Saturday, December 8, 2012

The strange case of John McAfee

Do you use McAfee anti virus software ? Chances are you probably do. If so, or even if not, you may be interested in the strange story of John McAfee. I'm not sure if its comic or tragic - decide for yourself. In any case its a prime candidate for the script of Gils' soon to be shot Blockbuster from Chollywood  ! (If you want to know what Chollywood is, it is a pun on that stunning  "centre of the world"  where the said blogger now lives and has become completely enamored of )

John McAfee is not your  typical geek. Firstly he was born in 1946 (now which geek can claim that !). While he was working in Lockheed , his computer got infected with one of the first viruses that ever came to prominence - Brain. Readers of my vintage might remember that this originated from Pakistan. which prompted lots of hand wringing in India about loss of software primacy !  McAfee got so pissed that he started writing software to combat viruses. In due course he founded McAfee Associates, the antivirus company which he took public in 1992. In 1994 he quit, cashing in all his stocks and reportedly made some $100 m. So far , very typical of software entrepreneurs. But from now on, his life has been anything but typical.

He retired to the back of beyond in Colorado (where ?)  and became a yoga guru. He established a yoga retreat there and penned a book on yoga. He introduced all sorts of new concepts including "observational yoga" where , I believe, you relax on an easy chair, munch snacks and watch others doing yoga.

In 2008, when the financial crisis hit, apparently he lost a lot of money. He then sold everything in the US and moved lock stock and barrel to Belize (double where ?) He started doing research on herbal medicines in heavily armed compounds. He acquired a reputation as a mad scientist and that led to raids suspecting drug production. He frolicked around with young women, justifying that as an example of trickle down theory - by arguing that parents in Belize constantly promote their daughters to men with money, and he was only obliging thereby increasing family incomes.

But over the last couple of months, his story went even wilder. He got into an argument with his neighbour who complained of his dogs barking. McAfee then claimed that his dogs had been poisoned and therefore he had to shoot them. Shortly afterwards, the neighbour was found murdered. When the Belize authorities wanted to question him, he claimed he was being framed and went into hiding leading the authorities on a wild chase and taunting them through tweeting and blogging constantly. Suddenly he surfaced in Guatemala  claiming political asylum. Guatemala would have none of it and is currently going to deport him back to Belize. The Belize Prime Minister has called him "extremely paranoid; even bonkers".

He blogs at In true spirit, his start page is whacky - but don't worry; it is safe.

Spare a thought for Intel, which now owns McAfee Anti virus suite of products. What an advertisement for your brand .........

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