Please Excuse Us While We Redecorate

Okay, so we aren’t redecorating as such, more updating the website template and creating a new Pre-2016 Archive section where you can find all of the content from 2009 to 2015 in its old format (Arras theme), be that recipes, catwalk reports or travel guides. I’ve been rather fond of Arras and clung onto it but it’s time for the sun to set and Charlotte’s VVeb to relaunch with a fresh look.

Sunset at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia June 2016
Sunset at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia June 2016

I started Charlotte’s VVeb when I was fresh out of university, right at the start of the recession. It was almost impossible to get a job, particularly in media. One of my former employers suggested I start a website called Charlotte’s Web and well, I couldn’t afford the £10,000 for the domain. A few weeks later, someone casually suggested dropping one of the letters, or changing one and hence Charlotte’s VVeb was born (that’s two Vs for those not paying attention!)

I stopped regularly blogging in 2011. I was exhausted and working very hard as a trend forecaster, travelling a lot and in a relatively fresh relationship. Since then the blog world has really evolved. There are blogging superstars, making millions of pounds/dollars/Euros each year in endorsements. They have millions of followers on social media, which was really only in its infancy when I started this website. Their blogs (not forgetting their vlogs too) have generally focused on them and their personal lives and well, I wasn’t really interested in telling you all what I ate for breakfast, who I was dating or what I just bought at the shops! 

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Râmnicu Vâlcea – The Most Dangerous Town On The Internet

Over the weekend I came across a short documentary created by global antivirus company, Norton. The 20-minute video on YouTube tells the story of Râmnicu Vâlcea which is described as The Most Dangerous Town On The Internet or Hackerville.

In the documentary, various notable hackers, including some who have been to prison, speak about the demise of communism and how it opened the flood gates to technology. Romania was thirsty for new technology. According to one hacker, fibre optic cable runs throughout Romania (which puts Britain to shame!) making hacking all the more possible.

Some of the hackers claim they hack for good, they want to prove their are vulnerabilities and demonstrate how they can be fixed. Their morality does not always get them what they want though, with one hacker ending up in a maximum security prison for four years. Others hack for hire. Some even hack for Anonymous, an international network of online activists. The targets are everyone from search engine giant, Google, to social networks and governments.

Of course hacking is not just made possible by fast internet connections but is facilitated by the way in which we increasingly live our lives: online. One hacker summises, cybercrime is the way of the future, as more and more people live their lives on the internet. So many people have access to our data, it’s not as simple as avoiding typing your own bank details into an email. Hacking can hit you at any time, because of your own vulnerabilities or ineptitudes or because of big business or your government.

In a bid to present a balanced picture, Norton attempts to provide a reassuring voice towards the end of the video, saying they’ll take on the challenge. However, as the hackers explain, there’s always someone who is smarter. So I suppose for the likes of Norton, it’s a case of which side they’ll choose to work on: good, bad, or a shade of grey in-between.

For anyone interested in the cultural shifts which take place after the demise of a political regime, this video is compelling watching. Having said that, and to, like Norton, present a balanced view, I would remind viewers this is just one place in Romania and a handful of Romanian people. The country is beautiful and has a lot to offer. Don’t let this put you off visiting.