In my post ‘Mumbling’ last week I mentioned a possible virtual meeting of a Writers Group I belong to. It seemed, and still seems like a good idea to me. Except. There’s usually an except isn’t there?

The basic idea was to use Zoom, which has had a massive uptake in the time since self isolation, social distancing, ‘lockdown’ (there’s a perfectly good word already people! -‘Quarantine’, without resorting to ugly neologisms). I have heard bad things about Zoom from a privacy/security angle, though. There are other video conference call systems available but none are without problems and drawbacks. The issue seems, as usual, at root  to be about money. If you want a system for free, it doesn’t exist. You may not realise you are paying for it or what you are paying to whom but there really are no free lunches and if you insist on one you’re very probably going to get more than you bargained for.

Some work only on Apple – you are already paying a premium for the name. Some on existing platforms/systems – Google, Facebook – bye bye data; some have interesting issues about what might be downloaded alongside, and some are very reluctant to let you go once they have you, and have even been known to leave bits of the software behind in case everyone wants to be friends again later, and maybe more.

So am I a luddite?

I started using computers in the 80s. Bought my first one c1981- 1Kb RAM! Expanded it to 16k – madness! And been messing about with them ever since – bit slow off the marks on the net – 1996 – and have been slowing down ever since as I realised the genie was out of the bottle and I couldn’t keep track of everything that was happening with logarithmic expansion of systems. Basic and DOS was no longer going to cut it!

So maybe not a luddite, but warily out of date, probably.

I’ll keep looking for a trade off between availability/affordability and security/privacy I’m happy with but in the meantime I’m going to be relying on carrier pigeons, emails and blogging to stay in touch.

Nobody needs to spend their day looking at my ugly mug anyway.

Photo credit: <a href=”″>bcymet</a&gt; on <a href=”″></a&gt; / <a href=””&gt; CC BY-NC</a>

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