Ryan Rix


Computers are Bullshit

1 Ryan Rix

I'm Ryan Rix, engineer at Uber, computer infrastructure wonk, public infrastructure wonk-wannabe, community engineer and breaker of hardware living in the gray^H^H^H^H bay area.

I build infrastructure in my free time, as well as hackerspace.s I build and fly RC planes and multicopters. I take public transit. I computer :(. Some may say that I open source, too. I buy stupid domains and use them for bad jokes. My dirty secret is that all of my other jokes are based on old Liam Lynch videos

In past lives, I've been a storer of stories hackerspace board member, javascript nerd and 3D printer botmaster I am still some of these things.

1.2 My Projects

I have some works of art and even more unfinished crap.

1.2.1 Works of Art Kickass Systems

My friends and I are building a VPN Darknet. We're stringing together TINC nodes, Kerberos and LDAP to create a base-layer for self-hosted services ranging from code hosting to IRC to Diaspora to Ceph.

I wrote a lot about this in my Off the Grid blog post. Ansible Infrastructure

The sum-total of my personal infrastructure is self-hosted in my cgit repository. A bunch of Ansible roles that do cool things and are being constantly iterated to make my infrastructure and the infrastructure of Kickass Systems super flexible and resilient. Dotfiles

I have a really comprehensive dotfiles repository. I used to have a really big vim streak, now I'm rocking emacs, evil and org-mode and I have a customized setup to match. I've switched from Firefox to UZBL and now that's also git-controlled. Dongiverse

Yeah, I'm that guy. I created a site as a joke, and some day I'm going to make it an actual thing.

The idea is that we'd do production and the artists would get most of the profit of it.

Some day. hsllock

At HeatSync Labs we had an internet-controlled door lock, so I made a mobile app for it. This was my first large-scale EnyoJS app, and evolved to use SpaceAPI to show who was in the space, whether the space was open, and then in to a worldwide hackerspace exploration app. It was this that allowed me to give opening remarks at the first EnyoJS hackathon. EnyoSlides

EnyoSlides was a presentation system developed by myself and Blaine Bublitz to make it easy to build mobile-controlled presentations. We built it on top of Socket.io and (obviously) EnyoJS, it included a Q&A system, and was easily extensible to new presentations.

Some day I may turn this in to a real project. vagrant-fedora-packager

I used to do a shitload of Fedora things, I don't do that so much any more, now I do still own some packages. In the best interests of keeping my system lean, I have all of this tied in to Vagrant so now I can throw away and build new VMs whenever I need to.

1.2.2 Unfinished Crap and Toys everlinks

This thing pulls tagged notes from my Evernote (when I used Evernote) and pushes them in to my blog. It was the first time I interfaced with a Thrift service and was a fun little weekend hack. hockey

Before I had org-mode I was writing this little goal tracker app. irssi-reorder

I used to use irssi, and chatted with way too many people. This script reordered the windows based on how often I talked to them based on my irssi logs. This was a surprisingly good metric about how much I cared about a given window, and pushed the ones I cared about in to the hotkey row. neigh

Neigh makes shitty twitter markov bots by consuming a corpus of text and RSS. 3D printing and CAD tooling

While at MadeSolid I made some cool demos, which I've open sourced. They turned in to the basis of a print bureau we were going to build, with parametric customizable models being rendered in JS, and fed through the backend to our printers.

jscad => scad-carver => quickslice => printqueue jscad

JScad was a threejs demo platform which created parametric models based on a modified OpenSCAD dialect. It had sliders and crap, and could feed models in to Printqueue. printqueue and quickslice

Printqueue and quickslice paired off to slice a bunch of STLs and queue them for printing. Each printer's pi was running slic3r and some celery workers; the celery worker would pull STLs and slice them and put them back in the sliced queue, and another worker would pull the sliced queue and print them using pronterface. scad-carver

This transpiled OpenSCAD AST-compiled CSG in to python which interfaced with a library to output models using the Carve. It was basically a terrifying hack, but worked well and was faster than OpenCSG. swell

Twitter lists are great, but they are hell to interface with. This may end up being easier, and provide a UNIX-ish way to do it.

2 FAQ You

2.1 Are computers really bullshit?

Not really, no. Computers are exciting, liberating technology that are doing wonderful things in the world. I'm a technologist who is saddened by the state of computing, the things we've given up in an effort to digitize the world. We've given up privacy for the ability to show people what we're eating, we've traded the ability to live without needing corporate overlords for the ability to always know if someone at work needs to get a hold of us. Technologists can be more closed minded and insular than anyone else while claiming to be liberal and open-minded. Tech culture and Silicon Valley culture make me sad.

These are among the reasons computers are bullshit. I don't want them to continue being that way, and this blog serves as a reminder to that.

2.2 What is this janky theme with all the goofy symbols?

This site is generated by org-page, a neat little Org mode blog generator. The default theme it ships acts just like org-mode, I toned it down a lot, you're lucky I don't just remove the CSS altogether!

2.3 Why doesn't this blog have comments?

A few reasons:

  • Blog comments aren't terribly useful. My email address and twitter handles are both openly available, and forcing people to go through an extra step has, in my experience made the comments much more insightful and thought out.
  • My site is statically generated. Yes, I could use disqus or something like that, most of the generator frameworks I've used support it out of the box, but my URL formats change often enough that I'd rather not do that, and I'd rather not have a third party in charge of that data, especially when they pull crap like this.

2.4 Colophon