I just finished my 7th computer sort-out of the year. This time it was an interesting re-direct virus that the classic tools like Superantispyware and Malwarebytes wouldn't even detect. In general, the computer performed normally - well, normal for Windows Vista on an under-resourced laptop - but some sites were out of bounds (Majorgeeks, for example) and none of the onboard safeware programs would update or, for that matter, do their jobs. It took me about an hour of Googling the various error messages to track down the immediate cause and cure (Kaspersky Lab's removal tool). Then, I was another 3 hours or so updating and rebuilding the computer's safe guards.
I enjoy doing this kind of thing. I set the infected computer up beside my own laptop, put on some tunes, dig out a manual or two, and then get to researching and copying files with a flashdrive. I always learn something new, and I get a kick out of returning a newly cleaned and streamlined PC to its owner. (If I'm feeling especially cheerful, I load them up with David Bowie tunes and episodes of the second season of Red Dwarf.)
But I also wonder, each time this happens, how on earth distance education is supposed to work for people with weak problem solving skills or a poor knowledge of computers or just general reading challenges. The last two laptops I worked on belonged, respectively, to someone who would score as an IALS Level 1 learner and someone with two B.A.s and a Master's degree. What they had in common was a lack of background knowledge and experience - well, that and teenage kids who lacked a certain measure of online caution.
Maybe that's the question: Do online distance learning environments work for adults with teenagers in their house?
In other news, we did three - count 'em, three - Christmas parties last weekend. One more to go. Also, I've been learning how to tweak the new Facebook profile - which, by the way, may require you to reset some privacy settings. Just FYI.
Too, I've been spending some more time with video-making stuff. And, I've been watching the Wikileaks story unfold, reading a bit of history, and started the Lord of the Rings again.
Along with, you know, classes and tutoring and bookwagon and stuff.