Sunday, December 07, 2008

Of Viruses

Viruses. Ya gotta love 'em. At least the ones that infect humans. Human viruses are incredibly adaptable critters and I find that fascinating. I'm the kind of person who aced Microbiology in college, okay? My fascination is waning what with my SECOND cold in one month. I was making progress toward full recovery when I got hit again. Now I'm a tidy person. I wash my hands, do all the things one needs to do to miss being infected. Old nursing habits die hard, you see. But I got nailed. Sigh. On the plus side, the hubby is finally getting better after four weeks of coughing at all hours. I am progressing on Cold #2. This all will pass.

And now for the other kind of virus: the computer kind. My main Dell laptop felt sorry for us sick humans and so it decided to download its own virus just to keep us company. Lovely. I run virus software. It quarantined the critter. After it did the damage. Groan. At this moment my husband is on the phone to Norton and their wizards are removing the virus and getting the machine back to functioning (hopefully!). Then they're going to install their virus software on my computer to replace the other competitor's brand.

Which leads to a new form of Jana defense against these assaults. I have long chuckled at the antics of some of my fellow writers who have two computers: one for surfing and email and the other for writing and personal business. Computer A is connected to the Internet (natch). Computer B is not. Ever. I thought that overly paranoid. Nevertheless, if the virus I had downloaded had been the one that turned my computer to a pile of liquid goo, I'd have been devastated at the loss of my research materials (think hundreds of links to cool sites, photos, you name it.) Luckily it was one of the "let's hijack your computer and send your to websites you didn't intend to visit" sort while using the computer for their evil purposes. A plague on your houses! Every one. Get a real job, will you?>

In future my new Dell Mini 9 will handle the email, the surfing. Its bigger Dell cousin will be for writing, finances, etc. and shall be free of contact with the outside world. A recluse. I can transfer files back and forth via the network, after a proper scan. Should a virus attack the Mini, it's not going to take out a big body of my work. And I promise to do more backups. I'm nuts about backing up my writing, but lax about backing up the other important stuff. Nevermore! (quoth the raven).

So that is my New Year's Resolution. Along with the fact that one of these days I'm going to write one of these malware fools into a book and kill them in a most gruesome fashion. Then resurrect them and do it all over again!

The final post about the Chicago trip is forthcoming once I can get back on the main computer. So those of you waiting for closure will have it.

UPDATE: The nice fellow at Norton found the bits o'virus and removed them. It took about an hour and a half, but he was also working with other folks. Yes, he was most likely in India, but we didn't care. He knew exactly where to go to remove this stuff. It had tucked one of its files away in the Drivers file. Amazing. We'd already followed the directions from our previous virus software and tried to track down the bad thing ourselves. No go, even though my husband is an Uber Geek. The upshot is that the bigger Dell is now live and living a hermit-life existence free of I'net contamination.

For those of you who are amateur geeks, I'll share something we did over the weekend lest it be of interest. So that I can flip back and forth between the two machines, we installed something called a KVM switch. What this critter does is allow you to use your keyboard, mouse and monitor for both computers. With a quick tap of a keyboard (two taps actually) you can toggle back and forth between them. Cool. It cost $39.95 (Iogear - item # GCS632U) and I got it at Fry's. So I am now officially set up to work off the Mini for "Accessing the Real World" and the bigger Dell for my work computer. I plink back and forth as I need.

In some ways I owe the *#@$&@#$ who hacked my computer a thanks. He/she/it won't get one.

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