Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Ontario Hospital eCouncil urges unique patient IDs (Sept. 5)

Naturally any governmental organization can determine unique patient identifiers. But even the government cannot ordain

e-mail identifiers. Or perhaps they can?

Is the problem that it is easier for the administrators to enforce a regime that uniquely identifies all people? There is also the associated problem that the X.509 standard they prefer actually compels disclosure of the person’s identity even if it may not be clear what the content of a message is. The whole world knows who is talking to whom. Let’s hope that the sender is not a registered AIDS clinic.

I have no doubt that it is cheaper to implement a system that makes it simple for the administrators. But hopefully some people put a price on anonymity and privacy. If not then we should seriously contemplate a police state, where all our conversations can be supervised and reviewed.

Steve Mathews

Re: Longhorn delay leaves industry in limbo (Aug. 30)

Longhorn (we wonder at the real name !) hopefully can rectify the problems of Windows XP. Our organization knows full well the difficulty in developing software, let alone operating systems. We will be embarking on writing one ourselves soon, and so sympathize with those who have pioneered them, whether on the Windows side or the Mac, Solaris or Linux side. We especially sympathize with the programmers. We say, best of luck to anyone attempting to break new ground in cyberspace.

Michael Higgs
Senior Consultant
Setforth HRIS Ontario

Re: When I’m 65 (Aug. 19)

I’m really disappointed with some of the stereotypes in the article in today’s news entitled “”When I’m 65.”” Did it ever occur to the contributors that some people like what they do and want to keep doing it? Not everyone wants to “”cash out, buy the cottage and they were done.””

Montgomery ‘s comment — that a certain degree of turnover is healthy in any industry, but particularly in IT — was particularly offensive. “”Sometimes you really need those fresh faces coming in,”” he said, “”because that’s where the new ideas come from.”” While new ideas are always welcome, they are not the exclusive property of the young. It’s amazing the new ideas I keep coming up with, even at the ripe old age of 50. Many of the disasters I have seen in my 25 years in the industry have been a result of “”great new ideas”” from people who had no idea of the consequences. With a little experience in the school of hard knocks, these disasters could have been avoided.

As for McMullin’s comment, parenting is not usually an issue for the over-65 crowd. At 50, I’m almost an empty nester, feeling much more invigorated than I was in my 30’s and 40’s, now that the pressures of family life have gone. And strange as it may seem, not only can I still work long hours, but with the experience I have gained, I am often able to “”work smarter, not harder””. Besides, since the article is about the over-65 crowd, grand-parenting is probably a more pertinent lifestyle situation for these folks.

I’m surprised that would perpetuate such preconceived notions of ageism. It’s actually quite ironic, because the type of prejudice in the article is exactly the reason why it is so critical to remove the mandatory retirement age. A balanced article would have asked the opinions of a few seasoned veterans, not just the smug thirty-something’s quoted in the article.

Jim Gerhart
London, Ont.

Re: When I’m 65 (Aug. 19)

I am 36 and working in IT at a Canadian facility for a North American Fortune 500 manufacturing company, in which I have completed 10 years of service. In my personal opinion, I would like to see the mandatory age of 65 lifted, but I do not think most companies would go for that.

The biggest objective for any company, of course, is the bottom line. When you have an individual that is “”getting up there”” in terms of years of service, that individual is costing the company more money due to higher salary, more vacation time, and more than likely, as mentioned in the article, they would be less willing to put in overtime. If that company could retire that individual early, they will take the opportunity to do so, despite the fact that the individual could be very good at their job.

The company would then “”take a chance”” and hire a younger person, not so much for the “”new ideas”” that individual would bring, but more so for the fact of lower salary, etc. With the current trend today of thinning everything out, you’ll probably find more of the long service folks being offered “”retirement”” packages and put out to pasture.

I enjoy my work, but reality sets in and unless there is a massive shortage of trained people out there and no one around to hire, I do not see myself working beyond 65.

Fraser W. Turner
CGC Inc.
Hagersville, Ont.

Re: When I’m 65 (Aug. 19)

I tend to agree that such decision should be made on an individual basis. Still there are a lot of factors where a person pursuing a career path in IT would definitely not stay after reaching the 65 years in the work force.

These factors include:

1. Stress related to IT tasks.
2. Clash between technology evolution and business processes.
3. New comers, specially young and single people are more prone to offer higher availablity and work longer hours. When family comes into play, or health matters, or quality of life styles, you don’t want to remain hands-on in any IT field. It is too much.
4. It takes time to train and gain corporate knowledge.
5. With the demographic proplem caused by the baby boomers (corporate and strategic expertise and knowledge of the Canadian government, for instance) will leave the work force soon. This will put pressure on “”la relève.””

The Université du Québec in Hull has noticed a decreased in registration for their IT programs. There will be a lag between what the market needs in skill sets to meet today’s market productivity demands.

All this makes me believe that government will have difficulties in encouraging people to stay after 65 years, unless they really want to.

Denis Martin,
Head, Network Operations
Courts Administration Service

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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