Setup 2023

TL;DR: Whelp, it’s been a while. Time to talk about my setup again.

The year is coming to an end, it’s been a while, and my technical stack has changed quite a bit since the last time I wrote about it, so .. what am I using?

I recently managed to finally, after being annoyed by it for literal months, get away from my “old” work-issued T14s I have had for the past two years. The replacement is quite a different machine, a Lenovo P16s (Gen2). It’s powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U, provides me with 64GB of memory and a whopping 2TB of NVMe-storage. Finally having a device to work with that neither suffers from obscure defects (such as randomly shutting down without any visible reason or traces in logs), not nearly dies of a stroke when I’m forced to run an Electron-app is quite an exhilarating feeling.

I still own a G-Master G2770HSU-B1, which is mounted to my desk on a Ergotron LX Desk Monitor Arm. I recently got two new screens at work, but I can’t remember what they are. I think it’s Asus, but I’m not entirely sure. But definitely, nothing spectacular.

My Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless Ninja with Cherry MX Brown Switches is still in use as well, and permanently resides on my desk at work. At home I type on a Keychron K14 with Gateron Red Switches. For the reasonable price of, at the time, around 100 Euros, it’s a sturdy, well built keyboard, with a surprisingly frictionless wireless mode. Nonetheless, it has been in a wired setup ever since the battery ran out at one point and I never disconnected it ever since.

Unfortunately, my trusty Razer Abyssus died, only for me to realize that it’s not being manufactured anymore. Finding a mouse that I’m comfortable with is surprisingly hard, because my hands seem to be somewhat oddly sized, resulting in most mice being either too big or too small for me.

I debated getting myself a few more Abyssus, which were still available on occasion, but it felt wrong to pay 60 bucks for a device that originally went for around 20. I eventually settled a Razer Deathadder. Not that I particularly like the company, but this model was the closest match to the Abyssus that I could find.

When I’m on my desk, a pair of Apple EarPods are plugged into the computer (since my DT 990 Pro suffered some electronical issues, and I wasn’t willing to spend significant amounts of money to replace them), while my Bose QuietComfort 35 II are still driving the mobile listening experience (which is mostly because I gave away my Apple Airpod Max to a colleague).

I accidentally broke the plug of my Logitech Streamcam while cleaning behind my desk, and never really got around to replacing it. Surprisingly, the webcam in my new laptop is reasonably good (which is something I’m not used to outside of Apple devices), so whenever I absolutely have to show my face during virtual meetings, I can rely on this one.

Besides my work-issued laptop, I managed to score a workstation-turned-gaming-computer for an absolute bargain on the local version of Craigslist. It’s based on an Intel Xeon W-2150B, 128GB RAM, 1TB NVMe-backed storage. It came with a GeForce RTX 3080, which I sold (for about as much as I paid for the entire device) and replaced with GeForce GT1030. It sits under my desk and acts as a remotely accessible workstation and holds my personal data, projects & serves as a playground for toying with running LLMs locally.

Both my laptop and my homeserver run Debian (specifically, Sid, ever since my experiments with it in early Summer of this year). I browse the web through Firefox, and read or write digital mail with Thunderbird. When I’m within a terminal, I rely on a barely customized Bash, with the tools I call on the most being, tmux, OpenSSH and vim. The passing of Bram Moolenaar in August of this year hit me surprisingly “hard”, despite never having met him.

For the few instances where I need to programmatically wrangle data into the right format, I always reach out to Python, which I can still only barely use in a manner that distantly appears like I know what I’m doing. I try to push all of the things I write into Git, carefully hiding the fact that I’m absolutely at a loss in situations where anything other than add, commit, push or pull would be required of me.

My terminal emulator of choice is GNOME Terminal. And the “choice” isn’t one I actively made on my own, it’s just that it’s the default terminal emulator that comes with my desktop environment. I’m sure that you never would have guessed that I’m using GNOME.

I think that 2023 is the first year in which I haven’t even tried to run a tiling window manager as my daily driver. As much as this probably has hurt my nerd credibility, my unwavering devotion towards fonts that are objectively ugly should help with getting some of that credibility back. Characters and letters are currently displayed to me in Spleen.

I finally embraced the proprietary life and manage my notes in Obsidian, but my passwords continue to be managed by KeePass - and will do so for the most distant of foreseeable futures. As much as it isn’t as convenient as 1Password, LastPass and so on, I’m not going to have to worry that someone somewhere fucks something up and accidentally exposes my passwords in cleartext to an attacker.

I haven’t had to do any new material for presentations lately, but when I do, I rely on Marp for my slides. I really envy people with the gift of creating marvellous, yet practical, slides. I’d be confident in saying that I tried quite hard to become reasonably good at designing slides, but .. yeah, apparently it’s not my forte.

My music collection, aside from the actual files (which are, obviously, stored on a / the hard disk), lives in GNOME Music. I’ve given up on uncompressed formats a while ago, which allowed me to reduce the size of the collection to a little less than 100GB. Although, “thanks” to Bandcamp, it keeps growing. Mostly in a controlled fashion, unless I accidentally happen to catch a “Bandcamp Friday”. Let’s not talk about those dark days for my wallet.

As for podcasts and audiobooks, I mostly listen to those on my phone. So it’s either Apple Podcasts or Apple Books. As for the latter, I’m not willing to rent audiobooks (because even though Apple lets me “buy” them, they can still decide to remove them from my library whenever they feel like it) for exorbitant prices, so most of the ones I listen(ed) to were acquired .. elsewhere.

I use borgmatic for backups, sending them towards borgbase and two other storage destinations I maintain myself. I used to rely on Syncthing for synchronizing data between devices, but since all of my data sits on two devices, which I can reach from each other easily, I gave up on it, since it’s not necessary anymore.

Most of my chatting is actually done via Signal, with Matrix (with gomuks as client) coming at a distant second place. I do idle around in quite a few channels on Discord, but since the client experience is even worse for me than their actively hostile stance towards independent development I haven’t even installed it on anything except my phone, where the application lives a boring, unopened life.

Wireguard is my tool of choice whenever I need to connect to a VPN - which, aside from work (which still tortures me with OpenVPN) is something I only ever do when trying to get around geoblocking restrictions. For that, I gave up on running my own small network of servers in various locations in favour of a subscription with OVPN.

As for “external” services that I rely on, all (that I can think of at the moment) are self-hosted:

  • This website and my mail are run on a virtual machine hosted by, on OpenBSD and with a typical toolstack.

    OpenSMTPd, in conjunction with Rspamd and Dovecot are responsible for my mails, the built-in httpd and acme-client deal with the website and acquiring TLS-certificates from Let’s Encrypt.

  • I still rent the space for a rackmounted server at a datacenter. It runs Debian, Stable, and hosts virtual machines (KVM), which in turn host ..

    • yet another rss reader is the first ever feed-aggregator / feed-reader that “just works” for me.
    • Calibre-Web provides access to my collection of digital books to some friends and coworkers. To be honest, if it weren’t for them I would have shut this machine down a while ago. I never managed to make the jump to bits and bytes, away from dead trees.
    • A jumphost, which was used as a bastion host to ssh into my other boxes. Given that I now have a static IP-address, it’s going to be decommissioned soon(-ish, knowing me)
  • I have a couple of VPS’es left from a project that I now use for monitoring (Uptime Kuma is pretty dope) and as a testbed for a couple of things.

  • Since it’s neither here nor there, I’ll mention it here: I run Ollama on my under-the-desk workstation for tinkering with locally running large language models.

All of these systems (.. well, almost) are entirely managed with the help of Ansible

Oh, and that Macbook I talked about at the beginning of 2022? It still exists, and it’s still in (almost daily) use. It’s probably the most expensive device used solely for entertainment purposes that I have ever owned. Did I mention that financial responsibility isn’t my thing?