My generation…

Re: Text or treat (Oct. 30)

Thanks for your column, Shane. I thought I was the only one who identifiedSMS as one of the most over-hyped, useless technologies of our day. Keepthe

good stuff coming.

Andy Clark
Manager of information systems
Bruce Edmeades

Re: Text or treat (Oct. 30)

You missed the whole point, Shane. Wasn’t that directed at Rogers Employeeswhen they go out trick or treating, not their children? They need to get thetreats for the office for next morning.

John Knops
Insurance and risk management officer
Government of Yukon

Re: Text or treat (Oct. 30)

Besides the reasons you mentioned, how about try typing on a micro keyboard in the dark while wearing fake monster hands or mummy bandages. Can you even see the keyboard through those nasty eyeholes in the mask? All the while clutching your loot sack with one hand while running from house to house and dodging cars with your pals.

To echo your comments, I smell desperation to create a need. My daughter would say, “”As if!””

Kevin Reinelt
Sales director
Telus Client Solutions

Re: Keyboard Kids (Oct. 29)

I work for an organization that has a policy encouraging the hiring of students. I’ve supervised many of them over the years. Your comment that “”the young today are certainly better equipped”” needs to be placed very clearly in context. “”Better equipped”” in the skill sets of the keyboard, game playing, e-mail and chat rooms they may be, but better educated I seriously doubt.

I employ high school, technical school and university students. Their communications skills are sadly lacking. Their command of the syntax, grammar and vocabulary is pathetic (out here in the West, where language duality isn’t the issue.) They have learned far more from radio Disc Jockeys, and TV Video Jockeys, than they have from all the schools they’ve attended. Their knowledge of basic science, mathematics and problem solving is low. Their attention span is three mouse clicks. Their interest span is two mouse clicks. There has been a serious eroding of educational standards in Canada, that is placing a generation of people into the workplace that can’t explain what they mean when they say something.

How are these folks going to function as analysts, scientists and business people? How will they ever interview clients to determine requirements? How will they write specifications? How will they determine possible options? How will they analyze options and choose optimal solutions (in spite of the much-touted claim that game playing gives them problem-solving skills)? How will they make credible proposals with recommendations to senior company officials?

What’s even more frightening is some of these folks are going to opt into lives in public service. They’ll become city councillors, mayors, members of provincial legislatures, and members of Parliament. And they will, if for no other reason than the public they’ll have to convince to get elected will be just like them! There won’t be enough of us “”old farts”” left to stop it.

So what are our national priorities — computer skills or education? They don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but they currently are. Access to computers does not, by default, mean better education. The salvation for our future lies in better education — not in greater access to computers.

I’m afraid, very afraid!

Bruce Edwardes

Re: Not-so-public domains (Oct. 28)

Thanks for the column on deceptive domain name renewal mailings. I just received a mailing from another Canadian company doing the same thing: Domain Registry of Canada. It is a very official looking renewal form with a maple leaf in the corner. I don’t see any blatant lies or deceptions, all the explanations seems technically correct. However, it is easy to see why a person who didn’t pay attention to the name of their supplier could easily renew with a different company not knowing what the service level agreements, support, etc. were.

Ralph Loewen

Re: Piracy by the numbers (Oct. 23)

I might be missing something, but if the estimates are based on shipments of new PCs, what about people that buy a new machine, scrap the old box, and install their original software? For many of our licensed copies of Office 2000, I estimate they would now be installed on their third or fourth PC through attrition. Same for operating systems and software like Adobe Acrobat.

I certainly credit the CAAST initiative for making us much more aware of the issue and ensuring that we are fully licensed. As a charity, we are able to access relatively low-cost software from Microsoft through its Open Licence system and related charity discount. Adobe, Macromedia, and other vendors also provide charity pricing, but I am very sympathetic with small businesses — this is a big cost.

Recent newspaper ads for FutureShop and others have brought home to me that the software now costs more than the computer! I think the large software vendors have to work a little harder on pricing and licence transfer issues before the public mindset on purchasing software changes.

Larry Gemmel
Senior director, collaborative projects
United Way of Canada – Centraide Canada

Re: Piracy by the numbers (Oct. 23)

Let me quote this just so that I can understand it:

    “”We estimated PC shipments by province within Canada. And from that we estimated the amount of software that was required, or the demand for software, and we compared that against software shipment data which we built up from actuals of BSA member companies. And then estimated the other parts to fill out the industry total.””

According to this, all my PC shipments were “”estimated”” to have some demand for the software of CAAST members. I installed not a single piece of member software on any computer I currently own for either my business or home computers since I run an almost 100 per cent open source/free software shop.

These bogus statistics may simply indicate that Canadian citizens are more advanced in their understanding of the software market and have moved faster than Americans to dump the products of software manufacturers.

Russell McOrmond
Internet Consultant

Re: Bell Canada (Oct. 22)

As is typical Bell m.o., companies like Gentek Marketing — 20 years in Canada with significant small and medium business wireless and networking experience — are never contacted or even given the remotest chance to work with it on such projects. Bell always favours U.S. companies who are usually short-sighted on options, less flexible and certainly less focused on their very own home market and target customers right here in Canada.

We’ve been fighting such prejudice our entire business careers. It’s no wonder Bell always seems to shoot themselves in the foot. Their WLAN initiative will be no exception.

M. Freedman
Gentek Marketing Inc.

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