Trusty antique laptop had been running Office for years. For some damn Microsoft reason Office suddenly decided to stop working and whine. It wants "activation" and threatened to die for good if not "activated" within the next few usages. So, I clicked on "activate by Internet. The program hummed and whirred and then choked up. "Cannot contact Microsoft Activation Server, check your internet connection." Lovely.
So I tried "activate by telephone". At least the phone answered, a robo answering machine. The robo responder wanted me to key in a 54 digit magic number displayed by the program. After a lengthy button pushing orgy, the robo server decided the number was no good and hung up on me.
So I did some internet searching. Apparently I'm not the only one whose Office got surly for Christmas. But no real fixes were posted anywhere. I was hoping for a registry patch. No such luck.
Finally I tried the "activate by telephone" trick again. This time it worked. I keyed in all 54 digits and the roboserver responded with a second 48 digit magic number, which I copied down and then input to Office. Must be that I messed up keying in the magic number to the telephone last time.
I love Microsoft.