Although Microsoft is homing in on making its products more secure with the Trustworthy Computing initiative, my spy said he couldn't access a hotfix from a Microsoft server -- because the system was down.
The spy tried for three days, but the FTP server was inaccessible. He was first told on Sunday that the server was down temporarily, then told on Monday that it would be down for 24 hours to 48 hours, and as of Tuesday evening, the server was still down. When spy asked if Microsoft had been hit by a virus or hacked, tech support gave the classic response: no comment.
Patience is a virtue
Then again, Amber and I didn't have to deal with Intuit's problems. One of my spies, however, was not so fortunate. Granted my spy waited until the last minute, so to speak, but because he planned to file electronically that should not have been a problem. At 10.30pm on tax day, Mr Spy got the following message: "The Intuit Electronic Filing Centre is experiencing unusually heavy demand and is unable to accept returns at this time. Please try again in five minutes." On a fourth attempt, my spy received a message saying the Intuit Filing Centre is experiencing unusually heavy demand and was unable to accept returns at that time.
At your service
WorldCom, on the other hand, is not at a loss when it comes to accepting payments, another spy said. Last November, the spy switched from WorldCom's frame network services to its VPN offering, and is very happy with the service. Except for the $US3700 monthly bill for the frame network services, that is. That, of course, is in addition to the new bill for the VPN. At this point, my spy claims that WorldCom has sent bills for nearly $US15,000 in total for services not rendered. My spy has tried countless times to get through to someone at WorldCom regarding this matter, and the only action he has seen on WorldCom's side is a notice threatening to cancel his frame account for nonpayment.
Now that we've gotten to know the local bartender, Rob, Amber seems to think the guy knows everything about everything. "Oh, Rob, who wrote The Brothers Karamazov again?" she asked. Of course, when I say "Dostoevsky" she never thinks it's quite right.
Think you know something? Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.