Newcastle — I’m sure I’m only one of many who are drowning in the electronic ocean, and talk about sea level’s rising! The only people staying afloat (maybe) are the under-twenties whose brains have not yet begun to deteriorate. For us oldsters, the situation is hopeless.
Personally I got into the computer business long before Al Gore invented the internet. I first programmed on an analogue machine (Right! Tubes for God’s sake!) It filled a room and worked at glacial, by today’s standards, speed. I kept up pretty well as we moved from machine language to compilers and from punch cards to keyboards and CRT’s. I was even a part of the first interactive system, McIDAS (man computer interactive data access system) with its 10K core memory. Physically this system was just like today’s desk-top, but the attendant software was Paleolithic. Then the cyber age kicked into high gear, and soon it left me bewildered, befuddled, baffled…
I like the internet for the information it makes available, and I like email for the convenience of communication if not for the plethora of unwanted, unsolicited messages or its destruction of privacy. I have no use for the dumbing down social networking, but I don’t have to participate, and it’s fairly easily ignored. What cannot be overlooked, however, is the apparent vulnerability of my system, and that is a constant and on-going irritation.
I’m sure everyone has noticed that when the computer is new, it boots up quickly and response times are rapid. Inevitably this changes as more and more processes find their way in. Unwanted toolbars appear; unwanted windows arrive unbidden; the screen fades as the cursor turns into a little wheel that whirs and whirs. (Meanwhile the curser at the keyboard is giving full vent to his frustration.)
You’re thinking, “For heaven’s sake man, haven’t you purchased security protection? You know that Windows Firewall is porous.” Of course I have, but it doesn’t help much, and I really dislike hearing some cyberbitch voice tell me that all sorts of problems have been detected and that I should click ‘Fix” to address the situation; after which it will be necessary to restart my computer and restore all the things I’m “working” with. Grr!
The internet abounds with offers of help to combat the malevolence. Many of these are advertised as free downloads. Beware! Bring the program onboard and it will scan your system and identify many sources of malfeasance. However, when you mouse the green box to address the errors, the display changes to an offer for you to buy the redemptive software. In essence, the only thing that is free is the information that your system is all f..ked up; something you knew already.
Over time I have poured a considerable sum down the cyber rat hole trying to secure or clean my computer. Some of those worms are really evil. And who came up with that friendly word “cookie?” It’s usually hard to tell if my efforts make any difference. “Congratulations!” shouts the software. “Bullshit!” shout I.
There is some if slight comfort in knowing you are not alone. With the help of Google I enjoy reading user reviews of proffered software. Let me mention a couple.
Everybody knows about Symantec’s Norton Internet Security. It’s top-rated. But every now and then…Joe tells us “Having been a happy Norton Internet Security user for more than 10 years, this time my advice is to wait for more weeks or months till Norton fixes existing problems. NIS 2013 affects your windows 7 login and shutdown processes taking 40 to 50 seconds more than usual. your computer seams sluggish at times. Sometimes after the windows 7 login, the computer freezes due to ccSvcHst.exe problems. Have had some crashes with firefox and chrome because of Norton addin.” Not a happy customer.
Among the several cleaners I have bought is PC Cleaner Pro. Recently I read what Marvin had to say: “WARING: Do not buy this crap. My PC is slower now than it was before getting this S—. Rate this a minus 100………………” I guess he meant “warning.” KC added: “Worst thing I ever bought!!! It interupts everything I do and my computer is slower than before I wasted my money. DO NOT BUY!!!!!!!!” (It’s amazing what computers have done to our ability to write English.) I immediately uninstalled my version. Fortunately that proved possible; it not always is.
Is the news all bad? Well, no. Google eventually led me to an article describing cleaners which actually are free and which actually work. I downloaded CCleaner. I ran CCleaner. I rebooted the computer. I was startled by how quickly it came up. I clicked on the Firefox browser icon and it immediately appeared. Well this is different! I don’t know what’s going on, and I ain’t asking.