So, It’ve Come To This….

I thought I’ve developed a bit of a strategy in buying computers for non-techie relatives and friends.

First of all I always tell them to get a laptop. The huge benefit of laptops for me is that it can be brought over for servicing. You can’t imagine how many hours of sitting at an uncomfortable “computer” table in a rickety “computer” chair away from my tools, network jacks, a plain, comfortable table and an Aeron chair this saved me while fixing stuff.

The Internet today reminds me NYC subway in the 70es: a place full of graffiti, foul smell, filth, physical danger and a general sense of lawlessness. Gone are the days when you could help your non-techie relative pick a computer, hook it up, install an email client and a browser and be done with it. Viruses still propagated mostly on floppy drives. Those were the times.

Now my process involves installation of an external backup, hardware and software firewalls, an antivirus, Adaware, Spybot Search and Destroy, getting all the windows updates and teaching the non techie how to maintain this bevy of protective tools. Oh, and most importantly, password protected all accounts and remove administrative privileges from the ones to be used on a daily basis. And set up Firefox as the default browser.

Did you read up to here? Sorry, all of that stuff is crap. It’s pointless. I have a relative’s laptop thoroughly screwed by Outlook viruses sitting on my desk waiting for my non-loving hand to proove that. The firewall stopped them from calling out, but it seems like one of the virii somehow had its privileges elevated and locked out the admin account. Arrrrrgh, this be driving me nuts!

The purchase of the laptop in question happened before my universal advise to people who just want to browse the web and read email became to get a Mac. I am tired of cleaning out computers infested up to the gills with the wiliest stuff. I am desperate enough to try Linux now.

I guess all I really need is Mozilla, Open Office, some CD player, wrap all of that in some kiosk-like windowing environment and I’m done. Or am I?