Re: Storm chaser takes satellite phones on volcanic expedition (Jan. 21)

I am one of George’s storm-chasing friends from eastern Ontario. Personally I would love to see satellite phones

become more financially feasible. When I am out storm-chasing, I need to be able to get information back to Environment Canada regarding the nature and direction of a storm and cell phones are not reliable enough outside of major centres.

Last year while we were down in Tornado Alley, cell service was iffy at times and even here in eastern Ontario, when I need to rely on communications I can’t always get a connection. As a storm chaser I can tell you that most of us are volunteers and do not have any financial backing so the cost is prohibitive. Even cell phone costs can get high enough especially if you are including data service as well.

Stephen Mayne
Webmaster
Lanarkweather.org


Re: CIO bonuses make a comeback (Jan 20)

I agree that outsourcing and mergers have had some effect on demand for IT line staff, however the fact remains that we still have a shortage of experienced IT professionals in North America. Good knowledge management should be a major motivation for companies to retain staff.

It take at least a year in most environments for IT staff to begin to understand the business. Many companies are very short sighted when they let their best talent walk out the door, or worse lay them off simply to cut numbers. Now that I work in the public sector as a government employee I find that this is even more true, because government is large and complex.

It takes a couple of years for most government IT workers to begin to gain insight into how government operates. Government too is not immune to this short-sightedness when it comes to retaining IT workers. The federal government recently withdrew the retention bonus from its IT workers that was part of their collective agreement.

This was done even before a new contract, which is yet to be negotiated. The effect is the same. It discourages new recruits from joining the ranks of government IT professionals, discourages many IT employees, affecting moral and productivity, and even causes some seasoned IT professionals to leave. In this particular instance the government may have even broke the law by taking the bonus away before a new contract had been negotiated.

Smart companies are learning to manage HR strategies more efficiently with a more holistic approach to evaluating the less tangible reasons for retaining employees. To effectively serve their citizens, governments need to do the same.

Pierre Laframboise
Sr. Informatics Specialist
PWGSC/ITS
Eastern Ontario District Office


Re: Put your mini where your mouth is (Jan. 12)

Why is it so difficult for some of you journalists to “”get”” the Mini? You can’t price-compare it to Dell because the whole point is that it is not Windows. Say goodbye to viruses, malware, adware, crappy user experience, and all that other wonderful stuff PC users endure. The value of having iLife is easily worth the price of the Mini alone, for God’s sake! Then there is OSX which is far more advanced than anything MS has. Plus, I defy you to go price out a comparable Dell system and come out cheaper. You work in a Mac shop, man, you know better!

Maurice Pelletier
Learning Technologies Branch
Alberta Learning

Re: Put your mini where your mouth is (Jan. 12)

If you feel “”trapped in an Apple universe”” by all means shuttle yourself to the Windows world of pop-up ads, viruses, spyware and endless security updates.

Bon Voyage!

Cal Horn

Re: Put your mini where your mouth is (Jan. 12)

So, you prefer that Apple be a good sport and just stay put in its comfy niche? That attitude seems so last year. It appears to me that there are many — and not just the ones currently “”trapped”” in the Apple universe — who are just itching to see the company break away from its traditional roles. With its new line of products, Apple itself now seems very well prepared to do exactly that.

By the way, to open the CD tray, just press the Eject key — it’s the one in the upper right corner of your keyboard.

Don Andrachuk

Re: Put your mini where your mouth is (Jan. 12)

I always enjoy your editorials. But I find little sympathy for anyone “trapped in an Apple universe.” What could be worse? Trapped in a crappy Dell/Office 2000 universe. You’re right, of course — Apple isn’t offering the future, but it’s a workable present. Microsoft meanwhile forces us to struggle with prettied-up DOS clunkers.

Keep up the terrific analysis!

Mitch Brisebois
Product Planning Manager
Provance Technologies Inc.


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