I am a JSON Artisan with opinions, and I have worked in/adjacent to the Software Industry since the original DotCom bubble collapsed. I have survived the AS/400, Solaris on SPARC and Intel, “Enterprise Java”, Ruby on Rails, and
curl|bash installers. I ran batch jobs for the cable company, built web infrastructure for an engineering software company that sponsors some NPR programming, and “engineered” some releases of popular configuration management software. I also give you your socks if you’re a Monitorama attendee!
A short summary of work history and idiosyncrasies
Besides release engineering and systems administration, I also worked for a hardcore record label and its merchandising arm, a handful of someone else’s failed dot-com startups (like everyone else in the late ‘90s), and a kosher bakery. I really miss that bakery. Seriously. Best boss I’ve ever had.
On the side, I once ran an independent web hosting business called Webslum with my cohort Matt Miller. Then we turned corporate, mortgaging our integrity for some of The Good Life™, and shut it down in the face of a consolidating and tumultuous market we couldn’t afford to play ball in anymore. In this capacity, I’ve been the go-to admin for web comics, web comic blogs, two lawyers, two prize-winning writers (one of them a Pulitzer!), and even-more failed start-ups. Most of them will even admit it if you ask them about it.
Oh hey, here’s some talks that I’ve given some talks at popular tech industry conferences
- Packaging is the Worst Way to Distribute Software, Except for Everything Else
- Given in Seattle at URES West 2014, enjoy 45 minutes wherein I clown on alternatives to package management and make a compelling case for package management tools being the least worst way to ship software to your customers.
- You Can’t Build a Team in The Thunderdome
- This time around I brayed at some kind folks in Boston during LISA16 about how bad the hiring and interviewing process is in the tech industry. I told some stories about some bad interviews I’ve given, talked about some survey results I put together, and went WAY over on time.
- Bash 101: What Are Dotfiles?
- Donut.js was kind enough to let me fumble through using a new presentation tool for the first time, live with their very patient, very friendly audience. Thrill to a mostly-working web-based terminal being used to awkwardly explain some novice-level Bash concepts with no rehersal and no regard for the amount of time alotted!
Here’s some of the more interesting, helpful, or polarizing things I’ve written
- Who is Ryan McKern
- There’s another, much more accomplished Ryan McKern out there, and this is a list of things he’s done. I like to think of him as my guitar-shredding brother from another (distantly related) mother. The list is outdated, but if you’re looking for the Ryan McKern who can grow a beard, he’s your guy.
- I am not an engineer (je né suis pas un ingénieur)
- Some words about why I think calling me, or anyone else who doesn’t have a steel pinky ring an engineer is silly.
- NNTP readers on OS X are built from failure
- Pretty much exactly what it promises on the label: I tried to use a bunch of different NNTP readers back in 2009, and I completely hated every single one of them. Half of the companies and products listed don’t even exit anymore. Probably because their software was bullshit.