% fortune -ae paul murphy

Half life of a PC: 12 minutes?

I've been suffering contradictory impulses today. First I've been catching up on reading - but things like the error ridden "Enterprise Computing" insert in last week's Economist are outrageous - in the literal sense that this kind of incompetence should leave you feeling outraged.

At the same I also got to install some 300Mhz CPUs I got via ebay to upgrade an old Ultra 2 so it would run Solaris 10. Of course they didn't work, and I didn't know why until an expert - Dave Gutierrez at anysystem.com- told me to RTFM and move a jumper. Gee, maybe I've been reading the Economist too long?

And then, bang! a shining moment of falling off a cliff and laughing about it: an ACM technews item summarizing some thing from behind the registration barriers at the New York Times. It's so, "wonderful", I really wanted to send it directly to George Ou, but judge for yourself, here's the beginning:

"Corrupted PC's Discover a Home: The Dumpster" New York Times (07/17/05) P. 13; Richtel, Matt; Markoff, John

When faced with the contamination of their PCs by malware and other unwanted programs, many owners are opting to toss their infected machines and replace them with uncorrupted models, rather than go to the trouble of repairing them. Pew Internet and American Life Project director Lee Rainie characterizes such a response as entirely reasonable, given the incessant flood of malicious software, adware, spyware, defective programs, diminishing performance, and system crashes.

Since other, equally credible, research suggests that it takes about 12 minutes for a PC to get infected we can, I think, now defend the conclusion that the half life of a PC is around 12 minutes!

Or isn't that an "entirely reasonable" reading of the research?

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.