Before Christmas I was looking to do the family Christmas letter.  I had been using a version of Corel Draw that was installed on my laptop from an employer a number of years ago.  I decided to do a fresh install of the operating system and formatted the hard drive.  When I went to re-install Corel it asked for a key, so I went to the dark side of the web and tried a “keygen” which is a hacker’s tool for illegally generating software keys for specific programs.  Yes, technically illegal but it’s a really old version of the software.   However, before you call the police let me tell you justice already came.

The saying goes that if you play with fire, you’re going to get burnt. I did.  Keygens are made by the same kids that make virus.  When you download these kinds of files you expect them to contain virus.  Normally what I do is open the file using an alternative OS like Linux Puppy on a USB flash drive.  The virus then won’t work since Microsoft OS is what they target. On this fateful day I was beginning to get impatient and didn’t want to reboot.  So, I opened a package containing at least 7 different virus that auto-ran.  My virus scanner caught the first one.  Six more infected the computer.  It was so bad that at one point I couldn’t get Windows to boot.

I’m fairly sure I wasted two weekends working on getting the system up and running.  The system was sooo messed up that I finally called Microsoft Support.  I’ve NEVER done this before, either as a software tester, computer hardware administrator or as a web developer.  I was impressed, slightly.  The support people (a different one each day) were helpful.

After I got the system up and running again (well it’s still not 100%)  I decided to look at alternatives to Corel Draw.  I found Gimp, which is surprisingly similar to Corel’s PhotoPaint and it’s open source software.  I also became a bigger fan of Linux OS – again open source.

Time Wasted on Maintaining Your internet Social Hair-doo Image.

I’ve just recently updated my blogging site to WordPress.  5 years ago the internet was just beginning to get push-button publishing started.  Now it’s the main gear for bloggers.  Overdrive belongs to WordPress for several reasons:

  • Its Open source, Licenced under  GPU
  • WordPress themes are much more flexible and easy to install than Google’s Blogger Google still has click-n-drag widgets but it doesn’t touch the volume of free plug-ins that I’ve seen on WordPress.
  • You can install it on your own domain and control everything.  Blogger only uses a meta-redirect to trick your browser into showing your domain; all the files are still hosted on Googles servers…and this is bad for control freaks like me.
  • WordPress is stored in a database, which makes it very flexible when you need to export the data – I’m not sure about hosted services for people without their own domain/server space.

Regardless of which blogging software you use, yo still have to spend time entering and surfing and updating…updating…updating. Ugh!  I’ve had enough.  I think I’m going to waste more time reading everyone else’s blog now.