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About me

Hey there! This is me.

If you haven't figured it out yet — hi! I'm Keefer! I'm a software developer, digital rights activist, and all-around nerd. I'm currently pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Computing from the University of Guelph (Major: Computer Science; Minor: Mathematics). I am passionate about software performance and security, and love to tackle problems head-on — I learn fast, and I live to learn.

My background mostly consists of back-end web development and dev-ops, but I've also done research and development in distributed systems, mesh networks, and JVM security. I'm currently working to make Firefox faster as a member of the Firefox Performance team.

Me, on the peak of Whistler Mountain

chat bubbleWant to get to know me better? Let's get in touch.

Philosophies

A handful of things that I seriously believe in. (Click to expand, if you're interested.)

  • Occam's razor is still sharp

    In problem solving, the simplest solution tends to be the correct one. Simple things are easier to understand and prove for correctness. I also assert that nearly all complicated things may be broken down into simple parts.

    Brian Kernighan rephrases this principle in terms of "clever" and simple code, as it pertains to software development:

    Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.
        — Brian W. Kernighan
  • 80% of work is design

    I revel in simplicity and good design. I believe in doing things right the first time, and if that isn't possible, fixing things right the second time. I like to sit down with a pen, paper, and pile of browser tabs open before I touch my editor. Once the initial design is done, rapid, informed development follows.

  • Information ought to be free

    In a globalized economy, society benefits most from that which is shared. Transparency, auitability, and accessibility of information, science, designs, and implementations allows people to work better (more efficiently and effectively) together. The results are a significantly higher standard for safety, correctness, and robustness of systems.

    For this reason, all of my personal projects are free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). It also ensures for following four fundamental freedoms:

    1. The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose.
    2. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition to this.
    3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour.
    4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition to this.

    I am an associate member of the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

The adventure so far

This is a short timeline of the 22 years I've spent so far on this Earth.

Cake day.

My adventure began in Kitchener, ON — one fateful, very early morning in mid-July. With cake every year, I can't complain about that.

1998

Hacker dreams.

I was 8 years old. It was the prime of the Internet. I wanted to play my goddamn flash games. I began actively trying and failing to circumvent parental controls. Stuff on coolmathgames.com didn't cut it, so I would just go play in the creek behind our house. Eventually I'd learn to program.

2006
  • These ten years aren't super special (click to expand anyway?)

    First flight.

    I boarded my first flight ever, along-side my sister, as unaccompanied minors. We were flying across Canada to visit our Dad and Step-mom, who had recently moved to BC. This was the first flight of many that I would take.

    2007

    First Linux.

    When I finally got my own computer, I went to town. I promptly installed Arch Linux. I wrote Lua extensions for awesome window manager. I competed with 4chan /g/ desktop threads. It took me a while to grow out of this phase.

    2011

    Became a vegetarian.

    I had a bad experience at camp and stopped eating meat. I realized that sustainable, healthy living was a top priority for me.

    2013

    Co-founded a company.

    In highschool, while I was focused on achieving the best possible grades in all subject areas, I was also easily side-tracked by how much biology bored me. I ended up working on Tokumei and teaching myself some graphic design skills. This lead to some early on successes venturing into professional software development.

    2015

I got lucky.

In June 2015, Tomas Kosciuch stole my heart. I'm pretty sure I've met the love of my life.

2015

R & D.

I began my studies at the University of Guelph School of Computer Science. In October 2016, I caught the eye of Dr. Daniel Gillis. I began working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant under his co-advisory with Dr. Judi McCuaig. Alongside them, and teams of some awesome people, I've built stuff like the IFS and eNuk.

2016

Moved out west.

I moved to Vancouver, BC for a co-op placement with Left Inc. on the RightMesh project, with the mission to connect the next billion. I've also had so much to celebrate this year, as I've explored the lower-mainland with Tomas.

2018

Got engaged.

January 1, 2020 was the perfect start to what can certainly be described as an eventful year. Whatever the future holds, I couldn't be happier that I'll experience it with Tomas.

2020

My team

The shortlist of people that inspire me and continue to shape who I am.

My boyfriend

Tomas Kosciuch

Tomas and I first met in 2015, and got engaged in 2020. I'm looking forward to continuing the adventure of life with him, forever into the future. The world is big, and we want to experience it together. If he were a rock, he would be nice.


My sister

Christianne Rourke

  • Sister & Best Friend Since Birth

Christianne is a positive ray of sunshine. She's always been there to support me in times of need, and cheer me on in times of success. Up until we moved, one of my favourite things to do was to play board games with her in the basement of our childhood home.


My mom

Cheesy as it sounds, my mom is my hero. She has always provided me with the support I needed, even through crazy times, and I've always looked up to her. She has a love for travel, and I hope one day to adventure with her.


Dad, step-mom, sister, Andrew, Tomas, and I; Christmas 2018

I have so much to thank my family for, from the times my dad was scraping by on next to nothing, to the many nights Shannon spent trying to convince me to do my homework as a kid, to my fondest memories of family board game nights — my Dad and step-mom make me so proud for their successes and sacrifices that led us to today. I still live by their wisdom and mantras, and can't put into words how much my family means to me.

My Friends

Some people that I think are rad.

Nerd weeb friend

Kyle Farwell

Kyle and I have literally been friends since 1st grade. In 2015, we co-founded Tokumei. Sometimes we make crappy video games together with our friends at Gelato Labs. He's an entrepreneurial expert.


Isaac Wismer

Isaac is one of my best friends from my undergrad at the University of Guelph. I'm not sure where I'd be if it weren't for some long nights we've spent together picking each other's brains. Aside from being an academic ally, Isaac is also an excellent fella to play board games with.


Hippie

Ace and I have been fast friends since the start of uni. We've hacked a lot together, and in 2018 we got to attend the 35C3 in Leipzig, Germany. He's a pretty hype guy.


Ivan Zhang

Ivan Zhang

I met Ivan at Hack the North 2017, where we pivoted, and pivoted, and pivoted. Eventually we hacked together imgrep and were modestly successful. Ivan is super fun to hack with, and he's definitely all for AI.


Jared Kelly

Jared Kelly

Jared apparently has a habit for breaking things. Jared and I teamed up for Hack the North 2019. We've talked about making games together with Gelato Labs, but have yet to actually do anything.


And the list goes on! This is an incomplete, always changing list. Let me know if you think you should be here.

Famous people I like

(and quotes to live by)

Grace Hopper
The most damaging phrase in the language is: "It's always been done that way."
Edward Snowden
The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.
Martin Fowler
If you're afraid to change something it is clearly poorly designed.
Richard Feynman
What I cannot create, I do not understand.
Steven Hawking
When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.
Brian Kernighan
Mechanical rules are never a substitute for clarity of thought.
Rob Pike
Such is modern computing: everything simple is made too complicated because it's easy to fiddle with; everything complicated stays complicated because it's hard to fix.
Donald Knuth
Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
Steve Wozniak
Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.