THE OMNI SHOW

Get to know the people and stories behind Omni’s award-winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS.

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12
April 11, 2018, 6 a.m.
Aaron Bendickson, System Administrator

Aaron Bendickson — system administrator, saint — talks about how he runs things at Omni and, especially, about how he fixes things.

Transcript:

Brent: You're listening to The Omni Show. Get to know the people and stories behind The Omni Group's award winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS. Music.

[MUSIC PLAYS]

I'm your host. Brent Simmons. In the studio with me today is Aaron Bendickson, system administrator at The Omni Group. Say hello, Aaron.

Aaron: Hello, Aaron.

Brent: So, at Omni, we're very lucky, because we are super rich in Aarons. We have a whole bunch of Aarons. Well, we have three Aarons. We've got two Tims, got a couple Dereks, but Aarons, that's where we roll. I'm going to call you “Hank” Aaron, just to differentiate you.

Aaron: Oh. All right.

Brent: That way, you'll be known as the home run king.

Aaron: Oh great. Yeah.

Brent: That'd be okay?

Aaron: Yeah. I'll roll with it, man.

Brent: Okay. Cool. All right. But while I have you here, here's the question that's really on my mind: So, on my laptop, is connected to a monitor and an external hard drive and stuff, and I disconnect it frequently to go do things. I always get that message on, about the disk not being ejected properly?

Aaron: Oh yes.

Brent: Now, between you and me, I think that's probably bogus. So give it to me straight — can I just ignore that?

Aaron: Well, how much do you know about journaled file systems?

Brent: About what?

Aaron: Yeah. Exactly. I would say, you know, nine times out of ten, you're probably going to be okay. But it's that one time that will get you. And you have good back-ups, right?

Brent: It is the backup.

Aaron: Oh, of course. It is the back-up. Yeah. Let's-

Brent: That's why they pay you the big bucks.

Aaron: We should talk about remote backup.

Brent: That's probably not a bad idea. Of course, everything is in a repository, so it is immediately backed-up. Or IMAP, or whatever.

Aaron: Yeah, probably.

Brent: Omni syncing service, for instance. Anyway, so you're a system administrator. Is your job mostly like Office Space? What do you do all day?

Aaron: There are definitely some parts of it that make me feel like Office Space. My relationship with printers was largely influenced by that movie. So yeah, and telephones to some extent.

Brent: Telephones. No kidding.

Aaron: But, yeah. You know, as a system administrator, I'm kind of in charge of everything that is not on your desk. So, I've got to keep the email flowing and the web servers running and the chat chatting and the phones ringing.

Brent: “The spice must flow.”

Aaron: Yeah, the spice must flow.

Brent: There was an email today about the doors. You're even having trouble with the doors, somehow.

Aaron: Yes, the doors. Yep. You would think-

Brent: Giant repositories.

Aaron: You would think that the doors would be pretty self-sufficient. But no.

Brent: No. Not these days.

Aaron: No. And not at Omni. We have a history with doors, in fact.

Brent: Then there was the thing with the ... we have like a movie room, right? An auditorium, kind of like a small cinema. Big enough to fit our 60-some people. Super nice. There was a problem there too, and I bet that was yours.

Aaron: Yeah, well, that's a little different, because it's a vendor.

Brent: Okay.

Aaron: That, yes, it's in our lap to coordinate with that vendor and tell them what's going on and have them come and fix it for us when we have a problem. So it's ... some stuff we build in house and some stuff we hire out. We do a little more hiring out than we used to. When I started, it was — we did it all. We did it all ourselves. Everything running on a Power Mac in the basement, on a T1 line.

Brent: Oh. Yeah, wow. So, during Ainsley's show a few weeks ago, she mentioned a thing about OmniBugZapper. And how one day, someone tested it by putting an emoji in the title, and it brought down the system for everybody.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: How did you fix that?

Aaron: I asked Ken to fix it, actually.

Brent: So part of your job is knowing who to talk to.

Aaron: Yes, that's definitely it. And one of the nice things about being in my position at a place like Omni is, you're surrounded by a lot of people who are smarter than you. So that helps.

Brent: I've found that to be true for myself. Certainly.

Aaron: Yeah. I think it had to do with removing the particular row from the database that was causing the problem.

Brent: Oh. Okay.

Aaron: But yeah.

Brent: Didn't have to bring the vendor in or anything.

Aaron: No. Well, in that case, I did, because I think Ken built that system. So, yeah.

Brent: Of course he did.

Aaron: Of course he did.

Brent: Of course he did. I'm amazed sometimes that we use anything from outside at all. But of course, we do.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: We have to. I mean ... yeah.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: We don't sell our own brand of computers and operating systems, after all. So you've got ... You mentioned chat. Repos. Our intranet. We have like a, this whole thing we call Guidebook.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: Just all kinds of stuff.

Aaron: And all things you don't think about too, like the network switches, the firewalls, the routers.

Brent: Oh. Right. Sure. Yeah.

Aaron: The Wi-fi. All that stuff.

Brent: Yeah. I don't envy you at all.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: All I have to do is sit here and talk in front of a microphone. My job's easy. But, our listeners might be interested in this syncing system that OmniFocus and the various apps use. So that falls under systems administration?

Aaron: Yeah. Not just me, but a lot of people at Omni. Of course, I'm the one whose phone will wake me up in the middle of the night if it goes off.

Brent: Lucky you.

Aaron: Yep. But, that's something that we rolled out, many years ago now, to help synchronize data between people's iOS devices and their Macs and make sure they can stay up to date with their OmniFocus stuff. It was kind of a new thing for Omni, because we didn't really provide any services like that, as part of our products. But the benefit was there, so we went with it. It's evolved over time. But it seems to be in a pretty good place right now. Have we got any wood around here that I can knock on?

Brent: Here. Knock on my head.

One of the things that impressed me about that, even before I came to Omni, is that we were basing our syncing on WebDAV, which is just a standard. And it comes with Apache and whatever else. And you can set up the server, a WebDAV server, almost anybody can, fairly easily. And we've ... so instead of building a complex back end with a whatever, MySQL database, or something, we just said, "Yeah, it's WebDAV." I like that — I don't mean this pejoratively, but it's a low tech solution. Which I think is smart.

Aaron: Yeah, and I think that that's imbued in the company culture, is trying to right-size your solutions. And I know that also it was part of the vision for the syncing service, that it should be able to be run by other people. It should be, like the back-end of it, should be, if you needed to have your own, that as long as it speaks this standardized language, then you're going to be fine.

Brent: Yeah.

Aaron: We didn't want to own all of it. We wanted to give customers options.

Brent: Yeah, and that's such a cool thing. You know, I have actually set up OmniFocus to sync with my own WebDAV server, just for testing purposes. But it was easy. I went in, clicked a few buttons, I have WebDAV. Put in the right info and it just totally worked.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: I'm like, man. That's cool. Have you had to build much on top of that, like monitoring or...

Aaron: Yeah. We have all of the pieces that go into account creation and setup. That got written all in house. And of course it runs on its own little web server. And keep track of all of our users and their logins and all that stuff in the database. And we replicate that just in case there's a problem. All of the glue that we build on top of it. And then of course, like any system you can have monitoring and trending. You can watch what the usage is like over time.

Brent: Oh okay. That makes sense.

Aaron: Stuff like that.

Brent: Are people syncing or not syncing?

Aaron: Yeah, well if they're not syncing, we will know about it.

Brent: Yes.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: Do we have a favorite operating system we run this stuff on?

Aaron: Well, we started everything on OS X, because that's just what we had at the time. But then we've been moving more to more of BSD, FreeBSD based for the back-end servers.

Brent: We like BSD for its security? For its user administration?

Aaron: Its security. It's also, in a lot of ways, shared some, it's like a cousin to OS X.

Brent: Closer than Linux.

Aaron: Yeah. It's what we had, the most in-house knowledge about at the time. So, that's what we went with.

Brent: That's cool.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: Now the most interesting part of your job, I think, though to you it's probably almost nothing, is management of the robots.

Aaron: Oh yes.

Brent: We have robots.

Aaron: We have robots here.

Brent: So, listeners may not know what I'm talking about. So Omni has always been an "everybody works on site" company. Only recently have we allowed for a few remote employees. And so we have these two robots. Now they're not technically robots, I suppose. But they're telepresence robots. So it's like a display, where you can see the person. And that display is on a stalk. And then there's a base with wheels. And they can drive it around and everything. And we have two of those. And of course, those fall under Aaron's purview as well.

Aaron: Yeah. The robots, we actually, I think we kind of stumbled into owning robots accidentally.

Brent: As you do.

Aaron: As you do. You know, the company credit card had reams and reams of Amazon points. And so, I think the decision was made to, "Oh. Let's just get a robot."

Brent: Right. That's so Omni, right there. Let's just get a robot.

Aaron: But now people can use ... and we do have now, employees who are full time remote. So that gives them an option for attending the company meeting or a team meeting that they may be in. They just log into the robots, one of them, and wheel it down the hall. There's two speeds. You have to master the slow speed before you can kick it into high gear.

Brent: Not like the high gear is very quick at all. Yeah.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: We are a two story company. And the robots are housed on the bottom of the two stories. So, there is the issue with every company meeting — we have those every Tuesday — somehow the robots have to get upstairs.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: And they are not like Artoo, or Daleks, they can't actually levitate. I have on occasion carried one. But they also just, take the elevator.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: With help.

Aaron: With help.

Brent: Because they can't press any buttons.

Aaron: If they had ... well, at one point I think we had some plungers.

Brent: Yes, we did.

Aaron: Taped to them and there was talk about robot jousting. I don't think that ever really panned out.

Brent: One of these days.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: So you've been at Omni for, how long?

Aaron: Almost 11 years.

Brent: 11 years. Wow.

Aaron: 11 years this May.

Brent: Wow. So a lot of people, I've asked how they got here. And they've answered, almost mind boggling to me, but it makes sense. So they got here via Craigslist ad. Are you another of those Craigslisters?

Aaron: I would be. Yes.

Brent: Wow.

Aaron: I answered a Craigslist ad.

Brent: That's amazing.

Aaron: That's I showed up here. I was actually working as a system administrator for another company at the time. And one of the things we needed to do was to hire some more people to help me.

Brent: At this other company?

Aaron: At this other company. So I said, and it's my job to write the job description.

Brent: Okay.

Aaron: So I figured, well, the best thing to do, if I'm trying to figure out what a Craigslist job ad looks like is just go read some. Sure enough, there was Omni. I said, "Hmm. Maybe I want to do that instead."

Brent: Instead of writing this ad?

Aaron: Instead of writing this ad.

Brent: "I'll just answer this one."

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: So what did you end up doing? You took a day off from work? Just leave your job entirely?

Aaron: No, I had to send them the email. And then wait a period of time. And then, they wrote me back and set up an interview. And had to take day off. And I was living in Tacoma at the time. I lived about 45 miles away from Seattle. So I had to drive up here and do the interview, and it took most of the day. And of course, while I was in the interview, the monitoring that I had set up from my other job notified me that the mail server had lost a disk.

Brent: As you're in the interview.

Aaron: As I'm in the interview. And so, I finished the interview, drove back to Tacoma and spent the rest of the evening rebuilding that server.

Brent: Wow.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: And thinking to yourself, "Wow. I really hope I get this new job. Because then I can rebuild servers at Omni."

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: So you grew up in Missoula?

Aaron: Yeah. Yes, I did.

Brent: College town. Now I've never visited, but I've always wanted to since, in college, in some, I think geology class, it talked about how Missoula was a like giant lake, giant reservoir of water of some kind?

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: That suddenly opened one day and all the water ran to the Pacific coast, leaving giant gashes in the Washington state.

Aaron: Yeah. Lake Missoula. That was what they called it, apparently.

Brent: Yeah.

Aaron: It was a glacier, I think.

Brent: Now this was before you lived there. Okay.

Aaron: Quite a while before. Yeah, that's part of the history of that part of the country. Missoula itself is in what would have been in the lake bed. And it's just surrounded, kind of on all sides by mountains. Glacier plugged up the river and just backed up and backed up and backed up.

Brent: Wow. Is it pretty there?

Aaron: It's beautiful. Yeah.

Brent: Yeah, I've heard that.

Aaron: Seattle is beautiful in the summer time, when the sun's out. But Missoula ...

Brent: Yeah.

Aaron: We try to go back every year.

Brent: That's cool. Lot of family there?

Aaron: Yeah, my parents still live there.

Brent: Did you go to school there?

Aaron: No, actually.

Brent: It's a college town. So-

Aaron: Well, I did ... I spent one year at the University of Montana. But then I went to college on the east coast. Went to Berklee College of Music.

Brent: Ah. Fancy.

Aaron: Yeah. It was the only thing I knew how to do, is play my guitar.

Brent: Oh. Sure. Yeah. That's pretty much true for me at that age too. Yeah, I can play my guitar.

Aaron: And certainly the only thing I wanted to do at the time.

Brent: Yes. Right. How was Berklee?

Aaron: It was good. It was quite an experience. When you grow up in a small town in western Montana, are relatively proficient at the guitar, you feel pretty good about yourself, make a name for yourself in town and that kind of thing. And then you go and get to see what real, actual world class musicians are like.

Brent: Oh yeah. Right.

Aaron: It's a little humbling. But, no it was great. I love Boston. I had a good time there.

Brent: Well, what kind of music did you like to play? Or study?

Aaron: I studied song writing and film scoring.

Brent: Okay. So song writing, like popular song kind of thing?

Aaron: Yeah. We would write, I guess you call it Americana, Rock, you know. That kind of thing. Nowadays, I would call it Dad rock, because that's, having three kids now. It's kind of what it is.

Brent: It should always have been called that.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: So when you were studying music, were computers much a part of that yet?

Aaron: So, I was there in the mid 90s. And obviously, there was an established technology of Macs and Pro Tools and all these PCI cards they would use to capture digital data. They also had these 8-track digital recorders that would record onto VHS tape.

Brent: Wow.

Aaron: Yeah. And all this time code syncing systems for syncing up with the movie...

Brent: Oh. Okay.

Aaron: ...reels and stuff like that. It was part of probably how I got started in doing systems administration, is just you have to make all these different pieces work together in order to get your recording going. So it's a lot of that debugging, reverse engineering, figuring out what the problem is so you can put it back together.

I often thought that they're a couple of inclinations in system administrators. You're either an architect or you're a mechanic. A little bit of both. But I definitely side more on the mechanic side.

Brent: Okay.

Aaron: Take stuff apart, put it back together. Yeah.

Brent: You're a practical. You're solving problems.

Aaron: I try to be.

Brent: Yeah. Right. Makes sense. When I was in college, computers were basically not a part of anything. There was a small computer lab at school. And I don't think I touched a computer, for all of my years at school.

Aaron: Yeah, by the time I was leaving college, they were just getting internet at the dorms and everybody was getting an email address and all that.

Brent: Oh wow, that's great.

Aaron: And then of course, when whatever it was that GarageBand came out, early 2000s, and it was just mind blowing...

Brent: Oh, I'm sure.

Aaron: ...compared to the technology that we were using at the time.

Brent: Yeah. So did you grow up with Macs?

Aaron: Not really. We had them in school. I think, first exposure to computers is probably Commodore 64. You know. In grade school.

Brent: Oh, classic. Yeah.

Aaron: Making the little turtle run around and draw shapes.

Brent: Line to move.

Aaron: Circle forever. Fill up the entire screen. Yeah. Then we had the Apple II, Apple IIe in elementary school.

Brent: Oh. Okay.

Aaron: And on from there.

Brent: Oh, that's pretty cool.

Aaron: Yeah. But we didn't have one at home. I always wanted one. But-

Brent: Yeah. Weren't raised on Windows, though. At least.

Aaron: Well, you know, it was ... My dad is an accountant. And so, he always had the IBM machine. But it was DOS at that point.

Brent: Oh, right. Sure. Yeah.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: I remember the VisiCalc and Lotus 123 and everything on DOS. WordPerfect and everything.

Aaron: Yeah. Word Perfect. Yeah.

Brent: And the ads for those things would always tout their user friendliness. And of course, looking back on that, that just seems insane.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: But for the day, they were advances over what was.

Aaron: Yeah. It wasn't too bad. I was able to navigate my way around it alright.

Brent: Did your dad let you play games on his machine?

Aaron: We did. "Let" might be a little too generous.

Brent: Games happened.

Aaron: Yeah. Games happened. Tetris. A lot of MechWarrior. Yeah.

Brent: When did you get your first Mac?

Aaron: Not until college. And in fact, I remember when I got to college and they had the college book store, where you could buy computers at a discount. $100, maybe, was the discount. But I was so excited. And so I bought a Power Mac 6100 with a DOS compatibility card. It was a big deal, because I wanted to play X-Wing. A lot of video game influence, I'm realizing here.

Brent: Not uncommon.

Aaron: Yeah. But even that—

Brent: 6100, that was PowerPC, right.

Aaron: PowerPC. Yeah. I remember I had to take it apart, because the onboard RAM and the DOS compatibility card wasn't enough to successfully play the game.

Brent: There you are, future sysadmin.

Aaron: Yeah. And I had to go down to whatever the computer store was at the time and pay probably $300 for 8 megs of RAM.

Brent: Wow.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: So after college, what did you do?

Aaron: After college, moved back to Tacoma. My brothers were going to school out here. So I wanted to be around them, because we would do music together.

Brent: Are you the Bee Gees? The Ben-Gees?

Aaron: People would have compared us to the Hanson brothers, probably at that time.

Brent: Okay. All right.

Aaron: But yeah, we have been doing music together for a long time. And we moved back out here. Again, didn't know what else to do with myself.

Brent: Sure. Well. Yeah.

Aaron: Was unemployed for a few months. That was kind of a shock to the system. I hadn't really been through that before. And I finally ended up getting a job directing music at a church.

Brent: Oh, cool.

Aaron: Yeah. And-

Brent: So is that like, choosing the hymns, conducting the choir?

Aaron: It was the contemporary music. So it's like the band.

Brent: Oh, I see.

Aaron: Yeah. And a little church in University Place and started doing that. Did that for a few years.

Brent: I bet you wish you had a giant pipe organ, though.

Aaron: We did have a giant pipe organ.

Brent: Did you?

Aaron: Yes. And in fact-

Brent: Sweet.

Aaron: It was one of the more traditional churches, mainstream Presbyterian church. And we had a really pretty progressive, at the time, worship band. So, that was a lot of fun. We tried to integrate both when we could.

Brent: Wow. That sounds cool. I'm sure highly lucrative, as well.

Aaron: Oh gosh. [laughs] I think I saw something online the other day. One of the postings that said, [with] Doc Brown and Marty. "Marty! I just got back from the year 2050. Musicians are still paid $100 a gig!"

Brent: Jeez. Yeah.

Aaron: Yeah, I did that for a few years. And I really had a lot of fun with that job, but I just, I had to grow up and get a real job that could afford to pay my bills. And had a lot of debt from college.

Brent: Oh yeah. Sure.

Aaron: So I ended up—

Brent: Berklee I'm guessing, isn't cheap.

Aaron: Yeah. Certainly, it wasn't then and I'm sure is even less so now.

Brent: Yeah, no kidding.

Aaron: But I ended up getting an entry level job at a biometric company in Tacoma. They had fingerprint identification systems and that kind of thing.

Brent: Okay. For what, the CIA?

Aaron: Yeah. No. It's actually owned by a French company. It's like a big tech company. And they did all kinds of airplanes and jets and military hardware and everything. But they also apparently owned this biometric.

Brent: Is that Siemens?

Aaron: Sagem.

Brent: Ah. Okay.

Aaron: Sagem Morpho. And they were located in Tacoma because, I believe, that they got the contract to do the finger print identification in the jail. It was one of their first US contracts. So they headquartered their office there. Anyway, so I got —

Brent: Because of the high crime rate in Tacoma?

Aaron: I don't know.

Brent: Sorry Tacoma people. We mean no offense whatsoever.

Aaron: So I got an entry level job there. Just based on my charming personality, I guess, because I had no credentials and no experience. In fact, when I sat down the first day, they gave me a Unix book and said, "Learn this." So I picked it up, started reading. Huh. ls. What does this do? rm. Oh, what does that do? rm / What does ... oh, no!

Yeah. So everything kind of started at that point, in terms of my Unix experience. I was pretty experienced just with desktop Macs and that kind of thing, but...

Brent: Sure.

Aaron: ... the server side stuff started there.

Brent: So when you're not solving problems, rumor is that you quite like the pinball?

Aaron: Yeah. Yes, we play the pinballs. Actually, Seattle is kind of having a pinball Renaissance. Well, a lot of the country is, but especially Seattle.

Brent: Okay.

Aaron: A lot of places around here too, to play pinball. In fact—

Brent: I've been to Shorty’s quite a few times.

Aaron: Yeah, now there's ... when I started getting into pinball, probably a decade ago, Shorty’s was it, pretty much. Or a couple of dive bars. But, if you wanted to play a good pinball machine, you kind of had to own one.

Brent: Do you own one?

Aaron: Well, as it happens, I own six.

Brent: Six. Wow.

Aaron: But the first one I got, was, I actually won at a pinball and arcade show that they have every year. It used to be in Seattle, now they've moved to the convention center in Tacoma, because of Seattle Center just didn't have enough space. I was there at the show. And they were having a raffle. And I was just leaving as they were—

Brent: A raffle to win a pinball machine.

Aaron: To win a pinball machine. Yeah.

Brent: Cool.

Aaron: I was just leaving at the time, and going by the front desk there. And I could hear the guy on the PA saying, "Hey, we just have two tickets left for the raffle, the $20 raffle." That's the expensive machine. And then they have kind of a less expensive machine for the $1 raffle.

Brent: Sure.

Aaron: And so, just almost on a whim, I decided to sign up and gave them my money. And I was going to meet my wife and kids to go out for dinner. And so I turned to the guy behind the desk and I said, "So when I win, just call me." And left. And about 20 minutes later, they called me!

Brent: That's pretty cool. That's a good $20 you spent right there.

Aaron: Yeah. First shot out of the gun, right there.

Brent: What was the machine?

Aaron: It was called White Water.

Brent: White Water. Okay.

Aaron: Yeah. It's a, kind of a rafting themed pinball, from the 90s.

Brent: Pinball designers are famous in their industry. Who designed this one?

Aaron: Yeah. So that's another part of it, is I got to actually meet the designer of this game. He was the guy that did the drawing at the raffle. And they of course, called my name and I wasn't there.

Brent: Right.

Aaron: This was a, "don't have to be present to win." That's part of what the $20 gets you.

Brent: Yeah. Okay. Limousine service there.

Aaron: Yeah. So then they called me. We were at the restaurant at the time. And I said, "Okay. Well, we'll be right there." So we had to — fortunately, we hadn't ordered yet. And I kind of said, "I'm sorry. We have to leave." And went back and met, Dennis Nordman was his name. And got my picture taken with him and the machine.

Brent: Nice.

Aaron: And just kind of a big day. Red letter day...

Brent: Yeah.

Aaron: ... for the Bendickson family.

Brent: So, do you play competitively?

Aaron: Yeah. It's quite a competitive scene, here in Seattle. I play in a monthly league that is hosted at people's houses.

Brent: Because so many people actually own pinball machines now.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: That's cool.

Aaron: And again, when we started in 2009, there weren't locations around, where you could just do this kind of thing. So it had to be private collectors and in people's houses. Well then, as the scene started to grow and grow and grow, now we have an additional weekly league on Monday nights, where 24 different locations have teams of ten people that represent that location. And then they play each other across divisions. And it's kind of set up like a football bracket.

Brent: Oh okay. I see.

Aaron: And then they have playoffs.

Brent: Do people have special T-shirts or uniforms or anything?

Aaron: Absolutely. Yeah. Our teams have, they all have branded hats or T-shirts or sweatshirts or stuff like that.

Brent: What's your team?

Aaron: We're at a location called Coindexter's.

Brent: Coindexter's.

Aaron: Which is a newer location. And we go by the Contras, which is not only a reference to Admiral Poindexter, and his involvement with the Iran Contra Affair.

Brent: Oh, wow. Why?

Aaron: But also the ... I don't know. It just came to me. But also the very awesome coin-op 80s video game, Contra.

Brent: Oh okay.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: I'll have to find that for the show notes. Yeah. So when you're not pinballing, you're biking? Bicycling.

Aaron: Try to. Yeah.

Brent: Yeah. So as a sysadmin, you take that mechanical tinkering thing to your bikes too? I assume you have to work on your pinball machine?

Aaron: Yeah. Pinball machines definitely, the bike, its ... I've got to draw the line somewhere. So, we draw the lines at the bikes. And if there's a problem with the bike, I just take it to the shop, because I—

Brent: I really like that answer.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: That's the best call. The transportation, that, if it breaks, could be dangerous.

Aaron: Yeah. And it helps that the shop is around the corner from my house.

Brent: Oh cool.

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: And they know you on sight by now. Surely.

Aaron: Yeah. They do.

Brent: So even when it's raining and whatever? You bike in?

Aaron: Probably, a little less die hard about it than I used to be. Sometimes in the dead of winter, it's freezing cold and I'm just like, “ugh, not today.” Well, and especially if, my general rule is if I have to scrape ice off the windshield of my car to take my kids to school, I'm not biking.

Brent: On that note, thanks Aaron. How can people find you on the web?

Aaron: Well, I'm on Twitter and Instagram at @benaar.

Brent: Ben Aar!

Aaron: Ben Aar!

Brent: Ben Aar!

Aaron: Yeah.

Brent: I'd also like to thank our intrepid producer, whose birthday was yesterday, I think? Mark Boszko. Say Happy Birthday Mark.

Mark: [laughs] Happy Birthday, Mark.

Brent: And especially I want to thank you for listening. Thank you. Music.

[MUSIC PLAYS]