I’ve just spent fifteen minutes on the phone to a girl (Chinese? Indian? Martian?) who was trying to convince me my computer was badly infected with a programme that can be used by hackers to access all my personal information. She said her company is affiliated to Microsoft and they want to clean up my computer and keep me safe. You know the sort of call – we’ve nearly all had them. Do people still fall for this bullshit????? I thought I’d have a bit of fun. I kept asking her to repeat everything she said (three times) as, “I’m a bit deaf dear. Can you speak louder and more slowly? No, still too fast. Slower. Slower. Louder. Slow down. Can you repeat that dear? No sorry, still can’t hear you.” She was very obliging and slowed down almost to a stop – it was hilarious. Then she asked me if I was at my computer now. I said yes. She asked if it was a desktop or a laptop. I said I didn’t know, what was the difference? Now she thought I was stupid as well as deaf. As she scrabbled round trying to find the right words, I got bored and put on my confident, authoritative voice, zapping her with the legal stuff. She panicked and put me through to the “Technical Manager”, who sounded exactly like her. I was told they needed to ask all these personal questions for verification purposes. I explained that the RLS (rate limiting step) was me verifying them, not the other way round. I went on and on and on, without pause, about how they were committing fraud, how I’d recorded this conversation and how they were acting criminally. She told me to “Get Lost”. Which caused me to discharge shrieking laughter into the mouth piece. Hopefully it hurt her ear. There followed a panicked conversation in a foreign language at the other end of the phone and then a voice, in pigeon English, pleaded, “Dr. Harthan. Dr. Harthan, are you still there?” Then the phone was put down. Morons. But morons who somehow have got hold of my name and my landline number, despite my having been registered with TPS for years. What a strange world we’ve made for ourselves!