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Who is TorQil?

If you have sent virtual crackers, you will have received mail from TorQil, the cracker elf, confirming your cracker has been sent. We are frequently asked who TorQil is. We sent our media consultant to Lapland in northern Finland to write a short bio of this somewhat elusive but key member of our team.

TorQil the cracker elf makes all our virtual crackers to order for each of our customers. He takes great care and pleasure in producing the best electronic crackers for you and me.

TorQil capitalised the Q in his name when he began working for aQtive in 1999. When vfridge took over virtual crackers he was one of a small group of key staff who moved into the new company. However, he'd got used to the new spelling of his name and so kept it in his new job. Then when vfridge also closed and Alan took over the care of crackers, TorQil has continued to offer his help.

Although the crackers website is based in the British Isles, TorQil is actually a telecommuter and lives and works in a small grotto in northern Lapland.

TorQil's father, his grandfather and all his relatives work making toys and presents which are delivered by reindeer and sledge to children all over the world. However, at an early age it was clear TorQil was not going to follow in the family tradition. From his first Commodore 64 at the age of 9, through various GameBoys, Nintendo, PCs and Macintosh his interest in things electronic grew. Now the equipment in his grotto includes several Macs, Solaris web servers and a Silicon Graphics workstation.

Telecommuting does mean that he can stay near his family and yet work in an exciting hi-tech company. Finland's excellent mobile telecoms infrastructure has also helped and like most Finns TorQil owns several different mobile phones to match his extensive (and somewhat gaudy) wardrobe. Linking his 3G phone to his laptop has meant he can spend his weekends walking in the woods, picking berries and mushrooms, and yet when inspiration strikes, open up his computer and within seconds surf the web and email his latest plans for crackers to us back in the UK.

There are technical problems working so far north. At one point the heat from so many computers in his grotto started to melt the ice on the floors, walls and ceiling. As well as making conditions slippery underfoot (and drawing the ire of the health and safety inspectors), the drips of melt water falling on the computers caused several major crashes, not to mention nearly electrocuting TorQil. However, he was able to call upon his ingenious (and much more practical) family who constructed indoor umbrellas made of space blankets, which reflect the heat from the machines away from the walls and ceilings and protect the equipment below from drips.

So far the only place that has resisted TorQil's desire to stay permanently online is the sauna.

There are social problems too working within a community dedicated to manual work and manufacturing. His family are constantly telling him that he ought to live in the real world instead of imaginary computer worlds. However, he always responds by listing all the many people from all over the world who he converses with by email, by sending virtual crackers and using his virtual fridge. His family are, it must be said, a little scathing of the benefits of a virtual fridge when the outside temperature is 30 degrees below freezing. This can be a little depressing, as they are a close family, but when he gets really low, he can always remind himself thay they are in no position to talk about the real world and the imaginary!

Living so far away from civilisation, TorQil gets few visitors, but if you are visiting Finland be sure to take a trip up north to visit him. He loves to show people his latest gadgets.

There is one night of the year when he takes a break from working with his beloved computers and joins the rest of his relatives. At vfridge we are of course happy to let him join the family business for this crucial night of the year. In fact, if you look out around midnight on Christmas Eve you may see him flying through the sky hanging on to the sides of a sleigh. Computers are of course forbidden, but if you look close he may just have snuck his PDA along with him.

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