TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Back to Being a Luddite (Oh Well)

Re: Back to Being a Luddite (Oh Well)
11 Jul 2006 23:35:55 GMT

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how many people know so little
about their computers or how they work ...

> In article <>,
> says:

>> So today I asked my co-workers for recommendations to buy a new PC;
>> that is, what specs and features should it have. Ads for desktops
>> seem to range from $300 to $1,000.

Basic systems are essentially appliances. For the most part they're
all standard components and they all work the same. Although eMachines
seem to have a propensity for failing power supplies, which tend to
take the processor or motherboard (or both) with them.

Dell often has very reasonable systems, complete with 17" flat panel
monitor, for $450 or less with no rebates required.

>> I also discussed speed. With a new machine I'll sign up for DSL or
>> even FIOS.

>> But then I found out the downside. My speed won't increase that much
>> because of the need for a firewall and virus protection. Everything
>> coming across the line, including today's constant java applets, must
>> be carefully checked for virus and spyware infestation. That slows
>> stuff down greatly.

That's baloney. Any checking will happen much faster than your wire
speed. What's gotten slower is the rendering of the "rich content" that
many sites feel are so important. My favorite source for PC components,, is painful on my old 800mhz laptop.

In article <>,
Gene S. Berkowitz <> wrote:
>I don't run a virus checker; I do run a software firewall, and my 5
>PCs are behind a router. I have zero infections on any of the PCs I
>have running at home.

If you don't run a virus checker, how do you know?

That's not just foolish, it's stupid. There are free AV products out
there, some of them very good. I use Avast! on all of my home PC's.

> That said, I don't download from sites I don't
> trust, I don't use IE or Outlook, and I delete "Hey, Take a Look at
> This" emails. Basically, the precautions that anyone should take
> (don't eat found food, don't have unprotected sex with multiple
> partners, don't leave your keys in the ignition) metaphorically apply
> to the internet.

And you don't use IM? Hopefully you at least keep your OS and apps
updated with the latest patches. Even Mozilla/Firefox has had it's
problems, and some exploits were independent of the browser used.

Even only visiting sites you trust isn't good enough -- there have
been several reputable sites responsible for spreading infections
because the site serving their banner ads got compromised, and they
were serving infected content with the ads.

> An ATA-100 hard drive has a 100 megaBYTE per second transfer rate;
> you'd have to be supremely lucky to have a DSL line that exceeds 3
> megaBITS/s, or 0.3% of the maximum hard drive transfer rate. Even a
> high end FIOS line can only supply 35 megabits/sec, or 3.5% of the
> hard drive transfer rate.

You know, there's really nothing to relate Internet activity with disk
activity. And hard drive performance has almost nothing to do with the
performance or capability of a system.

> The real performance killers are not evil spyware; it's cluttering up
> your PC with "trusted" conveniences like RealPlayer, QuickTime, and
> CD- recorder "helpers" that sit in your system tray consuming memory
> and CPU cycles waiting for you to finally play a stream or burn a CD.

While I agree that they're unnecessary and mostly pointless, the
system tray apps don't consume cycles. They do consume memory,
however. Removing them helps, but "modern" OSes consume enough that
taking that step isn't much by itself. Memory is currently cheap. You
can significantly improve performance just by adding memory. I
wouldn't even try to run XP with less than 512M of RAM, and generally
prefer 1GB.

> It's operating systems that require 50 separate processes "just in
> case" you find the need to perform remote program loads from a server
> that encodes all its pages in Mandarin.

They don't consume cycles, but they do take memory. Most service
processes live in a constant blocked state until they're actually

> In article <>,
> also says:

>> How much effort do the "powers that be" spend on tracking down and
>> imprisoning saboteurs of the Internet? Considering the flood of
>> viruses and spyware out there, I don't think very much time at all.

Go study International Law and politics. Most of the phishing and
virus development and operations happens in place like Russia,
Romania, Korea China, etc. The Russian mob is very big in funding
virus R&D.

If you really care about viruses and spyware, don't use a Windows
system. Get a Mac, or a Linux system. Nothing is 100% secure, and
there have been reported security issues with Macs, but I can't think
of a single published expoit targeting them.

John Meissen

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