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It's NEVER legitimate

From a /. referenced NY times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/05/technology/05VIRU.html

Page 2:

"David Hale, 25, a lawyer in St. Louis, said he had rebuilt his parents' virus-ridden computer from scratch several times in recent months before he learned that his father, Dale, was replying to every piece of his spam e-mail, asking to be taken off the spammers' mailing lists. Dale Hale, 47, also frequently clicked on pop-up ads that appeared to be messages from Microsoft telling him to upgrade his computer."

"It would cause fights between my parents because they would argue about whether a particular one was legitimate and I'm like, `It is NEVER legitimate,' " said Mr. Hale, who explained as patiently as he could that answering spam and clicking on pop-ups only invite more of the same."

Sympathy loves company.  I feel his pain.  2nd time in 2 years that I've had to reinstall WinXP because family members insist on installing spyware and other insidious crap.  Sometimes you just want to scream.

hoser
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Has anyone here ever tried setting up their parents with a "restricted rights" account? I was tempted to do that for my mother at one point, but she's got a new boyfriend who's a geek, so I'm no longer on the hook for technical support :-)

I guess not having an admin account would make using Windows Update more difficult. Unless it was set up to auto-install all critical patches...

-Mark
(Now, if she'd have let me get her a Mac...)

Mark Bessey
Thursday, February 05, 2004

I restricted my mom's W2K as much as possible, no admin rights, one root folder for her, every time I go there I run windowupdate, do a backup for her, and will install antivir as well

na/na
Thursday, February 05, 2004

That is so true.

You could put blanks for all the names and ages, and it becomes a MadLib.

My dad needs his computer fixed daily
Thursday, February 05, 2004

The father's name is Dale Hale?

What were his parents thinking?

Anonymous Coward
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Obviously all these people need to be put humanely to sleep for responding in a friendly and benign way to intruding gobs of software.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, February 05, 2004

I'm not bothered much by people who know they're stupid.  I'm enormously irritated by people who think they know what they're doing, but don't.

Case in point:  as part of my job, I sometimes order supplies from a small company based in Toronto.  Recently, I noticed a rather serious problem with their website, and I politely offered to give them free advice on how to fix it.  The owner wrote back and declined my offer.  From her message, I saw that she that she was technically inept and hence had totally misunderstood the problem, as I had described it.

This kind of stuff drives me nuts.

This all goes back to the following article, referenced in an earlier thread:

http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/health/011800hth-behavior-incompetents.html

J. D. Trollinger
Thursday, February 05, 2004

People are given this big lie that technology is supposed to make their life easier, but in fact for most non-tech-savvy people it only complicates their lives. Humans are not born knowing this stuff. This techno-junk can get very confusing and frustrating for people. Have some compassion.

m
Thursday, February 05, 2004

>(Now, if she'd have let me get her a Mac...)

I know this was said in humour, and I know I usually suggest my mum buys cheaper computers (on the basis that she really on does word processing on it and has no need for much power).

But is getting your parents to use a mac, or even a linux machine (say redhat, as painful as the UI can be)?

The last time I had a mac/ibm argument was when I was 13 and had never even laid eyes on an IBM (sometimes kids just argue, and it is really just an immature form of flirting...).

But seriously, is it a legitimite idea?

Aussie Chick
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Since they have OS X, the Mac truly is a legitimate alternative for browsing, email and creative type stuff. This is as true for you and I (geeks) as it is for mum and dad (non-techie). Apple has honed their UI and it lives on a Unix base which has a little something for everyone. The mac also has all the apps you need out of a box for your parents.

m
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Aussie Chick, the 12" iBook is actually pretty cheap for all the stuff that comes with it. I've bought one for my mom, my sister, and my grandmother.  Not only do they never have any virus problems, they also find it super easy to keep track of their friends addresses for christmas mailings using the address book, and manage digital photos using iphoto. I find it incredibly bizarre that XP is not bundled with an obvious address book or basic photo editing/management program.  The other thing is that the iBook is "cute" so they can gush over it.

Note I am not an apple salesperson, I just think their stuff is a good idea for home users. 


Thursday, February 05, 2004

Don't find it that bizarre... if MS had bundled in all the apps that Apple does, they'd be buried under yet another pile of lawsuits.

Greg Hurlman
Thursday, February 05, 2004

The anecdotes in that article were really funny to me because they're instantly recognizable.

Having done a website for my church and tried to interact with the administration there to obtain content, I feel like there's a horn growing out of my head and I am stigmatized into freakhood because I actually understand how the stuff works.

No matter how many times I ask the same people for the same stuff, (IE: "just type up the article as plain text and give me a photo to go with it and I'll scan it") even the simplest possible request gets misinterpreted and turned around as some enormous undertaking that is impossible because I, the resident techie, asked for it so it *must* be too hard.

Most end users deserve their screwed up computers.  I don't know what the answer is to time-wasting befuddled end users who don't follow simple rules. But harshness, condescending admonitions, and ridicule certainly are satisfying and appropriate... ;-)

Bored Bystander
Thursday, February 05, 2004

> Most end users deserve their screwed up computers. I don't know what the answer is to time-wasting befuddled end users who don't follow simple rules. But harshness, condescending admonitions, and ridicule certainly are satisfying and appropriate... ;-)

I have to agree. I mean I know that it is great that anybody can use a computer, but I sure get sick of dealing with problems. My husband knows know that if he can’t figure out how to install a new game or joystick then butter me up well before he comes and asks me to spend an hour or two fiddling around trying to figure out whether it is a driver problem, or something needs reinstalling, or whether thw whole computer just needs to be reformatted….
Mum used our networked computers to print something the other day, the network connection wasn’t working, I just looked at her, copy the file to disk and take it to the other computer I said… enough is enough already fix it yourself.

….well okay I love them all, and they love me despite my apparent grouchiness anytime they mention the word computer.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Of course I love his quote

“Violence stinks, no matter which end of it you’re on. But now and then there’s nothing left to do but hit the other person over the head with a frying pan. Sometimes people are just begging for that frypan, and if we weaken for a moment and honor theor request, we should regard it as impulsive philanthropy, which we aren’t in any position to afford, but shouldn’t regret it too loudly lest we spoil the purity of the deed.” – Tom Robbins

Aussie Chick
Thursday, February 05, 2004

> Most end users deserve their screwed up computers. I don't know what the answer is to time-wasting befuddled end users who don't follow simple rules. But harshness, condescending admonitions, and ridicule certainly are satisfying and appropriate... ;-)

>I have to agree. I mean I know that it is great that anybody can use a computer, but I sure get sick of dealing with problems. My husband knows know that if he can’t figure out how to install a new game or joystick then butter me up well before he comes and asks me to spend an hour or two fiddling around trying to figure out whether it is a driver problem, or something needs reinstalling, or whether thw whole computer just needs to be reformatted….

I have to disagree. My mom uses her computer to email me and her other kids, who live all over the globe. The obvious thing to do is to just stop in at best buy and get a computer there. However, if you buy a computer from best buy, or any retail shop, it often has spy ware PRE INSTALLED.  There is no reason a computer user needs to re-install their operating system every 3 months. In fact, if you buy an apple powerbook, you don't have to reinstall the operating system every three months. It just works.


Thursday, February 05, 2004

> I know this was said in humour, and I know I usually suggest my mum buys cheaper computers (on the basis that she really on does word processing on it and has no need for much power).

Assuming there's no Windows specific software needed, getting a Mac for casual use is a legitimate option.  Casual users can overlook the slower speed they'll get for their money.  Casual users rarely play high end games.  The simple fact that viruses and spyware rarely target the Mac will make their lives much easier.  Oh, and they have good resale value as well.

Matt
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Does anyone think that these ever-recurring and escalating dramas of studiedly helpless users will drive the creation of "closed" PCs or single purpose appliances? It seems to me that the "email/web browser appliance" fad of a few years ago was just too soon and perhaps that market niche is finally feasible.

Today it seems that only a geek can stay out of trouble when daily internet use is involved. Everyone else simply has too short an attention span to bother paying attention.

And many, many users *only* use their computers to diddle on the internet. There is an entire category of the profoundly unwashed (like for instance my mother in law :-) ) who think that computer use "means" and directly implies internet access  and they have to be connected to the internet even if they type a letter ("oh, tee hee this is so complicated! write a letter on the computer, oh tee hee I just don't understand..." etc.. **groan** ... shoot me ...)

In other words, get back to the product model of something like a Vic-20: a simple-assed computer with the basic OS burned into ROM (or in today's parlance, it just boots from a CD...) Seems like there could/ought to be a market for a PC that boots something like Knoppix.

I honestly don't see why most end "L"users bother. Their computers never work right anyway.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Bored Bystander,I love your comments.

It would seem with the increase of spam from the MyDoom virus, and anticipation of much much more.

A very simple computer, comes with builtin programs, and only these very few registered programs are able to execute. No other introduced program is allowed to execute.

Whack on a browser, and email program, a photo program, some windows games. Bundle it with a scanner, printer, digital camera, cd burner. Give it to your mum for christmas.

As for the guy above who claimed to disagree with our ‘I hate helping mum’ posts, it would appear that infact you did agree, you just gave your mum an imac to circumvent the issue.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, February 05, 2004

The idea that you're all thinking of was tried several years ago under the moniker "network computer". I'm pretty sure it was an unmitigated failure.

Rob VH
Friday, February 06, 2004

Give them a PC with XP Pro. Remote assistence just becomes so much easier. As for those of you suggesting the Mac: you don't have family members with macs, do you?

1%3CBR%3E2
Friday, February 06, 2004

"As for those of you suggesting the Mac: you don't have family members with macs, do you?"

I do. Why do you ask?

Anechoic
Friday, February 06, 2004

I won't support family members unless they have Macs.

I occasionally had to support my parents with Mac OS 7.6 through 9.2.  They got a new iBook G4 running Mac OS X Panther, and they've required much less support since then.

They're also doing a lot more with their computer now, especially now that they have a cable modem too.  Much of what they do they could have done on 9.2 on their old iBook (much more slowly of course) if they could have figured it out.  And almost everything they do uses the software that came with the iBook, either as part of Mac OS X or the included software bundle (AppleWorks, Quicken, ...).

Chris Hanson
Sunday, February 08, 2004

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