Thursday, November 17, 2011

No charges filed

On Thursday afternoon, there was a knock on the yarn lady’s front door.  Recalling that last time this had happened she had been invaded by a horde of police she was glad that this time she was dressed.  She opened the door to find only two policemen on her porch and front walk.  Thank heavens for small miracles.  The detective asked if he could come in and ask her a few questions, and reluctantly she invited him in, after grabbing Clem to make sure she didn’t escape. 

As soon as the door was closed, the yarn lady put the squirming Clem down and invited the policemen to sit down.  Today it was the detective, and a patrolman she didn’t recognize.  Clem took off at high speed for the bedroom where she sat underneath the bed, watching and listening in fear.  She hoped they wouldn’t haul the yarn lady off to jail. 

“Ma’am, we were unable to find any evidence on your computers that directly links you to the threats.  There is evidence that all your caches and temporary files on your desktop were wiped around that time.  Can you explain that?”  The detective seemed a lot less hostile today. 

“Well, I do clean stuff off my computer periodically, particularly when it starts running slowly.  I had a problem with the machine around that time, and wasn’t sure if it was a connectivity issue or possibly just that I had too many temporary files that might be taking up my working memory.  When that happens, I wipe the caches and temporary files, run an extra virus scan and use a utility program to see if there are any programs running that aren’t needed.  Sometimes certain program won’t terminate automatically when you close them – Acrobat will do that sometimes, and it can be such a memory hog.”  She went on in this vein for a few more minutes, describing how she performed trouble-shooting for an ailing computer. 

The detective looked at her as though she were speaking Greek, but the detective nodded as she ran down the list of tasks she’d do when the computer acted up.  He then asked, “Why would you only do this for the desktop?” 

“I would for the laptop if it gave me problems, but I don’t use it very often.  It’s mostly for when I’m going to a friend’s house and know that I will need my computer there – maybe to help do some research, or simply for a gaming session.  As for the Ipad, I’m not a Mac person.  If it acted up, I wouldn’t know what in the world to do with it.  I’d probably have to take it back to the Apple Store.” 

The detective sighed and said, “Well, ma’am, we checked out the places you said you’d gone the day the threat was made, and it does appear that you weren’t home at that time.  We did notice something odd with your modem and computer setup, though.  Patrolman, can you explain it?  You understand this better than I do.” 

The patrolman explained that although her computer had software installed that would automatically interface with the router, that the router was not enabled for the software, and that it was on the most basic setting, with no active security at all.  He asked if she had reset it, or if there had been any recent problems with her modem.  Perhaps she had replaced it?

The yarn lady thought for a few moments and then said, “I did have a problem getting onto the internet one day last week.  I had to power down both the modem and router for a hard restart to get online.  It’s the first time that’s happened since I moved here.  This is a very new type of router, and I’m not familiar with it.  Could this have caused the malfunction?”

The detective nodded his head.  “Yeah, our people talked with Netgear, and they said that this happens sometimes with the new ones.  Well, it looks like someone nearby took advantage of your open connection and sent the threats.  We’ve talked to the Secret Service, as they had to be involved with this, and they don’t consider this to be a credible threat against the President in any case, so I think you’re in the clear on this.”  The detective nodded at the patrolman, who asked if he could use a back door to bring her equipment back inside. 

Piece by piece her electronics were carried inside and placed on the floor in the kitchen.  The yarn lady stood with her hands on her hips and shook her head.  “I may be good at doing basic computer maintenance, but I have no clue as to hook up the modem and router.  I guess I’m going to have to call the cable company and ask if they can fit me in before I leave for Thanksgiving.”  She sighed, as she really liked to use her computer.  The patrolman looked at the detective with a questioning look, and then said that if she would allow him, he could hook it back up for her. 

Within thirty minutes the modem and router had been reconnected, and the yarn lady verified that they worked with her Ipad.  She thanked the patrolman, noting his name, so that she could send him a thank you note and perhaps a little gift.  After he and the detective left, she hooked up her desktop and verified that it still worked, and looked to see if there were any changes to the system.  Although she wasn’t particularly paranoid, she had wondered if they might have installed something that might track her internet or computer usage.  There didn’t seem to be anything new, and she sighed with relief. 

Clementine walked into the living room, looking uncharacteristically somber.  “Oh, poor Clem.  I bet you thought I was going to lock you up in that nasty carrier again.  Everything is all right.  We’ve got our stuff back and I can go to see Dotsie and Chris for Thanksgiving.  All’s right with the world.”  She picked up Clem and gave her a kiss.  “Well, I don’t know who managed to get onto my connection and put up all those threats, but I know one thing for sure.  It wasn’t my beautiful little kitten.”  She stroked Clem for a few minutes to make sure that Clem knew that everything was okay and then put her on her special red blankie. 

“Now to call my cable company and figure out how to enable that security connection.  I don’t want to leave this computer vulnerable for one more minute than I have to.  I have a reputation to protect, you know.”  She smiled at this, and picked up her phone.  Clem sat on her blankie and thanked the Great Cat that it had all worked out well.  She’d be a smart and wise little kitten from here on in.  No more inflammatory internet postings for her.  

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