Candace York (firstname.lastname@example.org)
developerWorks liaison, IBM
October 3, 2002
What's all this rumble about a virus in my computer? Monique (that's my computer) most definitely does not have a virus. I wash my hands compulsively, and just last week, I had my office steam-cleaned to eliminate the bacteria and mold that were creeping up the walls (a result of a stupendous roof leak this summer after a Texas-style monsoon.) Now that everything in my office is spotless, I feel certain that Monique must be feeling fine.
To tell the truth, I'm not sure Monique ever had a virus. She's not a complainer. But she tends toward the dramatic. If she were sick, she'd pitch a fit, throw my most recent documents into the garbage collector, and shut down for a week. And there's no sense trying to reboot her when she's acting like that.
I never saw any symptoms before our friendly IT staff told me that Monique was feeling poorly. But I keep seeing articles that tell me I'd better deal with these viruses. The IT staff says I have to run the anti-virus program EVERY DAY at NOON. I wonder, just how do they know that viruses operate on a schedule? Have they tapped into the virus's tiny microscopic calendars? Have they been clocking them with a stop-watch like a college track coach?
If these pesky door-to-door viruses were coming by during my lunch hour, I think that I'd know. I haven't been out of my office for lunch in over five years, and everyone at my office knows better than to knock on my door. Even the express package delivery guy has better sense than that. I thought these viruses were smart.
I'd like to know what I have to do to avert these viruses. I've tried setting traps to catch them, and even disconnected once from the network to prevent their entry. But it took me two weeks to wade through the backlog of mail I received while I was disconnected. I'm never doing that again.
I called the help desk to ask their insights about averting these viruses. First of all, the help desk guy follows a script. And, don't get me wrong. I love help desk people. They've saved me many an hour of frustration. But, that day I was in the mood for creative brainstorming. When I suggested using a robotic laser broom to continuously sweep my computer, the help desk guy fell ominously silent.
So I asked him, "How do you know that Monique has a virus?" Well, then I had to explain to him who Monique was, and how she got her name, that she acts a lot like my great-aunt's french poodle, but that I wouldn't bore him with what Monique the first did to my mother's carpet. About this time, the help desk "person" said that he'd have to call me back. It's been three days now, and I haven't heard from him yet.
So, in the meantime, I guess I'll just keep reading these articles. Here's one that says "Computer Virus Threatens the Entire Known World." Whoa! This is getting serious. After all the time I've spent computing the trajectory of asteroids, considering my ability to sprint, and looking at retirement property in the desert, now I find that I should have been worrying about viruses?
There's only one thing to do. I wonder if the help desk has an exorcist? And I wonder if Monique's monitor will spin 180 degrees on her desktop if they do? If so, it should make a great movie, and after I sell the rights to the story, Monique and I can retire to that little bungalow in the desert --where we'll be watching for asteroids, since the 30-day return policy on my telescope has run out.
|About the author|
Candace A. York is developerWorks liaison to the IBM brands, helping them develop, launch, and evolve their Developer Domains. You may have read her article last year on the IBM Advanced Technology Laboratory. She avoids writing seriously except during solar storms when she can't help it due to the radiation. You can contact Candace at email@example.com.