The Internet is a
marvel of our modern age. You can find information on almost any subject
by doing a search on one of the search engines like Google
free of charge except for the price of your connection to the Internet.
You can even have the connection for free with a number of sites like Juno
or Netzero. Granted
you wonít get the speed of the cable modem but you get what you pay for.
You can even use the computers at your local library but then why go to
a library to surf the net? Read a book instead.
You can look up the spelling and pronunciation, with sound, at the Microsoft
Dictionary site as well as the Merriam-Webster
site. There is also a thesaurus, encyclopedia and atlas available as well.
There are sites that will show you how to build a tree house or research
your family tree. Anything you want is available and therein lies the problem
with the net.
The openness and availability of information on the Internet can also
get you in trouble. I have talked about spyware in the past but we need
to get into the specifics of how these programs get into your system. There
are programs that are made to keep tabs on your surfing activity but they
are installed by the user for different reasons.
One way is by going to a site, downloading and installing the software.
Other software will be installed with what is called an ActiveX
control. This is a pop up window that asks you if you want to download
and install a certain program. You can get these pop up boxes just by going
to a site. You might think that you have to install the software to view
the site but this is usually not the case.
One such program is called Gator eWallet. It includes a login and form
helper for remembering login names and passwords as well as your personal
info for Web forms. The problem with gator is that when you install it,
you also install another program called OfferCompanion. This program watches
the sites that you surf and pops up ads based on where you go. Just what
we need, more pop up ads. When you install Gator eWallet, you are agreeing
to install the other software as well. The software is always running in
the background, makes changes to your browser settings and can connect
to the Internet by itself if you allow your computer to connect automatically.
Another program that gets installed is called New.net. It is installed
with the same type of ActiveX control. You have to agree to install the
program. This program also makes changes to your browser settings, connects
to the Internet by itself, stays resident in the background and also hides
itself from the user. Here is what the company says about their software.
|The software application you are installing enables
your system to recognize New.net domain names. This software also contains
other functionality that enhances Internet browser navigation, facilitates
delivery of content to your computer and enables automatic updates of the
This sounds like something that you might need to continue on your Internet
journey, but I can guarantee you that not having it will not slow you down.
In fact having the software will definitely slow you down. If you install
enough of these spyware programs you are going to slow your system down
to a crawl. These are only two examples of hundreds that are out there.
There are also many that will do much more damage to your system than these.
Letís look at this at a very elementary level. If you have 10 of these
programs installed on your system, every time you go to a Web page, your
browser has to tell each of these programs the information that they are
requesting from it. All of these requests for information take up time
as well as system resources. I can tell you from experience that 10 is
not a very high number. This is one of the easiest ways to speed up your
system. Get rid of the junk. Or better yet, donít install the junk in the
When you get the urge to download and install that great new piece of
software, take a moment to find out if it is a known spyware program. This
will save you the headache of trying to get rid of it later. You can lookup
the programs at spywareguide. They
have a database with what seems to be a very current list of spyware programs
and explanations of what they do to your system as well as how to get rid
If you will take the time to lookup potential programs first you can
keep your system from having the slowdown that it might have had. It is
a lot easier to keep your system clean than it is to clean up afterwards.
There are too many good things available on the Internet to waste your
time on programs that will mess your system up. Donít install a program
without checking it out first.