Useful Internet VCE English Resource and a Warning re Internet Use.

Hi to VCE students and readers,

An Example of Useful Internet VCE English Resource.

I recently accessed ATAR Notes, a VCE resource for students mostly by students.                              With some sifting, it has some excellent material (and forums of mixed value).

Below is one of the excellent links. Disclaimer: note the date!                                                      However, there is still so much valuable material.Current curriculum involves more awareness and use of metalanguage and multiple readings (awareness of how people can interpret text differently depending on personal and social perspective and ideological leanings). Please first read through to the end of this post.

English Guides, Sample Pieces, Tips and Resources « on: December 19, 2010, 12:15:28 AM »

As always, do not just take what you read at face value. Consider deeply and analyse critically. Do your research. How would you approach the material? Regularly practice paragraphs in the appropriate form and style in response to prompts and text.


One more very important thing! Do not click on links like iLivid to access media material. They often come bundled with very nasty Trojans.

This I discovered last night.                                                                                                               It took me a weekend to realise how deep the Trojans burrowed into my system.                                  It took me many hours to work out how to dig them out and destroy them safely.                           I’m not the most technically savvy person but I was determined!

So now I wish to share my story briefly as a warning and a guide to any who find themselves in this situation.

One of the web pages on ATAR Notes had a link to a bundle of 50 odd articles a student had accumulated in his research for the Context Area of Study. There was a suggested link for file decompression. It was iLivid in this case. I trustingly/foolishly clicked the link and downloaded it. This involved the typical permission I Agree. Unfortunately, somewhere in all that wordiness, or in some other technical way beyond my comprehension, there must be a loophole for Trojans to use and hijack and/or a point of entry through my firewall .

The first problem seemed fairly innocuous but irritating. My default browser was sidelined and instead a Bing-like browser page popped up with URL searchnu after redirection through; according to Anvisoft Forums, it is categorised as “a malicious browser hijacker virus” which pretends to be a legitimate website but comes with lots of bundled malware, malicious spyware, adware parasites etc. A very, very nasty piece of work! )  The use of a www1 appeared during this time which at other times may not have been so much of a worry but in the context certainly was, given that it enables redirection (I believe). Waiting ‘in the sidelines’ of my programs, I also found WiseConvert, URL There were even more I could not find or identify. See below.


  • No searches were done after infection!
  • Asked someone else to look up the suspicious URL name from another computer and,  when this was not an option, I used my un-synced smartphone search facility to keep a separation of information.
  • Was cautious about the sites used for information especially if the discussion seemed lightweight or if they suggested downloads or links.
  • Triple+ checked the suggestions across a range of sites. The more trustworthy sites offer suggestions for finding and dealing with embedded programs and links.
  • Cleared all my download and search histories in the hope of reducing data accessible to spyware before following sensible suggestions from selected sensible sites.
  • Went into Control Panel and uninstalled suspicious programs appearing over the last week and particularly around the date of iLivid download.
  • Accessed Settings on the affected browser and deleted any suspicious add-ons and reset the default browser page.
  • Ran my widely respected virus protection program.
  • Restored system to an earlier date before download of iLivid then ran updates and virus check again.
  • Rebooted.
  • The problem would go away for awhile — but then it would re-emerge!
  • Researched anti-malware and anti-spyware programs. I have generally found CNET  to be a reliable point of research  as a guideline on a number of computer technology issues and programs, but again I cross reference.
  • Downloaded Spybot Search and Destroy, read Tutorial and Help then ran it. I thought I had uninstalled several dodgy programs including iLivid and reset settings. Spybot did a deep search and found several problems, including an iLivid cookie deep in my system. On instruction it disposed of all except one problem. It advised a second run through on Administrator mode, This removed the last, most deeply embedded bug/virus/trojan/worm or whatever it was bearing iLivid tag. So far so good: fingers crossed.
  • Am now considering getting another such program which someone recommended would work alongside Spybot.
  • Am also considering resetting passwords after putting out this warning for others. Perhaps I should have done this last night @ 2am when I finally cleared the system – hopefully.

Why does it matter?

Various sites suggest some disturbing possibilities apart from simply watching your search habits.

  • Tee Support claims Wiseconvert toolbar (Wise Convert BHO) may be a part of an online fraud, sneaking into the target computer and changing DNS settings, forcing pop ups and redirections to Wise Convert or other tricky links like searchnu or dts (any unfamiliar browser names or changes in look should be treated with utmost suspicion and caution). Ultimately one of them resets your browser to URLs like without consent. Initially it may appear just a nuisance but it can cause browser crashes (which happened to me), slow the system, slow internet speed, The nuisance value increases over time.
  • However, it is the breach of privacy and the harvesting of personal information (browser passwords, cookies, online banking details etc) which are particularly disturbing to the this era of identity theft and internet fraud.
  • Other sites suggest your computer can be used as a redirection/transfer or remote station for dodgy, even illegal & salacious, internet activities.

I hope this helps some of you.





Students of VCE English may have to write a piece in the imaginative mode for the Context study. It is most probable that the form of creative writing will require writing good prose (unless poetry is chosen).

What is good prose?

Good prose is writing which compels the reader to read on.

It generates mind pictures, atmosphere and mood.  It establishes characters and it arouses curiosity about them and their circumstances, relationships and motivations. It constructs captivating dilemmas, responses and consequences. It elicits emotional responses. It stimulates thought. It satisfies the aesthetic sense through form, language and storytelling. It feeds the ethical and philosophical sense: it can prick the conscience or offer a mirror to reflect on one’s humanity and the condition of Mankind.

How does an author or writer develop satisfying pieces of writing?

  • Authority, authenticity and finding the heart of the story
  • Imagery, sensory detail and providing a fresh ‘vision’
  • Conciseness, flair and making every word matter
  • Rhythm, euphony and creating  pitch, pace and pause
  • Poise, elegance and shaping a unique narrative

What can you do to find inspiration and develop writing skills

Just do it!

Other things you can practise:

  • Observation of people and surroundings.Image
  • Listening closely to the stories people tell each other.
  • Awareness of all the senses and how they inform our perception of the world
  • Exercise curiosity about what you hear, see and read. Ask yourself questions like: Why might this have happened? What is likely to happen as a consequence? What other possible explanations are there? Who else may have been affected or involved? What may have motivated certain actions? What would the situation have been like? How might the people involved have felt? How would I feel? What would I have done? Etc.
  • Recording your observations as above and your memories of experiences or stories — carry a notebook and pen or use digital notepad.
  • Reading widely and closely — explore a range of text types.
  • Writing a little every day — set aside 5-10 minutes to do writing exercises.
  • Researching specifics of subject matter, place, era, objects etc.
  • Having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and give it a go.
  • Having the persistence to keep at it, to chip away at it, to craft it.                                                    Just do it!