Category Archives: media

Up Periscope?

imageI’ve been road testing the Periscope app. If you are on Twitter you will know it. If you have young/teenage kids then you ought to know of it and Facebookers…don’t tune out because it’s heading your way soon in a different guise.

Periscope is a Twitter app which enables you to video broadcast to the world LIVE, in real-time using just your device and wi-fi from wherever you are.

How does it work? Periscope when downloaded gets access to your camera and mic with your permission. You can choose to broadcast yourself turning the camera on you and inviting random anybodies to ‘talk’ to you and ask you about your life/interests. That’s what I found most teenage/young adults doing as I used the map in the app to scroll around the world and zoom in on live broadcasters (or ‘Scopers’) in dozens and dozens of countries to see how they were using it. I found that the vanity culture we live in sadly draws young and adults on to the app to expose their mostly mediocre lives to anyone who logs into their broadcast to interact with them if interested.

imageThe most interesting Scopes were where people were turning the camera on to scenes or events around them, rather than on themselves. In this way I was able to watch the recent London Marathon while out and about and not in front of a TV from the point of view of racers and fans rather than TV stations. Actually, I was in church at the time but as I’m sure my Pastors don’t read my crap I’m OK to reveal that. I toured the Old City of Jerusalem through the camera lens of some random tourist there and was able to comment with knowledge on what he was seeing as I know the place well and even direct him from my room in London as to where to turn his camera or guide his steps as to what he might find if he took a left or right turn from where he was.

How do you interact with Scopers? Well, when you log on to their broadcast they get a notification on their screen that @radiogeyser (my Twitter handle) is now watching. They can’t see or hear me. I can’t vocally communicate with them but I can see them or whatever their camera is viewing. I can message them a comment or question by text in the app which appears on their screen, which they can read and respond to vocally.

I thought long about whether to post this blog or not because I’m not a social media expert and I thought by now most people will know about Periscope – only they don’t seem to or are just not wanting to use/know how to use it. I know this by my many trawls around the live global map to find Live or dormant Scopers…and the map is surprisingly sparsely populated. So if this technology has been out a couple of years and it’s not taken off, why bother with it?

imageFacebook has already hinted it will introduce live citizen broadcasting in some form to its 1.65 billion active monthly users worldwide soon and the difference for me between Periscope and Facebook is that more people I’m closely connected with are on Facebook than Twitter. It will mean more to me if my more closely connected Facebookers watch any of my livecasts if I do any as it will if I see theirs – and if any of my close friends were about to livecast something, I would watch at least initially and then choose who to keep paying attention to. One thing I forgot to mention is that Periscope saves the most recent broadcasts of those you follow for review if you miss it live for a limited period. My Twitter followers are mostly anonymous people I know little about. My Facebook community is my inner circle and so livecasting in that context will have more relevance.

imageI like the potential of Periscope despite the vastly mundane, irritating and even dangerous nature of broadcasts I have seen. Let me just open this up for a sec. I randomly found a live Scoper in Sheffield, UK where I used to live. I logged in to his broadcast for that reason only to find a young guy ranting about gay people and advocating all sorts of harm, violence and death on them. I messaged him to stop. He didn’t. I warned him I would use the facility in the app to report his broadcast (which Periscope records) and he continued. I messaged him to say I had reported him and he continued. Finally, using the map facility I geolocated the street in Sheffield he was broadcasting from (but not the house number). I messaged up his street name and if I could have had the wits to screenshot the look on his face when he saw his street name come up I’d make it my screen saver. With an “OH SHIT!” He closed his broadcast down and I have no guilt at all thinking he probably had the first of a couple of sleepless nights.

imageScopes that draw me: Little is more and I stumbled across a French girl living in Nice, a place I love. She broadcasts in short bursts though the day. She has three goals: to show off her beautiful city, to engage with those whom she attracts and to teach them how to speak French. I am now in her daily morning class on Periscope with a link to her website I can visit if I want to deepen my learning but for now, I’m learning a bit of French every day with her and others in real-time on a beach in Nice. I give her my attention, though I’ve never seen her face because she has engaged me and I enjoy those few minutes of lovely views from a place I love while learning some French before getting out of bed to start my day.

Periscope may have a limited shelf life until Facebook or others unveil their rivals but the potential of citizen broadcasting, despite the pitfalls is an intriguing new prospect to communicate with the world around us. Like it or not, the digital space is the 21st Century market square.

Which news app?

If, like me, you are a news and current affairs junkie and you like to be in the know most of the time, then here’s a stroll through my favourite news apps of the moment. I’m an iPadder, so all apps reviewed are from the Apple store, though I’m sure there are Android alternatives for most of these. I’d love to hear back about any others I should try. There’s a distinct lack of major US news agencies simply because I’m trying to escape wall-to-wall coverage of their next election for as long as possible. So here in no particular order…

BBC

imageAs with all news outlets, whether or not you like or trust them depends on how you perceive their editorial bias. The Beeb, from what I observe, comes in for more than its share of stick being labelled too this or too that, too pro, too anti on almost any issue it reports on. That said, it still commands a huge amount of respect and credibility due to its sheer history, size and global network of correspondents.

Their recently relaunched app now includes a ‘My News’ section, enabling you to select your particular areas of interest and then displaying the top stories in those sections on one page after the Live Feed and Top Stories. After that you can drill down and more areas of interest, which are then added to a top menu bar for ease of access. If you allow notifications, you will get breaking news alerts but one point here is that the BBC tend not to be first with breaking news preferring to have stories verified before they issue and alert. In terms of look, I can’t help feeling that it’s too close to CNN and not in a good way but it is a must have among my staple of apps and my most often referred to.
The app is free to download and use or well I guess we pay to use it through the TV Licence Fee but at a fraction of a fraction of the cost of other apps. That said…considering all the other apps reviewed here are at absolutely zero cost that makes the BBC news app the most expensive in this array, bar the next one…
Rating: 4/5

SKY News

imageAgain, Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky might not be your thing but they are one of the speediest news agencies at releasing reliable breaking news alerts and for that reason mainly, their app is part of my collection. When massive major news stories break, Sky do tend to focus all their energies on them while other news agencies will flit around on to more stories so if you can’t get enough of a major event of concern, Sky is worth having. Visually I find it quite messy and haphazard to use and there is no facility to filter-off areas of specific personal interest. The app is free to download by everyone but only free to use if you are already a Sky TV subscriber. If you are not, then a monthly usage fee of around £5.00 applies and that’s a big negative to me.
Rating: 2/5

France 24

imageFrance 24’s English language service is growing in terms of the attention I give it. They are available in the UK now as a TV service, at least the English service is. Online, they are available in French and Arabic too. The English service is fronted by an array of presenters from the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, and North America and they cover global news from a French perspective. You will find more coverage of European news than we get in the UK plus an emphasis on regions of the world that were formerly French colonies, mostly Africa and the Mid East. If you allow notifications, you will get news alerts from them and in my opinion they are often the first and fastest alongside Agence France Presse (AFP) with reliable breaking news. On opening the app, you will be taken straight to the English live video feed and very minimalistic menu of content options to the right and bottom of the live feed leading you to their top stories, sport, business, a compressed news bulletin and the weather highlights from across the globe. A hidden right side menu which, will open as you touch the button to the top left of the Live Feed gives you the option to drill further into news articles and a ‘favourites’ section to select specific areas of interest to you plus you can link into their Twitter feed to see what they are talking about or who conversing with there. The app is free to download and use.
Rating: 4/5

Twitter

imageDepending how you use your Twitter account (if you have one), this can be one of the most interesting and immediate of all news apps (even though it is social media and not specifically news) but there is a deal of caution here. I don’t use my Twitter account to make friends or gather followers. I mainly use it to follow news and current affairs from as wide a perspective as possible in a language I understand and that means following news agencies on either side of political, cultural and conflict divides. So, for example I will follow Western English-language news agencies as well as Russia Today or the Chinese English service. I follow Israeli news agencies and the Iranian or Arab state broadcasters but I draw the line with ISIS scum. In doing so you can get some fascinating insights into differing geographical perspectives and emphases on news and very often hear about news stories not being covered in the UK. I also like to follow individual journalists and particular regional correspondents. While they are always careful in what they say so as not to give the impression that their views represent their employers, you can get fascinating insights into their personal perspectives and sometimes amusing banter between them. The most graphic content can be found in what they report on Twitter first hand from frontline situations, even describing violence and disaster around them with a blow-by-blow immediacy you don’t always see, hear or read when their reports are made public by their agencies. The big caution with Twitter is that it can also be the biggest rumour mill on the planet so caution is needed with breaking news unless from a reliable source. The Twitter app is free to download and use but you will need to set up a free Twitter account (and then spend a good year or so learning how to use it!).
Rating: 3/5

Reuters TV

imageThis is a new app on the market I’m still trying to get used to. Reuters claim to have created it for people who have switched out from watching live broadcast news for whatever reason. It’s a very simple app to use from one of the world’s most reliable and oldest news agencies. Essentially, you tell the app how much time you have to consume the essential news stories of the day – 5 minutes or 10, 15, 20 up to 30. The shorter time you allow and the app will deliver the top stories in video format on to your screen as a playlist of that time length. You can either just hit the play button and the app will play through all the stories in sequence of if you are more picky, you can choose from the playlist just those stories you are interested in. The longer you allow for your news the more diverse the news stories Reuters will provide. Over time based on monitoring your behaviour in the news stories you choose to view or avoid, the app will start to deliver more content it thinks you like. Noteworthy features are the ability to watch your content offline, connect to the global Reuters live feeds to consume news as it happens and upgrade to an ad-free version. The app is free to download and use, though there is a charge for the upgrade to the ad-free version. I’ve not been using this app long enough to give it anything other than a rating straight down the middle, though I suspect that might move upwards in time. Very pleasing on the eye.
Rating: 3/5

News 360

imageThis has been around a while and I’ve had it a while and can’t remember now why I took it off my iPad (probably an emergency memory storage issue). Very glad to have it back. It’s free to download and use and once you have it takes seconds to set up by offering you a very wide range of content from Top stories to lifestyle, entertainment, travel and LOADS of niche and specialist subject matter to add to your customised start screen and so the app will only ever serve up the news content you want to see. A sliding home screen will then display your news choices in a pictorial menu by subject matter and you select whatever content you want to read that moment. A really great feature with this one is the facility to link your social media accounts to the app. The app will never post to your social feeds unless you decide you want to share something. You can link with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (if anyone still uses that) and once you give permission the app will browse through your profile page to see what subject matter you like to post on and then it will offer you content areas taken from what it sees to be your areas of interest for you to add to your News 360 Home Screen. So for me, surprise surprise for all who know me, News 360 offered me Airline news, British Airways, Christianity, gadgets and the Eurovision Song Contest to add to my content choices. Don’t worry, if you spend all your time on social media slagging off that silly cow who lives up the road you can rest assured that cows, tarts or slag heaps will not show as content options for you nor anything of that personal a nature.
Rating: 4/5

Newsflash

imageAnd finally Newsflash, though this has little to do with providing news flashes. This is another new one I’m trying and I can’t say I’m all that impressed at the moment though I need to give it a fair chance. Of all the news apps, this has the most boring look and interface though after Twitter it offers the most varied content and content providers of any apps in this review. It’s free to download and use and you can spend forever scrolling through the content options and media providers. A great feature is that you can mute some of the pre-selected news agencies (ie the Daily Mail for most of my social circuit) plus add others that are not on the pre-selected list. The thing with this app is that because the choice is so wide-ranging, when I go into it I get that same feeling as when I used to go out at lunch time where I worked to buy lunch only to come back to the office empty-handed as there was just too much to choose from and so settle for a bag of chips from Greasy Joe’s across the street instead (which I guess in media terms is the equivalent of settling for 5 minutes doing The Sun crossword instead of consuming something more wholesome).
Rating: 2/5

Meeting Kate Adie

imageI think it would surprise some if I were to say that among the odd more widely known celebs that have walked through the doors of the niche Christian radio station I work for have included: Sky News breakfast anchor Eamonn Holmes, supermodel Linda Evangelista, singer Lulu, former Premiership footballer Fabrice Muamba, TV presenters Gloria Hunniford and Bear Grylls, actresses Sophie Okonedu, Hermione Norris and Roma Downey, actors David Suchet, Martin Sheen and Stephen Baldwin, radio presenters Roger Bolton, Aled Jones and Anthony Davis… There have been many more from the mainstream that are taking worryingly longer than minutes to recall as my mind tries to wander back over the last 18 years.

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Not all our guests profess to practising Christianity, but then that’s what I like about our expression of it – that we welcome contributions from different opinions within the faith and from those without and even those opposed and so our guests can be very diverse and surprising.

Just this week I had only my 2nd encounter of meeting someone famous who has deeply impacted my life. It was the briefest of encounters but the pleasure I received from it was all mine to give. I met veteran BBC news correspondent Kate Adie. Kate, for those who don’t know her was one of THE frontline BBC reporters from the real trouble spots in the world in the 1980s and 90s. She is most often remembered in khaki fatigues and bullet proof vest from numerous war zones. I remember her most from her reporting from the scene at Tianenmen Square, Beijing, when the Chinese People’s Army literally bulldozed over kids in the streets in their tanks who were protesting in the biggest popular move the city had seen since the Revolution just for the right to vote for who rules them: the chance for democracy.

I remember the video reports Kate sent back to us in the UK, her voice clearly trembling with a steely determination to suppress her emotion and deliver as a hardened, trained journalist from the evidently distressing scenes around her, much of which was too shocking for her to articulate.

I was living in Sheffield at the time I saw those news reports and remember being so shocked and moved not so much by Kate but by the horror of what she reported on and that in itself is testimony to her professionalism. At the time I made a vow, which I have kept up until this day: that I would never not vote in any election. There have been many times I have been tempted to not do so, such has been my dissatisfaction with our current batch of political animals. Yet each time I have been inclined not to put my X in the box, Kate has popped up in my mind reminding me of the butchered young people who died in their bid to have just that privilege.

imageAnd so this week Ms Adie, an ardent atheist with a Christian heritage, came in to be interviewed about her new book and I asked our Programming guys if I could meet her just for a moment and just to shake her hand and tell her what I have just written here and how her reporting from Tianenmen Square left a legacy on my life up to today. So I met her, shook her hand and told her. I know nothing more about her from our brief encounter other than she looked straight into my eyes with her smiling steely blues and I saw that she was moved.

For a weird and odd moment in that encounter I saw my life in duality: seeing at the same time I was speaking to her, images from China decades ago running through my mind while seeing the silver-haired lady she is today. Seeing me decades ago watching and being moved by those reports not knowing back then that my path and hers would be destined to intersect for a brief moment one day. This time it wasn’t her touching me. It was the other way around.

What ever happened to the girl with golden hair?

agYou could not have put two guys more unlike each other into one room than me and my University roomie, Jeremy Robinson. I got into college last minute after better than expected exam results. The only way to guarantee a place in one of the Halls of Residence was to state that I would be happy to share a room with a complete stranger  prone to several attempts at suicide on the application form. OK, I didn’t know Jez was going try and kill himself 3 times while I lived with him but I guess that’s the effect I have on people. Any casual visitor could sum up our room in one word: schizophrenic.  On the walls on one half of the room were posters of Jimmi Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zep and Janice Joplin.  On the other a map of Greece and a poster of Annifrid Lyngstad-Anderson and Agnetha Faltskog-Ulvaeus – the female half of the supergroup ABBA. Guess my half.

ABBA, as everyone knows, was and still is the most successful act ever to come out of abba1the Eurovision Song Contest other than Riverdance. I never saw their famous win in Brighton in 1974 as it was way beyond my bedtime, but ABBA was later to become to me the only music group or artists I can ever say I became a fan of and I was a fan in the very real sense.  I bought books about their lives and on vinyl had a very large percentage of their albums in English, Swedish and Spanish even going back to their solo efforts before they all got together and some after they split. When ‘ABBA – the Movie’ was released around their phenomenal tour of Australia, I remember standing in the queue for ages with friends and family wearing ‘I love ABBA’ badges I had made and forced my wincing family to wear.  OK, not a cool admission but you get my point. I was a fan.

abba2While everyone knew that the creative talent behind the band were the ugly boys, Bjorn and Benny (oh come on – there can not have been a living guy around who was not incredulous at how two such geeky guys hooked two such stunning babes) they were tolerated because while the band was together, everyone got to ogle the girls, or more particularly Agnetha (pronounced ann-yet-tah).  Forget Pippa Middleton, in her day Agnetha had the most photographed and ogled at bum in the whole world.  All Australia got into a lather over it as was brought out in the movie, much to the discomfort of Agnetha. There is a line in their iconic song ‘Thank you for the Music’ that goes: “I’ve been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair…” and to this day any ABBA fan recalling those lyrics will see in their mind the stunning blonde bombshell that was Agnetha Faltskog-Ulvaeus.

I first picked up on Agnetha’s fragility under the spotlight in the movie. It was clear way AbbaVoulezVous
back then that she was insecure with the band’s spectacular fame (370,000,000 albums sold globally) and was a home girl. She was not comfortable speaking any other language than her native Swedish and after the band split it is reported that she never spoke a word of English publicly again.  The marital stresses that both the couples in the group (Annifrid – or Frida as we know her – with pianist Benny and Agnetha with guitarist Bjorn) were being played out not only in the media but in their music of the time and I remember seeing them in concert near the zenith of their career at Wembley.  It was 1979, my most favourite year in living memory and it was a birthday present. I was not far at all from the stage. They had just released the album ‘Voulez Vous’. At one point in the show Agnetha took to the stage alone.  This was just as her painful separation from Bjorn was the meat of gossip columns at the time. The couple were to divorce the next year. I remember her sitting down at the piano, all alone on stage, and she accompanied her solo voice singing a song I still remember to this day called “I’m Still Alive”. She never recorded the song and I tried for years after to track it down. Whether she has done since I don’t know. My own priorities have changed and I don’t ‘celebrity watch’. You could have heard a pin drop in Wembley Arena at that moment. Everyone in the audience knew of her pain but here we actually witnessed it. She composed the song herself.

abba4Agnetha’s fear of the limelight developed to the point that she started not being able to face the Super Trouper stage lights without a shot or three of whiskey. She told a friend:  “No one who has experienced facing a screaming, boiling, hysterical audience can avoid feeling shivers in the spine. It’s a thin line between celebration and menace.”  Coupled with her growing fear of stardom and her rising reclusive tendencies, she encountered two incidents while travelling that were to make it almost impossible to make it to global band concert commitments.  in 1979, the band’s private jet was caught up in a terrible storm on approaching Boston, Massachusetts, that shook Agnetha up so much that she thereafter would only travel by road.Then in 1983 she was caught up in a road crash in her native Sweden and was hurled out of a coach window on to a frozen ditch.  Agnetha has rarely travelled anywhere since and this explains much as to why she was the only member of the band missing when the smash hit theatrical production of ‘Mama Mia’ opened in London in 1999.

In love, while her ex-husband Bjorn met and fell in love with an advertising executive to abba3whom he is still married (though there are reports that he is suffering from dementia and can not now recall his heady days in the band), Agnetha has not found the same happiness or stability. Both she and Bjorn were seeing psychiatrists at the time of their divorce. Agnetha retired from public life to a small island home outside Stockholm. She had a number of flings including with a Swedish Ice Hockey star, a fashion designer and her marriage guidance counsellor before finally marrying a Swedish doctor.  That marriage lasted a couple of years before she hooked up with a Dutch ‘stalker’ that she claimed to Swedish Police was threatening her life when it later turned out she and he had been having an affair. The Swedish public were not shy to show their anger at being misled.

abba5I’ve not done any exhaustive research before writing this post. I just Googled. I’ve not suddenly retroed back to my ABBA fan days. Agnetha came to mind again just this week when one of the Eurovision Song Contest fan sites posted that she was back and is about to release her first solo album in decades in May.  Sure enough that turns out to be true and Apple is reporting massive pre-orders of the album which is to be called simply ‘A’. I decided to write this post simply because Agnetha Faltskog-Ulvaeus was part of my most formative years. She was the poster girl this 18 year old dorky, geeky me chose to inflict on an unsuspecting Jeremy Robinson on the top floor at Earnshaw Hall in Broomshill, Sheffield all those years ago. When you get to Uni and before Uni changes you, you take with you your key life influencers and I guess for me at that time Agnetha Faltskog-Ulvaeus was one.

I will most probably download her album and it’s interesting she’s releasing it in May when the Swedish city of Malmo will be hosting the same Eurovision Song Contest (watched by nearly a billion people globally nowadays) that catapulted her to global fame. Rumours of an ABBA re-union at that event, though highly desirable, remain just rumours. None of the reports on this story I’ve read so far give anything away as to why Agnetha has decided to break out of her reclusion now but I for one am very glad that she has decided to do so.

Oh…and Jezza if by some freak of irony you are reading this – soz mate.  Oh, and also it was me who filled your gloves with Blu-Tac when I knew you had a phobia of the stuff….

jez

 

 

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Cyber violated twice in one day.

It could have been in Mumbai, Bangalore, Jaipur, Chenai or any other of India’s burgeoning ‘silicone cities’. For at least 2 hours today I handed over screen and keyboard control of my Laptop to someone I have never met or spoken to called ‘Siva’ who lives in India…

That’s right:- my personal Laptop complete with my 4 private email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, iTunes, Tesco Direct, this Blog, PornULike……

(Kidding. I don’t shop at Tesco)

Why am I blogging about this?  Well I guess it was because of the weird feeling I had today of being voluntarily violated in my most personal space not once but twice in one day.  I’m still reeling from it actually, even though I now have a very healthy and fast and secure Laptop.

It all started when I felt my internet speed at home had slowed.  I’m a Virgin Media customer and they are known and proven to (so far) have the fastest broadband speeds in the UK. They have just been running a saturation level national ad campaign announcing they are boosting broadband speeds even faster.  Imagine my ire then as I can feel mine slowing.

So I go to the online help centre. It’s pretty easy to use. I look up and try some diagnostics.  Then I also note that I can ‘chat’ to a Technical Advisor – a sort of online PC Doctor and get some more advice. So I log in…and meet ‘Siva’.  Before I could ‘chat’ to Siva, I had to download the Virgin Digital Home Help app which not only enabled me to talk to Siva, but also run a ‘health’ diagnostic on my Laptop. I run it. Prognosis: not good. Virgin says I have no anti-virus protection.  But i DO. I have a fully activated McAfee account. I run a McAfee check. Green lights all round.    So how come Siva?

“Hello, I’m Siva your technical Advisor today. How can I help you?” He greets me. “I can run a complete diagnostic on your PC, clean it up and get it running faster for you and also find out why we are picking up that you have no anti-virus protection”. 

“You can?  Ummm…..ok. Wait a minute…I have no anti-virus protection???”

“There is a charge for this and we can add that to your next monthly bill. Are you authorizing me to go ahead?”

“Errm…..OK. Yes.”

“Great! in order to run the diagnostic and clean up your PC I will need to take control of it. Do I have your permission?”

Thoughts flash by.  Take over my PC? As in have a stranger peer into the very secret part of me?  My thoughts, my most recent Facebook posts…even worse my Twitter posts!  Emails in and out Things I have just bought….my payment card details for crying out loud?

“Ok. Yes”

From that moment, Siva was in control. I watched my screen lying on my bed in London while Siva took control of my most personal space from somewhere in India. I took my hands off the steering wheel and watched the cursor fly around the screen as he and not I dictated.  I watched  as he opened up programmes I never knew were there. I had already given him permission to delete anything he saw that might be a security threat to my PC or my personal details.   For nigh on 2 hours I watched his progress. Saw him open files, unclick stuff, delete stuff, refine stuff – all with my permission and all the time he was doing it I could activate the chat box to ask him stuff. OK, yes I could have been doing other things in those 2 hours as Siva suggested. But come on, a stranger in Mumbangalore is roaming around my PC at will? One thing I never saw him do was open Facebook, or Twitter, or email…

There were some impressive security measures in place covering me.  Before the diagnostic session started, Virgin Media told me that by default all such sessions were recorded to protect my privacy…so in other words, Siva’s bosses were watching him and what he was looking at on my computer. The other was that, well, I was watching Siva. I saw every move he made. I didn’t need to. I could have left him to get on with it as he suggested. I could have come back to a finished diagnostic with a summary report in the chat window an hour or 4 later and he did tell me it could take as long as that.

Of course I did not leave the screen for a minute.  My PC and all in it in the hands of a stranger?  I was impressed with what I saw and as I watched him navigate around my PC I found myself learning stuff that I afterwards went back and looked at again.

So the outcome.  A trimmer, faster, de-bugged PC but one that also revealed a problem with my McAfee security that I know I might never have otherwise discovered.  McAfee was not covering me in real-time scanning even though on my PC it was showing I was secure. There was a fault in the McAfee app on my PC

Siva completed his diagnostic and, having alerted me to the McAfee issue, even left the chat session by putting on my screen the page I needed to take the issue up with McAfee.   I clicked on the link and followed things through to……another remote online technician.

“Hello, this is Arjun. I am your technical support assistant for McAfree today. How can I help you?”

I explain the situation.

“Great! in order to run the diagnostic and clean up your PC I will need to take control of it. Do I have your permission?”

Oh yes, I kept a watch on Arjun too (at no cost), though thankfully for a much shorter time but after my session with Siva I was empowered to quiz Arjun when he told me my PC was protected when Siva had told me it was not. I ended up leading Arjun on screen  to the areas Siva told me I needed to alert him to. Once Arjun saw what I was showing him, he immediately initiated a fix, told me I needed to restart my PC and then what to do once I restarted it.

So I now have a smarter, faster and above all totally protected Laptop now.  Was it worth the extra £60 on my next Virgin Media bill?    For me yes. I’m among the IT illiterate mass millions of the world who are increasingly becoming dependent on digital media to live our lives but who have no idea how to maintain of fix it. There’s no car manual for us…only guys like Siva and Arjun who I don’t know and don’t trust but working under the Virgin and McAfee brands that I do trust. None of it is fool-proof as this post reveals but it’s all we, the IT ignorant, have to help us live our lives in this Digital Age…

(Until some rancid, spotty 13-year-old in his bedroom decides to take us all down in a hissy fit over some girl who rejected him because he’s a greasy, spotty jonny-no-mates and so hacks down the world wide web).