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Skidmore's Island: Silly Clown Valiant

"Lets face it. Five books is a lot for one finger but it is the only way I can type and I have had five books commissioned, bubbling away in the little room above the eyebrows, begging to be let out,'' writes ace journalist and author Ian Skidmore.

The Digital Voice Recorder seemed a gift from heaven. Speak your thoughts and watch them appear, as if by magic on your manuscript.

Simply a matter of slipping in the CD provided, following the instructions which will appear on your screen and its away dulled digit. Except that it wasnít. The process defeated two highly trained computer mechanics when I failed.I took wider advice. Upgrade it I was advised. So I set aside Dragon Speaking 10, used my birthday gift certificate from my daughter and bought Dragon Speaking 11.

That didnít work either so I contacted Amazon for a refund. No can do, said Amazson. You have already opened the envelope.I wondered how I could have found out it was the wrong software without opening the envelope. I contacted Nuance who supply the software and a nice chap said what software have you got and I told him with quiet pride I not only had Software 10 I had also paid £40 for software 11 and he said well neither is any good. Olympus had given me the wrong software he said. But obliging chap that he was he offered to download software 10.1 which he said was the appropriate CD and he did.

I keyed it in and clicked where ordered. At first everything went as promised and then I was instructed to key in my customer number and it was rejected. I tried again and again. Again and again I was rejected.

At this point I must have lost my nerve because I went scurrying back to a nice lady at Nuance with whom by this time I was on Christian name terms. She very kindly tried the download herself and said it had worked for her. So I went back to the keyboard and this time a notice appeared saying it was a zip file and if I would press the download button all would be well. So I pressed the download button and got a notice saying if I would press another download button my problems would be over. At this point my typing finger objected. It said it was working harder than ever and I did say as how I was going to make things easier for it. I was in no mood for argument so I rapped its knuckle and it went on its weary way.

This time pressing the button brought a notice from someone called Reg work, saying there were 165 errors on the machine and vey sportingly offering to clear things up with a free trial,. In the face of a noticeable shortage of gift horses I complied. That pressure on a button brought a bill for £34 which I thought might be my one finger getting its own back but I paid and got another button telling me that my life would be made easy if I backed up my files. By now I was too weak to demur and that cost me another ten quid. I forget what the next tempting offer was but I know that when I had accepted it I was down £100 over a five minute involuntary spending spree.So I emailed my friend Flora on Nuance in a craven bid for sympathy.

She obviously had summed up my degree of technical expertise by this time because she said probably the best idea would be to ask Olympus who sold the recorder to send me a CD 10.1 which would get round the problem with ease.

There the matter ended and I awaited the next email with a nervous Cousteau like twitch..

I got an email from some one called trial Play telling me that my Winzip software was ready and if I would press the download below it would be delivered. I pressed the download and nothing happened. By this time I was whimpering noisily so I emailed Trial Play support and back came an email quick as a flash. It said they would answer my esteemed enquiry in 48 hours.

At which point I broke into song, a reedy tenor with nervous gulps ďIíll join the Legion, thatís what Iíll do....and in some far distant region Iíll fight for the right .....Ē but the rest of that stirring aria from the Red Shadow was drowned in fitful sobs........


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