NOTES FROM THE FIELD: I, clairvoyant (not)

Some days, Amber agrees with my clairvoyance; others she thinks I'm just plain blind. But one of my predictions, which came way back in January of this year, appears to be gathering steam. I refer to a recent poll by Leger Marketing in Montreal that found that four out of 10 Americans think Canada ought to become state 51.

Bumbling browsers

But in reality my extrasensory perception may be as likely as Internet Explorer and Netscape aligning forces. Although I have written a couple of times lately about IE nightmares, several of my spies have reported problems with Netscape, too. The latest episode, one of my spies reports, is Netscape 7 installing itself to automatically boot up whenever Windows launches. Claiming to have tried everything, my spy says there seems to be no way around it short of uninstalling the entire program. "Has a culture of arrogance started to rake root in this erstwhile trusted company?"

Ongoing HP warranty saga

Speaking of shaky trust, the mystery of the HP warranty expiration continues, and the plot thickens. I previously wrote about a spy entrenched in battle with HP because the printer giant was not honouring a warranty, saying the warranty actually started when HP got the purchasing order, rather than when the customer received the product - which in this case was more than a month's difference. Last week one of my spies told me that my column piqued the interest of California's state sales tax agency, because here in the Golden State a sale occurs when title passes. My spy said that HP's policy could come back to haunt it, on account of the law that says if the "sale" occurs when the PO is cut, sales tax is due at the same time, generally the month following the date of sale. This means if HP receives a PO dated September 30, they treat it as a sale on September 30, even though the product delivery might not occur until November 15, and payment arrives 30 days later. So, HP should be reporting and paying the sales tax, at least in California, by October 30.

Security flaws

McAfee seems to be angering more spies in these days of viral threats. A spy reported that McAfee Virus Scan's Instant Updater feature misled him into thinking he was fully protected against BugBear with the latest patches, when there was at least one more fix he needed.

THE problem with that poll is that they are asking the wrong folks - Americans instead of Canadians," Amber declared. Actually, my dear, 20 per cent of Canadians said they would be in favour of annexation. You never know.

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