There are days when I seem to work the hardest and at the end of the day it appears that I got little done. At first it seems kind of discouraging, but when I really look at the days’ events and evaluate the day, I realize that most of the time I did indeed accomplish a great deal.
Yesterday seemed to be one of those days.
I was up early and out of the gate like Secretariat running his final race. I got my morning mail done early as well as the blog here finished before the sun even came up. (By the way, I am still loving my new keyboard. Typing in the orange glow of my little Halloween tree with the back lit keyboard rocks!) I even got out the door early to get my errands done and back at a decent hour. I was on a roll.
Then when I settled back down at my computer, I noticed that I was getting some errors on my computer when browsing on my computer. Not really errors, but I would type in the address bar to go to a site, and I would wind up somewhere else.
I noticed this when I was writing my blog yesterday and linked to Leldon’s site. And it happened a couple of times on Sunday, too. At first I thought it was my poor typing and I had hit the wrong key which sent me to another place, but after it began to happen more frequently and I was taken to these odd sites that were selling things, I began to wonder. Even I didn’t type that bad.
I was also getting a ‘connection refused from proxy server’ error when trying to get onto some of my regular sites that I visit (I think it even happened when I tried to get back here to Lumberjocks) and I knew something not good was happening.
I pulled out the analytic software and did some scans and found that there was indeed some crap that got by and was messing with my computer. Apparently something was hijacking my browser and trying to take over and there was definitely some malicious malware that was lurking. I spent the next two or three hours cleaning things up and making sure that all the bad files were removed from my system. Keith helped me with this (He is the (I)nternet (T)echnology guy after all. Finally at about 3pm everything was back to normal.
So much for getting ahead for the day.
I was trying to figure out how things would have got through my security, but then overnight I received an email from a casual friend that said not to open anything from her computer. Apparently she was hacked. I thought back to the day before where I received a weird message from her that stated something about how she made all this money on the internet – enough to make a down payment on a new car – and I thought it strange that she would be writing me to tell me that. I had received the email the other morning and opened the link she sent and I suspect that it was the cause of the problems. I didn’t know if it was a joke or not, and she is really more of an acquaintance than a friend so I wondered why she would be telling me about it unless it was some pyramid scam or something like that. Whatever.
I suppose there is no way around picking up something every now and then when one is on the internet. I usually consider myself to be very cautious and I feel that I know better at most times which things are dangerous to open or not. But these people who develop these viruses are more and more sophisticated and their methods are sometimes cloaked very well.
There were two free tools that I used that are quick and effective for keeping your computer in top shape. One is House Call by Trend Micro. It not only finds the problems, but also cleans them up for you safely and quickly. The other is SuprAntiSpyware which detects both spyware and malware and also helps you remove it safely.
Between the two programs, I found that there was indeed some malware that was causing a problem and it got rid of it quickly. I think for myself it would be a good idea to put reminders on my Google calendar to run these scans every couple of weeks just to keep things tidy and clear.
I spent the rest of the day working on the pictures for the calendar pattern. I have over 20 photos that I am submitting with the instructions. While the magazine will only use a portion of them, I like to offer them so that they can pick and choose which ones they feel are most relevant to the instructions. Today I will be doing the written part.
Although initially it seemed that I didn’t get a great deal done, in thinking about things, I accomplished quite a bit. In between all the computer stuff and photographs, there was lots of correspondence with customers, wholesalers and companies. We even took a ‘night walk’ last evening for an hour or so along the river. It was a beautiful night out and we hadn’t done that in a while. It was a good opportunity for us to discuss the direction we wanted to go in with our designs and make plans for the business.
So all in all it was a good day. Today I will continue to work on the instructions for the calendar and get some drawing done. I have some ornament ideas that I want to work on so that I can get them up on the site by the end of the month and have another update. After all, the holidays are approaching very quickly.
If you think you may have some things going on with your computer, feel free to check out the links that I gave and run a couple of scans. As with anything, maintenance is the best way to avoid problems and potential disasters and the earlier you catch these culprits, the easier it is to deal with them. My own computer is running what seems to be quite a bit faster. I hadn’t even really noticed the slow down until the problems were fixed.
I consider myself lucky that I dodged a bullet with this issue. While it took a couple of hours to fix, I realize it could have been much worse. Being aware and noticing the signs that something just wasn’t right probably saved me a huge headache in the long run. I think my time was well-spent.
I wish you all a great Wednesday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"