Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Battling the Braviax 3

Well, they responded. They sent me a link to another site, and basically nuked the virus, as it existed in my PC. However, it had tentacles in some other part of my system, because it tried to reinstall itself, but I digress.

The link they sent me was bleepingcomputer.com, and they provided me a script based on their scan of the system that I ran and returned to them Friday. Anyway, the plan was to boot into Safe Mode, drag & drop the script on top of the ComboFix.exe program I got from the bleeping computer site, and let it run. It popped up some ominous warning,s like, "this program is very powerful, and may result in harm to your computer if you choose to run it." A bit later it warned me that "1 in 100 PCs are damaged by this program." I ran it, and it told me to restart the computer, which I did. Upon restart, the AVG came back to life, just in time for me to uninstall it. I did that because the Spysweeper Antivirus is running, and doing a good job so far. Spysweeper AV found the remnant of the virus, and quarantined them. I did note, however, that the virus was not running, which was a major improvement. What that tells me is that the virus is still lurking somewhere, and is trying to reinstall itself, though it is not successful.

WebRoot told me that they would have a new set of signatures that would handle this virus out soon, so stay tuned. Now, about WebRoot service and support: they are nice enough people, but there are the limitations:
1. Their hours are from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM daily, and I'm not sure about weekends. Kind of limits ones who work the first shift from accessing their services often.
2. Their team assumes you will be using the ill computer to talk with them, and some viruses may screw up your system to the point that that is not practical.
3. They kept me on hold for over 35 minutes each time I called, probably because like most East coast people, I was calling them near the end of their support hours.

Bottom line: this was a nasty virus, and I wonder how or where I got it. Ok, I went to a variety of sites, most unknown to me before I went there, and I got cookies from all over the place. but hey, isn't that how the 'net is supposed to be used? Only kids are supposed to stay in sites that are known, safe, and pretty much assured to be healthy. Oh well, maybe there is something to being like a kid sometimes.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Battling the Braviax 2

I gave up on stopping the invasion of the Braviax for the weekend. I have more important things to do, like spend time with my family, fix my banister spindle, and celebrate Easter. the last thing I did on Friday was to reboot in Safe mode, then delete the file braviax.exe from the c:\windows\system32 folder. I thought I had beaten it, but when I rebooted in normal mode, the file had been recreated at the startup time. It is the symptom, not the source of the virus. Of course I had some other great ideas, but these are obviously either professional virus makers, or some hacker teens with too much time on their hands.

Friday I sent the status file to the anti-virus company for them to figure out what to do about it, and they said they would send me an update for it really soon. Look for it in a couple of days, they said. As of tonight, they still have not sent a response. This is getting really old.

Just a bit of background: Jordan kicked the banister spindle out when he was two years old! He just got angry, kicked and pow! It was downstairs, or at least pieces of it were. Fortunately, Home Depot had the right size and color of spindle in stock. It matched about 95%, with only variations that the trained or searching eye would detect. A drill, a hacksaw, and hammer and a punch were all that was needed to fix it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Black or White: Do I have a Choice?

I have been following this issue of race with Barack Obama with some interest recently. I am 47, had a white mother, and a black father, just like Obama. However, we look at him and say he's a black man. Does he have a choice? Is he more black than white?

When I was in college, I went to a Christian training program in Minneapolis, MN. We stayed in a frat house, with the girls on the top floor, the guys on the second floor, and the ground floor and basement were co-ed. This worked out well, as we had team leaders of older, more mature Christians for every three or four person team. Everyone in our program was black, and I assumed it was a "black" training program. I didn't know there was any other type. To my surprise, as the summer wound down, the program was going to be over before my summer job was over. There were others in the program in the same situation, so the director offered to let us stay with "the Leftovers" in "The Leftover House", comprising leftovers from all the different training programs around the city. We took our gear, and moved when the final day came, eager to meet the other "Leftovers". To our further surprise, they were all white. We had been part of a set of training programs that had been divided racially. I of course immediately asked why. It was 1981, not 1881, so it made no sense to us. The answer I got was that they did not want us to be distracted by the race issue as we learned the basics of the Christian life! Hello?! Isn't getting along with your fellow man one of "the basics" of the Christian life? I had a hard time explaining that to my non-Christian family, when I got back that fall. But I digress.

Of course we had a lot to talk about with our new "leftover" brethren and sistren (is that a word?). After talking for a while, I had told the brother that my Mom was white, and my Dad was black. He asked me sort of naively "Are you black or white?" I laughed, but then realizing he was serious, settled down, and told him calmly to "look at me again, and then ask yourself that same question." His eyes darted around as he thought briefly and said he guessed I was black. But it raised the question in my mind, that I don't have a choice on how to answer. It's the same one that Obama faced, and may still face.

Am I black or white? Put another way, am I going to who am I going to "throw under the bus", my Mom or my Dad? Who should I deny? This seems like a false choice, but I have to go with the black parent, because I am most easily identifiable as his son. So Mom gets set aside (I could never "kick her to the curb"; throw her under the bus, or otherwise dis her). Another story from my life highlights the point.

I went to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival once in 1988, while still single. I took a lady with me, a friend who I was toying with the idea of becoming possibly more. We stopped at a KFC for lunch, and at the counter, the light-skinned sister who served us seemed nice enough, until my companion asked for some hot sauce. She snootily replied that they did not serve such things at that restaurant. My friend leaned over, and in a lowered, friendly tone said, "What, not enough of "us" around here to justify buying it?" I looked around, and sure enough, there were no other black folk either customers or employees in the place. The server looked at her like she had never heard such language, and didn't say another word. On the road, back in the car, my friend started talking about the server kind of badly. She suggested that the server had been brainwashed by being around too many white folk, and other such remarks. I kind of played along, then after she said a few remarks about white folks not knowing good food, and generally derogatory things, I said "You know, my mother was white." Her face turned ashen, and she apologized profusely for dogging out white people. She said she didn't mean it about all whites, but that some fit that description. I toyed with letting her go on, but I let her know that I was not that offended, but found it rather amusing how differently she talked about white people when she thought they were not there.

I say all this because Obama reminds me that we can't choose who we are understood to be by reason of the color of our skin here in America. He can't choose his white side any more than I can, and it's sad. In fact, I didn't realize I was black until I was about nine years old. I wonder when Obama realized it. But here is the point: Obama chose to go further black in his associations than he might have otherwise, probably to make up for going further white in his achievements than I did. I have a BS from an HBCU, and that's all. He got an undergrad degree from Columbia, then a Harvard law degree.

Sure, I met the type of black leaders that he did, but I did not join their churches. I knew the types of Christians who cursed in church for effect, who blame America for many things, usually too many things. But I chose to go to a church that agreed with me for the most part. Anyone can find such a church. I have yet to have had a pastor who I got to know, disagreed with, and would now have pressure to disavow, as does brother Obama. So why does he hang onto Pastor Jeremiah Wright Jr.? Most likely for one of two reasons, or some combination of the two: he may actually agree with the positions preached by Pastor Wright, or he wants to keep his credibility with the black community by hanging tough with a brother under fire for his outspoken support of blackness above all else.

I tend to think he does agree with Pastor Wright in large part, because as a congregant, one gets to know the positions of the pastor. One also gets to pick which of the pastors does key things like administering marriage vows, baptizing children, etc. If I disagreed with a pastor as much as Obama now claims he does with Pastor Wright, I doubt he would have continued to go to that church. Also, Michelle Obama was not proud of her country until Barack was seriously running for the presidency, which is right in line with Pastor Wright's teachings. I she smarter than Barack? Did she pick up on what the pastor taught better than he did? If so, maybe she needs to deb running for the office, as she shows better sensitivity to the teachings around her.

The best solution is that while I am of black and white descent, I am an American. No hyphen, just "an American". I use the best of all my upbringing as often as possible. My friends in grade school and high school thought I was cheating because I did my homework. Which race do you think my friends who thought that were from? I also disappointed a lot of people when I told them my name was Pro, and acted humble about my hoop skills, and they thought I was really good, until I stepped on the court. Which friends do you think those were? I know it may be pushing it a bit, but why was I not scared walking around Compton, CA in 1991 during the day? I could still smell the smoke from the riots, but I felt safe. I took advantage of the affirmative action opportunities and got the best education I could, because blacks were offered support due to white guilt over slavery.

So my point is that we, as Americans, need to take advantage of every legal and ethical opportunity that presents itself to become the best we can each be, no matter what our genetic background is. Barack Obama would do well to stress those points, rather than putting his grandmother down for her reactions that mirror any other American's feelings when threatened by hoodlums or gang bangers. Bringing people together does not mean excusing their ignorance, nor ignoring their differences. It means using the best of all cultures, while recognizing that the Christianity and western civilization that America was founded on are the strengths of this great land, and of its great people. We've moved past slavery, let's move past everything being seen through a racial prism.

Battling the Braviax

A strange thing has happened. I've been invaded by a virus. It resides on my PC, but since 3/17 it has impacted my life.

I have been battling this thing so much that my wife is mad at me, my kids think I'm ignoring them, and my wrist hurts. I bought an anti-spyware/Anti-Virus program from Webroot, because a respected friend told me he used it to fix his impossible virus infection. He got a similar virus, and they had to custom update the program for him. Well, I'm at that point, but they have not yet come back with the fix.

Here's what happened. My wife got this nasty gram from a program in our PC that it had been infected with spyware, and the windows was going to load the latest antispyware to pervent (sic) spreading it around. I thought my old trusty AVG Free would handle it, but it has been knocked out. KO'd cold. Won't even come up. And poor Zone Alarm is keeping it contained as best it can. At least ZA is working, and visible. AVG is not even visible! I tried using the free spy sweeper, and it found two viruses. I bought the SW online, and installed it on the "little PC". Then I wrote the setup files to a CD and carried it via sneakernet to the "big PC". I had previously disconnected the big PC from the internet, to contain the virus.

So what are the Braviax? I think they came from another planet, and are trying to take over earth, starting at my PC. Nobody has a way to stop them that I am aware of, though there are some posts on the web about those who have fixed their PCs of it. How it was healed was not recorded, but just a given in the story. They sound like some reject from star wars, or some really smart heroes. Anyway, it is slowly eating away at me and my family. In fact, I should be up int eh bed right now, but I had to vent about this, and they are sick of hearing about it,and of seeing me at the PC nearly every waking moment.

So I broke down, plugged my big PC in, downloaded the file the tech support guy suggested, and it turned out to be the same rev as the program that was already loaded. Plus, it "corrupted" the files in the Webroot folder. I was more scared than Obama's Grandma walking through Harlem at night! I rebooted into Safe Mode, and removed it manually from the list. I left the old version installed, and reran its installer. I ran the scan in safe mode, and then rebooted into normal mode. The virus greeted me at the middle of boot up, before the AV/AS got started. It can't do much with the already running virus.

Well, I'm getting sleepy, so I better go. I'll fill you in on more of this later. Right now I better go. and BTW, I am going to go cleanup and archive my old "Anybody but McCain" style posts of the past month. they don't seem to be getting any traction, and though I am still disgusted by him and his Open Borders philosophy, etc., I am not going to slam him so hard. I'm going to focus on the real enemy, our opposition, the Democrats. Good night!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Elizabeth Jewelry

Here is a fellow Etsy artist I'm sure you would love to check out her shop. Elizabeth Jewelry has been creating gorgeous handcrafted Jewelry from beautiful Oregon for over ten years. She has been selling her line of jewelry in national catalogs and dozens of stores. All jewelry is genuine Sterling Silver, gemstones, freshwater pearls and swarovski crystals with a touch of the increasingly popular cubic Zirconia beads.

Take a look at her website: www.elizabethjewelry.etsy.com

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fear: not the motivation we need, from Hillary or McCain

I wrote a reply to Gary Bauer's article of 2/29/08 on why we should vote for anybody but Obama. I am not an Obama supporter, let me make that clear. However, Gary was using fear as the key argument against voting Democrat, no matter who wins. I'll try to put the link in here:

John McCain may be strong on the war, but he too, would close Gitmo. He would limit our ability to interrogate (waterboarding, anybody?). McCain would fight the war "over there" while letting illegals in over here: ask Juan Hernandez, his adviser on immigrant affairs.

Yes, Obama is a leftist with some even more leftist supporters. However, I can't count on McCain with a Democrat house and Senate to do Republican things. With the Gang of 14 ideology and his signature piece, McCain-Feingold on the line, he won't push strongly for strict constructionist supreme court nominees, Ted Olson not withstanding. For every Ted Olson, there is a Warren Ruddman (David Souter, anyone?)in his campaign.
McCain is doomed to fail, because if he moves right, the libs who nominated him will bail. He will also be a flip flopper, which doesn't attract most people, if he moves right. If he moves left, Obama will be the true lib, and we, the true conservatives on social, defense, moral, and immigration issues, will stay home or vote Ann Coulter-style.

John McCain is not moving right, and he is not naturally conservative. He curses people out, holds grudges (Bush 2000), and does not admit his failures. I think McCain's Freudian slip was showing when he said his upcoming debates would be "dispirited", and he is "a proud Conservative Liberal Republican". I know what he was trying to say, but I also saw his heart. Nobody is perfect, and I certainly do not expect a candidate for President to be perfect. However, I do expect a person who seems to have a humble heart (G. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan), and who is not just the lesser of two evils. I think a good strong Republican congress and senate are the best checks against a probable Democrat president next year. Fear will not motivate enough people to swallow their principles and vote McCain in, especially when McCain is not likely to protect us much better than his opponents.