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3/3/2004
01:54 PM
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The Privacy Lawyer: Mad as *&%$ And Not Gonna Take It Anymore!

Parry Aftab sounds off about the things she hates about computers, traveling with one, and the wired world in general. Let her know your pet peeves, too.

I get E-mails. (Boy, do I get E-mails!) Sometimes I get more than 1,000 a day. (If you add the spam, I get about 3,000 a day.) I guess that gives you a clue about one of my pet peeves ... spam!

Then again, when traveling and having to access E-mail from my hotel, I hate dial-ups! (I was in Auckland, New Zealand, last week and had 22,000-Kbps dial-up access at $1.12 per minute. It took four hours to download my E-mails and five minutes to send a quick text-only E-mail.)

But perhaps having to use Web-access for my EarthLink E-mail account annoys me even more. With anything other than clean broadband, the loading of the banner ads with cute little animations takes more time and bandwidth than I have. I hate EarthLink's Web-access for E-mail! I also hate cute little banner ads that hog my bandwidth!

I hate pop-ups, too! I also hate pop-unders and anywhere else they want to insert a pop-whatever! While we're at it, I hate Viagra ads and penis-enlargers and Paris Hilton video promotions. I hate spoofed E-mails and attempts to phish my financial information. I hate unsolicited instant messages pretending to be from someone I know.

I hate that when I mistype, I end up at a site I didn't want to visit. I hate search-engine results that are loaded with keyword purchases and don't give me what I want. I hate the fact that a large percentage of my E-mails are never delivered to or from me. I hate that I can't open an attachment without worrying that it's either a Trojan horse or a virus or some new kind of malicious code. I hate that my Palm Pilot is now at risk for viruses and that I'm getting porn ads on my cell phone. I don't like being tracked without my OK, or in-my-face porn, unless I'm looking for it.

I hate it when I type in the wrong URL and end up on some directory site that slams my home page, changing it to the directory page. I hate that game and cheat-code sites have so many spyware downloads and don't first get my permission. I hate that they try to pretend that my clicking on the "OK" for their terms of use or licensing agreements is an OK for installing a download. I hate that I can't get Microsoft's Messenger program off of my computer without manually editing my registry!

I hate that kids are being sued for downloading music without authorization, but Apple and others are selling MP3 players with 10,000-song capacities! (Know anyone who has that many "legal" songs?) I hate that our kids are expected to "ignore" or "just delete" violent hard-core porn or hate messages. I hate that wireless is so unsecure! I hate when Windows tells me I need their XP disc to add or remove something! (I hate when any software makes me look for the install discs!)

I hate laptops with touchpads that screw up everything I type when my finger brushes against the touchpad, or I breathe, or I swallow, or I hear a sound, or a tree falls in the woods and no one is there.

I hate that I can't book a hotel on Priceline.com on the same day I need the room, or the day before. I hate that my favorite travel auction site doesn't have a bid proxy application, and I have to keep checking back and manually update my bid. I hate that so many people are selling counterfeit goods online, especially to my daughter on eBay.

I hate the fact that my hotel (claiming to have wireless broadband throughout the hotel), doesn't have it in my suite, apparently. And now I'm sitting and typing at the front desk, barefoot, happy that I am one of a mere few guests and can sit here undisturbed, and I've finally found where I can get wireless (or anything other than the 22,000 dial-up I found in Auckland). I hate that the hotel can advertise that they have wireless broadband everywhere, and I'm forced to sit here in the lobby at 4:15 a.m.

I hate that ranting maniacs often are the only ones posting on my favorite listservs. I hate the noise that disrupts all the good things online. I hate when I finish the best column I've ever written, or the first chapter of my new book, that my wandering thumb, or breath, or the tree falling in the forest strikes, and it's deleted and my backup didn't pick it up. I hate when I misaddress a personal E-mail and my landscaper has to tell me that he's sure that my passionate E-mail was intended for someone else, otherwise he had underestimated how important my flower beds are to me.

I hate that I need five rechargers when I travel: one for my Palm, one for my BlackBerry, one for my cell phone, one for my MP3 player, and one for my computer. I hate that when I remember to bring my plane computer-charger adapter, the plane doesn't have powered seat outlets. I hate that when I don't bring it, everyone else is typing away and playing games and using the outlets I can never find when I need them. I hate when I remember my adapter and the plane has outlets that I always forget the tip that fits this laptop.

It's funny how much I hate these things, but I could never live without the Internet or portable computing. It's clearly a love/hate relationship. What about you? What do you hate? Let me know at parry@aftab.com. Over the coming weeks, I'll share your rants here at my column. Let me know if I should keep your rants anonymous. It's time we take back the Net!


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit the Talk Shop.

To find out more about Parry Aftab, please visit her page on the Listening Post.

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