In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
> In an earlier post, I remarked how modern technology let me
> inexpensively enjoy stuff. It made me think about getting a new PC to
> replace my existing one at home (let's just say for home I have to
> keep track of EPA coal emissions rules and I use coffee cans for the
> 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.
> 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.
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. 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.
Even if you DO feel the need for multiple layers of protection (which,
by the way, usually turns out to be the real performance killer when
these various layers don't play nice with each other), even bargain
priced PCs have more than enough horsepower to outrun even a fiber
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.
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.
It's printer drivers that instead of being designed to optimize the
printing process, contain drivel like voice prompts of "Your document
is printing now" (in case you missed the desk rattling as the $29
inkjet printer that requires $49 ink cartridges blows a dollar's worth
of ink while consuming all the CPU resources, because the
manufacturers don't put any intelligence in them).
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.
> I must admit I'm very frustrated. And very offended.
Go ahead, but make sure you know what to be offended by.
> 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.
According to a 2004 article in USA Today, "Symantec, McAfee, Internet
Security Systems, and Trend Micro grew from nothing to a combined
market capitalization topping $24 billion by supplying anti-virus
software to a hungry market."
With that much money to be made from the fear of virii, is it any
wonder that we're all being conditioned to be afraid of them?
Even though your credit card is most at risk when handled by a minimum
wage waiter in a tourist trap restaurant, we are constantly bombarded
with warnings about cybercrime. Here's the news: it wasn't a virus
that "lost" the SS#s of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and
veterans; it wasn't a trojan horse download that encouraged a
for-profit data vendor to sell personal records to organized
Save your outrage for the Credit Bureau Troika who continue to
convince their pocket congressmen that we "want" 50 credit card
applications to show up in our mail each month, that having to wait 24
hours before issuing you a line of credit at BestBuy would be like
burning the Flag, and that 24% interest for "universal default" isn't