Things I Hope For in 2014……or Not

“You’ve got questions, we’ve got dancing paperclips.” – Microsoft

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As a service to those of you actually reading this, I suppose I need to tell you right up front that this is NOT your typical, “hopeful for the new year”, “world peace”,  type of post.  You can find that stuff here:  Karmatube.  Instead, I prefer to maintain my pessimistic, glass half full reputation and rail about all the things I hope upon every star that has fallen from the sky, to disappear from the face of this earth.  And, in keeping with the spirit of this most joyous time of year, I shall do so in “list” form.

So, in no particular order of preference for their demise, here is my list of things I wish to be gone in 2014:

Bloated, resource sucking, expensive antivirus programs: – They give unknowing users a totally false sense of security and are known to bog down older, slower systems, all the while doing as much good as the free, less resource sucking packages available. In reality, keeping malware off your machine has a lot more to do with how you use it than what security you have on it. Are you listening Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky & Trend Micro?

Legitimate websites that allow ads for crappy stuff: – Recently saw a flash ad on a banking website enticing people to “click here to speed up your computer”.  Malware ensues.

Add-ons with legitimate updates: – If I want Google Chrome, Mcfee Security Scan, or a really crappy Ask Toolbar, I can find and download them myself.  I truly don’t need Adobe and Java updates to do it for me.

And speaking of toolbars: 

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Updates that crash their own source:- One of the low-lights of 2013 was when Microsoft updates caused Microsoft Office to malfunction.  Yes, it was a relatively simple repair, but not one the average user knew existed.

Misleading “download” buttons:- You find yourself on a legitimate site, trying to download something you actually want, and then hit a “download” button that floods your system with crap.  Always look for the tiny “sponsored ad” words near those misleading download buttons.

AOL Software:- P-L-E-A-S-E

SPAM:- I pay a small fee to an outfit called Akismet in order to keep spam off these blog posts.  In the short amount of time that I’ve been posting, Aksimet has prevented over 400 spam messages from appearing.  These are generally ads, many with infected links, and some filling an entire 27″ monitor screen.

Unknown and unrecorded passwords:- I can fill volumes telling stories about people who do not know their simplest, most important passwords. No, I don’t wish those people to be banished from the face of the earth, just the practice of not recording passwords in a safe location.

Facial recognition and/or fingerprint usage for logging into laptops:- Unless you plan on leaving your head or fingertip with a service tech, Stop. Using. These.

Everything and anything with the following words attached:  Crawler, Conduit, MindSparks, Toolbar, Babylon, MapsGalaxy, Sweetpacks, DefaultTab, DefaultViewer, & Browser Helper.  Malware ensues.

The NSA: – Don’t bother telling them I added them to this list. They already know.

Spoofed Phone Numbers:- I pay extra for caller ID on my office system and usually won’t answer calls from 800 numbers or Provo, UT. (Someday I’ll get a logical explanation of why so many annoying calls originate from Provo.) But the idiots responsible for the millions of annoying robo-calls now “spoof” numbers, which means that my caller ID could conceivably show your phone number without your knowledge.

People asking me for my fax number:- If you still communicate via a fax, I probably don’t want to do business with you.

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All those responsible for phone/email scams (And those still falling for them):-  You’ve probably heard me say this 100 times…..Microsoft will never call you. A computer manufacturer will never call you to tell you that “bad stuff” has taken up residence on your machine. Financial institutions will never ask for personal information in an email. And that Prince in Nigeria doesn’t really exist.

Fake Facebook/Twitter accounts:- and the trolls who use them………leading to:

Comment sections of supposedly reputable news sites that are not moderated:-not by any means advocating censorship here, just common sense.

Unchecked sharing:- Facebook shares of outdated or blatantly false information.  There has never been an Amber Alert for a 3 year old girl abducted by someone driving a silver PU truck with Canadian plate 72B-381. And, while being robbed, there is no secret code to put into an ATM machine, that will notify police.  Hoaxslayer please.

And that ends my hopeful smites for 2014.

And just for the record…..my glass is rarely “half full”.  My OCD won’t allow it.

Happy Holidays.

GrinchF

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