The downside of technology

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The Southern Yankee by Sue Ellen Ross

I’m sure everyone has a computer horror story to relate – losing important documents, not able to retrieve a special file. And, the worst of all – to have the computer stop while you are just minding your own business, typing away.

Some of the computer irritations are our own fault. Forgetting to save a file (in more than one place,); rushing too fast and not remembering to write down the name of the file; etc.

Then there are those things out of our control.

Like what happens on the Internet, regarding electronic mail (e-mail) and sites that automatically appear on our favorites listing.

We are warned to not open mail from unfamiliar senders; not to give our e-address to strangers; etc. But what if we follow this advice and still have problems?

I receive questionable e-mail on my home computer every day, day after day.

And, whenever I have to re-boot the computer, there are one dozen VERY questionable sites showing on my favorites listing!! I have never heard of any of them, I erase as soon as I see them, but to no avail. They just keep popping up as fast as I get rid of them.

I had decided to call a computer store a few weeks ago to see if there is some type of software that will help get rid of these irritating problems.

But before I made that call, I had to make a doctor’s visit, and you will never guess what I found in the waiting room – PC Magazine. On the front cover was a special report, ‘Spyware and Identity Theft.’

It seems that there are unscrupulous people, groups and companies that break into your computer to allow those unquestionable sites to pop up again and again. This ‘Spyware’ seems to be affecting many computers across the nation.

According to the article, Spyware applications sneak onto your computer when you download many file-sharing services, open infected e-mails, or click on dubious Internet pop-up ads. They can manipulate your system and cause numerous problems.

The articles I read are far too involved for me to try to explain, regarding what can be done, so I suggest if any readers are interested, the publish date of the PC Magazine that has the Spyware information you need is dated March 2, 2004. It’s a very interesting issue to read, even if you aren’t currently having any type of problem with your computer.

I believe that being proactive is much better than being reactive. I wish I would have learned about this computer dilemma before it came into my life. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so shocked when it did happen.

For now, I am going to research types of software that may assist me in getting rid of all those irritations every time I turn on my computer.

It’s a lesson in patience, to say the least.