Employment History

Senior Unix Systems Administrator at Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC (Formerly The Boston Globe) (September 2007 to present)

The Operations team manages several hundred Linux, Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, and XenServer instances, in multiple geographical locations.

The technologies I use and maintain on a daily basis include:

  • Applications: Confluence, Jenkins, Jira, Methode, Movable Type, OAS, OpenGrok, RT, Stormpost, Wordpress
  • Application Servers: Django, Tomcat, Zope
  • Caching: Memcache, Varnish
  • Configuration Management: Ansible, Puppet
  • Databases: MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, SQL Server
  • Directory Services: AD, LDAP, NIS, Radius
  • DNS: Bind 9, Dynect, Microsoft DNS
  • Email: Ironport email appliances, procmail, postfix, sendmail
  • Integrity Monitoring: Osiris
  • Languages: Awk, Bash, C, Groovy, Java, Perl, Python, sh, Tcl
  • Load Balancing: Bigip, NetContinuum
  • Monitoring: Cacti, InterMapper, net-snmp
  • NFS: NetApp, F5 Acopia, EMC Isilon
  • Web Servers: Apache, Lighttpd, Nginx
  • Version control: CVS, Git, RCS, Subversion
  • Virtualization: EC2, Solaris zones, Xen

Notable projects during this time include:

  • Primarily responsible for continuous uptime of all Active Directory, Apache, Confluence, Django, DNS, Jenkins, Jira, Methode, MT, OAS, Postfix, Tomcat, Varnish, and Zope services, which includes participating in a rotating 24/7 on-call schedule.
  • Converted entire infrastructure from hand-configured physical machines to Xen guests, configured automatically with Puppet and Ansible.
  • Automated application deployment and configuration for Apache, Tomcat, and Django, using Jenkins, Ansible, and Subversion.
  • Automated hundreds of routine daily processes to facilitate publishing both the Boston Globe newspaper and the Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com web sites.
  • Implemented thousands of custom SNMP probes, enabling full monitoring of applications and services.
  • Implemented non-trivial custom front-end content rules using BigIP irules.
  • Built tools to facilitate continuous application testing and deployment, and instituted software development best practices, which included migrating the organization from CVS to Subversion, comprehensive unit testing, continuous builds using Jenkins, and hands-off deployments to a QA tier for testing.
  • Built email-to-a-friend backend service that does spam and content filtering, black- and white-listing based on user preferences, throttling, reporting, and IP-based reputation filtering using Senderbase, while ensuring CAN-SPAM compliance.
  • Built weather search application using MySQL stored procedures and custom tables optimized for the data set and historical search data.

Web Product Programmer at The New York Times Regional Media Group (July 2005 to August 2007)

  • Extended the Regional Media Group's CMS (Publicus) and managed data import and export.
  • Developed stored procedures in MS SQL Server for data warehousing, real-time reporting, and trouble-shooting data integrity errors.
  • Wrote custom data importer configurations for a number of print publishing systems, for all 16 of the RMG's newspapers.
  • Wrote custom scripts to integrate with third-party vendors, both web-facing and via feeds (RSS, CSV, and other formats too silly to mention).
  • Extended Publicus' capabilities via stored procedures.
  • Maintained and extended RNG's extensive geotagging and feature extraction system, which is based on linguistic analysis software from Teragram.
  • Automated data imports and exports and reporting.
  • Built in-house tools for tracking down and correcting data errors.
  • Introduced version control (CVS and Subversion) and code reuse via perl modules that extended Publicus and made its features available for batch processing, imports and exports, and automated reporting.
  • Installed, configured, and maintained a Movable Type instance to power a 12+ advertising sites, which are auxiliary to the primary newspaper sites.

Unix Systems Administrator at Boston.com (March 2004 to June 2005)

The Operations team manages several hundred Solaris and Linux servers, in multiple geographic locations.

  • DNS: bind 9
  • Email: postfix, procmail
  • NFS: NetApps
  • Databases: MySQL, Oracle
  • Directory services: NIS
  • Version control: RCS, CVS
  • Apps: RT, ViewCVS, Stormpost

Software Engineer at Boston.com (September 1999 to February 2004)

  • Created custom web-facing software using Apache+mod_perl and MySQL.
  • Designed and implemented Boston.com's Real Estate application, which increased online real estate revenue from $250k per year to approximately $2M. In addition to the expected web-based component, this project included parsing non-ASCII data files, extensive database modeling, and the importing of 20+ (arbitrarily formatted) data feeds from local realtors.
  • Part of the team that built the web's largest Zope application, a content management system.
  • Designed and implemented the publishing portion of the CMS. The publishing server is a distributed, parallelizable system that is controlled by a centralized state machine. The publishing server and CMS communicate via a REST-based RPC system that passes bidirectional commands and status updates in real-time.
  • Built significant infrastructure code, and led the department to build shared, reusable components, such as database access code, ORM, and logging tools.
  • Migrated our code base from RCS to CVS.

Systems Specialist at Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (October 1996 to August 1999)

  • Managed a mixed network consisting of NetWare 2, NetWare 3, NetWare 4, and Windows NT domains. Created user accounts, managedresource permissions, and the like.
  • Performed general tech support duties, including provisioning new workstations (Windows 95).
  • Supported the migration from Lotus cc:Mail to a POP3-based system using Eudora.
  • Managed the Countway Library's web presence, using Apache on Solaris machines, and created a number of custom applications using mod_perl and MySQL.
  • Maintained several computer clusters: 15 Public terminals for library patrons, 12 Macs (OS 9), 8 Windows NT workstations, and 8 SGI Irix workstations. The Macs, SGIs, and NT workstations were primarily used for GIS applications (ESRI ArcView and ArcInfo) and data visualization by the Epidemiology department at the Harvard School of Public Health.


RT Essentials

Jesse Vincent, Robert Spier, Dave Rolsky, Darren Chamberlain, Richard Foley (O'Reilly and Associates, 2005)

Perl Template Toolkit

Darren Chamberlain, Dave Cross, Andy Wardley (O'Reilly and Associates, 2003)