Steve Baker: ‘If you liked Washington Mutual at higher prices don’t you have to absolutely love it now that it appears to have come off of a bottom? Also I note the Jan 2010 20 leaps are priced at $5.00 Bid $5.50 Asked. Now surely to God, after a year of new administration that couldn’t possibly be worse at managing the economy than this administration, things should be better. On top of the fact that they should at least be part if not mostly through working out the current problems.’

☞ Well, it’s definitely an interesting speculation, as is the stock itself, which at recent prices is another plunge I’ve taken myself. But before plunging yourself, be sure to read another side to the story:

Sophie Spence: ‘In case it hadn’t come to your attention: Executive Privilege Trumps Shareholder Interests. (Also: my husband’s company was acquired by Symantec. I feel your pain.)’


Alvin P. Bluthman: ‘I am dropping most of my Symantec products (all but their password management program, which I cannot replace anywhere else). The reason is more basic than any problems with their software – as an AOL subscriber, I get their chief competitor’s security program FREE. You should look into it.’

Nathan Johansen: ‘Love the comments on Norton, because while the initial premise behind what it was useful for was, well, actually useful, it’s since morphed into something that causes more problems and wastes more time and money than any actual virus or Internet attack that it’s supposed to prevent is likely to cause. That said, for the past four or so years, I’ve been using this free software called AVG for virus scanning and related concerns. It works. Simply. Unobtrusively. And for free. Did I mention it works? It kills me that so many people pay very good money to have the false sense of protection that comes from fancy packaged software, when the real deal, as is the case in many aspects of life, is available free of charge.’

Frank Alejano: ‘I’ve been running AVG’s free anti-virus software for a while now. It gets updated regularly, and I’ve yet to get hit by any sort of nastiness, so either it’s good or I’m too tame with my websurfing. This, combined with the also-free Ad-Aware, seems to get the job done.’

Katie Ferguson: ‘A reasonably good antivirus software (and FREE to boot) is AVG by Grisoft. You have the option of purchasing a more complex version, but I’ve used the free stuff for years and have been very satisfied. It automatically updates itself every day. Note that it is for home users only.’

Dick Theriault: ‘I didn’t bother responding to your anti-Symantec rant because (1) I knew others would and (2) having always had a Mac, I left Symantec in the polluted gutter where it belongs some years back. They used to make good stuff for both platforms, but the Mac software, especially SystemWorks, started doing actual damage to the machines instead of good maintenance. To most Mac users these days the words Norton and Symantec are reminiscent of [amusing expletive-dependent joke deleted]. There was a time when Symantec was a fine company and marketed good software. I reviewed much of their early product, and had a good, respectful relationship with the Mac team. Either power corrupted, or the ability to ‘snow-job’ the Windows world took over, but there’s no question they should have been put out of business years ago. Delighted to see some Windows users call a spade a spade.’

☞ My own Symantec complaints aren’t even about the products, as such.

A month ago, I described my frustration at getting an e-mail telling me my annual virus protection – for a computer I no longer use – was being automatically renewed unless I clicked a link . . . and then clicked the link only to be asked for some 25-digit code they didn’t need, but that someone must have realized most people wouldn’t have, so that they can’t cancel.

But what drove me over the edge last week was the Norton 360 on-line storage service. It’s a great idea and something I badly wanted: it would back up all the files I designated and store them in a mountain vault someplace far from fire or flood; and then keep updating any files that I changed.

The VERY short form of my misery is that the standard 2 gigabytes of storage wasn’t enough so I bought 30 gigabytes more – as easy as a couple of clicks – at which point you might think, my credit card having been charged, the ‘available storage’ in my account would show 32GB instead of 2GB.

But oh, how wrong – how wildly, excruciatingly, absurdly, time-wastingly, want-to-scream wrong – you would be.


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