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On setting up the free version of the Eudora email client on my new home PC, I was surprised to find every time I started it up it renamed my user ID ...

On setting up the free version of the Eudora email client on my new home PC, I was surprised to find every time I started it up it renamed my user ID and POP server. “Username” became “username/servername”, while the old servername was changed to “localhost”.

The Qualcomm-Eudora website told me this was a problem with Norton AntiVirus (NAV) 2000, which I was also running. Unfortunately, that convention upsets the interface between Eudora and my ISP and I cannot receive email. I have to change the names back every time.

Off to the NAV (Symantec) website: my problem was due to a conflict between NAV 2000 and Eudora. NAV prefers the naming convention since it lets it trap email-borne viruses more efficiently. The solution, it said, is to disable NAV's email protection. Luckily, the PC supplier had installed another anti-virus product, which seemed good at trapping emailed viruses.

But unchecking the email protection box proved difficult. I was confronted with a multi-tabbed folder, none of whose sections said anything about email protection.

So, I web-emailed the Symantec helpdesk. A web-email form means you can’t attach documents, so my screenshots of the multi-tabbed folder could not be put before the eyes of the helpdesk operator, one Jamie Finnigan.

Back came a message: “Go to this URL and it will tell you how to remedy the problem.” That, of course, was the webpage I’d already visited, unsuccessfully.

A message was posted back referring me again to the same URL. I wanted Jamie to tell me where the check box was on the folder or try the thing out him/herself. Instead, I was told “I can only assume you are trying to do this from the Eudora end.” I told my “helper”, gently, that I was in NAV and could not see what Jamie claimed I should be seeing.

Not only did Jamie not answer that question; the question itself mysteriously disappeared from the bulletin board.

I decided to go through the local intermediary – Symantec’s New Zealand PR company. This time, I received a prompt – and normal – email from a Matthew Nock at Symantec Australia. Did he have the answer? … Well in a sort of way.

“From the information you have provided it would appear that the configuration for Eudora has not gone completely the way it should have during installation,” Nock says. Is this, I wonder, a polite way of saying “you stuffed it up”?

Anyhow, instead of leading me through a complex process of putting it right, his answer was to send me a free copy of NAV 2002. “You will find that Norton AntiVirus 2002 has far superior email protection,” - euphemism for "we've fixed our dumb mistake"? - he enthused, "and [it has been made] much simpler to configure - what could be simpler than having to do nothing during install?” Another euphemism, for “we have made it idiot-proof”?

Far be it from me to refuse a free upgrade. I’ll let you know whether version 2002 fixes the problem.

Bell is a Wellington-based reporter for Computerworld. Send email to Stephen Bell. Send letters for publication in Computerworld to Computerworld Letters.

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