Simplifying Technology

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Friday, 20 February 2015

I've been MOOCed

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a reference to a course studying World War One Aviation.  Well, I read Biggles books when I was a kid, and I have had a strong interest in WW1 aircraft and pilots since then.  So what was I going to do?  The course was free - so, having nothing to lose, I signed up.

This particular course is run by FutureLearn (, which is an offshoot of the UK Open University.  It's what is known as a MOOC - or Massive Open On-line Course.  These are quite popular at the moment and many Universities, and other institutions, are involved in providing them.  The subject matter of these courses varies tremendously.

I have just completed week 2 of this 3 week course.  They state that they expect you to take 3 hours per week, or more if you follow up the additional material they provide.  So it's not to hard to fit in the required time.  I am finding it very interesting, and quite thought provoking, as it delves into the military politics and social aspects of the period.

Stupidly I showed my wife a course they were also advertising on King Richard III.  Now I am signed up for that as well, she didn't want to do this by herself!  Life is getting very busy.

Anyway - I recommend getting MOOCed.  Try it.  Let me know what you are doing.  Maybe I'll see you in class.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Another Scammer Tries

Scammers busy at work

Well I finally joined the club and had a call from one of those obnoxious scammers that tells you that you have a problem with your computer.  I was starting to think that maybe they didn't like me.  This just a couple of days after I read an article describing how scammers had confused an elderly lady into giving her bank details and losing thousands of dollars.  So I immediately thought of that, which made me angry.  Anyway I tried to do my duty and string them along for a while to waste their time.

The female (I won't say lady) who spoke to me read from her script and said she was from Spark. I think she is the one on the left in the picture above.  Her Indian (or was that Pakistani) accent, the very noisy background, and the bad line immediately gave her away.  The fact that I am not a Spark customer didn't help her chances either.  She asked me to turn my computer on (I should have thought about that - I could have wasted another couple of minutes there but I told her it was on).  She asked me what screen I was seeing, and then I made my second mistake and said a Gmail screen.  This obviously wasn't in the script so she said she would call her manager.  The manager came on, and I asked him what the weather was like in his part of India (I was getting angrier...).  He insisted that he was at some address in Auckland and gave me an address (probably the Spark HQ).  I said I didn't believe him but to continue on.  I guess he figured I was a lost cause because he hung up on me.  I suppose that was a minor victory.

Sadly I don't know exactly what problem I have on my computer.  Next time I'll try and be calmer and go on for longer and see what my problem really is.  I know what there problem is!