So I am stranded on a desert Isle. Left with only the most basic tools needed to survive. Around me lays not water, but a sea of disconnected bytes which have lost their way in this Internet Ocean. Here a monster lurks. An ugly monster of the name Dimitri. Originally he was from Kiev, but has since found his destiny in the darker waters of the Internet waves waylaying unfortunate souls as they floated by on their way from one safe harbor to the next. Dimitri does not kill his prey. He just stops their boat.
"Do not try to flee, you pitiful piece of meat", he roars. "You have nowhere to go, I have seen to that." And then carefully, almost tenderly, Dimitri picks up his recent catch and deposits me gently on the sand of my very own atoll in this sea of turbelent Internet tides.
This is a floating island. It wanders around almost connecting with the mainland. As soon as I get close, Dimitri pops up and shaking one crooked claw speaks. "No, no, no, my wee one. You may not disembark to the land of the living. You are mine. Back to sea with you." Turning his back to me and my island, he raises his mighty hind quarters and kicks me back out to sea. And once again I watch as the place I wanted to be fades and then disappears from view into the tumultuous waters of bits and bytes.
I have been stranded now for over a week. All is not lost though. I do have rudimentary machinery with which to at least let others know I am stuck somewhere out on the vast ocean. But my spirit is dying. My will, slowly day by day, chipped away. Dimitri has told me he is willing to let me go. He will release me and all of my belongings provided I can come up with the proper ransom. He is not greedy he says. A small token toll will suffice.
"So, you have kidnapped me", I ask?
"Bearded one, we prefer to consider what we do as a service not a crime. We only wish to teach, to educate the naive and innocent in the ways of this World. That we ask for a small token fee to set you free is only to bind both of us in friendship. You hate me now, but you will love me later. You will hit land one day a smarter and wiser man because of me."
Dimitri may be right. I may end up after this latest trip to computing Hell a smarter and wiser man. I may yet find a solution on my own without using a professional at professional prices.
It started out for me as a kind of challenge. For the first few days, I was sure this Spyware, Malware, Virus, whatever it is my main computer picked up could be and would be handled quickly and without much fuss. But this particular Virus, Malware, Spyware is tenacious. There is no easy fix. There is no cheap fix.
I thought so anyway until I discovered Tech Support Forums. I have just joined, but it appears this site's only purpose is to hold the hands of dumasses like me while they talk me through all the various pitfalls of cleaning up my computer.
After registering with the Tech Support folks and posting my problem, I now wait patiently in line for someone to come to my rescue. Because waiting patiently is not my strong suit, I searched out other help and now also am a password carrying member of Bleeping Computer. I have yet to be allowed to post , but soon I hope. They look like they may be more able to communicate with my low level of understanding. The Tech Support folks seem to expect more brain power than I am able to muster when it comes to what is going on inside this machine.
So here is the self improvement goal for this Friday, Jan. 23, 2009. I will make more of a concerted effort to understand how these damn things work this year. Having never really had one screw me up this bad has driven home just how lucky I have been for 15 years or so. I was due. And Dimitri, the bastard, delivered.