Monday, July 27, 2009

technological madness : computer viruses & digital photography blues

part 1 : computer viruses 101 ie: for the newbies like me

in 12 years of owning computers, we've never had any kind of computer bugs.

but yesterday my husband & i spent the better part of our day worrying & trying to fix a "virus" that my laptop had gotten saturday night after troy downloaded a document from what he thought was a perfectly safe sight.

so we talked to my nephew who seems to know a lot about these things & he advised us to use a free program off the internet. we tried, but it didn't seem to work. also, we never really checked into the security program that is already installed on my laptop, which runs everyday with no problems. troy tried a few other free programs, but they all seemed to be free only until you needed them to actually DO something for you, then they direct you to upgrade to the paid version. we opted not to go that way, but thought we'd purchase some software from the local store.

after the $40 purchase, an installation that seemed excrutiatingly long & painful, we were happy to find out that the new software said we were virus free.

huh... then why were we getting these constant pop-ups saying that we were infected with a "trojan" windows exe blah blah blah... and that infomation was being stolen from our computer & being put on the internet?

well, i'll tell you why.

because we had been hit with a "fake/rogue antivirus". ours was a well known (yeah right) virus called "Personal Antivirus". you can read all about this on AVG's support section where they fully explain this. the whole point of this application is not that it does anything harmful to your computer unless you consider constant pop-ups telling you that your computer's being damanged & that there are 127 different infected areas on your computer PLUS the added pleasure of your computer being slowed down to a near halt to be harmful.

basically, this bogus security application installs itself on your computer. you start receiving pop-ups saying that your computer's infected with a virus. this is all coming from a bogus security program that kind of looks legitimate. it even puts a shortcut icon on your desktop. if you're not paying attention & you're freaking out a little bit, you just assume that's part of the software that came with your computer. you will try to run the software, but it tells you that it's expired & you need to upgrade. this is how they try & get you to buy their security application, which isn't really a security application, and they just take your money & run.

another fun extra is that when you figure this out & try to uninstall this bogus program from your computer, it won't let you. there are all sorts of ideas on how to do this floating around the web, but we found that doing a system restore was the best alternative for us. it worked. enuf said.

this whole thing struck us as really stupid. our general consensus was that whoever came up with this should be hunted down & shot. no questions asked.

yeah, i know that doesn't sound very nice, but seriously, we spent the better part of a beautiful sunday trying to get rid of this thing.

it was not fun. and as if there's not enough stress in life!

so the moral here or what we learned is:

  • calm down when you see a virus alert from your computer
  • make sure 1st & foremost that you know your computer - know what your security software is & that it is working & not expired!
  • run your antivirus software, if it doesn't pick up anything, maybe you don't have a real virus, could be this "rogue antivirus"
  • go on line if you can & search these things - there is all sorts of good information, lots of free applications & faq's that give you a pretty good idea about the usual suspects floating around
  • do all of the above before you make any purchases & even check out the support site of the program you do purchase, before taking it out of the package, downloading it, and finding out that you just wasted your money because you don't really have a virus & the new software isn't gonna do you a darn bit of good.
  • the end

part 2 : digital photography & why you shouldn't delete photos in camera

so you say "what's wrong with that?" & i'm just about to tell you why.

let's start out by prefacing this whole subject by 1 singularly important idea: read & know your camera manual. this is really the only way to know what to do with your camera.

unless you just LOVE to learn the hard way. then don't read anything, just push buttons randomly & see what happens...

*sorry, i'm in rare form today, or maybe i'm in normal form, probly so...

anyhoo... i believe that it's a pretty common theory that it's not a good idea to delete photos in camera for a few good reasons

  • it takes up battery life that could be better used taking pictures
  • accidents happen when you're hurriedly deleting photos, for instance to make more space, and sometimes you push the button for "yes" when you meant to say "no"
  • some menus are set up more user friendly than others & the ones that aren't make it really simple to accidentally arrow to deleting "all" rather than deleting the one specific checked photos. i don't know why they do that, they just do
  • some people have deleted all the photos from their card this way, totally by accident. ouch...

so there you have it. good reasons not to delete photos in camera.

coming up...

part 3: why you should transfer the photos from your card onto your computer or onto a disc at the very least

part 4: why you should use a card reader instead of usb cord to transfer images from your card to your computer


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