Yeah, I know, I should write something about Christmas and New Year, but I ain’t got time right now. I really need to use my time more efficiently. This was supposed to be something technology was going to do for us. But, as I often lament, technology (computers, in particular) seems to rob me of more time than it saves me. Which is why I particularly enjoyed this cartoon.
BEWARE, people. Some jerk (or maybe just idiot if allowed the benefit of the doubt) has been using, and trying to hijack, my bandolero email address. He’s been using it as the “contact email” for accounts he creates on unsavory (though some would say titillating) “social” websites, and also when ordering “toys” from advertisers on such websites and other online sellers. He’s also been trying to get Gmail to give him my password by means of the “I forgot my password” link. He’s also stupid, as I have acquired his name and address, and even had a look at his house from street level courtesy of google maps.
But here’s the warning: on some sites where he set up such accounts, his profile included links to my FaceBook and MySpace pages, where my bandolero address is supposedly only visible to “friends” and “friends of friends” according to my privacy settings. Whether there is more sharing among social sites than they let on, or more hacking between them than they’d care to admit, I don’t know. But, it was somewhat surprising to see my FaceBook photo and Gmail photo (he’s apparently uglier than I am though claiming to be only 40) next to photos of his (or should I say “my”?) admirers that were, well…, I’ll just say I’d have preferred seeing pictures that at least aspired to Playboy standards.
Okay, okay, I know what you’re dying to say, but don’t, I’m serious here. A couple of security newsletters I get have recently warned against FaceBook and Twitter accounts. I border on paranoid when it comes to guarding “personal information” but the focus is usually on things like account numbers, SSNs, passwords, etc. Theft of one’s email address used to mean seeing it forged on a gazillion spams. But now we also need to think about how much personal info somebody can get and use to our detriment by stealing just our email addresses, even without stealing our email accounts.
Think about it, and be prudent. I don’t think I’m ready yet to abandon FaceBook and LinkedIn, though I should’ve ditched MySpace a long time ago. On the other hand, I’m beginning to think again about chappells.us or something like it as a better vehicle for sharing things we’d really like to share but which it would behoove us to protect.
My laptop was getting more obnoxious by the week. Progressively getting slower, taking longer to boot up, taking longer for pretty much everything except aggravating my temper. All the symptoms of having picked up a virus, trojan or other malware from a website. But my battery of free security programs found nothing. I caved in and bought Spysweeper. It found nothing, either, and just made things even slower.
I started noticing it felt hotter than it used to under my right wrist. Well, okay, I thought, it is over five years old, after all. More’n likely getting ready to blow the power supply or something. Before it could do that, though, it started just shutting itself off. I gather they’re made that way, to automatically shut down when the internal temperature gets too high.
Of course, by now I was primed to use the imminent demise of the machine as an excuse to get a new one. Even started checking the BestBuy ads. But, the damn thing wouldn’t die; just kept after my goat. Last weekend the combination of aggravations got so exasperating I asked Becky if it would upset her if I got out the .38 and shot it. She said it would. So, I tabled the notion of hastening its demise.
Today it shut itself off before I could print a letter I needed to get out. So I turned it over to have a look at the fans. A busted fan could certainly cause overheating. Couldn’t tell antyhing from looking, except they looked kind of dusty. I grabbed a can of Dust-Off and shot a blast at each fan. The first thing was a major cloud of dust flying out the vent. The second thing was one of the fans didn’t spin. It occurs to me laptops maybe consume and store dust as well as desktops, despite what seems to be a more enclosed structure and less room. And it occurs to me I may need to replace a fan. Fans are what I’ve had to replace the most on all my computers.
Okay, okay, I’ll get to the end. At home after supper and between Olympic events I removed as many panels as I was comfortable removing and used about half a can of Dust-Off blowing through strategic locations. In the process, I dislodged a major dust-kitty that I had to slowly work out with tweezers, from behind one of the fans. Yup, it was actually keeping the fan from running. Got it all back together and the difference is incredible.
Sounds way better, runs way cooler, runs way faster, hasn’t shut off. Keeping fingers crossed, of course, but it’s looking (and sounding) like I’ll have to spill a cup of coffee into the keyboard if I’m gonna get me a new laptop in the near future.
Stinkin’ dirt, anyway.