I may be entirely atypical, but I consistently submit their survey each year
with the good, the bad, and the ugly all reported as honestly as I can. I
don't personally subscribe to the opinion that only self-selected and highly
opinionated replies with disgruntled consumers comprise their results. The
Lexus survey shows their car to be nearly perfect in terms of its aging
characteristics, and the opposite is true for some other brands, with every
type of good and bad in between.
I think there ***ARE*** valid indicators of quality and reliability, and I,
for one, would much rather buy a mattress which has withstood tens of
thousands of testing impacts without collapse rather than buy one which
falls apart in the same testing sequence. Ditto for most other items they
test. If anything, I would argue that a world of crappy products and even
crappier warrantees ***DEMANDS*** that consumers apply whatever selection
methods they can to make an informed decision. I categorically reject the
notion that complex and expensive items should be purchased ad hoc, or by
any "dumbed-down" method which entirely overlooks intrinsic design or build
For many items, the methods you recommend make a great deal of sense to me,
and I too use all of my own powers of observation to make the right choice.
The look, the feel, the heft, the fit, the finish, etc........ This
inspection approach is very useful, necessary, but not sufficient in many
cases however, since they are often far too superficial. I will entrust
somebody with good instruments to measure my future tires, mattresses, cars,
and many other items where the observations from eyes and hands are not
enough. Anecdotal opinions and past experience are both also very useful,
but again not enough to really answer the question for most purchases. As an
engineer, I will admit that I tend to sweat a lot of details and worry a lot
of nit-picking points, so I don't presume others have the time, inclination,
or technical interest / background to dissect and analyze some of this
stuff. And they are clearly entitled to their choices no more or no less
than I am.
antivirus, around 35 bucks/year for a 3-machine license on their web
site. I can legally use Symantec (aka Norton) from work, for free, but
after several problems with it fighting with windows, I said the hell
with it and went elsewhere. Between the PCTools and switching to
Firefox, no infections in close to a year (knock on plastic).
I had some problems in the past with McAfee AV as apparently my comp
was catched by a virus that first attacked the AV program :-( Then
I installed the free version of Avira AntiVir and since one year I
never had a problem with a virus attack again. It΄s really worth to
give it a try.
The program can be downloaded here: www.free-av.com
An other page that is worse to visit is
There you can browse in a database of 260,000 clerical/office
administrative job offers to find what you are looking for.
It can be hard, I think, to find the free version on their website.
One has to get past 2 or 3 screens that offer the paid version, and
iirc one has to click on a link that isn't named "free version" but
something else altogether. But it's there.
I have been using the free version of AVG for probably 10 years. Seems to
work well enough for me. It is hard to find the free version, but I do use
it on Win 98 and Win XP systems.
I always thought most anything Norton's as a virus of somekind. Same thing
I personally prefer Eset Smart Security (www.eset.com), but Kaspersky
would be my second choice. Check around for bargains on Kaspersky -
IIRC, Best Buy (or was it Circuit City?) had it on sale for $40 this
"Try before you buy" to:
a) As you say, check if you like the interface,
b) make sure it doesn't grind your system to a halt,
c) make sure there are no incompatibilities with software on your
As to how well (or if) it's working - you can start with an eicar test
(http://www.eicar.org/anti_virus_test_file.htm ) and GRC's leaktest
(http://www.grc.com/lt/leaktest.htm ). There are more advanced tests you
can try, too, though I don't have any bookmarks handy to cite.
I also suggest reading the av-comparatives web site:
The Rexwain version of this (text snipped) was 70 bytes long, and when
I had the AVG anti-virus program repair this file, it deleted all 70
bytes, because they are the string that the anti-virus programs alert
on, and it left me with a 0 byte file.
Maybe I have the prefeerences set a little differently on this
installation of AVG from what I used before.
I use McAfee and a program called CyberScrub to get rid of those nasty
cookies and other downloads that clog up the system. It also cleans out the
history folder so no one can see where you have been. It can also wipe out
your hard drive if your not careful. They have a free full version trial.
On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 12:53:18 -0500, "Steve Barker DLT"
I've used Avast (free for home use) for years. www.avast.com
They sell corporate versions and advance personal versions, but the
basic antvirus is free for home use. Their statement is that the only
way to win against the bad guys, or at least keep up, is if every
computer has good antivirus, and that's why they offer the basic
version for free. I think that's an admirable position, and if it
also gets them paying customers...well everyone's got to eat.
No one's ever heard of it, but it works well for me. Updates at least
once a day, hasn't caused any compatibility problems, and doesn't bog
my system. Hard to judge effectiveness, but after using it on three
always on, always connected systems for years, no infections yet.
I gave Norton and Mcaffe the boot years ago
On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 12:53:18 -0500, "Steve Barker DLT"
I have used Kaspersky AV on our seven systems for the last
four years or so. I could not be happier with the product.
I would not even consider any Norton, or Symantec product
for a few reasons:
Prior to KAV, we had Norton.
One day, I noticed that one of our systems had a flag
telling us that our NAV license was about to expire. I
clicked to run though an automatic renewal process.
Within a day or two, the same thing happened on a few of our
other machines, but only after renewing three or four of
them did I notice a problem:
The warning was actually telling us that the licenses were
to expire in thirty days, but when we renewed, we received
and automatically installed a license that started on the
day of the installation.
In other words, Symantec had found a way to "eat" a month of
It was extremely sleazy to say the least.
But that is only part of the problem:
I called Symantec and requested a full refund on our
purchases. After some hassling, we got the refund.
But then, removing the products proved to be all but
impossible despite using the many "removal" tools Symantec
When the software had been partially removed we started
getting frequent error messages relating to a Norton
Anti-Worm tool that we had never purchased, and had never
Still, Symantec could not provide a way to remove all traces
of their products.
So, I would certainly not purchase one of their products
I should also add that (at least in the form we purchase)
Kaspersky is very modest in cost when compared to other
All the best,
was using was no longer supported. Okay, no biggie. But then when I
bought and "installed" the new version, the new version would not work
because some of the new version conflicted with the old version. Okay,
small biggie but still mainly annoying. So I used the old version's
"uninstall" then fired up the new version again only to get most of the
previous conflicts. Called Symantec and spent about 4 hours (nearly 7
total) taking out bits and pieces by hand from all over the hard drive.
That was the end of my having ANYTHING to do with any software company
with an "s" in the name (g).
<stirring things up>
BTW I am VERY happy with my new AV software. OS X!
</stirring things up>
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