I was interested in computers from an early age (remember the ZX81?), but actually took my degree in chemistry. After graduating I bought by first PC, a Cyrix 686 and became interested in the newly emerging Internet (this was back in the late 90s, and while the Internet had been around for many years before that, it hadn't yet taken off for domestic use). I became interested in web design (CSS, JavaScript, DHTML), and starting learning Perl CGI. At the same time I started becoming interested in Linux, something I had encountered through writing Perl CGI scripts. Pretty soon I dumped Windows and started using Linux full time (my first distro was SuSE 6.1, but I quickly moved to RedHat and then Slackware).

For a couple of years I worked as a Perl CGI coder for an American company, but as my interest in Linux grew, and Perl was gradually edged out by PHP as the language of choice for web development, I started to widen my net and went freelance. Daunting at first, but I enjoyed the variety of work: PHP/MySQL back-end development, troubleshooting web code, Linux administration, some CSS/JavaScript development.

Security had always been an interest of mine, and some of the most enjoyable work I do is forensics on hacked servers - discovering what damage has been down, how the attacker gained entry, sometimes even laying traps to catch more information about the attacker. In 2004 I took 6 months out and wrote a book on Linux security. Although sales weren't brilliant (it's quite a narrow market), it recieved very positive reviews, and was great fun to do. Returning to the world of freelance work (where it seemed that everyone and his dog was now a web designer), I started to concentrate almost solely on Linux, with the occassional bit of back-end web development for variety.

Since then I've helped hundreds of clients across the world, ranging from small start-up companies to established big names. While the bulk of my work tends to be fairly mainstream Linux system administration, I've had the pleasure of working on all sorts of fascinating projects over the years including WiFI hotspots with Radius and modified WRT routers, custom mail/spam scanning solutions for high-load mail servers, GPG encryption, helping schools with their intranets, security penetration testing, and performance tuning for very busy web forums. In terms of PHP/Perl web development, over the years I've written all manner of scripts from online dating to shopping carts, web spiders (with Perl/LWP), referral systems, and shopping carts.

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