Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Sun Life CIO: Keep an eye on offshore (Nov. 4)

As a software development professional, I find it quite interesting and perplexing that the short-term bottom line ranks as more

important than the longer-term investment in good software.

Research by the Standish Group, has consistently shown that the customer’s involvement in the software development process is a critical success factor. The act of outsourcing the development of software to any off-site location has the effect of distancing the customer. Moving the development offshore exacerbates that problem.

Furthermore, the development of software flourishes when feedback comes quickly and often, especially from the customer. Outsourcing the development makes this problematic by insisting that all requirements for the software are known before the development starts. This leads to speculation, some of which is bound to be incorrect which results in costly changes during development, or rework after deployment. When the customer and development team are colocated or in close proximity, rapid feedback allows the customer to ‘steer’ the project, adapting to changes as they occur.

The net result is that, while the software developed though the outsourcing model may meet the initial requirements, it is obsolete the day it is deployed. If it doesn’t meet the customer’s real requirements and requires rework, then in reality it hasn’t saved anything.

Dave Rooney
Principal consultant
Mayford Technologies Inc.

Re: Chip development costs challenge Canadian fab firms (Nov. 4)

In your above article it says, “”The soaring cost of chip development, the increasing number of Asian foundries and the difficulty of testing new and intricate chips make it next to impossible for North American startups to rely on ‘the fabless model,’ said Andrew Chowaniec.””

I could not understand the logic of the conclusion. The cost of chip development and test may be the barriers to the “”fabless model.”” But how does the increasing number of Asian foundries contribute to that? The more foundries, the cheaper the manufacturing. So the “”fabless”” startup should benefit from that.

Chang LI

Re: The e-mail you outlaw (Oct. 31)

Nice article, but I maintain a different view. Spam volume will soon peak and then diminish (although not to zero) progressively. Why? Spammers have to pay for each blast. Not a lot, but something. With even the newest of e-mail newbies becoming aware of spam, there will be less and less return from each campaign, until for most spam-meisters, getting a real job will start to be appealing. In a perverse way, although we hate spam, it does follow a pure capitalistic structure vis-a-vis free competition. And since there are X vendors of generic viagra, and Y users willing to order online, and we assume (not a great leap) that X is greater than Y, some if not most of the X population will reach a point where costs consistently exceed returns and the whole proposition is a losing one.

So as I said, I think spam volume is soon to max out and will then recede. Even though the problem is technological, the solution (mass awareness) is centuries old.

It would be interesting to revisit this letter a year from now.

Anyway, I enjoyed your article.

Brian Oliver

Re: Does this laptop go with my shoes? Oct. 31

I was amused by your comments on fashion laptop bags but it reminded me that the standard laptop bag carrier is far from optimal. I have two such carriers. One is a nice Targus bag which holds most everything imaginable and which, when fully loaded, weighs almost more than I do. The other is an old cloth OS/2 bag lined with two layers of bubbble wrap. It holds my laptop, a CD or two and a file folder or two. I can lift it, fully loaded, with my baby finger. I suspect that most people use a laptop bag like I do — to carry a machine between an office docking world and a home docking world.Appearance aside, when will the laptop carrier makers wake up to how their products are most used and design them accordingly?

Burton Leathers
Software architect
Cognos Inc.

Re: Mississauga takes wireless to the MAX (Oct. 30)

Edmonton has been doing this with inspectors for years with POSSE software and has recently upgraded using 1X wireless and Citrix.

Tim Beauchamp

Re: Gates: ‘You don’t need perfect code’ for security (Oct. 29)

Ask Bill why Macs don’t have these issues with security. That man’s living in the twilight zone.

Christopher Janda
Supervisor, desktop architecture, engineering and messaging
Dow Jones and Company

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

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