22 November, 2011


Gordon Bennett!

A wee while ago I wrote of my frustrating experience of having to use Windows Media Center to access the TV tuner plugged into my laptop. It's got no less frustrating. It still behaves like a Dixon's (Curry's) sales assistant trying to bully you into buying an "extended warranty" on the perfectly reliable piece of Chinese electro-tat that you are in the process of buying. (I notice the bastards craftily broach the subject after they've got your credit card in their sweaty little mitt.)

But on the whole I have reached a sort of armed truce in the battle of wills with the Beast of Redmond's bossyware.

Then today it gave me a very nasty shock. I was changing channels. A fairly basic operation you might think, but on Windows Media Center the precise sequence of events seems to vary; I think it's dependent on the weather and cosmic rays. It might help if I spin widdershins in my chair before clicking the mouse — I may give that a try.

And there on the screen, underneath the waffle which informed me why it was unwilling to comply with my request at this time, there was a box which read

You've been scammed

Ah. I stared at this frightful apparition gloomily, contemplating hours, days of decontamination of the computer and was beginning to reflect on the possibility of endless phone calls and letters to unravel an identity fraud when I actually got round to reading the text of the message properly. Do you read error messages? Properly? Or, like me, do you get to the stage where you click automatically on the "Are you sure (Y/N)?" message box which asks you to confirm that you really do want to delete the whole of your C: drive?

"You've been scammed", it turns out, was the name of the programme currently showing on the channel (BBC1) I was switching away from. Perhaps the computer wanted to carry on watching it.

Or something. Who knows?

I'm going for a lie down. After that I shall eschew these dubious high tech pleasures and join a morris dancing team. Or possibly a monastery.

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