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.

WARNING RE LINKS TO DOWNLOADS ON USEFUL RESOURCE WEBSITES. 

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 dts.search-results.com; 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 http:Wiseconvert.com. There were even more I could not find or identify. See below.

REMEDIAL STEPS TAKEN.

  • 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 http:Wiseconvert.com 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 individual.in 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.

Cheers,

J

Advertisements

METALANGUAGE

Metalanguage is a term which some students try to avoid approaching because it sounds too intimidating and mysterious.

Initially, I explain it to my students this way:

“Metalanguage is simply the language you use to think, talk and write about how others use language.”

Image

You may engage in using metalanguage for a number of reasons: for example, to describe, to analyse, to endorse, to critique, to educate, to entertain, to manipulate. As a VCE English or English Language student, you will put the first two into practice.

English students use metalanguage to describe and analyse how language is used to persuade in relation to current media issues as well as how writers use language to construct fiction and non-fiction texts. Important aspects of language studied in this way include vocabulary and glossaries, grammar, tone, language devices, accent and dialect and structural, style and genre conventions. For further discussion of metalanguage and course expectations about it, please access the following link and read this informative post by VCE Study Guides.  http://www.vcestudyguides.com/what-is-metalanguage

Parents modelling and overtly teaching their young children the  ‘mother tongue’ are using  metalanguage daily to educate, as do educators teaching first and subsequent languages.

Comedians and social commentators use metalanguage to entertain and/or to evaluate the way in which people use language and the implications of this. When well known public figures have their use of language subjected to such treatment, it is often satiric and often politically motivated. One example is the ridicule attending the tendency of past US president, George Bush, to the language faux-pas. A highly intelligent and educated person can lose credibility if their command of language in the immediacy of impromptu speaking is less than their more considered and reflective written or rehearsed formats. Combined with losing political favour, it is a minefield for a politician thus afflicted.

By contrast, current US President, Barak Obama, showed enormous statesman-like promise in his inaugural speech. However, with the Global Financial Crisis repercussions and an extreme right wing driven backlash, he has come under fire not only for unpopular reforms promised but for being perceived by those wanting reform to be unable to back his promising speech with adequate policy and action. A double whammy.

When it comes to words within a public ‘performance’, appearance means much even if not representative of the content. Metalanguage can be used to discuss aspects of the delivery of the spoken word as well as the written word, to compare and contrast them and to analyse the interaction between them and the implications of how they enhance or detract from each other.

I acknowledge much of this content has a political bent. The ability to apply understanding of metalanguage is an important aspect of critical thinking in any field of human endeavour. In understanding socio-political events, issues and public debate, I consider awareness of language use and how it can influence our thinking and position our perspective as a cornerstone of being a good citizen.

I hope this gives a broader context which helps you to understand the rather pompous term, ‘metalanguage’.

Cheers,

Julie

Here’s an example of a poetry glossary or terminology resource; and also a resource for poetry types: http://www.poeticterminology.net/

VCE Literature students and others studying poetry may find this alphabetical resource more detailed and extensive in its content:

http://www.poetrysoup.com/poetry_terms/

Of course there are other relevant links you can find in your research.

You are invited to share links with others in the comments section along with other observations.