Stay Awake All Night


Not far into 2020 and things are already getting weird.

Politics have turned into a sideshow, the major news media outlets continue to report opinionated spin, scores of computer users are baffled by their less than desired operating system updates, and millions are nervously tracking developments on the latest Coronavirus.

It’s kind of odd that a potential pandemic brewing worldwide doesn’t get as much air time as political bickering and hours of unbelievably dull television. This proves how irritating political news can be. I actually find QVC and HSN more interesting and much less stressful.

Don’t worry but, you might want to load up a solid Linux spin, jump in your truck, head to your favorite bug-out bunker, light up your trusty shortwave radio, open a can of chili, put the coffee on the camp stove and crank up some vintage Krokus.

Unfortunately, not everyone can have all that fun avoiding the “End Times” – perceived or imagined. Some of us have stuff to do and no time for silly sarcasm……I say sarcastically.

If there is even a slight possibility that there actually is a worldwide pandemic brewing you might want to stay awake for this one. (thus the coffee requirement)

I will admit the latest reports are disturbing. Not only do I have to consider the possibility that all computer systems are under potential threats 24/7 (which I think they always are), but now I have to worry about another potential contagion beyond the run of the mill cold and flu.

I would at least attempt to avoid some of the pitfalls of these strange times. As reports of the virus crisis getting worse are overshadowed by political sideshows, many turn to alternative information sources with varying degrees of success.

Can you believe what you see, or what you read? Maybe you will get accurate reports, maybe you will see a lot of misinformation. Maybe you won’t care……. until your computer starts acting slower than usual and you start noticing all the people wearing surgical masks in town.

Apply this same angle of skepticism to the reports of malware, and system attack reports and you might see where the deficiencies in information presentation and processing occur. Filter out the hype and panic and consider what precautions you can take – just in case some of this latest noise is based on real occurrences and events.

If you are not healthy you might be susceptible to a virus, apply this to your computer system. Reduce your chances by limiting exposure to other infected or potentially compromised systems – or persons.

If you’ve been installing sketchy software from unsecured sites you could have a problem, but even without such actions, you could be using a system that has some inherent deficiencies. Just connecting to the Internet creates the potential for infection, and because of this firewalls, antivirus, and anti-malware have become a layer of defense but not a guaranteed fix. Think of these as over the counter medication which provides more comfort than cure.

For starters, you might want to avoid large crowds (and public WiFi) for a while if things heat up. Large gatherings combined with confined spaces could potentially allow for the spread of the new virus. Isolation is suddenly in vogue!

It’s not so bad working alone, is it?

So what else can you do to lessen your chances of infection from a contagious “virus” or unwanted malware? Well, you could hunker down and disconnect from the Internet, but you might want to stay connected so you can stay home, telecommute, or just keep up to date on relevant and timely information. Not everyone will get all their news from an AM radio or even shortwave. (although they might be a useful alternative should things get even weirder – like lack of infrastructure that would support network connectivity) Sick computers and sick workforce equals bad situations.

Too bad Antivirus software only works on your computer. For now keep washing your hands, and wearing that ridiculous surgical mask. That’s a good look for some. So maybe it’s not so bad.

It won’t be very nice if people around you start getting sick, or their computers come down with a nasty infection – one that requires an up to date backup to restore all the files you never use anyways.
So keep the coffee hot and keep a live Linux live USB (Knoppix or MX Linux) handy to act as your computer’s first aid kit. It may even come in handy for your non-Linux system.

Theoretically, all of these latest “developments“ could be a little exaggerated, both for your health and your computer’s health.

If you now think you should spend your hard-earned cash on some special “fix it all” software programs you might want to check out some less expensive alternatives. If you have a Microsoft product that came with built-in Antivirus software you should be in good shape if you keep your patches/hot-fixes up to date.

Personally I have a little more faith in Linux systems and associated repositories than I do in some of the software sources found on the Internet – especially some of the freeware (not to be confused with “free as in Open Source Software” FOSS).

And of course, there’s always hot chicken soup, but it isn’t recommended for electronic equipment.

Stay safe, stay well, and stay awake……..all night!


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