I’ve bought some new work equipment for 2014. A MS Surface Pro running Fedora and an Ergodox keyboard. The idea is that I more or less never want to change the keyboard, but the computer part more often.
So far I’m making progress, but I’m still not as produktive with my new setup as with my old trusty Thinkpad.
The Ergodox is pretty amazing. You order a set of parts and solder them together, and suddenly you have a working keybard! It’s extremely customizable which i need because of RSI.
Compared to other keyboards its expensive but the supply of spare parts is good and you can expect to be able to repair the keyboard for many years to come.
In my case i want to be able to move the keyboard between machines and immediately use my specialized Programmer Dvorak layout with my tweaks withouth a lot of work on the host machine. Few other keyboards have this open architecture and flexibility.
You can find my variant of the firmware on github.
What about the surface then? I was slightly underwhelmed by it.
For starters, it didn’t seem like I read up about it properly before buing it. So, i was suprised to find that it had only one usb port, and several chips with buggy Linux support.
Its quite inconvenient to have to use a USB wifi dongle, but that was necessary for a while. There was a kernel firmware problem that was later resolved.
The type cover is also buggy. I needed to build a patched kernel to make it work, something i havent needed in quite a while. The pen digitizer is claimed to be a Wacom device by many sites, but it isn’t, which took some time to figure out.
Overall, more work than i expected.
There is of course nice things about it as well.
It has a very nice high resolution screen. It has a Wacom-alike pen digitizer which works well with Inkscape and Gimp, after some configuration hassles. It has nice battery time, if compared to my old Thinkpad.
The final piece of the puzzle is the remote server I use for most of the grunt work such as compilations and so on. Its a 6 core hyperthreaded machine with plenty of ram.
Given that I live in an area with 100 mbit fibre and good LTE coverage, I can mostly just use my laptop as a remote terminal, so that im not limited by the laptops specs.