Ryan Rix Fights for the Users

Table of Contents

About Me

I care about technology that respects its users. Whether through business models, privacy practices or licensing, the agency and safety of my end users drives the work that I take on.

Whether that is through the protection and expansion of Uber users' privacy and data rights within the platform, or my extensive work in libre/free software communities, or my experience in hosting and constructing decentralized infrastructure and web services.

Through my career I've learned a healthy distrust of distributed systems and learned to reason about them even at large scales. The work I've done in reliability and systems engineering ranges from hardening and scaling payments systems and the marketplace platform at Uber, building a scalable cloud-native payments vault, to the work I've done scaling an iOS app backend from prototype through launch.

After five years at Uber across three teams, I am taking an open-ended sabbatical and looking for work which lines up with these goals and interests.

Current Work

Complete Computing Environment, Side Project

Complete Computing Environment (CCE, for short) is the operating system I use – a heavily customized Emacs running on top of Fedora Linux. It is the tool chest I use to be a productive and happy engineer and human, encompasing everything from smart e-mail handling, to a well-honed workflow of task-tracking, calandaring and note taking, to a simple and intuitive programming environment for the languages I work in. All of this is documented and exposed as a web site and encompases my work in engineering craftsmanship – the perfect tool for the job, well honed and well held.

Arcology, a modern user-agent, Side Project

Arcology is a web application which is growing out of two pieces of Emacs software, Org Mode and Gnus. Org-mode is an intuitive and powerful markup language with an API for querying and modifying entries. Gnus is an rss, mail, and usenet reader which uses a weighted sorting algorithm for bubbling up interesting entries. Arcology is an attempt to provide for individual use a graph database, object store, and query engine for building these applications, self hosted and available on the web. It is written using Elixir, Phoenix, and PostgreSQL.

Previous Work

Uber, L5 Engineer, Privacy Engineering

Technical lead and primary engineer on Uber's Download Your Data backend, from initial design, through a GDPR-deadline public release, to improving system throughput 10-100x in collaboration with Uber's data engineering teams on a unique index generation strategy for Apache Parquet.

Built a service using Google Golang and Hive 2 on top of Uber's microservice architecture which used Uber's data warehouses to provide a user-legible export of their data. Led a team of five engineers through design and implementation of scalability, feature work, and discovery and introduction of data sources while handling day to day operation of the system.

Engaged with product development teams throughout Uber to evaluate privacy concerns in technical proposals, and consulted with Privacy Legal teams both in the US and Amsterdam on policy changes and data rights scoping.

Uber, L4-L5 Engineer, Payments SRE, Business Infrastructure

Built a culture of reliability and care through direct partnership with the entire payments team, from product management, through engineering leadership, to direct developer engagements, to external payments partners.

  • Ensured systems of collection and disbursement met SLAs defined through a consensus of the above parties, automatically measured and reported on.
  • Designed load-testing of payments systems with real data to test the entire collection flow from our edge systems through to our global payments provider network.
  • Embedded in architecture and design teams of the next-generation collection/disbursement pipeline.
  • Primary architect and and technical lead for the infrastructure of a secure storage environment designed to store and move sensitive customer data like driver's license photos, bank account numbers, and payment tokens. This was built as a native AWS application secured to PCI DSS 3 standards.
  • End-to-end deployment of a test cluster of the above infrastructure which took 15 minutes from code-commit to live-in-test, probable from Uber's production testing infrastructure.

Uber, L3-L4 Engineer, Realtime Management and Operations

The Realtime Management and Operations team was formed to fill a need for infrastructure engineers specialized in the unique constraints of operating a highly available global distributed system written in Node.js.

As the second member of the team, I worked with engineering teams within the Realtime architecture on resiliency and scalability of systems and operations of those systems through automation of tooling, development of training materials and best-practices for On Call and Incident Response scenarios and through direct stability improvements within services.

Worked on design and implementation of a system which used Uber driver partners' cell phones as a backup datacenter by serializing state changes to a key-value store on the device, providing 95-97% failover success rate with no back-end based replication costs.

Grew the team from two engineers to 14 engineers, interviewing and screening candidates and building a keen eye towards hiring strong talent with a healthy love for their work and the field as a whole.

I was involved in varying levels with four datacenter turnup events, as we scaled out of a leased hosting provider on to our own hardware and network, and eventually in to the Chinese market with a completely isolate datacenter topology with unique security concerns.

Backend Engineer, Storehouse Media

At Storehouse I did feature development and backend engineering for a multimedia-based iOS application which was featured in the Apple App Store and various media outlets on Day 1 of its launch. We scaled out a simple ruby on rails application from a single Heroku Dyno on to an AWS EC2-based architecture, I maintained agility of the product's evolving features while working on cost-saving and scaling measures in preparation for said launch. I worked directly with frontend engineers and designers on API design and debugging and test infrastructure.

Hacker, MadeSolid

I was brought on at MadeSolid to prototype and eventually implement a large-scale 3D printing service bureau focusing on simple prototyping and alpha-test run projects for hardware startups. This involved the full end-to-end of printer construction and R&D, to render pipelines, to web frontends for uploading, pricing and submitting build orders.

Board Member and Hacker, HeatSync Labs

I was an early member of the Mesa, Arizona-based hackerspace HeatSync Labs, a non-profit focusing on knowledge sharing between members through a pool of shared tools and resources. I served as secretary of the board of directors and was an influential member of the community, focusing on health of the community and maintaining the 3D printing work area.

I also built out automation for the space, including a door-access control system which ran as a progressive web application embedded on various devices within the space, and a membership and inventory management portal written in Ruby on Rails.

Project Contributor, Fedora Project

I worked in various roles as a contributor within the Fedora Projects KDE, Packaging, News, Ambassadors, and Marketing Special Interest Groups. I integrated 3rd party software and provided ways to beta-test KDE software within Fedora, provided updates for the wider Fedora Community and open source community as a whole through the News, Ambassadors and Marketing SIGS. While interning with Red Hat, Inc, Fedora's sponsor, I was part of a team to plan, organize and execute Fedora's User/Developer Conference at my local university. I also worked with a group attempting to get the Fedora release name to be Beefy Miracle, after the semi-official Fedora mascot.

More Work

I maintain a portfolio of individual works, here.

Author: Ryan Rix <ryan@whatthefuck.computer>

Created: 2019-10-06 Sun 14:09