ErgoDox EZ Users

Mikael Myyrä

IT Student
Mikael Myyrä

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Mikael Myyrä, known online as (@)MoleTrooper, and I come from the Nordic paradise full of forests, lakes, and free education known as Finland.

At the moment I am a student about to finish off my bachelor’s degree in computer science. Alongside my studies I have spent some time working as a web developer. When I’m not studying I’m usually working on my custom game engine, drawing, or playing some stupidly difficult platformer.

What hardware do you use?

The heart of my home is a desktop computer which I built nearly ten years ago and have been upgrading bit by bit ever since.

Currently it runs Windows 10 and sports an AMD Ryzen 7 1700X processor with a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO cooler, a Gigabyte GeForce 1070 graphics card, an Asus Prime B350 motherboard, 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM, a Corsair RM750x power supply, a 240GB Kingston HyperX Fury SSD (mostly for the OS), and two (old, not sure about the models) 1TB HDDs for storage, all in a Sharkoon T28 case.

Setup
Setup

I also have a used Dell Latitude 6430 laptop with Arch Linux on it for when I need to leave the house, and a Raspberry Pi 3B+ that I mess around with from time to time.

More important than what’s in the box, though, is everything outside of it. I’ve spent so much of my life using a computer and experienced so many resulting health problems that I’ve ended up investing a lot into making my workspace as comfortable and healthy as possible. Perhaps most importantly, I have a SKARSTA sit/stand desk from Ikea. It’s the cheapest sit/stand desk you can get, and although it does not have an electric motor, it has served me well for several years and spared my back a lot of sitting-induced pain.

For when I want to sit down for a bit I have a saddle chair that helps me keep my back straight.

Then there’s my ErgoDox EZ of course (more on that later), along with a Kensington SlimBlade trackball, which have together eliminated almost all wrist pain I used to have. The SlimBlade is comfortable and fun to use, plus it has a wonderful “twist the ball to scroll” feature that I haven’t seen on other trackballs. A trackball is a little awkward for camera control in 3D games, so for those I keep my trusty Razer Deathadder around.

When I draw I use my cheap but reliable Wacom Intuos S or good old pen(cil) and paper.

I have two monitors, a 144hz BenQ XL2411Z and a really old BenQ G2250, which connect to my desk with a flexible dual monitor mount by InLine (with some extra metal to make sure the flimsy Ikea desktop doesn’t crack).

This thing is really fun for a home entertainment setup — it’s extremely easy to turn a monitor towards my sofa or tilt it down towards my beanbag chair for some relaxed gaming or videos. Behind my primary monitor is an LED strip that provides a nice soft yellow light for late nights when the ceiling lamp is too bright.

Whenever I’m at home chances are I’m either blasting power metal out of my Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II speakers or talking to some friends on Discord using my Blue Yeti microphone. Either way, this is a headphone-free household.

And finally, shoutout to my Oculus Rift CV1, a.k.a. Beat Saber machine, a.k.a. my daily workout. I love it. I keep telling myself I’ll make a game for it (that was my excuse to justify getting it in the first place) but I never do.

Oh, and sticky notes. I would forget half the things I need to do if I didn’t have sticky notes.

And what software?

I write my code in VSCode. I like to vary my color themes, but my favorites are Material theme Ocean and the built-in Solarized Dark. My current programming language of choice for most tasks — including games — is Rust, although I think the best way to put together a complete game or prototype is Unity. The Windows subsystem for Linux also occasionally comes in handy.

I use DisplayFusion to make my dual monitor setup a little bit nicer and pull a new wallpaper from my collection every few minutes. Rainmeter brings a little extra spice to my desktop in the form of some neat hardware performance graphs.

I draw with Clip Studio Paint. I’ve gone through a few alternatives (Krita is quite good if you’re looking for something free) and CSP is both the most feature-rich and the best performing program I’ve worked with.

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

keyboards

I have two ErgoDox EZs, a quiet one with Cherry MX Brown switches for the workplace and a loud one with Kailh Gold switches for home use. For my home board I have also installed some linear Kailh Silver switches for high-precision gaming - you can’t beat linear switches in platformers where milliseconds matter.

I’ve also cranked my debounce delay way down in the advanced settings; this helps a ton with really short taps. Both boards have the default blank keycaps, one black and one white, which I’ve swapped around a bit for a nice visual effect.

I tweak my layout a lot. My primary typing layout is Colemak, slightly modified to include a couple of Nordic characters. I try to get rid of anything that makes me move my whole hand instead of just a finger, which means doing a lot with my thumbs and heavy use of layers. My left pinky finger gives me arrow keys, home and end right where my right hand rests, along with some other convenient navigation options like tab switching and mouse wheel. My right pinky finger, on the other hand (pun intended), gives me a numpad on my right hand and all the most common programming symbols on my left (these look strange in the configurator because my computer uses the Nordic layout). I also have a QWERTY layer so I don’t have to rebind keys in games and one that puts the arrow keys where my linear switches are for platformers.

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly, I think I’m there. Maybe I just don’t know about some amazing stuff I don’t have, but there isn’t much I can think of that I’m missing. Some custom braided cables for my keyboards would be neat, an electric sit/stand desk would be a nice little convenience, and, well, I wouldn’t mind swapping my studio apartment for a tall house with big windows by a lake.