Sunday, May 17, 2009

Battling malware, treating myself

I have been battling some extremely malicious malware on my computer—something that rendered it virtually useless, so I haven’t been a good correspondent lately. The worm I had would put up irritating notices about my computer being under attack, and then would try to get me to buy some bogus antivirus package (“Spyware Protect 2009”). This thing was so insidious that it would not let me go to to get the solution. Eventually any browser I would use would be shut down immediately by this program.

If it happens to you, go straight to and get the free version and do a complete scan of your computer to clean everything out.

Even now, there is still something wrong, since when I click a link in a Google search, IE will go to some random site and not the link I wanted.

Anyway, I decided to get a new printer, since the color stopped working on my current one. I don’t do a lot of printing, and I probably could have limped along with this one for a while but someone else offered to buy it for me, so how could I refuse?

After dithering about it for a week or so, researching HP, Canon, reading reviews (“Love it!”…”Hate it!”…”Waste of money!”…”Fabulous color!”…”Blows through ink cartridges like crazy!”…”Wonderful buy!”), I decided to stay with Lexmark after all. When I bought my Dell six years ago, a LexmarkX75 (scan-copy-print) came with it for free. The darn thing has been plugging along all this time with no problems. Soon Amazon will ship a brand spanking new Lexmark X7675 All-in-One Printer.

HP seemed to have humongous drivers, poor ink management and set up headaches. At least, that’s what stood out for me in the reviews. I have an HP at work and it’s fine if you don’t mind all the clicking and clacking it goes through before producing a document. We have two older HP 2500’s with footprints like dinosaurs that rotate four big toner cartridges, cycling them all through before it spits out what you want. Also, there are approximately forty-two skillion models of HP printers and I just started to get lost after a while.

Canon was a possibility. I had a small Canon back in the 90’s with my first home computer and it worked fine. I guess I didn’t want to pay for features I won’t use, like fax or super dupe photo printing. (I use my Canon Selphy for quick 4x6 prints.) Wireless—I also don’t care about wireless since I don’t have a network at home, and the wireless feature seemed to add fifty bucks to the price.

Today, fourteen hours after I bought the printer, I checked on Amazon and saw that the price had dropped by 32 dollars! I was mad—how stupid! I should have waited till today! But I used that cool feature Amazon has now where they call you—and I clicked the button and my phone immediately rang. I thought it was my sister in law and here it was a nice lady in India calling from Amazon. She adjusted my account and I got the new price. I was very pleased.

So, here I’ve gone and spoiled myself again. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Putting in the crops

I’ve been a lazy blogger lately. The weather has improved, and it’s time to sit out on the deck and read until I can’t see the pages anymore. Since I’m not wireless, I won’t be blogging from the backyard either.

Today it started out warm and sunny, but a cold front blew through this afternoon driving the temperatures into the 50’s. It didn’t keep me from my landscaping projects, though, as I planted the pansy bed again in the back. One year I used Miracle Gro soil, but it just caused the poor dears to become all stalky. What usually happens by July is that it stops raining and no amount of watering can keep them going.

So why bother? They are Kathy’s favorite flower and that’s reason enough.

Happy Mother’s Day!