To find my way around the world I use an app called Maps.Me. In many ways it’s perfect. It covers the entire planet, works offline and can plot a route from one location to another. But it has one major fault: It wants me dead.
The other day it said to me: “There you go, mate. That’s your path. Yeah, down there. No, I can’t actually see a path either. Yes, I know it’s steep, isn’t it? You’ll be fine.”
But I wasn’t fine. To say I inched my way down would be to exaggerate my speed. From top to bottom was only about 650 metres long and it took me two hours.
Even with the assistance of a big stick I fell several times, including one classic rolling tumble that would have ended me if a flatter bit of precipice hadn’t been at exactly the right spot.
So thanks for that, Maps.Me. I finished soaking, filthy and with a pair of trousers that looked like I’d had an altercation with an angry bear.
Now, of course, I’m more wary. At least three times since then, Maps.Me has suggested a route and I’ve immediately thought, “Sod off!”
But why would it want to kill me?
Maps.Me is Russian. And perhaps after all our sanctions against Putin, all Russian apps have been instructed to terminate the existence of their users, one by one. It’s just a theory.
It’s the same with TikTok. That’s from China. That app is doing to best to reduce the West’s attention span to sub-8 seconds and (sort of) entertained with banal nonsense, so that they can take over without resistance in a year or two.
But I’m not worried about the Chinese. I’ll be dead by then. Maps.Me will have walked me down a well or something.