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Interview with the Tech Modling
My Nation

Gregory Rubin
PGP: 0x0604DF3E
Resume: HTML

Other contact information available upon request.

Who are you?

My name is Gregory Rubin and I currently live in Seattle, Washington where I pay my bills by writing computer programs. I graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science Cum Laude (with highest distinction) in 2005. I'm also SalusaSecondus, game administrator and programmer for the popular online game NationStates. I started working for NationStates in June of 2003 for several reasons. Foremost among them was a desire to give back to the community and to apply what I had learned in university to the real world. It's been a wonderful 3 years and I've brought a lot of stuff to the game from my studies and work, and in turn brought much to my studies and work from what I learned from the game.

What do you do?

I started in a security role. I spent my time exploring the game, finding and fixing vulnerabilities. Much more quickly than I think anyone expected, I lost my low profile and so became a tech-support guy on the forums. Though at this time I didn't have any access to the game code, I did have a better understanding of how the game worked than the players (and many of the moderators), more free time than Max, and a knack for figuring out what was wrong. I also assisted the moderators when they had technical questions. I gained access to the source code in October of 2003 and quickly taught myself Perl and shortly thereafter started submitting patches and game improvements.

I became involved with the move to Jolt's servers in March of 2004. Due to timezone issues (I was in a more UK-friendly timezone than Max) I became Jolt's official contact at NationStates in April and the person most directly involved in orchestrating the move. I also contributed some of my largest blocks of code during this time, adding new features, security, stability, and integration with the Jolt forums (joint project with Jolt, we designed the protocols together and then each implemented our own sides). With the move to Jolt, I was promoted to Game Administrator (in addition to system-administrator and programmer). Since then I have overseen the moderators (though that is scarcely necessary with the wonderful team we have), maintained the code, implemented patches and new features, acted as final arbiter for appeals, and served as a coordinating contact for players, moderators, Jolt, Max, and just about everyone else involved in the game.

What do you do besides NationStates?

As much as I hate to admit it, NationStates does consume large portions of my existence, but fortunately, not all. I used to work for a small software company doing Delphi development. I had a lot of fun building Internet enabled database applications for Special Olympics International. Now, though, I work for Amazon.com on their Digital Media Team. That's the job that actually pays my bills (you didn't think that NationStates actually paid me, did you?) and it keeps my mind active on a daily basis. We just (Sept. 2006) launched Amazon Unbox which is a legal video download service. (Only for people in the U.S., sorry). That took up much of my life for the past year and I'm glad that we finally gave birth and everyone can behold our beautiful baby.

When I'm not trying to keep from going broke I play piano and penny-whistle; I bike, read, write short stories, tell stories (professionally), cook, and take pictures. I played rugby up until 2004 when senior year started swallowing too much of my time.

Why have you posted this page?

This (very plain) page was created to introduce myself to the many people who have dealt with me professionally through NationStates and are curious regarding the person behind the mask.

How can I contact you?

The best way to get in contact with me is through email, I check it on a daily basis. You can also contact me through IRC (Nickname: SalusaSecondus). I always hang out on Esper.net, usually in #TheModCave. If I'm not in there you can ask anyone to get me and they'll see if I'm around. I also am usually on QuakeNet (try #Jolt or just messaging me). If you want to contact me in any other ways (AIM, ICQ, Phone, Snail-Mail, in Person), please contact me through email first we'll make arrangements there. If you're into crypto like I am, you can download my PGP key and use it for all communications. (0x0604DF3E)

OK, fine, but why the strange mask?

Ah, yes. One of the questions that I've been asked the most “Why the strange mask and is that really you?” The second question is the easier, yes. That photo was taken of me by a friend just after I came back from a masquerade ball. Now “why?” When I first joined NationStates my primary job was site security and a few of us decided that I would be able to do this job best if no one knew who I was. So, I created a persona who would tell no one of himself and who generally cultivated an air of mystery. It became a sort of game. Also, I actively play NationStates and by keeping my non-administration accounts secret I can avoid accusations of bias or using my position to affect the role play.

© Gregory Rubin, 2006.