The people who use our boards.

Ana Ulin

Software Engineer

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m Ana, a software engineer living in Oakland, CA. I’ve been “in tech” for what seems like way too many years now. After working for big companies and small startups, these days I do contract development and technical coaching. I enjoy building boring solutions for real problems and supporting folks in their growth journeys.

Outside of work, I like doing crafty and creative things. When my cats allow me, I knit and embroider.

I also do a fair amount of reading and dabble in writing. I just finished Leviathan Falls, the ninth and final book in The Expanse series, and phew! Speaking of burning planets, I also recently read Braiding Sweetgrass. I loved its bittersweet, deeply loving attitude towards plants, and nonhuman and human animals.

Ana Ulin's setup
Open, airy, and uncluttered

What hardware do you use?

I do almost all of my work from a MacBook Pro (pre-M1), at my desk in my home office. I have a curved 34” Acer monitor, which I keep on an adjustable dual arm that also holds my laptop. I like to keep the surface of the desk as uncluttered as possible, and I really love how the arms keep both my monitor and the computer off the desk.

My Moonlander keyboard and my Aeron chair are the two crown jewels of my ergonomic setup.

I often wear my Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones while working or in meetings. Since I went fully remote for work, I need the noise-canceling functionality only when my cats are extremely bored. The sound quality and physical comfort of these headphones are great, especially for someone with a smaller head.

Ana Ulin's setup, up close
A few well-chosen tools is all it takes

And what software?

Alfred is essential to much of what I do—I use it to launch apps, write quick text notes directly from the Alfred bar, insert snippets, search the web, etc. I use VSCode for coding, note-taking, and writing. I use 1Password for password management, and Chrome for browsing.

I’m a big fan of Rocket for a good way to insert emoji anywhere.

Kap is great for making videos or animated gifs of functionality I’m building or bugs I encounter, to share with clients or in pull requests.

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

My keyboard is a Moonlander, which I keep Velcroed to a wooden lap desk. Keeping the keyboard in my lap really helps me with ergonomics, and the lap desk makes it possible for me to use a split keyboard in my lap. I keep an Apple Magic Trackpad in between my two keyboard halves. I have a couple of custom cat-themed keycaps on the keyboard, which were a gift from my partner.

Ana Ulin's Moonlander lap desk
Lap desk + cat keycaps = lap cat?

I use a layout based on the Moonlander default, with modifications to align it with the Kinesis Advantage layout I used for many years before acquiring a Moonlander.

What would be your dream setup?

A better solution to my Moonlander-in-lap setup would be great. My current approach with the lapboard works well enough, but feels a little bulky. It would be great to get a more custom “tray” for it that was just big enough but didn’t take any additional space. A lighter material than the wood I have now would also be good.

I also wish for a better cabling and docking solution for MacBooks. All the docks and hubs I’ve tried feel clunky and keep a bunch of cables on my desk, which I don’t love.

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