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The Big Move

Another case from the files of Mac Rowe. Gigglebytes hed: The Big Move dek: another case from the files of Mac Rowe. dek: “Rocco here uses a Mac; Mugsy won’t touch anything but Linux.” by Lincoln Spector

The fog out of the valley was as thick as a Windows error message. The L.A. night was as dark as the blue screen of death. I put a cigarette in my mouth and set my nose on fire. The name is Rowe. Mac Rowe. Private consultant.

I was returning to my office after a case. A dame in a green kimono had too many cookies. I roughed ’em up a bit and told ’em to find a new hard drive to play on.

But when I got there, I discovered I had company–two tough mugs who looked like they meant business. But I know how to handle tough guys. “I haven’t got the black bird,” I told them. “It’s at the cleaners.”

“Never mind that,” said the short one. “Mr. Big wants to see you.” Mr. Big ran the worst racket in town. All you had to do was click on his Web site’s privacy notice and you’d get enough Spam to feed the U.S. Army. What’s more, it was rumored he was trading pirated .MP3 files.

“What of it?” I asked. I was sizing them up, figuring I could get both of them if I could pull out my .44 before I was jumped. Unfortunately, I would have to pull it out of a filing cabinet across the room.

“Are you going to come quietly,” the short guy asked, “or are we going to have to rough you up?”

I gave him my toothy grin. “I make my own decisions.”

His friend pulled out a blackjack and threatened me with it. But I was way ahead of him. I fainted.

I awoke on a couch, Mr. Big was smiling down on me. “Ah, Mr. Rowe. How good of you to honor us with your presence. Are you perchance familiar with an e-mail program called Outlook Uncertain? Of course you are.

“I just bought a new computer which, like my old one, came with Outlook Uncertain. But I can’t figure out how to move my e-mail account, messages, address book, and so forth to the new computer. Can you help me?”

I was suspicious. “I thought your boys knew how to muscle in on new territory.”

He smiled down at me. “Ah, my boys.” He nodded at the two thugs who’d brought me there. “Rocco here uses a Mac; Mugsy won’t touch anything except Linux.

“Now, Mr. Rowe, I’m willing to pay you $5,000 a day, plus expenses, to help me with my little problem. If you refuse, I’m also willing to break both of your legs.”

I sat down at his two computers and got to work. The first thing I had to do was move his e-mail account to his new computer. Figuring it was hidden somewhere in Windows’ Registry, I entered regedit and searched for his address: [email protected] There were 97 references. I saved each one to its own .reg file, moved them all to the new computer, and loaded them into the Registry. The trick worked; Outlook Uncertain on his new computer now knew who he was.

Unfortunately, clicking the Start button deleted five .dlls at random. I figured he could live with that.

Moving his address book was a tougher job. First I had to find it, and the files on Mr. Big’s old computer weren’t talking. I eventually got the information out of autoexec.bat, an old text file that had seen everything. The address book, it turned out, was in a file called addressbook.ab. Who would have guessed?

But copying that file to the new computer didn’t do any good. The new computer, as I eventually figured out, looked for its addresses in an empty file called rococo.ab. I moved that file to the old computer and renamed it addressbook.ab. Now the two matched.

Then it came time to do the e-mail messages that remained in Mr. Big’s inbox. There were, by my count, 612 of them. I could drag these messages to a folder, and move them to the new computer, but I couldn’t get them into Outlook Uncertain’s inbox. Remembering that I was being paid $5,000 a day, I retyped them all.

As I was finishing, Mr. Big wandered over and watched over my shoulder. “Oh yes, my inbox,” he said. “I’ve been meaning to clean out all of those old messages.”

“I’m just about done,” I told him. “Anything else you’d like me to do?”

“Have you moved my rules?”


“Of course, rules. E-mail from this person gets deleted. E-mail from that person goes into a special folder. E-mail from the other one and I put out a contract.”

“Of course,” I said. “Rules.”

I found the rules in the old computer’s registry, saved them to a .reg file, and loaded them into the new computer’s registry. But that didn’t do the trick. It turned out these rules only work for someone known to the Registry as {0A88C507-9D61-49C2-AC98-CFF2B996F9FD}. His new computer wanted rules for {00D9E6AC-7D9C-4E36-89C7-2CA1DE304B95}. Mr. Big goes by a lot of names, but this one wasn’t on his new computer.

Needing another approach, I returned to the old computer and examined the rules. The first was for Jimmy the Finger. All of his e-mail was to be deleted. So I called Jimmy up on the phone. “Jimmy,” I said, “this is Mac Rowe calling for Mr. Big. He doesn’t want your e-mail. Capisce?” After I finished the last rule, I got up and found Mr. Big. “I’m done,” I told him.

“Wonderful, Mr. Rowe. Now perhaps you can help me move my Internet Explorer settings.”

I opted to have my legs broken.

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