Of Ice Storms & Malware

Heavenly bamboo as I've never seen it before

Heavenly bamboo as I’ve never seen it before

Like so many others, we lost power in the recent ice storm.  And, like others who were reasonably prepared, we did okay.

The propane stove is a lifesaver when the electricity goes out

The propane stove is a lifesaver when the electricity goes out

We were able to stay warm and relatively comfortable thanks to our propane stove.  We used the oven for heating, and the stovetop provided hot water for dishes, tea, coffee with the French press, and cooking as  usual.  The oven warmed the house up beautifully. We finally had to turn it off because we were getting too hot.

I did keep a large stockpot of water simmering to use for dishes and cleaning, and that maintained a comfortable temperature inside.

Running water.  :)

Running water. 🙂

You know how the stove heats up the house in summer?  It works in winter, too!

I filled the bathtub with water before the storm hit because our pump doesn’t work when the power is out.  I  also keep a couple of 5 gallon jugs of water in a closet, a 2-1/2 gallon water container with a faucet, and several one gallon jugs of water on hand at all times, so we had plenty of water for washing and flushing, too.

I taped aluminum foil to the wall to reflect more light from the lamp.

I taped aluminum foil to the wall to reflect more light from the lamp.

On the other hand, my computer got wiped out by malware.  I downloaded a download manager from a site that Norton’s Safe Web told me was fine.  It wasn’t.  It contained a browser hijack.  When I tried to run a System Restore, it didn’t work.  Four files that were necessary for web/browser integration were missing.

I may have had a restore disk at one time, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.

So I had to buy a new computer.  It has Windows 8.1.  It’s the biggest nightmare to learn that I have ever dealt with.  It took me four hours to edit the photos for this post, and I couldn’t do what I wanted with them.

I do tend to spend too much time on the net.  I think Windows 8 will cure that.  🙂

Behind our house

Behind our house

Pine trees heavy with ice

Pine trees heavy with ice


  1. I feel your pain. When my desktop crashed for the final time I as able to buy one of the last 7,s. I was fortunate but there was so much to learn and change from my previous system. Hope that it is a smooth transition. Good luck!

    • I’ll take the sympathy! I am reasonably knowledgeable with computer stuff, but Windows 8 is cruel and unusual punishment! 🙂

  2. Arrrgh! Computer glitches are the worst! But, just maybe you’ll be done with them now, since you took such a big hit. Being home without power just isn’t as much fun as dry camping, is it? Looks like you’re managing beautifully, though. Hope winter has a quick end for you.

    • No, dry camping is FUN. Dry camping at home is surviving!

      My sister Gail is camping in East Texas in glorious warm, sunny weather. So wonderful to know that winter is over somewhere! 🙂

  3. Computers were created to keep us all humble…..I do not want to be humbled by my computer!

  4. Windows 8 is a miserable way to live. I’ve never gotten used to it.

    • Kim, I also got some more malware after I posted this. I downloaded a free graphics trial program and got hit. Fortunately anti Malware Bytes wiped it out. I bought the paid version that will automatically protect my computer and it has stopped two more attack attempts.

      I’m running another scan now.

  5. Dick Tracy

     /  February 15, 2014

    When your browser is hijacked, there is an answer, it is called “hijack this” and is free. Had the same problem a couple o times, works like a champ.

  6. I so feel your pain!! My laptop got a browser virus. I totally re-imaged the hard drive — didn’t get rid of it. I,too, bought a laptop with windows 8 – hate, hate, hate it!! Had it for months, still hate it. OTH, I took my old laptop to a small repair place (the happy hamster) and the found the virus, re-imaged the hard drive from their software and finally got rid of the bug. Only about $125 for the whole diagnosis/repair. So, don’t throw away the old one yet – they were able to install a previous windows version.

    • Dick Tracy

       /  February 15, 2014

      speakin of virus, etc., I switched to Linux Mint some time ago and have not had a problem, no anti-virus is needed with Linux, Linux is also great for older machines, makes them run like new ones.

    • Ann, I had to install windows from scratch again. The virus wiped it out. Just got it done again.

      That will teach me to only use software I buy from cnet or somewhere else I know is safe.

  7. Oh my, I’m so sorry to hear about your computer!! I just got a new one last month after my old one was viciously nommed on by viruses last year. I was so happy to get a new one that I completely forgot to scan the stuff I was taking off my old comp to my new comp and almost got another virus -_-;

    Good luck with Windows 8! It’s eeeevvvviiiiilll~

    • You are right. It is worse than eeeevvviiiilll!

      The only way they can sell that crap is by not giving customers a choice!

      I got everything set up again. But tonight I am surfing on my Nook because it is relaxing and stress free!

  8. Good luck with staying comfy. It does sound like you are handling it well. Iread another post you did about the N2A card. Interesting. I have a friend with an older Nook. Did you see anywhere on the site as to what Nooks this is compatible with? Her’s is so old, it does not have an email ap. Take care.

    • Elizabeth, they have the N2A cards for the older Nook Tablet and Nook Color, both of which have an email app. So I think your friend’s is probably too old to update. 🙂

  9. cozybegone

     /  February 16, 2014

    I think you survival skills jumped in full force and how thankful you have so many up your sleeve and was able to get through it without too much damage or loss. Ice is a booger, especially when the power goes out. Like the foil trick!

    As for Windows 8….I had the same thing happen. Huge virus, etc. forced me to move to a new laptop! It’s a task learning their new trips…I’m not as happy with it and it can be testy for sure. Sometimes I wish I had gone the ISO route…but I’m not changing over phones, tablets and laptops at this stage. If you get hung up, I may be able to help. Just give me a shout.

    • Thanks, Carla. I am hobbling along. But I have to search the web for the smallest things — like how to copy and paste. This will absolutely be my last Windows device.

      I sure do appreciate the offer of help. If I get too frustrated, I will be giving you a call!

  10. I do hope you will not use Norton again. Norton is way to expensive and does not protect. I got a malware in my desktop and it is giving me the same problem you had. I use free Avast and it is great. It found the malware but now I am missing the programs that run Internet Explorer. I had lots of problems with Norton taking money from my account and my bank had to get involved I threatened to go to the Attorney General and the money was restored, they then again tried to take it out and it was for even a larger amount. Be aware of them. they get you when you buy the program even if you click DO NOT auto renew they will. Maybe I’ll try highjack this, as mentioned above and I was also told to try malware bytes also mentioned above.
    As for windows 8 how can they make such a bad product I have never heard a good thing about it. I have heard someone bought windows 7 and downloaded it. Who knows but good luck.

    • Jo, I don’t think any antivirus program is bombproof. I have Norton set up to not renew. Will check the account and make sure. Thanks for the heads up.

      I did go ahead and get the paid version of Malwarebytes. It is only $24 for a lifetime subscription and it updates daily and protects the computer against intrusion, instead of just removing malware after the computer is infected.

      I am already spending less time on the computer, and I imagine I will spend less and less as I go along. I was surfing last night on my Nook just because it is so much less stressful than Windows 8!

  11. Oh no! i dread the day in the future that involves Windows 8! That’s the reason I am holding on to this old laptop…that and being cheap!

    Sorry you are experiencing pain with the computer….but your survival skills are admirable!

    We are experiencing another type of survival… weather has turned hot and we have no shade….hanging out at Fry’s grocery (where there’s plugs and internet) in order to stay cool!!!!

    • Oh dear… hot and no shade. Yes, that is definitely survival! I’m not sure which is worse!

      As I predicted, I am spending a LOT less time on the net with Windows 8. Am reading good books and getting more done. So it’s working out. 🙂

  12. Wow…what else can go wrong….glad you had a propane backup system…great photos of the “Ice Trees”….. Computer’s…they will shorten ones life by a number of years….I just had to have a new HD put in my Apple…and by”backup”..isn’t doing a good job of recovering….I have a windows 8 on the laptop and after a year still haven’t figured out all the “stuff”….I hope you do better…good luck and try to “thaw out”…Horst sends

    • Horst, sometimes I do wonder if I am stuck under a cosmic black cloud or something. Nothing to do about it but try to slog through, though!

      Yes, computers sure will raise the cortisol level. And I’m sure the stress and frustration do probably shorten our lives! At least you are smart and have the Apple. If I win the lottery I will get a Mac and donate this thing to some worthy cause. like maybe the dump! 😀

      I am going to have Windows 7 re-installed on my wiped-out laptop for Ron. No way would I stick him with Windows 8. And he will have the new larger Android Nook for reading, surfing and email. It is so intuitive.

      Maybe he will spend less time on the net, too!

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