Hi! I'm Zak Greant, a writer and open source jack o' trades. I consulted with the Wikimedia Foundation  from May 2010 until February 2011 with a focus on the MediaWiki developer documentation.
|IRC||zakg on irc://irc.freenode.net#mediawiki|
I've been engaged with Free Software and Open Source for most of my adult life, starting with Perl in 1996 (then quickly moving to PHP.) My work as a profession tech editor and writer in began 2000. I use the Colemak keyboard layout (no repetitive strain injuries since 2008, yay!), Vim editor, Mac OS X on my laptop and Ubuntu on my desktop. See the #Background section below if you'd like to know a bit more about me.
I've had a few questions about my background. Here's a quick summary:
1990: Dropped out of high school.
1991: Worked various dead-end job(s).
1992: Dropped out of cooking school.
1993: Worked dead-end job(s).
1994: Started web-business with mother and brother. Learned HTML.
1995: Posted first real website.
1996: Learned enough Perl to build a postcard site. Started learning PHP. Met future wife, fell in love. Quit day job at dental lab.
1997: Co-founded first web startup.
1998: Year a blur of startup madness. First archived post on the PHP mailing lists 
1999: Startup failed. Went to work at ISP. Co-founded PHP Quality Assurance Team.
2000: First tech edit (PHP Developer's Cookbook). Began work on first book as lead author (PHP Functions Essential Reference)
2001: Quit ISP to finish book / first speaking engagement at conference. Started working at MySQL AB (a startup) as technical evangelist and community manager.
2002: Spoke at many conferences. Dealt with MySQL client libraries licensing kerfuffle. Co-authored MySQL GPL exception. Started traveling for ~50% of the year.
2003: Spoke at many, many conferences.
2004: Spoke at many, many conferences. Quit MySQL. Went to work at Sxip (a startup). Became member of the Free Software Foundation's license compliance team.
2005: Quit startup. Started work at eZ Systems (a startup) as their Director of Free Software and Open Source Affairs. Started work at the Mozilla Foundation as their Ombudslizard.
2006: Opened and managed North American office for eZ Systems.
2007: Worked far too much.
2008: Worked far, far too much. Cut travel schedule back to sane levels. Joined Open Source Initiative as volunteer.
2009: Quit eZ Systems. quit Mozilla. Co-founded my own startup.
2010: Startup on back burner. Began consulting for Wikimedia Foundation.
Along the way, I've spoken at over sixty free software, open source and technology events, and have helped chair or organize over a dozen of these events. I've also continued to be active as a writer and editor, having served as a technical editor on a few dozen technical books (including Mastering Regular Expressions (3rd ed.) by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl, Advanced PHP Programming by Georg Schlossnagle and MySQL (3rd Edition) by Paul DuBois.)
Software and Tools
- MediaWiki History Sparklines – A Greasemonkey extension for Firefox that uses jQuery, jQuery Sparklines and the MediaWiki API to display sparklines (small graphs) of recent changes to MediaWiki pages. Useful to quickly see if a page is out-of-date or note. Screenshots, source, feature requests and more at http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/79234
- I use the Simpler English Dictionary add-on for Firefox to help me use Simple English words. Visit
http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Using+the+spell+checker?s=dictionary&as=s#Adding_dictionaries for help on using the dictionary.
- ↑ I'm employed by Canadian company Foo Associates Inc..