Ugh, this has not been a pretty or fun week for the tablet PC in my care and I. Our relationship has gotten off to an extremely unstable and, yes… an even slooooowwwwww start, thanks to an infestation of malware that I have to date not been able to successfully remove. :-(

The malware is so bad, in fact, that the tablet is little more than a paperweight to me now, and I am both disgusted and sad to see what a ridiculously hostile networked computing environment others in the MS Windows world have to deal with on a regular basis. The “Viruses” ad from Apple is a little less funny to me today, but much more meaningful. (Of course, I’m blogging this on my MacBook which has seemingly never even considered the possibility of getting a virus, trojan, spyware or adware program on it.)

Miguel generously suggested a variety of free anti-malware and firewall programs that could likely immunize my Windows computer– but at this point I just want to re-initialize the entire hard drive with a recovery CD and start over. ClamWin (antivirus) and AdAware (antispyware) are clearly insufficient protection in our current, Windows-malware infected environment.

Why are so many people putting up with this ridiculousness? I am tempted to exclusively run Linux on my Windows-based HP laptops (like Ubuntu, which I have installed on one) but there are some programs I need to run (like Polycom PVX software and VBrick PowerPoint Plugins) that require Windows XP. Ugh.

I certainly do have more appreciation for IT departments that lock down user desktops, to protect them from themselves. This is the way we learn, however, and I am learning… But some of these lessons are ones that I would rather be told about than experience personally. Yet experience is a powerful teacher…..

The sad thing is that I am not even sure how I contracted the malware which has infected my system. I have not visited any websites other than the normal range of news, edtech, and tool sites that I normally peruse… I don’t even think I logged into MySpace on the laptop, which I’ve heard (like many social networking sites) is a breeding ground for malware. I have previously helped friends and neighbors in Lubbock install Antivirus programs on their systems along with some anti-malware programs– but in those cases the people were not running ANY type of virus protection or malware prevention and detection programs. I was, and I still got infected with something.

The impact of all these malware software programs on educational as well as corporate computer networks is at a staggering level, in many cases. The need for network activity monitoring is highlighted by this, and think its importance is just going to grow in the months ahead. This is a real window of opportunity for open source and alternative operating systems, like Apple. It also encourages me to be even more web-based in my productivity tasks, including email– which I’ve done for years now using a 3rd party client program. The more web-based I am in my consumption and use of information, the more “portable” I am in my workflow to different computer platforms and environments.

I did make my first family iMovie Thursday night in a long time, and it was such a joy to do it on my speedy MacBook. No crashing, no slowdowns, not even anything resembling a hiccup from the operating system or my applications. Creative digital creation the way it should be! That’s what I want to experience on the Windows side of things, but currently that looks like a hopeless fantasy. :-(


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On this day..

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  • http://www.lisd.net/schools/durham/index.htm David Stone

    Wes,

    Its such a sad reality. I’m glad you stepped into the shoes as a Windows/HP user and feel our pain. Just think of how much more productive we would all be if it were an Apple world! But in all fairness, isn’t malicious code written primarily for Windows based machines BECAUSE so many use it?
    One thing you get really familiar with on a Windows computer is….re-image. :-)

  • Bart Hanson

    > “isn’t malicious code written primarily for Windows based machines BECAUSE so many use it?”

    I personally do not think so, the contrary Windows is more vulnerable and OS X is more secure. I don’t know about Linux.
    If 5% use Macs why aren’t 5% Mac viruses. Does no one care enough to write a mac virus? I don’t think so.

  • http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com Vicki Davis

    I am particularly disgusted at the fact that our politicians lack of understanding of the new internet means that malware, spam, viruses, and the many things that plague us seem to not even get a nod from law enforcement.

    Several years a go a porn site spoofed my e-mail and when I had to go to the police department four times before they’d even listen to me. My dad knew someone at the GBI who finally helped us track the guy down in Connecticut (who actually knew me and thought it would be funny to do that to a Christian) unfortunately people in my hometown were getting the e-mails too! it was the first spam many of them received!

    I was aware then that many politicians are painfully insulated from technology by secretaries, etc. and that the rest of us are stuck fighting such problems with nothing but our minds and meager pocketbooks!

    I’m sorry about the malware and your tablet pc problem. I have a new laptop on Windows but it is doing well. Of course, the first thing I did was spent two days (literally two) patching windows and updating norton!

    As Macs catch on, there will be viruses that float there. I think they’ve done a better job of not ticking off their ex-employees to date.

    Best wishes and good luck!

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