Posted by: David Harley | September 8, 2010

Old FAQs never die…

Back in the dark ages, when I drifted into the whole antivirus research thing, I put together, contributed to, and/or maintained (alone or in partnership with others) a number of  Usenet (newsgroup) FAQs. Primarily they were posted to alt.comp.virus, and included the four part alt.comp.virus FAQ, the alt.comp.virus mini-FAQ, and the first incarnation of the “Viruses and the Macintosh” FAQ, which was posted to one or two Mac-specific groups, too.

Unfortunately, at least one of this hulks (“Viruses and the Mac”)  is still drifting in the Usenet sector of cyberspace, and while I long ago gave up on that particular resource because the signal-to-noise ratio had become totally unbearable, I occasionally get reminded that it’s still there: this time I stumbled upon a thread at least five years ago where someone wondered what sort of “lazy maroon” would keep posting an out-of-date FAQ? 

So now I’m a military alert signal? Well, I suppose that’s not altogether inappropriate. Thanks to the person who pointed out at the time that unposting an FAQ can be much harder than posting it…

So here’s how it is. Yes, “Viruses and the Macintosh” is totally outdated (pre-OS X) and no, I can’t update it. I lost the ability to modify it in any way or prevent its being autoposted many years ago, and eventually gave up trying to contact any Gods of Usenet who might be able to intervene in some manual fashion, especially after I moved on from the email address I used at the time. (No, I can’t get it back: it was a work address and I don’t work there any more.) 

If I could, I’d kill it. If I ever find the time, I may post another one here. But I can’t do anything about it. Sorry. There’s only one of me, and there are more important battles to fight. If you’re one of the unwilling victims of this monthly post, I can only suggest that you killfile it. If you know of a way to remove it altogether, even better. I’m no better able to fix it than you are, which is why I tend to use communication channels (like this) that I have better control over, nowadays.

While I’m on the subject, no, I don’t have any control over the web sites I hear about from time to time that are still posting my FAQs, sometimes with and sometimes without credit. If I did, I’d probably ask for those to be removed, too, or at least for a public health warning about their age to be posted.

David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
Less a maroon than a delicate shade of puce.

http://wp.me/pL5CO-ds

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