What I Work With

Academics or not, nerds love to talk about how they work, and what tools they use. I've written about it before, but I'd like to clean it up, and discuss how things have changed. I'll talk about what software and hardware I use, as well as what my environment is like, and what non-tech things I use. Eventually, I'll get around to writing about how I work, but until then, here's what I use.


Primary Computers


  • Music & Podcasts: Spotify for podcasts primarily, but some music. Idagio for classical music.
  • SSH/Mosh client: Termius



  • Laptop: Lenovo Yoga 11e. It's a small, easily packable laptop with a suprisingly comfortable keyboard (as well as a touch screen and "convertible" functionality that I never use).
  • Desktop: Lenovo ThinkCentre M720q in a Tiny-in-One third-generation 22-inch monitor.


  • The Keyboard: Kinesis Advantage2 (software layout Programmer's Dvorak, Caps Lock is Backspace). This keyboard is amazing — it fits my hands, the key switches are perfect, and the key-stroke programmability mean that I can change keys quickly and easily, which moved some modifiers around to a more convenient location (as well as doubled others).
  • The Trackball: Because of some RSI scares (and because it freaks people out), I use a Trackball, namely the Elecom EX-G. It's Japanese, has a total of ten buttons, and fits my hand fairly well.
  • The Printer: I prefer to edit & read on paper, as well as have frequent need to scan documents. I use a Brother MFC L2707-DW, which works quite well to print at speed, and produces excellent output.

Non-Computer Electronics

  • Cell Phone: A generic Android phone, nothing special. I do use a non-standard home screen, Nova Launcher, however things are otherwise pretty vanilla.
  • Desk Phone: Western Electric 2500 on AxVoice. Yes, I still use an old-school phone, in part because it's easier to shoulder so I can do things while talking to someone.
  • External Cryptographic Hardware: NitroKey Pro. My GPG Key is kept on one of these, and they're great little devices, I only wish they came in a retractable version.
  • Fitness Tracker: Whoop Band 3.0. For hardware that requires a paid service it's great.
  • Earbuds & Headphones: Trekz Air & Soundcore Spirit Pro.

Physical Environment & Accessories

Daily Carry

  • Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bag, Medium – This messenger bag is great. It fits my laptop, a notepad, a couple of textbooks, and most of the other things I need.
  • Camino Folding Bookstand for when I'm seriously studying – it keeps books open to the right page and held at the right angle to make note taking easier.
  • HDMI to VGA adapter
  • Logitech Slideshow Remote
  • Pickett N 200-T Trig Slide Rule
  • USB-C Cable
  • Tide Pen
  • Fisherman's Friend for when my throat gets dry or irritated (thanks allergies!)

Desk and Note Taking

  • Desk: Standing Desk, 5.5' x 2.5'. Built using a Vivo base, plywood top with laminate. There's an Amazon Basics laptop stand and a daylight lamp sitting on it, as well as my desktop and phone. I also have a USB peripheral switcher to switch my keyboard and mouse between the two computers.
  • Paper: Mostly cheap legal pads and a Swingline from the 60s.
  • The Pens: Fountain pens of various kinds, mostly inked with Diamine Oxford Blue, including:

    • Parker 21 Desk Set
    • 2 Lamy Safaris
    • Noodler's Boston Safety Pen
    • Esterbrook "J"
    • Black Kaweco Perkeo


Lots of it, Chemex, fresh ground, local beans.