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If you're primarily interested in my professional work, please see my résumé.

Alan Post (aka[1][2])
DevOps Hacker
".i ma'a lo bradi cu penmi gi'e du"
"We have met the enemy, and he is us."[3]
Alan Post (aka[1][2])

About me

I eat GNU Make's lunch doing DevOps with Electric Make®.

I'm a US citizen, son of an Air Force Major and a nurse. My family is entrepreneurial, and I spent my teenage years working in my family's business as a systems administrator and network installer. The technology for home and small office networking was just becoming available, and I found myself at every doctor's office and school district in my area deploying first token ring and finally ethernet networks.

I taught myself to program during this time, a process that was significantly accelerated with the arrival of the internet and the availability of Linux and that platform's development tools. I started working for Prediction Company in 1999, getting my first exposure to data and data analysis. By the time I left in 2006, I was the Managing Director of Data Services, responsible for the data infrastructure of the company.

That same year I helped form Sunflower River, a 4-acre farm in Albuquerque's South Valley. This project gives me a physical substrate from which to operate, as well as being my planned means for retirement.

I'm an avid road cyclist and enjoy spending time outdoors.

My work

Data Analysis

In my professional life, I'm responsible for building and maintaining infrastructure for managing data[4]. The quantity of data the world is producing is growing in size and variety. Building analytic capability into an organization is a careful balance between the long-term supporting infrastructure and the transience of any particular data source. A discovery made from one piece of data may immediately render that source obsolete, as learning takes you in a new direction. Analytic infrastructure is therefore the capability to answer questions, rather than the more obvious ability to process data.

Given this transient nature of much of the code and data involved in analysis, the norms and patterns used by a development team matter just as much as the toolset you develop. Data Analysis will often lead you in directions your toolset hasn't anticipated. To help resolve this tension, I'm an active contributor to and promoter of wikis as a bridge between the source code and development team. A wiki will document both the living history of a team's work and the intangible aspects of a codebase that would otherwise be a testament to how you solved yesterday's problem.

I have a specific interest in parsing, having written parsers for hundreds of data formats. I have developed capabilities in related areas, including filesystem performance, databases, and machine translation. Python, numpy, and matplotlib form the core of my software stack.

Sunflower River

I'm one of four stewards of Sunflower River, a 4-acre family farm.[5]. As a steward I'm responsible for keeping daily and seasonal activity aligned with our vision statement. Sunflower River is in the desert southwest, where water is our most precious and critical resource. I experiment with water use and reuse, integrating my use of water with the ecology around my dwelling space. The central technology of my work in this area is aquaponics[6][7], a system which gives me a way to integrate my water use with the surrounding landscape.

Open Source

I'm a contributor to the open-source community. The focus of my open source work is pedagogical tools. The demands of both my personal and professional life require constant learning: it's a skill that is by necessity integrated into my daily work process. To meet the learning demands of my life, I use and develop the "Where Are Your Keys?" (WAYK) learning game. This game and the community around it develop practical hacks for accelerating the learning process.[8][9]

As a result of my mutual interests of pedagogy and parsing/formal grammars, I study the constructed language Lojban. Lojban is a human-speakable language with an unambiguous grammar[10][11]. I perform fundamental research in learning and pedagogy within the Lojban and WAYK community through my website lo do ckiku ma zvati, that phrase being the Lojban translation of "Where are your Keys?"

My programming language of choice for open source work is Chicken Scheme, an implementation of Scheme that is particularly well integrated with Unix. I intentionally use different tools in my Open Source and professional work to expose me to a multiplicity of perspectives.

Contact me

  • Primary e-mail:
  • permaculture e-mail:
  • google chat:
  • irc: alynpost on freenode
  • Github
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Stack Overflow
  • Wikipedia


  1. ".alyn." is my “Lojbanized name.” i.e., ".alyn." is how the name "Alan" is spelled in Lojban. According the the morphology rules of Lojban, “Names are not permitted to have the sequences “la”, “lai”, or “doi” embedded in them, unless the sequence is immediately preceded by a consonant.” “ly” is the “close alternative” to replace a “la” sequence in a name.
  2. I often use the spelling "", rather than "Alan Post" as my handle on the Internet, as the former is relatively distinct, making me easier to identify.
  3. Walt Kelly, Pogo's Earth Day Poster, 1970.
  4. In December 2013 I founded, which provides analytics in physical space. My full résumé is available.
  5. Sunflower River is an intentional community located in Albuquerque's South Valley. We maintain a blog and wiki.
  6. In 2012 I built "The Pond," a 1,500 gallon aquaponics system which I think of as the center of my human-constructed "oasis."
  7. The aquaponics page at the Sunflower River wiki documents my research.
  8. More information about "Where are your Keys?" can be found at the WAYK website.
  9. I am the sysop for the "Where are your Keys?" wiki.
  10. An unambiguous grammar means that a Lojban sentence has one and only one meaning. (Though that one meaning might be quite vague.) The typical example of the kind of ambiguity Lojban resolves is the phrase "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."
  11. My page on Lojban contains a example of Lojbanic writing.