My Setup

The Setup is an awesome blog that posts of interviews with nerdy people that ask the same four questions:

  1. Who are you, and what do you do?
  2. What hardware are you using?
  3. And what software?
  4. What would be your dream setup?

I really care about my setup so I am excited, and honored, that they just posted an interview with me!

I answer questions about my setup often so I tried to be comprehensive with the hope that I will be able to point people to it in the future.

Update: I wrote this several years ago. If you’re interested, I’ve been keeping a ChangeLog of things I’ve added, changed, or removed from my setup.

10 Replies to “My Setup”

  1. Hey, thanks for informing me about “The Setup”. I like it! Especially since I am in the market for a new laptop, and you are the only one on there thus far that doesn’t have a 13″ Macbook Air :) I have gone from the wm that rhymes with gonad, to Awesome, and now DWM. Checking out MonsterWM as a possible change, but DWM is really nice. I don’t have any Gtk or Qt dependencies, which makes it insanely fast, even on the weakest of hardware. Dual monitor support is good too. I love that there are no config files and you just make changes in C, build & install. On my Debian/Ubuntu boxes, I just maintain a package in a local repo and can easily update between all of the machines.

  2. Benjamin,

    Unicomp is a company in Kentucky USA that makes keyboards like old Model M, with buckling springs and even integrated trackpoint. They are updated with USB cables, and can have alternate hardware layouts such as Dvorak. I bought one that I am typing this with, very satisfied. It’s like the good from the old era, but still in production. This link should take you to a page with Model M style keyboards with integrated trackpoint pointer:

  3. Instead of emacsclient || vim, you could use emacsclient –alternate-editor=vim. Or –alternate-editor=” to start an Emacs daemon (“emacsclient -a ” -e nil &” is a useful command for a login script).

    You might want to try cmus as a music player, if you haven’t already. You can control it from the command line, over a Unix-domain socket, with the cmus-remote utility. (cmus requires a terminal, but I just run it under dtach -n.)

  4. Did you ever figure out how to get a lenovo w/o windows?  I’m looking (might get an X series or an untrabook soon), but can’t seem to find a way…

  5. I really loved reading your Setup.  I subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading what you are up to.

    I am a Windows guy with a Linux heart.  When you talked about feeling the pain of incompatibility in your field working with other users less sensitive to your ideal way of working, I felt it.  I can’t make that kind of compromise so I do it in little ways like staying completely tight to Windows XP and registry editing the crap out of it to make it as little in my way as possible.

    I also hate the “swindle” of widescreen.  I’m typing this on an X41 retrofit with a IDE SSD drive which allow me to sleep it and come back up in about 5 seconds.  Who needs a tablet when you can have one of these bad boys?  I don’t ever compute on my PC, always server side, so this is plenty of computer for me (yes, the fan gets loud, but it sounds pleasant).  You can get X41s for so cheap now, you might as well by 5 of them, get SSDs for all of them and place em all around your house/apartment/work.

    I am a Perl guy, but looking forward to messing with D.  I am also a vim guy who has never touched Emacs and I’m just happy as a clam there.  I’m not the power user you are.

    Thank you!


  6. Nice article. You can add [screens you can read in sunlight]( to your wishlist along with more vertical space for your next laptop.

    More seriously, how have you been using debian unstable on a thinkpad so long? I’ve been using it a few years on mine, and every so often get stability problems or upgrade issues which either just take up too much time or irritate me a lot, enough that I’m currently trialling openSUSE. You not have the same?

  7. Great interview, lots of useful info – I have actually never heard of soma fm, I am listening to Digitalis right now – its an awesome station very calming.

    – Lev

  8. Came here from The Setup.

    It’s very refreshing to read an interview where the person being interviewed is not using a 13″ MacBook Air.

    Your interview was published on Apr 11, 2012 and some months have passed, has anything changed in your setup? Do you still use Awesome?

  9. Three things have changed.

    The first is that I’ve purchased one of those keyboards that one of the commenters above suggested. It’s much like my old keyboard but with “Windows” keys. It’s great.

    The second is that I’ve switched to a standing desk — with an optional tall folding chair that I can pull up.

    The third is that I’m trying out RedShift (gtk-redshift) to reduce some eye strain. I’m not sold on it and am not sure I will keep it long term, but it seems pretty decent so far.

    And yes, I still use Awesome. And everything else. :)

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