Front-end Engineer & Custom Development, 2011-2013
Working at Radical Designs was a truly unique experience, both in working with our clients and as a member of a worker-owned cooperative. Unlike so many companies RD never looked for investment or took on debts to grow, which meant as workers we were free to pick projects and clients as we saw fit. When I joined, RD had already worked with hundreds of non-profit organizations and activist groups. We guided them through the whole process of building a website, from assessing needs to fitting it in their budget.
In addition to custom websites built in Drupal and Wordpress I built and maintained several interactive tools such as custom mother's day greeting cards, interactive voting maps and back-end tools for clients. These tools often had to be built on very short timelines and also withstand huge spikes of traffic during days of action. At RD we also ran the servers by hand, spinning up and maintaining our own Ubuntu and Debian Linux instances.
Front-end & Lead Engineer, 2013-2015
At DIY.org we created a unique social space for kids online, one that was above all about creativity and informal learning. While there I worked on the front-end code for the website and transitioned to the lead engineer of the various APIs and services that powered the site.
This included the website and API built in Node.js, worker queues and messaging services, video and audio transcoding integration, and some hefty MySQL. We ran the whole shebang on the AWS cloud platform and deployed directly using GIt.
In 2015 and 2016 I volunteered at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda learning to fix their collection of pinball machines. I learned about the electronics and mechanisms inside machines dating back to the 1950s, quite a departure from 21st century computers! Games made before 1975 were constructed purely from electro-mechanical components, that is motorized wheels and magnet relays acting as the brains of the machine.