Letters to the editor

Re: Schools’ Net speed to increase 8,000 times (June 19)

Looks like another case of bad math at the school boards.

If the board had gone to DSL in all properties today, their

20 year expenditure would have been in the range of $5 million not $27 million. With the glut of bandwidth on the market, surely the board could have cut a better deal.

While Hydro One may talk enthusiastically of gigabit speed, that is not what the boards are going to see at the end of the fibre. The switching and router technology is not up the task. And frankly, there is just not enough content of value on the Internet aimed at the younger kids to make this viable for all levels.

Don R. Dagenais
Caledon Card Services

Re: Tabula rasa (June 19)

I wasn’t there, but when Bill Gates twisted the screen 360 degrees, didn’t that put it back exactly the way it was? Perhaps he only twisted it 180 degrees, so that it pointed the other way.

John Batchelor
Results On-line

Editor’s Note: You’re right. I never should have thrown out that protractor after my high-school math class.

Re: A telehealth check-up (June 17)

I agree with your opinion and if I received a message like that I would contact my doctor to demand that he stop the spam. I just read a number of articles in the local press this weekend about people turning off the Internet, and spam like this would be just one more reason.

K. J. (Jim) Couprie
Commsult Engineering Ltd.

Re: A telehealth check-up (June 17)

Good article, but let us not forget the redundancy and duplication of services that have existed at TELUS since its merger with BCTel three years ago. If you ask me, the writing was on the wall then. The union should have planned for this eventuality. Of course, conceivably having 11,000 less due-paying members is not something any union plans for, is it?

Todd Scheven

Re: The memorabilia of failure (June 13)

Do you ever think that the main reason why so many dot-coms failed and keep on failing is because online editors like yourself talk about how the companies went under, thus spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt to those lovely consumers with credit cards?

That would certainly make any consumer with an ounce of sense and too much trust in the media not want to invest their money in the dot-com industry.

Nathan Davidson

Re: 3G or not 3G? (June 13)

I read your article about 3G and I agreed on the high cost of acquisition for the new spectrum. On the other hand, if, as a carrier, you would like to take the market you must offer a fair price to access the technology.

Bell paid the highest price for the auction to get two, 5MHz band, in the south of Ontario (about $800 million). They have two choices to get a good return on their investment: charge a high price and only have some earlier adopters, or lower it and get many more users.

For $25 Bell allows a download of 3MB and $10 for each additional meg. Telus which also use the 1X technology gives you 5MB for $30 and $10 for each additional meg.

Secondly, you have to explain what you can do with the technology. It is nice to promote the applications, but if you are surfing the Net you will have a very bad surprise at the end of the month when you receive your bill. You may have used few extra megs and be charged few extra $10.

Even if the networks deployed their new technology, most of the in-store employees are not familiar with it and that lack of information may create a customer disappointment more important than expected and delay the adoption of the technology by the customers.

Louis Houbart

Re: Who are you calling a software engineer? (June 12)

First, as the author of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) position paper, let me commend you for giving some space to an issue that has been festering for too long. I would, however, like to clarify some important points.

The article implies that the dispute is primarily between CIPS and Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE). In fact, it is much more between the CCPE and the Canadian Association of Computer Science (CACS) — the latter strongly believe in the right of non-licensed experts to practice what the CCPE considers to be software engineering — a position with which CIPS obviously concurs. Further to the real dispute, the panel report recommended joint accreditation of software engineering programs, but the ensuing task force’s implementation proposals were rejected by CACS, not CIPS, while CCPE only approved a version that it unilaterally amended. This account differs significantly from what CCPE’s Marie LeMay is alleged to have said. It’s unprofessional to distort facts.

The final point to be made is that while some engineering bodies are vigilant in discouraging employers and employees from using words like “”engineer”” and “”engineering”” in their job titles without proper registration, they may also have the power to prosecute anyone they deem to be practicing software engineering without a license. This power, if broadly enforced, would prevent hundreds of thousands of developers from earning a living. The real irony is that the engineers claim they are enforcing their rights so that the public is protected. In reality, excluding the large amount of expertise that exists between the ears of non-licensed experts would put the public at far greater risk.

Paul Bassett

Re: Who are you calling a software engineer? (June 12)

As for the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, I suggest they give their heads a shake, stop being so arrogant and retreat. What about locomotive engineers? A Web site for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers lists the following qualifications for locomotive engineers:

“”The general qualifications which must be met before a man or woman becomes eligible for the position of locomotive engineer are:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Minimum education of high school or equivalent
  • Good physical condition with excellent hearing and eyesight
  • Completion of locomotive engineer training

Other qualifications to enter into the service of a railroad company for the purpose of becoming a locomotive engineer may apply and often vary between railroads.””

You can read the rest of their qualifications at http://www.ble.org/info/engineer.asp.

These qualifications do not involve engineering accreditation recognized by the CCPE. Would the CCPE thus suggest that locomotive engineers remove the designation of engineer forthwith?

How about the British Helicopter Advisory Board? Will the CCPE go after them for designating their helicopter maintenance people as “”helicopter engineers””? Here’s what the BHAB have to say about qualifications for their engineers:

    “”The world of rotary winged aviation is fast moving, technically demanding and highly professional. The British Helicopter Advisory Board (BHAB) is working with the Aviation Training Association (ATA) to develop National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in Aircraft Maintenance which will lead to a recognised qualification from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In the meantime, although there is no formal Licensed Engineer Training Scheme, several companies engaged in helicopter maintenance run Apprenticeship Schemes to enable engineers to train and obtain the CAA qualifications, which are recognised throughout the British helicopter industry.””

See more at their Web site: http://www.bhab.demon.co.uk/helicopter_engineer.htm.

One can find many examples of organizations and businesses using the term engineer without sanction from the CCPE.

Gary Dickson
Systems Specialist
TELUS Enterprise Solutions Inc.

Re: Who are you calling a software engineer? (June 12)

Other countries are recognizing the software professionals and traditional engineers as equivalent professions. CIPS has even established reciprocal credential/agreements with other countries (Great Britain, Australia). Maybe traditional engineering (old school P.Eng) and software engineering (new school ISP) should merge their professions rather than fight and become one large entity working together.

Dalton Fluke

Re: Who are you calling a software engineer? (June 12)

To equate a Microsoft Certified Software “”Engineer”” with a professional (“”one who practices a profession and adheres to both technical standards as well as ethical standards””) engineer is the height of stupidity. Engineers follow a standard curriculum defined by a legally recognized body in both education and work practices. The reason that the various provincial engineering bodies are legally constituted is that the lawmakers of the country (and this is not “”only in Canada””) recognized that practitioners of a branch of science that impacts on the general public have an obligation to “”do no harm”” to that public. As far as I’m aware CIPS or Microsoft set their own standards which are not legally binding on any of their members. There is no legal recourse for Microsoft or CIPS or Compaq or any other vendor if a “”certified”” person commits an infraction of their standards. Engineers who are found to have broken the standards and legal requirements of the Engineers Act(s) can be fined and stripped of their designation. If CIPS strips a member of her designation, that person is still able to practice. An engineer who is stripped of the P.Eng. designation is legally barred from practicing.

This trend, so ubiquitous in the U.S., of calling anyone who does anything remotely technical an engineer is something to be fought against vigorously. Not only does it degrade the academic and practice levels required to “”serve the public,”” it degrades the level of trust that is required between the practitioner and the public. Having just installed my umpteenth security patch for software designed by a group of software people, I would truly love to have sanctions applied to what can only be called a lack of professionalism.

Jack Smith

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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