I Had 10 Dollars

Because, why not?

Ryan Wolf - Is Ryan At The Office

Ryan Wolf - Is Ryan At The Office

Developer - Google Books. People wonder where he is.


Ryan’s “Is Ryan At The Office” project is exactly what I had in mind when I started putting together I Had Ten Dollars. It’s utility is questionable at best. Ryan goes to the office pretty frequently. Like, basically five-days-a-week often. His commute is something like two hours so if you wanted an estimate of when he was going to get home it wouldn’t give you a really useful range to work with. I don’t get the impression that it was built because Ryan wanted it to exist, but that it exists because Ryan wanted to build something. And for all that, I kind of love it. When I moved to Seattle I would sit in my office at a job I kind of hated and check IsRyanAtTheOffice and feel a little more connected to my friend. Sometimes his status would be at work pretty late and I wold tell him to go home. It was a really small interaction and it feels kind of silly because it’s not a stand-in for communication by any means, but I think it’s basically impossible to make something without a little of youreself coming through. So this single page, one word site still made me think, “LOL, Ryan.”

Thanks for being the first interview, Ryan! Questions now.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Ryan Wolf and I go to an office. I work as a software engineer at Google on their internet book store. I like to look at pictures of cats and try to make the world as cute as possible. Send me your pictures of cats, please.

What does Is Ryan at the Office do?

Is Ryan at the Office is a novelty domain that says “yes.” when I am at work, and “no.” when I am not.

How’d you get the idea?

I was using Latitude to let my girlfriend know whether I was staying late at work or not. I ragequit Latitude for some reason that I’m sure made a ton of sense at the time, and needed a replacement.

What’s it built with?

The server is written in Go, and runs on App Engine. You can find the source on GitHub. Try resizing the window–what little styling there is is Responsive(tm)(.biz)!

I have Tasker running on my phone. I’ve asked Tasker to tell the server when I get close to the cell towers by my office (and when I get far from them again).

Is there anything you’d like to improve or change?

App Engine refuses to serve from a “naked” domain, so a micro EC2 instance I’m using for some other stuff has to redirect to www.isryanattheoffice.com. I’d like to get rid of that www. Or add even more w’s?

Tasker needs internet access in order to talk to the server. In retrospect, it’s obvious that “out of cell range” is a signal that happens when I’m away from cell towers, so it sometimes fails to update to “no.” when I’m on my way home.

Has it affected your life in any way? Does your girlfriend check it to see if you’re staying late or anything?

Sometimes Thomas sends me a message because Is Ryan at the Office is out of date. An unexpected bonus of running this site is a personalized push service: Is Thomas Fiddling Around on a Computer Dot Com.

Are you a domain hoarder? What’s the best domain you’ve got sitting idle right now?

Nope, but something about the “generic” in gTLD has me really excited about engaging with brands. I believe we are entering a period of domain confusion and lulz.