I enjoy building systems, breaking systems, understanding systems, and writing about how it all works. My writing isn’t connected by a more complex theme than “things I want to write about.” Usually that’s tech related, either programming or engineering leadership. Sometimes it’s music, running, backpacking, mental health, or video games.
This blog doesn’t support comments but if you have questions, feel free to reach out—my Twitter DMs are usually open, and I’m available on Keybase and Signal if you’re concerned about privacy. I’m also a member of a number of tech (and non-tech) Slacks and Discords. Chances are good if you see a “dylnuge” it’s me.
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I am currently employed full-time and not available for contract work or hire.
I’ve worked as a software engineer (and occasional manager) at lots of different tech companies, ranging from small startups to massive tech behemoths. I lead teams in developing and maintaining robust, scalable architecture. I’m systems-oriented and love getting my “hands dirty” with the actual operations side of infrastructure; on most teams I’ve been on, I’ve been the go-to “infra person” who knows how things fit together inside and out, from high-level architecture diagrams to the specific interactions of a handful of configs sitting on boxes (and the deployment processes that put those configs there). I also really love debugging; the puzzle solving of it meshes extremely well with my brain, and I tend to be good at figuring out why something is happening.
I work best in collaborative environments with a good sense of team cohesion; generally speaking, I like working on teams where we’re all focused on the same problems, even if everyone’s individual work on that problem differs from day to day. I enjoy pairing with other developers on occasion and think that most companies undervalue this; in my personal experience, it’s one of the most powerful ways to onboard new engineers, up-level people, and overcome the work anxieties that can create friction on a project.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some incredible things in my career. Some of the professional projects I’m most proud of working on include: leading the design and development of a large-scale data warehouse for the federal agency overseeing Medicaid, building a data pipeline from scratch that could process tens of millions of network events per second at BlueVoyant, and helping scale the New York Times for the 2020 elections.
Projects, Articles, and Talks
Let’s Implement DNS to Learn History (!!con 2020)
I delivered a talk on quirks of DNS and what they tell us about the history of computing at !!con 2020. I love putting systems in the context of the people who created them. This talk was a joy to create and deliver, and was my first time speaking at a public conference (as well as my first time giving a talk remotely).
I did a talk for BlueVoyant on the concept of stack smashing and the paper by Aleph One. I ran it as an interactive session where participants got to smash stacks in the process. The talk recording is not publicly available, but check out the slide deck or GitHub repository which contains both the example code and original Keynote file.
- Git Repo — The repo for the talk. There are three interactive examples (and some hints). Feel free to DM me on Twitter if you're actually trying this and get stuck or want to verify a solution.
- Slide Deck — The slides for the talk. I don't have slide notes which makes them less useful as a visual aid, but unfortunately I don't have a public recording for the talk either. Again, if you're actually playing with this, feel free to DM me; I'd love to clarify things!
I’ve written a couple of nonfiction articles in places other than this website. Here they are.
- Chernobyl DevOps: Software Engineering, Disaster Management, and Observability — A semi-detailed explanation of Chernobyl and some thoughts on what lessons we can take from it as software engineers. Probably my most technically involved writing, but most of the tech is nuclear physics and not software (go figure). It's framed in the context of the Chernobyl TV miniseries but doesn't really require watching it—though you should!
- The Devastating Stereotype of the Artless Scientist — An article I wrote on Medium after The Imitation Game came out, less about that film in particular than it is about my frustration with the socially incompetent scientist/engineer stereotype that pushes people away from scientific fields. This went viral at the time, so I kind of hate it now and would love to edit it.