I have found, much to my consternation at times, and at other times, mere befuddlement or even disbelief, that I had somehow subscribed to All the Web without realizing it (having read various warnings about it) and somehow subscribed to Google Chrome without realizing it. I had simply been accepting the various Firefox updates to the browser itself, apparently. I had been experimenting with checking off various boxes which looked promising for searches and for privacy and security protection.
Well, those little boxes under Options/Tools can be quite deceptive. If you check the box that allows search under other engines, you will get All The Web, whether you asked for that download or not. I had talked to my IP, EarthLink, in several chat sessions, and mentioned problems I was having. Apparently some people have been getting back to Google and to Firefox. I found the obscure little box and changed the settings to one search engine, Google, and still allowing Wikipedia. I just go to Yahoo or to Ask when I feel like it. A few days later, my download list from Firefox for add-ons had the disable option, so I used it for All The Web, because I had not been able to find it listed anywhere in my computer or on my toolbar. Today there was an uninstall option, which I promptly did. But I found out, when trying to discover why I could not access the gmail account I had been trying to start up, and why I couldn't access my g docs when I had a couple weeks previously, that I had somehow been subscribed to Chrome. I hadn't read up on Chrome yet, so I hadn't subscribed to it knowingly. Doesn't look too bad.
There are some big problems with trying to access Google accounts now. If you don't have a Java console option enabled on your Tools/Options Menu dropdown, and you don't have enable Java boxes (there are 2 in one place and I believe one more somewhere else) in the Customized Google choices menus, you will not be able to access your account and you will not be able to pass the Turing test when you try to get help from Google. And if your speakers aren't working, that also makes the Turing test harder to pass. I have had no problems with the Turing test with various public forums, one of which was founded by 2 very hard-working computer specialists who keep on top of stuff. I don't sign up for the help forums for all the products that I use because I value my privacy, and frankly, haven't found most of them very helpful. Microsoft never has been. But it looks like I will have to sign up for Firefox and for Google forums, for my own protection, and hopefully to get e-mail notices sent to me.
The Google Talk looked exciting, so I downloaded, then I read the Eula, which refers the user to several html postings. Google wants you to agree to all ads, sign away your privacy and security rights and accept all changes, whether you want them or not. It does everything but ask for your first born child. (Fortunately, I don't have one.)
I am a big fan of freeware and open source ware, but having had limited means for some time, have been scratching my head and looking for ways to budget so that I can start paying. But I already may be paying. With all those nasty Java scripts.
Hopefully the internet in time will come to be seen as more of a public utility, more like the numerous phone companies. As it is, it is a struggle for the non-techie type to keep up with all the changes, while more and more government agencies are switching their information to on-line storage and discouraging public servants from being helpful. As a former public servant, who comes from families of public servants on both sides, I think this does not bode well for the future. The internet is a great and necessary thing, but it should not be used as a way of disenfranchising the public or avoiding responsibility for consumer rights and safety.
Anyway, the security on-line person at my bank said when I talked to her on the phone, "Use Internet Explorer. and if you use Firefox, don't go past version 2." Yikes! I hope I'm not that primitive.
Anyway, the future is here, and it is a strange and wonderful and very troubling place. (There must be a song somewhere that expresses that sentiment.)
Happy autumnal occasions to everyone!