Letters to the editor

Re: High-tech companies hot and bothered by old tax law (April 4)

I read with interest your story with regards to Ontario PST in high tech. There is a similar story in BC where the

laws on what is taxable in service and products are archaic and uninterpretable in the software and related services category.

Our company was hit with a $20,000 plus bill for taxes we should have billed to our customers on services. The auditor says we can go back to existing client to recover this amount. Clearly we can’t. We have not benefited by not billing the tax but we will have to back pay with a penalty.

The government’s position is undefendable from technical and moral points of view, but it holds all the cards. Unfortunately like everything that happens in tech the cycles are accelerated. The harms these mistakes cause are irreparable to the industry. This industry already suffers from not being able to realize knowledge-based assets and now we have this type of attack from left field.

Name withheld by request

Re: Why people hate their marketing dept (April 4)

I find it very concerning that a senior marketing person in your article indicates that “”we had our struggles in describing what we do.”” The role of marketing within an organization is to use broad-based tactics (Web, direct mail, etc.) to drive sales. There is an additional responsibility to protect image and branding, but this is important only so far as it protects the long term revenue streams of an organization. Marketers that hide behind the tools to achieve these ends (impressions, gross distribution, “”hits””) and treat them as ends in themselves are the culprits that create this negative image.

David Cowan

Re: A heartbreaking portal of staggering genius (April 1)

When your e-mail publication first arrived I was prepared to be underwhelmed. However, as a long time Computing Canada reader, I thought I would give it a try. How glad I am that I stuck with it.

Do not underestimate the value of what you have created. I find it informative, amusing, provocative and timely. I rate it alongside the Harvard Business Review and the Economist as primary reading. Keep it up.

Burton Leathers
Software Architect

Re: A heartbreaking portal of staggering genius (April 1)

Congratulations on your first birthday! I look forward to receiving the ITBusiness e-mail everyday. I don’t read all the stories, but when something catches my eye, I dive in for a quick read.

I enjoyed your “”humble”” item this morning “”A heartbreaking portal””. They say adversity builds character.

Keep up the good work!

Diane Williamson
Digital Wizards/Xynapse

Re: A heartbreaking portal of staggering genius (April 1)

Just a quick line to congratulate you and your staff on your first year “”on the air””. I really enjoy reading the IT Business Update. Keep up the good work!

NT Admin
Husky IMS Ltd.

Re: A heartbreaking portal of staggering genius (April 1)

Congratulations on your survival, but not just on your survival. You appear to have thrived. I’m not involved directly in the IT business; I am a project manager for a federal crown corporation. Having said that, I also wish to say that I enjoy your online stories, and especially your editorials. I always find an interesting story, and your editorials make sense. Keep it up.

Andy English

Re: Ontario colleges add business courses to IT training (April 1)

At Windsor College this is old news. I received a Business Data Processing Diploma from them in the late 1980’s and the diploma combined business basics, programming and some networking. I understand that in the early 1990s it was split into two programs business and programming, or business and networking/application support.

Rob Lowes

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

Bill Buxton has got it exactly right. As a Mac user of many years it is really pathetic to consider that in terms of the user no one has come up with anything better than what Apple and a few other quite lesser-known companies can come up with. This includes the idea of the Knowledge Navigator of more than 10 years ago and ubiquitous networking and unlimited storage and portability.

The trouble is that developers spend a lot of money on Windows instead of elsewhere and that Microsoft will spend billions more on ensuring people think of computing in Windows terms. Really quite pathetic.

Louis Rifkin

Re: Hitting the messenger (March 22)

While I agree with your statement about the realities of the workplace, I differ on your views about the source of people’s frustration and anger with machines.

I work intimately with technology almost every day and I’ve found that increasingly things just don’t work. Why don’t they work? Many products I’ve come across don’t seem to be tested much, if at all, before their release.

Companies just don’t seem to want to bother to spend the time, resources and energy to test their products. The same companies then wonder why sales are falling and blame their woes on “”the current recession”” or whatever other excuse is trendy.

I would like to see a renaissance of well-designed, well-tested, functioning technology products at reasonable, rather than cut throat prices. I would bet most people would pay a small percentage more for technology products if they could be somewhat certain those products would work better.

Another thing that might be done to reduce stress and anger toward technology is higher-quality documentation. Manuals for products which are designed to be used by non-technical or untrained people (such as those for photocopiers, for example) should be readable and learnable by anyone. Apple Computer, for example, is famous for the quality of their documentation. Other companies would do well to learn from such manufacturers.

In short, I agree with your statements about the realities of the workplace. But I also believe that companies are getting away with producing poor technology. And unless these companies improve what they sell, the practice will catch up with them eventually.

Brad Karal

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 ITBusiness.ca. Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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