NOTES FROM THE FIELD: AOL complains, Dell explains

I don’t know what’s up with Pammy. When she moved in last fall she had candy-apple red hair and wore Manolo Blahniks to the supermarket.

Now she’s sporting her natural brown hair and traded in her stilettos for steel-toed boots. Last week she sat around with a bunch of her gal pals replaying the Janet Jackson Super Bowl clip over and over on the TiVo. I can’t figure her out.

In the bud: Speaking of Action Jackson, word on the street is America Online has asked CBS to refund some of the reported $US10 million it paid to expose its own products during the game. Apparently AOL felt overshadowed by Ms Jackson’s, um, performance. I’ve just thought of another great way to use AOL discs — added protection in case of wardrobe malfunction.

Any storm in a port: A recent item about Dell’s problems getting its D/Port docking stations to behave did, finally, elicit a response from Dell. Spokeshuman, Anne Camden, said the D/Port’s problems had been intermittent (kind of like my love life) and thus hard to replicate in the lab (ditto). But Dell has recently been able to repeat the problem and hopes to have a solution soon, at which point they will contact customers who’ve bought the things and ... do something, they’re not sure what. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to more important questions: What did Justin Timberlake know, and when did he know it?

The McDoom virus: McAfee has come up with a foolproof way to combat worms: Keep users from sending or receiving any email. That’s what happens when some folks run McAfee’s VirusScan 8 and Privacy Service at the same time. Your options? Install McAfee’s fix (which my sources claim doesn’t work) or disable VirusScan’s WormStopper. Then again, that uninstall button looks mighty tempting.

Yahoos@Yahoo: I don’t know what Yahoo is asking its customers, but apparently it’s hush-hush. One Cringester cruising Yahoo got a random pop-up asking if he’d take part in a marketing survey; when he agreed, he was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement -- in perpetuity. If you break the NDA, I understand the penalty is a year’s subscription to Yahoo GeoCities.