted half of Leading Questions Podcast, where my co-host Dawn and I answer questions about leadership, knowledge work, and just generally existing as a technologist. When I’m not sitting in front of a computer (which is less and less of the time, my growing waistline protests) I love to camp, kayak, and bicycle. When the weather doesn’t allow for those, I’m a voracious reader and a novice carpenter.

Jer Lance's setup
Tablet and keyboard ready to move at a moment's notice

What hardware do you use?

Most of what I do is portable and I hate carrying things, so the devices that I use the most are probably my Pixel 4 XL or my Pixel Slate i7. Both are incredibly powerful little devices that—with the addition of a simple USB-C adapter—connect to one of my ErgoDox EZ Glow keyboards. The complete package fits in a pretty small shoulder bag, so I can travel light.

Jer Lance's portable workspace
Tablet and keyboard stowed for travel

When I’m in need of a bit more computational “oomph” than my tablet can muster, I have a gaming rig that I work from and tinker on. It’s currently running a Ryzen 9 3900X with 64G of RAM, installed on an MSI MEG X570 Unify board with 1TB of NVMe SSD for my system install, a 4TB SSD for mass storage, and a GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER driving two Asus 27” HD displays (no 4K for me…yet). I try to keep my hands on the keyboard, but when I need to move a pointer around, I use a Razer Naga Trinity so I can switch cleanly between simple two thumb-button and full-on MMO-style mouse controls. That, and it displays pretty colors. The pretty color factor cannot be overstated as a decision-making factor. When I’m working, I tend to block out the world with some Astro A50 wireless gaming headphones, which sound fantastic and have a great boom mic for conference calls and pairing sessions.

Jer Lance's gaming rig
A powerful gaming rig does the heavy lifting

My workspace is an L-shaped Autonomous standing/sitting convertible desk. When I’m sitting, I’m planted firmly on an Autonomous Kinn chair, and when I’m standing, my feet are cushioned by a Ergodriven Topo comfort mat, which I can’t recommend enough.

And what software?

Now that I’m not coding for my day job, the software stack has become much more boring. I spend most of my day in Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and my web browser (Firefox). For software architecture work, I live in ArchiMate and Visio. OneNote is never closed on any of my systems, nor are Slack, Discord, or Teams. When I do get a chance to tool around on some software, I am most comfortable working in a Linux environment running either Vim or Sublime Text, although lately I’ve been playing with VS Code a little bit. On my tablet, that means running Crostini, and on my gaming rig, it means running the Windows Subsystem for Linux. I also maintain a cloud-based dev box that I can remote into from my phone or tablet. SoapUI, Postman, and Kraken round out my dev stack.

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

I’m running the ErgoDox EZ Glow with the solidly clicky Cherry Blues so that everyone around me will know when I’m typing! Because I’m still getting used to the ortholinear layout and the heavy use of the thumb cluster, I didn’t heavily modify the stock setup of my keyboard. The main customizations I made were setting up a single key that jumps me left and right one workspace, adding a layer that gives me quick access to a number pad, and adding a mouse layer so that I can do as much as possible without my hands leaving the keyboard. Originally, I was going to replace the caps that came with the Glow, but I’m glad I waited. These keys feel really nice, and I love the amount of recess they have. I’m sure I’ll replace them at some point, but for now, I have no reason to change!

What would be your dream setup?

Jer Lance's phone setup
A phone makes the tiniest portable computer

My goal is to spend far less time at my desk, so I would love to go even smaller; a wireless adapter to connect my keyboard to my phone via Bluetooth and a mini projector or Google Glass-style HUD so that I can just pull out my keyboard halves and get the full typing experience wherever I am. For the near term, I am working on designing a slim cover for my Glow so that I can 3D print something to protect it when it’s in my bag so that I can have the things I need with me on the go! My desktop dream setup is pretty much what I’m running now. Perhaps several more displays in a power-sucking and completely gratuitous wall-of-monitors, but, aside from that…I’m living the dream.