Saturday, 8 December 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 .........


  1. What crazy guy!!! I sometimes wonder where one earth you get your trivia from.... Highly impressed sir. Loved reading this post

  2. @Prats . Thanks. Reminds me a bit of Howard Hughes, of Hollywood fame. There's only a thin line separating the genius from the mad .....

  3. :D :D I will give him some credit now, coz he managed to intrigue you!

    I've been watching his story in the news every now n then and you wonder, what's the reason or logic behind the whole attention and fame. The world is full of more deserving geniuses but this fame phenomena happens only to a select crazy breed.

  4. I always sign out of BM with news,( information never heard before).

    regarding McAfee, read one of his posts through your link and admire his passion for blogging from jail.

    And please get us your readers a free ticket for that chollywood blockbuster from that filmaker, i promise a review in return.

  5. Fits the description of a mad scientist to the tee. Is there a very very thin line between genius and crackpot??

  6. Enjoyed reading this post. should confess i had to google Belize to figure out where it is :-)

    The world truly is made up of all kinds of people, isn't it?

    And for the blockbuster chollywood movie by Gils, i am going to prebook the tickets. Is the facility available?

  7. @Deepa - True there are more deserving geniuses of course, but you have to pardon the interest in something as bizarre as this.

    @Asha - He is some blogger; isn't he !

    @Kiwi - Yes, very thin line. I am really not sure if this story is tragic or comic. Imagine being in a Guatemalan or Belizian jail

    @Vincy - All sorts of people. 99.999% of the people, including yours truly, will struggle to point Belize on the map :)

  8. @Gils -See comments above. Please arrange premiere screening for all of us. We'll even come to your "centre of the world" if you insist :)

  9. Anonymous10/12/12

    madness are made by the absence of love.

  10. center of world isikoltu choolywood is actually chennai.. thala..unga paasathuku oru alavay illaya..avvvvvvvvvvvv
    no need for special script..intha aaloda lifea apdiye padama eduthiralam.. anti viruskooda sandai poaata kaalathuku aunty virus onna kalayanam paniruntha intha prachanai vanthirukuma? :D

  11. For a change I didn't have to google about McAfee or Belize :)....McAfee is channeling all his energy in the wrong direction, and getting press attention for all the wrong reasons. I think INTC is so far unaffected since he's long left the industry anyway....

  12. @Anon - Now, that's a very interesting perspective !

    @Gils - Centre of the world is NOT ekoltu Chennai these days. That's what we are moaning about - the "defection of Gils" :):) Aunty virus ???? Ho Ho Ho Ho

    @Shachi - Of course you know all about it, for after all you own it !!

  13. I've been following McAfee's story actually....seriously what a wacko;-D. I think he's thinking[dont quote me tho;-P] it's profitable to get back to US even if it the prison. Now he can write his book in peace and reap the benefits;-D.

  14. Hola hombre, que tal? Hacen usted tienen gusto de Madrid, amigo? Amo la ciudad!!

  15. Sandhya Sriram15/12/12

    what we become many times is a reflection of what we do with what happens to us. maybe, the genius went through something in life that he couldnt handle very well and he turned the "Crack Pot". alas, life at times, can drain and pain so much. but i really feel very sad for the publicity that Intel is getting. well, they may change the name of their anti virus soon. GILS may not be bad choice - what say :-)

  16. @Reflections - Yes weird his actions are, but I don't think he will get back to the US for money. Who can fathom the mind of such a character.

    @Signor Ravi - See my next post :)

    @Sandhya- Now that is an idea. Intel - are you listening :)

  17. Indeed... very thin line between a genius and a crazy! Crazy story and sounds like a fiction! :)

  18. @Vishal - It would be "interesting" if we had a few like this in our work places, won't it ??

  19. Guess where he has landed up now? hehe ... More here ;)

  20. Ha Ha ha ! What a turn of events.

    Is this where somewhat strange people gravitate to ?? :):):)

  21. I think you missed a word there, Ramesh .... it ought to read "Is this where somewhat strange people, also, gravitate to?"
    Muahahaha :D

    But .... yes, Oregon has a reputation of home to all kinds of strange people. Has a thriving hippie culture even now. At the annual country fair, one can see a good sampling of humanity's diverse ideas. A grocery store clerk once commented that she always took her kids there for them to understand the importance of being clothed :D

    Oregon has quite a few pioneering policies to its credit .... from land use and conservation to dying. A fascinating state and ideas that works well for me with my libertarian-democrat political outlook ...

  22. Whatever you say !


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