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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Thursday, November 16, 2006

the writer tangles with Mercury retrograde

I'm finding it to be a frustrating day. I'm suffering some of the symptoms of Mercury retrograde: a period of three weeks when Mercury appears to move backward in the sky. Astrologically it coincides with communication and travel delays and mixups, lost mail, telephone tag, and malfunctioning office equipment. (Have you found any of this happening since the end of October?)

I'm suffering from the latter. I discovered today that my antivirus and Internet security software, Kaspersky Antivirus, expired on October 11. Yikes! I set about trying to renew it. While Kaspersky, a Russian firm, is not as customer-hostile as Norton/Symantec (who are very customer-hostile indeed, in my experience), they nonetheless make it difficult to get things done. For hotshot programmers, their Web interface is pretty confusing and mysterious. Buying stuff online should be simple and straightforward, and the user interface well tested. Strangely, this is an area that most online businesses seem to put little effort into.

I managed to buy version 6.0, but then, upon trying to install it, I hit a wall: I would reach a point where the Install program would tell me I had to restart my computer. I did so. I hit the same point again, and restarted again. And again. And again.

At that point I sent an e-mail to the Kaspersky American support people who sent me my discount code for buying the product, but I haven't heard back from them. They probably work a regular day till 5:00 or so on the East Coast, then went home. Meanwhile, version 6.0 appears to have deleted version 5 that was resident on my PC, leaving me with nada. Luckily, they did get my money for the purchase.

I hesitated about updating my security software while Mercury is still retrograde, since this is exactly the kind of transaction that can go haywire. But I felt nervous about continuing to run on a virus database that was last updated on October 10. Well, now I have no virus database. Presumably I'm a sitting duck for malware, spam, phishing, and who knows what else.

I could try contacting Kaspersky at their Russian headquarters. From the "support" page of their website, it appears that I would have to fill out a form, a process that they advise takes about 15 minutes. That should keep those pesky inquiries away!

Maybe more businesses should have a flash page that says: "Just give us your Visa number, stop whining, and go away." As long as it were simple to enter the credit-card number, they might get some business with that, just because it appears to work.

There: some good old, down-home complaining.

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