Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Canada to hop aboard smart transit bandwagon (Nov. 29)

In your article you failed to mention the Octopus Card concept that’s been in use in Hong Kong for well over two decades.

While the card started out as magnetic strip, it was by a smart card in 1997. Today, there are more Octopus cards in circulation than the population in Hong Kong. The Octopus system is precisely the single-card-multiple-access idea that is being taken up by Canadian transit authorities described in your article.

As well, the system is run by a separate corporation jointly owned by the participating transit authorities in Hong Kong — contrary to a statement by Jeroen Kok, CEO of Trans Link Systems, that this kind of business structure was a first in the Netherlands. For further information on the Octopus Card System, I refer you to

Joseph Yuan
CEO, WyseCall Inc.

Re: Recycled code creates application ecosystem (Nov. 26)

In your article, it would have been helpful after discussing IP questions to have stated under what licence Microsoft is releasing the code and the real world implications of that licence.

Chris Dumont

Re: Self-service IT goes bananas (Nov. 26)

Give it time! The savings from the point of view of a company like Loblaws is enormous. Two cashiers to look after six to eight registers. Elemental.

I have used these since Loblaws first introduced them. I found them very effective for small purchases, but not for large ones. The experienced cashier is still faster. But like all other technologies, including the IBM dream of people being scanned as they walk out of a store, this will need time, investment and support by companies such as Loblaws to make it work.

We keep forgetting that our technology is only 20 years old, and how far we have come in that time!

Farokh Monajem

Re: Are the cubicle walls closing in? (Nov. 19)

The story reminds me of a research project undertaken by MIT in the early 80’s. The study looked at Fortune 500 companies and researched what factors made some IT departments more productive than others.

After eliminating factors such as training, staff education, methodologies, software tools, etc., they came to the conclusion that IT departments whose staff were in individual offices were about 10 times more productive than those working in open-plan offices.

Having worked in both types of offices, and in especially bad open-plan ones, I often think they weren’t far of the mark.

Larry Lazurko

Re: Maritime schools work with IBM on text-to-speech tool (Nov. 18)

Interesting article. I must note though, that your headline for the article is misleading. You call it “”text-to-speech tool”” which almost made me not read it, as there is such a tool in the market, called JAWS.

What you wrote about is SPEECH-TO-TEXT, which is really innovative.

I forwarded your article to two agencies that work on behalf of the disabled.

Juan Carlos Canales-Leyton
Managing Editor
Street Feat – The Voice of the Poor in Atlantic Canada

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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