NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Spheres of Influence

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Spheres of Influence

After reiterating my January theory about the United States annexing Canada, I seem to have irked more than a few of my spies, even those who are usually on my side. "Heck, I even live in America but don't want Canada to become part of the US," said one Canadian spy.

Even the ads have bugs

In the new commercials for MSN 8, a guy dressed in a Microsoft Butterfly costume drops out of a "cocoon". I guess nobody at Microsoft, the ad agency, or any company involved in the production of the commercial knows that a butterfly doesn't emerge from a cocoon, but a chrysalis - moths come from cocoons. But then, as the spy who picked up on this said, "this shouldn't be all that surprising since Microsoft seems to have problems recognising bugs when they see them".

Forced migrations

Although Microsoft usually comes to mind when encountering the phrase "forced migration", a spy says Verizon is adopting the tactic. Verizon, he says, is migrating all its mobile Web users to a branded Hotmail account. The problem is that although Hotmail can do Web-based POP-mail checks, the feature is currently unavailable on the mobile phones. Verizon tech support hopes to make the capability available soon, and recommended, ironically, that my spy use his Yahoo POP-3 e-mail account in the meantime.

Browser wars

More spies reported problems with Netscape, more evidence that the once-mighty browser company is again becoming arrogant. On installing the latest version of Netscape, for instance, a spy found that it superseded her existing AOL Instant Messenger software with Netscape's own IM, which is a less capable tool for that spy. Adding insult to injury, the browser knighted itself as the default application for jpegs.

Another spy chimed in that AOL calls the shots at Netscape. This kind of problematic behaviour is nothing new for AOL. Installing AOL software has wreaked havoc on network connections, file associations, and PC startup procedures for years. "Netscape has been AOL-ised," my spy said.

Then again, the spy cites problems with Microsoft's Web technologies, namely Outlook Express. When trying to delete Outlook Express from Windows 2000 or XP, it takes but a moment before the program "magically reappears".

Yeah, Cringe, just like I said last week: maybe the US could become the 11th province of Canada," Amber smiled. Something tells me she might be one of the few to go for that.

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