So, you're wondering who I am? My real name is Paul Johnston, although a lot of people call me Paj. I work as an IT security consultant for Pentest, a small firm in Altrincham. We are "hackers for hire" but only for ethical hacking, no black ops. I've been here since October 2009, after I returned from my long trip away.
Prior to travelling, I lived in Leeds, the fourth city in the UK. It's an ok place, there's lots of social life nearby, as well as easy access to the countryside. I used to go running along a canal just by the house. Only problem is all the bloody traffic. I was still hanging on to the student life, living in a house share with four lovely people.
I worked for HBOS, which was one of the major banks in the UK, before becoming part of Lloyds Banking Group in a rescue takeover. The bank is better known in England as the Halifax, and in Scotland as Bank of Scotland. I worked in information security, where I had a varied role, with a good chunk of penetration testing. I think HBOS was a great employer, and would have recommended the company. I've had quite an eventful IT career already. I mention on the front page that I was "booted out from corporate land", but this isn't quite true. I was briefly displaced (without a role - the precursor to redundancy), and that day I decided to go travelling, but in the end a role was found and I left voluntarily.
I've got a bunch of hobbies. I like keeping fit with cycling, running and the gym, all with varied frequency. I've done some long rides, including cycling all the way across Europe - from Amsterdam to Barcelona. I like Salsa dancing, you may find me at Salsaholics or Fuego Latino. And I'm a juggler - more on this below. I used to train Jeet Kune Do, although I've not kept it up recently.
Generally, I've not been big on the online social networks. But I am now on Facebook and LinkedIn, although I usually only accept friend requests from people I know in real life.
I quite like reading, although it comes in bursts. I like fast paced, action books authors like Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, Robert Harris and Chuck Palahniuk. For a long time I really liked Isaac Asimov, and I still think the ideas in his books are just about the best around, although his writing style isn't quite as gripping as the others I've mentioned.
For music, I am a bit "homeless" at the moment. For years, I listened to really heavy dance music - techno, drum & bass, all that, writing off everything other kind of music. At some point I realised heavy dance music does my head in, I mean, it's got its time and place, just not often. Nowadays, I like some stuff, mostly individual songs more than groups, although REM, Kosheen and Queen are usually good picks. If you've got any ideas for stuff to soothe my ears, give me a shout.
It often surprises new people when I introduce myself this way. My full name is:
Paul Andrew Johnston
or PAJ for short. It's pronounced "Padge" but not spelt that way. And NO, I am not Raj, Patch, Podge or Hedge and definitely not Fadge!