Microsoft and Dell
Dell may be backing Linux, but the PC maker is still in cahoots with Microsoft. A spy of mine tried to buy Dell OptiPlex GX260 systems to run SuSE Linux. But one cannot order the machine with Linux or any OS except Microsoft, and the PCs are not available without an OS. This means if you want the system you have to pay for Windows, thereby adding to the price, and ultimately fattening both companies' wallets.
In a related matter, another spy ordered about 25 new Dells with XP, only to find both Microsoft and Dell have set up users for remote access. Selecting Help brings up a page with links to Dell and Microsoft. If downloaded, the companies can set up "remote support". So my spy contacted Dell support and requested the non-customised version of Help -- to which the tech claimed he had no knowledge of, nor could he provide instruction on how to get the Dell Help out. Oh yeah, and right-clicking doesn't remove it either.
After comments in a previous column about an American Express rep who was not interested to learn there was a routing table issue in Phoenix, another of my moles at AmEx reported that the problem reflects a larger issue within Amex IT (see Squirm and squabble). Apparently the company has had a sordid history with H-1B visa workers. Presently, when the web applications crash the H-1B folks are in charge, but they do not accept responsibility nor do they help resolve the issue, my spy says. The result is that AmEx has set up an informal structure in which other workers mirror and do the jobs of the H-1B crew without them knowing about it just so business can continue.
VeriSign, the oxymoronic purveyor of trust, has a site feedback page but the company can't seem to make it work. A spy wanted to consolidate renewal dates for a number of domains, and tried to do so via said feedback page. The problem is, the form is broken, and my spy didn't fill out all the fields. An email sent to customer service came back saying he should email customer service. So he did just that, and the next message sent him to the feedback form.
"I can't help it if I ran into her, Amber" I tried to explain. "I still think you two are in cahoots," she said.
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