May. 19th, 2008 12:19 pm
kittytech: (Default)
Okay, if I ever see one more message about the free version of AVG 7.5 being discontinued, and the need to replace it with yet another free antivirus program, it'll be too soon, and it just might drive me over the edge into complete and total insanity. I get the fact that not everyone feels the same about PC security. I get that some people don't want to, or potentially have the money for a paid security package. But, here's what drives me absolutely nuts, and the argument from my perspective.

It's obvious from all these thousands of messages about AVG 8 that the free version has left out some key components that users apparently found useful. There's a saying though, and 9 times out of 10, it's so true. You get what you pay for.

Recently in his LJ, [ profile] masterofmusings wrote about an experience that he had with his roommate's computer which was supposedly being protected by AVG. Thirty-five infestations total. That's thirty-five too many in my opinion, and it was fixed by using a different program. But what if it hadn't been? I worked with someone once who used AVG. It updated on a regular basis and she figured that she was protected. She wasn't, and she discovered this when a virus brought her system to a screeching halt and had to be reformatted to get rid of the viruses. The place she took her system to charges no less than $140 for a reformat and reinstall of the operating system. She has since updated to a much better software package and things have been working well I suspect. The thing is, paying $50 or whatever a year for a well-known, reliable protection package is going to be so much more cost-effective in the long run than if you rely on a free package that most likely isn't doing the job.

My computer is a big investment, and I don't want to sink any more money into it than I have to. To me though, this means keeping it free of viruses and other problems. In the ideal world, we wouldn't have viruses, or the need to run software to keep them from happening. This isn't the ideal world though, and the reality is, people need to keep this in mind. After the virus has done its work it's too late. By that time, the damage is done, and if you can't afford to get your computer fixed, you're sitting there, unable to do anything with it, and hopefully realizing that the situation could have been avoided.

Yes, I feel very strongly about this, having seen problems on so many different machines using AVG. These programs aren't there to look pretty, they're supposed to do a job. If they're not, what's the point. I've had people say that they've used AVG for years and never had any problems. Great, but do you really KNOW that you haven't had any problems? Have you tried running an alternative program to see if it picks up anything? How's your machine running? Is it slow, crashes a lot, and just generally doing weird abnormal things?

Okay, I'm going to quit now. This whole thing just frustrates me obviously, and since I spend so much time trying to fix these messes, and I just know that in so many cases they could be avoided.
kittytech: (Default)
Okay, so I'm a total slacker this year. For the past couple of years I've had my taxes completely done and my refund in hand by mid February. Here it is March, and I'm just starting the filing process right now. As always, I am continuing to use Tax Act Online to prepare and electronically file. They've been great, and $15 is incredibly reasonable for the service and for the filing fee. I've enjoyed the freedom of filing each year independently, and the refund that I've gotten back has never been a source of complaint for me either.

Unfortunately, this year is a bit different. This year I get to send even more money to the government. Say what? What happened to my nice refund check? So, after I finish the filing process, I get to give them more of what they want.

Then there's the Social Security Administration. You really gotta love that branch of government, but sometimes I absolutely love to hate them. As part of the tax preparation process, I need to include information from a form 1099. This form, as with all of their documentation, is sent in print. Print is wonderful, amazing, and completely useless to someone who can't see it. This is 2008, almost the end of the first decade of the 21st century. So, explain to me exactly why it is that they still insist on using inaccessible means of communication? If I spoke Spanish I'd be accommodated by receiving my letters and things in Spanish. So, here's a bit of irony for you. I went up to the Social Security Administration web site a few minutes ago. I wanted to see if, by some chance, I could possibly access some of my information electronically. Hey, I finally got online banking a month ago, why not accessible Social Security too, right? Well ... Sort of, but not quite. I found the place where you're supposed to be able to apply for a password that will allow access to the online content and filled out the form. At the end of the form process, I was very politely thanked and informed that my temporary password would be sent to me via regular mail. Yep, yet another inaccessible document. This, from the same web site that has gone (in my opinion anyway), almost too far in terms of web site accessibility. Yes, you did read that right. They really tried, (and it's very evident) to make the forms easy to work with if you're using a screen-reader. The problem is, it's almost too much information. When I'm filling out a form, I like to hear the question read to me once, followed by the answers. On this site, the question is read, and then before each answer choice, the question is heard yet again. So, for a simple yes/no question, I have to listen to the question three times just to get to my answer. It's one of those things though where you almost hate to complain because it's so obvious that accessibility was a priority when putting this site together. There's just got to be some kind of middle ground though.

So, after applying for my inaccessible temporary password, I filled out another form to request that a new 1099 be mailed to me because my current one got damaged ... (don't ask, okay?) This went well, and they say I should have the new document by March 14th. This gives me plenty of time to complete my taxes and file. This will also give the IRS plenty of time to take my money away from me. SMILE!

So, that's my rant for the day. The good news after all that, is that I actually do have the money this month to pay the government, so it'll all work out, and I don't have to sit here freaking out about where the money's going to come from. Happy tax season everyone!
kittytech: (Default)
Ever since I got email back in 1998, I've been a part of many different email lists. I've picked up a lot of really helpful tips from these lists, and still do from time to time. I've even moderated a few lists, and so can appreciate the time and effort that goes into them -- especially the high-traffic ones. There's one list in particular that I've been on, almost since its inception. I gained so much valuable information from that list, and have so many saved messages with, just stuff. The list creator turned the list over to another moderator for a while. For some unknown reason, at that point I was placed on moderated status, (and still don't have a clue why to this day). Eventually, the original creator took the list back. Later it was turned over to yet another moderator. Throughout each of these moderators, despite my time on moderation, I continued to get much out of the list. About a year ago, this list was turned over to yet another person. At that point, things started to go downhill in my opinion. The moderator was nearly constantly absent from any sort of list moderation, and pretty much anything and everything got posted. Because of the absolutely unreal volume of messages, and the fact that I was getting absolutely nothing out of the list, for the first time in several years I unsubscribed.

In that time, I've resubscribed a couple of times. Each time I do, I've had something that I've wanted to have answered. I found that, in 99 percent of the cases, my questions went completely unanswered, while other people, who have proven themselves time and time again to be obnoxious and rude had their questions answered in threads that went on for days. Then there is a specific list member who, for whatever reason, seems to think that he's a total authority on all things technology. He's been known to give out incorrect information, or guess at answers, just, (it seems to me), so that he can claim that he answered a post. He's been rude and condescending to other list members, but so many take everything that he has to say as law. Even on a completely un-tech related list, this individual has been known to cut down other listers who are less knowledgeable than he about things relating to the computer.

A few years ago, this person took a nine-month online course to learn about different aspects of computers, screen-readers, magnification programs, etc. Before this time, he was rather rude, but once he had this course behind him, it seemed to me that things just got so much worse.

I think the biggest problem I have though is the fact that, while this individual is being permitted to constantly spout off about things on the list, those who attempt to give him correct information are given warnings from the list moderators off list, and accused of flaming. I wrote to the moderators a few months back after one of my brief subscription periods expressing my concern about the unfairness of how things were being run. I was basically told that it wasn't my concern and to leave it alone. I unsubscribed shortly after that message, again because of all the off-topic and unnecessary posts.

I'm sad to see this list, which was once such a wonderful resource, going downhill so badly, and the way the moderators have very definitely picked their favorites who can do no wrong, while others, who are genuinely trying to help get constant admonishments because "big brother is watching". And, where are the moderators when more serious breaches of list etiquette occur? Obviously these people are playing favorites. Again, I've moderated lists, and I know how difficult it can be. The one thing I hope though is that even if I've made some unpopular decisions, I've always tried to be fair. To me, this is most definitely not fair. I'd love to contribute and to help others the way I was once helped, however at this point, considering the way I've been treated, and the way others have been treated, I will not be a part of this particular list until things change for the better.


kittytech: (Default)
Caroline C

May 2015

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