Everything Has A Cost by Nancy Brophy

We delude ourselves about privacy on-line, ignore every indication that no matter how much we follow the cautionary rules, facts are against us. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on murdering your husband. My email is now filled with information from divorce attorneys. Maybe murder your husband is a trigger for lawyers like certain bombsites attract the Government.

I also get nefarious emails entitled ‘where black people meet’. Does the Internet think I’m a spy? Black people, rest assured, your secret meeting places are safe with me.

While I haven’t been single for years over-fifty dating site invitations find their way into my in-box with a smiling man who winks at me. Is it cheating if the guy is pixel-manufactured?

Because I once expressed an interest, every site I now visit, even cremation of a love one, has an ad for wall beds. Stoves and lighting fixtures follow me from my house remodel month ago. Opportunity knocks only once, but if you are in the market for a larger body part, that offer is never-ending. And while I’m sure they know more than I do, I don’t really think I need a bigger penis.

For certain sites an Internet connection is not really required. I’m sure Amazon and Ebay will allow you to make purchases whether you are on-line or not. With the constant technological changes happening exponentially, it will only be a question of time before visualization shopping is a reality.

Someone in my writing group asked how one could search for erotic photos for book covers without having porn sites stalk you. I don’t know the answer.  According to television, women who offer themselves as an “escort service” have websites. I assume men do, too.  How would one find a website without loading their computer with porn-esque material. If I were a public official, how would I keep my computer clean? Does anybody oversee downloads? Is that how the lawyer at SEC got away with hours of viewing porn?

Other countries aren’t like this. I met an American woman who lived in Vietnam and worked for a culinary company that purchased Asian equipment for stores like Sur La Table. The initials of the company were CIA. She cautioned us to not make jokes in her email about the CIA because the Vietnamese government read everyone of the emails. Believe me, I’m not advocating a different government system.

Occasionally I stumble upon a site that I really don’t want to see (and I’m not that squeamish). One of the local radio station’s call sign is KINK. I was looking for tickets for some event the station was sponsoring. The Internet took me to Torture.com. I had to blind myself with hot coals to get the images out of my mind. There is a chasm of difference between erotica and porn. No matter how few clothes you have on, torture is not a turn-on to me.

And yet without the Internet I wouldn’t be published. I wouldn’t be blogging and trying to establish that I’m an author worth reading. But with every undertaking I let another piece of my soul escape into cyberspace and understand exactly why certain primitive cultures refused to have their picture taken.

How have you solved this problem?


Posted on December 9, 2011, in General and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You are abso-freakin’ right, Nancy-someone could make a fortune on a better tool for avoiding spam!



  2. Good tips, Maggie. I know I can put some of them to work immediately.


  3. As a tech person, I know there is a solution but it all comes at a price. 🙂 The first line of spam protection lies in whoever hosts your email. Some services are better than others. Of the free ones, I’ve found gmail to be the most reliable. If you are running your email through whoever provides your website, then you are beholding to whatever spam software they use. Good anti-spam software at the host level is expensive–but like most things you get what you pay for. But nothing is fool proof.

    The second line of protection is a good anti-virus program that also checks the Internet. It will stop popups and tracking. In both WIndows and Safari or Lion there are parameters that can be set that allow cookies but not tracking. The trade off is that it slows down your speed because it checks all the time. The other trade off is that some programs don’t play nice with anti-virus software. For me, it is absolutely necessary. Personally, I’m a fan of McAffee, but Norton is also good.

    The third line of defense is to list sites to be blocked. Whenever I get an email from an advertiser I don’t want to see anymore I block it. Each program does this in a different way. Look at the HELP for your email program and see how it works.

    Finally, I also have a throw away email address I use whenever I’m doing purchasing online. So, if I’m going to buy a bed I use a throw away gmail account. If I’m going to the Victoria Secret site (like I do that all the time. 🙂 ) I use my throw away gmail account. That is an email account that I can shut down whenever it gets crazy and that isn’t connected to anything important in my life. With the plethora of free email accounts (gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail, etc.) there is every reason to have a throw away account not connected with your daily business.


  4. For this reason, surely books will never go away. Research without getting spammed 🙂 When your computer dies, doesn’t it make you want to have a memorial service?


  5. I spend half my life hitting the delete button on emails, Kim, so I know how you feel. There is supposed to be better spam protection than I’ve got, but it you have to weed through spam to see if anything got shuffled to the wrong folder, what good is it?

    Jessie, I lost my logic board a couple of years ago. The repair guy kept saying it was something else, but I argued long enough that he actually looked at the problem. It was easier to buy a new computer than fix that one. Easier, just not cheaper.

    Thanks to both of you for responding. Nancy CB


  6. Very timely post for me. As you may know, my computer died on Friday. When the repair guy said my hard drive had died, I couldn’t believe him, I was sure that my computer was infested with viruses and malware. I couldn’t believe that a computer could get to the point where it would die of natural causes.

    Sorry Nancy – no solution yet.


  7. Oh, Nancy, I feel your pain. I just recently did something I freaking know better than to do and now I can get up to 70 spam messages a day – captured in Spam but my gosh, that’s a lot of spam. So much I’m having to decide to get rid of my email that I’ve had for over 15 years and that people, including industrial professionals, know me by. Sigh. As writers, we can’t help but get into sites that track us like hounds. One thing you can do is clear you cookies but if you do that, then you clear the ones you want. Maybe it’s worth the hassle. Until then, you, like me and millions of others, get to have the joy of getting our boxes flooded with spam. This is the downside to having so much at our fingertips, isn’t it? Someone could make a lot of money figuring out how to prevent this. 😀


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