Friday, December 24, 2004

Computers

I've been away for a while, but now I'm back.

I spent the last three days (and nights) working, off and on, on a "little" computer repair job on a Dell laptop computer running Windows XP. It belongs to a lady who runs a retail store on Duval Street. Her computer was infested with adware, spyware, and viruses that resulted from the installation of one program, called Weather Bug, which then opened the door to over 2600 malovelent programs and other evil objects.

I finally got the last of the nasty viruses off the computer, a "trojan horse" program known as BiSpy, this morning and was able then to proceed to upgrade her Windows XP to Service Pack 2 and the latest security updates.

I'm appalled that such things are tolerated by those who use Windows, most of whom know very little about computers and for whom the work I've just finished would be impossible to perform. My troubleshooting included spending over three hours on the telephone with Microsoft technical support on Wednesday evening, downloading a variety of diagnostic programs, and repeated executions of these tools in my attempts to remove the BiSpy trojan. I estimate that I've put in about 15 hours to get her computer to this safe point. The combination of an update to Windows XP Service Pack 2 and its attendant security updates, and the installation of several guardian programs and settings makes further infections much less likely.

I don't enjoy working on Windows problems because I don't understand Windows the way I do Mac OS, but I confess that I feel a sense of accomplishment now that the work is done.

Diane at the Coffee Plantation has asked me to participate in a computer users discussion group at the shop starting in January. It ought to be interesting. We're planning on having both Mac and Windows users take part. Should make for some lively discussions.
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UPDATE: I read this article soon after writing the above. The comments on the article point to some objective cost comparisons that give lie to the commonly-held perceptions that "Macs are more expensive than PCs".

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