irg

i’ll be glad when all of this political furor has died down, but i’m pretty sure it won’t be gone by tomorrow, which is what i’d really like. i mean, why are all those political signs all over the place? littering is illegal, but putting up political signage with no intention of ever taking it down is not, and personally i’d rather see heaps of rotting garbage in the street than the over-abundance of political signs that have cropped up within the past few weeks. it’s not as though they’re being there is going to automatically make me change the way i vote… i’m actually sort of offended because somebody put a “george bush” sign in our front yard (fortunately it was at night and i found it when i came home from the halfpenny opera at 1:00 in the morning, and removed it before anyone had the chance to see it), as though having the sign in our yard was going to change the way we think about this whole thing – if anything, it would have the opposite effect. i’m pretty sure that the people who put them up, especially the ones on the freeway on and off ramps, and by the side of the road in areas which are not residential, are not going to be the ones who take them down… and i’d be willing to bet that there will still be john kerry and george bush signs still up 6 months from now.

i’m still unemployed. oh joy. i’m going to “worksource” (which is the modern, “politically correct” term for the unemployment office) today to talk with someone about finding a job, but i’m not holding my breath. i’m thinking that i might go back to school, but i’m not sure whether i can or not, because i’m not sure whether i’m eligible for any kind of financial aid. i’m still determining whether i want to be employed or not, anyway. i’m not sure that i want to support the concept of wage slavery in any way, and being employed is one of the biggest ways i can see for doing that.

trolloween, and the first week of halfpenny opera went down without a hitch. moe didn’t go to trolloween because she had to work in the morning (see what i mean?), and she’s going to go to halfpenny opera on thursday of this week… if there were just some way that i could make my participation in these events pay money, then i wouldn’t have to worry so much about not having a “regular” job… well, i’ve got a worksource appointment this morning, so i’m probably going to talk with the person about that then.

recently i was made aware of this, and this, which make me think that i should update my “I AM A TERRORIST” page, but i’ve been so uninspired to even read the news that i’m not sure whether i’m actually going to do it or not. i keep thinking that if i ignore the news enough, eventually it will go away… and besides, i’ve got more interesting things to do anyway.

Halfpenny Opera

Monkeywrench Puppet Lab is proud to present Halfpenny Opera – In these troubled times, our only heroes are troubled men. What can an honest man do in a world where all the cops are criminals, all the saints are whores and all the politicians are on the take? A sad and sordid story of love in a time of greed and cynicism. A satire of the classic tale of political corruption, with original music, puppets and actors. – October 28 – November 20, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm at the Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater, 2322 2nd ave. Tickets can be had at Brown Paper Tickets for $12 or $10 if you’re a student or a senior. November 4 and 11 are “pay-what-you-can” nights for those of you for whom $12 is too much.

ALERT! AOL IS NOT AS SECURE AS YOU THINK…

unless you’re using linux or mac, but if you’re smart enough to use linux or mac, you’re probably smart enough NOT to use AOL…

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Security for Internet Users Deemed Weak

By TED BRIDIS, AP Technology Writer

WASHINGTON – Internet users at home are not nearly as safe online as they believe, according to a nationwide inspection by researchers. They found most consumers have no firewall protection, outdated antivirus software and dozens of spyware programs secretly running on their computers.

One beleaguered home user in the government-backed study had more than 1,000 spyware programs running on his sluggish computer when researchers examined it.

Bill Mines, a personal trainer in South Riding, Va., did not fare much better. His family’s 3-year-old Dell computer was found infected with viruses and more than 600 pieces of spyware surreptitiously monitoring his online activities.

“I was blown away,” Mines said. “I had a lot of viruses and other things I didn’t know about. I had no idea things like this could happen.”

The Internet always has had its share of risky neighborhoods and dark alleys. But with increasingly sophisticated threats from hackers, viruses, spam e-mails and spyware, trouble is finding computer users no matter how cautiously they roam online.

The technology industry is feeling the pain, too.

Spurred by the high costs of support calls from irritated customers — and fearful that frustrated consumers will stop buying new products — Internet providers, software companies and computer-makers are making efforts to increase awareness of threats and provide customers with new tools to protect themselves.

Still, many computer users appear remarkably unprepared for the dangers they face.

The study being released Monday by America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 77 percent of 326 adults in 12 states assured researchers in a telephone poll they were safe from online threats. Nearly as many people felt confident they were already protected specifically from viruses and hackers.

When experts visited those same homes to examine computers, they found two-thirds of adults using antivirus software that was not updated in at least seven days.

Two-thirds of the computer users also were not using any type of protective firewall program, and spyware was found on the computers of 80 percent of those in the study.

The survey participants all were AOL subscribers selected in 22 cities and towns by an independent market analysis organization.

The alliance, a nonprofit group, is backed by the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Trade Commission, plus leading technology companies, including Cisco Systems, Microsoft, eBay and Dell.

The group’s chief, Ken Watson, said consumers suffer from complacency and a lack of expert advice on keeping their computers secure. “Just like you don’t expect to get hit by a car, you don’t believe a computer attack can happen to you,” Watson said.

“There really is quite a perception gap,” agreed Daniel W. Caprio, the Commerce Department’s deputy assistant secretary for technology policy. “Clearly there is confusion. We need to do a better job making information and practical tips for home users and small businesses available.”

Wendy Avino, an interior decorator in Lansdowne, Va., said researchers found 14 spyware programs on her borrowed laptop and noticed that her $50 antivirus software was not properly configured to scan her computer at least monthly for possible infections.

“We don’t go in funny chat rooms, I don’t open funny mail,” Avino said. “If it says ‘hot girls,’ I delete it. We do everything in the right way, so how does stuff get in there?”

She complained she was misled believing her commercial antivirus and firewall programs would protect her from all varieties of online threats; most do not detect common types of spyware.

“It is very complicated for the average home user,” said Ari Schwartz, an expert on Internet threats for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington civil liberties group.

“There’s a lack of accountability all around, from consumers who don’t believe they should have to do this to companies who blame the consumer. It’s finger-pointing back and forth,” Schwartz said.

Microsoft’s chairman, Bill Gates said the company spent nearly $1 billion on its recent upgrade to improve security for customers using the latest version of its Windows software (and that was before the study which found spyware and malware on the computers of those people who participated in the study… IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY!).

AOL purchased full-page advertisements in major newspapers this month pledging better security for its subscribers. Dell has begun a campaign to educate customers how to detect and remove spyware themselves.

The government is increasingly involved, too.

The FTC this month filed its first federal court case over spyware. The House overwhelmingly approved two bills to increase criminal penalties and fines over spyware. The Homeland Security Department offers free e-mail tips for home Internet users to keep themselves secure.

the enlightened rantings of a brain damaged freak