In the taxicab: where you learn more than in all the limos in the country

Opinion by Dan Raywood

Riding in taxis this week allowed me to see into the mind of the observant cabbie.

Riding in taxis this week allowed me into the mind of the observant cabbie.

In the legendary film Taxi Driver, the prospective senator Charles Palantine tells the protagonist 'Let me tell you something. I have learned more about America from riding in taxicabs than in all the limos in the country'.

On my way to the Symantec Vision conference in Barcelona this week, I was in a cab and got into a conversation with the taxi driver taking me to the airport. We got talking about what I do for a living and the mention of the word 'journalist' generally spins them one of two ways: an explanation of a current problem or story idea that is generally unrelated to what I do; or a simple 'oh' and nod when it turns out I am not a News of the World hack writing about a Premiership footballer's latest exploits.

In this instance, the conversation revolved around two subjects: why is anti-virus in the UK when it can be bought cheaper and with multiple user licenses overseas and does having anti-virus slow your computer down?

In the first instance, the driver said that in the UK anti-virus is available at a fixed price and with one licence, so why should he not buy anti-virus software abroad when it is cheaper and can come with more licences.

This was a difficult one to answer, my assumption was that apart from language settings there would be no difference, or with hosted software could this be avoided from a vendor perspective with the savvy software shopper looking for the cheapest deal?

On to the second point, when I was asked does having anti-virus software slow your computer down? In my fortunate experience this has not been the case, however I suspect others may have different stories. I guess it comes down to whether you want to run a PC and not have any security software on it.

At 7.30am on an airport run, questions such as this could be a challenge for any great mind, for me it left a dilemma that was not easy to answer. Should you shop around for the best deal on a specific piece of software; and should you consider lo-fi software to ensure your computer runs efficiently?

This was my morning cab driver dilemma and lets face it, I could have been met with a simple ‘that's sad'.


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