Links ARCHIVE: LA Times - Will People Give Up On Computers?

Fed up over problems stemming from viruses and spyware, some computer users are giving up or curbing their use of the Web.

Monday, January 17, 2005 by joeKnowledge | Discussion: Internet


No More Internet for Them


By Joseph Menn, Times Staff Writer - January 14, 2005

Stephen Seemayer had the first Pong video game system on his block. A decade later, the Echo Park artist was the first in his neighborhood to get a personal computer. And in 1996, he was so inspired by the World Wide Web that he created a series of small paintings for viewing over the Internet.

Now the 50-year-old Seemayer is once again on the cutting edge: Sick of spam clogging his in-box and spyware and viruses crashing his system, Seemayer yanked out his high-speed connection.

"I'm not going to pay for something that I can't use," he said.

A small but growing number of frustrated computer owners are coming to the same conclusion. They're giving up or cutting back their use of the Internet, especially at home, where no corporate tech support team will ride to their rescue.

Instead of making life easier — the essential promise of technologies since the steam engine — the home PC of late has made some users feel stupid, endangered or just hassled beyond reason.

Seemayer's machine, for instance, got so jammed with spam that he stopped checking e-mail. When he surfed the Web, pop-up ads from a piece of spyware he couldn't wipe out spewed sexually explicit images and used so much computing power that the PC would just stop.

"I could be sitting here in the living room reading a book," Seemayer said, "and I'd hear my son scream: 'It froze up on me again!' "

So when his son left for college in September, Seemayer finally unplugged.

Now when he uses his computer...

For more, click on the link provided...

Reply #1 Monday, January 17, 2005 8:37 AM
Good linked article. I am one of those who has begun cutting back on internet usage. First step was to scale back my high speed to the lowest offered. Next step will be to disconnect my home network from the highspeed modem and only allow one designated computer to have internet access. The final step will be to remove the internet connection completely and go back to being blissfully ignorant of Nigerian Letters, Cheap Canadian Drugs and Breast and Penis Enlargement Miracles.
Reply #2 Monday, January 17, 2005 11:24 AM
Truthfully, with proper habits and the right software, the users of todays, computers shouldn't have too much of a problem. It's the plug and go, folks that are suffering the brunt of all this spamvertisement, and spyware/ adware (at least that is what I think.) I have adaware+spybot SD, and use Firefox, this keeps me trouble free, and I use the standard Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail disposable accounts to buffer my actual email address. About the only spam I get is the bulk mailers, that spam entire name character ranges. I was dial-up for 7 years, moved to adsl 256/128 for 3 and just got my 3Mb line a month ago. I couldn't be happier, well actually... I am now (dare I say it????) TOO Fast... I run out of things to download, too quickly. In a weird sort of way. But at least the wife and daughter get some bandwidth now.

Getting back to it though. No matter how savvy, one is with their "net" practices, I thinks the actual culprit is content, and desesitization. If you travel the highways in real life, the experience is "Novel" for the first 100 or so Miles/Kilometers, then it becomes nothing more than background noise, to a destination. With no focus or "destination" then the trip becomes meaningless, and no matter the speed of the trip, getting there quicker, becomes pointless. Most folks on the web, are not "Net presence" minded. They get on, look for the quick Items, News, Chat, Movie Reviews/ Times, Maps, email, ebay... the small stuff, and go. They do not "dig" into the meat of the web, and get past the needed educational requirements to stay here, and not be bothered by the CRAP. Also I think there is a certain level of tolerence a "veteran" will deal with, and I mean the real veterans, not the wannabes'.
Reply #3 Tuesday, January 18, 2005 1:44 AM
You know, for someone who pretends to be tech savvy (first pong on the block, etc), this guy just seems like a clueless noob as far as I'm concerned. It only takes half a brain to learn how to not get virus infected all the time, and to filter out the worst of the spam. I spend no more than about 5 seconds a day dealing with spam - I simply scan a few headers looking for false positives, and hit "empty"..

As far as virii.. I've been computing since 1982, and online since 1990 in one form or another, and I've *never* been infected with a virus, despite hanging out in the "nether regions" of the net. This is because I use my brain, and always run updated virus checking, etc. Nor do I have a problem with spyware - because again, I use my brain. In fact, since my first IBM compatible computer in 1990, I can honestly say I haven't lost ANY personal data due to accident. I've lost a few program settings and savegames, due to neglecting to copy the right directories before a reinstall, but of my writing (which is voluminous), financial records, etc, I haven't lost a single byte in 15 years.

I have no sympathy for those who can't figure it out - the information is out there. Most people who have problems with virii and such simply have the attitude that doing something about it isn't worth their time. To me, what's not worth my time is cleaning up the aftermath - which is something I have to do on others machines all the time.
Reply #4 Tuesday, January 18, 2005 12:07 PM
Unfortunently our bias towards these types of ppl is insane here. We are some of the most tech savvy people available on the internet, we dont have problems and often people have come to us to fix their stuff. The average user doesnt believe they have to make 3 different email addresses to keep their inbox clean. They dont believe they need a seperate browser and other software downloaded from the internet to keep their computer running. As far as they know it should run perfectly straight out of the box, and to a certain extent it should.
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Reply #5 Tuesday, January 18, 2005 1:47 PM
you all have great points, but i do lean more to the side of the user who know how t protect themselves.

let me quote the movie spiderman, "with great power, come great reponsability"

with a T.V. set u have a cetain # of channels and whatever that network decides to show is what u have to watch, or u can shut off your T.V.

With a computer the possibilities are endless you can anywhere and do just about anything, with that said you should also know how to protect yourself if your going to join this world wide web.

If you the type of person who says "oh i want a computer, marcy down the street does" then u better know how to use, if u dont then i offer no sympathy to you.
Reply #6 Tuesday, January 18, 2005 3:08 PM
Cygnus' highways journey analogy has a ring of truth in my ears.

When you just start out on the Net, everything is new and fresh and you do actual surfing. You follow links from one place to another and stumble upon countless different sites. However, as time progresses, things get habitual and you start visiting certain sites more and more. Until, in the end, those sites are just about the only thing you ever visit, aside from the occasional quick google for info.

Hmm... I need to do some oldskool surfing again and explore what's out there.
Reply #7 Tuesday, January 18, 2005 7:21 PM
"StumbleUpon" is a great firefox extension for that kind of surfing, craeonics.. and I think there's an IE version if one is so inclined... though the idea of going to random sites in IE shivers me timbers.
Reply #8 Wednesday, January 19, 2005 2:23 PM
Nah, that's like watching a travel program instead of going out and discovering things yourself.

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