I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.
Our New Year is starting out quietly. I think it’s pretty normal for people the age of King and I to kind of lay low on New Year’s Eve. But the fact of the matter is, our New Year’s Eve celebrations have been rather low key since 1978, when we started spending the tradition of ringing in the New Year playing Trivial Pursuit with my parents and my sister Donna. Ringing in the New Year has become less and less of a celebration with each passing year. The last time we celebrated with family was in 2000 when we were waiting to see if the world was going to end. (Remember, no one knew what computers were going to do when computer clocks turned over to 2000).
Last night I think we were both in bed by 8 p.m.
And today, New Year’s Day, it’s been even more quiet. The boys are with their father, our daughter is spending the weekend with friends and King spent the afternoon watching U of M football, drinking beer and smoking cigars in the trailer. I had no desire to watch football or him, so I headed over to our daughter’s apartment. For the first time in years (I think) I’ve had an entire day all to myself. Blissful solitude. It doesn’t happen very often.
It’s a good start to the New Year, as 2023 ended with near disaster (slight exaggeration).
Late last week I fell victim to an internet scam. Our children got me a small printer for Christmas. I’d been looking at them for quite some time, and our oldest son (the computer whiz) was usually with me when I was looking. He helped the rest of the kids pick out what I wanted.
Anyway, it took me a few days after Christmas to get around to installing the printer. I started working on it Friday of last week. Thinking I was on the Hewlet Packard website (it certainly LOOKED like the HP site), I started to download a printer driver and got an error message. A pop-up window came up with a chat box and I started chatting with a bot, who (that?) said the error message was one she (it?) was not familiar with and would have a tech call me. The call came less than two minutes later (should have been a warning sign right then). I’m not sure what transpired next but within less than a minute he had accessed my computer and was telling me I had all kinds of malware, spyware and trojan horses. I watched as he went through my files (and looking back, the things he was telling me were malicious files were actually .exe files). Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. I know.
Finally, he gave me a low, low price of $199.00 to fix my computer. I said no. He then offered the low, low price of $140.00 to fix it. At this point I told him I’d turn the computer off and have a “friend” in Michigan fix it later this spring (that would be my son). He said that no ordinary tech could fix the malicious viruses contaminating my computer. I actually told him, “Well, then I’ll take the damn thing outside, roll my truck over it and buy a new one.”
The “tech” ended the call rather abruptly and I called my son who said, “Oh good grief Mom, you let him access your computer?” By that point I was fairly certain I had done a very dumb thing anyway. Our son confirmed it.
In the aftermath, I ran a virus scan, and nothing came up. But my son walked me through wiping the computer and I spent the rest of the afternoon changing ALL my passwords. That’s a chore in and of itself.
Later that evening I re-tried hooking up the printer. It worked. I even got it to hookup wirelessly to my phone. I feel like a pro now, except for the stupidity of earlier in the day.
I’ll use the printer for occasionally downloading/printing tax documents and the like, but mostly I’ll be printing embroidery patterns. I have a feeling I’m going to be spending 2024 embroidering pillow tops. At least that’s the mood I’m in right now and it appears it will be safer than electronic nonsense.