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DIY installation is just not worth the time and money

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AJ.+ column

I see BT is offering self-installation for its ADSL Internet connection system.

Regular readers will remember that, given the way BT did the installation for this column, I might as well have done it myself anyway.There are still wild wires sprouting from the open junction box. I have to say, though, that the people at the BT ADSL centre located in the icy wastes 50 miles north of Inverness have been consistently helpful.There was a patch around Christmas when it was incredibly difficult to log on and, to be truthful, I've never had downloads at anything like the official speed - more like 30 to 40mbs which is apparently the norm.Still, it's a lot faster than the ordinary modems I use. I was thinking of changing over to cable, but after four layers of 'press button one for...' I suddenly realised that the helpline would almost certainly be several layers deeper, so I gave up without actually speaking to anyone.Although doing it yourself seems to eliminate an installation charge of roughly a hundred quid, the fact is that this figure is what an ADSL modem will cost you.

You might as well get them to come round.As for alternatives to BT, well, everybody charges much the same.

Despite rumbles of caution from this column, some of you went out, bought Windows XP and installed it.And some of you have now experienced the effects of its Big Brother Windows product activation (WPA), and some of you have found yourselves locked out of your computers.We won't ask any further questions.Help is nevertheless at hand from the indefatigable Fred Langer at http: //www. informationweek. com/story /IWK20020131S0005.While you are there, you may wish to browse other stories, including one with the great title 'The Giant Paperweight', a reference to what some post-Win XP computers have become... Langer says that WPA lockouts are not inevitable but following a few experiments, he showed that even changing the system date can result in the incapacitation of the machine.

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