Readers weigh in on…

Re: The year in e-government (Dec. 19)

When recently dealing with Health Canada with regards to Smallpox inoculation, the information I received from them was all in the format of

WordPerfect Documents. Unlike 99 per cent of the computing population, I have access to WordPerfect and was able to read them. I know that MS-Word has a converter, but I find most users do not have the necessary converter installed, making this information unreadable. Also, if someone does convert it, they can edit it, making it unsecure.

I pointed this out to Health Canada and indicated that they should consider using PDF instead. My response was met by a not-my-problem attitude.

Andrew Warby
Network engineer

Re: Sun staff need reservations to work at Canadian HQ (Dec. 17)

I just read your article about the iWork Office Initiative and wanted to say that we are also planning a similar environment here at Vancouver Island Technology Park. We intend to have our Tech Development Centre up and running by March. Our office space will provide an opportunity for employees to get their e-mail, make phone calls, connect to Internet, and have a meeting with the team. At VITP the employee will also able to come in and have a Mega Byte Sandwich in the Hard Drive Cafe or workout in the gym.

Dale Gann
Marketing Manager
Vancouver Island Technology Park

Re: Life, the universe and Adams (Dec. 16)

I seem to recall that the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy also started with “”Made on a Macintosh.”” It had to be a Mac Plus, because at that time I was playing with Commodore 64s and VIC-20s. My copy also stated that the book was soon to be a major motion picture. This was after the BBC TV series was made. I’m still waiting.

Bill Costello

Re: The engineers among us (Dec. 13)

Regarding the issue of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and the use of term engineer in designations like Microsoft certified systems engineer (MCSE) and certified network engineer (CNE), might I suggest a compromise? Granted that a certificate holder is not necessarily a professional engineer, the type of work can be considered somewhat similar. Perhaps both parties could live with the term engi-near.

Lorne A. Wald
Information systems resources
McGill University

Re: The engineers among us (Dec. 13)

I have watched the title of engineer be abused for a number of years. In my many job quests I have avoided any implication of being an engineer by referring to my experience as being a non-graduate engineer. When using this term I have been careful not to infringe on the title of others. The best term to describe me is digital printologist. I have been working with digital printing technology since Nov. 1967. Please note that predates the technology.

Frank Monteith

Re: The engineers among us (Dec. 13)

When you put the companies on the spot, why aren’t you putting the Engineering Association on the spot as well? They have not even tried to offer a method for CNEs to upgrade their skills to be certified engineers. It easy to point fingers, but it would be better if they offered solutions.

Walter Reid

Re: War in Iraq could cripple Internet: IDC (Dec. 12)

I am very much opposed to the position which Howard Solomon takes in this article. Using the term cyber-terrorism to refer to attacks on the Internet, conjures up false associations in trying to elevate this act to the same level as that of true terrorism.

Terrorism, such as that of Sept. 11 and the more recent bombing in Bali, is so completely separate and distinct from any online denial of service or computer virus attack. In the online world no one dies, has to be concerned about being inflicted with radiation, or chemical weapons, or can be held hostage at gunpoint.

With respect to a mega-virus being unleashed, it is quite a dichotomy against that of the threat of the more real “”superbugs”” such as smallpox and anthrax. Computer virus attacks are commonplace, with more than 7,000 reported viruses, worms, and Trojan horse programs being released in 2002. You don’t have to be a mega-virus to do damage, either. It has been proven in that this year’s most prolific virus was the Klez worm. Klez was not successful due to its sophistication, but rather by the number of people without updated anti-virus definitions. No one should be afraid of a computer virus, as it is more a frustration than an act of cyber-terrorism.

Just as the economy has already wised up to virus attacks (there is scarcely a major business out there that does not already have anti-virus protection in place), denial of service attacks have existed since the infancy of the Internet. The recent attack on the 13 root servers did not cause the Net to slow down at all, contrary to your article’s quotation. Nobody at home or in business noticed the attack except the root server administrators themselves, and the public certainly would not have known, if not for the media reporting it.

I must concede that you will be exactly correct in predicting more spam in the year to come.

Jeff Demchuk

Editor’s Note: It was IDC chief research director John Gantz who used the phrase “”cyber-terrorism”” in a briefing to reporters. Staff writer Howard Solomon merely quoted him.

Re: Are you too old to be in IT? (Dec. 10)

I am a senior systems analyst who has been unemployed for all of 2002 and I am far from being alone. Most of those I know to be in the same boat are in my age bracket. Those of us in our 40s, or worse yet 50s, are apparently considered to be old, out-of-date and over-the-hill. We are no longer employable. Why hire someone with experience when s/he costs more and is not as familiar with the latest technology? It is the old catch-22. How can I get experience in the latest technology when no one will hire me without it?

Marnie Shaw

Re: You haven’t got that much mail! (Dec. 9)

I work at a 60-plus employee reseller. There are people in the office who get less than 50 e-mails a day, but as you move up the organizational chart it steadily increases. I have to process about 250 messages a day. Many sit in my inbox because I don’t have time to go back and find the entire thread once I finish the task. I make a point of reviewing all the e-mails, but I just don’t have time to file or delete everything.

As a purchaser I also get flooded with numerous unsolicited distribution e-mails. If the company has been e-mailing me for the last month and I haven’t bought anything or called, why do they continue to send me e-mails forever. This generally puts them on the top of my “”Do not buy from unless the boss threatens to fire you”” list.

Jereme Brown
Senior Purchaser
Powerland Computers Ltd.

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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