Request for Information
I’m not the most proficient technological person. That is, I can use a computer, and often better than some of my associates who have “certificates” for using Microsoft Office and the like. But no, I’m not by any stretch a network technician, programmer, or anything like that.
So I have a question.
It is unusual behavior for my computer to have its security safeguards penetrated. So unusual, in fact, that the appearance of new files on my desktop after simply visiting a web page is completely foreign to me. Not that I’ve never experienced an unauthorized download, but before I always had to click a link to trigger the download. I’m capable of perusing user communities to find out how big an issue this is with the operating system, and what I need to do about it. That part is all good; with a little more diligence, I will know if this is a security update bug, or whether someone has found a way through the gates. And then I’ll know what I need to do.
The question at hand seems comparatively benign, or even banal. But, you know, I also know how to do simple things like look up a file extension I’m unfamiliar with. And, you know, in some cases I end up feeling stupid because I’m left wondering why I didn’t know, say, what an .ogg file was. Life goes on.
But this time, I’m striking out completely.
AlterNet managed to place a file on my desktop under the name ad.timp. I simply linked in from The Rumpus, following a health care story, and my download window popped up showing a zero kb file by that name. File information says it came from AlterNet, and not The Rumpus.
So I excommunicated the file and then set about what I expected would be a simple but enlightening search to determine what the hell a .timp file is. Unfortunately, I’m coming up with tumbleweeds. Silence. Nothing. I may not be a brilliant (or even halfway-decent) computer scientist, but this is an unusual result even for me.
Anyone? Anyone? I’m curious. If you happen to know, and are willing to share a minute of your time, could you please fill me in on what a .timp file is, what it is for, what it is supposed to do, and so forth? Mostly, I’m curious because in looking up various file extensions, I can also learn how hostile and dangerous a given file can be. And, well, since my computer is displaying new behavior despite the most recent virus and spyware checks coming up blank, I figure it’s a good idea to find out just what AlterNet is sending users without asking or advising them.
I would greatly appreciate whatever insight anyone might be willing to share about this mysterious (to me) file extension.
Continue reading →