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I noticed, and a couple of other people also noticed, that someone from Symantec posted a comment on a previous post, where I flamed Norton AntiVirus 2007. I’ll write a little more rationally this time. Before I continue, I’d like to say that it’s nice to see that they care so much about their public image customers. However, part of me thinks that their PR slush fund might be better spent on hiring more quality-assurance personnel.

Put simply, anti-virus software is only necessitated by the hoards of people who basically just click anything that moves. I’ve watched, transfixed, many times, as non-technical users use the Internet and check their mail. I just don’t understand.

Until recently, I too have considered anti-virus software to be the necessary yearly “Windows tax” that you’ve just got to pay… until it basically struck me that in the last couple of years, we’ve had no instances of virus infected files at all. In fact, because of our vigilance, we’ve also had no instances of spyware or adware at all in the last couple of years (as detected by Ad-Aware and Spybot). Our ROI on security software is… zero.

That’s why I didn’t take up their offer of free technical support. Even if I had a desire to work out what was going wrong, it would’ve taken too much trouble to switch uninstall AVG Free Edition (which is really good – low resource usage, and did I mention that it was free?) and reinstall NAV, and my subscription runs out about now (I was not intending to renew), so there would’ve been absolutely no point in fixing it anyway.

So, farewell Symantec. For those of you who are wondering what I use: AVG, Ad-Aware and Spybot on all machines; Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall on XP, the built-in firewall on Vista. (The firewall isn’t strictly necessary, because I have a router that blocks most incoming connections anyway.) I highly recommend all, and they’re all free.

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I can say with some confidence that that was probably the most stressful stuvac I had ever endured. A presentation, an assignment and then another assignment due the same day as the exam on the first Monday… I was surprised I did reasonably ok at the exam itself having only slept maybe 3 hours the night before? It would be nice if I could lay all the blame on the lecturers for putting everything together but I don’t think the fault is entirely theirs…

More bad things happening. Stuck without an umbrella in torrential rain. Laptop latch broken, requires screwdriver. Norton AntiVirus 2007 “upgrade” does funny things to computer, ditched in fury.*

I’m going back to bed. My next exam isn’t till next Tuesday.

Footnote: * I am never buying another Symantec product again.

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