The people who use our boards.

312 interviews since 2018

Laura Langdon

Developer Advocate

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

Hi, I’m Laura! I’m a lifelong resident of the SF Bay Area (but am also a Canadian citizen), and my most recent job title is “Developer Advocate,” but I’m currently funemployed following an acquisition-induced layoff from a company in the WebAssembly space, where I owned our docs. I consider myself a Professional Generalist, and before I pivoted into the tech industry I was a math lecturer (but before I settled on math, I switched majors between theater, English, Italian studies, astrophysics, fashion design, and computer science). I’m fortunate to be able to take this time to explore all of my varied interests and see where I might like to go next when the job market recovers.

I’m neurosparkly, from the AuDHD zone of the neuroverse. I love discovering the connections between things, and lately that’s had me on a linguistics kick thanks to the History of English podcast. I spend a lot of time configuring my tools to work and look just right for me, which is probably true of every person who reads interviews like this one. 😁 Fiber arts like knitting and crochet keep my hands busy when they’re not on my keyboard.

I blog on my website and stream on Twitch and YouTube. You can also find me on Mastodon and Bluesky!

What hardware do you use?

A 16” MacBook Pro with an M1 Max is my primary machine, and my current daily driver keyboard is a white Voyager (I also have and love her big sister—my first ergo!—the Moonlander). When I’m streaming or have a video meeting I use a Fully desk, and I have a Studio Display on a walnut monitor stand my husband made for me. My chair is a Mirra 2, and I use a Canon EOS RP with an RF24-105 lens and an Elgato Cam Link as a webcam. I have a Wave:3 microphone on a low-profile mic arm, and a Key Light Air with 3D-printed barn doors. I use a Stream Deck MK.2 to control my lighting.

alt="White standing desk with white and grey office chair in front of it, green dresser to the left, and walnut nightstand to the right. On the desk is a monitor on a long dark wood stand along with a turquoise lamp and a leafy plant. Also on the desk are two laptops stood vertically, a few cute figurines, wooden trays for office items, and a gold headphone stand holding white headphones. The desk has a keyboard tray with a split keyboard on it, steeply tented, and a trackpad between the keyboard halves.'
Laura has spent a great deal of effort getting her area exactly the way she likes it

You can see below how the angle of the base of the Voyager relative to the lap desk supporting it is nearly 90 degrees, and that combined the angle of the left edge of the Voyager relative to the lap desk lets my wrist stay completely neutral. My forearm is supported by the arm of my chair, and my hand just floats alongside the keyboard.

alt="Half of a split keyboard, magnetically attached to a folding stand on a wooden board, which rests on a keyboard tray on a white desk. The stand tents the keyboard very steeply, keeping the wrist of the person using it neutral."
Laura has found a clever way to position her keyboard just right

When I work from bed I put my laptop on a bed desk and my keyboard on a lap desk that can sit in front of me when I’m sitting cross-legged, or on my lap when I’m reclining.

alt='Half of a split keyboard, magnetically attached to a folding stand on a wooden board, which rests on a bed covered with white linen. The stand tents the keyboard very steeply, keeping the wrist of the person using it neutral.'
This modded bed desk lets Laura type in bed, too

I have a second Studio Display I sometimes use when not at my desk, with an Ergotron monitor stand that has a wide base and very low center of gravity so it’s stable on the bed desk or on my lift-top coffee table.

But usually when I’m not at my desk I’m looking at three AR monitors on my XREAL Air glasses, which I was introduced to by a previous interview in ZSA’s Ergo newsletter!

And what software?

I’m gradually transitioning from VS Code to Neovim for writing code and docs, and a few months ago I switched from iTerm2 to Warp for my terminal. GitKraken helps me when Git gets convoluted, and Raycast and an array of apps I have through Setapp optimize my macOS workflow.

I adore the Arc browser, and I use Obsidian for personal knowledge management (Markdown and Vim bindings for all the things!). I use Anki cards to learn new things, 1Password for passwords and passkeys, Vimcal for calendar and scheduling, and Shortwave for email (RIP Google Inbox 😭). For streaming I use Restream, and for videos I’ve just started using Screen Studio.

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

My keyboard usually lives on a lightweight lap desk that I’ve trimmed down, and I have Velcro dots on the underside of the lap desk and on the keyboard tray of my desk so I can plop the lap desk down on the keyboard tray and it’ll stay put. I’ve also used the Velcro dots to attach a Magic Trackpad between the two halves of the keyboard.

After trying several different tenting solutions, I’ve landed on using Z-shaped camera mounts, which I’ve attached to the lap desk with bar magnets. On each camera mount I’ve attached a MagSafe tripod mount, which is a perfect match for the Voyager’s magnetic base! For the Moonlander I use MagSafe stickers on its base for a similar effect (not quite as good, though, since the magnetic surface is limited to the size of the sticker).

The magnetic attraction between the base of the Voyager and the tripod mount is strong. I can position the Voyager high up on the mount when I need extra height for a particular position.

alt="Half of a split keyboard magnetically attached to a tripod mount. The keyboard is steeply tented and nearly in profile, with the mount attached far down the left edge."
Laura has achieved an impressive degree of keyboard tilt

I can achieve any degree of rotation.

alt="Half of a split keyboard on a Z-shaped camera mount. The back of the keyboard faces the camera, and the keyboard is steeply tented and rotated so that it's at about a -25 degree angle relative to a line parallel to the table."
Laura seems to be teaching her keyboard yoga

When I move into a new position, I let my hand achieve a natural position and then adjust one or more of the above until the keyboard is aligned perfectly to my hand and fingers, not the other way around.

I also frequently work from an armchair that has a cover with a zipper underneath, so I used fabric tape to put magnets under the cover, inside the arms to attach my Voyager directly to the arms of the chair.

alt="Ivory-covered midcentury modern style armchair with the halves of a split keyboard resting on the arms. The chair is front of a wide window, with a coffee table and grey sofa in the background."
Laura created a keyboard chair!

It worked and it was very cool! But because the keyboard halves need to be connected, the cable acted as a sort of gate each time I stood up, and it turned out that the lap desk and Z mounts, though not quite as cool, provided the best solution yet again.

Woman on an ivory armchair, a split keyboard on a lap desk with a white trackpad between the two halves. The halves are mounted on z-shaped camera mounts, which are fully extended in the horizontal direction to enable typing without lifting the wrists from the arms of the chair.
But Laura's lap desk works wherever Laura's lap goes

I have small hands, so my layouts for both Voyager and Moonlander keep my fingers almost exclusively on the three main rows (home row and the rows above and below home), so I don’t need to stretch my fingers.

The pink raised dot stickers I added to the top row and home keys are to help me know which row I’m touching (apparently this is called “indexing”!).

For the Moonlander I tried a few different tactile and linear switches and weights, and settled on 63.5g Healio linear switches from Zeal, which I lubed and filmed. The Moonlander has lots of outfits (keycap sets), and some of my favorites are MechSupply’s Vilebloom, Mintlodica’s Witch Girl, and Epomaker’s Honey-Milk.

What would be your dream setup?

Iterating is fun for me, so I doubt I could have an “endgame” setup. But right now I’m playing with ideas to eliminate the keyboard tray on my desk to optimize the surprisingly complex spatial relationships between my camera, monitor, desk, chair, and background. I’m also dying to try the Vision Pro! Having a dedicated office would be lovely.

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