Maggie Shiels

About Maggie Shiels

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 24 Apr 08, 16:22 GMT

Being based in Silicon Valley for the BBC, I am in the greatest part of the world when it comes to innovation and technology. And that makes me one of the luckiest people in this business; to be in the eye of the storm when it comes to reporting on the next and the new that will change all of our lives.

I have worked for the BBC in many guises - from presenting Newsbeat on Radio 1 to working for Breakfast News. And from fronting news programmes on Radio Scotland to working as a stringer in the Bay area for five years from 2000.

One of my most 'notable' achievements was interviewing Audrey Hepburn and Spinal Tap. Not together I hasten to add, but that would have been some double act.

My timing seems to be impeccable, whatever way you look at it. I arrived in the Valley at the height of the frenzy of the dotcom boom - the days when companies that were going public threw lavish parties and spent a couple of million dollars on getting bands like the B-52s to rock the night away with them.

I watched and reported on its rise and peak and then its 'surprising' crash. I know, it seems odd looking back that no one took on board the fact that whatever goes up must come down.

I left San Francisco and the Bay Area after the 2004 general election and I did a bit of traveling after that with my partner before landing back in Scotland for a while.

This is my second stint here. And again I come back at an important time in the industry with the rise of web 2.0 and of social networking. Oh and did I mention there is another election that is really setting the heather on fire?

Talking of heather, I am also a Scot. I mention that apropos of nothing really, except that it might be of interest. Or not.

For excitement and relevance in the world of technology, the Bay area is simply bursting with ideas, talent, energy, and an amazing can-do attitude. People really believe they can change the world here and if their first idea is a bust, they just pick themselves up and keep on trying.

My son is nearly three years old and I look at how he interacts with the technology we have around us in our home. To him it's all part of the fabric of his life. He knows what to do with a computer, a remote control and a mobile phone.

It is that ease with which he treats all this gadgetry around him that makes me realise more than anything, I have to keep up with him or I am sunk. And if I want to get an edge over him, then this is where it is at.

And I am over the moon to be here and to be able to keep you as plugged in as I can with what is going on, and report on just who it is that is shaping our world.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great piece you did on Mesh openness! Is there gonna be a Blog post to follow up? You know so we can do comments and stuff?

    Better still, why not just merge the blog with the Tech index articles. I'm sure the web 2.0 dudes over there can give you some hot tips on how to make the Beeb stuff over here work a whole lot better.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Maggie --

    You may like to review a new kind of Wiki.

    This one is for content in *executable* English

    The vocabulary is open, and so to a large extent is the syntax.

    The system can automatically generate and run SQL that's too complicated to write reliably by hand. It can then explain the results, in plain English.

    It's online at the site below, and shared use is *free*.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think you are spot on. When it comes to technology the USA lot are a eager lot, however we should be concerned about safety.One safety system that I have just come across is They have created the worlds first FREE video email service and they say that when a video email is sent out their system will capture several snapshots of the one sending the video email and forward it on to the recipient, so that the sender cannot hide who they are, ingenious I thought!

    I used their service a few times to send a video email, and was impressed at how easy it was, I clicked, record, said what I wanted to say, then hit stop added the email address and it was off.
    We should have more services like this video email so that users can't hide who they are, have done a great job here!

  • Comment number 5.

    I have just read your article on the Sinowal trojan, very informative but please could all articles on computer malware start with a list of who is affected. On reading an article about such a threat I have to go to one of the security software vendor sites to find such details.
    As a user of only OSX and Linux I find that I am not at risk. In footballing terms, would you write an article about another defeat for some benighted team in a major series without mentioning which team has been hit by this run of defeats?
    Please pass this request on and up to all tech. journalists in the computer field, I would really like to be sure that a threat that includes OSX or Linux is flagged as I tend to ignore any article that mentions trojans or viruses.

  • Comment number 6.

    A very long way from Moray Firth Radio, Maggie !! Well done x

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Maggie,

    I was a bit surprised to read your article about Logitech subtitled "A Silicon Valley company has hailed a major landmark ..".

    If you had checked, you would have discovered that Logitech was founded in Switzerland and still is a Swiss company. Perhaps being based in silicon valley makes you think that all technology comes from there..! Well it doesn't.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Maggi, just read your article on the RSA security conference, what wasnt mentioned was the biggest innovation in online authentication for the past 10 years with basic printed PassWindow patterns held over computer screens generating unique passwords which are impossible to hack. Thought you might like to check it out at If printed on payment cards would stop credit card fraud dead and cost the companies nothing.


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