Re: Spam fears can’t stop e-mail marketing momentum (March 27)

I don’t know anyone who likes spam. The stuff is annoying and costs our company a lot of my time to handle. And of course there’s

e-mail virii in their multiple forms. E-mail can be a wonderful thing, when you get the answers you need when you need them.

The following is a description of the actions I have taken to limit our exposure to e-mail threats.

One, company policy is that no user is allowed to receive an attachment which might be dangerous. This includes scripts, executables and all of the other obvious problems. This also includes all archives. Users expecting a file are required to inform the system administrator. All emails containing attachments of these types are re-directed to the administrator who inspects them before passing them on to the user.

Two, e-mail from certain domains is automatically deleted as these domainsare known sources of spam.

Three, e-mail containing keywords is forwarded to a special mailbox for checking. This keyword list was developed by reading spam and selecting words that would not be likely to be contained in legitimate business e-mail. We do not aim to block personal e-mails. If a message is personal and contains one of these keywords I forward it to the user.

Wayne Borean

Re: Scientist pushes form over content in IT design (March 26)

It looks like Buxton read The Invisible Computer, by Donald Norman. It’s not as good a book as his other well-known ones, but its essential point can be boiled down to this sentence: Information appliances are the only way to make computers less annoying to use.

Information appliances are devices that are not general-purpose computers, with keyboard/mouse/display – they are focused on doing one thing and doing it well.

So how strange, then, that Bill misses all of the following computers-that-aren’t-computers that have been invented since 1982:

  • Apple Newton
  • Palm Pilot
  • WebTV
  • Set-top boxes for digital cable/satellite
  • VCRs that use “”VCR plus”” and its evolution
  • Computer kiosks to get around malls and museums
  • MP3 stereo appliances
  • Security systems like the one on our door
  • Portable cell phones
  • 2-way text pagers
  • Digital camcorders

It’s certainly worthwhile to make technology focused on human needs. I would argue that it’s most successful when it isn’t seen at all, even by Alias’ chief scientist.

Stephen van Egmond

Re: Scientist pushes form over content in IT design (March 26)

There didn’t seem to be any actual solutions in this article for bringing the computer to the user, instead of the user to the computer. The idea is great, but where’s the “”Here’s how to do it.””

I wonder what Mr. Buxton’s thoughts are on the toaster, the washing machine and the toilet, all of which have been around much longer than the computer and have changed less.

Michael Latimer
Compusmart London

Re: Suffer the children (March 25)

What I would like to see for adult sites is a dedicated URL protocol, say httpx or httpa. Most adult sites’ administrators would be open to moving their sites into this new protocol. With respect to kid-proofing the Web, control and management of adult sites by Internet providers would be greatly simplified. And sites that discuss sexuality, etc. would no longer be inadvertently blocked. Although this would not be a perfect solution, with some international effort and cooperation it might protect our children from 90 per cent of what we don’t want them to see.

Rick Gagnon
Technical Services Specialist
Canadian Space Agency

Re: Suffer the children (March 25)

Too bad we can’t get Web porn vendors to agree to populate a common domain like “”.sex”” or “”.porn”” instead of “”.com”” or “”.net””.

Maybe we should get regulators to push for that, and, even though it might be impossible to get 100 per cent compliance for a while, it might eventually lead us there because that’s where people who want the stuff would go to surf. It would be so much easier to filter.

I really enjoy all your editorials. For a young guy, you have good thoughts and opinions.

David Taubner
CIS Systems Administrator
Health Sciences Centre

Re: Feds tinker with business portal (March 25)

There seem to be a lot of these government initiatives. Some one just asked me about, which appears to be a similar initiative designed more around community organizations (non-profits rather than business).

Some further clarity on how the government sees its role and what would differentiate these sites from private sector portals would be helpful. But more importantly, many of the government sites still do not accept e-mail inquiries, so until the government is ready to correspond by e-mail, their Web presence will be very much a one-way street and perhaps not as responsive to customer needs as they might be.

Larry Gemmel
Senior Director, Collaborative Projects
United Way of Canada

Re: Hitting the messenger (March 22)

People still need to vent. Taking your article to heart, I’m setting up a ‘beater’ box, pun inteded, that people can use at any time to vent their frustrations on. They can pound the crummy keyboard, bash the lame monitor and slap the mouse around. They are even welcome to kick the stupid machine itself while it’s running!

I don’t know how long it will last, but I look forward to some relief from their frustration.

Sim Brigden

Re: Native groups ponder life after Tobin (March 22)

Why do people who live in rural areas–whether they are native or non-native–think that having broadband Internet access is their right and that non-rural tax payers should subsidize or pay for it?

If you live in a rural area you have probably made that decision because the property taxes are less expensive. But in order to have less taxes, you have less services whether it be police or broadband access. Economies of scale should normally dictate what can be provided at a reasonable cost, not the depth of a government’s purse.

Wayne Matt

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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