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The Goods

No Hour Is Too Wee for a Fix

February 13, 1996|LYNELL GEORGE

It's 'round midnight, and I'm finishing up some e- and snail mail, reveling in the fact that my neighbors have finally stopped listening to their "Slow Jams of the '70s" CD.

Lost in the wacky world of Windows 95, it's near 2 when I finally call it quitting time. I close the application. Click on the start icon, which usually displays several shut-down options. But this time an error prompt holds on my screen: "Explorer caused an Exception blah blah in Module blah."

Suddenly that golden nighttime silence isn't so comforting. Who you gonna call? For times like this, there is something better than a friend--Priority Product Support (for $35, unlimited after-hours help, perfect for insomniacs.)

I get out my credit card, phone Microsoft's 800 number and am immediately patched through to a tech who--for 3 1/2 hours--calmly talks me through a series of trouble-shooting drills and software reinstallation, then schedules a checkup session. We drift into a conversation about first encounters with computers, and she shares a story about the trials of her own desktop publishing venture. "If you find that you still have problems," says Jill in closing, "fax me and I'll give you call and we'll try it again."

The next night, I hurried home to keep my phone date. (She'd also faxed step-by-step information about how we'd fixed the previous evening bug.) So, money may not buy you love, but it certainly can buy you middle-of-the-night peace of mind.

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