AOL amuses as XP annoys

When it comes to AOL Time Warner, it's not the number that amuses us. One of my trusty spies reports he nearly busted a gut when he saw what email address they have for customer service: twc-ne@yahoo.com. Of course, it's ironic that a company owned by AOL needs a free email account.

Her name is Amber. We met at a Northern California diner during my first ride on my Harley Sportster. She’s doing postgrad studies in computer science and working tables to make ends meet. Strangely enough, yours truly found himself back at the same table at that diner last weekend. And most important, I now have her number.

AOL seeks free email

When it comes to AOL Time Warner, it’s not the number that amuses us. One of my trusty spies reports he nearly busted a gut when he saw what email address they have for customer service: twc-ne@yahoo.com.

Of course, it’s ironic that a company owned by AOL needs a free email account. The funny thing was the reply email: “We are in a transitional mode with some of our email systems, and one of the reasons we used Yahoo was to make the routing work in some of our smallest towns.” Fortunately, my spy is happy with the customer service.

XP stresses

But another faithful informant of mine is not a happy camper. He’s just bought a copy of Microsoft Office Professional XP through a friend at Microsoft. Here are some words of warning.

The antipiracy registration technique works so well it will give you only 50 uses if you want to load the same copy on a notebook after first installing on a PC. Pity if you want to trash the PC later without buying a new copy.

Support at www.microsoft.com is hard to find, and it costs $US35 per question if you didn’t buy the product retail.

My spy also alleges Office XP came complete with three files infected with either the Backdoor Trojan virus or the W32 Bad Trans virus.

Office XP will automatically boot the email client Eudora. Very annoying if you use something else. The solution to this undocumented “feature”? Quarantine inetd.exe. I’m sure your average Office workers will know how to do that.

You go, sys admin

Finally, I’m giving you advance notice about an important event for all hard-working, underappreciated systems administrators.

Systems Administrator Day is July 27, and it’s kudos time. Of course, a cake and ice cream party will be expected at every office. But speaking on behalf of my sys admin friends, we also desire handheld GPS (global positioning system) units, Palms, MP3 players, DVD players, digital cameras and radio-controlled cars (see the complete list at www.sysadminday.com).

“I wouldn’t mind going for a ride on that hog of yours,” Amber said casually after bringing me my fifth refill of coffee. (I needed some excuse to stay.) Too stunned to respond, I just nodded, trying to look cool in my too-new leather jacket. Is it too soon to start dating again?

Answers to cringe@infoworld.com.

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