The following is going to make me sound like an out-of-touch old guy, but I’m fine with that. This story happened just as written, and for once, there has been no embellishment by yours truly.
One thing that just really gets my goat (now that’s an old guy term if I ever heard one) is buying something and having it not work once you get it home. Case in point – the $100 anti-virus computer program I bought last weekend.
For those non-computer people out there, it seems that computers can get viruses. They can also be infected by worms, trojans, and spies. Although if you don’t go onto the Internet, it seems your computer will never come down with any of these afflictions. You’ll never be able to connect with anyone, but that’s beside the point. At least it will be safe from all those nasty beasties.
If you do want to venture out into cyber space, then you must have protection — hence the reason for my purchase of the latest virus protection software.
Once home, all I had to do was stick the disk into my computer, the program would run, and all would be fine — protected once again.
Fortunately that didn’t happen. I say fortunately because if it had, I would have had to find something else to write about this week.
When the program didn’t work, I called my son, The Boy, for help. After 20 frustrating minutes on the phone, the program still didn’t work, so he said, “Just call the company.”
A nice machine at the company put me on hold and advised me every few minutes not to hang up or I would lose my place in line. With the phone on speaker, I started to do push-ups and sit-ups — might as well get in a quick workout while waiting.
Over a half hour later, the nice machine still advised me not to hang up. By this time, I had completed over 100 push-ups and 130 sit-ups and decided to try another tactic.
Reading the box the program came in, I found the company’s website. With no protection, I still took a chance and entered a place I had never been before — a chat room. Cassandra was waiting to assist me.
For you non-computer people out there, a chat room works just like a telephone, except there’s no phone. You carry on a conversation by typing questions to someone like Cassandra.
A few quick questions and answers typed, and she said she could fix my problem, but first she asked permission to take control of my computer. I thought it was a joke because she was in India so I told her she could. It seems the joke was on me.
My computer cut itself off, then back on, programs opened and then closed. Somehow Cassandra had taken complete control all the way from across the world!
In less than ten minutes, she fixed the program and I had all the protection I needed to surf the web. I thanked her, and she left the chat room.
I suddenly felt lonely so I cut the lights off and left the room too. Don’t want to waste any electricity now, do we?
When The Wife got home, I told her about how someone from India took control of my computer and did amazing things. She smiled and said, “You know Cassandra really didn’t have to ask permission, she could’ve taken control anytime she wanted. You weren’t protected.”
Now that’s a scary thought. The next time my computer gets a virus, and I’m no longer protected, I have the perfect solution — one that doesn’t involve doing push-ups, sit-ups or calling Cassandra. A way to truly protect all the sensitive information stored.
No one will ever be able to hack my computer if I just throw it out the second story window onto the driveway. Problem solved, and I didn’t even have to call The Boy.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is email@example.com.]