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(Today in European Spotlight, Stars and Stripes talks with Johnny Cole, Northrop Grumman contractor with V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany, who has an extensive résumé in computers and the Internet.)

Outside of work, what makes you a techno geek?

I host and work on six active Web sites, plus buy up Internet real estate. I have 14 different domains, which include many shared photo sites. I have an elaborate research and development lab at home. My sites include: gaming, graphics, clubbing, R&D, photography and loading them on the net.

Have you always been a geek?

Yes. I had my first computer at 8. So, for the last 24 years I’ve had a computer. That’s a pretty long time.

What’s your most active site and which is your personal favorite?

The Johnny Cole Experience is the most active, but my favorite is the JCE Forum. The reason it’s my favorite is because it really keeps people together. There have been people that I haven’t spoke to in years who have found the site. Through the forum they are able to send me and their other old friends a message or write a note on the message board. It’s pretty cool in the respect that it keeps old friends coming back.

How about your favorite site that is not your own?

That would be www.digitalblasphemy.com. It’s some of the best computer imagery around. I use it for all my desktops.

Could you tell the rest of us nontech heads what piece of upcoming equipment we should be looking out for?

The iPod video player during the first half of 2006. It’s a portable movie player. It’s going to be hot.

What is the one piece of computer equipment you think the world could do without?

A modem.

Apple or PC?

PC

Tell me one highlight of two of your site themes: Gaming and clubbing.

For gaming that would be “Neverwinter Nights.” I’m highlighting this game because, first, it’s a game I could play with my wife, and, second, the addiction factor is exceptionally high. I’ve always been into Dungeons and Dragons and this is based of the original D&D. For clubbing, a perfect example I could highlight is what I have posted for this weekend: Attending the final weekend of Bad Dürkheim wine festival during the day and then going clubbing at night.

Compare the movie “Hackers” to a movie like the “The Net.”

Well, in the “Hackers” movie it shows things that are actually possible. They just blow things out of context or use totally different techniques than what would really be used for hacking. It was really just an exaggeration of the act of hacking. “The Net,” on the other hand, was a completely far-fetched exaggeration of electronic espionage. I wouldn’t even mention “The Net.”

Speaking of hacking, if you could hack into any agency’s site, not saying that you would, which would it be?

Any? That’s a bad question. I guess it would have to be the Chinese central intelligence. Then I could find out what they were really doing.

Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

Ummm… no. This is better.

Johnny ColeAge: 32

Title: Techno Geek

(Day job: Northrop Grumman contractor, senior systems architect, G-6, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany)

Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to news@mail.estripes.osd.mil.

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