Raymond Chandler is one of my big heroes and his creation, private eye Phillip Marlowe, is, for my money, just about the best of all the paper private eyes. And did you know that in the early 1900s, Chandler was at Dulwich College just before CF Forester, who wrote the Hornblower stories, and just after Jeeves creator PG Wodehouse? Three famous writers in less than 20 years, who'd have thought. Don't ever say PC Dealer doesn't teach you nuffink.
Anyway, impromptu history lessons aside, I really like a story that unfolds in front of you, where you collect clues and try to work out who done it - as long as it isn't Agatha Christie, who I can't stand. Chandler didn't like her either. He said she lied to the audience. Personally, I wouldn't like to comment on Ms Christie's ability to tell the truth, but at least she gave some clues in her stories.
This makes her a bit different to some of computer companies out there.
I've moaned before about organisations not putting their phone numbers on Websites, or making the Websites so difficult to navigate that it is simpler to ignore the company rather than try to find out about it. Well, it is happening off the Web now and, as a prime example of companies taking their eyes off the ball, I cite a wonderful missive from those awfully nice people at Infogrames - wacky name, wacky people.
The press release consisted of a piece of paper with 'Release Schedule' written at the top and a list of things being released below. Along with the piece of paper was a CD-Rom that boldly stated it was a press kit. Now, I spent some time checking further but I couldn't find a phone number anywhere on the envelope, piece of paper or the CDRom.
I was therefore confronted with the prospect of phoning Directory Enquiries and asking for Infograms' number - not one that charmed me.
'Hello, yes, umm, I'd like the number of Infogrames please? Yes, that's right, Infogrames.
Yes, with an "r". No, I don't know what it does, something to do with computers I think. No, I don't know where it is based. No, I don't think you are a mind reader. Look, if you don't have the number just tell me and I'll stop wasting both our time. Hello? Hello?'
I'm sure there's bound to be a phone number somewhere in the CDRom's software, but that means I'll have to load its potentially cack software onto my machine. And I already have enough cack software on my machine - stuff that I chose to put on there myself, not someone else's potentially cack software. I don't want to load someone else's software just to find out that I don't want to call the company. All I wanted was a phone number.
So if anyone sees the nice people at Infogrames, say hello from me. Tell it that it is doing great and everyone is talking about Infogames. Perhaps not to it, but about it. Lots.
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