The Smackdown Short Form, 8/19/2004

Ah, well, I’ve got SP2 installed on my box, and I’m only having minor problems with a few programs here and there, so I’ll call it a success. It’s better than Ted Kennedy trying to fly. I think I’ll just narrow the SSF down to the Short Form and anti-spyware info again due to the fact that I covered most of the big news in the Pulse on Wednesday/Thursday (and to the one person who demanded I write about wrestling, my Pulse is in the Wrestling Zone because it’s my “home zone”, and we Pulse writers don’t have the option of “de-zoning” the article; Lucard, for instance, does his Pulse out of Games each week). So, anti-spyware first, then the Short Form…

EVEN WITH SP2, YOU NEED THIS INFO

Remember, this all started because the slugs at Enigma Software dared to advertise their piece of shit SpyHunter at 411 (one of the reasons why I decided to leave, honestly). So I’m responding every single column with proper anti-spyware information. And guess what? People are actually taking this to heart. They’re asking me for help if they’re infested, or they’re writing me telling me that their browsing experience is less annoying thanks to the stuff I’ve been putting up here three times a week for a few months now.

(And as I understand it, there are some unscrupulous browser toolbar people trying to advertise here at the Pulse. Well, don’t click on that ad, whatever you do. We’ll still get the money from the impressions, and your system will stay safe.)

Big, big Kudos to the guys at the Spyware Warrior Forum for pointing out to everyone the extent of criminal activity participated in by Enigma Software, makers of the bane of advertising on this site, SpyHunter. Slimeballs extraordinare, aren’t they? And in case you need more info about what flaming bags of shit they are, try here. Suzi’s Blog has a great list of other flaming bags of shit that promote anti-spyware programs that are spyware themselves. Consult it if you have questions.

(On a side note, those SpyHunter ads started over at Reality News Online, and BFM, a contributor there, spotted them. He told the webmaster, gave him those links that I cited above, the webmaster read them, the blood drained out of his face, and he contacted his ad provider. No more ads for Enigma products on RNO, thank you. So guess what? If you provide the info, there are sites who will listen.)

One of the leading vectors for spyware is so-called free programs that contain this shit in order to “pay the bills”. No one deserves that kind of treatment. If you’ve got a question about whether or not a certain program contains spyware, head over here. It’s a nice alphabetized list of programs that do contain spyware and should be avoided at all costs.

Here’s a list of the programs you really need to help you get rid of menaces, and, more importantly, prevent them from occurring in the first place:

Spybot and AdAware. The ONLY two spyware removal tools to trust. Do NOT buy any spyware removal tools, because none of them work better than these two, and all of them except these two are suspect.

SpywareBlaster. Will nuke thousands of different potentially malicious ActiveX controls, and now has the ability to prevent a number of non-ActiveX methods of installing spyware for people who use Mozilla/Firefox.

SpywareGuard. From Javacool, like SpywareBlaster. It’s a real-time scanner for spyware. A decent first line of defense.

IE-SpyAd. Throws numerous ad-related URLs into IE’s Restricted Zone, where they won’t display or affect your system. Bookmark this one, since it’s the only one that doesn’t have an in-program update.

A few people have recommended also installing the Sun Java Virtual Machine, since it’s Windows’ buggy, half-assed implementation of the JVM that allows a lot of spyware to install (less so within the past month and a half than before). I STRONGLY recommend that you visit here and update your version of Java.

So many people have asked about a free anti-virus program that I’m also going to recommend AVG. Totally free, and works really, really well, as well as commercial anti-virus programs. Frequent database updates, good heuristic detection, everything you want in an anti-virus package.

Another program that I’d like to add here is a little tough to work with for noobs if it goes buggy (you need to know a little something about your Networking settings in order to debug if something should go wrong). Protowall is a supplement to your firewall or NAT system. It hooks directly into XP’s networking system to block any and all traffic that comes from URLs on a list maintained by the program (all protocols, not just TCP/UDP). It’s mainly designed for anti-P2P purposes (which will appeal to a great many of my readers), but it contains lists to block spyware and ads. Its blocklist can easily be updated using its supplementary program, Blocklist Manager. I have Protowall running and a Blocklist Manager icon on my desktop, and I use Blocklist Manager to update the blocklist every couple of days. You will have problems getting to some sites unless you shut down Protowall temporarily, like ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but it does have a tray icon you can right-click and shut down in a few seconds. It’s the third layer of anti-ad material for me, with IE-SpyAd and AdSubtract running alongside it. Warning, though: it only works with XP. I’d recommend its predecessor, Peer Guardian, for other MS OSes, but it isn’t being developed anymore, and there were still bugs in it when development stopped. You can get Protowall and the Blocklist Manager (which will also work with Peer Guardian) at Bluetack’s site.

Of course, only download them from the links provided above. And only download those programs; don’t fall for the ads that are shown at various websites.

With AdAware and Spybot, check for updates using their internal update function at least once a week. Run them at least once a week or whenever you think you might have problems. Remember, the new version of Spybot has browser protection capabilities, so have that run at startup and leave it running. Check for updates to SpywareBlaster once a week. It only needs to be run once initially in order to establish protection. Then, after it downloads updates, just click on the line that says “Enable Protection For All Unprotected Items” and kill it. It doesn’t need to be active. For IE-SpyAd, bookmark the site and check for updates twice a week, since it has no kind of internal updater. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything.

If you’re having trouble with spyware or a browser hijacker, or think that you do, head over to the SpywareInfo Forums, where the pros there can help you diagnose and get rid of stuff. I was promoted to Full Helper status there and ended up joining ASAP, the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Look for their symbol, which I’m not going to try to link to anymore because someone at the other end keeps munging it.

The Ravin’ Cajun asks me to recommend a good client-side spam filter for MS mail programs running under Windows. Now, this is something I don’t have experience with because my ISPs have always had good spam filtering, plus, I use Thunderbird, which handles the remainder quite nicely, thank you. Some readers wrote in and recommended SpamBayes, which is totally free and supposedly works very well, so I’ll add it on to the anti-annoyance list that we’re building up here.

THE SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Spike Dudley over Scotty Go Potty, Cruiserweight Title Match (Pinfall, Acid Drop): Oh, for f*ck’s sake, not more of this angle. Please, there’s only so much I can take of Spike Dudley, Evil Mastermind. Here’s a hint, guys: nobody cares. If you’d done something with Spike before this to make people care, then maybe I would, but you didn’t, so I don’t. Shame, really. I like Spike, but hanging those two huge millstones around his neck (three if you count the angle itself) isn’t helping things for him in the long run. And here’s another hint: get him an opponent that someone gives a rat’s ass about. Taylor ain’t it, that’s for sure. Next.

Chavito and Redneck over Paul London and Billy Kidman, Non-Title X Division Impersonation Match (Pinfall, rollup): Well, at least they’ve got something for Chavito and Noble to do while they’re thinking of ways to f*ck with the CW title more than ever courtesy of Spike. Decent match, too, until the silly ending. I do have a Special Guest Comment from the Master of the Jukebox, Jeffrey Fernandez, that must be noted:

Is it just me, or does Paul London look exactly like Ted “Theodore” Logan? Seriously, all he needs is some ripped jeans, a black vest, and a flannel tied around his waist, and he’d be a dead ringer.

He should now be known as “Keanu Reeves’ Stunt Double Circa 1989.”

And Kidman needs to dye his hair blond in order to look more like Alex Winter. And get a perm. Who knows, Torrie might be into that. But they can’t do the whole Bill and Ted Experience. Edge and Christian kinda destroyed the possibilities of that for a while.

Rob Van Dam over Rene Dupree (Pinfall, Five-Star Frog Splash): Not my type of match. My type of match would be Dupree beating the living piss out of Van Dam with Van Dam not being able to get one piece of his cliched offense in. But I’m not going to get that because he has to get his stupid-ass spots in.

Eddy y Rey-Rey over Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns (Pinfall, Guerrero pins Reigns, frog splash): A match with Rey-Rey and Reigns featuring a heavy dose of psychology and mat wrestling? What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing much, really. Consider Reigns Smackdown’s version of Batista: he’s only now beginning to show new elements to his repertoire, and he showed his ability to mat wrestle and use psychology effectively in this match. I’m not saying he’s Benoit (the standard by which all others must be measured), but he’s starting to gain my respect. Rey-Rey already had it, and we all know how adaptable he is. They used him in minimal doses, though, just to be certain that his spots didn’t clash with the flow of the match (for an example of that, see the previous match). Good closer. And Earl Scheib wouldn’t have approved of Angle’s use of latex at the end.

Angle Developments:

Steers, Queers, and Bores: That High-Quality Speaker Boy promo at the top of the show was interminable. I’ll give props to the guy for his promo ability. He’s good (not great), but the extended entrance time due to his “pain and suffering” and the cliched characteristics of the speech itself (we’ve heard it all from him before, only without a neck brace and flak jacket) just killed any momentum the promo might have had. And just to add to the slowness, Undertweener decided to do his normal saunter to the ring to close it. I was looking at the second hand on the clock in my home office to see if it was actually moving during this one. I’m sorry, but a post-PPV show needs a killer promo to start, and this wasn’t it.

An Observation: The Ravin’ Cajun has a great little remark concerning Spike Dudley Victim John Cena:

Watching John Cena’s promo, it dawned on me why he’s always grouped with Randy Orton. See, they’re two sides of the same coin. Both have ability that’s starting to show. Both are channeling a certain wrestler/”actor” who makes appearances when he deigns it worthy- or when he has a movie coming out. The difference between the two though is that while Randy is showing the shades of Rock, Cena’s face turn reminds me ever so much more of Dwayne Johnson – as Flex.

Think about it- the treatment of interviewers. The calling out of the cities he works in. The bad overselling of attacks. He’s Flex, Eric. Just keep that in mind whenever someone praises his “abilities on the mike.

Damn, you’re right, Beau. They’re trying damn hard to stamp out instant superstars using that mold, blithely ignoring the fact that there’s only one particular person who fits that mold in the first place. This is why I’m holding out more hope for Orton than for Cena right now. But the fact that they’re turning Orton face (and they still have time to abort that) makes me fear for him, and for Cena. Stop that shit now and let them be themselves. It’s worked with Cena before, it’ll work again, and it’ll work with Orton (if Orton has a personality to work with in the first place, which is questionable).

And I’ll work again next week. See you on Tuesday for more fun and games.