viernes, 15 de octubre de 2010

I know how to use Windows properly, so it's not my fault!

"I know how to use Windows properly, so it's not my fault."

With that declaration and the particular stress on the possessive adjective, Mr. Valmers started his testimony before the inquiring eyes of a judge and the jury members, who began whispering and shaking their heads in disapproval. They had listened to the technical report of a software expert before the afflicted average computer user sat in front of them.

Sensing the effect that his initial words had on the atmosphere of the room, Mr. Valmers paused timidly and cleared his throat before the microphone, causing listeners to tilt their heads for a second that became awkwardly long. Pierced by the prying eyes of the prosecutor, the fifty-something owner of an infected PC wished he could have uttered something like: "I know how to use Windows. I took courses to learn how to use my Windows computer, you know, so do not patronize me, techie." However, he just sat there, mute, as a target for the questions that, sooner or later, would dart from the mouth of the implacable man in front of him.

Mr. Valmers thought for a second. How could he prove that he did nothing wrong according to what he learned in those Windows courses he took? In spite of the fact that the expert had made it clear that such action was a pre-requisite for a secure Windows computer, no instructor had ever told him that he was supposed to disable autorun. Darn pedantic guy! But then, why was it that the stupid autorun feature was enabled by default in Windows if it was so dangerous? Mr. Valmers had done what he was told in four courses to be safe from malware: he bought an expensive antivirus (what a poor investment!), he had that software installed along with MS Security Essentials, and he made sure that the Windows firewall was on as he browsed the Web. Religiously, the man had downloaded antivirus updates and the traitor software never gave a warning of the infection that had him sitting as a fool in front of all those people that looked down on him.

"This is not fair," he heard himself say, "if autorun is so dangerous, or Windows is insecure, I am not to be blamed. I did not do anything to make my computer any more vulnerable than it was when I bought it."

How he wished that Microsoft's CEO, that bad-tempered bald guy, had been there in his place! This guy was actually the one who was responsible for all computer infections...He was the careless person that approved the release of such a defective product for mass consumption!

"It was your negligence that caused the infection. It was your computer, Mr. Valmers, which was spreading viruses to several Government institutions," charged the prosecutor, assuming a stance of superiority. "Your computer," he stressed with poorly-concealed satisfaction.

The possessive adjective lingered for an additional second on the thick air of the room and echoed inside Mr. Valmers' head. "Your computer, your computer," repeated a hypnotic voice while the man felt as an insect pinned on a wall.

All of a sudden, that simple four-letter word opened his heart with hope in a Joycean epiphany.

"Yes, sir, it was my computer," he replied. "But, according to the EULA, Windows is not my software. I do not own it. I did everything in my power to secure my computer, but I cannot do anything to improve the condition of the software".

Murmurs of the listeners grew until they became a tidal wave of noise that forced the judge to demand silence... (to be continued)


Yes, this is a piece of fiction I am working on. However, it can turn into a reality if people are dumb enough to accept Microsoft's newest trickery: a call for banning sick computers from the Internet. Read about it here.

5 comentarios:

  1. Hehe! A new literary genre is born: science not-fiction!

    In principle, Microsoft's idea may seem great...but how come they have the face to ask for that if the faulty security of their products is the culprit? Such a level of hypocrisy goes beyond my understanding!

    Also, users should fully understand the real implications of that idea. How often would your computer need to be scanned to be considered healthy? I guess that the scans would be daily. GREAT! Daily A/V scans plus daily "health checks" by the Health Police. Nothing invasive there, of course! :P

    Then...let's define "healthy." With a bunch of new Windows viruses every single day, who will be healthy?

    Yes...this is another trick of Microsoft do deny their responsibility and throw it to someone else: the users...(surprise!!) How does that help catch the real crooks who design the viruses and the Trojans?

    Why will poor users who can just afford a not-so-effective antivirus solution have to be penalized, for example?

    What about those who were not online daily to download their updates and thus got labeled as "sick"? are you supposed to update your antivirus (or change it if it doesn't work) if you are banned from the Web?

    Of course, the idea will have a good outcome for Microsoft: it will also let them keep selling pretty much the same lousy things without major security improvements. See? There's no point for Microsoft to improve anything if the Health Police will take sick computers away! PERFECT! Guess who's the big loser there? Hint: not Ballmer.

  2. I agree with you! What Microsoft pretends to do seems to be a great idea; indeed, it’s seems to be THE solution for all internet users who suffer everyday because of viruses. This solution would certainly have some benefits. As Kimberly Hill says in her publication “Microsoft Wants to Cordon Off Botnet-Infected Computers,” the use of “health certificates” would help to stop organized crime groups related to identity theft and all kinds of crimes on the internet. However, I truly believe that Microsoft is not taking into account the effects that this “security measure” can have on users. Just imagining all the time that I (Microsoft user) would have to spend everyday scanning my computer makes feel tired. This would only mean a waste of time because I wouldn’t even be sure if the scanning process is really effective! What happens if my antivirus is not that good??? I wouldn’t be totally immune from being part of the “black list” of Microsoft, which would mean that I wouldn’t have internet access until… The only thing I can think of is that Microsoft is just hiding its real intention: making more money!

  3. A story like the one presented above can be very likely to happen. For moments, anyone could believe that they are reading a true story. In fact, many people may feel identified with Mr. Valmers in a way. Microsoft and their viruses can make any person feel frustrated. Viruses have become one of the main headaches of computer owners, and antivirus makers get richer everyday. Many people buy a computer to enjoy the benefits of the World Wide Web, but the effect of viruses in many cases has outrun that advantage. Microsoft software has contributed to the prevalence of the on-line vulnerability of individuals. Internet has revolutionized the way in which people work, spend their free time, and run some of their errands. The problem is that the comfort that the internet offers can be incredibly pricy. Viruses damage computers,valuable information, and even important memories that are concealed in people's files. While all of this happens, just one thing is certain: Microsoft software still is the most vulnerable to viruses, and no antivirus has been able to change that.

  4. We can see all the publicity that media gives to Windows. To listen about courses on learning how to use XP, Vista, and now Seven is common. If a person decided to learn about Windows, he or she decide also to learn about Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and many other programs, with those programs they also have to learn about how to use the anti-viruses. What people say is that Linux is difficult because they do not know the programs; however, they must think about how much time the will save when they do not have to "battle" with the viruses and anti-viruses.
    López, P.

  5. After reading this story and the article, I feel the need of changing my software!!!! It’s amazing how Microsoft expects to keep their users with all these obstacles. It’s true that this measure would solve most of the problem of viruses on the web, but then what happens if I am a poor user that tries to do everything possible to keep my computer clean just as the one of the story??? The problem here is that when you buy a computer, most of the times, you don’t have the option of choosing your software, and the antivirus that’s included in your purchase is only valid for three months (and it doesn’t work!!!!). Consequently, we (users of Microsoft) keep giving more money (guess who is the distributor of the anti-virus???) to a company that is NOT interested on its clients.
    Marín, C.


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