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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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