Slice of Life Tuesday: Mourning Computer Meltdown While Hailing Avast, 4-14-15

I’ve gone through an emotional roller coaster because of cyberspace. Less than a week ago, my Academia.edu website went viral in a city in southeast Poland. Resovia (Rzseszow) viewed 14 documents, including my two sample textbook chapter section doc’s and even my MS thesis, “Approaching Neo-Confucianism through Cognitive-Behavioral and Existential Therapy.”  Promptly, I read about this exciting, ancient city of 184K on Wikipedia. Then I discovered their College of Information Technology and Management, a likely location for my new friends.

Then a publisher in India contacted me on Linked-in. Really motivated by this time, I returned to working on my textbook proposal and seriously exploring the merits of breaking up the massive 400-page book into a series. How about “Grammar Champion” (with Appendix of Writing)? This way I wouldn’t be surrendering to the semi-imaginary/usually local conservative, neo-fascist opponents of my topic choices.

Then I got nostalgic and researched Smashwords, a self-publishing site frequented by first higher education Twitter associate, a Cal Berkeley professor. She advertises her many Smashwords books at her site! I attempted to download Microsoft Word (for Berkeley) and Skype (for India); then the trouble started on Sunday. The number of icons on my home computer doubled in columns. Pop-ups mushroomed; often asking me to run a check before telling me about the sickliness of my computer and demanding money for protection.

Monday I made calls. The best was Avast, a site where I had a free anti-virus site previously, but I’d forgotten to do so on my current computer. My only known relative, Cousin Harriet the Real Estate Mogul, refreshed me of the name–Avast. By now, I was lamenting the presence of two Trojan Horses: csrss.exe and koobface and the incredible slowness of the poor, wounded warrior computer. I had to spend $$$ to get computer cleaning, so Avast could even be installed.

Without protection, my computer had probably undergone a steady stream of malware, adware, and spyware before the final attack. Sites can look official but be harmful; it’s good to do google or yahoo searches. I endured a different type of cyberattack 5 1/2 years ago that led me to apply successfully for disability. Success in occupations like substitute teacher, adjunct instructor, or temporary industrial labor is great for a young teacher. However, it becomes a pyrrhic victory for a 50-something year old man because of no health insurance and the onset of COPD. So anyway, I’m alive because I expanded my Medicaid in Texas, and I have friends in cyberspace beyond the “Pine Curtain,” a common nickname for conservative East Texas.  Some of those friends are through Slice of Life. Happy Tuesday!

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