Monday, January 10, 2005

Close the pod bay door, Hal

I got a spiffy new Windows computer for Christmas. I named it Tanya. That's Tanya as in Tanya Tucker, so it's pronounced TAN-ya, not TON-ya.

I'm trying to use Tanya responsibly. I run anti-virus software, and I mostly use Firefox, a browser that's more secure than Internet Explorer. And I regularly sweep my hard drive with not one but two spyware programs, but damn if the spyware isn't out of control anyway! After a mysterious and unwanted toolbar magically appeared on my desktop yesterday, I ran both spyware programs. They found a bunch of stuff that I indeed didn't want on my hard drive, but then I called up Windows Task Manager and discovered--spyware! I looked in C:\Program Files and found--spyware! I opened the Control Panel and checked out Add or Remove Programs and--spyware!

I've had it. A brand new computer! I'm trying to be careful! And still Tanya is infected. So far the worst symptom--that I'm aware of--is some slowness, but I know that the jerk programmers who write this crap are capable of far worse.

I feel creeped out and vulnerable. I read that Microsoft is about to release a program to fight spyware, but why should this one be any more effective than the two I already use? I suppose I could run all three, but what I want is not to spend still more time dealing with spyware. What I want is to use my computer for fun and profit.

The point is, adding yet another program to Windows will not solve the fundamental problem, which is that Windows is flawed. (There's a reason savvy nerds call it Windoze.) What I know about building operating systems could fit in my little fingernail, but I can imagine an OS that, for example, doesn't let programs install themselves willy-nilly.

Linux and MacOS are looking better and better. Not that I'll switch anytime soon. Probably. Maybe.

No comments: