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Japan With Kids - Forums: Consumer Reports: Internet Providers
By Linda Gondo on Monday, March 28, 2005 - 8:46 pm:

Just a warning to anyone who is thinking of changing internet providers. Make sure you check to see if the new provider is compatable with your current anti virus protection software. Our previous internet provider was "Jens Spin net" and we were using Norton anti virus protection. When we changed to "ITSCOM" last year, it was NOT compatable with Norton and we unwittingly downloaded some very nasty things. When we contacted ITSCOM we were just told that we should have checked and basically there was nothing they could do. Our computer has never been the same and has become so slow and so expensive to fix that it will be cheaper to get a new computer.

By Scott Hancock on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 11:10 pm:

It's ridiculous for a provider to tell you Norton anti-virus is "incompatible" with their service. That is just crazy and to me is evidence that they are some kind of spam factory. I never heard of such a thing. You should get away from them as soon as possible.

As for your computer being so expensive to fix, it will be cheaper to get a new one - how old is it? If it's 3 years or less old, do you have all the original CDs that came with it (as well as any software you bought)? If you have these, you just need to reformat the thing and put it back the way you bought it. This would take several hours, but maybe worth it compared to buying new computer. If you need help with that, there's a couple people around who can do it for a fee.

For me, the 3-5 year range is marginal. Over 5 years old and you have got your money's worth, so move on and enjoy a modern machine. These are big generalizations and cases can be made for the fringes beyond.

Go back to JENS Spinnet; at least they are reputable. If you changed because these jokers are cheaper, then you got what you paid for.


By Scott Hancock on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 11:13 pm:

OK, I looked at the ITSCOM site and it seems to be a real company, but I stand by the statement that for them to tell you Norton is incompatible is reason enough to avoid their service. I suppose you must be in their cable area, so it becomes attractive.

By Linda Gondo on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 9:31 am:

Scott, this sounded ridiculous to us too. When we first heard ITSCOM wasn't compatable with NORTON we also couldn't believe it, I guess it seemed so strange that NORTON wouldn't be compatable with anything which is why we were caught out. Their dismissive response of "you should have checked and it's not our problem" caught us by surprise also. They were so rude. Absolutely unbelievable. It still makes my blood boil!
We didn't take the issue further because our computer is six year's old anyway, the language barrier, bureurcratic bullshit, and time restraints. We don't have any of the original CD's that came with the computer which is why we are looking at a new one.
We were attracted to ITSCOM because of the cable service they provide (we cannot get satellite)as well as the fact that they did seem reputable and well known. Ken Corporation, the real estate company recommended them, which seemed a good endorsement also.
I imagine they must have many complaints as surely others must have been caught out.

By Cornelia on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 10:10 am:

You can also clean your computer with a virus cleaner. I just did it with my ancient (in computer terms) lap top. It took a day with all the usual interruptions.

By Linda Gondo on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 11:34 am:

Thanks Cornelia, We have tried various types of virus cleaners which work for a while, then somehow soemething gets in again (even with Trend antivirus software). The problem was, it took a month to put all the cabling in so when we were finally able to download our emails they totalled about 400, some of which would have had viruses attached it, and because our computer was unprotected (although we thought it was) the fact of so many viruses attacking the computer at once probably did more harm than one by one. I think the damage is probably irreversible, or more likely the computer was just too old to cope with such a big bombardment.
Thanks anyway, Linda

By Scott Hancock on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 12:46 pm:

Linda- What a sorry tale. Definitely report back to Ken how rude and ridiculous they were. Our place is also handled by Ken and I'll mention it, too.

Six years is way old for a PC, so you will do yourself a favor by getting anything new. However, you are going to hook it up to this crazy ITSCOM provider! How do they propose you to protect agains virus?

I hate to suggest it, but why not get ASDL over your phone line? Is the cost of ISP from ITSCOM that much cheaper? If you have an analog phone line, you should be able to get ADSL. Though there are some situations where it's a problem.

Point is that, if they are feeding you this craziness now, it will continue and some other problem will occur in the future and they'll be rude and unbelievable again. Only, then you'll be upset from messing up your NEW computer.

FWIW - Scott

By Scott Hancock on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 12:51 pm:

Cornelia - Not to be too much of a grumpy old guy, but "cleaning" PC of vermin is not usually so sure as you make it sound. There are so many different kinds of bad stuff out there, (don't have to tell you!) I don't think anyone can claim 100% pest-free without reformating/installing Windoze, etc. Certainly better than not cleaning, but I felt the need to warn innocent readers :)

By Joe Larsen on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 6:46 am:

Well, everyone is down on ITSCOM, but don't see how anything ITSCOM did or could have done could have contributed to the virus problem. It's rather like blaming the highway department when ones car breaks down.

In what way is INSCOM "not compatable with Norton?" In my 15 years of internet experience (I'm including using Compuserve and BBS's in the old days), I never heard of such a thing. Has Norton been contacted for their view of this problem?

By Scott Hancock on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 7:30 am:

Joe- EXACTLY! I'm down on ITSCOM for saying such a thing. I've never heard of that, either. But, they have been involved in propagating spam for lack of usual controls these days.

It seems the most likely thing is that they failed to do what is now normal filtering at their servers and try this crazy idea of blaming on Norton. So, for them to not only claim it, but do so rudely as expressed by the original poster is grounds to avoid them, I think.

Also, exactly to the point is that to ask Norton "why is your product incompatible with my ISP?", they would probably say "not possible", right? So, wasting the customer's time to avoid their own culpability.


By Joe Larsen on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 8:14 am:

Scott wrote:
"Joe- EXACTLY! I'm down on ITSCOM for saying such a thing. I've never heard of that, either. But, they have been involved in propagating spam for lack of usual controls these days."

Okay, I understand your comment better now. I didn't get the thrust of it before--I didn't read it carefully, I guess.

Anyway, I think you are right, it's not a matter of incompatibility but one of filters being less effective than those used by JENS. I'm sure there is a lot of variation from ISP to ISP.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it necessary for the user to open a file or something before the virus/worm/etc. can be unleashed?

I get lots of emails with suspicious attachments--especially in the period between when a new type is released and the filters are updated--but they can be spotted from a mile away. I think the bottom line is that the user is responsible for safe computing.

Of course, that's easy for me to say since I use Macs, which aren't affected by the thousands of viruses floating around. Even if a Mac user clicks on the infected file, nothing happens.

To Mac users, this whole 'virus' thing is a bit like watching a train wreck. We just think, "Boy, I'm glad I'm not on _that_ train!.

By Scott Hancock on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 9:05 am:

Joe - To your point about needing to open attachments to get infected - for the most part - yes. But, there are things out there (in the Windoze world) which can do their damage without doing so. As you know, it gets complicated. Depends on having the right security settings related to HTML mail, etc.

With Linda's computer being so old - (Win98?) perhaps it was even more vulnerable. So, Linda- when you get your new PC, have someone knowledgeable help you set it up or do the reading & research to put safeguards in place. Mostly, download as little as possible.

Half of my life is in Mac-land, too so I know what you mean, Joe.

By Linda Gondo on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 9:06 am:

Regarding the ITSCOM story, this happened a year ago, and I was talking to my husband last night to verify all the details (he was the one who did all the talking to Itscom in Japanese and downloaded the emails).

Unfortunately I have got one piece of the story incorrect. The main point of the story still stands: ITSCOM had already done the installation of the cabling before we knew it was incompatable with NORTON so we were bound to keep going with them. As mentioned before their customer care was terrible regarding this point.

One vital point that I didn't know was that he DID know that we weren't protected by Norton when downloading the emails. He said after a month of not accessing the emails he was just desperate to see them and thought that just downloading one time being unprotected would be no big deal, and worth the risk. For this reason he feels what he did was foolhardy and we are to blame for the viruses. Sorry if I mislead anybody with previous emails regarding this as I thought what I was saying was correct.

This however, it does not exonerate ITSCOM for not telling us before the installation of cabling that NORTON was incompatable. The message still stands, whichever internet provider you end up going with, be sure to check to see if your antivirus software is compatable, or you may be forced to buy additional anitvirus software, OR be tempted to download something risky, as we did.

By Scott Hancock on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 9:28 am:

Thanks for the update and confession, Linda. I guess you've learned the lesson about not using protection!

But, I need to get readers to understand that this idea of some program being "incompatible" with an ISP is nonsense. This was an excuse from ITSCOM. I would say you could use this crazy question as a test. If one asks a potential ISP "Is your service incompatible with any anti-virus?" and they give an answer other than "What are you talking about?", then move on to another ISP.

By Cornelia on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 11:37 am:

Dear Grumpy Ol' Scott, ;-) (who is neither)
Of course "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" applies here as well as anywhere else.

Have I mentioned before that I am managing this whole web site as well as my numerous other internet activities from an old IBM laptop running Win 98 with 6 Gigs hard drive. These are complicated machines. It doesn't hurt to try to learn a bit about them. New personal computers are far more complex than a B-52. (I can't resist putting in a plug for my IBM Thinkpad, a work horse if I ever knew one, worth every penny that I spent on it. And the IBM service unit, down by Rainbow Bridge, has been totally great too.)

RE: IPSCOM, the big beef would appear to be rudeness. But probably more importantly they might also be unprofessional in how they manage their servers. That would be a bigger negative in the long run.

Jens Spinnet ADSL users always had the option to connect by modem. They also have some great tech help people on the phone lines. I get 400 messages piled up in about 4 days if I let them go that long, so a whole month would have been totally out of the question for me. It is often possible to cull junk mail, with or without suspicious attachments, on the web access to mail provided these days by many mail/internet providers. This is so that you can check your mail when you are travelling or your computer is down, for example from an internet cafe.

GOL is a smaller company (which I am currently on board with) and they don't have as many people, but they speak English and are extremely helpful too (like Spinnet). The most obvious reason to go with cable is if you need a package including television. ADSL is more mobile.

Every time I have a failure I hold myself responsible first. (The most common reason these days is a packed hard drive). I also realize that I am living on the edge, because I have removed every anti virus software I've tried within a week or month of installing it because it caused more crashes than any other installations (Panda, Norton, etc.)

On the subject of MACS, since I have a MAC running next to my PC which I use for slide shows, storage, etc. (it has a 40 Gig hard drive), I try to stay abreast somewhat of developments re: Mac/Apple. MAC users can no longer afford to be smug. Here is a link regarding Mac OS X:

In summary:
Apple's OS X operating system an easy target for hackers
Symantec Report Bad News for Apple Users

Date: 3/21/2005
Online security provider Symantec has labeled Apple's OS X operating system an easy target for hackers and malware authors, reports say.

In its bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec has revealed the discovery of at least 37 major vulnerabilities within the Mac OS X system. The security vendor also predicts that attacks will occur with greater frequency as Apple increases its market share.

The report found an increasing amount of malware in the second half of 2004. It also displayed a 366 percent increase in phishing attacks, while the number of Windows-based worms and viruses rose by only 64 percent when compared to the first half of 2004.

By Scott Hancock on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 11:53 am:

That is too funny that you're running the site on the relic. Let us snobs all take note.

I think the reason you can't get anti-virus to work is because of the Win98.

I am a spoiled technosnob old grump. :(


By Joe Larsen on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 2:28 pm:

Cornelia wrote:
> Online security provider Symantec has labeled Apple's
> OS X operating system an easy target for hackers and
> malware authors, reports say.
> Symantec has revealed the discovery of at least 37 major
> vulnerabilities within the Mac OS X system.

You're right. Macs are vunerable and someday someone will write significant malware for Macs. I have virus software on my Mac now (it's bundled with .Mac). But it will be a long time before the problems are anything like what's going on with Windows.

As for Symantec, I think their motives are obvious. They have products for Macs but few users buy them. There's nothing like a scarey news release to generate some sales. And if some anti-social geek sees it and gets motivated to attack Macs, so much the better.

In any case, I think my analogy still holds. I'm riding on a train that's firmly on the rails. Yes, it might derail someday, but it's still a relief that the 'train wreck' is on the other line.

Nice job on the site, by the way. Joe

By Nancy on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 11:05 pm:

Another provider to consider is Asahi net - they provide excellent English support and competitive pricing.

By Joe Larsen on Friday, April 1, 2005 - 4:13 am:

Yahoo BB's ADSL service is also quite good. Their speeds are faster and rates lower than Flets. Also, it includes domestic and international calling rates that are
lower in most cases than Flets or other phone carriers.
Yahoo's English-speaking agent is here:

By seth on Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 5:19 pm:

This message is regarding the internet service provider USEN.
Since we are Japanese illiterate we had an english speaking person from USEN visit us and explain the rules to us. However only within 15 days of signing the contract for internet services, our plan changed, we decided to cancel our enrollment. But now it seems we have to pay 6 months fee. Just because we cannot read Japanese we were conned. The representative who visited us never once mentioned this clause in the agreement. So much for our trust.

By Cornelia on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 1:07 pm:

I was at friend's house the other day (7 February) and she was having problems with her internet connection so I called the service number, and they had no English support at all. Usually even if they have no one at hand, they will take your number and find someone who will call you back. This person said flat out "no" (with a bit of keigo, of course). But "no". This was so-net (A Sony company).
Since my friend is Japanese I just handed the phone over to her. And her experience was apparently very good. She was very scared to make the call initially, but the customer service person walked her through the whole thing very smoothly, and it got fixed.

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