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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 1, 1999

Tip of the Mossberg
I finally met Tech Times columnist John Torro at a party. And much to my surprise, he was neither crusty nor had a beard as most resident computer experts do. Well, all the ones I’ve met anyway. Resident Wall Street Gerbil crusty, bearded computer guy Walt Mossberg is available for free, thanks to the flowing generosity of the Dow Jones News Service.

Consistently excellent
Yes, 3Com’s Palm Pilot site is well planned, but the real story is one of customer service. Recently, my Pilot gave up the ghost and refused to turn itself on. I prodded, pleaded, prayed and finally phoned Technical Support, who decided my little PDA that could couldn’t. As if by magic, a replacement turned up within two days, and 3Com paid shipping both ways. Cost to me? Nothing, all part of the warranty and a fantastic solution to a real world problem. Let it be publicly said that I will be the first in line if 3Com ever decides to start making automobiles or washing machines.

Clause for concern
Just recently, I rifled through all my old computer junk and built a PC out of it. While looking for manuals and the like, I found no fewer than three shrink-wrapped, unused copies of Windows 95 in my copious CD-ROM collection. Maybe I’ll try to return them to the people I bought my PCs from for a refund, as this Web page author did. I almost added a fresh copy of Windows 98 to the CD-ROM graveyard because, despite the current action with the Department of Justice, large PC vendors such as Compaq and Dell refused to sell me a PC without a copy of Windows. Don’t these people watch the news? Bah. So I went with one of the little, local guys who had no problem separating machine and OS.

If you can’t beat ’em . . .
. . . sponsor ’em! Search the news archives and you’ll almost certainly run across a story of a fan site that has been shut down by heavy-handed legal types, eager to protect their brand and stomp over the little people who indirectly pay their wages. Oh, the irony! Some bigwigs at Warner Brothers must have had a moment of clarity: Acme City is a Web site that offers free space to fans, complete with copyrighted photos and other multimedia materials. Hardly a Mecca of free speech but an interesting slant on solving the problem.


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