1 Nov 2014

And Then, So Far So Good….

After all the bad stuff wot got inside my laptop, and to further qualify my response to Mr Ripper’s comment, I thought I’d better attempt to vindicate myself with a better description of the actions wot took me to the sorry pass of a couple of days ago. Is this going to be boring? Probably, but it may prevent others falling into the free key trap.

Back in the early days of the Web when I was young – okay, less old than wot I am today and yet less old than I’ll be tomorrow, assuming I wake up, with the advent of downloadable software, several web sites became available below the radar. These sites, under the guise of try before you buy, offered the same software for free.

Basically, back then, these guys were just putting cracked software out there to show off their ‘talents’ and expose the holes left by the original programmers. To give these hacker kiddies their due there was always a text file with instructions for installing and a comment along the lines of, ‘If you find this software useful please purchase a license from the original vendor.’ It almost became the accepted way to try un-crippled programs and shareware before purchasing. Most software downloaded back then was pretty ropy and quickly deleted but, personally, any software I tried, found useful and kept, I would later purchase. The programmers were trying to make a living and support development, right?

Over time, and with the advent of online banking and such, the showing-off hacked software business was consumed by really, really naughty fellows and it gets worse with every passing day I’m sure.

This brings me to my recent debacle.

I like, and use quite frequently, mind mapping software and have an application on the Nexus which cost  the very acceptable price of free. I won’t drop names, but if you’re still here there may be a clue somewhere in this post. On my laptop I have a different program which won’t save maps in a format readable by the tablet application without saving in differing formats and vicky-vercky. No big deal, but……

That’s when I found the Android application was available for Windows. What could be better? Work on maps on whichever and synchronise across devices. I need a bit o’ that thought I.

In the search results, what I was looking for was right at the top of course but way down there was a download site that promised the unrestricted software to try. That’ll do for me I said to me and, although I hear a voice whispering, “Don’t do it Buddy.” I done did download it.

The package included a key generator. These, if you don’t know, generate a key which can be used to register the software and thus ‘postpone’ the paying process. And this is where my simple mind, ah-ha!, failed me even though I was aware of the modern day pitfalls. The warning from my brain was way too late arriving at my clicky digit, the damage was done and I let slip the viruses of doom!

With things now back to what passes for normal with computers, today I purchased the Windows software and upgraded the Android application to pro. The application may well have the handle ‘pro’ but I, on the other hand, be anything but.

I may have purchased in haste and should possibly have waited for the release of ‘Mind Mapping for the Feeble Minded’.

Quote;  Kevin Mitnick.

“Hackers are breaking the systems for profit. Before, it was about intellectual curiosity and pursuit of knowledge and thrill, and now hacking is big business.”


Ripper said...

Well Mac, it doesn't seem that the mind mapping was of much use to you on this occasion!

An alternative would have been to see if there is a filetype converter available, it depends what formats the two programs use.

Either that, or restrict your cracked software downloading to bit torrent. That way, if you read the comments before downloading, fake files and malware are quickly identified. Also pass it through an antivirus/malware scanner BEFORE you unpack it for installing.

Mac said...

“Well Mac, it doesn't seem that the mind mapping was of much use to you on this occasion!”

Ain’t that the truth! And I agree with everything else you say.

The sad thing is I knew what was going to happen. It must be an age thing.....

Back in the day I admit to being a bit of a software nut and past computers were loaded up with, “Oh wow! This program’s great!!” And great it was for a couple of days, after which, it just sat there unused and cluttering the place up. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

I now keep my machines pretty lean an’ mean which is good until I make a rare wrong click in a blink. ‘Engage brain to avoid pain’ as they say.

If you’re interested, a run-down; SoftMaker Office {Lightweight and fast}, WordWeb, Windows Live Writer {Blogging}, Irfan View {Image}, PhotoFiltre {Basic image editing}, Pot Player {Media}, FastStone Capture, Freemaker {Media converter}, Firefox, Roboform, Essential PIM {I like the calendar year view}, Foxit PDF Reader, POP Peeper {Check mail on server}, Revo Uninstaller, Windows Defender {I know}, CCleaner, KeyScrambler, Malwarebytes and SUPERAntiSpyware. And not forgetting the recent, aptly named, Simple Mind.....

Mac said...

....and True Launch Bar.

Ripper said...

Thanks for that Mac, there's a few things in there I'll try out. Meanwhile, there are a couple of items in your list that I can improve on. And its all freeware.

IrfanView = FastStone Image Viewer
PhotoFiltre = Paint.NET (with plugins)
Pot Player = Media Player Classic Home Theatre
Freemaker (doesn't work for me) = Format Factory (during installation decline the bundled stuff, craps all over Freemake, read the help file for functions, it will surprise you)

The most effective antivirus at the moment is in fact Win Defender (Security Essentials on Win7).

For recovery (lost passwords etc), the Trinity Rescue Disk.

Mac said...

Thanks right back at ya. I'll give your suggestions a run and I hope you find something you like in my list.
Win Defender seems pretty cool now but it certainly used to get hammered.
I also go to Shields Up, [all service ports], once a week to check for firewall leaks.
Be well my friend.