Did Calibre and/or Bing hijack my opening page on Google Chrome?

Warning!!

Avoid Calibre’s free ebook management program—even if it is offered through CNET. In fact, I suggest you avoid anything from Calibre.

Here’s why: a few weeks ago I was looking for software that would allow me to convert a Microsoft Word File into the three major e-book formats. I already had software to convert a Word file into PDF and EPUB but not for Mobi.

I learned too late that Kindle makes it easy for an author to convert a copy of a novel to the Mobi format. But by then it was too late because Calibre had hijacked my Google Chrome opening page.

I log onto the Internet through Google Chrome, Firefox Mozilla and Microsoft Explorer. I keep buttons for all three of these web browsers on my bottom tool bar so I may click and log on.

And if one browser is having a bad day, I may use one or both of the others. Check the embedded screen shot that shows the opening page that Calibre—a cyber-crook—slipped into my system without my permission, and you will see what I mean.

Caliber Bing Hijack

Anyway, I wanted to buy the software on a CD—less risk of hitchhiker viruses or Trojans hijacking the computer. I went to Fry’s, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max and Staples. No one sold software on a CD that would do the conversions I wanted. I then checked Amazon and e-bay.

The only program I found that claimed it would do what I wanted was Calibre.

Calibre is a free and open source e-book computer software application suite—with surprises you may not want—that organizes, saves and manages e-books, supporting a variety of formats. It also supports e-book syncing with a variety of popular e-book readers and will, within DRM restrictions, convert e-books between differing formats.

To be safe, I went to CNET where I hoped to find a free download of Caliber without those unwanted hitchhikers.  No luck.  During the download process, my Kaspersky Internet Security went crazy so I cancelled the download but not before the damage had been done.

After I discovered what Calibre had planted on my computer, I ran the Uninstall Program—the one that comes with the Microsoft system software—and discovered that Caliber had stored junk in more than two dozen locations on my hard disk—all were deleted.

But not the one that remains hidden to this day.

I then did a complete system restore but no dice. Calibre had somehow hijacked Google Chrome on my desktop. And I can’t get rid of it. Even after calling two technicians and spending hours on the phone struggling to get rid of what Calibre planted somewhere on my hard drive.

By the way, does Bing (aka Microsoft) own Caliber? Is Caliber a Trojan horse for Microsoft that hijacks computers so Microsoft’s Bing search engine appears first when a victim—like me—logs on to the internet through Google Chrome?

Any ideas on how to get rid of this unwanted pest?

UPDATE: February 6, 2014:

Recently, while updating my computer through Microsoft, html code that wasn’t part of Google Chrome was detected, and I was asked if I wanted it deleted. I clicked yes and that seems to have done the trick to rid my computer of the unwanted Caliber/Bing Trojan horse.

Discover” Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Internet is not a Safe Haven for being Anonymous when Behaving Badly

There is no guarantee that being anonymous online offers a safe haven to be abusive to others.

Recently, I was in a scuffle with a flock of anonymous voices on Amazon and as I struggled to disengage from the issue, I was warned that I should apologize to all the anonymous voices hiding behind the masks, and I asked myself why do people do this in the first place?

Maybe this post on Standing in Your Power.com helps explains it better than I can:

“Did you know that up to 90% of our subconscious mind is filled with negative, counterproductive thoughts? That’s what Dr. Bruce Lipton reports, in his book The ‘Biology of Belief’. This negativity, if not reprogrammed, bubbles up as negative self-talk.”

And when our self-talk is dominated by negativity, how we interact with other people is often negative too. In addition, being anonymous on the Internet magnifies that negativity giving an individual a false sense of power that is explained by a behavior called disinhibition.

In fact, in the late 1980s, to change my life and rid myself of character traits that I did not like, on the advice of a close friend, I read a book called “What to Say When you Talk to Yourself” by Shad Helmstetter, and this book is still in print decades later. Reading that book helped me take charge of who I am so I could be a better person and chart my own course.

76% of 163 Amazon reviews rate “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” with five stars (13% rate it with four stars). Only 4% rate it with one star, and this clearly says that not all opinions are equal.

When I read this book and followed Helmstetter’s advice, Amazon did not exist (Amazon was founded in 1994), and I am now planning to write a five-star review of the book because if I had not read it and followed the author’s advice in the 1980s, I’m sure that I would have continued to drift aimlessly through life letting the negative voices control me instead of setting goals to change what I wanted to change and achieve what I have achieved.

However, that doesn’t mean the battle is over. It never ends. Reading one book and following the advice of its author will not erase the negative voices that are always there tempting us to doubt who we are and to take the wrong path and make the wrong decisions in life—the same negative voices that I’m sure are the controlling factor in the behavior of all of the people I collided with on the Katherine Ashe and “Tough Cookie” Amazon threads where I struggled with a flock of mostly anonymous voices.

When we are aware of that negative voice in our head, and we discover it is a factor in something we said or did, then we have a choice to continue down the destructive path or change course.  In this case, I decided to change course.

But that does not erase the fact that some of these anonymous voices on Amazon have slandered me. For example the voice that called me an ”egotistical snob” for the whole world to see, and that was only one example possibly explaining the reason why the sales of my books that have held steady for several years suddenly—almost overnight—dropped by about fifty percent.

In addition, I think most of these anonymous voices have no intention of changing course and if that is true, then they may, inadvertently lead us all into court in a costly law suit that could possibly lead to laws that take away the privilege of anonymity on sites like Amazon and Goodreads. Anonymity is not guaranteed. It is a privilege that can be taken away by Congress or the courts if through slanderous abuse, enough people, who do not hide behind anonymity, are injured as I now believe that my hard-earned reputation has been damaged.

In fact, you can read about the wider picture of this issue in Finding and Identifying Perpetrators of Online Defamation on Dancing With Lawyers.com

Attorney Nicholas Carroll says,  “Positively identifying (and/or proving) the person or people who are defaming you on the Internet is one of the most difficult parts of fighting online slander (or libel, more accurately).

“It’s also one of the most useful – and perhaps the most important – elements in stopping online defamation, because online slanderers rely heavily on staying anonymous. When they get a cease-and-desist letter arriving through snail mail at their physical address, they get scared. With good reason, because now they are the hunted, not the hunter.”

And Carroll recommends a company called Cyber Investigation Services.com that specializes in tracking down abusers of anonymity on the Internet.

Here’s what Cyber Investigations Services says, “WE SOLVE INTERNET DEFAMATION – GUARANTEED”

“When most victims or their attorneys see internet defamation attacks, it is often their first time. For CIS, we see 100′s per month and have developed techniques and solutions simply not known or available to others. This is why we are often able to offer our solutions with a PAY FOR PERFORMANCE ONLY agreement.”

Attorney Nicholas Carroll is the author of “Fighting Slander”, “Law of the Blog”, and “Dancing with Lawyers” (all of which are on the shelves of law libraries at eminent law schools.)

In conclusion, I have one question to ask: How do you slander and ruin the reputation and life of an anonymous person?

You don’t. They do it to themselves.

Discover more on this issue by reading Dealing with Internet Bullies


Sue Scheff won an $11.3 million internet defamation lawsuit in 2006, when false statements were being made about her online.

The laws that cover Internet behavior are still evolving. Sue Scheff’s case is one example of that evolution and it cost the anonymous bully or bullies a lot of money. In fact, there is an Internet Defamation Law Blog.

dba oracle.com says, “Many people on the web think that privacy laws protect their anonymity, but that’s not the case when criminal charges are filed.  Google’s motto is ‘Do no evil’ and they are cooperating with law enforcement to help prosecute crooks by introducing their Google searches as evidence.”

To discover more about this issue visit:

Dealing with Internet Bullies

Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

Is this an example of Defamation?—not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Who’s behaving badly? A culture of arrogance

Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?

Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events

Other sites on this subject:

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The NEED to Edit – Part 5/6

Even though my editing process did not discover every mistake, my manuscripts were clean enough to be awarded the Editor’s Choice Award (4% of books published by iUniverse earned this award); the Publisher’s Choice Award (1%), and the highest score for grammar from two Writer’s Digest judges.

In addition, both of my first novels were reviewed by the Midwest Book Review that has a policy to reject books that do not measure up to industry standards.

Although my novels will not earn praise from most ARGs, editing the work myself, I saved thousands of dollars because I did not hire a freelance editor. In fact, if you read The Business of Editing: Killing Me Softly by Rich Adin, you would have discovered that hiring a freelance editor is not a guarantee that your work will be edited to the level of perfection demanded by most ARGs.

Instead, my first two novels were edited by me first, then by two English teachers followed by two authors that I worked with in a writing critique group (a total of five sets of eyes). Each of these individuals and the two editing programs I used found errors I missed with my flawed mortal eyes.

Remember, humans are not perfect, but most ARGs ignore this fact.

In addition, after all of that editing my novels went through, the work was still not ARG perfect because in 2011, a neighbor, who is not an ARG, read a copy of The Concubine Saga and found twelve mistakes in the 250,000 word manuscript. A few of those mistakes were an “I” that should have been a “me”; an “or” that should have been an “of”, and an “English” that should have said “England”.

However, to most devoted ARGs, errors of that sort are unacceptable and will claim the work is riddled with mistakes.

After final revisions to the plot, I edit the manuscript three times using only my eyes and brain, which are subject to imperfection since I have dyslexia. During this step in the editing process, I use Google as a fact and spell checker (for words I suspected might be spelled wrong). Google is the best spell checker I have used. To use Google, copy and paste the word from your manuscript into Google search. If wrong, Google will call up the correct spelling of the word almost every time. I also use Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips, on-line dictionaries, and an on-line Thesaurus.

You may also want to check out Dr. Grammar at the University of Northern Iowa.

My next step in the editing process uses Serenity Software’s Editing program (highly recommended but it will force you to work) that discovers many mistakes I missed with my eyes. Last, I edit with Microsoft Word’s spelling-grammar editor that may find something at this stage of the editing process but usually doesn’t. Only then do I enlist help from others to edit the manuscript. Even after all that, there will still be a few mistakes, which is why I’m planning to hire a freelance editor for a final edit of my next novel after I finish editing using the process I have described.

I also have a shelf full of resource books (I just counted fourteen) such as The Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference, and I use them all—some more than others.

As Amanda Hocking said in Part 3, editing is “exhausting”. The reason is because most authors do not work exclusively out of the left side of the brain.

Indeed, most authors do not have the editing skills of the legendary editor Maxwell Perkins, who was the editor of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe.

Instead, most authors may have editing skills closer to that of Thomas Wolfe who wrote longhand without the use of punctuation in addition to other mistakes that his editor, Perkins, fixed as he edited Wolfe’s work.

If you are interested in Perkins’ life, I recommend Max Perkins Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg, who won the National Book Award for this work in 1978. I highly recommend the book and found it to be a fascinating biography of an amazing editor. I read it in the early 80s while working toward an MFA.

Today, without Max Perkins to edit his work, Thomas Wolfe (1900 – 1938), the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and the author of Look Homeward, Angel, may have become an indie, self-published author bashed and criticized by that elite one percent that makes up the ARGs.

Continued August 11, 2012 in The NEED to Edit – Part 6 or return to Part 4

View this Six-Part Series as a Single Page

Note: My Blog posts do not go through the exhaustive editing process my novels do.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 5/6

Tilly, in claim six, ever the historian as she says in her Readers Cafe review of The Concubine Saga, points out that the Santai Dynasty mentioned in chapter four was not the oldest known dynasty when in fact the oldest was the Xia.

She is correct but wrong at the same time.  The Xia (or “Hsia” as Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976) spells it in his book, My Country and My People) is the oldest known dynasty but was considered along with the Shang and Chou Dynasties as the “Santai” or “Three Dynasties” (2205 B.C. to 222 B.C.).  Lin Yutang mentions this on page 365 of the 1938 hardcover edition, and I have a copy of Lin Yutang’s book in front of me as I’m writing this post.

I suspect Lin Yutang knew more about Chinese history than Tilly or me.

You see, I did a lot of research between 1999 and 2008 using real books and magazines printed on paper in addition to Google searches.  If I mention a historical fact such as the Santai, you can bet that I was referring to one of my research sources—either a tree book or from the Internet.

However, since Tilly couldn’t find any mention of the Santai Dynasty with a quick Google search, I had to be wrong and the Santai Dynasty never existed.

At the time I was starting My Splendid Concubine, the first novel in The Concubine Saga, my wife was finishing the Empress Orchid that would go on to become a finalist for the British Book Awards, a national best seller in the US and the UK and end up translated into twenty-six languages.  The hardcover of Empress Orchid was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2004 and editors fact checked the novel.  The same sources my wife used regarding the average number of young boys that were castrated and became eunuchs and the methods of castration came from the same tree printed sources I used.

It has been eight years since the release of Empress Orchid and not one historian (Chinese or Western) has accused her of historical innacurracy as Tilly did in her review of my novel posted by the Readers Cafe.

This leads me to Tilly’s last claim of historical inaccuracy, number seven, that there was no way that Robert Hart did not know about the Taping Rebellion before the summer of 1855.

Continued on July 13, 2012 in The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 6 or return to Part 4

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 4/6

In Tilly’s fourth claim, she calls Ayaou a Harlot, which may reveal Tilly’s personal biases and moral beliefs without a clear understanding of cultural difference between the West and China.

There is a HUGE difference between a harlot and a concubine, because a harlot by definition is a woman prostitute.

However, the definition of a concubine says, “1. (in polygamous societies) A woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife or wives.  2. A mistress  3. In certain societies, such as imperial China, a woman contracted to a man as a secondary wife, often having few legal rights and low social status.” (I found all three of these definitions by Googling “Concubine definition”)

Then Tilly, a self proclaimed historian using Google as her main source, no doubt, disagrees with the fact that the eunuch that becomes Hart’s servant tells Hart that he was castrated at a young age so he would qualify to apply for a job in the Forbidden city.

In Tilly’s opinion, castrations only took place after a man was hired to work in the Forbidden City, but that is not what my sources say or should I say my wife’s research material which included the autobiographies of eunuchs that were forced to leave the Forbidden City in 1911 and other source material in original Mandarin—not to be discovered through Google searches.

In addition, Sterling Seagrave in his nonfiction historical book Dragon Lady mentioned on page 121 (paperback edition) that “Most eunuchs in Tung Chih’s day were volunteers, men who sought employment by these desperate means. … Complete healing took three months, after which the eunuch was ready to seek work.”

What does the word “seek” mean?  Hint, it does not mean “start” work.

A comment at Historum.com says, “Eunuchs were usually chosen when they were very young, as castrating a sexually immature boy had less effect on the body. However, sometimes adults eager for money or power might undergo castration in order to enter the court.”

“Many eunuchs chose their way of life. One eunuch told British Sinologist John Blofeld in City of lingering Splendour: ‘It seemed a little thing to give up one pleasure for so many. My parents were poor, yet suffering that small change, I could be sure of an easy life in surroundings of great beauty and magnificence, I could aspire to intimate companionship with lovely women unmarred by their fear or distrust of me. I could even hope for power and wealth of my own.’ … Familes often encouraged their sons to become eunuchs as a means of pulling the family out of poverty and gaining admittance into the imperial court. Many parents even organized their sons’ castration at an early age in hopes that they would become imperial eunuchs.” Source: Facts and Details.com

Do all of these sources say the eunuchs got the job first then was castrated as Tilly claims?

Continued on July 12, 2012 in The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 5 or return to Part 3

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”