|Article Overview: Computer
Terrorism fouled my publication for nearly three weeks...but now, I'm
up and operating again. Or, so I think. Find out how
to wrestle the Beast of Computer Terror, or, at least, how I managed
to wriggle free of the Beast's grasp.
Wednesday--October 22, 2003—Ground Zero
Computer Terrorism Finally Fouled
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Oct. 22, 2003-- The
new television series, Threat Matrix, doesn't have much on me.
Cast of new
television series "Threat Matrix" --- I could be a cast
member as I attempted to thwart the Beast of Computer Terror
After nearly three
weeks of intensive attacks against Computer Terrorism, I finally captured the Beast of
Computer Terror--at least, for the moment.
But the Beast of Computer Terror lurks within all
hard drives. He stalks cyberspace, eager to infect all of us who
are seduced with the Powers of Technology and rely on its power to
issue our "words of wisdom" to those who might possibly stumble upon
our websites and find what we have to say worthy of note.
My saga started in late September when I made a
trip to California to clean out a storage bin where the remnants of
our past life were stored. Nearly four years ago, come this
November, we packed up our belongings and moved from Dana Point,
California to the East Village to be close to our two daughters and
My wife, Lori, had just completed chemotherapy
following her breast cancer operation, and we decided to live near our
children. We elected to give up the sunshine and sunsets that
daily washed over the Pacific Coast that made our lives in Orange
County, California a reflection of what Paradise Found was really
I enjoyed one
last beach picnic at Capistrano Beach before heading back to New
The cost of the trip was an "E" ticket to the
concrete megalopolis of New York City: a bursting city with more than
8 million diverse peoples traversing the Crossroads of the World, as
Times Square is called. I felt a surge of desire to return to
Manhattan, a place that is ever evolving upon the pages of history.
It's history ranges from the place where George Washington was
inaugurated in 1789 to the epicenter of a tragic assault on our nation
on September 11, 2001. Then there was the blackout on August 15
of this year that cast the Big Apple into shocking darkness ( for 29
hours in the East Village). Last week a ferry we had ridden the
day before to Staten Island crashed, killing ten people. There
is never any respite from history's hand opening and closing in the
New York was now home to a host of other
filial events including the birth of another grandchild, the marriage
of our younger daughter, and an accumulation of nearly 2 million words
were written for this website about the battle between Vigilance and
the Beast of Terror. Paradise was now the diversity and
excitement of the city, not the slurping, lapping sounds of the
Pacific washing upon the shores of Dana Point.
My good friend
and I drove the rented Penske truck to New York City
sold as much of the belongings as possible, gave the rest to Goodwill,
packed up a 16-foot Penske truck, cajoled a good friend of mine to
ride with me, and barreled back to New York City in a record 55 hours
that covered 3,300 miles. (I took a small detour to Clayton, NY,
near the Canadian border to drop off some items to a friend).
While I was gone my wife and co-editor, Lori,
scanned our website and posted stories from the archives that were
relevant to today's issues. It was an exercise in remembering
that all things cycle, that there are no new issues, only old ones
with new names.
Schwarzenegger with wife Maria Shriver - a symbol of the people of
California placing a Sentinel of Vigilance up against the Beast of
Arnie The Terminator was
up for election in California's recall--a symbol of the people's
desire to place a Sentinel of Vigilance up against the Beast of
Political Terror. His platform was politically
non-existent, except for his symbolic posture that he was there to
"rid the Beasts" of their lair within the California budget, and to
restore confidence in a system of government that was bruised and
I rushed back to New York City with two thoughts
in mind. First, our younger daughter was getting married.
She is a federal agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency, and fell in
love with a NYPD detective from the Bronx. Their wedding
was on October 11, just a few short days after my return to New York
The second urgent issue was to return to my
website, and lavish eager readers with Vigilance Thoughts so they
could protect themselves from the Beast of Terror's constant drumming.
The good news was the wedding was
progressing on schedule. The bad news, my hard drive failed and
crashed upon my return.
The bad news:
my hard drive crashed and burned upon my return
It was a
nightmare. Replacing the hard drive and reestablishing all
the data was a trip through the bowels of the Beast of Terror.
I thought I had backed up my data, but when I went in search of it, my
backup was littered with programs that didn't match what I had put in.
I installed a new hard drive, only to
find I installed the old one again. I had to take it out and
reinstall it. Eventually, my wife and I did find a little humor
in this mishap.
Then the computer wouldn't boot up. No
matter what I did, it refused to recognize the new drive.
For seven days I was in contact with HP technicians in India trying to
resolve the issue. HP uses computer techs around the world,
mostly from New Delhi. I didn't care at that point
if I was talking to Osama bin Laden as long as I could get my computer
up and operating.
I grew accustomed to the accents
after a few days of countless calling and recalling, and realized that
a person's nationality has nothing to do with the technocracy or their
human compassion for another person crying over crashed hard drives.
Finally, in the 11th hour, the last tech
from New Delhi spent more than four hours with me and we got the
system booted. It began to gobble up the programs I was eager to
Intimidation and Complacency wracked my mind and body
Intimidation, Complacency wracked my mind and body.
At each step of the reconstruction process I ran into a snag.
Installing this program and then that one was a chore and then the
worst event--my website backup wasn't found.
I feared I would lose critical data.
I gingerly tried to download my huge site from the web. It moved
like a snail and then snagged up on the rocks of a 53k modem.
I sought out a computer expert to help download the site and never
heard back from him.
Finally, I looked in one more place for a
"pure backup" and discovered I had a reasonable copy stored in my
laptop. I began reconstructing the site and last night
fired up the publish command and waited to see if it would load.
I was watching the Yankees and Marlins
battle the Terror of Weather, pitchers throwing 90 mph pitches in
drenching rain as my computer whirred and sent signals to my main
Finally, I checked to see if the upload was
successful. It wasn't.
I hit "publish to web" again and crossed my
The site was up.
isn't waiting around -- it's about beating the drums and ringing
the Liberty Bell
It still had bugs, but the essence of the
site was once again beaming out its Vigilant face to any and all who
might bump into it.
I confess my marketing skills of the site
are sophomoric to say the least. I grind out the words and
thoughts with passionate dispatch, but am frankly inept at marketing
it to the world.
I'm the guy who wrongly thinks that the
world will beat a path to the door of the "better mousetrap."
Truth is, you need to beat a path to the people's doors.
Vigilance isn't about waiting for Godot. It's
about beating the drums and ringing the Liberty Bell.
But, despite all the good and bad of
life, the good prevails.
Our daughter wedded her love.
All the computer failures, all the crashed hard drives, all the
websites lost or found could not mar the beauty of October 11, 2003.
computer failure couldn't mar the beauty of my younger daughter's
wedding at the Van Cortlandt historical museum
the date of our daughter's wedding--a gala event held in the Bronx at
beautiful Van Cortlandt Park.
Both daughters are Sentinels of
Vigilance. The older has her Masters of Divinity, three
children, and works with marginalized people, instilling hope and
faith in many who are hopeless and faithless. I call her
the Sentinel of the Cross.
Our younger daughter who was
just married carries two 9mm Glocks. As a federal drug
agent, she protects the world from the Beast of Drug Terror.
Daily, she puts her life on the line to thwart those who would feed
the children and parents drugs that cloud the vision of life.
At the wedding, our
daughters were one reflection of life. One with a gun, the
other with a cross. Both fight the Beast of Terror in
their own way, willing to face the dangers of the streets, its
poverty, its hunger to suck down people into the cracks of Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency.
Their jobs are to instill
in themselves and as many others as possible the Courage, Conviction
and Right Actions necessary to face the Beast of Terror who stalks us
all in his nefarious ways.
I was proud of both
of them, and most proud that the Beast of Terror knows that to
infiltrate our children's families he has to amass such an army that
he may just give up before he starts.
It would have
been easy for me to give in to The Beast of Computer Terror
would have been equally easy for me to give up on my website--to
consider the failure of the hard drive, and the seeming loss of data
as a symbol to stop trying to get the world to subscribe to the Pledge
I guess the heroism of my
daughters rubbed off on me.
I'm still here.
Still publishing. Still struggling to do my small part in
fighting the Beast.
You can do yours too.
You can take the Pledge of Vigilance.