The Intro: Ryan Boswell

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Ryan Boswell, the newest Senior Engineer at Fusion. My skillset lies mostly on the backend — the nuts and bolts dear readers of Fusion don’t see if I do my job right. But, I do decent frontend development when needed. Ultimately, my goal is to make sure that everything on the site behaves as it should.

I’ve always appreciated working for media companies. Free publication of information is critical for a well-informed public. My strength is code over writing — and I love working on the platforms that the real writers use day in and day out. Previously, I spent time with ESPN Rise (ESPN’s now-defunct high school sports venture) working to parse cross country and track meet results into a national ‘elite marks’ database. More recently, I led engineering at VentureBeat, where I focused on building out an integrated publishing and research platform.

I reside in mostly foggy (looking at you Karl) San Francisco, the center of the tech universe, and work on the sunny side of the bay from Fusion’s Oakland office. When I’m not working, you can find me out exploring San Francisco and the Bay Area in general. The Big Eat and The Big Drink help me discover every nook and cranny the city has to offer through curated selections of the best food and drink around.

What’s your preferred hardware and software setup?

I’ve been an Apple fanboy for most of my life. I started with an iBook G4 and have been upgrading every few years since. I currently rock a 2015 Retina MacBook Pro with Apple Thunderbolt displays both at home and in the office. I love having lots of screen real-estate since I’m likely to have a dozen windows open at a time.

Software-wise, Dropbox makes sure all my important files are available regardless of what device I’m on. It’s also the handy in-the-cloud backup for things I can’t afford to lose. My files consist more or less of a number of folders describing either types of files (Photos, Music, eBooks, etc) or specific projects, and then shared folders with friends and family. I keep my code projects outside of Dropbox, since Github handles syncing there. 1Password does the same for account info and passwords and I consider it absolutely indispensable.

Atom is my code editor of choice for a few reasons: It’s open source, it’s built using ‘web technologies’ which means it’s the closest thing to a usable web-based IDE (all the cloud things!), and it’s extremely flexible. Some of my favorite features and plugins include integrated file browser, automatic code linting in virtually any language you need, a number of handy Git integrations to make branch development simpler. There’s also tons of custom themes (mine is currently Seti) and thousands of other plugins for your every desire.

Chrome (syncs with Google), Github (all my code is there), and iTerm2 (tabs, tabs, tabs) round out the rest of my daily development workflow. Firefox and Safari play supporting roles in the ever-important cross-browser testing. I’m a huge fan of open-source software, for the same reasons as my love of media: it promotes freedom of information.

Slack keeps me connected with co-workers across the country and a few open-source groups I lurk in. Bartender helps keep my menu bar decluttered. And Spotify keeps me jamming all day.

How do you consume media? Any favorite formats or publications?

On an average day, I’ve probably got headphones in and Spotify playing something. I have a rather eclectic taste in music, and the genre I listen to depends on the situation and my mood, but mainstays are EDM, Jazz, brass bands (New Orleans style), and anything with a bagpipe.

RSS subscriptions, via Feedly, the only replacement for Google Reader, keep me up to date with what’s going on. I usually pop a bunch of posts into new tabs when I browse through in the morning and read through them in mini-breaks throughout my day. On the tech side, I read Gigaom, Re/code, and Vox. SFist and 7×7 are for my local news. For less ‘must read’ content, I casually peruse my Twitter and Facebook feeds for something interesting.

I’m a huge fan of Apple TV. I use it to watch movies and TV shows (including Fusion, of course, but also Netflix and HBO Now), and occasionally channel-specific apps. My biggest wish for Apple TV is a better universal search functionality for finding something regardless of the source. It’s rather a pain of looking for a particular movie or show in 3-4 apps before I finally find it, or find it’s not available. I’m pretty excited for the new Apple TV and the tvOS platform for 3rd party apps, here’s hoping that it helps bring even more content to my living room.

What excites you most about what’s coming next at Fusion?

I’m really excited by the ambitious and experimental focus of what we’re doing at Fusion — both on the content side of the house as well as the tech stack. There are a ton of really smart and talented people working across the company, and I’m honored to work alongside them, building a media company for a new generation.

Most of all, I’m in love with the “open source all the things” mentality at Fusion. A hefty chunk of our code is available publicly on Github. Internally, we constantly evaluate whether or not something new is worth open sourcing. That mentality doesn’t end with open sourcing code, many of the lessons we’re learning as we continue to experiment and push the boundaries get pushed back out to the wider tech and journalism community in all kinds of ways. I’m pretty excited to add my own contributions.

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