A new use for anti-virus software

One of the unfortunate realities of life is that standards meetings are often fairly boring. If you're attending one, you might only be interested in an hour or two of a four-hour meeting. If you sit through this for a few days in a row, you can end up fighting a losing battle to stay awake. Or you can try to get other work done. In many cases, people play solitaire or minesweeper on their laptops. If you have Internet connectivity, you can even use your favorite social networking web site to keep yourself entertained until the material that you're actually interested in comes up.

Apparently this happens at more that standards meetings. It seems to affect politicians also, at least ones from Maryland. Maybe that's why the Maryland General Assembly recently banned all elected officials and staff from Facebook and MySpace. Maryland's politicians may not have to sit through an extensive and through discussion of several types of random-number generators before they get to the material they're interested in, but they probably have fairly similar problems.

The memo that announced the ban said it was due to viruses coming from Facebook and MySpace, an assessment that doesn't seem to make much sense. Could Maryland have tried to save money by not keeping their anti-virus software up to date? It seems that would do a fairly good job of stopping viruses, even ones that are claimed to come from social networking sites. Having updated anti-virus software might even help keep politicians awake during meetings. That's a benefit that the marketing people at anti-virus vendors don't seem to have tried to market yet.

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