Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #85 - June 3, 2005
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Lessons From Topeka

Nora Blodgett is a 72 year-old grandmother living in Topeka, Kansas. She lost her husband two years ago and lives alone with her two cats, Ramone and Jerkins. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware. no more spyware. death to spyware.
Most of Nora's entertainment revolves around her computer. Since her children and grandchildren live nearly a thousand miles away, she relies extensively on email to keep in touch with her family.The grandchildren love getting email from grandma. Grandma always seems to find the cutest little phree* smilees to put in her email - so they love it when an email from grandma arrives.

Nora is getting older but she's no dummy. She taught American History to high school students for thirty-nine years and is still an avid reader and student of history. She still gets a thrill from learning new things and takes it upon herself to keep up with the youngsters as far as computer knowledge is concerned. Nora is a smart woman, dedicated to learning new things, and devoted to become more than just competent on her computer. Nora is just the kind of target that the less-savory characters on the Internet love.

Nora subscribes to several computer-related newsletters and subscribes to three different computer magazines which she reads religiously. She has a great desire to learn all she can these mysterious machines we call "computers". After all, her computer has become her lifeline to her family and it represents a relatively large investment considering her limited income. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.
Nora doesn't know it yet, but she is and will soon learn some very difficult lessons and she won't learn them from a newsletter or a book. She'll learn them in the school of Internet Reality.

She saw an advertisement on television one day for an Internet Service Provider who promised to "protect her" from spam. Nora was getting quite miffed about the increasing amount of spam invading her Inbox, some of it quite offensive to her. So, when she saw the advertisement she signed-up right away. And, the next day, with her new ISP she was pleasantly surprised to see that her spam seemed to be under control. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.
As time went by, Nora's computer began to run poorly. It seemed slow to start in the morning, slow to shut down in the evening and programs seemed to take forever to open. She noticed strange advertisements popping up whenever she browsed the web and sometimes her computer would freeze-up and she'd have to turn the computer off at the switch in order to un-freeze it. The computer was becoming less and less fun each day as it became slower and slower.

Going on behind the scenes, unknown to Nora, her little phree "smilee" program was silently "updating". She didn't know that by installing the "phree" smilee program she was agreeing to allow this to happen. But, she was and it did. The word "Updates" was not defined in the license agreement she never read anyway so even if she had read it she wouldn't have known what kinds of "updates" were going to be downloaded and installed on her computer. Little did she know or even suspect that more and more spyware was being installed on her system surreptitiously and silently even as she continued to send cute little emails to her grandchildren. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.  
As her computer began to secretly fill with an ever-growing list of spyware and adware, Nora's computer slowed to a crawl; and she had no idea what was going on. But, spyware wasn't her only problem.

Nora began to miss her weekly computer-newsletters and wrote to the companies who sent them. But, she never received a reply and she never received her newsletters. She tried subscribing again and again but she still didn't get her newsletters and the companies who published them never replied. Only when she signed up for a Hotmail account and subscribed to a newsletter with her Hotmail address did she finally begin to realize that something was not right. She wrote to several of the newsletter publishers using her Hotmail address and received prompt replies. They all told her the same thing: Her ISP must not be allowing their newsletters to reach her or she had installed a spam filter that was blocking or deleting their newsletters. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.
Nora knew she hadn't installed a spam filter. She barely knew what they were. She knew something was not right with her ISP - the one who promised to protect her from spam. They were deleting email that she wanted and had personally signed up to receive. They explained that their "filters" considered those companies "spam" sources and all mail from them was automatically deleted. In other words, Nora was not only the victim of the "smiley ruse" but of ISP censorship. So now Nora found herself having to choose between an Inbox of spam or allowing her ISP to continue to control her Inbox. She opted for the former; switched back to her old ISP and installed a spam filter. She took control of her Inbox rather than letting strangers determine what was "good" email, and she never looked back.

But, still she hadn't solved her most perplexing problem: The slow degradation of her computer to the point where it had become a chore to send emails to her children and grandchildren. Slowly, her main lifeline of communication between her family and herself was being cut and she had no idea what the cause could be. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.
One morning her computer wouldn't startup at all. She grabbed the phone book and thumbed through the Yellow Pages looking for computer repair services. She chose one because they offered to come out to her house and do the repair work. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.
She was about to learn more important lessons from the Computer Era.

When the computer repairman came he told Nora that her computer would need to be formatted and Windows re-installed. He indicated that this process would take around three hours to complete and gave her an estimate of $340.00. Nora was sufficiently shocked at the price he quoted but wanted and needed her computer repaired. She explained that she was always careful about spyware and that she used a program called Ad-Aware to check for adware and spyware on her computer and did so as matter of routine computer maintenance. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.
Nora loves to learn and she's about to learn some very important lessons. Computer repair people are not licensed (in most states) and no special education is required to call yourself a "computer technician". She is about to be ripped off by an unscrupulous business-person.

Her second lesson is going to be that Ad-Aware despite its name considers "adware" harmless (see Ad-Aware's Threat Assessment Chart -TAC ). Even though most adware is spyware, the now misnamed Ad-Aware sees adware as a benevolent, benign little thing that needn't worry any of us. Ad-Aware selectively removes some spyware. It is a well-known and documented fact that Ad-Aware (Lavasoft) has been threatened by several spyware/adware developers and was sued by Hotbar (which Ad-Aware does not detect) and NewNet. So, Nora is learning never to trust her computer to one single anti-spyware program. And, she will learn quickly that computer technicians do not have to have any special education to hang out a shingle and open for business. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.
Nora's hard drive was formatted and because she failed to back-up her emails and photographs they're all gone. She's now $340.00 poorer because spyware/adware had somehow infected her system. She has changed ISPs twice now because one promised to protect her from the evils of spam but in doing so was actually censoring her personal email and telling her what she could and could not receive. She's learned (hopefully) not to trust her computer to any one anti-spyware program and maybe that anti-spyware vendors are very sensitive to threats from spyware vendors. She's learned everything but one thing....

The first place Nora went when her computer was up and running again was back to Smilees4Phree to get her beloved smilees back. And the beat goes on. get rid of spyware. remove your spyware. get rid of spyware. spyware can ruin your computer. we hate spyware.

Tell us what you think - Please

*Phree is a word we coined to describe things that are offered "Free" but come at a high cost. We know you can name a few :) And we've had to misspell the word Smilees because a certain spyware/sneakware "Smilee" program owns about 1000 domains so Webmasters like us cannot ban them all. So if you see an advertisement on the right for "free smilees" don't click it, unless you want to know who we're referring to, you know, the company with a thousand domains. What a deceptive bunch of slimeballs!



Download a free trial and check your computer..you can't lose..try it and see.
Download a free trial and check your computer. You can't lose- you can only win!

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Opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Cloudeight Internet LLC, its hosts, or sponsors. These Rants are editorials and are,  therefore, opinions. All content is copyright 2005 by Cloudeight Internet LLC (all rights reserved)

All content is copyright 2005 by Cloudeight Internet LLC (all rights reserved)


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