Who are you, and what do you do?
Hey! My name is Jack Chen, but I'm mostly known as 'chendo' on and off the internet. I love solving problems, building products, and working with technology.
I build things at Ferocia, currently building a new digital-first banking experience named Alt. Before that, I was the CTO of a telemedicine startup, and built the cloud backend for connected lighting at LIFX.
For fun, I like to build things, go fast in go karts, and play video games. My usual creative outlet is photography.
Some of the things I've made that you may have encountered:
- iTerm2's Semantic History — Cmd + click a path to open it in your editor
- FuzzyAutocomplete plugin for Xcode
- Shortcat — keyboard-focused productivity tool
I have a keen interest in human-machine interfaces and am especially looking forward to thought-based control when they become a thing (and iron out security issues!).
What hardware do you use?
My primary machine is a 15" MacBook Pro with the controversial TouchBar. I kind of like it, but it desperately needs haptic feedback.
For desktop gaming, I went a little overboard and put together a i7 6700k, 32GB RAM, GTX 1080, a bunch of SSDs encased in Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX with tempered glass sides. I have a Logitech G910 keyboard (which I'm kinda meh about) and a SteelSeries Rival 310 for input devices. My headset is a SteelSeries Arctis 7.
I enjoy toying with home automation. I use LIFX lights for general lighting and basic information emitters. I have the Hello Sense for sleep tracking and environmental sensors, and I reverse-engineered their API to push sensor data into Datadog for monitoring and dashboards. I have a Google Home for voice control, but find the grammar for light control rather limiting.
For energy monitoring, I have a Smappee energy monitor, and I push this data into Datadog for monitoring to have alerts set up for abnormal sustained usage.
Data is stored on a Synology DS2415+ with mostly WD Red drives, with an SSD cache. Routing of 100/40mbit internet is done by an ASUS RT-AC68U running AdvancedTomato for improved bandwidth limiting and QoS, with bandwidth and latency data pushed into Datadog for monitoring.
And what software?
- Dvorak keyboard layout
- Safari for general browsing (better Accessibility support)
- Canary for email
- Calendar for calendars
- Telegram and Messages for messaging
- Tweetbot for shitposting on the bird website
- zsh in iTerm2 for terminal/shell
- Notion for information management
- 1Password for credential management
- iStat Menus for system monitoring
- BetterTouchTool for shortcut management
- Sublime Text for code
- Chrome for debugging web
- Dash for documentation
- Wireshark for network debugging
- Git for version control
I use BetterTouchTool to set my heavily-used global shortcuts for my most commonly used apps for idempotent shortcuts that require minimal cognitive overhead. Usage stats show I average about 500 invocations on the average work day!
What would be your dream setup?
If we somehow ended up in a world where human-machine interfaces were secure, I'd love to have bionic eyeballs, the ability to naturally invoke mental commands, external memory storage, a thought augmentation engine and my own AI agent — kind of like Clippy, but less annoying.
Otherwise, I guess I'd settle for unobtrusive high-resolution augmented reality glasses that cover my entire vision with built-in eye tracking. It would run an intent-centric shell of my own design. If safe thought control was viable, I'd use that. If not, positional input would be through eye tracking, and high bandwidth input would be a chorded split keyboard if I was able to learn to use that at an effective speed.
I'd be sitting in some sort of zero gravity chair for minimal stress on the body. Ideally though, I'd love to be able to upload myself to the internet so I can be everywhere and live forever!
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