NOTES FROM THE FIELD: How do you spell ‘recovery’?

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: How do you spell ‘recovery’?

It was a shock to look through the peephole and find Amber on my doorstep, back from England on an impromptu visit. But when Pammy came padding out of the kitchen, wearing only a T-shirt and a pair of DreamFree brain-refresh specs I’d picked up at Comdex recently, Amber got a shock of her own.

Break Out the Bubbly: According to the American Electronics Association, the US is on track to lose only 234,000 high-tech jobs this year — a lot better than the 540,000 shed in 2002. Adding to the fun, AT&T is dumping most of its IT staff and outsourcing the work to HP, say my spies. Ousted geeks can try to hook up with HP but they had better keep their passports current: Rumour has those jobs going to HP’s operations in Bangalore. More proof that the phrase “jobless recovery” has joined “business ethics” and “Microsoft Trustworthy Computing” as modern oxymorons.

Plug and Pray: Maybe it’s just a clever way to disguise the comp­any’s offshore support ops, but some Dell techs are embedding Biblical quotations in their email sigs. Such as this one: “If Christ was to come right now: Where would you pass eternity?” Answer: on hold with Dell support. Hey, it feels like an eternity.

Pirate Program: Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus 2004 is so pirate-proof that some paying customers had to reactivate the software license each day — until the program quit working altogether. Now a Cringester says the firm’s anti-buccaneer technology won’t let him backup his PC with Norton Internet Security 2004 installed. Tech support’s solution? Uninstall NIS 2004, do the backup, then reinstall it. First spokesmate, Phil Weiler, said the problems affected less than one per cent of users, the support tech was dead wrong, and Symantec would post a patch to solve the activation snafu — though it wasn’t available at press time.

In a word: arrrrgghhh.

And the Mice Aren’t Too Happy About It, Either: Christmas came early for one Cringe reader when Computer Discount Warehouse sent him a 25kg box of mouse balls (mechanical, not anatomical). The gift was CDW’s way of thanking him for his business. An old flame sent me a dead rat once, but I don’t think she was saying thanks.

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