103 - Julius Tarng

Julius Tarng runs an independent software practice called Toolshop, where he specializes in prototyping and building highly-interactive, multiplayer, spatial experiences.

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Ryan (@rjgilbert)

Julius Tarng runs an independent software practice called Toolshop, where he specializes in prototyping and building highly-interactive, multiplayer, spatial experiences.

He also dabbles in making games, prototyping “weird” tools, and mentoring senior level ICs.

Inside Julius’ Workspace


  • Natural light — I am a plant, if I don't get sunlight I can't live~

  • Notebooks, Midori MD & Maruman Mnemosyne — I studied Industrial Design, and I am still gerbil-trained to draw cubes and cylinders automatically, on paper. 

  • Pens, Rays Gel Ink & Pilot Acroball — I bulk order pens imported from Taiwan and Japan (plug: my favorite stationery store in the US — Yoseka Stationery) just to try them out. These two are my current favorites!

  • Kendama, Ozora Natural — This is niche knowledge but in 2014 there was a Kendama (Japanese wooden ball-on-a-stick) trend that swept the Facebook design team. You can do some wild stuff with it, although I've peaked at gunslingers and lighthouses. It's a great fidget toy for when you're thinking and a reminder to stand back from your desk.

  • iPad pro, 1st gen, 10.5" with smart keyboard — I love this thing. If I could yeet my computer out the window, I would. With the Github Codespaces launch for Teams this week, I might be able to code full time on it!

  • Kinesis Advantage 2 keyboard, custom keycaps — I've had persistent RSI since joining tech, and I have several Advantages because it's so comfortable to use. Plus, I feel like I'm docking into cyberspace whenever I put my hands on them. I cobbled together some cute keys because it's so ugly by default.

  • Evoluent Vertical Mouse, left handed — I'm right handed but I got in a bad habit of putting my weight on my right hand, so I switched to a left handed mouse and it's awkward enough to force me to use the keyboard more.

  • Tobii Eye Tracker 4 (not shown) — Earlier this year I started coding by voice, learning Talon Voice and using an eye tracker to control the mouse. It magnetically mounts to the bottom of my monitor.

  • Uplift desk + monitor arms + hanging cubby — when I swapped my keyboard keycaps, I figured I might as well make the monitor arms cuter, too. Couple thin coats of Krylon, sanded to 3000 grit. I also custom built the keyboard and mouse tray to fit the Kinesis Advantage with minimal overhang.

  • Hags Capisco Puls Chair — I feel like a space dentist.

  • Library books, currently reading The Bridgesgroom by Ha Jin, Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen — Visit your local library and pick up some books!

  • Hightide Hourglass

  • Himekuri Sticky Calendar

  • Muji Compact Alarm Clock

  • Chessex 25402 dice


  • Time Out — forces me to take breaks, customized to 10s break every 10m, and 2m break every hour, often in the middle of important screen presentations. At this point everyone I work with has seen it once and appreciates the mandatory stretch break.

  • Discord — After moving to Dallas, where we don't know many folks, and the pandemic, I depend on Discord for socializing, and have convinced several clients to switch to Discord for work, too. It's just a fun place to be.

  • Fish Shell — I was in search for a friendly shell that didn't require me reading deep stackoverflow posts to customize, and Fish worked great in the default Terminal app.

  • Codesandbox — I do a lot of prototyping in my work, and CSB has been such a nice way to spin up small experiments. I have my eye on Stackblitz but their Typescript support is still lacking.

  • Whereby — In my quest for friendly software, I found this delightful web-based Zoom alternative.

  • read.cv — LinkedIn is dead, long live read.cv!

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-Ryan (@rjgilbert)