I just had to call Microsoft's software activation phone line, because my copy of Visio 2007 wouldn't activate via the Internet.

If you've not had to do this, the process is pretty simple. You read out seven groups of six digits that the application's activation wizard tells you, and then the guy on the other end of the phone reads out seven more and you type them into the wizard.

The guys at the other end, who possibly have one of the most mind-numbing jobs in the world (listening to and reading out groups of numbers isn't the most enthralling job I can think of) seem also to have one of the most mind-numbing scripts to read out. While we were waiting for his system to generate an activation code, he entered into the "And how has your day been so far" script. He seemed a nice guy, though, so I managed to stop myself making something up (you know the sort of thing: "A bit crap, actually, as my mum got eaten by a crocodile this morning").

The parting shot was a doozie, though.

Me: "Thanks very much for your help".
Him: "Ah, it's you who did a great job, not me".

Errr ... no. If anyone reading this is a Microsoft Activation Centre Person, let me reassure you of this. Listening to a series of numbers and typing them in correctly isn't a great job, it's a basic ability. You, on the other hand, spend all day having to do something deadly boring and asking strangers inane questions, and even though the working day is two-thirds of the way through, you still manage to sound cheerful.

So don't believe what the script is telling you. It's you that's doing the great job, not me.