Kev Quirk|

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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 Air 3, an iPhone 8 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 currently use Ubuntu MATE on my Thinkpad and Pop!_OS on my desktop.

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, Twitter or any of the usual mainstream social media platforms.

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.