Thursday, October 2, 2008
Beware of Microshaft!
Microsoft, in endless quest to irritate its customers, has been telling me for the last week that I have only ten days to “Activate Windows,” or they will take it from me. I have no idea whether this is due to my coming to Romania, but it never happened in the US. Of course, I am going to be seriously crippled without my faithful HP Pavilion. So, on D-Day – 5, I try to “Activate Windows online,” only to get an error message. Then I try to “Activate Windows over the phone.” Click your location. Drop-down country list. Romania. Call +40 1 XXX XXXX. Dial the number. Beep, Beep, Beep. No luck. On D-4 I ask at the office. System Engineer Vasile The Willing Though Harried, says he thinks he can install a patch to make the problem disappear. (Romanian computer hackers are not to be trifled with, it seems.) He does so, but it makes no difference, except to add a new flash and musical tone at boot-up. What did you install, I ask? “A virus,” Vasile replies, “but it’s harmless.” Today, on D-3, I tell Mihaela, my wonderful Dean and Melinda, one of my wonderful teaching assistants about it. They take a look, and say, “Oh, they changed the phone numbers. Forget the 40 (Country Code), add a 02 at the front, and it will work.” So tonight, I try again: 0 21 XXX XXXX. Ring,ring! And a recording in Rapid Romanian comes on. Of course. What did I expect? A person? At Microsoft? Has any reader EVER reached a PERSON at Microsoft? So I say, “Screw it,” dial the US number, lying by roughly 7000 miles about my location, and follow instructions. Voila! Windows is activated! (At least until tomorrow, when Microshaft’s spyware tells them that I am really in Romania.)