Thanks, Mr. Gates. My computer has worms

Ever since Microsoft has been plagued with viruses, I have found multiple new uses for my Compaq. I may no longer be able to open Web sites, but the white screen that reads ‘page cannot be found’ makes for an excellent nightlight. During the day, the monitor serves as a nice frame for the aerial shot of Shea stadium on my desktop, reminding me every day that the New York Mets are about as sad as the Devil Rays.

At least the calendar that comes with Microsoft is still accessible, otherwise my computer would be useless.

It would be nice if Microsoft found an antibiotic for these worms because I have almost run out of reasons why I should not just take my computer to an open field and beat it with a baseball bat like a scene from Office Space.

So far, the best suggestion I’ve received for removing this worm came from a pop-up security screen that appeared on my monitor this weekend. The message, which was sent through my apartment complex’s Ethernet system, tried to direct me to the Microsoft Web site so I could download a tool designed to remove the worm.

This would have been great if I had Internet access. I tried anyway just for the amusement and, like I predicted, I was transferred to ‘page cannot be found,’ which has remained idle on my monitor for the past three days.

I’ve also tried installing the Blaster removal tool with a floppy disk. This was unsuccessful as the disk told me the said worm could not be found. And, alas, it is not the pesky Blaster worm after all but a new breed. This worm is named SoBig.F (which is short for the virus is SoBig it will Frequently piss you off) and apparently it has been so well-crafted that not even Microsoft has a clue about how to handle it.

Though I went through the hassle of trying to remove this worm, it’s better that it was unsuccessful. That is because the SoBig.F is apparently so last-week (it expired Sept. 10), that it has made way for a new line of worms to crawl through Microsoft’s poor security system.

These worms named “Swen” or “Gibe” will infect Internet Explorer on systems that have not installed a patch, which prevents the virus from affecting the computer. These worms are apparently taking advantage of holes in the Microsoft security system.

If Microsoft would have taken the time and Bill Gates’ money to develop a quality system for computers, then consumers wouldn’t have to spend their time fixing the problem for Microsoft.

At least Gates and his wife Melinda gave $168 million in grants to fight malaria in Africa.

It only took him several appearances in Forbes’ magazine identifying him as one of the world’s richest men before he gave money to the 100-year-old disease.

Now that he has performed that noble act of philanthropy, maybe he can free up a few million to fix the diseases in his operating system.

And maybe some network associates could come forward to try to develop rules and regulations Microsoft must follow to prevent a lax system.

Or maybe the only solution is to buy a Macintosh. At least a Mac has never responded with the message “You have performed an illegal operation,” giving me the impression that the Internet police will come write me a citation for trying to check my e-mail.

Grace Agostin is a senior and is The Oracle’s associate editor. Contact her at