Nor is it James. Frankly, even with the help of the anagrammer’s art I am still missing most of the key consonants. My only licence permits me to drive a surprisingly wide range of vehicles – though in some cases, not for profit – which is frankly worrying. Letting me drive a minibus with a trailer is skirting very close to a licence to kill – though is unlikely to form the basis of a spy-thriller film franchise any time soon.
The recent lull in output from GofaDM could be explained by the traditional post-Edinburgh blues: I woke up this morning, and no Fringe flyers did I see, etc. However, it has more to do with the return to the real world and the backlog of work for “the man” that had built up while I was off enjoying myself. Most of the creative-writing energies that I possess had to be diverted into the production of a PowerPoint presentation to be delivered to my “other” public in the week to come. Other time was consumed by the thrilling “admin” which working for a large corporation seems to inevitably spawn (and, yes, I did deliberately split that infinitive – it seemed appropriate for the verb in question, a form of grammatical meiosis as it were).
Part of this “admin” was further on-line training mandated by my employers. This training never yields a useful life skill, I have yet to learn how to lay linoleum or fillet a haddock (to name but two examples). Usually, they have been attempts to drill ethics into the workforce – but the level has been so basic that even prokaryotic life would struggle to fail the terminal “exam”. However, in an exciting development the recent training has moved onto data security – mostly of the on-line variety. For a paranoid cynic, like myself, this was again all very basic stuff – though clearly written by people with a very limited grasp of the role of the apostrophe and some aversion to clarity of expression (perhaps on the principle that “loose lips sink ships”). As always, the content is accompanied by appallingly badly acted video inserts to drive home the point – the hackers were particularly funny and I’m not sure why they didn’t go just a smidge further and have them laughing “Mwahahaha!” and stroking their drooping moustaches after they had successfully gulled yet another hapless rube.
Whilst the exams were, as before, trivially easy – though you were permitted a mere 6 attempts to achieve a score of 75% using multiple choice (with some choices between only two items) – if all the measures were implemented by the workforce, I would once again find myself looking for a job as my employers were rapidly driven to bankruptcy. Nothing suggested was particularly unreasonable, merely wholly impractical in the real world if you expect any work to be done while employees are out of the office. Still, who needs sales!
My favourite “tip” was the importance of sitting with your back to the wall whenever using your laptop, tablet or smartphone whilst out of the office. This is to prevent the modern evil of “shoulder surfing”, but can be hard to do in today’s increasingly open-plan world. I think a more practical option could be borrowed from the Victorian photographer, whereby the employee’s head, hands and laptop (or other device) are covered by a large black cloth whenever no convenient wall is available. Corporate branded cloths could be issued to all travelling staff to ensure that data security is maintained at all times. If the cloth could be made sound-proof, it would also allow the mobile phone to be used in public without fear of being overheard (another hazard for the security-conscious employee) – otherwise, the mobile element of its nature is of greatly restricted utility unless you happen to be in the middle of Rannoch Moor or the Namib Desert (though under those circumstances, lack of a signal may become an issue).
Please be assured that I am typing this with my back to the wall. I have also checked out all the available exits and have my escape route planned. I look forward to future security training teaching me how to disable an enemy operative using only a biro (though, having seen Grosse Point Blank, I believe I already understand the fundamentals), how to shake a tail and how to hot-wire a car. I have never felt more like Jason Bourne!