Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: BMO: We don’t consider them ‘personal computers’ (Aug. 18)

I appreciate the observations made by the Bank of Montreal.

Ordinary human beings need communication in their

own language and in their own concepts. They are not about to learn our terminology. In fact, as far as most users are concerned, security people come from the planet Uranus and speak from the same location.

Yes, I wish that things were simpler. But the security industry has only itself to blame. FUD, PKI confusion, inability to speak English (or French si c’est necessaire) and unbelievable arrogance have seriously contributed to the disaffection with security principles and processes. Until we see a positive steps, such as we at ArticSoft have taken to make encryption usable to mortals, throughout the security industry, we are not going to see improvements.

Approaches that say we must hide everything from the user are just as bad as those which say the user has to become a security guru before they can be efficient. If you think about driving a car, we insist that people have a minimum educational level, because what we are going to let them do could kill people. Things are not quite that serious on the PC (yet) so the test is lower. But we need to get our educational establishments teaching, right from the start, security as a way of life.

Steve Mathews

Re: Linux takes Microsoft rivalry to the desktop (Aug. 17)

Hooray for Linux! Whether or not it becomes the giant-killer remains to be seen. But it’s so refreshing to see Microsoft running scared. MS’s Alec Taylor is really grasping. His Excel and Word examples fall a bit short of “”dire warnings.”” They’re more like “”it’ll be fixed in the next version”” complaints.

No, corporations and organizations currently locked into Windows are not going to switch quickly to Linux, if ever. MS, however, doesn’t seem to remember even it’s own history. Windows didn’t exactly “”explode”” onto the marketplace and become the over-night OS of choice.

It was a long (as we understand “”long”” in our industry) steady growth, based on utility and constant improvement that brought Windows to the top of the pile. The lack of reasonable alternatives to Windows didn’t hurt its growth either.

There was no competition for a corporate giant like MS. Well, maybe from IBM to a small extent. Linux, on the other hand, is slowly being picked up by corporations like HP.

Well, anyway, it’s going to be fun watching what happens next.

Bruce Edwardes

Re: Linux takes Microsoft rivalry to the desktop (Aug. 17)

I’m not sure if Alec Taylor doesn’t know much about, or he is being deliberately misleading, but his comments need some correcting.

Contrary to Taylor, a datapilot (the name for a pivot table) does, in fact “”pivot.”” And, while it’s true that the autospellcheck doesn’t offer alternatives, does collect word completions, so that the corrections become increasingly accurate as you use the program.

As for his claim that a Microsoft program “”does what you need it to do,”” perhaps he would like to explain why, for the last nine years, MS Word has easily corrupted numbered lists and a master document feature that not only crashes but frequently corrupts the sub-documents beyond repair? I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t need a program to do either of these things. That’s one reason why I use, in which both numbered lists and master documents work reliably.

The truth is, you can easily take one or two features of either MS Office or and use them to claim superiority, but such a superficial comparison means very little. Each has features that the other lacks, so by focusing on those features, you can easily give a biased assessment. Most people, I think, would have to admit that the two programs are roughly comparable.

One other point: It’s interesting that Taylor focuses on, because it’s not just a Linux program. It’s also available on Windows and OS X, as well as several other platforms. Not only that, but its support for different languages (over 25, with another 40 in development), and the fact that it is free is making the first competitor to MS Office in years. Several times in the last year, Microsoft has altered its language support and pricing schedules in an effort to compete. I wonder whether Taylor chose to focus on because Microsoft thinks it more of a threat than Linux itself?

Bruce Byfield

Re: Linux takes Microsoft rivalry to the desktop (Aug. 17)

The article states:

“”For example, Linux’s OpenOffice Calc, which is Microsoft’s version of Excel, allows you to build pivot tables but they don’t pivot, Taylor said. As well, when a user spells a word wrong in OpenOffice’s word program, no alternate spellings are offered.””

This is totally false, as any user of can tell you. I am specifically referring to his comments about the spellchecker functions in Writer (never having used “”Pivot Tables”” I can’t comment there).

However, provides more (and frequently better) suggestions than Microsoft Word has ever done. Not only that, but the suggestions are in your language (Australian English for me, Canadian English for you, etc.).

Alex Fisher

Re: Linux takes Microsoft rivalry to the desktop (Aug. 17)

“”Pivot tables”” do function quite well in Calc. They just aren’t called “”pivot tables.”” They are called “”data pilots.”” does, in fact, offer alternative spellings during a spellcheck, regardless of the platform. Unless you’ve got it configured with an obscure language or somehow turned off this feature, the spellcheck functions as well on as it does in WordPerfect, Word, or any of the other major office suite applications on the market.

Steven Shelton
Twilight Media & Design

Microsoft Canada’s Alec Taylor responds:

During the interview (for the article) I said that more challenges exist for Linux but I never suggested that Leibovitch is withholding information. That is the author’s conclusion.

(With regard to spell-checking) this needs clarification. With Microsoft Word, if users make spelling mistakes, they can draw their mouse over the highlighted word (highlighted with the squiggly line that indicates it has been misspelled) and simply right click for correct/alternate spelling. The command is not recognized by the OpenOffice program.

Re: Cell phone directories search for early adopters (Aug. 11)

I am in the telecommunications business and consult many businesses on cell phone use and, of course, cutting unnecessary incoming cell calls. The idea of advertising cell phone numbers should be to pay for the listing if you want it advertised and leave the rest alone.

We consult many of our clients to block their cell numbers and use the company voice mail system to re-direct the call to their cell phones if they are away from the office. Many voice mail systems have this option built-in but most users are unaware of this great tool. When a client has your cell number, why call you on the office land line. Some advertise their cell numbers on business cards because they want customers to always have contact but after a while, they tend to avoid the calls because it can get overwhelming.

Ever sit at your desk with two phones ringing and you can’t control it because everybody has your cell number? There are many great tools that can help businesses use there cell phones when they need to be used without advertising or giving out your number. Cell phones have there place in business and if my cell company told me they were advertising my cell number whether I like it or not, I’d be letting my fingers do the walking in the yellow pages under, “”Cellular companies who don’t advertise your cell number.””

Jacques Boulianne
General Manager

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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