A sorry excuse for a column

Nextel's hard sell, L.A. goes PC

You know that old saw "Love means never having to say you’re sorry"? Well, don’t believe it. Pammy just gave me her holiday wish list, and I’ll be saying "sorry" a lot in a few weeks. (It’s that or the poorhouse -- I’m not sure which is worse.) Fortunately this week, I get excellent practice saying "I’m sorry" over a wide range of gaffes.

Bombs Away: My joke a few weeks back about Korea’s alternative marketing slogan ("Our products are the bomb") landed me in deep kimchi with some readers, who accused me of stupidly confusing North with South. Well, I’ll cop to being stupid, but not confused. The North has the A-bomb, and the South has all those M*A*S*H reruns, right? It was just a joke; sorry if it offended anyone.

Gland Illusion: Apologies are also in order to Computer Discount Warehouse. Turns out last week’s item about CDW shipping free boxes of mouse balls to customers was all bollixed up. The rodent bits were a prank, sent to my tipster using faked CDW paperwork. When I learned of the hoax, I got a little testy myself -- mistakes like that drive me nuts.

Nextel Ne Regrette Rien: A Cringe crewmember says Nextel is spamming its own customers with text message ads, then charging for the privilege of reading them. The company denies the charges (literally): "Nextel's policy is that we do not charge customers for text messages that we generate to them," says spokesagent Chris Doherty. But Nextel can’t explain how customers got dinged 80 cents for every ad they opened; the company says it will refund the charges but won’t stop sending ads. No apologies there, apparently.

Watch Your Language: In other news, Los Angeles County officials have urged vendors to stop using the term "master/slave" to describe technology where one device controls the actions of others, saying the term is racially insensitive. Rumor has it several hard drive makers are dropping the offending phrase from their documentation; new drives will now be labeled "dominant/submissive." (I’ll just apologize for this joke now and get it over with.)

Got hot tips or other good reasons for me to eat crow? Send ‘em my way -- you may snag 50 clams.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.