It appears that it's now socially acceptable to discuss the intimate details of your sex life with anybody, from good friends to people you just met at a party. I don't guess I mind this, as it makes for interesting conversation. I'm all for sharing information, don't get me wrong.

A line does need to be drawn somewhere, though, and I think your personal porn collection is probably a good place. I mean really, is there any possible outcome of seeing the pictures somebody else beats off to besides having a lowered opinion of that person?

I propose a rule in two parts:

One, never ask to see another's JPG directory, so you'll never have the "too much information" experience by your own hand. This goes double for those of you who are curious about somebody's porn so you can get inside their head and get to know them better. Trust me, whatever they are into is much weirder and more disturbing than you think it will be.

Two, never, under any circumstances, show anybody your collection, no matter how much they beg. Sure they just want to look at some hot skin to put them in a good mood. Sure they want to see what you like so they can be a better lover. Don't fall for it, or you'll likely end up with friends and SOs that think you're a warped bastard.

Note that this rule can and should be suspended for porno videos, as they're never very erotic, and are always hilarious to watch with others who can see the humor in them.


note: names have been changed to protect the guilty.

I was at Cliff's house for the Fourth of July. We were on his computer, looking stuff up at everyone's favorite search engine, when one of us decided to type an address into the location bar.

Bad idea.

Thanks to the magic of Internuts Explorer's auto fill-in feature, as he typed we could see the names of several different porn sites flash on the screen. We all pretended to ignore what we saw.

A few minutes later, we made the mistake of looking at the recent items list. Among other things, it included BIGDICK01.mpg and LESXXX~004. Bill looked appalled. Cliff denied all knowledge of what was going on. Containing our laughter, Steve and I had to leave. We took a walk and decided to just not mention it and let it slide.

I can honestly say that that was the most awkward moment of my life. One friend's secret, shameful fetishes laid bare before the all the others. And he wasn't even smart enough to clean up his mess when he was done.

Nobody should ever see another's porn collection. So don't leave it where I will stumble across it, and I won't go digging for it, all right, Cliff? Thanks.

A word to the wise:

One really smart way to curtail the chances of someone else seeing your porn collection is to use newsgroups (there's thousands of them devoted to porn) instead of the WWW when looking for whatever gets your rocks off.

Another is to make seemingly innocent folder names for the directories you do keep your computer porn collection in. Good suggestions are "killfile," "market data," "projects" and just about any day of the week (Friday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.). A folder name that even remotely ties in with sexuality will stand out like a sore thumb. A folder named "heinlein," however, will just seem like uninteresting personal crap that no one would be inclined to look at anyway.

If you use Morpheus or some other distributed network service, it's wise to move files, pictures, movies and whatever else into a separate folder- at least the ultra-sensitive stuff that you wouldn't want anyone to look at. When using newsgroups, move downloaded files out of your news reader's default downloads folder into another folder, too.

The really iffy situation I pray I never have to deal with is wiping or cleaning computer systems of the recently deceased. I mean, think about it. When you're gone, exactly who is going to rummage around in your system to look for important information such as typed wills, legal documents, contracts, unfinished books or e-mail addresses of your friends who should be notified of your demise? Naturally, a family member will be faced with that task, because such potentially sensitive information should be viewed by a close family member. Would you like your 16-year-old little brother to happen upon an aspect of your life that you'd rather not be known to anyone in your family? How about your wife? Or your kids?

I've been thinking about that one for a long, long time. I've actually considered developing a small program that, when activated, will take care of that for you and save those we leave behind such a headache. I'd call it something like "DataInsure" or "Life Saver" or something equally mundane. It would allow the system's owner to tag certain folders for immediate deletion, calling up typed wills and other such minutae. Details would have to be seen to in order to make it work perfectly, but such software could definitely come in handy for those who have "something" to hide after they've passed away.

Imagine going through your recently deceased father's computer system and finding out, in the worst way possible, that he had a secret penchant for men in tights or incest stories. Sure, he won't be around to catch hell for it, but his memory might be a bit tarnished after such a discovery.

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