An update to an earlier post about tech support woes:
I never did get the problem resolved with Symantec (and I am now happily using Zone Alarm, a combined firewall-antivirus program that got PC Magazine's highest rating this year.)
However, my nastygram did get some results. I got a couple of apologetic e-mails, including one from Symantec's COO, and both the outsourcing company and Symantec itself redoubled their efforts to help me solve the problem. In the end, I ran out of time and patience and was just basically unwilling to continue operating my machine essentially unprotected while the wheels ground slowly on, so I manually uninstalled Norton Internet Security (the installation was so mangled at this point that the Add/Remove Programs uninstall routine no longer worked--removing everything by hand and cleaning up took about an hour) and installed Zone Alarm.
Today, in the mail, I received a check from Symantec refunding the full purchase price of Norton Internet Security 2005. While I would have preferred that they solve the problem (and would have greatly preferred that they didn't make getting decent, responsive tech support an exercise not unlike rewriting the Constitution), I think this was a pretty classy gesture on their part, considering that I was long out of their "money-back guarantee" period.