My friend Bryan Norcross turned me onto this. It is a free, quick way to identify and remove the Trojan programs that have been placed on your system to pepper you with more pop-up ads. I don’t claim to be any sort of expert in this, except to say that it was as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Click here to visit the Lavasoft website. The program you want to download is called Ad-Aware Version 5.83, which you will see prominently featured.

2. Download it. There are instructions and a section of Frequently Asked Questions you may want to read first. (You select the site from which you want to download it – I chose the PC Magazine site, but you might choose C-NET or any of the others.)

3. Run it.

Ad-Aware scans your hard-drive and soon presents you with a list of these unwanted Trojan programs. It found 138 on Bryan’s computer. I had 40. You then check the ones you want to delete – all of them, in my case and Bryan’s – and, zip-zip, they’re gone. This can only be good.


You are investors. I’m an investor. In Arthur Levitt, S.E.C. chairman under Bill Clinton, we had a terrific friend and advocate. In Harvey Pitt, his successor, it’s less clear what we got. But whatever you may think of the S.E.C. leadership mess (Pitt resigned; both the S.E.C. and the new accounting oversight board that he tapped William Webster to lead are leaderless) . . . there is the lack of resources. The S.E.C. is underfunded and understaffed. Reported the New York Times on its front page last Sunday: ‘Two of the most important units of the 3,100-person commission, its enforcement division and its office of compliance inspections, are understaffed by hundreds of officials, experts say, sharply limiting their effectiveness.’ The same can be said for the new accounting standards board – and, for that matter, the IRS.

There are some places it makes little sense to scrimp. Keeping the S.E.C. (or the I.R.S.) understaffed is good if you or someone you love is into insider trading or misleading the public (or not paying his taxes). But it is bad for folks like you and me. W. and the Republican Congress are on the wrong side of this one.


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