Eric Maryniak - Hi there!

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Come into the mountains, dear friend
Leave society and take no one with you
But your true self
Get close to nature
Your everyday games will be insignificant
Notice the clouds spontaneously forming patterns
And try to do that with your life

- Susan Polis Schutz
(Poem used with permission of Blue Mountain Arts).

My name is Eric Maryniak    [ [Eric Maryniak - Photo - 2008-08-08] photo, [Eric Maryniak - Audio, 52 Kb WAV file] audio ].

I went into Computing Science pretty soon after I got my master's in Biology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1986. This change of profession was due to a bad employment situation for biologists at that time. I started as a Unix system programmer and administrator in a small Unix company.

After that, I worked for more than a year at Leiden University, where I wrote educational programs in Pascal and C.

From 1988 to 1992 I worked as a member of the technical staff at the institute of Applied mathematics, faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science) of the Delft University of Technology. My tasks were widespread, ranging from system and network administration of workstations and training of students, to the development of several computer programs for the research staff.

Then, I went to the faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (at the same university). I worked there until june 1994.

In both cases the emphasis of my work was on software engineering, mostly in Modula-2, C++ and, my favorite, Eiffel. All on a wide variety of platforms, ranging from PC's, via workstations, to mainframes, and under even a bigger variety of operating systems and (graphical) user interfaces.

In July 1994, I started working at the Geological Survey of the Netherlands, or Rijks Geologische Dienst (RGD) in Dutch (formerly Early in 1997, the RGD and a TNO institute were merged to form a new TNO institute (called TNO-NITG then). I also left the RGD at that time.

My job was analysing and programming technical and scientific applications. I was also known there as the "Internet expert".
There is a Dutch saying, that goes: "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king" :-). Anyway, that's the reason why I was the webmaster and the Internet Liaison or ICP (Instellings Contact Persoon) for the RGD to SURFnet (the access provider of the RGD).
One of my first projects was providing Internet e-mail to everybody. This project was a big success and made the people very enthusiastic about Internet. Mail was implemented with Eudora under Windows 3.1 over a 10 Mbs TCP/IP Ethernet LAN with SMTP and POP3 services via a Sun Unix server, running Solaris.

My work also included HTML authoring; you may want to check my Pemberton script, written in Perl, with which I made various compound documents, such as the webmaster and ICP handbooks mentioned above. I also introduced NexTrieve from Nexial Systems, a fine fuzzy search engine, with which I made various online searchable HTML and structured text databases, such as geological maps, all publications in the RGD library and a personal directory. All these databases seem to have disappeared after the merger. I also made the personal directory available via X.500, URL <> at that time. It disappeared in 1998.
In a lot of cases I used Perl for various database conversions (including complicated legacy databases) and appreciate this tool very much; Larry: Power to the camels! :-)
I also participated in an ISO 9000 audit team.

In 1997, I worked briefly at the Image Sciences Institute of the department of Medicine at the Utrecht University. My job was software engineering, giving programming courses (C++ mainly), system administration and Internet and WWW. Most of my time, however, went into co-managing a very complicated and heterogenous Unix network, and introducing Windows NT 4.0.

As I'm more a programmer than an administrator, I started at the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services (NIWI) (a KNAW institute then) in September 1997. My work concentrated on WWW and Internet programming, and making databases available online as well as producing paper products from them.

From September 1999 to September 2002, I worked on a 3-year contract as a software engineer in a small research team developing applications for the simulation of neural networks. Since 1987, this research team (located at the Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam) had developed several such software applications.
Currently the research team is working on the Walnut Neurosimulation system, which is based on a set of standards that consists of a neural network markup language (NNML), a set of libraries (in C++) and a development shell (Nutshell). Nutshell is a scriptable application that runs under Windows 98. It allows creation, manipulation and visualization of neural network architectures and simulations.
The research is part of a PIONIER grant, sponsored by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and University of Amsterdam. The research team includes members from psychology, neuroscience and mathematics.
My job, together with two fellow programmers, was completing the design and implementation of the system and coordinating the distribution via the Internet (Open Source), and so I did: Walnut/Nutshell.

From September 2002 to May 2007, I worked as a Unix and Linux (Red Hat) system administrator and Oracle DBA at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

From May 2007 to July 2011, I worked at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) as a Unix and Linux system administrator of an HPC (High-Performance Cluster). Furthermore, I managed various storage systems: SAN/NAS, backup and mass storage (tape silo). Finally, I also performed internal ISO 9001 audits there.

August 2008, the 8th (yes, that's 2008-08-08), I married:

Shoes Declaration of Dependence
[Shoes Declaration of Dependence - 2008-08-08]

From August 2011 to July 2012, I worked at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) as a Unix and Linux system administrator.

August 2012, I started working at my current employer, Leiden University (Universiteit Leiden in Dutch) as a UNIX-Linux administrator.
My 1-year contract there (August 2012 - July 2013) had been extended by a 2-year contract (August 2013 - July 2015) in May 2013 and subsequently by a permanent contract in April 2015.


Apart from netsurfing, preferably on a Linux box, hmmm, let me think ...!

My favourite quote comes from the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and I seriously suspect Douglas Adams, an enthusiastic Mac user, is referring to Microsoft products:

It is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all. In other words---and this is the rock-solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation's Galaxywide success is founded---their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.
From: "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish". Douglas Adams.

Favorite Internet hide-outs

Since the invention of bookmark files, most of my favorite links have moved there! Besides, I don't want to bother you with the zillionth list to a list of metalists. So, I'll just give you these few:

The first thing that amazed me, when I started netsurfing, was it's easy and multimedial nature. Where else is it so easy to take an mpeg tour through San Francisco or see Arnold's stand-in ride on a bike and saying "I'll be back"?

One of the things I enjoyed a lot on the Web, were the Travels with Samantha, with beautiful jpeg-ed photographs taken by the author, Philip Greenspun.

About my last name (Maryniak) & ancestry

People often ask me about my last name, which is Maryniak.
It is Polish in origin: however, I am a 100% Dutch ('Hollands'), not Polish.
I changed my name (when I was 22) from "Albers" (no, not "Alberts") to "Maryniak", due to the fact that my mother had remarried.
Thus I was named "Eric Albers" first and from my 22nd "Eric Maryniak".
My last name is often misspelled. And my first name, too, for that matter: it is Eric and not "Erik". Of course, Eric's are the real ones: Eric de Noorman ;-)
Common misspellings of my last name are:

I was never much interested in genealogy but a friend of mine was and got me enthusiastic about the Genographic Project, a multi-year genetic anthropology study launched by the National Geographic Society (NGS) in 2005. Results from genealogical DNA tests and subsequent tests at Family Tree DNA, who collaborates with NGS, can not only give you a picture of family relationships in your recent past but also about your deep ancestry: as in, say, the father of your father, ..., was a Viking!

To cut a long story short, at Family Tree DNA I ordered the following DNA tests.
Note my oldest known patriarch and matriarch as determined from genealogical research [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] too (thanks to Wim Penninx):

The Y-DNA test analyzes your Y chromosome and the mtDNA your mitochondrial DNA.
Only males have a Y chromosome and it is passed on from father to son.
So females should submit a sample from a suitable relative such as their father or a brother.
Both males and females get their mtDNA from their mother, but only females pass it on to their children.

In the course of my genetic journey I also ordered a so called Y-DNA SNP test, in addition to the standard STR tests, to determine my deep ancestry, because we wanted to test a theory that my patrilineal ancestor was probably a slave or soldier, relocated during the Roman Empire.
To, again, cut a long story short, these were the results (2011--2012) regarding the specific haplogroup I belong to (both the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA haplogroup are given):

Haplogroup G is a rare group in North-West Europe, nowadays: some 4% in the Netherlands (most men there are R1b). However, this was different in ancient times. G has its roots in the Caucasus or even as far as Pakistan or India some 15 to 30 thousand years BP (before present).
Haplogroup U5 is also an old group and still common in Northern Europe.
Learning about this deep ancestry and the migratory patterns of Homo sapiens in times long gone was already exciting to me as a biologist, but the big surprise came when my Y-DNA proved positive for the L91 SNP and I found out that: He is also a G-L91+ (formerly known as G2a4 and G2a2b)... it cannot get any cooler than that, can it? ;-)

Here are some links to Dutch sites of families who use genealogical DNA tests, in addition to tradional genealogical research, to get a better understanding of family relationships:

To conclude, here is a Dutch "genografie" site and associated Facebook group:

Linux: where do you want to go tomorrow?

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Page last modified on 2016-01-02, by Eric Maryniak (