April 10, 2004

Computer Turmoil.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:29 pm

It began last night when I followed a link to a Quizilla site called, “How Grammatically Sound Are You?” (No link provided. You’ll see why.) I completed the neat little English usage test offered, and my results indicated that I was a “Grammar God,” which pleased me enormously. I would have been crushed if Mr. Quizilla were to conclude that I am a boob.

Just as I was about to proudly cut ‘n paste the HTML so I could share my seriously important accolade with the world, it occurred to me that I had better click on the option that permits the reader to see what other outcomes were possible. After all, if it turned out that there were three or four levels more impressive than “Grammar God,” I might not want to share my Quizilla-proven illiteracy with the world.

So, I clicked the button that promised to show the other possible outcomes.

WHAMMO!!!! My computer went nuts, virus screens began popping up all over the place, and I found myself in an inescapable loop that was calculated solely to force a download of whatever shit this virus-dispensing outfit was selling. My home page was hijacked, I could not get on the web, and strange icons appeared on my desktop. (Note: I do not believe that Quizilla was in any way responsible for this.)

Before I go any further with the story, I advise that you avoid that particular Quizilla Quiz altogether, and under no circumstances, should you click on the button that shows the other possible outcomes of the quiz, unless, of course, you think having your computer’s brains scrambled poses an interesting intellectual challenge.

Anyway, last night when this happened, I freaked (As most of you know, I don’t do well with misbehaving computers). I decided to shut everything down and deal with in the morning, hoping that the cyber-fairies would straighten things out while I slept.

No such luck.

This morning, I had the same problem. I ran Norton Anti-Virus software, and it came back indicating that there were no viruses detected. Hello? No viruses??? The part of my computer that is not frozen is popping up all sorts of terrifying messages of doom here.

I then ran Ad-aware and dumped the 27 things it located. Still no good.

Now that I had exhausted all my prodigious cyber-skills and things were still screwed up, I really began to get panicky.

Mind you, the House by the Parkway was in a baseline state of turmoil this morning anyway, as we are getting everything together for our trip to Hawaii on Monday. As such, I needed this computer turd tossed into my punchbowl about as much as I need an ingrown asshole.

What to do? What to do?

I wrote to Craig at mtpolitics, to get the URL for my editing page, so I could possibly do a post from my daughter’s house tomorrow, explaining my virus woes and my upcoming absence from the ‘sphere while I will be in Hawaii. I know. I know. I should have written that URL down somewhere, because a bookmark isn’t worth squat if you can’t open Microsoft Explorer. Computer lesson #3,897 learned.

Craig immediately wrote back, indicating that he was sitting at the computer and that I could call him, as he was worried that all this angst would cause me to pull out some of my very excellent hair.

I immediately called him, and I am sure that my state of high anxiety was obvious. In that great laid-back, Montana accent (He speaks with an accent; I clearly do not), he asked me a couple questions and then said, “Well, let’s see if we can straighten this out for ya, Jim.” Fifteen minutes later, after following his clearly given instructions, which included deleting several nasty files from places in my computer I would never, ever think of going near, everything was back to normal.

Craig managed to accomplish this feat early in the morning on the day before Easter, while his two small children (both or whom were more deserving of his attention than some knucklehead from Jersey) scampered about. Quite simply, Craig is the nicest and most helpful guy in the blogosphere.

I will not entertain any dissent on that point.


  1. Wow. Thanks for the (far, far too) kind words.

    Really, I was worried about that farookin’ excellent hair.

    Comment by mtpolitics — April 10, 2004 @ 7:31 pm

  2. Why yes he is! And I have a T-Shirt to PROVE it!

    Would it be too Lilly Von Schtupp to sigh right here and say: “Whatta nice guy.” ??


    Comment by Emma — April 10, 2004 @ 8:33 pm

  3. Deb was threatening to post about our experiences, which have led to avoidance of Quizilla henceforth. It was not from the grammar quiz, but it was from a view all possible results page that Deb got afflicted with popups and a browser hijacking while I was at work.

    Ad-Aware wouldn’t quite cut it. I have never had so much trouble getting rid of something like that, but by repeatedly purging things from the registry, ending processes as they spawned, and deleting file after file, I got it gone. It was mostly using oddly name EXE files in the system32 directory, which were set to be system files to resist being visible and balk at being deleted.

    I think we need to make sure everyone knows to avoid Quizilla. They are obviously allowing it to happen. It’s one thing when I have my system set to prompt and I can tell it no to installing GAIN Precision Time when I take a quiz. It’s another entirely when things just start taking over and you have no chance to say no.

    Comment by Jay Solo — April 10, 2004 @ 9:23 pm

  4. Well, I will be avoiding Quizilla, for sure. As I mentioned, I don’t believe Quizilla is doing this, but by now, I too have to believe that they (whoever they are) are aware of the problem.

    For you folks who feel comfortable rummaging around in system directories, such an attack is an annoyance. For those of us who lack those skills, it is an absolute nightmare.

    Comment by Jim - Parkway Rest Stop — April 10, 2004 @ 9:54 pm

  5. Oooh. When I bookmarked you, it produced five identical links in my favorites list. Think your virus might be catching like that?

    Comment by maura — April 10, 2004 @ 10:15 pm

  6. Maura,

    I hope you’re kidding.

    I hope you’re kidding.

    I hope you’re kidding.

    I hope you’re kidding.

    I hope you’re kidding.


    Thanks for the bookmark!

    Comment by Jim - Parkway Rest Stop — April 11, 2004 @ 3:53 am

  7. http://www.ureach.com/

    Jim I know I have mentioned in the past that I like webmail the above is a special favorite of mine,

    May I present you with Computer lesson #3,897 plus 1?

    I keep my must have bookmarks there!!

    I could take a blowtorcch to my Hard drive and as long as I can get to another working PC with internet connection, I can click on my bookmark there and stave off any pending

    Parkway Rest Stop withdrawls LOL

    PS I am NOT a computer guru I bought my first PC in 98 and spent the first week practicing turning it on and off because the book said if you did that wrong you could mess things up. 😉

    But I learned the hard way to back up my email addresses and my best loved bookmarks on the web.

    Comment by Dan Kauffman — April 11, 2004 @ 7:08 am

  8. Where O where was a wonderful person like Craig when I was hijacked a few months back? It took me several months to find a solution (converting to Mozilla and getting a program called CWSweep) before the problem was killed.

    And it’s hard to believe, I know, but now as the Queen of Quizzes, I will swear off Quizilla.


    Now what do I do? Write actual original posts? Are you crazy?

    Comment by LeeAnn — April 11, 2004 @ 11:25 pm

  9. For what it’s worth, my sincerest apologies for forwarding you the grammar quiz link in the first place.

    Comment by Dan — April 12, 2004 @ 9:10 am

  10. Wow–thanks for the intel and lesson, Jim.

    And I agree with your assessment of Craig.

    Comment by david — April 17, 2004 @ 4:01 pm

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