Politeness Counts

Filed under Serendipity ~ by Throsby on  27 Dec 2013

Only one in 40 people know how rude the other 39 can be. 

They are the unfortunates enduring the ire of fellow citizens who verbally berate them as representatives of whichever detested department or corporation it’s their misfortune to answer the phone for. A survey conducted by Dr. Ruth Barton of RMIT reveals significant levels of work-related stress caused by a lack of training and support, excessive monitoring, lack of breaks or opportunities to take leave, ergonomics, and concerns their jobs would go overseas.

Another element to this stress is call centre burnout caused by the dreaded abusive caller.

Three significant situations in life bring out the ugly side of us in what should and would be otherwise civil social interaction: driving a vehicle, commenting on websites, and phoning to complain. In each, we are insulated from others by a technology. A measure of your empathy and self-awareness is how you deal with others – in this case, with call centre operators. They didn’t stuff up the bill, or fail to connect your precious phone/gas/electricity/water/internet/whatever. They’re just doing, with no choice other than to resign, 8 hours of poorly-paid intensive toil talking to miserable asses like you.

Smarten up and be polite to the next poor soul you feign superiority to when some trivia of life finds you on the phone complaining. If they did the natural and human thing – and told you where to get off – their job would end that instant. Keep in mind, too, it’s someone’s mum, dad, brother or sister you’re belittling, or doing your best to make uncomfortable.

Surviving with computers

If you’ve ever wondered (sure, you haven’t – this is just my foot in the door) you would be surprised to know the author is (and this is a secret between the two of us) the publisher, editor, secretary, tea lady, IT guy, webmaster, and janitor of SheepOverboard.  He maintains a small fleet of PCs, the website and all the widgets therein, the web server, the graphics, layout and content. The point of this boasting is “the fleet of PCs.” Internet security is one of my hobby horses.

Any wonder the average computer user’s ignorance is one of my aghasts.

I’m not picking on you for failing to be Bill Gates, but strongly urge you to accept that computer ownership brings responsibility.

Computers demand your time in both maintenance and operational skill. Akin to vehicle ownership.  Computers are complex and powerful – hence, dangerous. Consider them potential cyber-weapons which can harm others, or you. If your PC or MAC is not fully under your control, it is almost certainly being used covertly by a criminal via it’s Internet connection. The vehicle-equivalent would be: you are so stupid you don’t know someone is using your car at night to rob banks. The metaphor is close enough, as no matter how ridiculous the comparison might sound, that’s precisely what’s happening with a computer left unsecured. It will almost certainly be in use by another via its Internet connection, and doing their bidding.

If this is news to you, then the news is devastating. Experts with an inkling talk of millions of PCs in the world remotely told to follow commands without the user realising at the time. Such commands are typically to flood a website with requests so the web site is effectively unreachable. Why? Most commonly to blackmail the owner for protection money. The other common reason your PC might be ‘compromised’ is that it’s being used against you, sending personal information to a crook hoping to gather enough to be you online and empty your bank account.

As an Internet user you are engaged in a battle, yes a battle, against highly sophisticated and highly organized cyber-criminals who are relentless in their pursuit of your money and make no mistake – it’s all about the money; your money.

In the worst case scenario, your identity and your financial security can be severely compromised by these cyber-criminals.

It’s no accident that cyber crime is now a 100+ BILLION dollar industry. Make no mistake, this IS an industry. An industry which incorporates all of the strategic planning, and best practices, required to maximize profit.

Today’s cyber-crooks are smart; very smart. They are not, as many people believe, teenage hackers sitting at their computers playing at hacking.

Bill Mullins – read full article

You can take simple steps to control your PC and ensure it’s ‘clean’ and secure. But, like owning a car, some time must be spent learning what a computer does, how it does it, and how you make it do so.

So, any step by step solution is useless, no matter how simple to follow, unless YOU change your attitude to computer ownership. This requires you to concede a computer deserves – demands – an investment of ‘learning time’ and that YOU acknowledgement that, like gun ownership, this thing is dangerous in the wrong hands AND must be secured.

If there’s an Internet connection to your computer, then just because it’s locked in your home no longer means it’s therefore secure.


And segueing into a terminal digression, if I may, the Internet is the most dangerous place on Earth, and makes a city park at 2am seem like a pre-school playground. The drunken cowardly swine who might kick your face in are rank amateurs compared to the dark you unwittingly  and daily rub shoulders with on the Internet. And we innocents are but an Enter-key away from the most intelligent sociopaths on the planet. 

They are relentlessly targeting you – personally.

Owning a computer connected to the Internet is naive entry to their playpen where you are the fluffy toy.

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