Friday, January 9, 2009

Meanderings: The Nature of CyberScum

I'm checking my email days ago, when a message from my antivirus pops up. Oh, oh, a trojan is invading one of my files. It is unable to quarantine it. They tell me to do it. Quickly, I turn to get the name of the file. What is the name of the file? What? They give me an eighteenth of the file name followed by an ellipsis. Okay, okay, I highlight it. There it is. I'll just copy it and do a search, then figure out how to quarantine it. No, no, no, it won't copy. Can't do it by hand, the friggin' thing looks like pi. Time is of the essence. I feel it. That little f----er is replicating like f---n' tribbles. I know it.

I try looking it up using half the name. Alas, I have zillions of files with that half, none of which is the infected one. I call my friend, the self-proclaimed computer guru. "Help," I cry. He spends a half hour telling me how hackers dream these things up for fun, because they can. Then he launches into a rumination on the meaning of life, all the time the infection is turning into an outbreak. Finally, he launches into this expedient that has me checking what files are running. He's gotta be kidding. I'm looking at scads of files, some with an exe affixed. I'm not touching those suckers. The real answer he says is to wipe out the computer and reload it all again. Not a chance.

So now I'm contemplating Amicide, or some such (what is the term for the killing of a friend) and speculating on the justice I would like to visit upon the misbegotten offspring of a camp follower and mule train driver who invented the shit. I go to the Help center. God know how many screens later, they send me to the Encyclopedia of Viruses. What are they going to tell me, like "the virus that is killing your computer was first created in Mesopotamia and is credited with wiping out the economy of a small Asian country"? In any case, I don't have the time. I Google the particular variation and find that most of the entries are in French, Italian, and German. Great, I caught a European virus.

Eventually, after much travail and a bit of help, I figure it out and get it contained and cleaned up. But time and again, I'm left to ponder how in the world the computer industry gets away with the type of customer service it provides. If any other industry....

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