Early Adoption

For some reason, I have become an early adopter. I’m currently using Windows Live Writer to create this post. It’s a simple way to write blog entries offline. It downloads your blog templates and current posts and therefore lets you preview exactly how it will look.

All rather clever. It’s somewhat surprising, really, that I’m able to do this. Most of my life I’ve been significantly behind the curve in terms of computer tools. Both software and hardware that I’ve used have often been a fair few years old.

Everything’s easy now, though. I can go off to a website and download all sorts of useful pieces of software to do all sorts of useful things. Often, however, thar be dragons lurking on the Internet.

It’s great to be able to download tools which other people have written. The big problem is all about trust.

Would you install some software that you had written? Almost certainly; you know exactly what it does (note I’m assuming that you aren’t a virus writer!)

Would you install some software a friend had written – almost certainly. Some software a friend had recommended – probably.

Hmm, it’s all getting a bit more tentative now. Would you install a piece of software written by somebody you had never met. You’ve never even spoken to them – but you found them on the internet. Their website says they wrote this really cool piece of kit which will make your computer 43.62 times faster.

Put that way, downloading things from the Internet seems somewhat foolish. We often gain a little security from our friends – online communities review downloads and can be useful sources of information. It’s still possible, however, for a download page to be hacked and the original file replaced with a virus. Basically, it’s all about trust.

I struggle slightly to see how the average computer user will cope with all this information. On the one hand, ISPs are promising better protection, Virus Scanner writers are selling their products anywhere they can. On the other hand, there’s lots of really useful things available online.

I think it’s important to make a dig at Firefox now. After all, I feel the need to cement my Internet Explorer Fanboy status. So here’s the problem – you all seem to want me to go out and download all these extension things. You all want average users to do the same. But will you guarantee their safety?

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