What reeeeallyyy bugs you?

  Ol' Greyhair 01:56 22 Jan 2005

I know that this is a fairly often asked question but wouldn't it be a useful idea if PCA could collate views from this site and the mag readers to make a running series in the mag, posing the points to the relevant people or companies for their reaction.

My annoyance is that we, as users and buyers, are expected to pick up the pieces of messed up systems caused by the inability of the Internet providers and OS providers to make their systems safe. It's not impossible for them to do this and Microsoft must be feeling guilt (or another profit coming on) by shortly releasing their Internet security package. We'll see what that's like but when Msoft can't even supply a bidirectional firewall in SP2 - are they really trying? And that's not even mentioning the fact that most of the security is needed to counter holes in their OS.
Couldn't providers just block some of the crud flowing through their servers - I accept they take measures but do they also rely on the users doing most of the work.
We have to buy or use 3rd party software to safeguard our systems - the absolute onus is put on us - the user! Would you accept buying a car if you were forced into going to Halfords to buy a handbrake cable, an air filter, windscreen wipers and washers, door locks, alarm etc. before you even drove the car from the dealers?
I don't expect total perfection, I appreciate that in the best run systems, things can go wrong - occasional problems are to be expected and it's best to insure against these (like with the car).
The Internet is now like running the gauntlet, costing users a fortune, prejudicing livelihoods, bank accounts, kids welfare - but do any of the providers feel that they are liable, financially or morally when the user gets zapped? Not on your life!

  GANDALF <|:-)> 08:11 22 Jan 2005

'costing users a fortune'...it does not, all security can be had for nothing and is just as good as the paid for versions.

'prejudicing livelihoods, bank accounts'...this is very rare and you will be compensated in the unlikely event of your account being robbed. You have much more chance of your CC being skimmed whilst paying for petrol. If you lose a bundle of notes the chances of it being returned are slim, lose money on the net and you will be compensated fully, rapido.

'the absolute onus is put on us.,,,rubbish, this is not a nanny state. All it takes is an anti-virus (free), one or two spyware cleaners (free), a firewall if you are a home user and feel that you need one (free), and a file and programme cleaner such as Ccleaner (free). May I ask if you have ever distributed a new programme for no money? When you buy a car it is your responsibility to tax, insure and fill it with petrol (not free).

'financially or morally when the user gets zapped?'...utter piffle again. Connection prices are dropping all the time. The cost of a computer is also falling. My first computer cost £1750 6 years ago. A much, much higher specced model costs £399. I feel that you would only be satisfied if you were paid to use the net.

'most of the security is needed to counter holes in their OS'....there are over 300 million lines of code in an operating system. Even Linux gets well hammered. For home users this is nothing at all to worry about. Tales of hackers taking over home computers and viruses eating hard drives on home computers are apocryphal and reveal an unwarranted amount of paranoia.

I have rarely read such paranoia and ill-informed views. For the vast majority of users the internet is a fantastic, free resource. There are over 3 billion pages of information and it has opened uop a new world of communication. As with everything in life there is some onus on the user to use common sense and do a bit of work, even this is totally free unless the home user is desperate or paranoid enough to pay for security.

The vast majority of viruses and spyware can be easily removed and even the stubborn ones can be shifted withoput damage. I have neevr had a computer that I was unable to clean of any virus and spyware using free programmes. The majority of users experience only minor problems which can easily be rectified. There is also personal responsibility....you would not buy a car without taking driving lessons would you?



  Forum Editor 08:43 22 Jan 2005

I find myself wondering why it is that we, in this country at least, seem to feel that someone else is always to blame when something bad happens, and that it's up to 'them' to protect us from evil and cosset us all through life's choppy waters.

Of course there are bad people out there - they don't restrict their activities to the Internet, but it certainly does provide them with a lot of opportunities. These people are either simply malicious, and derive pleasure from causing trouble, or they're criminals - out for what they can steal from others. Society has always had to contend with such people, and it has done so with varying degrees of success. So it will be with the internet. We, the people who use the world-wide web will ultimately ensure that it is as safe as we can make it, and we'll do so by selecting products which seem to us to do the best job. Market forces will work in this area as in many others to ensure we have the products and services we want.

To argue that the manufacturers and service providers are financially and morally liable for anything bad which happens when we're romping around all over the Internet is as naive as it is ludicrous. Spend a week or so in my company as I visit private and corporate clients, and see just what a mess some people get themselves into by having a flagrant disregard for even the most basic of computer security policies, and you might get a better perspective on the issue. You're not alone with your misconceptions. I've seen things on personal and business computers that would shock the average person, and yet the users of these machines commonly blame Microsoft, BT, their ISP, the anti-virus software, their firewall, and pretty well anyone else they can think of for their misfortunes. I've seen computers with dozens of virus infections, Trojans, dialers, and thousands of the tackiest of porn images imaginable. I've heard the users of these computers ranting about 'hackers' - who they imagine are causing the resultant mayhem. I've listened to company directors bemoaning the fact that Microsoft doesn't make its software more secure, when all the while their office staff are happily downloading software from Kazaa and porn from any old site on the company network.

It's time to take a step back and let the truth dawn on you - provided you take advantage of the effective (and largely free) security resources that are available to everyone, and behave with a degree of common sense when surfing the web, you can run an Internet-connected computer day in and day out without ever picking up a virus, or being hacked, downloading a dialer, or getting a Trojan on board. My personal office network currently has 7 desktops and 2 laptops running, all of which are connected to the Internet all day, every day, and none of us can remember the last time anything went bump in the Internet night - we have not been infected by anything, or been hacked by anyone. All of our security software is proprietory freeware, the kind of stuff that anyone can have for absolutely nothing, and it works.

  Kodan 10:15 22 Jan 2005

I hate to say this, because I don't want it to act as a challenge to any malicious coder, but here goes.

I use AVG (free) and Zone Alarm (free). I always check the box that says I DO NOT want a particular company to contact me with offers, or to pass on my details to any othet interested company. I don't download porn. I do look at a few funny video sites, and quirky news sites.

BUT, apart from a burst when I had to supress mail from 8 or 10 brazilian ladies lusting after my body, I have never received any junk mail, I have never got more than 5 emails a day, and nobody in Nigeria talks to me.

If you live on a busy street, you have to keep your door shut and locked. It is the same with the internet.

  Forum Editor 11:57 22 Jan 2005

that contained criticism of a personal nature - that is to say, it attacked the individual, rather than the argument. Having deleted it I refreshed the page, and in the interim the person under attack had defended himself. As his defence then appeared out of context I deleted that, too.

Let me make it quite clear that we will not tolerate personal abuse of any kind - no matter how sophisticated the package of words in which it is wrapped. Oblique references to others - who may not be named, but are nevertheless identifiable - in such attacks is an equally unacceptable form of behaviour.

We have always prided ourselves on our ability to support robust debate without allowing things to descend into personality clashes, and I aim to ensure that we continue in that vein. If I think a person's argument is flawed I'll say so, and I'll explain why. I expect no less from others, and I doubt that anyone - newcomer or otherwise - is likely to be frightened off by that approach. This area of the forum is where we can discuss topics that are not related to a specific hardware or software problem, but have a more general appeal. That atmosphere is bound to result in vigorous and sometimes warm debate, and there's no harm in that; what we will not permit is the airing of any personal vendettas or prejudices against individuals - be they ever so veiled.

  spuds 12:18 22 Jan 2005

When things bug Americans they usually resolve the issues via strong complaint procedures or compensation. Here in the UK we are classed as very reserved in our attitudes, and to complain we are all becoming nanny's. No, we are all not nanny's living in a nanny state, we are people seeking our fundamental rights.

Out there is a big wide world with modern technology, and you may find that there are many people who are frightened when the word computer is used. Okay it is fine for the younger person who can text their friends on a daily basis,or perhaps use a computer as a further extension to their daily education.But like all things, people must learn these things at the rate and pace their brain will absorb the information required to progress.As you get older, sometimes things become more difficult, but why should a process of modern technology become and in certain cases made extremely more difficult by unthinking attitudes of others.

If you go into one of the DSG company stores, you have the choice of buying a steam iron from Curry's and a pc from PC World. When you get home with either product you expect it to work straight out of the box. If the steam iron doesn't work, Curry's doesn't ask if you have used the wrong water, they usually replace the item or give an instant refund if the product isn't satisfactory or doesn't work. In the case of computers, it seems to be a case of buyer beware as to the response of the technical help that you are directed to. We only have to look at this forum to realise the amount of time wasted and frustrations caused in trying to get simple answers to what might appear to be a major problem for the first time user.Sometimes it is not the first time user, who hits the lack of interest from the dealers, and this seems to be a major problem within the IT industry.

As an example, a neighbour purchased a new computer before the Christmas holidays for their children Christmas present.They wanted to store the present at my home for safe keeping. When I mentioned operating disks etc, they were at a total loss, the selling assistant who they asked advice from, gave them no positive or helpfull information, except to say they they had the latest XP Home and McAfee installed, and this was the best product available. After checking the boxed items, I found no disks present, and a very poor instruction sheet. Back to the store for further information, and it was then they were told that they would have to make their own recovery disk using information from the hard drive.Getting help for the new first time buyer can be very problematic, and this seems to be a growing trend, sell the product but not the essential information, and this seems to appear more often with the stack them high stores. Guess who had a 'cannot get this to work, can you help us'visit over the Christmas period.They tried the customer careline, which resulted in a 0870 charge, in queue waiting of 20 minute with your custom is really appreciated messages and finally when they got to speak to an agent, temperatures increased because they hadn't a clue half the time, as to what the agent wanted them to do. Yes those are the sort of things that bugs me.

  spuds 12:20 22 Jan 2005

Sorry for the double posting.First submit returned an error page ;o(

  Starfox 12:43 22 Jan 2005

Been using the Net for four years now.Have Outpost firewall (free)HBevd anti virus (free)and use Ultra Win Cleaner one click (free on a PCA cover disc).

Never had a virus,never a Nigerian E-mail and certainly no spam.This is because I chose to install protective software which cost me nothing, I don't expect it to be done for me by the supplier of my pc or anyone else for that matter.Where is the nannying in that.

  Kate B 13:12 22 Jan 2005

I'm with spuds on this one: while I absolutely agree that it's largely up to oneself to take responsibility for our own safety, on the net and out in the big bad world generally, I do think there's a gap between what well-informed enthusiasts such as we forum members know and the absolute zero knowledge that many new users have.

We've all spent time helping de-crud friends' computers and offering the same advice over and over again to woestruck new members whose machines are infested with nasties.

There must be some kind of middle ground where PCs are supplied with the basic tools and - perhaps more to the point - well-written and clear instructions on why these tools are important and how to use them.

I sort of feel the analogy is hiring a very powerful saw or something: a reputable hire shop would rent it to you with - one hopes - decent instructions pointing out that you could easily end up forcibly parting yourself from a body part you might want to keep and perhaps some safety gloves/goggles/whatever. It's up to you whether you want to follow the instructions and use the safety gear but at least they're there and you know about them.

It's not, however, up to the hire shop to come home with you, stand over you while you read the instructions, test you on whether you remember them and then make sure you put the gloves and goggles on safely. That's down to you.

I'd like to see PC vendors take a bit more of an interest in this. After all, it's in their interests. Someone whose machine is full of crud within a few days will probably give up on the computer and perhaps might never use it again. That means not only will they curse the person who sold it to them ("unreliable piece of junk, dunno why I bothered, I'm never going to buy anything from them again"), they'll never upgrade, either.

And that's a loss for everyone: the buyer, his or her mates ("don't buy from X vendor, they supplied me with a heap of rubbish that fell over on day three") and of course the buyer him/herself.

  Cook2 13:51 22 Jan 2005

3 billion pages GANDALF <|:-)> ? That's not fair, I won't live long enough to get through them all.

Will I be entitled to a refund or compensation from my ISP? ;-)

Some pc vendors will go an extra mile to get you on the right track. I bought my present pc from a local store and it was installed and tested before the engineer left. For an additional charge, they would have installed the appropiate software for your chosen isp and whatever security software you wanted. The help and advice is out there, all you have to do is find it and pay the bill. Due to the vast range of both hardware and software components, we are a long way off from plug and play computers.

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