Thursday, March 24, 2011


I encountered two scary bugs on Monday, March 21st while my husband was out of town working. For some reason, problems seem a lot scarier when you're alone.

After spending the entire day in the city gathering supplies, meeting appointments, etc., I arrived home to find a huge alert message on my screen. It had come through Skype from sintsystmas8. The extra message was:


ATTENTION ! Security Center has detected
malware on your computer !

Affected Software:

Apple Macintosh 10.6 Snow Leopard
Apple Macintosh 10.5 Leopard
Apple Macintosh 10.4 Tiger
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows XP

Impact of Vulnerability: Remote Code Execution / Virus Infection /
Unexpected shutdowns

Recommendation: Users running vulnerable version should install a repair utility immediately

Your system IS affected, download the patch from the address below !
Failure to do so may result in severe computer malfunction.

For the link to become active, please click on 'Add to contacts' skype button or type it in manually into your web browser!

I clicked on the link and was  instructed to go to the checkout, pay $19.95 and have my computer fixed immediately. Apparently I had 364 infected files.
The dollar sign made me cautious, and so I decided to check my computer first. What if this Sintsystmas8 wanted to fix a problem they'd given me? It's happened before. 

I did a Verify Disk and was disturbed to discover that I did have a serious problem with my computer. But the repair Utility wouldn't let me fix it. At the bottom of the screen, the Repair Disk tab wouldn't light up. 

Instead of going back to Sintsystmas8 for help, (I was still convinced they gave me the bug) I called the tech people at Apple, paid for technical assistance, and a nice young man by the name of Damian helped me out. We inserted my factory disk, turned off my computer, and then turned it on while holding down the OPTION key. After choosing English, I clicked on the left-facing arrow, went to the utility heading on top of the screen and then did a REPAIR DISK

Over the course of two hours, we did three repairs -- just to make sure. Damian also helped me with a permission problem I had. For about a month now I've been unable to upgrade anything because my computer kept saying I didn't have permission -- even though I'd done plenty of Repair Disk Permissions. While we were using DISK UTILITY we did three permission repairs, (just to be sure) plus changed my password. 

Anyone who owns a Mac knows these aren't easy fixes to make even though they sound simple enough. One wrong move and things can become much worse. Consequently, when Damian said goodnight, almost three hours later, I was very relieved to have my computer running in topnotch condition, and so glad I hadn't jumped the gun and tried to fix the problem myself. Yay MAC!

Yes, I said two bugs, didn't I?

Later that night, I finished my work, turned off the lights in my quiet, lonely home, and went to bed for the night. Nothing exciting in that, except an hour and a half later, at 11:30 pm, I woke, then proceeded to puke my guts out until 5:30 the next morning. I had the stomach flu. I don't mean to gross you out, but yes, THAT stomach flu! From this day forward, I will be eternally grateful to the folks who invented the plastic bucket. I can't remember another time I was ever that sick. At 5:30 I actually asked God if that could be enough already. Although my bed was only a few steps away, I did nap on the bathroom floor at one point. 

So, what's the lesson in all this? 

First, if you ever do have a problem with your beautiful MAC computer, do yourself a flavour and call APPLE.

The other point? 

If there's a bug going around, and your friends and family say it's a bad one, wash your hands every chance you get!

What made the entire experience quite amazing is while I was wrenching my guts out and wondering just how much fluid does one human body hold, I was making mental observations for later when one of my characters in one of my books became gravely ill. Go figure. 

Oh, almost forgot to mention ... I'm now SEVEN POUNDS lighter!


  1. Yikes. What a day. So I guess an Apple doctor a day won't keep the flu bug at bay, huh? Sorry, couldn't resist.

    I'm glad you and your computer are better. Stay well, the both of you, would you?

  2. LOL. Man, that was fast, Keith. I just hit the publish button. Remind me not to take you for granted. Speedy-Keithie!

  3. Yep, don't take me for granted. Ha. I finished writing (for a while anyway), fed the begging durgies, and checked facebook just as you posted the new blog. Do I win a prize for being first?

  4. Ah. I, too, have napped on the bathroom floor wrapped a convenient nearby towel And grateful for blissful unconsciousness and a break from puking. 'Course the last time that happened, I was sick for three weeks and I wouldn't wish that on an enemy. Really. It was that awful.

    Keith - Hah! Funny! I think you earned an extra large margarita for that one!

  5. Lost seven pounds? They must'a been heavy bugs, Joylene.

    May you go for a very long time without a repeat of those two bugs.


  6. WooHoo! Extra large margaritas kill bad bugs, cyber or physical. That's my theory, and I'm sticking with it (like salt to the lip of a margarita glass).

  7. That's the scariest thing ever - to have your computer infected! My setup files were corrupted a few days ago. Then there's a message from Yahoo saying a couple of e-mails from UPS and Fedex contain virus - so it could be due to that.

    The other bug that infected you sounds very nasty. I'm not sure if you've been wanting to lose weight or not Joylene, for that could be the silver lining.

    Hope you recover fully soon.

  8. @Keith, stop! Laughing upsets my tummy! You'll win a prize all right!

    @Vicki, you're a lot tougher than I am. No way could I have lasted a week. When I finally woke up the next morning, the headache was monumental and lasted until 3 o'clock the next day. Thought my head would explode.

    @Chris, LOL, yes, very very heavy bugs!

    @Grandpa, that's the thing, I seldom if ever get a bug on my Mac. So when I do, I know it's a bad one. Seven pounds ... that's a good thing.

    Thanks, everyone. Hope you're all staying away from these nasty bugs.

  9. Nasty bugs! Glad you were able to fix your computer problem. I get nervous doing anything with computers in that way. I usually leave it up to my son, although he rarely makes it home these days from the big city.

  10. I'm so glad you posted this. I picked up a 'bug' in mine last year, and had to have the system reformatted.

    Those are the most sly little critters that come on and tell you that your system is infected, and then you go to their link and BOOM.

    Thanks for posting this. It's priceless advice.

  11. You didn't say, but the bug did come from those "alert" people, didn't it? I got one through Skype with that same message....

    I don't have a MAC, but had to have the computer repair man come out, too.

    I changed my privacy options on Skype so that nothing come come through that portal, other than people on my list.

  12. So glad to hear your computer problems are fixed. Sorry to hear you were so sick. I'd be very happy with a 7 pound weight loss, but being sick is a bad way to do it. Hope you are now feeling much better. Take care.

  13. Computer viruses are a sad fact of life nowadays although I sometimes wonder if I should become a Luddite and give up my computer completely to be free of all these problems.
    Your other bug sounds horrendous too although I'm glad you're looking on the bright side, weight loss and some information for one of your books characters!
    I hope you feel better over the weekend:)

  14. @Laura, thanks. I am feeling stronger. My tummy's still unsettled, but I'm sure that should end in another day. Hope you don't catch this bug!

    @Carol Z., we've both learned a valuable lesson. I hope the people at Skype can offer better security soon. Not a good issue if they want people to use their service. Have a wonderful weekend.

    @Laurel, you're right. They gave me the bug. Nasty folks! I've changed my Skype setting too. Have a great weekend.

    @Susanne, you are so right. Sick is never a good way to lose weight. I was seriously dehydrated because this morning I was up 1.5 pounds. And yesterday I had tea and toast. Oh darn. LOL. Have a safe weekend.

  15. Thanks, Paul. I often wonder if there is such a thing as looking back. I'm at the stage in my career where I can't see life without my computer. It's so convenient for connecting with my publisher and all my writer friends. No, life without Mac would be lonely indeed. Have a super day.

  16. Hi Joylene! sadly I can relate to the flu you mentioned. The worst part about it was that I too was alone, thought it was food poisoning and my head wouldn't stop spinning whilst emptying both stomach and bowels. It takes talent to stay righted on the throne in the midst of all the ruckus. Mine lasted 11 days. 8 from the Flu and three from the cure. I'm glad you took opportunity in calamity to use the info for later. It's so much more real then. And most everyone can relate. Thanks for the Lovely Blogger Award. I shall cherish it always. :)

  17. Hi Heather. Thanks for the kinds words. I'm feeling about 80% better. Still have a queasy stomach, but I'm sure it's up from here. Whenever I'm sick, I think of my uncle who died in 1918 from that deadly flu, after he cared for his mother and two younger sisters. How sad is that.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


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