Friday, October 26, 2007

Small Matters of Preteens and Computer Viruses

First off let me go ahead and state that Darth Spoilboy has not been harmed in any way. That the fault causing the unfortunate situation, a virus infected hardrive, with the main computer at the house and the aftermath as I try to restore it back to its full function rests solely with me. But I must admit that the temptation to ship Spoilboy off to Gitmo lasted for about as long as it took me to find the recovery CD, insert it into the disk drive, and begin to wipe out all the files that I remembered I had not backed up due to laziness and simple forgetfulness on my part. Now Spoilboy has not gotten off scott free by any means, while I take the blame on what happened I have promised him upon the pain of death or even worse the selling of his Nintendo Wii and the as yet to arrive "Guitar Hero" he is to never ever in all the years he has left to live in my house to download another game off the internet.

This all began on his last trip to San Francisco in which he spent two weeks with Dragonwife's sister, Lady Trump. The simplest back story on Lady Trump is that after spending a good number of years scaling the corporate ladder in such places as Washington DC, Atlanta, and finally San Francisco she jumped out of a dot com business with a nice golden parachute ever so slightly before the internet bubble busted. The internet company she last worked for sold used cars online and had established several huge staging areas across the country where incoming cars were processed to be sold. The car Dragonwife still drives was bought from her sister's company and the Atlanta processing center where we picked up the car I swear was bigger than some army bases I've been on. Even though the company Lady Trump worked for is on the trash heap of internet history and forgotten it isn't any big deal since so many others ended up the same way but I wonder every now and then what happened to the huge nearly identical processing facilities the company ran. She was truly running with some big boys and girls who could sink such startup money into such a venture.

Like they teach fighter pilots to use the materials of their parachute for survival after they are back on the ground Lady Trump used her golden one to setup a decent consultant business on the west coast. What she consults on is beyond the comprehension of this simple Lowcountry boy but I'm told its expensive and requires a minimum of a couple of days before she will even talk with a potential client. Given the cost of real estate and general living in the San Francisco area along with the money it takes to have a full time nanny for her adoptive daughter, Miss Materialgirl, its easy to guess Lady Trump ain't doing too shabby. During Spoilboy's visit he was introduced to the wonderful world of MP3 downloads by Miss Materialgirl's exotic nanny using some sort of paid subscription service called either "Rocket MP3" or "MP3 Rocket". When Spoilboy got home he used, and borrowed against, his allowance to pay the forty dollar fee to get a lifetime membership and began downloading songs as fast a our dial-up connection would allow. Yes, we still have dial-up, and its a real pain but that's a small ongoing conflict with Dragonwife I'm not ready to engage all my forces in to change. I have my own agenda, namely to get another surfboard and wetsuit, but that a mid-life crisis post for another time. I curiously found myself pushed out of the family room where the main computer is located due to Spoilboy's taste in music and that given he is in middle school now his rather strangely early and heavy load of projects requiring research. Either Dragonwife or myself review his assignments and as long as he brings back the proper grade we let him have his privacy to do his work while listening to his music. The fact that I'm relegated to the backup computer is small potatoes as long as he keeps bringing in good grades.

The currents problems began when late last week I noticed Spoilboy playing with a new computer video game that looked like something from the 80's. It consisted of two tanks on opposite sides of a mountain shooting various types of weapons over the peak to wreak havoc on each other. The graphics were very primitive and at first reminded me of what I'm sure is still the favorite game of conservatives still dreaming their own version of Star Wars ,"Missile Command". I asked Spoilboy where the new game came from and he said that his MP3 download service also offered video clips and games. A few alarms went off right then but Miss Materialgirl's nanny had assured him that every aspect of the service was safe and legitimate. The fact that it was easy to surmise my son had developed a crush on Materialgirl's nanny while on his visit and would have danced a jig in a dress at school had she asked I believed that the service was safe. Being honest here, I've seen pictures of Materialgirl's nanny and if she asked me to dance naked at the local Wal-Mart I more than likely would, she is a hot dark haired twenty-something with a stunning smile. Later on though early last weekend Spoilboy surfed over to the actually website the game came from and downloaded several expansion packs for the tank game. There on out the computer began a slow meltdown. The first issue were strange pop-up advertisements that said they could fix whatever bugs might be bothering your computer. The pop-ups were appearing on small windows of Internet Explorer over my normal browser Mozilla's Firefox. I had not had a pop-up issue since I started using Mozilla and was surprisingly bewildered to have them surface again. At first I had no idea why this was happening and actually wondered if the newly installed Microsoft Office 2007 that we bought just so Spoilboy could have Power Point might be the cause.

Hindsight being what it is I should have started saving files right then that Saturday because by Sunday morning the virus had worked its way enough that as soon as a pop-up appeared it knocked whomever was using the computer off the internet. I was watching "Meet the Press" right then and said it would wait. I think it was the show with Stephen Cobert announcing his run for president and I was not about to miss whatever he had to say. Its really sad that I would hold everything else up for a political comedian but would have went running upstairs had that segment had just about anybody else on, both Democrat or Republican. By the time I did make it upstairs the situation had deteriorated to the point that as soon as you tried to launch a program the computer would shut down and reboot itself, only to do the same thing again. The course of action after that given the lack of time I had was to run the recovery disk and slowly bring everything back to where I had it. Spoilboy was completely oblivious to what had happened and it took questioning on my part, no I didn't waterboard him, to understand why the computer went tits up so fast.

Usually I'm almost religious about backing up files to CD's but had not done so far longer than I even now want to thnk about due to work, both on the job and at home, sheer laziness, and because Spoilboy had taken up so much time doing homework. While a bunch of files were meaningless junk I did lose almost all my stuff from my last blog "Ramblings of a Lexington Parrothead". It was burned to a CD that Miss Wiggles at some point found and broke. At the time I said no worries because I had also stored it on the main computer's hardrive, boy can I be a dunderhead or what? The other set of files I lost were about 300 to 400 pictures that I was one set away from burning to a disk. Included in that lost set were all the pictures from the 2007 Disney trip and some damn good shots of a butterfly garden at EPCOT. The one surviving picture is of the shuttle I took going into orbit from Vero Beach which can be seen one of the early posts on this blog. Like I wrote earlier this is mainly my fault and if the worst thing Spoilboy ever does as a kid is screw up the computer I will consider myself very lucky. But given the expensive computer video games Spoilboy abounds in I have told him the minute I find a downloaded game again I will hang him upside down from the family room window. He came back saying, with a poop eating grin far more serious than I would expect from someone his age, that since my memory about backing files up is being affected by my advancing age he will help me to overcome my growing limitations. Sometimes the truth really hurts, and its made even worse coming from a slightly smart ass son.

Going to the upstate for a couple of days, everyone have a great weekend.

27 comments:

Tequila Mockingbird said...

i guess you shouldn't be downloading so much porn; then maybe you wouldn't get computer viruses. it's ok, i can't stop either.

Beach Bum said...

T-Bird: I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

Preposterous Ponderings said...

My kids downloaded viruses before by going to Neopets. I was one very upset mommy!

You have gotten me worried about the "stuff" on my PC.Think I'll be doing some back up this weekend.

The Zombieslayer said...

Ah man. If I were in your state, I'd introduce you to Linux. You'll never have to worry about viruses again.

You will however have to join a Linux Users Group or know a geek. The first month, you'll spend it learning which program in Linux does the equivalent in Windows. There are also plenty of good games on Linux that are free, and Id Software are heavily into Linux (they made the Quake, Doom, and Castle Wolfenstein games).

Phoebe Fay said...

Good for you for keeping your temper. I'm pretty sure my dad would have done the hanging by the ankles out the second story windows thing.

(Well, would have if he'd had any concept of a computer when we were growing up. But it was the dark ages, and my dad is a Luddite to the core. He never even bought an electric typewriter for his office.)

Mike said...

My son did that several years ago on our home computer. It turned into a huge freaking nightmare and honestly, things have not been the same on that computer since.

Beach Bum said...

Preposterous Ponderings: I'm still regrouping and reinstalling stuff but I'll have to make myself be a lot better about backing stuff up. The only thing I'm actually upset about is my pictures.

Zombieslayer: Yeah, I might install Linux on the backup computer at the house and check it out and a couple of years down the road just go straight to Linux.

phoebe fay: My son saw a manual typewriter just a few months ago for the first time and he just couldn't get his mind around the fact that it didn't have a screen. As for Luddites my grandparents, and several of their friends were convinced that computers would one day take over the world and didn't like the idea of them. And that was the 70's, I wonder what they would think now?

Mike: The primary stuff is back on but my system is not "acting" right either. Once the updates are downloaded and reinstalled I hope it gets better.

Colonel Colonel said...

Computers are a fad. I'm putting all my money into colored glass beads. The advantage- no viruses. The disadvantage- kids with hammers...

Beach Bum said...

Colonel: All it would take would be one EMP device and we would all be back to counting with glass beads.

Vigilante said...

Beach! Please, please post a photo of Miss Material Girl's nanny! Before your hard disk crashes! Come-on. (I double dare you!)

Keshi said...

BB I know where u got all those Viruses from....searching for Jessica Alba shots on the net ha
;-)


Keshi.

C.Rag said...

So that's an advantage to have kids. I can blame them for the viruses that come from my midget or twin porn sites downloads.

Beach Bum said...

Vigil: Will have to look for a picture of the nanny on the other computer downstairs. Spoilboy's virus wiped out his pictures as well.

Keshi: I should have said that Jessica Alba was the hottest women on the planet after you.

C.Rag: I had forgotten about my secret files. Damnit, another casualty of Spoilboy's virus. Good porn is hard to find.

Connecticut Man1 said...

Typical. I started doing some simple cleanup on my disk today and realized after I had started that I had forgotten make backup point to go back to if it/I messed up. Thankfully the simple stuff I was doing worked fine. Slow but fine...

Sara Sue said...

I understand MAC users don't suffer from viruses. :)

The Zombieslayer said...

Sara Sue - No, they don't. I have a Mac as well and it has no anti-virus software installed. The only reason it needs anti-virus software is it can carry a virus and you can inadvertently give it to your friend who uses Windoze. Mac is also Unix based.

Vigilante said...

This entire thread is a testimony to the effect that computers save neither time nor money.

Beach Bum said...

C-Man 1: The one point I did not report in my post was that recently my son deleted my account on the older computer which we keep in his room. He did it "to clean things up" and in doing do deleted a bunch of third rate sci-fi short stories that I had been writing for a several years.

Sara Sue and Zombieslayer: Yeah, my father-in-law pointed that out just today when I made the mistake of answering the phone. He thought it was funny, the old fart.

Vigil: As far as I'm concerned most of the uses of computers are overblown. It just makes it easy for bean counters and bureaucrats to keep control. And in my cynical moods I won't discount the idea that one day the computers will all gang up and make us their tools to use.

Vigilante said...

Boo!

MadMike said...

..."no I didn't waterboard him..." I laughed my ass off at this post BB. I can just picture you struggling to recover, discs in hand, sweat on brow.....Thanks for the smile. I think I will back up my files now....

Tillerman said...

I wish I had a teenage son that I could blame for the weird ills affecting my computer today. I can post to my blog and surf the usual Internet nonsense with Firefox, but any attempt to do anything simple with Windows itself causes the machine to go into 100$ CPU usage for about 10 minutes.

What was that you were saying about "backups"? They sound like a good idea. Is it too late for me?

Beach Bum said...

Vigil: Please don't scare me like that. He was in Columbia today at Fort Jackson attending the graduation of basic trainees.

MadMike: Yeah, I was sweating a good bit not wanting to loose my pictures or some of my stuff from Lexington Parrothead. I'm going to have to try and rewrite such stuff as "The day I met Mickey Spillane", "Pancakeday Grizzly attack", and "The closing of Summer".

Tillerman: I have the same problem when I use windows stuff. I have to shutdown a couple of the programs running in the background and it gets better. Surfed over to your site and left a comment. Welcome and please come back anytime.

S said...

LOL @ tequila....
I hope you get the computer back in good working order soon, BB!

a rose is a rose said...

i'm telling you go for high speed. i too had dial up until just a few short weeks ago. i did it for one reason and one reason only. our office is moving from hartford (two miles from my house - ONE straight road) to windsor (more than 2 miles down the road). we can work from home (with permission and on occasion) BUT you cannot have dial up. winter is coming, this is connecticut, i am NOT driving more than 2 miles in a blizzard so i got HIGH SPEED!!

i'm sorry about your virus and your losses. i too lost a great deal on my old laptop and i haven't learned. i've not backed up a lot of what i have on this one (some yes, not all)

Beach Bum said...

S: Actually still working on getting things reinstalled. It's a real pain.

Rose:Working on getting either Cable or DSL but I really want my surfboard first. Want to be able to teach Spoilboy, and later, Wiggles to surf.

Keshi said...

o cmon! :)

Keshi.

Melvin said...

interesting post...
Thanks for sharing......

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Melvin
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