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When I was 18, I joined the Army Reserves for one summer. I learned many things, one of them being how to stand very straight while being shouted at in the face and simultaneously having my mattress tossed out a second floor window for the heinous crime of showing a wrinkle in one corner.

I was able to apply that valuable lesson this very day. Except this time I was the shouter, and Zone Alarm Pro personal firewall software was the shoutee. And the tossing was metaphorical, though I did in fact DELETE EVERY SINGLE VESTIGE OF THAT BUGGY MOTHER from my machine. It hasn't played nice with Visual Studio for about a year, ever since Zone Alarm 5 was released. Aggravating in the extreme. It would randomly lock up all internet traffic after a compile, and various sundry annoyances.

The thing is, I had paid in advance for two years of updates, and I was going to get my money's worth. So I just upgraded to the latest release, Zone Alarm 6. Maybe this latest would solve all the earlier problems. Maybe I could run VS and Zone Alarm and they would become the best of friends. It could happen. Updates are supposed to fix bugs, solve issues, make IMPROVEMENTS, right? When the first Blue Screen O' Death occurred while using VS, I thought: "A random BSOD. How random. Ha ha!" When the second BSOD slapped me about the jowls with its kid leather glove, I swallowed hard and looked up the offending driver. It belonged to Zone Alarm. My jaw set. On the third BSOD, I screamed an infuriated mountain gorilla scream. And beat my chest. And then I ripped Zone Alarm out of my system, tracking down every single file and yelling "DELETED!" with every deletion. It felt good. And I turned on the Windows firewall.

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