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How to Look at Internet Porn

In the course of my IT career, I can't tell you how many times some guy has brought a computer to me saying, "I dunno what happened.  It seems to have a virus or something.  Can you take a look?"  I take a look and the story is always the same.  The guy just doesn't know the right way to look at porn.  The parallel to real life is creepy--if you bang hookers without knowing how to use condoms, you're gonna get an STD eventually.  Accordingly, if you whorishly surf waves of Internet porn without protection and know-how, you're gonna wipe-out your computer.  Here are a few tips on how to safely and respectably look at at Internet porn.

Get a Mac--Better Yet Use Linux
Without fail every single porn-trashed computer brought to me has been running Windows.  Virus and spyware authors target Windows because of its widespread networked use in the corporate world.  They want to infect and ruin mass computers at once, so Windows is the way to go.  Can a Mac get infected?  Of course.  Have I ever seen one?  Not yet.  This approach is of course flawed--as Mac gains popularity the virus authors are sure to take notice.  However, the point of this tip is to mitigate the risk, not eliminate it.  And at this point in human history 99% of the world's viruses are written with Windows in mind.

Better yet, use Linux.  Can a Linux PC get infected?  Sure.  Can you get an STD from a nun?  Sure.  But it's probably not as likely as getting an STD from a heroin-addicted streetwalker.  Oh, and Linux is a hell of a lot cheaper than a Mac.

Here are my 2 favorite Linux distros:
* Linux Mint
* Ubuntu

Backup Your Data
You can't legally drive a car without knowing how to brake and steer.  So if you don't know how to backup your data, you shouldn't be using a computer.  This is why I truly believe licenses should be required to use computers.  Both Mac with its "time machine" feature and Windows with its creatively-named "backup" feature make backup relatively easy and automatic.  Alternatively, you could just periodically copy important data to USB memory or use an external storage solution like a NAS or cloud service like iCloud or Dropbox.  If you can't afford to lose it, then make sure it's getting backed up.

Use Protection
It seems so obvious to most people, but you'd be surprised how often I see Windows PCs without any virus/spyware/malware protection.  Worse, they have software installed, but it's out-of-date.  Again, install antivirus/spyware/malware software and learn how to use it, paying close attention to the definition updates.  If you're gonna look at porn without knowing how to use your anti-STD software, then you might as well be having a bareback hooker orgy party.  McAfee and Symantec (Norton) are 2 popular brands.  ClamAV is a free open-source alternative, but not as feature-rich as the paid options.

Use Trusted Porn Sites and Don't Click Links
There's really no such thing as a trusted porn site, but some are less shady than others.  Stick with ones you know and trust to provide quality virus-free adult entertainment.  For God's sake don't click any links or pop-up boxes or anything other than the "bare" necessities.  If a site keeps opening random windows and sending you to Russian Rolex replica sites, then forget about it.  There are plenty of fish in the sea.  The key is to find the ones that don't bite!  What?  You want links?  I don't look at that filth! :-)

Clean Up After Yourself
This is the computer equivalent to tissues.  Software like CCleaner can clean up your browser cache, cookies, history, etc. so that your computer doesn't look like a freakin' whorehouse.  There's nothing more embarrassing than when grandma sits down at your computer to check her email only to see porno links all over the browser site suggestions & history.

Use Protection at the Gateway
This is an advanced technique, so if you know how to do this you probably have no need for this article.  This is the most powerful and effective protection technique, and the idea here is to protect yourself from harmful crap coming in from the Internet by using a hardcore firewall.  Some home router manufacturers have started offering web-filtering and anti-spyware features that go beyond rudimentary NAT protection, so keep an eye out for those features when purchasing a home router.  You may even want to look at firewalls built for the SMB market.

But if you really want to maximize cost-performance, go with my recommendation--Untangle.  Untangle is an open-source firewall freely available for download.  There are optional paid modules, but the free stuff is fine for home use.  It follows the "appliance" paradigm, so it requires a dedicated machine.  You can buy or build a compact PC (I built mine using a fanless Intel Atom motherboard), and install/setup Untangle on it.  Like most, my previous home router provided wifi, so I turned that into a simple access point.  The Untangle mini-PC became my hardcore router/firewall, and it provides superior protection against Internet nasties when compared with typical home routers.

Follow these tips, and hopefully you won't have to do the walk-of-shame to your neighborhood IT guy (e.g. me).

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