The computer network at the fledgling conglomerate of Robert B. Lowe Communications was hit by viruses. This was more of a black plague bug than an upset stomach.
Computer virus buster "Big Mike" of Archdale, N.C. noted: "There's one thing for sure your computer will do: it'll die."
Big Mike is right. If not a virus, a computer crash can cause similar heartache. Having been a PC owner for 20+ years, I knew better.
I lost about 20 hours of recently-completed work and countless personal information. Most notable was the 4 years of personal photo images. (Note: my next installment will be about setting up a virus-preventing system and data backup procedures.)
After the attack--and with our main desktop in the ICU for one week--there was plenty of time to contemplate worms, Trojans and the state of viruses on the digital world. Here are a few thoughts I heard on the subject.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say the loss of money, productivity and sanity is near infinity on this issue.
-Macintosh users don't have to worry about viruses (see update below). -Virus authors create havoc-wreaking software just to see if they can. -Hackers are now hitting Macs. -Microsoft and Windows have not done nearly enough to prevent invasion to their software and our computers. -Computer virus writers, under the guise of being malware-finders, extort millions from unsuspecting users.
This being said, my new career path should be that of a politician. It would have to be a high-level post because my reign would have to cover miscreants from Kernersville, NC to Kuala Lumpur who seek to ruin your life.
Seriously, what is our government and the rest of the World doing to combat these thugs who exist to hoodwink, extort and steal from good people?
Truth be told, I just read a story that American intelligence forces hacked into to Iraqi computer systems. Certainly computer virus warfare operates at a very high level. Ironically, hacking into your PC has been helped by our tax dollars.
As the self nominated "World Hacker Czar" I would be a hanging judge. Break out old punishments--stoning, tar and feathering, and firing squads--to deal with criminals who are invading business and households worldwide.
My name is Bob Lowe and I approve this message. I'd appreciate your vote!
What would happen if a long-time working stiff said "enough?"
Time for a change. A new direction. He needs new challenges, not the same GroundHog Day of the past 13 years.
There are no guarantees, however. They say it's a tough economy. NPR just told me it takes the unemployed an average of 39 weeks to find work.
I'm sorry, that's too pessimistic. Was Ari Fleischer (seen with author Bob Lowe above) a buzzkill when he started his PR firm? I doubt it.
A proposed name for my new company was Half Full Media, meaning that glass is not near empty. I'm taking the road less traveled, the path of positive thinking and Norman Vincent Peale.
When I decided to move on, good things happened. The long-expected IRS refund arrived. On my last day at my old job, the state refund was in the mailbox. There were many more signals that new path was indeed the right choice. I certainly hope that trend continues.
In the short time I've been "without a traditional job" my eyes have been opened. In addition to fixing many house-related repairs, I've had a new look at work and life. Most employees, certainly in that field of sports information of which I toiled, sacrifice family, free time and regular hours to tell the story of their teams. To these soldiers I say, it's OK to turn the bedside light off if the email or game file hasn't arrived by 11 p.m.
I have relished the opportunity to connect with other communications and business professionals here in Greensboro. There's a dynamic group called Linking Greensboro (http://www.linkinggreensboro.com) that is doing a fantastic job of sharing ideas and creating networking opportunities.
What I know about new media is that many business are not using this valuable tool. If you need more business, you are losing an opportunity if your not engaging current and potential clients on their Droid via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Is your competitor doing the same thing?
I commend my childhood friend, Bob Mutch, for taking a leap of faith and starting a business. Good luck to him as he tries to connect people and businesses via the Internet in Fairfield, Ca.
I'm proud of my journalism background--Whittier HS and San Diego State--and my work in the athletic communications field. I believe very strongly, however, that we all need to challenge ourselves to keep learning.
My journey as a strategic communicator will be with eyes wide open. If you haven't been paying attention, that generation behind us has been raised on Blackberrys, and social media. They don't have to go back to school to learn it. Just keep that in mind. That much I do know.
With more than 20 years of communications experience, Bob Lowe started Robert B. Lowe Communications in April, 2011. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or, of course, on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.