ErgoDox EZ Users

Nick Brekalo

Designer & Builder
Nick Brekalo

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Nick, a software engineer from Perth, Australia.

I have been coding full-time for over 10 years on accounting software, but have also spent the last eight years building websites using Django, Ruby on Rails, Backbone JS, and finally, React.

What hardware do you use?

I use a MacBook Pro hooked up to a Jabra external speaker, Asus 27” monitor, Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT headphones, and of course, my Ergodox EZ keyboard. I have been using mechanical keyboards for as long as they have been around. The latest was the Razer Ornata Chroma.

To avoid RSI (Repetitive strain injury), I have used lots of software packages to try and use my pinkie fingers less, and all my other fingers more. In Windows I used AutoHotkey, and in macOS I used Keyboard Maestro. These programs can really improve your workflow when you have a few things that are done constantly throughout the day, like opening the default email program, inserting a comment with the current date and your name, committing changes to source control, opening the browser and going to a certain web page, etc.

However, there are issues with software, like changing between operating systems and having shortcuts that overlap with keys already used by certain applications. The ErgoDox EZ solved all the keyboard issues I have ever had, and even issues I didn’t know I had. Having the keyboard as two pieces which can be easily adapted is not to be underestimated!

Setup

And what software?

Emacs, Spotify, Chrome, iTerm2, LastPass.

The ErgoDox EZ is a dream with Emacs (especially spacemacs). It’s also great to go between operating systems when I need to, with the same keyboard shortcuts working everywhere!

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

I got the printed caps, with the rests, stands, and lights. The first month of owning the keyboard saw about 30 iterations of changes, all inspired from amazing examples online. It’s a constant work in progress, but I can continually see improvements in my day to day work on the computer.

Moving all the arrow keys to my right hand has really worked well for me. The arrows in one hand and shift on the other makes selecting text really easy when coding.

Having control, alt, space, and tab on the thumbs has been an amazing change too. Ctrl/alt+tab, ctrl+x, ctrl+c, and ctrl+v require a lot less effort which means I don’t lose my thought pattern when running these commands.

What would be your dream setup?

Bigger screen. Bigger speakers. More RAM. Everything bigger and better, except my ErgoDox EZ. It’s already perfect!