I think I’m a fairly trusting guy.
For the most part, anyway.
Probably not to the point of letting total strangers borrow my car or anything, but I’ll usually give someone the benefit of the doubt.
Having said that, it still wouldn’t surprise me to see my whole world laid bare in front of me as soon as tomorrow.
I’ll try to make it a quick story, prefaced by the fact that I’m not exactly a computer guru.
I went to write this column at the usual time — late evening of the deadline day. I was ready.
My computer had other ideas. The Word program I use would not open up.
It kept trying to do some sort of update, and then would say, in so many words: “Ain’t happening tonight, buddy. And here’s an error code just to make you feel like it’s your fault”.
I was about to give up and just open email and write the entire body of the column in the email that I would then forward it to the Tribune.
But then I’d lose the “word count” ability.
That’s how I gauge the proper length of a column — by the numbers of words used.
So, I decided to turn to the tried and true: Google.
A quick Google search of the error code revealed I wasn’t the first person to have this problem, and plenty of people were willing to help me fix it.
Try No. 1 was to follow instructions in a YouTube video.
I got into some sort of settings and changed my locale, being assured by the YouTube guy with a nice foreign accent it would fix my problem.
Next, I clicked on what ending up being some online chat method to solve my problem.
After answering a few questions and getting responses, the “assistant” was ready to forward me to the expert, and for just $1 to start with, we could get going.
I couldn’t hit the “X” button quick enough to get out of that pending robbery.
Try No. 3 was another site that actually led me back into my settings, but — miracle of miracles — this time it worked!
I told the computer to “repair” something.
Sure enough, a few minutes later a message popped up telling me to get to the work, my error was solved.
While patting myself on the back for being a crack computer repair technician who likely just saved $100 to have someone else fix it, the suspicious side of me kicked in.
You know, the side fed by years of hearing horror stories of hacked computers and lost information.
What if one of those friendly, advice-giving sites was actually a two-way street with some geek on the other end diving into my computer?
It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m driving past one of those ever-changing electronic billboards tomorrow that will say: “Here’s Russ’ computer-stored information.”
It will be a listing of all my passwords, shopping site information, bank accounts and more.
You, too, may soon have the information to access my bank account.
You won’t be able to do too much with $4.85, anyway.
I feel the need to commend a random act of kindness I witnessed recently.
There’s a street in my neighborhood that is undeveloped on one side and is on the route I frequently use while out on walks.
Lately, I’ve noticed it has been increasingly scattered with litter. Pop bottles, beer cans, fast food containers and a lot more.
Not a real pretty site, and easily overlooked by those speeding by.
One day last week I was driving by and what appeared to be a father and son — the son maybe not quite in his teens — walking that stretch and filling trash bags with the litter.
Having been familiar with the “before,” I can assure you the “after” of their effort was easy to see.
There was a car parked nearby, so I don’t think they lived in one of the adjacent houses.
They apparently decided just to take action. This wasn’t one of those “Adopt a Highway” crews.
They were clearly on their own.
I salute you — whoever you were.
Thanks for making that corner of the world a little better place.