An opus on Opus
I am writing in response to the published reply by Alison Koster of Opus Technology who responded to my original letter of complaint about poor quality service levels provided by her company.
Koster states that the maximum wait time is currently 10 minutes. This is simply not true. 10 minutes may be a minimum time but I can assure you that only this week, a call to Opus took 25 minutes to get through. But its not just the waiting, it is the quality of how you are actually dealt with supportwise and how effective the result/solution is.
Koster also declares that she would be prepared to allow PC Week to visit Opus for a demonstration of the support facilities.
Wake up Alison! PC Week are not your customers ... we are! Anyone can arrange a demo that looks efficient and slick.
The reality of a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 support requirement - when you don't know when someone is going to call you for support - is very, very different.
However, not wishing to be totally cynical, I welcome the comments that Koster has made and am pleased that Opus has at least made the attempt to respond. Only time will tell exactly how effective any measures Opus takes actually transcribe into real support which will encourage customers to go back to Opus a second time to purchase PC's. We have a company policy which states that Opus machines will not be purchased again. Quite how Opus would make us change our minds is difficult to envisage.
Who's lifting who?
In response to John Seitz's letter "Gates shutting on OS/2" (PC Week 22 April): as far as I am aware, Adobe as a company does not support the OS/2 platform. It's therefore not surprising that they "dropped their announced and beta-tested OS/2 version" of FrameMaker 5 when they bought that company.
But Seitz's paranoia reaches new heights with his assertion that the majority of NT was "lifted (by Microsoft) during the brief liaison with IBM". Let's stick to facts, shall we?
Firstly, OS/2 always was a product that was important to IBM and not Microsoft, as it's the only way IBM can get revenue hooks into Windows. Secondly, much of OS/2 was actually written by Microsoft, not IBM.
If anything, it was IBM that was trying to "lift" PC OS technology from Microsoft, because IBM simply hadn't anything remotely as good at that time, and Windows was starting to take all the money IBM used to make from PC-DOS.
Better late than never
It was with some astonishment that I read Alan Stewart's letter "Not the CompuServe I know" (PC Week 29 April) in which he accuses you of "half-truths and out-of-date information" about CompuServe, and also claims "personalised Email addresses were introduced (by CompuServe) about a month ago".
They were "introduced" - that is, announced and sold - by CompuServe more than two years ago, but were actually delivered only about three months ago.
The problem, two years ago, was that subscribers actually believed the marketing hype and tried to register for such alphanumeric addresses, only to find that you couldn't register because the registration scheme was overloaded. Then, after several months, you could register, but couldn't use the address. Now you can. Wow!
The fun part is that, having registered, you can neither change nor delete your personalised address - when you ask, after a lot of humming and hawing CompuServe will finally tell you it is beyond their technical capability.
That is, in the late 90s, they have managed to implement, years late, an addressing scheme that cannot be updated. But they're working on it ...
Not to put too fine a point on it - I'm not a an AOL subscriber - AOL has offered five personalised addresses to each subscriber for years.
Oh yes, if you're on CompuServe and want to send Alan Stewart a message at his personalised address of [email protected], don't forget to preface it with INTERNET: - their message server isn't smart enough to figure out that a message from CompuServe to compuserve.com is internal, and will reject it if you don't.
A testing time
I was interested to read your item "Question mark over MCP exam" (PC Week 29 April).
It seems that the unnamed "IT professional" is complaining that he read the MS-Press Self study book for Windows 95 but failed the exam.
We are a testing centre and we see failure rates vary from test to test; 50% is about the average for Windows 95: but what this figure hides is that a student who has attended a course has (in our experience) about twice the chance of passing the exam. Why? Since the MS Press books are heavily based on the notes we use in the classroom it can only be having an good instructor who can explain things more clearly than a book can, and give the student some idea of how to prepare for the exam.
Over the three years I've been taking the exams (sat 18, passed 18) they have become less ambiguous, but there is still a technique to them.
The cost of taking a Windows 95 course at a Microsoft ATEC is rather less than someone reading the article might suppose: it is a five-day course and our RRP for it is u1,295 (about half what was quoted).
As you say: the MCP qualification is widely accepted in the industry; I have to ask how much acceptance would it have if it just showed you'd read one book?
Home kit no good
I read with interest your article on the MCP exam failure rate - "Question mark over MCP exam" (PC Week 29 April).
My background is similar to the "IT professional" mentioned, with over seven years' experience in the industry. I too have just failed the exam after using the home study kit and can vouch that the kit does not cover the examination material.
This is particularly disappointing as I worked very hard to cover the syllabus and, like your named trainer, can only assume that the manuals and the course are written by different people.
Cheaper by anything
Yesterday, I learned of the death of a friend in Italy. As is traditional in that country, I sent a telegram, something I haven't done in ages.
For two very brief paragraphs of text - about 20 words - BT's Telegram Services charged me u28.
In this era of cheap Email and faxes, can anyone tell me in which world these people are living ?
Got a gripe, then don't delay, get your pen out and write today send all your correspondence to: The Editor, PC Week, VNU House, 32-34 Broadwick Street, London, W1A 2HG. or on the Net at http//www.pcweek.vnu.co.uk or Email [email protected]
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The flight will take off from California's Mojave Air and Space Port and could happen as soon as 13th December