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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Crapshoot - 1360 words
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.. ike-minded hobbyists eager to contribute what they knew.The site has multiple forums for various computing problems, but the overwhelming number of inquiries in the last year has dealt with spyware, which on the site has a variety of less neutral names, 'scumware' being one of the more polite. Scumware had been an epidemic; in the last year it grew into a pandemic, said Steve Wechsler, one of those drawn to Eshelman's site.Wechsler was tending bar at a public golf course in South San Francisco when he bought his first computer less than a decade ago.'I brought it home and turned it on, clicked on Netscape and expected something to happen. I still think about how dumb I was,' he said. That ignorance makes him empathize with other casual users, people who expect their computers to be tools, not obligations.The muting of the usefulness of those tools is what motivates him most. 'I hate bullies.
I've hated bullies my whole life. They prey on people. I'm not going to sit by and do nothing,' he said. 'It's your computer. They have no right to assault it.'AumHa's volunteers instructed me to download, for free, diagnostic tools and spyware cleaners. The most interesting of these is a small program developed by a Dutch graduate student that takes a snapshot of important settings in your operating system, Web browser and other software
You are asked to post this snapshot on AumHa's forum, where your computer is scrutinized by whoever happens to be logged on.In essence, you are being asked to publish very private information (a man's 'browser helper objects' are about as private as you can get) in a very public place. It's a daunting request. I paused for perhaps a nanosecond.The site is a contemporary equivalent of the old highway construction crew - a lot of guys leaning on shovels giving advice to the guy in the hole - me - doing the digging. But it worked.I had been fighting the spyware plague for more than a month. The AumHa guys fixed it in a day.
For absolutely nothing.Wechsler and Robear Dyer, a fine wine and food salesman, determined that I had been victimized by what they called a 'drive-by download,' in which a computer user is tricked into authorizing a software download.The downloaded programs then burrow into your operating system in such a way that even if you notice and delete them, instructions are left behind to replicate them the next time you restart your computer. My frantic deletion of unknown files had been not only rash, but futile. I could have deleted for a decade and likely not have changed anything.As Wechsler put it, I had been mugged. For all its guises, most spyware is either itself advertising or involved in the distribution of advertising tailored to computer users' online desires.It can be targeted to send you an advertisement for a specific product at precisely the moment you are about to buy a competing product or the same product from a competing vendor.Say, for example, you're going to book a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago on Expedia, an online travel service. You find a flight for $388 and are about to book it.
The adware buried in your computer sees what you're doing and automatically sends an advertisement from a different travel service, for example, Travelocity, touting the same itinerary for $10 less.The general idea, apart from the creepiness of being spied on, sounds almost benign, especially since it can give a customer a bargain price.In practice, it's something else. The companies the advertisers pay to send ads out get mere pennies, or sometimes fractions of pennies, per ad. They have little incentive to ensure that the ads are narrowly targeted; the more they send, the more they get paid.'We're dealing in a business with a lot of pennies,' said Todd Sawicki, director of marketing at 180solutions, one of the leading companies in delivering targeted Internet advertising.The result of chasing those pennies has been a flood. Spyware is by far the most common category of complaints received by software and computer manufacturers. It is responsible, for example, for up to 'one-third of operating system crashes reported to us,' said Paul Bryan, who works in Internet security at Microsoft.My case was sadly typical. Consumers have downloaded free versions of the two most widely used antispyware programs more than 50 million times. In the right conditions, they work fine but are more useful after the fact than preventive.Spyware is brazenly sneaky.
In fact, some manufacturers advertise their products as tools to fight the spyware they install. Then they charge customers to remove it. Eshelman calls such programs 'betrayware.''What these programs have in common,' said Ari Schwarz of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an advocacy group in Washington, 'is a lack of transparency and an absence of respect for users' ability to control their own computers and Internet connections.'The people who manufacture the code that becomes spyware argue that they are not purposefully setting out to irritate millions of people. They contract the distribution of their software to third-party vendors. Sawicki of 180solutions said his industry had been victimized, too.'We're not trying to be some company stomping on consumers,' he said, but acknowledged the company had not been careful enough in overseeing the vendors it hired to distribute its programs.Also, 180's program, nCase, is notorious in the antispyware community both for the amount of advertisements it sends to individual computers (hundreds per day) and its near impossibility to remove.
Many spyware programs, like nCase, hide themselves so well they can't be removed even if found by the standard uninstall features of Microsoft Windows.180solutions has acknowledged this, although not directly, by promoting a replacement program, which is supposed to be more transparent, less intrusive and easier to remove.Maybe so, but many weeks after Sawicki spoke, a friend called and reported that his computer had been hit by a rash of spyware. With the tools from AumHa, we looked inside, and there sat nCase.Exactly how it got there was, as usual, impossible to determine. Sawicki blames the problems on 'guys in Bermuda, offshore. They're the online equivalent of spammers. We want them to die a slow and painful death.'In lieu of death, various law-making bodies, including Congress and the California Legislature, have debated antispyware laws, but so far have not come up with anything those in the business think will be effective.The Federal Trade Commission has established a spyware task force and filed a handful of lawsuits under existing fraud laws against spyware distributors, but they've had little broad effect. Often, it isn't even the spyware itself that is illegal, but the method of distribution, which is hard to track.Even when investigators have been able to uncover a distribution source, many have been beyond U.S.
jurisdiction. Rumors variously place the distribution of most spyware in the hands of the Russian mafia, Caribbean expatriates and even Al Qaeda.All of which leaves the Sanskrit posses with their fingers in a very unstable dike. They're doing what amounts to heroic work in nearly complete anonymity.For a brief time, Microsoft cut its backing for its own online support forums, but quickly realized it would be overwhelmed with problems that the forums were addressing. Instead, it redoubled its assistance to the forums.These volunteer efforts turn the common depiction of computer cognoscenti as isolated, antisocial geeks upside-down.Eshelman works a full-time IT job in Burbank. He spends almost the equal of another full-time job working at AumHa. Dyer guesses he spends more time online offering help than he does making a living.Other AumHa volunteers regularly quit volunteering because they become so consumed with the work, and passionate about it, that it overwhelms their non-Web lives.They almost always come back, though.
The bunch of them, and others at similar sites, say they feel as though they're caught up in a great struggle and feel honor-bound to continue.'It's war,' Eshelman said.
Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works Crapshoot
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