The people who use our boards.

Andreas Tacke

Software Developer/Consultant

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

Hi! My name is Andreas, and I am a software developer and consultant for InterFace AG, a medium-sized IT consulting firm from Munich, Germany. I live and work in the Ruhr Metropolitan Area of western Germany. I am currently on assignment at a big state law enforcement agency in the city of Duisburg, home to the world’s largest inland port, where I lead a small team of seven developers.

In my free time I dabble in amateur photography, playing guitar, and riding the local trails on my mountain bike. I’m also an avid maker (you can find me on Thingiverse).

Like most coders, I also love coffee and have been trying my hand at producing a decent shot of espresso for a while now, with varying degrees of success.

Andreas Tacke's setup
Clean lines and a beautiful view

What hardware do you use?

My main workhorse is a 16” MacBook Pro with 32 GB of RAM. At home it is hooked up to a BenQ PD3220U 32” 4K display via a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, which I absolutely love because it soothes my OCD when it comes to cable management. The display also acts as a KVM switch for my Moonlander and a Logitech MX Master 3, which it shares with a Fujitsu laptop that was issued to me by my customer. I am constantly switching between the two because there are some security-relevant tasks I can work on only from the locked-down Fujitsu machine.

At the office I have to work with your average boring corporate hardware, to which I added my own ErgoDox EZ Glow and a Logitech MX Vertical mouse. This has been my setup for the last 10 months and it has been instrumental in getting rid of some nagging pain in my right wrist. The split keyboard also helped a lot with the usual strained neck and shoulders that are somewhat par for the course in my line of work.

I also recently bought a pair of Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones to shut out the noisy office environment when I have to focus, which works almost a bit too well for the taste of my colleagues.

At home I am mostly wearing AKG K712 Pro open-back headphones for making and listening to music. They sound amazing, but due to their design, they let a lot of sound in and out.

Andreas Tacke's headphones
Great-sounding open-back headphones for the home office

The one piece of gear that I use the most after my keyboards and mice is my heavily modified 1999 Fender Jazzmaster. Over the years, I have replaced everything but the wood and a few screws.

Andreas Tacke's Fender Jazzmaster
A prized—and highly customized—possession

When it comes to photography, I have been on the full-frame mirrorless bandwagon ever since Sony released the original Alpha 7 model and am currently shooting with an Alpha 7 Mark III and a 24-70 f/2.8 G Master as my main lens.

And what software?

I am primarily a Java developer, and IntelliJ IDEA is by far my favorite IDE. Another big part of my job is conducting code reviews and merging pull requests of my teammates, so I spend a lot of time on the command line running zsh with the ohmyzsh config manager and powerlevel10k as my theme of choice. When editing stuff on the command line, good old Vim is still hard to beat, in my opinion ;)

Other tools I use a lot are Tig, a great text-mode interface for Git and MS Teams, which I don’t hate nearly as much as I thought I would as a longtime IRC user.

For my electronics projects, I mainly run Visual Studio Code with PlatformIO, which makes handling all the different hardware platforms and libraries a lot easier.

For making music, I have been using Apple’s Logic as a DAW for as long as I can remember. I replaced most of my physical gear with software solutions years ago, mostly using Bias FX 2 for my guitar sounds and a host of other plugins for everything else.

And for developing my photos, I recently made the switch from Adobe Lightroom to Capture One Pro.

Andreas Tacke's coffee setup
Developer fuel

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

The ErgoDox EZ I use in the office is equipped with MX Brown switches, and the layout I came up with after quite a few iterations is a fairly ordinary QWERTZ keymap with an extra layer for German characters and one for my most used shortcuts in IntelliJ. I am also an avid user of the mouse control layer. After a rough couple of weeks on the EZ that involved getting rid of some persistent bad habits I acquired on traditional keyboards, I am now pretty comfortable, so I might look into alternative layouts like Colemak next. Although I never really felt that QWERTY/QWERTZ was that big of a bottleneck for me.

Andreas Tacke's office setup
A practical setup for a shared office

My Moonlander came with Cherry MX Blue switches, which I couldn’t get away with in the office because I used to share a room with another colleague (we’re social-distancing at the moment). The layout is practically identical to the one on my EZ, with some extra color thrown in on the side columns and the thumb cluster.

Andreas Tacke's Moonlander
Brighter lights and louder switches for personal space

The plan is to experiment with other switch types, such as the Kailh Speed switches, as well in the near future. I don’t care that much for custom keycaps, but I would love to have a full set of the shine-through blank ones from the Moonlander for both boards. * wink wink * :)

The one thing I did to both of my keyboards was tightly wrap the TRRS cables they came with around the shaft of a large screwdriver, secure the ends with heat-resistant polyimide tape, and carefully heat everything up with a hot air gun a few times for a makeshift coiled cable. A textile-sleeved custom cable is still on my to-do list.

What would be your dream setup?

I’m pretty happy with my current setup. Of course, if money weren’t an issue, I could always use some additional processing power, so a Mac Pro would speed up some tasks considerably. I would also love to upgrade my audio interface in the near future. My Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 has served me well over the years, but something with better DACs, like a Universal Audio Apollo Twin, would be a big step up.

Duisberg Outer Harbor
Enjoy the scenery of Duisberg Outer Harbor

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