Thursday 25 December 2014

How many ways can I scream with frustration?

Published 14/02/2013 | 06:00

As I wrote yesterday, my laptop was the victim of a particularly nasty 'police ransomeware' virus which, apart from surreptitiously taking a picture of me on the webcam of said laptop – and that's a rather freaky experience, let me tell you – completely shut the whole system down.

First I showed it to one guy who works in the tech field – no dice was his response, the computer was pretty much buggered.

Another guy I went to had the same answer.

So, not really being in a position to fork out seven hundred quid for a new laptop (those Christmas bills are still coming in) I brought it into a repair shop run by two Chinese guys.

The repair guy obviously realised that I was completely clueless about technology – it makes me angry and confused, if truth be told – and simply told me to give him the computer and he would fix it.

And for 40 quid he did in two hours what everyone else was saying couldn't be done at all.

There was just one problem – the virus had infected the entire hard drive. So everything myself and the wife had stored simply vanished. Now, as you can imagine, that is unbearably irksome.

But I will pass on a bit of advice that the Chinese guy gave me – unless you're actually using the webcam on your laptop, put a Band Aid or some other sort of plaster over it.

Because more and more viruses use the camera to record what you're doing without you ever knowing.

Really, we're becoming more bloody Orwellian by the day, aren't we?

Crazy as a fox

The recent story of the baby in England who had its finger ripped off by a fox has concentrated minds on this side of the water as well.

And there has been plenty of hand-wringing about the dangers of so-called 'urban foxes'.

Now, there's a family of foxes in the area I live and they are shy, timid and, frankly, quite adorable.

Indeed, the only impact they have made on us was forcing us to buy a protective box for the milk that's delivered because the little buggers were ripping the cartons open and having a nice breakfast at our expense.

But I have been rather amused by so many people saying that the authorities are going to have to organise a cull of these creatures.

And why would that be amusing? Well, one of the people who has been saying this is also vociferously opposed to hunting – so you ban fox hunting in the country on the one hand and on the other you kill the city foxes?

Honestly, yet again this is just another perfect example of culchies getting preferential treatment while city dwellers get the rough end of the stick.

Evil? Or just business?

What do you think of Big Tobacco?

Well, you probably think about them in the same way you think about Big Pharma – massive, sinister organisations, run by shadowy figures bent on total domination.

But do you think that they are actually evil?

The Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee (snappy name guys, well done) has erupted with fury at James Reilly's assertion that they are 'evil' and are demanding that RTé never shows a repeat of these comments. Now, I know tobacco companies have a bad rep, but you have to wonder about the PR wisdom of making James Reilly (pictured) look like the good guy.

After all, given the fact that he presides over a health service which routinely sees the elderly and frail left on trolleys in hospital corridors for more than 24 hours (and that isn't anecdotal, I've seen it with my own eyes), I'm not sure 'evil' is a word the minister should be throwing around with abandon.

Well, that seems fair

What's your job like? Well, that's assuming you still have a job, of course.

We all know that we're living in a completely different work environment to a just a few years ago and we now have to suck stuff up that we would never have tolerated in, say, in 2010.

But I was particularly taken by the news in this very paper on Monday that staff at a Tesco warehouse now have to wear digital arm devices that record how hard they work.

Obviously, management at the plant don't have to endure this indignity and they point out that you are still allowed to take a break and go to the toilet.

Which, I'm sure you'll agree, is jolly decent of them.

In fairness, this is not a new idea.

Indeed, here at Indo Towers they trialled a similar scheme a few years ago.

It ended shortly after the device I was wearing simply recorded me sleeping under my desk.

In my defence I had just written a very long column and needed a nap. . .

Don't judge me.

So, what are you giving up?

Well, we're into Lent – the season of self sacrifice and spiritual contemplation.

I remember loving this time of the year as a kid because eating a forbidden sweet or a bit of chocolate was an act of mini rebellion against the priests.

That sense of rebellion lasted only until one of the smarter priests brought in an honour code – you could eat whatever you wanted, he said, and he added that he wouldn't judge. Any transgression, he pointed out, would simply be between you and your own conscience.

And that worked, I can tell you.

So in that Lenten spirit here are just some of the things I shall be eschewing for the next 40 days: hard work, due diligence, proper research, getting into work on time, being pleasant to my colleagues, using reputable sources . . . (Hang on O'Doherty, you don't do any of those things at any time of the year anyway. Get out. You're fired. Ed)

Irish Independent

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