Cynthia Grenier, Commentary Editor:
I wish to submit the following for WND "Commentary", as a piece
by an independent author. My bona fides and recommendations may
be found in:
or in general at my website:
You will see there that WorldNetDaily would not exist in present
form without my inventions. That should be good enough for you to
take the risk of printing this piece.
Not to mention that it gives a mighty fine solution to viruses.
COMPUTER VIRUSES AND MICROSOFT
In the movie Blazing Saddles the bad guys attempt to
destroy a copy of the town of Rock Ridge, not the
real Rock Ridge (which is saved). There's a corresponding
95% solution here to the computer virus problem.
Like the people that throw away money on state lotteries because
they don't understand mathematics, almost all personal computer
users don't understand the wonderful tool they have. They're
recognizably lazy, too. Lazy enough to have given over the
control of their lives to computers programmed by people they
wouldn't let in the front door under other circumstances.
Of three categories a virus transmitted over a connecting device
Our goal with viruses should be to protect users, who have
been supplied this super tool without any real idea of how it
works, or how it should be supervised instead of letting it run
free like a vicious dog. Users who don't usually have the sense
or discipline to make backup copies of files at least every third
day. So happy that someone talks to them over the Internet that
they'll open anything without checking to see if it perchance
ticks like a bomb, doesn't smell right, etc.
- The operating system software is the cheapest to replace.
You may even get it again from the saved CD it was purchased as.
- Next cheapest is your hardware, like the hard disk and BIOS.
$800 will get you all the PC most people really need these
days, unless they like to lord it over everyone else in
- Your own software and data are where the big replacement
costs lie, being your biggest investment in time. They're
the hardest to replace. And most people don't even create
software; it's the lost data files that hurt most.
I don't really fear viruses. I don't open any attachments
without knowing the sender very well, and even then not for big
files or picture files. That's a general principle -- there's
not the time to wait while they download.
There are certain files that cannot be corrupted or destroyed
by a virus. Absolutely cannot! Guess what they are? They're
the copies on your diskettes.
So if a virus destroys the files in your PC, just reload them
from your diskettes. Very little problem. Unless, of course,
they don't exist because you didn't copy them to diskette. Or
unless they don't match the ones you lost because you changed
those and didn't change the diskette files to match.
I back up all my files conscientiously, every few days. That's
why I don't worry about viruses. Files on diskettes can be
inaccessible to anyone but me. You can't send a virus (so far)
by radio, and my diskettes have no receiver or electronic
A Pretty Good Virus Solution
But permanent good practice doesn't come from books, teachers,
or preachers. It comes from law, licensing, and (best of all)
if there is no other way to do it except the right way!
That's where MicroSoft comes in. A government has optional
punishments or remediation. It can fine, jail, or execute.
Or it can exact community service!
Instead of MicroSoft, let's imagine MSoft-Iron, from whom the
government has contracted for prison bars. At first the bars
looked pretty good, but then prisoners found they could bend them
with their hands. Now what recourse does the government have?
Split the company into three parts? That doesn't get better
iron, and if the iron had been successful there would have been
no complaints about big profits.
Isn't it better to force MSoft-Iron, under penalty of
imprisonment and/or fines, to replace all the defective bars in
the prisons? We have lemon laws for automobiles, another crucial
aspect of our economy.
What MicroSoft has given us is attractive but somewhat shoddy
software, and their priority is upon making more of the same,
rather than fixing the existing software to industrial strength.
Competitors and professionals alike have confirmed this. More
vocally since the LOVE BUG epidemic. 99% of users are already up
to their ears in functionality they neither need, use, or
Isn't it better to force MicroSoft, under penalty of imprisonment
and/or fines, to fix their software to be virus-resistant? Not
only by changing and ading software, mind you, but by eliminating
many of their options and work-savers if necessary by being
The only way the government should alter MicroSoft's world
isn't breaking them up, but rather forcing them into a plan
of remediation and actual alteration of functionality. If
supervision is thought useful, make a governing board for
all software releases. License them. License programmers
working for them. Make up the governing board from the
professional societies that have all along been harping
on the poor and dangerous qualities.
We do it with bridges, don't we? Have you seen a billion-dollar
bridge or skyscraper collapse lately? Have you seen one built
without a permit?
The Mechanics of This Community Service
We can hardly expect PC users to change their bad habits. But the
operating system software can be changed to force the users to do
the right and safe thing in backing up their files. How?
Easy. Look at your directories. They already contain a record
of the name, the current file size, and the time and day they
were last changed. There is already a mechanism for protecting
them against wipe-out. Obviously the system knows about time, or
it could not automatically change the time-of-day when daylight
savings or summer time begins and ends.
Can anyone argue that the suppliers could not modify the operating
system so that a certain file cannot be changed unless saved to
disk within the last, say 72 hours? I can't. Suppose I access a
file that hasn't been archived less than 3 days ago. Wham! The
message says "put the diskette for directory 'so-and-so' into
Drive 'X', and we'll update it for you -- If you refuse, guess
what? You're out of commission until you do!" Good habits get
learned quickly that way.
Is This Solution Perfect?
Absolutely not. The method itself will be vulnerable to virus
attack. The experts will come up with problems as soon as they
read this. A virus could get at the forced-archiving component,
so the the users won't be aware that the check is turned off.
Agreed -- the current manual and voluntary method is safer. But
it won't work.
One could try a deadman's throttle as on a locomotive. A piece
of the archiving code could be made to serve a purpose in many
other components, all of which would then fail noticeably if the
archiving is corrupted. But the mandatory software reload would
destroy the virus.
This scheme will test the ingenuity of people who might otherwise
be hackers. And it is something useful that software manufacturers
could do without government interference, other than a Justice
Department requirement to do this community service.
Else it can be done by force of law. There are innumerable
computer applications where law requires retention and protection
Let's get going on Project Rock Ridge before things get worse!!
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