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Who Am I?

I'm Jonathan (aka DarkBlue), a computer programmer, a geek, a hacker (in the traditional sense). I write software for my company Digital-Word Ltd, which my father and I founded in 1997. Our main product is Shapeshifter, the content management system through which this website is published. I write in Perl mostly although I also, out of necessity, use JavaScript, C and PHP on occasion.

I am also a contributor on Forever Geek (recent contributions), a website created to "provide geeks with interesting links that most sites would overlook through an interface that cuts to the chase without being too distracting."

Geek Code

GAT d- s: a? C++++ UL++++ P++++$ L+++ E- W+++ N o? K- w-- O M+@ V- !PS PE Y+ PGP++ t+ 5 X++ R* tv-- b+++ DI++ D+ G e* h* r--- y* [decode]

Hobbies and Interests

Building customised computers: Like a lot of people, I have an aversion to the beige box that most of us are forced to to spend an inordinate amount of time working with. I want my computers to have a little bit of style, so that they can fit in with my decor and tastes.

Reading: I really enjoy a good book. I am particularly keen on thrillers and spy stories (Alistair MacClean, Ian Fleming, Wilbur Smith, etc). I also enjoy science fiction and comedic authors like Douglas Adams. Naturally I devour computer-related books and the biographies of personalities in the industry.

Silver Screen: As television is so unspeakably terrible these days I tend not to watch it. However, I do enjoy a good movie and have an extensive collection of DVDs.

Football: I love the beautiful game more than any other sport. Naturally I have an unwavering support of my national team (England), I also support my local team Leeds United, despite their current troubles.

Photography: Somebody once said, "a picture speaks a thousand words". I totally agree with this sentiment. I love taking photographs, capturing a moment in time, a moment that can never be repeated. I always have my camera, a Sony MVC-CD500, close to hand.

Urban Exploration: Most people fail to see the beauty in their urban surroundings, the efforts of countless architects goes unnoticed, the nostalgia of a derelict site is never felt. As an avid urban explorer, the above statements don't apply to me. Urban exploration is about seeing the unseen, feeling the unfelt and, sometimes, going beyond the "No Trespassing" signs.

Travel: It's a big world out there and I want to see as much of it as I can. I love travelling, I love immersing myself in different cultures and experiencing different environments. I have travelled extensively in Europe and have also visited North Africa, the United States and Mexico. I would like to visit Russia, Nepal, and the Far East when the opportunity arises.

Music: I can't imagine a world without music. I almost always have music playing - in the car, at work and at home. I have a strangely eclectic taste in music and my CD collection reflects this. I love rock (U2, Simple Minds, Guns 'n' Roses, etc) and "ambient" (Enigma, Orb, etc). I can tolerate almost any genre.

Technology: Obviously, I'm passionate about technology. I love gadgets, computers and the Internet. These dominate my waking hours one way or another.

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AKA DarkBlue?

the beautiful game...

Once upon a time I was quite a handy footballer (soccer player for the American audience). I wasn't gifted with midfield flair, nor was I a strong, cunning defender. I was a striker (the one who scores the goals). I had no tactical awareness and I was quite selfish with the ball, but I had one gift... I could run like the wind. So when my team mates managed to get the ball to me, I was usually able to outrun the opposing defenders before taking a shot on goal (hopefully accurately).

I played for my school team. One year, after a hugely successful season, we played an inter-school final against our most hated opponents - a grudge match, and they had the home advantage.

I was quivering with nervous anticipation as I arrived in the changing room. The absence of the usual excited chatter and noise confirmed that my team mates felt the same way, the atmospere was, as they say, charged. Like my colleagues, I quietly undressed and changed into my football kit, mentally preparing for the challenge ahead.

I wasn't immediately aware of our coach when he entered the room. That quickly changed when he bellowed out my name, followed by two words, "dark blue"!

It felt like a million eyes turned towards me and my heart dropped into my studded boots as I realised that I had made a terrible mistake... my team colours were white and my white kit glowed like a beacon under the harsh flourescent light as I remembered that, this being an "away" match, I should be dressed in my team's away colours which, as you've probably guessed, were a deep, navy blue.

The stunned silence that followed only confirmed what I had already known, I was up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Coach saved the day however, when he extracted from his bag an appropriately coloured pair of shorts and a shirt. Of course, they didn't fit. They had obviously been made for Arnold Schwarzenegger, and could have accommodated my entire family with room to spare.

So I spent the duration of that hugely important football match struggling to stop my shorts from plunging to my ankles and desperately hoping that the wind wouldn't gust - if it had, I would have immediately gone airborne. Needless to say, my performance was terrible and, to compound my misery, we lost the game and the trophy. To this day, I am convinced that every man there blamed me for our defeat and I never quite recovered from the shame.

From that day forward I was, inevitably, nicknamed DarkBlue, and I have not been able to shake off that permanent tribute to my humiliation.