- Tom Ryder
- Systems administration, network administration, web development
- Email address:
- Palmerston North, New Zealand
- +64 27 767 1705
I’m a systems, networking, and web development enthusiast. I have personal and professional experience with all three, using various operating systems and applications, both proprietary and open-source. I’m particularly fond of Unix-like systems, with most of my background being on Debian GNU/Linux.
I maintain a blog called Arabesque about all sorts of things concerning system administration and programming. I’m a Vim enthusiast and contributor, and develop plugins (Nextag, Vawk) and colorschemes (Sahara) for the editor. I’ve also contributed to the modern terminal multiplexer Tmux.
When I’m not using the computer, I’m interested in languages, philosophy, and music. I’ve been an amateur actor with the Massey University Drama Society. I play acoustic guitar, ukulele, and sometimes keyboard when I’m feeling brave.
My GPG public key (
4096R/77BB8872) is available here, if you ever need to check I signed something or encrypt something for me.
- 2009 — Accepted into Graduate Diploma of Science programme at Massey University, majoring in computer science, and studying extramurally as much as possible. I only study as my programming and design work allows, but my Web Technologies paper received an A+ grade. As of late 2012, I have shelved the completion of the diploma for the time being.
- 2006 — Finished my Bachelor of Science degree from Massey University. Majored in psychology, with papers in mathematics, statistics, and computer science. I was granted provisional admission to the university at the age of 16, and the entire degree was completed via international extramural study.
- Nagios Core Administration Cookbook — Published January 2013. A cookbook style guide to getting the most out of Nagios Core, a popular open source network monitoring tool. 360 pages, 11 chapters, published by Packt Publishing.
- Unix as IDE — Published February 2012. A popular series of posts giving an overview of software development tools and methodologies available on modern Unix-like systems, using GNU/Linux as an example. Featured on Hacker News and Reddit and widely discussed online, including independent translations into Chinese and Russian.
January 2011 – Present — Systems Administrator in the Network Operations Center of InSPire Net Ltd, a Palmerston North based internet service provider. Duties include:
- Building, upgrading, securing, migrating, and administrating GNU/Linux servers for various purposes, chiefly both shared and dedicated web hosting
- Network administration, troubleshooting, and installation, working with GNU/Linux, Mikrotik, Juniper, and sometimes Cisco network equipment
- Development of in-house tools for use in reporting, provisioning, or troubleshooting, written in Bash, Perl, and PHP
- High-level user support for InSPire Net customers
March 2007 – December 2010 — Web developer, web designer, and systems administrator for Professional Development Ltd, a Palmerston North information technology company specialising in websites and web applications. Duties included:
- Specifying, designing, writing, maintaining, optimising, and documenting PHP5 code for a complex proprietary content management system, which was driving around 15 sites when I began work, and more than 100 by the time I left
- Web server administration, mail server administration, and network administration for both live and development servers, including implementing custom scripts in Perl and Bash
June 2007 – July 2008 — Various contracts as website coordinator for UCOL’s public website, working with the marketing department and the webmaster. Duties included:
- Prototype web design and assistance in implementation of new public website.
- Web content management as the primary user of a custom system written in ASP/VBScript — managing content, reporting bugs and suggesting solutions and new features, implementing workarounds, and testing the system’s capacity
- Technical support for marketing staff
- Data collection, collation and entry and document maintenance
- I make, maintain, and administrate servers, websites, and web applications in my spare time, and have been doing so for over ten years. I love what I do, and if you hire me for your project, you’ll see that pretty clearly!
- GNU/Linux and BSD with both source and packages.
- Microsoft Windows systems from Windows 95 through Windows 7, though I don’t use them for hosting.
- Network administration, including managing servers, switches, routers, VLANs, VPNs, DNS, DHCP, RADIUS, PPP, and wireless devices.
- Network monitoring, using Nagios Core and Net-SNMP. At the beginning of 2013 I published my Nagios Core Administration Cookbook.
- Markup languages, including HTML, XHTML, and even XML when I have to. I have used templating systems extensively, including Smarty.
- CSS. I’m very excited about many of the new techniques available in modern browsers.
- SQL and database design. I use MySQL and PostgreSQL a lot.
- WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal experience. I generally choose either WordPress or a home-spun templated system for my own projects.
- Technical writing and blog management, via my own blog Arabesque and being the “WordPress guy” for employers and clients.
- Version control with RCS, Subversion, Mercurial, and my very favourite, Git.
- Web usability enthusiast. I’m one of Jakob Nielsen’s fans.
- W3C standards enthusiast.
- Graphic design with the GIMP.
- Geospatial data, using tools like Google Earth, file formats like KML and KMZ, and programming libraries like GDAL.
- In general, I am a very fast learner. If the language or tools you need aren’t listed here, ask me about them anyway. I usually appreciate the challenge of a new language or system to pick apart.