Zone Alarm Pro gets the shout 'n' toss

by Peter Tyrrell Thursday, August 11, 2005 11:24 AM

When I was 18, I joined the Army Reserves for one summer. I learned many things, one of them being how to stand very straight while being shouted at in the face and simultaneously having my mattress tossed out a second floor window for the heinous crime of showing a wrinkle in one corner.

I was able to apply that valuable lesson this very day. Except this time I was the shouter, and Zone Alarm Pro personal firewall software was the shoutee. And the tossing was metaphorical, though I did in fact DELETE EVERY SINGLE VESTIGE OF THAT BUGGY MOTHER from my machine. It hasn't played nice with Visual Studio for about a year, ever since Zone Alarm 5 was released. Aggravating in the extreme. It would randomly lock up all internet traffic after a compile, and various sundry annoyances.

The thing is, I had paid in advance for two years of updates, and I was going to get my money's worth. So I just upgraded to the latest release, Zone Alarm 6. Maybe this latest would solve all the earlier problems. Maybe I could run VS and Zone Alarm and they would become the best of friends. It could happen. Updates are supposed to fix bugs, solve issues, make IMPROVEMENTS, right? When the first Blue Screen O' Death occurred while using VS, I thought: "A random BSOD. How random. Ha ha!" When the second BSOD slapped me about the jowls with its kid leather glove, I swallowed hard and looked up the offending driver. It belonged to Zone Alarm. My jaw set. On the third BSOD, I screamed an infuriated mountain gorilla scream. And beat my chest. And then I ripped Zone Alarm out of my system, tracking down every single file and yelling "DELETED!" with every deletion. It felt good. And I turned on the Windows firewall.

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With Age Comes Wisdom. And With Wisdom, Cantankerousness.

by Peter Tyrrell Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:59 AM

Scene at the gym this morning: two elderly men squabbling over who had sign-up rights on an exercise bike. There were other bikes free. Yahoos.

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by Peter Tyrrell Tuesday, August 09, 2005 9:59 AM

Sometimes one gets back from vacation and one just doesn't update one's blog. One says, "let me get through my email inbox first" or "one can't think of what to say at this precise moment" or "stop using 'one' as a personal pronoun before one gets one's nose bridge shattered with a buffalo-nudges-peach-tree flying forehead smash."

That's my excuse. Believe it or don't. Mum never did. She went straight for the kitchen drawer which housed the Wooden Spoon, which she then applied vigorously and with malice aforethought to my aft quarters. Until it broke once. I love my Mum. I never told her until much later that the Wooden Spoon treatment was about as deadly as a damp noodle wielded by a paralytic tree. "If only we had spanked him more" is a lament that was oft heard round the house when I had done something moronic, but was too big to suffer corporal punishment. Too true.

Some tales I always enjoyed were those of Emil, the unrepentantly high-spirited lad who would inevitably, after a caper, be caught and sent to the woodshed, there to await punishment at the hands of his father. He would always carve a wooden figure while waiting, the woodshed eventually becoming filled with row on row of these small witnesses to the many futile attempts at correction. Good old Astrid Lindgren.

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