Mar 12, 2012

I'm Back, Did you Miss Me?

One by one things were going wrong, and at one point it was like I never existed.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I'm Back, Did you Miss Me?
No Malware
I'm back, did you miss me? Or, did you even know I was gone all day?

What a wild and wacky day.

It started early this morning when I was trying to explain to Carole Larkin that there was something wrong with my computer, and thingd were going kind of awry.

That particular conversation related to Google Talk. It appeared to the world for the last week that I was nowhere to be found. The problem was, I am right here, and I didn't know that no one could see me or get to me via talk. I guess you could say, I was in the dark.

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After talking to Carole things only got worse, and then worser (you know what I mean).

I kept getting this little dialog box that was asking me to sign into something unknown. My Google sync indicated that I had a problem and as a result, nothing was syncing.

Little things kept going wrong one by one. I couldn't log into Gmail using my existing password. I had to go through a two step process to get that back.

At that point, everything seemed okay with one exception, I kept getting the unwanted dialogue box on my screen. It seemed like it was tempting me to do something bad, like sign in. Even when I signed in, nothing happened. This was when mild paranoia started to set in. I signed on and off and on, and I couldn't get rid of it.

And then it happened.

I tried to sign into Amazon Associates and was informed that my account didn't exit. My regular Amazon account was also gone. It was like I never existed as far as Amazon was concerned.

Try sending an email to Amazon for an account that doesn't exist. I tried, no ping back.

Next I went on Amazon and chatted with someone online. No real help.

Next I called Amazon. The person couldn't help because they had no clue about Amazon Associates, and tada, my account didn't exist. I was told they would get to it in the next 24 hours. I have a pretty big Amazon Associates account by the way.

Next I called and talked to someone in sales. They were very helpful. Even though my account no longer existed. Finally, I was transfered to someone at Amazon Associates. They finally determined that I did in fact have an account. They asked if I had read the email they sent me. A check of my email, spam, bulk, and notification files showed no email from Amazon.

Did I tell you by this time I was convinced my computer was being hijacked?

Finally, I got to this special secret person at Amazon who put me back in business. I now have an Amazon password that I should be able to memorize in the next month or so.

Did I mention, all of that Amazon stuff took 3 hours.

You might be thinking, congratulations Bob you solved your problem. Not really.

I still had the sign on box from nowhere and I could not get rid of it.

I just couldn't take it anymore. I unplugged my computer tower, and headed off to the, tada,

the Geek Squad.

Yes, I had Dotty in tow with me. She variously told me "this was the price I had to pay for playing with my computer all day", "you would be better off if you were poor like me", and, "how much did you say its gonna cost"?

I was lucky, they weren't busy at the Geek Squad. Geek number one started checking out my computer. Finally she says, I never saw this before, so I have to go in the back and look something up. I think this is code for I have to go in the back and talk to the head Geek.

Nothing worked. The sign on box was still there.

By now I am thinking my bank account is going to be wiped out and not only is Dotty going to be poor, I am going to be poor.

Fortunately, they were not busy and I asked for the head Geek.

He comes out, starts pounding away on the keyboard and asking me questions at the same time.

Finally, walla, gone.

Of course, I start asking do you think I have a Botnet. Which is basically a bad news robot taking control of my computer, and ultimately, my life.

He assures me, I am good to go.

Well if I am good to go, how come I am worried?

Recap. My Gmail password wouldn't work and I had to change it through a two step process. My two Amazon accounts disappeared off the face of the earth for more than three hours.

And I had that dialogue box until about an hour ago.

Dotty made out alright, she got some french fries and a coffee. Only 14 minutes to go until rice pudding time.

I'll be back in business in the morning. However, I will have some feelings of trepidation when I turn on the computer. I hope the "box" is not back.

PS -- things are not quite back to normal but I am working on it.

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