Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Canadian military sizes up body scanning (Feb. 9)

I read this article and wondered at the cost of $50,000 per installation, is it expected to be installed in all clothing stores

on every Canadian Forces Base? This seems excessive. If the system only depends on a camera as an input device to scan a person’s body, surely the cameras can be installed and the data transferred to a central location (Ottawa?) to compute the size of clothing required.

If Canada wants to sell this technology to other NATO countries we should be looking at any opportunity to cut the costs and increase the value to the consumer. Wouldn’t this be one of them?

Terry Wickstrom

Re: Do you know where your VoIP user is? (Feb. 9)

One of the fundamental assumptions that the article (and most people) makes, is that the wireline version of 911 is bulletproof.

This is far from accurate. Ask any medium to large, multi-site business, or large public, multi-building institution and you’ll find that virtually all of the telephone administrators have to make special arrangements to ensure that 911 calls identify the location properly. The telcos have not been all that good about fixing up their entries into the ALI data base (they usually take a short cut and put in the billing address — you can see the problem).

So if there is a problem with 911 on VoIP, it is nothing new — it’s just that the telcos don’t want another problem on top of the one they’ve created for themselves already.

Miro Forest

Re: MyDoomsday scenario (Feb. 3)

I loved your article. Thanks for just speaking the truth and telling it like it is. I am so sick of people trying to run Linux or open source for that matter into the ground. The only reason why they are trying to do this is because billions of dollars are at stake! Can you imagine how much money would be lost to Microsoft, Radio Shack and many other software companies and retailers if open source becomes the wave of the future?

Don’t forget the tax dollars the government gets for each piece of software sold. Now I can really see why open source software is a thorn in the side of most business people.

Jeremy Trafford

Re: Resistance isn’t futile (Feb. 3)

After reading the article relating to the new book “”User Error”” I felt it necessary to add some of my own comments. As a consultant working in the IT industry I have been involved on the development side for many years now. My perspective has been that there has always been a great deal of involvement from the user community in the development and implementation of new solutions. Working with business systems like ERP seems to dictate, especially now, that the business become the key decision maker and the technical resources are there to implement the will of the business and develop a working solution.

I look forward to reading “”User Error”” and seeing the specific perspective that it presents in these areas. It seems to reinforce the way that my company has always done business, in partnership with the users. Also, I am interested in seeing the perspective that it gives to the current focus on outsourcing IT functions offshore. This is contrary to the one on one relationship that I feel is the most important aspect of any relationship in business.

Glen Wallace
General manager

Re: Resistance isn’t futile (Feb. 3)

I agree with the concept of this article. IT have taken too much of a large role in many companies. At times it seems that IT has lost sight that they are a service group to the users. IT’s expertise is surely needed as long as it is to meet the user demands and requirements.

My perception is that in any company where upper management (level of IT manager and up) are not computer literate, IT runs the company. I wouldn’t like to see the opposite occur either. But I don’t think that there should ever be an issue or struggle about who is in charge or have more power as long as the user requirements are met. To often IT provide solutions that makes it easier for IT. The user is then stuck with reduced efficiencies or flexibility to meet client demands. IT has an important role to provide much needed services to the company. But it should still be reminded that IT is also a service to the company.

To be able to control and understand IT’s part in the company, I would recommend that all managers dealing with IT should take a serious computer programming course. After writing a few small programs for practice, they would understand many of the issues that are resolved by IT.

Maurice P. Bernardin
SCU CMB General manager
SNC-Lavalin ProFac Inc.

Re: Resistance isn’t futile (Feb. 3)

I’ll have to get a copy of this book to see what’s it’s all about.

Apparently, Ellen Rose isn’t above perpetuating certain popular perceptions and myths about the software development process.

Of course, users often feel they are pressured to give up the rights over key processes. Often, that comes from a lack of being able to clearly articulate those processes, the options and alternatives to meet the business objectives and needs. In frustration, most software developers will simply implement their perceptions, to meet the delivery expectations.

That said, it’s obvious that it isn’t any one individual’s fault. And yes, key changes are necessary to enrich the process from both ends:

Involve IT in the core business process. That involves more than simply inviting them to a presentation on the year’s objectives, but including them in on the strategy discussions and approaches.

When IT says that something can’t be done, the business needs to understand that they mean in the context of the current budgets and allocations. NASA proved you could fly a man to the moon, all you had to do is allocate sufficient resources to accomplish it. If the requested resources seem unreasonable given the request, perhaps the business community should consider how it’s resourcing IT.

Remember, when it comes to apathy (and passivity), the door swings both ways. Just as IT departments struggle to make their user communities more technical savvy, so must those same communities work to make IT departments more business literate.

In the end, there isn’t really a conspiracy on either side. Rather, people need to take a long hard look at their own behaviours and thought processes. IT is really about automating aspects of our existence to free us up for more. How we deal with that freedom, whether to do more of the same or to expand our creativity, remains an individual choice. IT professionals who don’t recognize this are tomorrow’s dinosaurs, and users who don’t will never reap the benefits.

Dave Balsillie

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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