Different Strokes: A look at developers’ favorite keyboards

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Here’s a look at a handful of keyboards you’ll find in the Gem office. One thing I learned: developers are more than happy to tell you about their setup.

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Julian Vergel de Dios 
Software Development Manager

Keyboard: Kinesis Advantage, black with custom key color scheme (white, red, grey) 

“I chose this keyboard because it has great ergonomic features: the thumb clusters on the inside make it so that you don’t have to uncomfortably move your thumb or pinky underneath. Also the keys are aligned vertically which means your fingers only have to reach in a single direction, versus the diagonal moves made on a staggered keyboard. I customized it by ordering keys separately in my own color scheme and Joshua got us custom Gem key caps to complete the look. I like having unlabeled keys because that forced me to learn the new layout faster, and no one can use my computer. :)”

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Matt Smith 
Senior Software Engineer

Keyboard: Modded ErgoDox, low-profile green and black keycaps

“I built my current keyboard and tinkered with it for a while until I came up with the setup I use today. The stock ErgoDox has great vertical key alignment and easily-hackable open source firmware, but awkward thumb cluster placement and lays flat. I propped the boards into a tented position to get natural wrist position and hacked off the thumb clusters and reattached them at a 75° angle. The split form factor allows for a wide resting shoulder position. Finally I chose low-profile keycaps which reduce the vertical lift between keypresses. My next project is to split apart a Kinesis like Julian has, because I like the scooped keywells but I need them to be splayed wide.”

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Bez Reyhan
Software Engineer

Keyboard: Matias Ergo Pro, black

“I knew I wanted a split keyboard where the sides of the keyboard were completely detached from one another. I wanted a split keyboard because it would allowed me to adjust the width of the keyboard to my shoulder width. I also wanted the keyboard to have a slight incline so that it would be more comfortable. The two options I found were the Matias Ergo Pro and the Kinesis Freestyle 2. Since I wanted mechanical keys I went with the Matias Ergo Pro.”

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Joshua Lederman
VP Solutions

Keyboard: Kinesis Advantage Pro, silver with black keys and custom Gem key caps

“I got the Kinesis Advantage Pro for the ergonomics and the included foot pedal, which can be used as an additional keystroke or as a way to switch between different keyboard layers. I’ve had surgery in both of my wrists, so it was nice to find that the Kinesis is markedly more comfortable than other keyboards once you get the hang of using it. The only tough thing is using photoshop, sketch, or any program where you need to use constant combinations of keys — tend to involve a lot of awkward reaching. Guess it is time to map out a keyboard layer for those applications!”