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How #039;bout just one more #039;pop-up#039;?Have you had the opportunity yet to enjoy the pop-ups, slam-mails, spam-mails, and other nuisance features that seem to go along with access to the Interne

I have, and let me tell you, I was truly being sarcastic when I said "enjoy." There is nothing friendly, happy, or even humorous about what lengths advertisers have gone to to grab even that millisecond of the viewer's attention.

And if you are on a dial-up connection, it probably just means that the "real" spying goes on inside your computer without you knowing it.

I spent the latter part of the 1980s on up until this past spring taking what little bit I could get through a telephone line into my home computer.

But then I built a brand new system, with all the latest bells and whistles, and found that it was actually affordable for me to take Internet service through the "broadband cable" variety available to those of us that live in Luverne, serviced by the local cable television company.

I also realized that being constantly connected to the Internet, I would need to have some sort of safety features in place to keep from being hacked by someone that has nothing better to do with their time then make another person's computer activities less than enjoyable.

So I installed a firewall program in addition to that which is supplied by Windows XP software.

I mean, this thing has all the latest technologies available so that the average user knows anytime a program on their computer tries to connect to the Internet.

Which brings me to my latest problem.

My children have for several years been using a program on their computer known as Kazaa, which - simply put - is a way for home computer users to share files with people all over the world. Files like music, videos, movies, etc. - basically, anything you could want to view , right in the comfort of your own home.

The software is "Free" but what they don't tell you is that there are several other programs that come along and invade your

system.

Programs like "Ads.com" which simply tells someone in a marketing business where you go in your surfing on the Internet, but they take up bandwidth, and personally, I don't want someone I don't know spying on me.

Then there is "Gator" which is a program which will (again for "Free") hold all of your passwords and security systems for you. What they don't tell you is that it transmits to the Internet every time you connect.

And then there is the Peer-To-Peer program. P2P as it is called, is what actually monitors your connection with other users that may have that song you wish to download.

But then suddenly, and getting by your "Popup Cop," "Ad-Aware," and any other safety features you have installed, it starts placing "new and improved search features" on your web browser.

It actually took me two nights to remove everything that had been changed on my system, but only because I have utility programs that will do it.

But again, the only reason that I have any idea how it happened, is because it was all caught by my firewall system, when I added the Kazaa.

Makes you wonder what is going on behind your back on your computer, when you don't have a firewall installed.

Until next week, if you need to find me, I'll be way out there, out in Deep Left Field.

George Wacha is the managing editor of The Luverne Journal and The Lowndes Signal. He may be reached by e-mail at george.wacha@luvernejournal.com.