Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Computers and Spyware and Reboots...Oh, My!

We are Computer-Central over here. There are three of us and there are three computers. It’s very simple math. Heaven forbid someone has to wait to get online. Gasp! The horror! Of course, I am the only one that truly needs the internet, of the three of us. Losing oneself in the time warp that is the World-Wide-Web is just an occupational hazard.

Losing a sense of time is the least of Taylor’s worries, however. He’s got bigger issues. He’s got SPIES. Or more specifically: Spyware. It’s making his computer do things it’s not supposed to do, like talking to strangers…or running with scissors. Well, you know what I mean. In order to remove said Spyware, you need to use ANTI-spyware. I know this because I am also tech support for Computer-Central.

My motto is simple: If it acts up, reboot. If it still acts up, shut down…let it rest…hold the power button in for ten seconds (while it’s still off…I’m sure this does nothing, but I’ve retained this info from somewhere, so it must be valuable) and reboot. If it’s still possessed, say a prayer and run for Google.

And herein lays the problem. (Ya like the way I worked the word “herein” in there? I know…I’m a genius.) The unwelcome spyware on Taylor’s computer is preventing him from connecting to the internet to download the needed ANTI-SPYWARE that will ultimately remove said spyware.

Quite the conundrum, wouldn't you say? (Jackie is totally into this by now…she loves it when I use my big-girl words.)

Enter tech-support. I sit down to have a serious talk with the offending piece of electronics, determined to have it see the error of its ways. So, I click Google. It gives me a site to buy software. Undeterred, I click Google again. It sends me to a site to buy music. By the third click, I finally get Google. But the process goes downhill from there…it’s three clicks forward and 2 clicks back. And I’m OVER THIS.

But I consider myself to be of higher-than-the-average-bear-intelligence, so I’ve formulated a plan: I’ll download the anti-spyware from another computer, burn it onto a disk and then install it on to Taylor’s infected computer.

HA! Those hacks have NOTHIN’ on ME….I RULE! So. I download the anti-everything software (I’ve already paid for) onto a CD. I won’t say which one it was (it was McAfee) and ran downstairs to the now-gasping computer to install it. It labors through an entire download process before it just….quits. Shows me all red “X’s” where the check marks should be and proclaims itself DONE.

“What?” I say.

“Done. Not happening. Move on.” It responds. (At this point, it’s sounding eerily familiar somehow….Clinton? that YOU?!)

As an afterthought, it says “If you’re really desperate, you can click on this link for a virtual technician to diagnose the fact that you have a complete and total lack of computer skills.”

“Well….huh.” I say. And I click.

It labors again…thinking…thinking…and then another message appears: “Virtual technician cannot be utilized because your product cannot be found.”

“But….it can’t be found because I can’t install it,” I say, voice rising as this realization hits me full force. “So, I can’t install the technician to help me install the product….because I can’t install… the product?!” I mumble…utterly confused now…completely losing my train of thought, as I contemplate whether there’s any more Cloudy in the fridge.

“Is it too early to pour a glass?”

I think not.

Then I get another pop up: “In case you ever get your act together and want to try this mockery again…click here.” And an icon of a yellow smiley-face appears on the desktop with the words “Virtual Technician” below it.

Well, that’s just MEAN.

Fast forward approximately four hours…after one desperate (and successful) “restoration” of the hard drive later, (requiring me to re-install and re-enter basically everything) the new (FREE) anti-everything software I downloaded from my cable provider (it’s Optimum) is installed. I run ANTI-SPYWARE first.

The now-recovering computer scans….scans….and a new window pops up:

“You have 146 infections. You have to be the most irresponsible computer owner I’ve ever seen. I shouldn’t even bother to help you, since you obviously don’t really care, but if you want me to go through the motions of this charade, click here.” Or, something to that effect.


Then it runs the Anti-Virus. This takes twice as long to run and I get this message:

“There were 12 infections found. There were 4 cleaned. There were 2 quarantined. It’s the best I can do…you’re lucky I did this much.” Or something along that line.

“But…what about the other 6 infections?” I ask, with the slightest hint of a whine. “What happens to those?”

To that, I get no response…just a blinking cursor…as I blink back. But I can almost hear the answer anyway…it’s in that Clinton Kelly dismissive tone I’ve grown to recognize:

“We’re done here, Kathy. Life is too short. Go on. Get outta here.”

…and I’m already gone.

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