Letters to the editor

Re: The next big merger (May 14)

For years, I have been predicting a merger of Sun and Dell. With (the new) HP and IBM each trying to cover all the computing needs of the enterprise, it will

only take two weak quarters to force either Sun or Dell to push the personality issues aside and start talking.

Just like the auto industry, market forces will bring consolidation to the IT industry to create the Big Three.

After that, EMC will be absorbed into Sun/Dell. Hitachi storage will become part of IBM, as the HP Storageworks product roadmap eventually covers the Hitachi product landscape. Lexmark may be courted by both IBM and Sun/Dell to round out the offering. My two cents.

Joseph Chu

Re: VeriSign faces legal battle over marketing tactics (May 14)

I too received several of these notices for domain names not registered with VeriSign. Would it not be prudent to post the address where complaints could be sent?
Postmaster General
Jack Potter
475 Lenfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20260

Canadians can also write to the Postmaster General. The more complaints they receive, the faster they will get involved. This isn’t just about the loss of business for companies, it is also about customers being ripped off by phony renewal invoices.

Donna Miller-Bolton

Re: Say it with e-mail (May 13)

I suppose there are risks inherent in the near-instant nature of e-mail, but surely they are outweighed by the benefits of rapid, relatively unfettered communication. I would say that much of the danger could be mitigated by a blend of the following strategies–the particular mix depending upon corporate culture.

One, publish guidelines regarding e-mail use. Two, train users to better use the medium. Three, apply better e-mail work habits through common-sense changes to user behaviour (e.g., proofread before sending for both typographic errors and inappropriate emotions/topics/language).

I suspect that part of the problem is that this young medium has yet to evolve a detailed, widely accepted set of standards around etiquette, structure, forms of address, level of language and so forth. Until (unless?) such standards are adopted by the majority of users, there is bound to be a lot of work done at cross-purposes, as meaning is attributed where none was meant, and important nuances are missed.

Some users seem already to be overwhelmed by the variety of modes of communication available to them; they don’t know when to fire off a quick e-mail, when to attach a well-thought out Word doc, when to leave a (short but detailed) voicemail. My fear is that new media will now arise more quickly than the existing ones can become standardized, leading to a spiral of confusion as users struggle to deal with the growing onslaught of messages.

Tom Sommerville

Re: Say it with e-mail (May 13)

E-mail is an instant medium and seems to cry out for an instant response. That, coupled with the thinness of its emotional content and the possibility of reading all sorts of nonexistent things between the lines, can be a definite hazard to harmonious relationships.

Although I am penning this within seconds of reading your editorial that is not to contradict one key lesson for me in the use of e-mail — that one has to be very careful not to instantly respond in kind to some perceived slight. I try (usually successfully) to ponder the possible alternate meaning of an e-mail that initially strikes me as hostile or that produces other instant negative emotions. I try to be neutral and considered in tone in my response and may resort to another medium to clarify. One has to take that into account before starting or perpetuating a spitting contest. Even if one wanted to indulge in such a contest there is the other risk of e-mail: that stuff can be copied and forwarded so easily.

The other thing with taking the high road of a neutral or leveling response is that if the other person was venting it tends to either calm them down or embarrass them into being civil.

I enjoy your daily newsletter. Keep up the good work.

Paul Alton
Maintenance & engineering manager
Millar Western Pulp (Meadow Lake) Ltd.

Re: U.S. accounts for half of Canadian VC investment: report (May 13)

I take exception to the subheading you chose to put on the article. (U.S. accounts for half of Canadian VC investment: But some U.S. firms question Macdonald & Associates numbers).

Based on the article, the subheading is neither factually correct nor consistent with the tone of the one individual interviewed. The headline suggests that several U.S. venture firms have questioned the integrity of our data. In fact, one individual (John Spirtos, Optical Ventures, who had not had the benefit of even seeing the data or interpretation) simply said that he did not think U.S. investment had grown and the reported increase might have been an aberration.

We reported an increase in the amount of capital invested by U.S. VCs of nine per cent in Q1 compared with the same period last year, so I’m not surprised Mr. Spirtos has not sensed a notable increase. By far the more important point in the release was that U.S. investors have continued to invest here and their share of the total amount invested in Canadian companies has risen to almost 50 per cent as a result. Your headline conveys an entirely different message and was both inappropriate and irresponsible.

Mary Macdonald
President and CEO
Macdonald & Associates Limited

Re: Linux guru: programming is ‘like, knitting’ (May 13)

I just like to say that I really appreciated reading the comments of Bruce Perens in the interview he gave to Computing Canada.

I was especially surprised to learn that Compaq supports Linux, especially on its iPaq, and that IBM wants to have it both ways: participate in the open source movement and still license its software. I was also pleased to see it reported that Unix people can become Linux savvy with little effort–something I knew already, but it was important to make the point the Linux is not all that strange when compared to UNIX and, by virtue of this fact, very credible as an operating system. It is nice to know also that the former UNIX DEC employees turned out to be value assets in HP’s move to deploy Linux.

Ken Selin


Re: Broadband users oppose Bell’s bit cap strategy (May 13)

Chris Weisdorf of the Residential Broadband Users Association (RBUA) is opposed to any capping, but you have to wonder whom or what interests he represents. Does he not ignore the majority of RBUA members who can have lower rates (basic service) under the new pricing scheme? Or, is he concerned about the $1 daily premium for getting more than 5 GB of data (about one DVD’s worth of content in a month) above standard.

Weisdorf should realize such a pricing policy is a tested mechanism for allocating scarce resources in a market economy that is fair to both user and investor. User beware: there are no free goods.

Brian Ralph

Re: The evolution of Windows 2000 (May 10)

I enjoyed your article as it was right on the money.

I also attended the .Net event in Toronto, and at times wondered why I was there to see the leap forward or backward. DOS commands? I also wondered why–unless MS wants to keep Novell or UNIX people happy.

I had hoped to see a leap forward to an XP server style, but the .Net is 2000 with a different wig and more make-up. At least Robert Davidson was better than the Intel speaker.

Don Hughes

Re: Ontario call centres distressed over privacy law (May 10)

It seems to me that call centres waste a great deal of resources by calling people who don’t want to be called. The privacy legislation, while slightly increasing costs to manage the privacy consent, would most likely significantly cut their costs as they would no longer need to waste time and money calling people who don’t want those telemarketing calls. With an opt-in call list, they will have much higher response rates and greater return on investment.

Karen Lopez

Re: Ontario faces return of skills shortage (May 6)

I am a recent graduate from The Institute for Computer Studies. I have been searching for work since April and most of my classmates have not found work either. I have been to many employment Web sites and have looked in the newspapers, but can’t find jobs for new graduates. Today’s corporations do not even look at the résumés of new graduates with no experience. If only we were given the chance to show what we know and what we could accomplish.

Alicia Luk

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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