Tuesday, October 11, 2005
The PowerPoint was about science, so maybe the webcam thing was the biology part.My three-hour-class was actually a two-hour-class today. We finished the first half of the book up to and including prepositions, and then we stopped. Next week they'll have midterms, so we reviewed a little and I let them go. I was honestly surprised that they seemed to be so eager to leave. (Right.) (But it was PREPOSITIONS! I mean, they're fun!) (My feelings were not hurt.) (I was a little bored too.) (On Tuesdays I am not on the main campus; I'm in a regional building here in my own town.)
Next Tuesday, after they have finished their exam, we're going to walk across the parking lot to Pizza Hut and have a little class party. Yes, I think such things are very important.
After my students left, I walked down the hall to the small computer lab (not to be confused with the large computer lab) and sat down for a minute to check my email. I ended up staying almost two more hours, for the lab is open to the public and on Tuesday afternoons, it's full of senior citizens. Lovely friendly people, all doing research on geneaology, and a few grandchildren playing games.
All of us were having problems with the computers, though. The popups were so bad, nobody could really do much except 'x' them out, over and over.
I downloaded a popup stopper and it helped some, and then I went into the control panel and delted a TON of junk. And then they started asking questions and I answered the ones I knew, and I showed them how to delete their cookies and temporary files, and explained about flash drives and how they could carry their genealogy trees from place to place with one, and told them why they should not download wallpapers and screensavers and little flash games so alive with ads they could give a person a seizure, and phish schemes, and scams, and Nigerian kings. . . .
And they had question after question about computers, and I actually knew the answers to some of them.
When I finally looked at the time, I couldn't believe two hours had gone by.
The director of the center peeked in while we were cleaning out cookies, and was immediately swamped with requests that she set up a computer class for senior citizens, about safety issues with the computers. She is going to look into it.
One man said that ever since he had contacted someone with his same last name overseas, his computer tells him whenever this other man logs on to his computer. He described strange files appearing, and his own disappearing, and his cd tray opening and closing, and email forwards with his own name and the names of people in his address book on them, and strange emails to and from his own address but to someone else. . . . .
It was all so eerily familiar that cold chills were going up and down my spine. I explained to him about hijacking and told him to unplug his computer the minute he got home and to take it to be UNparasited, if that is a word, and it is now. I told him I wanted a full report next Tuesday.
Because yes, I'm going into that little lab again next Tuesday to see how all my 'students' are doing with their cleaned-out computers and with their bad habits of clicking on everything that looks interesting ended. But mostly to make sure my hijacked gentleman has gotten that fixed. Terrible things happen when someone else has control of your computer.
I hope all schools take care to guard against hijacking. I hope all school computer people check their systems regularly and delete the ads and spams and popups and cookies. Surely they do, else why would they be computer guys? But I hope they do more than just know how. I hope those systems are cleaned out every few hours, because every few minutes, people who really don't know any better are clicking on things that look like education or enlightenment or a game to pass the time away, etc, but which are actually ads and octopi that will enter their computer and wrap tentacles around everything, and take over the files and rename things and shuffle things around and reproduce and reproduce some more and eat things and send messages to people under someone else's IP and transfer files and pictures and you-name-it to other computers and just generally make hash and hay out of a hard drive. Whew.
Schools, more than anything else, should take care that their computers are secure. If a child sits down before a monitor, you really don't want "Hi, I'm 18 TODAY and I'm naked in front of my webcam - click here to join me!" popping up. Not that it would, in anybody's PowerPoint presentation or anything. . . . .
That was my morning and afternoon. It was great. I hope yours was, too.
Ciao. Which is pronounced 'chow,' and now I'm hungry.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:41 PM | |