Friday, April 10, 2009

A computer virus ruins my day

I am a morning person who usually gets 70% of my work done by 1100A or so. Not so yesterday. Like a puff adder waiting to be trodden on along a pathway in the African bush, there was something equally sinister coiled up in the innards of my usually trusty Dell XPS computer. So when I tried to launch my Stamps.com program, an absolutely vital component of my daily workday, nothing happened. The icon just sat there on the start menu, about as useful as a glass eye on a blind person. With my heart rate and blood pressure increasing rapidly, I tried again, and again. Nothing. The alarmist in me was already thinking dire thoughts of losing thousands of addresses, an unlikely event as I use an automated off-site backup system. But such is panic, unreasonable and irrational.


With a little bit of sage advice from my son, who is a computer science graduate, I calmed down and called Stamps.com. Surprisingly, I was on the line to a friendly and competent technician in less than a minute. I won’t bore you with the details, but he couldn’t fix the problem, telling me that my computer was likely infected with a virus. And so, I spent much of what remained of my productive day, on the 'phone with Balasubramanian, my newest best friend who works for McAfee. "Just call me Bala, for short..." Bala sits in a cubicle somewhere in Asia - I thought it would be impolite to ask. I hope his cricket team wins all their matches this year because he succeeded in extracting the virus from my Dell. Good job Bala! Killed my day, though. Might be time to consider a Mac. If it works anything as well as my iPod, why not?


I was hoping that my day would improve with a late afternoon race, stage 2 of HARRA’s Tour de Bayou, at Spotts Park near the intersection of Memorial Dr and Heights Blvd. It didn’t. This free race was worth what I paid for it. A little over three miles of huffing and puffing around (two out and back circuits) in what must be Houston's hilliest pocket park. It seemed like all steep up or downhill with almost no nice flat stretches to recover. Makes you wonder why so many of the city's elite runners (it was great to see them zoom by) would voluntarily show up. Must be the bragging rights. I did enjoy chatting with a few other Striders before and after the race though.


Kathleen and I will be departing for Boston a week from today. It is starting to feel real. Judging by yesterday’s race, my hopes are not very high for a fast race, but I won’t worry about it. Anything around 4 hours will be fine by me. It is likely to be a one and only experience, so I will be taking it all in and trying to enjoy the experience, rather than running myself into a state of total exhaustion. Perhaps one day soon I can help Kath to also qualify and return as a spectator.

5 comments:

Billy Burger said...

Ugh - don't get me started on viruses. I inadvertently d/l'd a horrible Trojan Horse virus last year and had to wipe out my entire laptop (just don't ask me where I got it).

I'll be rooting for ya from afar Bert. Good luck in Beantown - more importantly, enjoy your last experience running it!

Minken said...

Spott's Park is where I used to spend many an hour playing ultimate frisbee...You probably saw a lot of my buddies playing there! Good times!

raffy said...

In most cases, downloading and installing anti-virus or anti-malicious software programs won't really work 100% to remove viruses. I am a DELL certified technician who specializes on fixing software problems especially virus removal. Just to give you an idea. No anti-malicious software has been developed yet that would have the ability to penetrate hidden folders of any windows operating system. Every operating system would have its "HIDDEN FOLDERS" where most of the critical files that makes your operating system work are hidden. Why hidden? takes a little of common sense to answer. It's because it's not to be played around with for it will do damge in your system and might crash it. Viruses or malicious softwares can easily penetrate and attack these hidden folders and this is what I meant when I said that downloading or installing anti-malicious software programs won't really work if your computer is already infected. One characteristic of a malicious software especially viruses is it is very good in hiding and they work on a "buddy-buddy" system. What do I mean?

Example:
If 20 malicious softwares (virus, trojans, worms, etc.) are in your system and 1 out of the 20 is hiding on the hidden folder, installing and running an anti-virus program won't really clean your computer 100%. What will happen is that, since the anti-virus program can't penetrate the hidden folder where one of the viruses is hiding, it will only be able to find and quarantine (or delete if possible) those that are obviously found. Then the remaining one, once it has detected that its buddy is gone, it will do its thing and will re-create itself and re-infect the system. This is why you would hear from people that they have ran an anti-virus and yet the computer somehow just got better for few seconds, minute or hour/s and it started acting up again.

I belong to the DELL on call specialized group. It is a fee based support and the only software support department in DELL. DELL is charging about $130 just for a 1 tme fix and $239 for a 1 year plan where it only includes 4 calls for any software troubleshooting. Local technicians or electronics stores like wal-mart, radio shack, best buy, etc. also offers technical troubleshooting but with almost the same cost or more and same with geek squad.

Where I am getting to is to offering you folks alternative, where you don't have to pay the huge amount to have you software problem in your computer fixed. At DELL, we use a remote connection tool where for the convenience of the clients and technicians, no need to lift the machine just to have it fixed. We remotely connect to your computer and you can just leave it on and we will take care of it and have it fixed in no time.

Due to the recession, I find it not quite intelligent or practical for people to pay $130 just to have a computer fixed.

I am offering my service for FREE. You can reach me through irvin.johnson48@yahoo.com. Shoot me an email or leave me an offline messsage in YM with the same email as my ID. Just leave me a brief description of the problem and I will respond to you as quickly as possible so check you email.

raffy said...

Sorry for the confusion. It was my buddy's email that I have copied and pasted and posted. My email is johndelhorne@yahoo.com

Jacob said...

ugh virus, virus virus !!! i hate them, because they come without our permission & then play with computers resources. Some times they make a log file that have our personal information. Kill Spyware