NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, October 2004
High Tech Resolutions
by Sherry Zorzi,
Cajun Clickers Computer Club

We make New Year’s Resolutions about our work life, our personal life, our health, our spiritual life, our relationships. This year, why not add a few good resolutions about your cyber-life before Cyber Security Day on October 31?

  • Resolve to install a firewall.
  • Resolve to install anti-virus software and to update it every time you connect to the Internet.

      A computer virus is a program that replicates itself much like an organic virus and, like organic viruses, computer viruses cause all manner of trouble. Although most are more annoying than dangerous, some can delete files, make your computer unusable, or turn your machine into a mass-emailer to send copies of itself to everyone in your address book.

      There are many good antivirus programs for sale in local stores or over the Internet. You can download AVG Anti-virus, a free anti-virus program, from http://www.grisoft.com Whatever brand you use, be sure to update it every time you connect to the Internet, since new viruses are released every day.

  • Resolve to check out hoaxes instead of forwarding them on.

      Have you received an email warning you that Congress is about to start taxing email, or that artificial sweetener will cause your toes to fall off, or that a dangerous new virus has been discovered that no anti-virus software can detect? Did you forward it on to all your friends and family? STOP!

      Any message that instructs you to forward it to everyone in your address book is almost surely a hoax. You can easily check out any suspected hoax at http://www.snopes.com or http://www.urbanlegends.com

  • Resolve to stop forwarding jokes, poems, and inspirational messages to everyone in your address book.

      Some people really enjoy receiving humorous or inspirational messages. Some people do not. Many people receive their email at a work address where it’s inappropriate for them to receive frivolous personal communication. Others receive many hundreds of legitimate email messages per day and resent having to wade through a dozen daily messages from you full of corny jokes.

      We think of email as being free, but that’s a misconception. Email requires a distribution system much like physical mail. There are computers that must handle the storage and distribution of email, wires or wireless systems to make the connections, and people who must be hired to make all this work. Every increase in volume of email eventually filters down to each of us in the form of higher Internet connection prices.

      If you love the jokes and poems and can’t resist the urge to pass them on, be sure you first get permission from the receivers. Ask your friends and family whether they mind getting these forwarded messages. Create a “group” within your email address book and forward only to those who’ve given you permission to add them to the group.

  • Resolve to keep yourself educated about new technology through participation in your computer club!

    Sherry Zorzi is An APCUG Advisor for Region 8 and Secretary of the Cajun Clickers Computer Club and host of “The Cajun Clickers Computer Show” heard every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on WJBO Radio.

    There is no restriction against any non-profit group using this article as long as it is kept in context with proper credit given the author. The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which this group is a member, brings this article to you.

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