I received a phone call from a client the other day.  She complained that the USB mouse she was using with her laptop had stopped working.  I went through the normal series of diagnostic questions:

  • Did you remove it and plug it back in?
  • Did you shut down Windows and restart your laptop?
  • Did you try it in another USB port?

She replied “yes” to all of these questions.  She also told me that the transceiver – the part that actually plugs into the laptop – had gotten extremely hot.

That surprised me, because I would not expect the transceiver to get very hot.  Nevertheless, I believed that it was defective and had died.  I suggested that if she was going to Staples any time soon, she could pick up a new one.  A quick look at their web site confirmed this was not an inexpensive purchase; replacing this mouse would cost $39.99 plus tax.

Obviously undeterred by this set back, my client did what most people would not.  She called Microsoft!  She spoke with a customer service representative who acknowledged the problem and offered a free replacement.  When she called me back later in the day, extremely pleased with her exploits, I was quite surprised.

At that point, I took some time to research the issue with more care, and it is quite prevalent.  The mouse works for a while, the transceiver becomes extremely hot, the circuits inside melt, and the wireless mouse no longer works.  While Microsoft has not issued a recall for this product, it has established a policy of free replacements for which it provides a three-year warranty.

So, if you happen to have a Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 (Model D5D-00001) and it stops working, you don’t have to call me.  You can call Microsoft at 800-933-4750, and don’t worry; this call center is located in Canada.  Have your mouse handy when you call them.  They will need the Product ID (PID) from the bottom.

Did this information help you?  Please let me know!

I received an e-mail today from Norton. Yes, that was the “from” name in Outlook. At first, I suspected the subject line, “Larry, your free update to Norton™ AntiVirus is Available” was spam. However, a careful review of the contents (thank you SpamBayes) revealed this was legitimately from Symantec.

Norton 2011 Update

After spending a moment reading the contents, I thought this marketing effort was quite impressive. The 2011 AntiVirus and Internet Security products were released to the public on September 9, 2010. Now, one month later, it is all the more impressive that Symantec would alert customers to take advantage of what amounts to a “free” upgrade.

Most consumers usually wait until the product starts to nag them (30 days – every day) before they update their subscription. Others wait until they can manage to obtain the new version of the product for $9.99 at their local office supply store.

In this case, Symantec is taking a preemptive step towards ensuring their customer base is on the latest version of the product. That is something aggressive and new.

Yet this actually fits in with something I have been telling my clients for a long time now:  You should update the product version at least every two years to take advantage of the latest available detection technology. Simply renewing your subscription to the updates is not sufficient to keep your computer secure from all of the nastiness that is out on the Internet.

In keeping with a recent ruling, the e-mail contains the requisite text that informs customers of the following:

If your product is not updated yet and you choose to download Norton AntiVirus 2011, you will have the right to use this product for no additional charge until the expiration of your current Norton AntiVirus subscription, subject to acceptance of the Symantec License Agreement included with this product and available for review at www.symantec.com.

I’d be interested to learn about your reaction to this e-mail.