You know him as the prodigious poster from the Security Industry News forum, Jasper_The_Rasper, aka Jeff - now learn more about him! Jeff cheerfully agreed to answer my questions in this interview:
I was brought up in the North East of England in the town of Shildon which was the birthplace of the railways in 1825. And for any Webrooters in Canada who know of the Victoria Bridge in Montreal there is a connection here as well. Robert Stephenson, the designer, was the son of George Stephenson, the “Father of the Railways”. As you can probably guess, I am immensely proud of the heritage and history of the area. My family on my fathers side has worked for the railways back as far as 1827; even me for 1 month back in 1977. It is only now almost 200 years later that we are breaking away from the railways.
Despite the railways being the way that most young men went because our fathers did it, I had other ideas.
My love was for gardening and that is the way I went despite being told by different people that there was no money it.. In those days jobs were not easy to come by up there so I got myself enrolled onto a City and Guilds day-release course. That was the start of my 7 years of studying Amenity Horticulture. I did 4 years studying for my City and Guilds qualifications and then moved to York for a 3 year diploma course where I met my future wife. After leaving college in 1984 and 4 moves later, I ended up in my current position as Head Gardener on an estate in West Berkshire and I have been here 26 years at the end of this next May.
In 1989, a short time after moving here and a bit of cajoling from me, I got the love of my life to come and visit me in West Berkshire. That December we got got engaged and were married on August 18th, 1990 followed by the birth of my daughter on August 20th, 1991. And now all these years later I am still here after just giving initially it 5 years to see how I like the place; it sort of grew on me.
People ask me that when I retire will I move back to the North again and I have to say that I do not think so. I love the North. The people are great and the countryside is fantastic but I now know more people around here. It is quite likely that my daughter will settle down here as well so it looks like we are here to stay.
I knew nothing about computers apart from a few lessons at college in the very early 80’s and that is how it would have stayed had not been for my daughter. In 2004, while at school, she was learning about them. My wife and I decided that we needed to know more to help her so I (being a little bit more technologically knowledgeable) was volunteered to go on an ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) course which taught the basics got me on the right path.
Shortly after that we were given a Windows 98 computer and once I was shown how to turn it on and off properly I was well away and picked things up reasonably quickly. Of course the same thing happened to me as has happened to many others. I picked a browser hijacker with no idea on how to remove it. I searched on-line and came across the Internet Security sites offering free help and I have been involved ever since. Within a short time I was helping out by posting about updates of security programs to over a dozen different sites and along the way picking up quite a lot of knowledge. I think it is fair to say that I was well and truly hooked.
I suppose the highlight of my experience was when for 3 consecutive years until 2009 I was awarded the MVP award for Consumer Security which was for me fantastic considering that just a few short earlier I did not even know how to turn a computer on. At that time I was doing a lot of sites and it was extremely time consuming.
How did you discover the Webroot community?
It was via these Internet security sites that I got to know TripleHelix (Daniel) and after a short time of feeling “burnt out” by posting so much for so long I became a regular poster on the Calendar of Updates and Daniel suggested I gave Webroot I try.
Despite just giving it a try I very quickly adopted it as my sole AV and from there the Webroot community was just a short step away.
Where do you get all your security news from and how do you stay up to date?
When I was doing the security updates I came across many great sites along with some which were not so good. So I got very used to looking around and now have quite a few in my bookmarks which along with news aggregators provide a wealth of information.
What hobbies do you have outside of posting on here?
Hobbies. Well I am the first to admit that I really need to get a life. I do a lot of reading of just about anything and if I have nothing to do I am almost always found with a book in my hands. Well I say book, these days I have progressed to a Kindle e-reader which has opened the gates to masses of free books and I have never looked back.
I have made a lot of wine which I loved making and still have several gallon in store which is better for cooking with now. The need to keep racking it and the bottling gradually put me off and now I rarely drink wine being a real-ale man.
I think my favourite thing though is being in the open air with the peace and quiet. Working where I do I usually only see about 5 people at the most all week excluding my wife and daughter which leads me onto to the next thing. On a Saturday night I am usually found down my local pub sampling a local real ale, it gives me chance to get out of here and meet others.
It does go without saying though as I am sure you are all aware that the thing I do the most in my free time is the Security Industry News. It gives me the chance to actually sit down in the warmth and just relax while browsing the news sites which is a great way to rest after a hard day in the gardens.
How is your chicken coop doing?
My chicken coop is doing great actually. It has worked out 100% better than what I imagined it would do. It is the first thing like that I have ever made from scratch and without any plans at all so I am very pleased with it.
The 6 chickens have settled in very well and we are now getting 5 eggs a day which is good going considering 2 of the chickens are getting old now.
Most interesting place you've visited?
The most interesting place I have visited, although visited is not quite the right phrase because I lived just outside of it, is York in England. If you like history, especially the Romans and Viking periods, York is the place to go. Once you are inside the ancient city walls there is history oozing out of all the brickwork and the street plan still follows the same lines as it has always done. Plus there is a great street called Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate; it maybe small but a wonderful name .
Who is your role model?
A role model, now this is a hard one because I do not really have one. If I did I would have to say that it would be my father.
Where did the inspiration for your username come from?
My username is my nickname from my college days and it just stayed with me especially as some of my friends still do not know me by anything other than Jasper. How I got the name Jasper though I cannot remember how that happened other than within a couple of days I had acquired it.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Jeff and it was great learning more about you!
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It has been my very great pleasure...indeed, honour, to actually meet you, your lovely Lady, Liz, and Daughter, Lauren...and not to forget to mention your walking companion, Bella...and it is all down to this Community...:D
What a handsome photo with that cute smile of yours and you are so blessed to have a beautiful family and a job that you enjoy and you indeed work very hard at it.
Your background of schools and being the MVP is very impressive. I throughly loved your interview! Kudos to all you do for this Community and all the fantastic Security News you share with us everyday without fail.
I believe your Father is very proud of you and I'm sure you have so much love from Lauren and your beautiful Wife Liz that keeps you strong and you are sincerely a very special Man with love and kindness in your heart!
Thank you Jeff for this interview..I really enjoyed every sentence... 🙂
Thank you for your kind words Anthony, they mean a lot to me.
And thank you Sherry, I am a bit lost for words with that :D
That picture of me was taken a few years ago and I used it for my MVP profile the first year I got got the award, and I have aged a bit since then ;)
Your right though, I do have a very special family and I know I would not be here if it was not for them.
What an interesting and brilliant introduction! My eyes are burning at 4:00 a.m., but once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I would say you have found a satisfying and contented life by following your heart and not the expectations of others. It is a.gift to have a life well lived. Good on you! Thank you for the enjoyment of "getting to know you".
BTW, one of the nicknames for our dog, KC, is Jasper. Obviously, my husband and I are fond of the name. :D
It just shows though that you do not need to be a computer expert to join in and contribute to these sites. It is great fun and a fantastic place to learn for all its members.
With kind regards
I got so caught up in your interview and then I viewed the garden! Holy Moly. You did that all by yourself? I can't keep a cactus alive. You are truly.gifted and you have the greens to prove it. Absolutely outstanding pictures. Congratulations for making the World a more beautiful place. I wish I could see it in person but I missed my chance as I did not know you when I crossed the pond. Maybe another day.....
Truly beautiful work. Thank you.
It has taken 26 years to make that garden and I have over the years had some help so I cannot take all the credit.
This is a very nice article and it is great to get to know more about your personal and family history.
I saw the link to your estate and I would love to see it in person. Even though the pics are good, I bet they don't do it justicet. I don't know if I will ever get that way again but if I do, you will have company. :D Last time I was there I never got away from Heathrow.
Your right the pics don't do it justice but being a garden thing are changing all the time and I have a big project over the next 2 years. The herbaceous borders, we have 4 and each 74 feet by about 20 and I have to remove all the plants and we going to replant totally. So yes things change and I when the work is finished I will have to post some new pics.
I read about your photos and HAD to find them. Being incredibly brilliant at computers [cough], it only took me fifteen minutes, but I did manage to stumble across them. Wow! Just WOW! Seeing your gorgeous "work", I fell into a state of Zen and wanted to leap across the pond and stroll through the gardens you've created. Being a brown-thumb gardener, I'm going to cringe now when I walk out my front door and spy my Knockout Roses that have run wild. (And nobody warned me that garlic chives can travel under sidewalks and pop up at the most inconvenient places!) Fortunately for the roses and me, it's about time to trim them back and shape them for winter. I know what you do takes a lot of work, but creating such serene beauty must be incredibly satisfying. You rock! Thank you for sharing the photos. I needed a little Zen in my life today. :D Take care.
I am glad you enjoyed them and I hope they inspire you to greater things with your garden.