Microsoft tech support swoons, Google promises the moon

When 21st century software meets 12th century bureaucracy

Cringefan and computer science prof. Georges M. was trying to set up a Web site using Office Live Basics when his home page got corrupted. So he bravely contacted Microsoft support. He got back an e-mail asking him to answer 15 questions, try 26 troubleshooting steps, and let Microsoft lock him out of his account for four days while techies investigated the problem. The reply also contained this gem: “Only Content controls are allowed directly in a content page that contains Content controls.” Meanwhile, reader Seval G. posted a question to Microsoft’s Live QnA Beta site asking, “Why is Microsoft tech support so horrible?” He’s still waiting for an answer. So are the rest of us.

Same tiger, different stripes: My item on TigerDirect rebates inspired several responses from Cringesters, not all of them appropriate for family viewing. But a larger object of reader ire is Tiger’s sister company, which handles payouts for the discount dealer and appears to specialize in the "insufficient documentation" gambit. Cringeman Peter H. says he avoided jumping through endless hoops by using OnRebate’s “No Wait Rebate” plan, which promised him money in two weeks — minus 10 percent. I understand the mob charges similar fees when you borrow money. Probably just a coincidence.

Lunar eclipse: As a follower of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, David P. takes exception to my awards for Morally Obtuse, Offensive and Noxious behavior in high tech. In this case, “MOONies” refers to the act of dropping trou and exposing one’s assets to the world, not to followers of a particular religion. No word whether the church also plans to protest Google's scheme to map the moon.

No ifs, ands, or ... : Henry H. received an invite to Novell’s March 2007 BrainShare conference, accompanied by a photo of three people gazing out a window. Taken from the rear at a low angle, the shot consists largely of the trio’s not-insubstantial hindquarters, while the text urges readers to make sure they “don’t get left behind.” Maybe Novell should just rename the conference ButtShare.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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