Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Going, going, snipe! (Nov. 18)

Excellent as always.

I recall there was an auction system during the dot-com rush to “dynamic pricing models,” where if there was a bid within one minute of close, the auction continued past the close until a five-minute period of “no bidding” occurred, thus eliminating the value of sniping altogether. I’m surprised the eBay and its vendor community have not changed this process.

Joe Seigo
Buxbaum Century
Calabasas, Calif.

Re: Lawful Access turns up the heat on ISPs (Nov. 15)

Disturbing, pitiful, and sad.

It’s understandable that law enforcement would desire these things, but who watches these “access points” the rest of the time? All I see is one more breach of security, one more way for dishonest people to gain access to property, information, and funds that are not their own.

<It won't be long after implementation that an ISP will be sued for allowing unauthorized people to use the technology, most likely unknowingly.

I’ll be looking for an ISP that gives me guarantees about my privacy.

Jeff LeGrand
Lethbridge, Alta.

Re: The finest in failure (Oct. 27)

IT could learn a lot from the aviation industry about eliminating failures. Problems with aeroplanes tend to attract public attention. (Smoking craters surrounded by body parts will do that.) Consequently, they get investigated thoroughly, but the same problems seemed to keep cropping up.

This has been particularly important in ergonomic and human-interface areas, (where the two fields have more in common than most people think).

To eliminate the hiding of errors to avoid blame, aviation evolved a culture of “confession” in which it is perfectly respectable to discuss errors in public. I believe “Flying” magazine was the originator of ILAFFT (I Learned About Flying From That) articles, in which pilots describe the decisions and mistakes that they made to cause (or narrowly avoid) a disaster. (Obviously, there’s a slight survivor bias, in the absence of posthumous accounts.) We’re all human, and even the best of pilots have occasional brain-fades. Reading about other’s mistakes can help one avoid them.

Until this culture evolves, I suppose IT will have to make do with private “war stories” and the odd book on the really public disasters.

Alan Rocker
Caxton Software

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