A red letter day for Spyware Sucks and IE-VISTA, and kind of sad...
It is a sad day for me today, in some ways.
For a long time my closest friends and associates - people that I truly respect - have been encouraging me as best they can to put a donation link on Spyware Sucks, just like I did years ago on inetexplorer.mvps.org, but I have been resisting and resisting and resisting. I don't do what I do for money; I am not an MVP for money, and I have said to my friends more than once, I am not going to write to a web site or advertising network and say "hi guys, you've been infiltrated by a malicious banner advertisement that is hijacking anybody who views a particular advertisement - oh, and by the way here's my invoice for services rendered". In the end, the advertising networks and web sites have not asked for my help. I just do it because, well, because somebody has to damn it, and I'm sick to death of criminals making a mint from our grief. I have read that those behind Winfixer earn around $130 million per year from their ill gotten gains. It's disgusting what they get away with.
I admit, playing the part of female (non-caped) crusader, as gratifying as it is, and as good (and some will say bad) that it is for my ego/self image, can be jolly expensive, but I've always done what I can to hold my own and try to live up to the amazing philanthropic spirit displayed by some people that I hold in the highest of esteem.
Crisis point hit about a year ago - in short, the expense of purchasing hardware and software and training materials, and of travelling hither and tither to train or be trained, mostly funded out of my own pocket, got to the stage where I could do no more - so I quietly cancelled all travel for the foreseeable future, with my last appearance to be the Security Summit in Wagga that occurred a few months ago, and have been doing all I can to re-use and recycle old hardware, merging two computers into one and cannibalising hardware as well as I could and whatnot, taking the loss as things died, and putting every spare cent I could into reducing my debt load, and I was doing ok. Until a few days ago.
It's amazing how quickly a year or so of hard work reducing debt can be wiped out in one fell swoop - but it was. How, I hear you ask? Well, on Friday afternoon I got home from work to be greeted by my husband with the worrying news that not only had our pink and grey galah disappeared out of the outdoor aviary (that hurt, we had had that bird for more than 10 years and I love her to bits, and miss her horribly) but also that my car's dashboard had a new flashing light - a flashing light that, according to the instruction manual, means "transmission fault detected - get thee to a mechanic right now, but drive real slow so that you don't damage things further". Preliminary investigation by retrieving the error code from the car's computer indicates that repairs will cost anything up to $4,100. All of my hard work, trying to get my debt load down and continue doing what I do, may have been wiped out in one fell swoop - nay, worse than wiped out, one incident at worst case scenario will put me back years.
Living with one car is not an option - with each family member working miles apart, and needing to travel in different directions, we need two cars (two cars that are shared between two people - one being dropped off at work or bus or train station while the other has custody of a vehicle).
The chorus of voices yelling "Sandi for chrissakes start charging people or at least put up a donations link" has become deafening, so I bow to a greater wisdom - well, I bow a little, under protest, and with much cracking of stiff backbone.
Anyway, the end result of all of the above is that you will see a new PayPal donations button to left of screen. If you wish to take advantage of it and make a donation, I will be eternally grateful. If not, then you know that I love y'all as much as ever and have no plans to stop doing what I do, whether it be via IE-VISTA or via Spyware Sucks.
And now I return you, with relief, to regular Spyware Sucks content. I have news, which I will blog soon, about the diepresse.com malicious banner advertisement incident - specifically, I now know who sold the malicious advertisement to diepresse.com.