The people who use our boards.

299 interviews since 2018

Tomas Jonsson

Cloud Network Engineer

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

I’m Tomas Jonsson, and I’m originally from Sweden, but my wife and I and our two German shepherds moved to the US and New Jersey two years ago. We moved to the US after I did an internal relocation at Spotify, where I’ve been working for almost eleven years. The last four years have been as a cloud network engineer. Before moving into the cloud network area, my team and I managed all the office networks at Spotify.

When I’m not in front of the computer, I enjoy brewing beer, cooking BBQs, and photography. The common theme here would be creativity. That’s how I enjoy my life, by creating things myself that I can later enjoy in one way or another. Either coming up with a solution to an IT problem and enjoying the outcome of that or pouring up a cold home-brewed beer.

My desk also gives some hints about my hockey interest as well. Moving here was a genius move for my hockey interest, especially in the Pittsburgh Penguins. I can actually watch almost all of their games now when I’m in the correct time zone. And of course, I am keeping an eye on my home team back home in Sweden, MoDo Hockey, as well.

I’ve been a Linux user since ’97, and I still remember my first attempt at trying to install Slackware. My plan was to dual-boot, but I ended up wiping my whole hard drive and ended up with only a Linux system. One of my best moves back then was to just deal with it and spend all my time in Linux.

Photography is also something that I really enjoy, and street photography is something that I’ve started to do more and more. That was one of the benefits of moving here as well: much bigger cities, and easier to pursue that form of photography as an introvert.

Tomas Jonsson's black-and-white street photo of a street corner with a deli
Tomas captures the essence of a city street in photographs

Since our apartment is too small to have servers in, I have two servers, which I run Proxmox on, at Hetzner. I have built myself a Frankenstein’s monster setup with different services that I am hosting for myself, like mail, DNS, Mastodon, Kubernetes cluster, etc. I’ve always enjoyed trying to replicate big-scale services on a small scale just to get a better understanding of how things tie together. I remember being a super excited teenager back in 2000 when I managed to set up my Samba server as an NT logon domain. My parents were less happy when they couldn’t log on to their Windows machine because I broke something with the Samba server.

Tomas Jonsson's setup
Tomas's apartment may be too small for servers, but it's got good light

What hardware do you use?

My laptop is a Lenovo P1 Gen 4, which I use together with a Logitech MX Master 2S mouse, a Benq 32” monitor and the Moonlander keyboard. My headphones are Bose NC 700 HP, and on the desk I have a pair of cheap Sanyun speakers that I found on Amazon.

Tomas Jonsson's setup from above
Tomas keeps his desk simple and uncluttered

I used to be more of a hardware geek back in the day, but the older I’ve gotten (currently forty-three) the less I’ve cared. As long as what I have can perform what I want it to do. I even was convinced by my wife to replace my laptop after the fans in my old laptop kept making much noise. For video games I use the Xbox, so no need for me to been on the top in terms of hardware specs, since I mostly sit in the terminal.

And what software?

I’m a keyboard-driven person (and this was one of the main reasons for getting a Moonlander), and most of my work happens in the terminal in a tmux session or in a web browser. Neovim is my editor of choice, and I use a combination of Chrome and Firefox for web browsing. I use Chrome for work purposes and Firefox for nonwork purposes. Both browsers have the Vimium extension for navigation. So naturally, my email client of choice is NeoMutt.

Currently my Linux distribution of choice is Fedora with i3wm. I’ve used i3wm for many years, but sometimes I decide to switch distributions for one or other reason. I am still trying to find an organizer that suits me, but there’s always something that makes me drop the idea of using one. However, currently, I am trying out Notion, and we’ll see how that goes.

Tomas Jonsson's black-and-white photo of an escalator scene
Where is this person going? Where will Tomas's search for the perfect organizing software take him?

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

My keyboard layout is pretty much the standard layout, but I’ve made some minor tweaks to suit me a bit better. I’ve tried to avoid going too crazy with the layouts just to make life a bit easier on those days when I don’t have my keyboard around and need to use the laptop keyboard. So, most of my reconfigurations are made within i3 instead.

For the switches, I went with the Cherry MX Brown ones. And yes, I love this keyboard! I had a few “moments” when I was trying to get used to it since it was my first split and ortholinear keyboard, but it only took a few weeks to get used to it.

What would be your dream setup?

I’m pretty happy with what I have, but I would love to have the space to be able to have a lab at my home again. I used to have plenty of space back home in Sweden, but after moving to the US, my priorities changed a bit, so most of my things are hosted at Hetzner in Germany.

Tomas Jonsson with dogs, in an elevator
Thanks, Tomas! Hope the upward trend continues for you and yours!

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