Bradley

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Bradley, GNU/Linux tinkerer and free software lover. I spend a lot of time trying out new programs, customizing things, reading up on things, and trying to improve my workflow. I also try to share my findings with friends on IRC and Matrix. I am often spreading the word of my favorite programs, such as mpv. I am very interested in GNU Guix and GNU Emacs, but I'm still just a beginner with them.

What hardware do you use?

These days the bulk of my computing is done on a ThinkPad X220 Tablet. It has an i5-2520M, 8GB of RAM, and a 250GB SSD. It sits in an UltraBase at my desk, and I use it like a desktop. I have two HP ZR24w monitors (1920x1200, IPS, one of them in portrait), a Pok3r mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Green switches, a Logitech G400 mouse, and an O2 Headphone Amplifier connected to the ultrabase. I am also connected to ethernet and power, of course. Plugged into the headphone amp is either an RCA to 3.5mm adapter going to some speakers that came with an old iPod dock, or my Sennheiser HD 600 headphones if I feel like it. The speakers make it easier to get up suddenly if I have to go to the bathroom, grab a beverage, or kill a large spider. I also use my phone for quite a bit of computing while away from my desk. It's a OnePlus 3 that continues to serve me well despite being a few years old.

And what software?

I run Guix System on my laptop. Some of the remote servers I interact with are running Arch or Debian. I switched to Wayland this year on my primary machine, and I've been using Sway as my compositor. It's a lot of fun. I edit mostly in emacs (with spacemacs config) these days, but sometimes I use neovim for some small stuff. I use IceCat for my browser. I spend a lot of time with the mpv media player. I can't sing enough praise for the thing! It can do videos, audio, pictures, and they can be local or at a remote URL. It's highly scriptable with Lua. I've got a plugin that makes it very easy to make webms out of whatever I'm watching. I also use termite as my terminal emulator with zsh as the shell. I typically have two terminals open. One is for local stuff, one attaches to a remote server that I do a lot of tasks on. Each one is running tmux, the local one runs it on my laptop, the remote one has it running remotely. I find terminals most comfortable to work with when tmux is involved. I am very used to how to move around, copy/paste, search, etc. On the OnePlus 3 I'm running LineageOS without GAPPs. I've gotten rather fast and comfortable at stuff like doing quick searches and pasting several links into an email or chat program. I also sometimes use termux for various things, such as backing up files with rsync/sftp, attaching to a remote server to view my irc client, checking something in irc logs that I can't quite remember, or even doing a bit of text editing or note-taking in vim or emacs. I get all my apps from F-Droid.

What would be your dream setup?

I would like a portable machine that doesn't run too hot, has good battery life, a screen resolution higher than 1366x768, non-x86 (ARM, MIPS, RISC-V), fully free software and hardware, easy to repair, modify, and upgrade. Ideally with performance equal to or greater than the X220T I use now. I would also like a better keyboard than is seen in most laptops. Something 60% or 50% but with pretty standard key sizes, as opposed to half the keys being odd to squeeze in arrows. I would also like it to be ortholinear (grid/matrix layout instead of staggered) and programmable via software like TMK or QMK. Some keyboards I think laptops should take after are the Pok3r for a staggered layout, or the Preonic for ortholinear. I also like split boards like the Infinity Ergodox, but this could be harder to implement well in a laptop. Something like the MNT Reform diy laptop project looks very interesting to me. I hope to see more things like it in the future.