Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Geek – the word. And some advice.

When I was a boy – many years ago now – ”geek” was a completely pejorative and insulting word. A “geek” was typically a socially inept, small, quiet, know-it-all (who usually wore glasses) kid who couldn’t connect his bat with the softest-thrown baseball or catch a football to save his life…and he used big words all the time. Perhaps in your day you referred to ‘him’ as Pointdexter, nerd, dork, or wimp. Back then there was no doubt or question about it – ”geek” was a put-down: a derogatory statement. Period.

Today, I proudly declare: I am a geek. When I do, I am not broadcasting my pride in my inability to catch a football. (I can catch; and, even throw a tight spiral.) When I say I am a Geek, I am saying that I’m “into” computers and electronic gadgets, and I know a little about how they work.

At some point and time our common usage of the word “geek” has changed. It is no longer used strictly as a ‘slam’ and a put-down (however, if that is your intent, I believe the other words I listed above are still 100% negative…although Bill Gates may have softened the word “nerd” some…).

If, in the course of reading this blog, you see me use the word “geek” – please rest assured that I am always using it with the nicest of meanings. I even use “geek” as a compliment. Really.

Tip of the day: spyware, if it gets onto and runs on your machine, they can cause it to (amongst other unpleasant things!) suffer performance degredation and make it run slower. I spend a fair amount of time discussing malware, and how you can combat and remove it. I will return to this topic in the future. But for today I just want to make this point: If you connect to the Web, you need to run anti-spyware programs. Notice I that I wrote programs. Plural.

The fact is, no one anti-spyware application is 100% effective at stopping and removing spyware. There are many anti-spyware programs available and some are more effective than others. Some are great at stopping keyloggers but fall down when it comes to Trojan Horses, and others are visa-versa…as an example. So I strongly recommend running two anti-spywares, in the hopes that one will catch what the other missed. (There are many free anti-spyware applications [and some are spyware disquised as anti-spyware] available. For my more detailed descriptions and fuller listing, click here.) I cannot stress to you strongly enough to install and run some kind of anti-spyware program…and preferably, two. In that vein, today I will provide not one, but two, Today’s free download links.

Today’s free downloads:
Ad-Aware Free Anti-Malware 8.2 from Lavasoft. “Millions of people use the Internet every day to shop, bank, make travel arrangements, download music and movies, and connect with friends and family. Cyber criminals and identity thieves take advantage of all of this information sharing, targeting you and your family with threats like viruses, spyware, blended malware, and much more. Protect your privacy with Lavasoft’s reliable and trusted online security products, optimized for home users.

Detect and Remove Spyware, Adware and Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats.

Bonus: You should always run an up-to-date AV (antivirus), which is a separate thing from anti-Spywares. My current top choice of free AV tools is Avast!

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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May 15, 2010 - Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, how to, Internet, security, software | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Showing my age, young man. A geek was a carnival side show wild man performer who bit the heads off of live chickens.


    Comment by Donn | May 15, 2010 | Reply

    • Donn,

      (Actually, I had heard someone else mention “carnival sideshow”.. Which I associate with “freak” [as in, “a freak of nature’].. but not in that much detail.)

      In my day, as I recall it, nerd/dork/geek were synonymous. And there were yet no such things as “personal computers”.

      This is Merriam-Webster:
      Main Entry: geek
      Pronunciation: \ˈgēk\
      Function: noun
      Etymology: probably from English dial. geek, geck fool, from Low German geck, from Middle Low German
      Date: 1914

      1 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake
      2 : a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked
      3 : an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity


      Comment by techpaul | May 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi Paul,
    Nice article and yep.. The scenario about the word- geek was pretty much same as there.. Infact, some people still use this word in an insulting way…
    But, today, i too can proudly say that i’m a geek…
    People has always think of a geek as a person wearing bold glassess with almost no physical strength but its certainly not so..
    I hope, your this article may root-out this wrong thinking…


    Comment by Ranjan | May 15, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      I think in places, and often times, “geek” is still used as a put-down rather frequently. But not here at T4E. Ever.

      To be a geek is to have skilz and savvy — at least enough to sometimes be able to make your machine do what you want it to do, or look the way you want it to look. Perhaps, one can earn some bonus points if one learns some small amount of the jargon.. but fluent Geek Speak is not required.
      (Mainly because I am FUWA)(Fed Up With Acronyms).


      Comment by techpaul | May 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. I was a jock – I’ve evolved into a geek! lol.

    Hey, I recently switched to Avast and can’t say enough good about it. Also run the pro version of Superantispyware along with Threatfire. Behind the scenes I manually run Malwarebytes. About once a month, I log into the TrendMicro site and let them have a run.

    Keep up the great work Paul. Always look forward to reading your daily posts.


    Comment by g | May 15, 2010 | Reply

    • Good to see you here again, g!

      That is a very solid strategy and toolkit. (Top notch in fact.)
      And I appreciate the nod, too, as I know you were loyal to my (current) #2 free AV, Avira.

      The pendulum swings on these things (or… maybe a horse race analogy would be better.. with the lead changing from time to time). For example, just a couple years ago, I would not dream of putting Norton on my machine, and now it’s my first choice.
      AVG was my top choice of free AV’s back then, and then they changed it to include AS and ruined it for me.. but guess what? It’s the one I’m keeping a close eye on now. (Going to put it to the test next week, as a matter of fact.)

      … I want to point out to readers that the actions you have taken/are taking (when combined with “paranoid common sense” and maybe an anti-phishing browser add-on, like WOT/McAfee SiteAdvisor) means that you are not one of the “low hanging fruit”.. where as an unpatched (aka “updates”), unprotected machine will be pwned (meaning “owned” [controlled]) by a cybercriminal in 8 minutes from Internet hookup, or less. (Some experts say 4 minutes in their “honeypot” tests.)

      Hope all is well up there in the Northwest Territories.


      Comment by techpaul | May 15, 2010 | Reply

      • I forgot to mention WOT! An absolute must.


        Comment by g | May 16, 2010 | Reply

        • Folks,
          We are referring to the “Web Of Trust” (WOT) browser add-on, which works with most Internet browsers. It is available here.


          Comment by techpaul | May 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. Geek, I have only known a “geek” to be someone, (a guy) who is super intelligent, very knowledgable, leads his class in all subjects, wears glasses and not very popular. So unfair!

    I have never heard of any referense made as a Circus Performer, Sideshow Freak…

    How words are framed differently now, with technology assisting the new framing, I like some of it.

    Good Geek Blog Paul!



    Comment by Anonymous | May 16, 2010 | Reply

    • gaia,
      While it is true that this blog is written by a Geek, I hope that “everyone” will find it useful, informative, and helpful. I appreciate your support.


      Comment by techpaul | May 16, 2010 | Reply

  5. Agree with you Paul.. Internet is like a war place..
    You go unarmed and your gone…


    Comment by Ranjan | May 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      The Internet is indeed a battlefield, and forms of cyber-warfare are already taking place.

      However.. public perception of the Internet is (still) how it has been marketed to them: an open marketplace of ideas and commerce. People assume that this open place is clean and well-lighted .. and some even think it is policed, when in fact it is none of those things. It is the perfect environment for frauds & hucksters, pickpockets, snakeoil salesmen, and creeps of all flavors, as they can operate (largely) without fear of recognition or repercussion.
      In fact, the Internet is broken beyond repair, and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.. this time, with some thought – at least – given to security. This Internet was not. This Internet was built with one thing in mind, (and one thing only) reliable connections (fault tolerant). And no one even considered that it would get as big as it has.. or that we would be connecting our refrigerators to it..
      All of our current security implementations have been “patches” (think “band-aid”). And it’s pretty darn silly to build your house on top of a foundation that’s being held together with band-aids, isn’t it?

      But there are things we can – and should – do when walking around in this open marketplace.. like keep one hand on your wallet at all times, and be aware that that charming man is trying to sell you snakeoil, etc. (I call it “paranoid common sense”).


      Comment by techpaul | May 16, 2010 | Reply

  6. Hi Paul,

    I am proud to be a Geek Girl, and I can throw a ball and catch too.


    Comment by Cappydawg | May 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Cappydawg,
      This article/topic reminded me.. back when I was young and dumb, I recall going to a thing called a “drive-in” and seeing a movie titled Revenge of the Nerds.

      I looked it up, and that was way back in 1984.. which if I remember correctly, is the year the Macintosh came out. And the “information age” was born. By 1995, the Internet went public, and “geeks” really did have their “revenge”, as all of a sudden, everyone needed a “IT Dork”..


      Comment by techpaul | May 16, 2010 | Reply

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