The Setup: Brent Saner

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am the Tech Supervisor for A Small Orange. During busy shifts, I mostly triage and attack the higher-priority tickets. When it’s slow enough to, I tackle long-term low-priority issues and abuse issues. I also research into the dedicated customer setups and Quality Assurance. When I have free time outside of THAT, I like auditing processes and infrastructure … basically, I’m an algae-sucker. You know, those fish in the tanks that suck on the glass?

What hardware are you using?

Primarily, I use a Lenovo Y730 IdeaPad [0]. Not really because I need the horsepower or anything, I just like being able to be mobile when I work and not sacrifice screen real-estate (17″ glossy LCD). 4Gb RAM, RAID-1 500Gb SATAII (yes, my laptop has two hard drive bays. I think it’s ridiculous as well, but still awesome I can RAID HDD’s on a laptop), Intel Core2 Extreme 3.06Ghz CPU, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 (I had to look those up. I don’t pay much attention to the actual specs of my laptop).

When I’m doing maintenance on it (or, you know, I just want something a bit more lightweight), I use a System76 Pangolin Performance [1] (yay for Linux-native laptops!) with a similar Gentoo install (see below). The hardware isn’t too bad on it. If you’re in the market for a laptop, I very highly recommend System76; they’re doing great things for the GNU/Linux community’s end-user market acceptance.

And what software?

I run Gentoo Linux (AMD64 architecture, ~ branch), Gentoo-sources-2.6.38-r5 kernel (switching to gentoo-sources-3.0.4 this weekend hopefully!), full disk encryption because I am paranoid. And then because I am even more paranoid, I run all my work-related stuff in a VirtualBox 4.1.0 VM.

The VM is also full-disk encrypted (“WE NEED TO GO DEEPER”), and it runs Debian 6.0. I do all my shell work in Bash (I do all my script development and host shell work in zsh, though) and I work tickets in Firefox 3.5.16 (the host OS has Firefox 6.0). I am a vim/vi addict (did you know dd deletes the entire current line? and d$ deletes from the current line to the end of the document, etc.? Seriously, run vimtutor sometime, if your machine has it.), and typically use less instead of more or cat to read files. I’m in general a CLI addict, and I wish more websites worked with lynx. I break this trait with Pidgin2.10.0, though. I like finch (ncurses interface to, and usually bundled with, Pidgin) and bitlbee+irssi, but not when I need something to obnoxiously interrupt me for something important.

Speaking of important interruptions, I use the Nagios Checker 0.16 Firefox plugin to monitor infrastructure.

I use GNOME 2.3x as the Desktop Environment for both the host OS and the VM. I’ve never liked KDE much, personally. I make extensive, almost meticulous use of the multiple workspaces. It’s kind of really awesome being able to segregate function and type of application into different “desktops”- I typically keep all browser sessions in one, all real-time chat applications in another, all shell windows (though usually I just use one window with multiple tabs) in a third, and my email client (Thunderbird 3.1.13 with Enigmail – did I mention I’m paranoid?) in a fourth.

What is your dream setup?

Exactly what I have now, but something with a paravirt-capable processor. And maybe multiple monitors, though the multiple workspaces sort of fulfills that role for me. I more or less like the way things currently are set up for me.

Anything else you’d like to share about your work environment?

I’m usually playing (and chair-dancing) to music while I work. It varies on my mood (I have an almost hilariously eclectic taste in music), but usually it’s something electronica-inspired or indie pop and danceable: MGMT and Justice, Milke Snow, the Prodigy, Bassnectar and Beats Antique, the Blow, etc. Sometimes I just jam out to Vivaldi or Bollywood music.

[0] Though it sometimes overheats. Be careful of airflow!

[1] 1 x Pangolin Performance (panp8)
Display Resolution 15.6″ HD Display with Super Clear Glossy Surface (1366 x 768)
Hard Drive 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA II
Memory 6 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz – 4GB + 2GB
Operating System Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit (wiped, reinstalled with Gentoo)
Optical Drive CD-RW / DVD-RW
Processor 2nd Generation Intel Core i7-2630QM Processor ( 6MB L3 Cache, 2.00GHz )
Wireless Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 – 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN + Bluetooth Combo Module

2 Responses to The Setup: Brent Saner

  1. Brent Saner says:
    October 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm.

    It should be noted that I usually wear glasses. ;)

    We’re interested in hearing what software/hardware you, the readers, use as well! ESPECIALLY if it’s a productivity booster. :)

  2. Bart Matusiak says:
    November 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm.

    I love you Brent!

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