I had one of those awful situations last week. I found myself doing the one thing that makes me start looking around the office for one of those promotional stress balls that people give out at exhibitions.
I was ON HOLD.
Nobody likes being on hold. It's the worst place to be.
Nothing tells you how unimportant your call/existence must be than hearing: "Thanks for waiting, your call IS important to us" for the eleventy third time.
There are a number of things that the Gods of Hold Music can decide to do with your call, only one of them is the one you've being praying for as you watch your call time tick up:
1) They can just terminate the call for no reason once you've been waiting for 15 minutes.
2) They can put you through to someone who tells you brusquely that you've come through to the wrong department and then (before you've had chance to even say anything) put you back on hold.
3) They can deliver you to someone who can solve your problem, without sending you anywhere else, or even asking to pop you back on hold.
The third option is about as likely as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un both being invited for a picnic at Downing Street.
Nobody wants to be on hold.
That's why we don't have any hold options here at Discus. When you call us, we answer the phone and solve your problem. Just like it should be.
Give us a call before 5pm and test it out on +44 (0)1675 430080.
If you want a job that rides the wave of the future, get hired by a firm that combats cyber-threats.
Criminal and malicious hackers are endlessly inventive and every day despatch novel viruses and other digital threats into cyber-space to wreak havoc.
Getting paid to tackle these is about as cutting edge as you can get.
One emerging discipline in this field of cyber-incident response tackles the most skilled and serious of these hackers - those who work for nation-states.
The UK's GCHQ now estimates that 34 separate nations have serious, well-funded cyber-espionage teams targeting friends and foes alike.
The threat from these state-sponsored digital spies has been deemed so serious that the intelligence agency has designated five firms victims can all on if they are caught out by these attackers.
"We get called when people have a big fire and we come along with our hoses and try to put it out," says James Allman-Talbot, head of incident response in the cyber-security division of BAE Systems.
"We're like the fire service," says BAE's James Allman-Talbot
That captures the fact that, more often than not, the fire brigade arrive to find a building still in flames. When it comes to cyber-fires, that means the hackers are still embedded in a victim's network and are still trying to steal data or burrow more deeply.
Unlike the fire service, the BAE team do not arrive in a blaze of lights and sirens. They have to be more stealthy.
"If the attackers have access to the victim's email servers the last thing you want to do is discuss it on there," says Robin Oldham, head of the cyber-security consulting practice at BAE, who is also part of the incident response team.
Tipping off the bad guys could prompt them to delete evidence or, if they have more malicious motives, shut down key systems and destroy data, he says.
Instead, responders first gather evidence to see how bad the incident is and how far the hackers have penetrated a network.
It's at this point that the team use the skills picked up during earlier careers. All of the team have solid technical computer skills to which they have added particular specialities.
Responders first gather evidence to see how bad the incident is and how far the hackers have penetrated a network
Prior to working at BAE, Mr Allman-Talbot did digital forensics for the Metropolitan Police and Mr Oldham has significant experience running large complex networks.
The good news about most organisations is that they typically gather lots of information about their network and often it is anomalies in the logs that expose suspicious activity.
But that extensive logging has a down side, says Mr Oldham.
"It can mean we have a large amount of data to work with and analyse. In some cases that means a few hundred million lines of log files."
Once incident response teams get their hands on data from a victim they start analysing it to see what has happened.
It's at this point that the allied discipline of threat intelligence comes into play. This involves knowing the typical attack tools and techniques of different hacking groups.
A stealthy response to an incident is key, says Robin Oldham
Good threat intelligence can mean responders hit the ground running, says Jason Hill, a researcher at security firm CyberInt.
"If you understand how they operate and deploy these tools and use them to attack the infrastructure you know what to look and how to spot the tell-tale signs."
In the past, nation state hackers have tried to bury themselves in a target network and siphon off data slowly.
"Criminal hackers have a more smash and grab mentality. They do it once and do it big," he says.
More recently, he adds, it has got harder to separate the spies from the cyber-thieves.
One example was the attack on Bangladesh's central bank - widely believed to have been carried out by North Korea. It netted the rogue state about £58m ($81m).
Russian groups also span both sides of the divide. Some criminal groups have been seen working for the state and often they use the tools gained in spying for other jobs.
North Korea is widely believed to have been behind an attack on Bangladesh's central bank
"The motivations of the groups have really become blurry of late," says Mr Hill.
Attribution - working out which group was behind a breach - can be difficult, says Mr Allman-Talbot, but spotting that one attack shares characteristics with several others can guide the investigators.
One widespread attack, dubbed Cloud Hopper, sought to compromise companies selling web-based services to large businesses. Getting access to a service provider could mean that the attackers then got at all its customers.
Thoroughly investigated by BAE and others, Cloud Hopper has been blamed on one of China's state-backed hacking groups known as APT10 and Stone Panda. Knowing how they got at a victim can help free the hackers' hold on a network and reveal all the places that need cleaning up.
Even with up-to-date intelligence on attack groups and their chosen methods, there will still be unanswered questions thrown up by an investigation, says Mr Allman-Talbot.
The joy of the job comes from during investigations as the team figures out how the bad guys got in, what they did and what data they got away with, he adds.
Four quotes were taken from the interview to infer Facebook's role in Donald Trump's 2016 US election victory, such as "Facebook was our hands-on partner," and "Without Facebook we wouldn't have won," coupled with the call to #DeleteFacebook in response.
This seemed to be the starting point for people to begin expressing their desire to leave Facebook, with blink-182's Mark Hoppus amassing over 6,000 likes in 24 hours for simply tweeting the words "Delete Facebook".
But the irony of using one social media account to decry another was not lost on some people.
Neither Twitter nor Instagram are accused of using personal data in a similar way to the dispute concerning Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, although one person suggested an extreme approach to data security as the solution.
If you are worried about companies using data to target you, then you need to delete your Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and stop buying things from Amazon and stop searching with Google and cancel all your credit cards and stop donating to charity and cancel mag
If you want to delete Facebook, go ahead. Just know that's a privilege.
For much of the world, Facebook is the internet and only way to connect to family/friend/business. That's why its important to have a real discussion re Facebook's security/privacy issues.
Click edit button under Apps, Websites and Plugins
This will mean that you won't be able to use third-party sites on Facebook and if that is is a step too far, there is a way of limiting the personal information accessible by apps while still using them:
Log into Facebook's App settings page
Unclick every category you don't want the app to access, which includes bio, birthday, family, religious views, if you are online, posts on your timeline, activities and interests
Digital fingerprints are getting bigger as people share more information online
There are some others pieces of advice too.
"Never click on a 'like' button on a product service page and if you want to play these games and quizzes, don't log in through Facebook but go directly to the site," said Paul Bernal, a lecturer in Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Media Law in the University of East Anglia School of Law.
"Using Facebook Login is easy but doing so, grants the app's developer access to a range of information from their Facebook profiles," he added.
How else can you protect your Facebook data?
There really is only one way to make sure your data remains entirely private, thinks Dr Bernal. "Leave Facebook."
"The incentive Facebook will have to protect people more will only come if people start leaving. Currently it has very little incentive to change," he told the BBC.
But Dr Bernal acknowledges that it is unlikely many will quit - especially those who see Facebook as "part of the infrastructure of their lives".
Can you find out what data on you is stored?
Mr Schrems has been involved in a series of complaints against Facebook since 2011
Under current data protection rules, users can make a Subject Access Request to individual firms to find out how much information they have on them.
When Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems made such a request to Facebook in 2011, he was given a CD with 1,200 files stored on it.
He found that the social network kept records of all the IP addresses of machines he used to access the site, a full history of messages and chats, his location and even items that he thought he had deleted, such as messages, status updates and wall posts.
But in a world where Facebook information is shared more widely with third parties, making such a request gets harder.
As Dr Bernal says: "How do you ask for your data when you don't know who to ask?"
That is likely to change this summer with the introduction in Europe of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which aims to make it far easier for users to take back control of their data.
The threat of big fines for firms that do not comply with such requests could make it more likely that they will share this information, which must be given to consumers "in a clear and readable form".
How long is data kept?
Can you remove your profile from social media?
Data protection laws in Europe suggest that firms should only keep user data "as long as necessary" but the interpretation of this can be very flexible.
In Facebook's case, this means that as long as the person posting something does not delete it, it will remain online indefinitely.
Can you delete historic data?
Users can delete their accounts, which in theory will "kill" all their past posts but Facebook encourages those who wish to take a break from the social network simply to deactivate them, in case they wish to return.
And it must be remembered that a lot of information about you will remain on the platform, from the posts of your friends.
One of the biggest changes of GDPR will be the right for people to be forgotten and, under these changes it should, in theory, be much easier to wipe your social network or other online history from existence.
Despite the failure of Google Glass, the company is still investing in augmented reality
Blue Vision's augmented reality app in action
Google has confirmed plans to plough $14.5 million into augmented reality (AR) software start-up Blue Vision Labs.
GV, Google's investment arm, better known by its former name of Google Ventures, along with private equity firms Accel, Horizon Ventures and SV Angel have all invested in the company.
Based in the UK, the company is working on a collaborative augumented reality platform that will enable experiences similar to Nintendo's Pokemon Go.
The company explained that it will use the investment to create a new cloud AR platform that enables users to create and share interactive AR experiences using their smartphone cameras.
This will be one of the company's first major products since 2011. It is looking to tap into what it claims is the growing popularity of mobile AR gaming and AR entertainment applications.
It recently detailed the Blue Vision AR Cloud platform, which "enables the building of city-wide, shared and persistent applications where everyone sees the same thing for the very first time".
Peter Ondruska, co-founder and CEO of Blue Vision Labs, explained: "We are opening it for developers to help them redefine how people interact with their technology, their environment, and each other in gaming, social and collaborative AR applications that were previously impossible to build."
In the future, users of the platform will be able to interact with AR objects in real-life settings. These will be placed throughout the app by collaborators.
The experience will work in a similar way to Pokemon Go, but the main difference is that the designers of the latter are responsible for distributing objects.
Blue Vision Labs is also working on AR developer tools. "It took us years to perfect this technology and we are making it available today," wrote Ondruska in a blog post.
"With our easy-to-use SDK you can build shared and persistent AR experiences for multiple devices within minutes."
He said the company's recent investment will allow it to "empower developers to build widespread AR applications using our platform, and to grow our team".
Ondruska added: "We plan to use our underlying technology to open new possibilities in AI, machine learning, robotics, self-driving and other applications.
"Our goal is to enable a better future where both AR and robotics technologies can be enjoyed by everyone."
Mr Collins said reports by the Guardian and the Observer made it "clear that he [Mr Nix] has deliberately misled the committee and Parliament by giving false statements".
Cambridge Analytica has denied allegations that Mr Nix misled that committee.
Facebook claims Cambridge Analytica, among others, did not destroy all the data it obtained, which breached its policies.
The claims against the company rose to prominence after a former employee told the Guardian about his time at Cambridge Analytica.
Mr Collins also criticised Facebook, saying his committee had "repeatedly" asked the firm about how companies accessed user data from the website and if information had been taken without users' consent.
He claims that the firm "deliberately avoided answering straight questions" from the committee by sending witnesses who claimed not to know the answers.
"This also creates a false reassurance that Facebook's stated policies are always robust and effectively policed."
He also claimed Facebook had failed to supply evidence of the relationship between the social media platform and Cambridge Analytica.
"The reputation of this company is being damaged by stealth, because of their constant failure to respond with clarity and authority to the questions of genuine public interest that are being directed to them.
"Someone has to take responsibility for this."
A spokesperson for Facebook said that the data collection was not a hack or a breach.
"People knowingly provided their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked," the company said.
Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker best known for passing on information that led to the arrest of Chelsea Manning, has died aged 37.
In online messaging conversations, Manning confided in him, describing confidential military material Manning had sent to Wikileaks.
Wikileaks published the video of a US helicopter strike that killed seven people, including a journalist working for the Reuters news agency.
The cause of Lamo’s death, confirmed to the BBC by the Sedgwick County coroner in Kansas, has not yet been made public.
On Facebook, his father Mario wrote: “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian's friends and acquittances [sic] that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son.”
Lamo's own record as a hacker included some high-profile targets, such as Microsoft and the New York Times.
Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is facing intensified calls to appear in person at investigations into the social network's conduct.
His company has been accused of failing to properly inform users that their profile information may have been obtained and kept by Cambridge Analytica, a data firm widely-credited with helping Donald Trump win the 2016 US presidential election.
Facebook said on Friday it had blocked Cambridge Analytica from Facebook while it investigated claims the London-based firm did not, as promised, delete data that was allegedly obtained using methods that were in violation of Facebook's policies.
Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny any wrongdoing.
Despite pledging that in 2018 he would "fix" his company, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has managed to avoid engaging with the site's growing number of critics - instead sending lawyers or policy bosses to various committee hearings.
The 33-year-old's recent remarks on some of Facebook's controversies have been communicated in the relatively safe space of a blog post or video message published on his Facebook page.
Some called for investigations into whether Mr Zuckerberg's company may have violated laws governing disclosure of a data breach - and also rules on properly obtaining a user's consent to collect personal information.
"This is a major breach that must be investigated," demanded Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
"It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves. I've called for more transparency and accountability for online political ads. They say 'trust us'."
She added: "Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary."
'High on themselves'
That sentiment was backed by Adam Schiff, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is already investigating social media manipulation in the run up to the 2016 presidential election.
"I think it would be beneficial to have him come testify before the appropriate oversight committees," he told the Washington Post.
"And not just Mark but the other CEOs of the other major companies that operate in this space."
On Sunday morning TV, Florida senator and former presidential hopeful Marco Rubio told NBC's Meet the Press he felt technology companies acted as if they are "above" regulations.
"Their growth has been a lot faster than perhaps their ability to mature institutionally from within on some of these challenges that they're facing," he said.
"I think another part about it is sometimes these companies grow so fast and get so much good press, they get up high on themselves that they start to think that perhaps they're above sort of the rules that apply to everybody else."
There are a lot of big problems that the big tech companies need to be better at fixing. We have collectively been too optimistic about what we build and our impact on the world. Believe it or not, a lot of the people at these companies, from the interns to the CEOs, agree.
This was followed by remarks from Alex Stamos, the firm's chief security officer, who wrote and then deleted a series of tweets. He objected to the word "breach" being used to describe how data from as many as 50 million peoples' user profiles may have been obtained without explicit user consent.
"I have deleted my tweets on Cambridge Analytica," he later wrote.
"Not because they were factually incorrect but because I should have done a better job weighing in."
Christopher Wylie, a Canadian data analytics expert who worked with Cambridge Analytica, revealed how it and its partners harvested data belonging to mostly US voters. Over the weekend, he announced he had been suspended from Facebook.
On top of its initial statement, Facebook on Sunday said it was conducting a "comprehensive internal and external review" into whether the data, gathered via an app created by Global Science Research (GSR), still existed.
GSR was set up by University of Cambridge associate professor Aleksandr Kogan and his colleague Joseph Chancellor. According to the Guardian, Mr Chancellor was given a job at Facebook as a researcher just months after GSR carried out the data-gathering exercise that Facebook now says violated its policies.
Facebook has not commented on the calls for Mr Zuckerberg to appear in front of the several committees expressing a desire to hear from him.
But one analyst warned that this controversy is a direct threat to Facebook's business model, and therefore Mr Zuckerberg will be expected to put investors at ease, sooner rather than later.
"This has potential to grow into something a lot more onerous," said Daniel Ives from GBH Insight.
"So he has to get ahead of this storm before it turns into a hurricane."