The people who use our boards.

Jon Arrien

Senior Developer at Whitebox

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

I’m Jon, a software engineer from Basque Country who likes coding, security, and productivity. My work involves many roles; frontend, iOS apps, backend, DevOps, testing, and compliance.

Outside of work, I like going out for a bike ride in nearby mountains. I switched to an e-bike recently and am having double fun…I built it myself. When all the fancy and expensive e-bikes were appearing, I didn’t want to change the one I already had, and this is where I spent most of the time during the first Covid confinement.

But there was one thing that concerned me. European regulation limits the power to 500W, but Spanish regulations limit one to 250W. That can be enough in flat cities, but not for my purposes, because I like riding long circular routes (around 50-120 km with a 2000-meter drop). I was not going to accept less power than an electric toothbrush, so I made sure to buy a motor that is powerful, but at the same time efficient (Cyc X1 Pro up to 5500W, depends on the battery).

Finally, I made a triangle box with aluminum and two carbon-fiber pieces cut to fit for the sides. I ordered best cells I could (Samsung E35) with 2000W BMS. When I went out first time, it exceeded all my expectations.

Jon Arrien's ebike build, part 1
Triangles awaiting purpose

Jon Arrien's ebike build, triangle box
The completed triangle box

I only use around 80-150W while pedalling to be honest, because I prefer to get the most range possible. It has a Bluetooth app to parameterise different modes and efficiency. But on the mountain, sometimes I change to EEUU (up to 1000W) or ludicrous mode (up to 2000W) to have some fun… 🚴🏽‍♂️🚀

lights for Jon Arrien's ebike build
So small, but so bright!

I also added front and rear lights. I discovered some powerful LEDs with 6500 lumens (Magicshine Monteer) that are awesome for winter. It gives as much light as a car, and you can really see everything on the mountain (300 m in front), no matter the speed or darkness. It’s expensive, but on the upside, I can have all the mountain for me at night.

Jon Arrien's ebike from the rear
Do not stare into the rear light

The end result is a powerful, but lightweight (around 22 kg), e-bike. Capable of going up any hill and bringing me home in case I break in the last kilometers 😆.

Jon Arrien's valley view
And what a view!

What hardware do you use?

I’ve finally switched to Apple silicon and I’m working with a Mac Studio M1 Max with 64GB unified memory. It’s amazing how efficient these chips are, and now I’m trying to measure all my devices.

For the display, I use a 27” Dell 4K monitor with an iPad Pro as secondary monitor connected through USB—very helpful for pair programming, documentation, etc.

Jon Arrien's setup
A clean and comfortable workspace

I use my Moonlander with sculpted keycaps as my main input device. I found the wings very comfortable in the beginning, but have since replaced them with small foam wrist supports (for my mouse).

I have a DuckyPad on my desk to trigger more complex macros, snippets, or passwords. It supports thirty-two layers, too (480 actions). I got some blank keycaps for it from ZSA, and it feels like a Moonlander add-on.

Jon Arrien's keyboard
A comfortable setup for minimal mouser

I found the Moonlander a bit bulky to bring around with the laptop. After getting used to columnar layout, I couldn’t use staggered keyboards anymore. ZSA doesn’t have a Mini MK-I or split Planck, so decided to build a Corne keyboard myself, reuse the old keycaps, and print a 3D case for it. It fits in my bag and does the job, but must say is not as comfortable as the Moonlander.

I’m mostly keyboard driven, and don’t use a mouse normally, but I like having a trackpad between both sides of the Moonlander, especially for gestures.

Jon Arrien's keyboard, lit up
Bright colors and loud sound

I use a standing desk from IKEA (Bekant model) with two VESA arms (Amazon Basics) to have more space and fewer cables on my desk. It’s very important for me to be able to adjust monitor’s position, especially when I change my seat position or need to rotate a monitor for docs.

And what software?

I’m a huge fan of text editors and I have been using many through my career (Vim, Sublime Text, Atom, Eclipse, etc.), but my preferred editors are Neovim and Visual Studio Code. I use VimR as a Neovim GUI in macOS. It allows me to use keymaps similar to those in VSCode.

Another app I could not live without is iTerm2. It’s the best terminal ever. I always have multiple projects opened at same time (using profiles and custom color schemes to distinguish critical ones). I can also connect to remote tmux sessions and recover previous sessions on different projects/servers.

Among other apps, I also use Xcode , Things, Bear, Hammerspoon, Alfred, Docker, Fork, Slack, etc.

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

I’ve been using Apple’s keyboards with ANSI layout a long time, I just couldn’t deal with the Spanish one. Shortcuts in macOS and other apps are easier to type in this layout, in my opinion. I’m also sticking to QWERTY for now.

I had to replace the original keycaps because my fingers couldn’t distinguish the rows very well. But using the sculpted keycaps, I really enjoy each keystroke and find it very comfortable for everyday use.

I ordered the Moonlander with Kailh Boxed Brown switches (Tactile) and must say I’m very, very pleased with them. They have quite a loud tactile sound, and nearby people probably are not thinking the same way 😅

What would be your dream setup?

I’m very pleased with my current setup, but in the new near future, I’m looking forward to get a better and bigger retina display.

From keyboard side, I’m really pleased. Don’t think I will ever change again, but I’m sure I’ll continue evolving my layout or getting deeper into QMK. Happy trails to everyone!

Jon Arrien's trail view
Happy trails to you, Jon!

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