Don’t run unknown executables for a dollar. And PLEASE don’t for a penny!

I can’t bribe my preschooler with a penny anymore, but, sadly, a consortium of Carnegie Mellon University, NIST and Penn State University found that 22% of respondents through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk were willing to run a dodgy unknown executable in return for a penny. Fifty-eight percent would do it for 50 cents, and 64 percent would do it for a dollar.

I’ve been telling people for 17 years not to take executable files from strangers. I know the percentage of people who will bend down to pick up a penny off the ground when they see one is less than 22%, so this saddens me. Read more

Hints for surviving if the shutdown put you out of work

I’ve seen plenty of news stories of how the government shutdown is affecting 800,000 or so government employees. What the news stories fail to mention is a large number of contractors are out of work too, until this passes. I can only guess on that number, but there’s no doubt it numbers in the millions, and little doubt it’s in the tens of millions.

As a former government contractor myself, I dealt with losing my job unexpectedly earlier this year, so some tips on dealing with an unexpected loss of a paycheck, even if it’s temporary, are fresh in my mind. There are five things you have to do.

I’m not here to gloat about anything. I’m here to try to help. Some of these things won’t be pleasant, but they’ll reduce pain in the long run if this lasts longer than a week. Keep in mind that everything I’m advocating is something I’ve done myself.

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