re #10: But tigger, you do know a few people here who do have a clue about computers, like Markus, who answered in the other thread.
His point there about firewalls basically not blocking outgoing connections, for instance, was very interesting, possibly even dismaying. I'd like to know what program you can get that can be set to block certain outgoing connections, even within a specific program, and allow others, or allow them only under certain conditions.
Why wouldn't having a program that users could set to allow only specific domains confirmed by the user, and block everything else by default, help prevent that kind of hack?
Giving the user the ability to control outgoing connections individually, even for different purposes within a domain name, would also help when it's some standard program that I do want to use, and be able to access its homesite if I myself decide to, but I just don't want it checking back with its mother ship several times a day of its own accord, and probably reporting God knows what else back about my other computer programs and data.
If my firewall is not restricting outgoing information, does that mean, for instance, I need to encrypt everything on my computer, even if no one else but me uses it, if I want normal things like correspondence to be private? I'm afraid it may. The regulatory environment has fallen so far behind technology that ordinary privacy no longer even seems to interest anyone.
In fact, apparently increasingly more programs are set up to log on to the internet automatically, and locate all their help manuals in the cloud and set cookies every time you open them and what not. As a user, I do NOT want that, if I'm just using something like a database or an accounting or word processing program; I want everything I need to be located on my own computer, and not to have it contacting any website for any reason except when I specifically ask it to. The party line among commercial software providers, whether MS or the big antivirus companies, seems to be increasingly that it's good for every program to have constant internet access, but I don't see any reason to believe that claim; the point seems to be more that they want constant access to your computer, and I don't see any reason to give it to them. Unfortunately, though, Windows 7 seems to be set up to encourage that kind of behavior, and I'm afraid Windows 8 will be even worse.
Anyway, precisely because it seems unfair that the status quo of the computer industry, without better regulation and oversight, typically forces people who are not computer specialists to have to do a lot of research on their own if they want information that isn't commonly provided by commercial software and hardware providers (or their proprietary forums), all of which have an interest in invading privacy rather than protecting it, it seems all the more helpful to be able to discuss specific computer issues in a forum like this where you have some idea of the backgrounds, opinions, and capabilities of different users.
People here also discuss translation software, word processor commands and menus, reference sources, and so on; I don't see that computers are any less a tool of the trade. But I also wouldn't object to moving computer topics to the chatroom if that would make anyone happier.
And this particular issue does seem relatively minor, since it was originally announced so long ago, including in this forum.