I guess it had to happen. My parents were in town this week on a surprise visit, and who should happen to call but Amber. "Invite her around for dinner," my very retired father bellowed from the lounge. It was Meet the Parents all over again.
I'm not the only one to face an awkward situation. At least four readers e-mailed me this week with complaints about unauthorised credit card charges from Network Solutions, the domain name registrar I mentioned last week.
In one case, a reader was charged twice for the purchase of two domains - and the refund for the overcharge is still pending from early July.
Another case saw the unauthorised use of a credit card number rack up a stack of bills, one of which came from Network Solutions. Once again, in a copycat of the same instance, another reader reports he was charged $800 for a domain he never bought. Even worse was the lack of contact information on his credit card statement, which listed Network Solutions phone number as XXX XXX XXXX.
When finally contacted, an agent asked my source, "How did you get this number?" and refused to give any information.
Finally, a couple of Web developers whose start-up software development company failed were surprised to get a credit card offer from BankOne. As it happens, they'd never put their names together except on a domain name registration form submitted to Network Solutions.
NSI, you can do better than this. Send me some answers or the flames will keep coming.
Meanwhile, a spy who had his card charged twice at Oracle's online store says the world's leading database vendor is losing data. His attempt to buy books for a second time saw his log-in attempt fail. The screen stated: "If you had an account with the Oracle Store before July 3, 2001, you will need to re-register."
Sun Microsystems apparently has some online store issues of its own, or at the very least, an amusing irony. While Sun boss Scott McNealy is running around badmouthing Microsoft for excluding Java Virtual Machine from Windows XP, I couldn't help smile at this anecdote.
One of my spies reports when he clicked on a link at Sun's Java store, rather than execute the JSP (Java server pages), it showed the real source: "This script executes the ASP page and to mask ASP as JSP for JavaWear." In case you're not a programmer, ASP (active server pages) is a Microsoft-developed technology.
"She's quite a lady," my over-enthusiastic dad said when Amber had left after dinner. "Will we see more of her?" Maybe, Dad, just maybe.
Got any antipodean gossip? Send it on to firstname.lastname@example.org