The long term challenges of short message service (Sept. 24)

These major carriers/service providers still miss the point. Who cares about SMS, in the face of their refusal

to deal with the basic communication problem of basic cellular service interoperability? I am continually outraged that I cannot use my cell phone outside my provider’s area of service, even though there is another provider in the area.

When two of us from one location travel to another location, we can contact each other only by making long distance calls.

This is not a question of technology — it’s a question of the providers’ accounting software, and of their refusal to provide the services we, the supposed customers, are requesting. What we, the customers, want is really very simple. I want to be able to call another cell phone in the same area, no matter where I am, and no matter where either of us comes from. Would I pay 10 per cent more for this? Yes.

Speak not to me of messaging, the Internet on my phone, SMS, MMS, or any other “”special”” features. I won’t even consider buying them until they address the basic interoperability problems.

Bruce Edwardes


Cured! James Gosling’s carpal tunnel miracle (Sept. 20)

One other injury to look out for — osteo arthritis of the first joint in your fingers. This is not a fun injury and is not curable through any surgery. I got mine from all the years of pounding on cheap keyboards in frustration with slow system response. I have noticed that other fellow programmers are developing early symptoms of the same kind of damage (most noticeable in programmers that are aggressive in their keyboarding). An especially noticeable early symptom is the feeling you need to crack your fingers as they are feeling a bit stiff.

I have been looking for a keyboard with an ultra light touch keypad without the “”positive click”” that all seem to have — but without success. I equate the “”positive click”” to a form of Chinese water torture — sending a mini jar through your finger every time you touch a key.

Larry Lazurko



Cured! James Gosling’s carpal tunnel miracle (Sept. 20)

Having suffered from RSI whilst on a fast track program in Calgary I found this article very relevant. It highlighted for me the requirement for education and prevention of problems rather than the cure (i.e. surgery) In fact I emailed it to the program director at my college (since my perception was that their response to my situation consisted mostly of, So what? It’s your problem…) as I felt it a topic an educational establishment should inform their students of. It’s a legislated duty of care that exists in many other countries.

To my mind, on an economic basis, there is no point in training hardcore computer professionals unless you provide them with the skills and knowledge they will require to keep them productive during their working life. Avoidance of RSI /carpal tunnel/occupational overuse syndromes is just part of the professional skillset that an information technology professional will require. And it’s not just about me or you, it’s about the users you may support as well. Keep them fit, keep them happy, reap the rewards of improved productivity.

Chip Powell



Cured! James Gosling’s carpal tunnel miracle (Sept. 20)

I read the story on Gosling’s carpal tunnel with great interest. After 15-20 years, I have had occasional carpal tunnel pain myself, and have taken steps to prevent this condition.

First, in my experience the mouse is at least as much a culprit if not more than the keyboard. I’ve learned to use a Logitech thumb trackball — the simplest one that has three buttons, (the middle one a scroll wheel/double-click arrangement) and of course the trackball for the thumb. It’s shaped so your natural relaxed hand position cups easily over top of it. This means no carpal tunnel inducing wrist motion — just tiny finger movements. The trackball speed can be adjusted, and after a short time I got the hang of using my thumb to navigate with the mouse cursor.

Second, I use a wrist rest with my keyboard so my wrists form a straight line with my forearms. Resting your wrist on the desk and then bending up at the wrist to type (my natural tendency) is another way to get carpal tunnel.

Third, I adjust my chair so my forearms are parallel to the desk when my wrists are on the rest in front of the keyboard.

So far I’ve been able to stave off any major problems. When I get pain its from playing intensive games at home, so I just stop that for awhile and things return to normal.

David Taubner
CIS Systems Administrator
Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg


Error messages I’d like to see (Sept. 20)

Loved your editorial on the error messages — did you hear the one about the ambitious young writer? His plan was, in his own words, to “”write things that will cause people to think deeply, and feel strongly, passionately, and even to stir them to radical action.”” He grew up to achieve his dream — he now writes error messages for Microsoft!

Joking aside, you may want to check out the Tao of Computing error message list — no idea where it came from, but here it is in its known-to-me entirety!

Some of these are downright soothing!

Great editorial!

Leah K. Murray



Error messages I’d like to see (Sept. 20)

Another Microsoft app crashes:

“”Lest old acquaintance be forgot”” (traditional)

Or perhaps:

“”Won’t get fooled again”” (The Who, sponsored by any other software vendor)

I greatly enjoy your amusing and provocative columns.

John Weisberg

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