Monday, March 30, 2009

The Conflicker Worm

I don't usually pay much attention to news about widespread computer virus attacks because it's mostly corporate computers that get infected. Before I retired, there was a risk of carrying or sending a virus home from the office. Now my home PC is reasonably secure. I don't download music, movies, or games, and I have no kids at home doing that.

I'm rather careful about opening emails with attachments. I have stopped opening all those Powerpoint presentations that people send me in email. Most I have seen years ago anyway. And I know that even a "trusted" friend can unknowingly pass on viruses, or that a trusted friend can have her email hacked and taken over by people sending bogus emails.

My husband calls me "Chuckie" after the Rug Rats character. You know the one who says, "I don't know, Tommy, something bad might happen." That's me. In my last job before I retired, one of my areas of responsibility included Disaster excuse me..."Business Recovery." I was good at thinking of worst-case scenarios, and preparing for them

If you're bored already reading this, scroll forward to the photo down below, and I'll be here when you come back.

I use Mozilla Firefox as my preferred browser, and I control the cookies that are saved on my PC. Each time a new attempt to write a cookie occurs, I have to respond whether to accept it, accept for this session, or deny. It's my habit to deny anything that has "ad" "Click" "zedo" in the cookie name. Some cookies are good, the site keeps them to identify you, and save information about you, like your password if you want them to save it.

I use McAfee for virus protection, and it includes McAfee SiteAdvisor. This may sound like advertising for McAfee, but they help keep me out of bad sites as well. The McAfee SiteAdvisor has a green light in the corner of sites they have checked out, a yellow light if they haven't checked it and a red light for sites to beware. And on my Google search results, McAfee gives the green check for trusted sites.

A couple of weeks ago I signed on to Blogtalkradio for a friend's radio show. A few of my internet pals have radio shows. I had been on BTR many times before but on this particular day there were some new advertisers. There's no such thing as a "free" web-site. Somebody has to pay for hosting it, and many sites get revenue from the advertising. On that particular day, I had pop-up after pop-up from Mozilla notifying me of another attempt to write a cookie. I denied them all. And then this screen appeared.

I got out of there fast, and restarted my computer. I went back into BTR, and it happened again. I saved the screen image, and I was out again. I didn't tell my online friends about it, since they were still online talking. Then I forgot about it until CBS started talking about the Conflicker worm on 60 Minutes last night.

I tell you, Chuckie got busy and deleted ALL cookies last night. I usually clean up cookies once a week and keep selected ones. Last night, they all had to go. Now I have to re-enter every password for every site that I frequent, but it makes me feel like I tried to protect myself. It's very possible that this worm doesn't even travel in cookies. Maybe I'll get past April Fools' Day without incident.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I love spy versus counterspy movies. The trouble is, they suck you in so you find yourself on the side of the crooks. It's like cowboy adventures where you're pulling for the outlaws. I loved Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or anything with Newman and Redford.

Duplicity has about as many twists and plot turns as Newman and Redfords "The Sting" along with some steamy romantic scenes. This is not Mr & Mrs Smith. I think Clive Owen is a whole lot sexier than Brad Pitt. There's no killing or violence in this movie, except that weird slow-mo scene at the start. You can take the kids, but they would be bored. The only tension is when you're pulling for the crooks, and waiting for the last piece to fall into place. You never know who to trust, since they lie and deceive and then change their story.

It's a clever movie. I give it 3 stars.

Friday, March 13, 2009

From the Neighborhood Watch

To me and a long mailing list:

I am forwarding John Doe's email below in case you also encountered these teenagers today or saw anything suspicious. It's important to report these incidents to the police. Several police officers have even told me to call 911, as that gets them here fast and they can see what we're seeing and intervene and prevent something worse from happening before it's too late or the person(s) get away.

>>>>>>John Doe wrote:

I just had a minor run in with a couple of guys walking down XXX Drive at XXX Ln. Two black male teenagers and a white female teenager talking on a cell phone. I asked them if they lived in the neighborhood and one of them responded yes but then when I asked them where they lived one of the males in a dark hooded jacket asked me "Why the hell do you want know anyway" and began to move towards me in a threatening manner. I told them that we had some trouble with vandalism in the neighborhood and they proceeded to ignore me as they left our neighborhood via XXXX Ln.


I received this while we were traveling. It was all I could do to keep from tearing into the public PC that I was using. I did respond, and set off some ugly responses from several people on the mailing list. How would you respond to this?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Should bookstores have a section for African American fiction?

One of the blogs I subscribe to is "White Readers Meet Black Authors." It's part of a movement to get white people to read black authors. Many folks expect all books written by black to be of a certain genre, something they can't relate to. Sure, they read Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley, and an occasional Terry McMillan, but do they even know Pearl Cleage, Bernice McFadden, Tananarive Due? The movement has suggested giving your child's teacher a "black" book for Christmas. We have great authors of literary fiction as well as of every genre you can name. But we often get overlooked.

A while back I went into the local Barnes & Noble, looking for something to read, hubster went over to the sci-fi section and I went looking for "African-American Authors" and couldn't find it. When I inquired, I was told they didn't segregate our books anymore. That was mighty white of them, but it certainly makes it hard for me to buy the authors that get overlooked by the majority population. Sure I can find the latest Toni Morrison by name, but how would I ever discover Sharon Ewell Foster, except that I met her online.

So here's the poll: Check out this blog and vote, "Should bookstores have a section for African American fiction?"

Monday, March 2, 2009


Abraham "Ham" Mitchell of Suffolk, Virginia, is known at the annual Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tourney as Mr. CIAA. has become a fixture of the conference’s season-ending tournaments. He has been strolling the sidelines for more than 25 years now.

“I started years ago when my nephew was at Norfolk State University, and I always dressed up when I went to games,” he said.

Sometimes, “Mr. CIAA” changes eight to nine times a night. But no matter what he’s wearing, he’s an instantly recognizable figure.

"I supply my own outfits. I never had a sponsor," said Mitchell. "A couple times, I had people ask to sponsor me, but I didn't want my clothes from a regular store."

People stop him and take pictures as he strolls through the arena during the games, and you can only guess how old he might be.