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About Me

If you want to find more out about me, this page is a good place to start. My interests include reading, swimming & long walks, technology and motorcycles. I use this site as my personal blog and a way for people to get in touch with me.

I am a Linux, open source and privacy advocate.

Writing

I obviously write here on my personal blog regularly, but I have also been a contributor to a number of well known Linux and technology blogs in the past.

Reading

I read a lot, but not always books. Most of what I read tends to be blog posts, mostly about motorbikes and technology in various forms. When I do read book, I enjoy sci-fi, technology and autobiographies.

Recommended Reading

  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou
  • The Cookoo’s Egg – Cliff Stoll
  • Voices from Chernobyl – Svetlana Alexievich
  • Anything by Conn Iggulden, but particularly the “Conqueror” series
  • Uneasy Rider – Mike Carter
  • The Culture Series – Ian M Banks
  • Troy Hunt’s Blog
  • This blog! 🙂

Swimming & Walking

I have a job that doesn’t involve much exercise. In fact, it involves no exercise. Since leaving the Army in 2009, my waste-line has been steadily increasing.

I now try to go swimming a few times a week, but even if I don’t get time, I still get out for some nice long walks, mostly with the dog. I find this very relaxing, especially after a long day in the office.

Technology

Tech is probably my biggest interest – so settle down and get a coffee as this is going to be a long section. I’ve deliberately formatted this section to be very similar to Richard Stallman’s How I Do Computing page, as I think it’s a really good way of articulating an interest like technology.

My computers

I have two main computers that I use – my primary device is a 2nd generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon. By modern standards the specification of the machine is fairly modest; sporting a 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM and a Core i7-4600U @ 3.3GHz. However this is more than powerful enough for my needs.

I also have a home built desktop PC. This is more powerful than my laptop, but still fairly modest by today’s standards. With an AMD FX-6300 @ 3.5GHz, AMD Radeon RX 560 graphics card, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD for OS and 1TB HDD for data.

As well as these two devices, I also have a HP Elitebook that I use for work, an iPad Mini 4, an iPhone SE and a home built server that is used to host media and sync/backup my family’s important data.

What I do on my computers

A lot of what I do on my computers day-to-day is pretty boring to be honest. I’m a very heavy email user (who isn’t these days), I maintain a number of websites, including this one and I play some games – mostly Minecraft as I find it very relaxing (please don’t judge me).

My day job is in Cyber Security, so I use a wide array of tools for that, however I would be remiss to go into those details on a public page such as this.

Linux distribution

My PC does have a Windows partition on it and the Elitebook I use for work runs Windows too. However, my main operating systems of choice tend to be Linux-based. I use Ubuntu MATE on my desktop and I’m currently trying Pop!_OS on my Thinkpad.

Privacy

As well as being a Linux/Open Source advocate, I’m also a privacy advocate. I have tried to de-Google wherever possible, I use a VPN most of the time I’m online and my email provider is separate from my search provider.

I also try to make your visit to this site as private as possible. You can read more about it here.

Recommendations

  • I would recommend DuckDuckGo as a privacy respecting alternative to Google search.
  • I would recommend Private Internet Access if you’re looking for a trustworthy VPN provider.
  • I would recommend Zoho and Fastmail is a privacy respecting, ad free email providers.
  • Finally, I would recommend keeping your search engine and email provider separate.

Social Media

I don’t really use traditional social media. I’m not on Facebook, or Instagram, but I do have a Twitter account, although I don’t really use it.

This is because of the numerous privacy concerns that come with using social media. I do however make use of a social network called Mastodon. I actually host my own instance on the network, called Fosstodon.

Motorbikes

Motorbikes are a huge part of my life – I enjoy riding them, working on them, restoring them and talking about them. I currently ride a 2017 Yamaha MT-09 Tracer (FJ09 if you’re in the USA).

I’m very lucky to live close to North Wales, which has some incredible riding roads. I also try to get away on tour when time permits. So far I’ve done Northern Ireland, Scotland and a tour of the UK’s best national parks.