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7/21/2006
05:40 PM
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Educational Experience
The United States needs to strengthen precollege students' capabilities in math and science, but I don't advocate including propaganda that distorts the actual demand and career environment for niche employment areas, such as IT, as part of the lesson plans ("What's In It For Them?" July 17, 2006). Students need to be exposed to all career possibilities and given integrated, hands-on examples of math and science apps that include pre-engineering and IT skills and how they require and build-on math and science knowledge.

We'll be on the right track when professionals, professional societies, educators, government, and employers participate in precollege educational endeavors that are supportive versus initiating programs that reinvent the wheel, are loaded with propaganda, compete with each other, etc. We'll be on the right track when educators accept their responsibility for proactive involvement in addressing the needs of their graduates and others in the targeted workforce, not just entry-level or full-time graduate students.

LeEarl Bryant
Past President, IEEE-USA

Eyes Open Outsourcing
Paul McDougall is correct that "outsourcing is like any other business initiative: It can be executed well or painfully botched" ("Dexterity Required," June 19, 2006). However, outsourcing to countries like China carries its own set of barriers that must be overcome. Language, cultural differences, and radically different ways of doing business spring immediately to mind. This is why a local front end is critical.

With few exceptions, every well-known outsourcing intermediary is based in the host country, or at the back end. This arrangement is fraught with pitfalls, because the level of integration between front and back end is minimal. Customers with complex technical requirements need an outsourcing model that lets business be done at the front end, while the back end is administered by professionals experienced at dealing with the cultural nuances and government protocols of the host country. This is the only business model that can ensure the cost savings, productivity increase, and faster time to market made possible by outsourcing.

Robert P. Lee
Chairman and CEO, Achievo
San Ramon, Calif.

No MIT Connection
Your July 10 issue, p. 51, reports that Robert T. Morris Jr. released his worm attack from MIT ("The Absolute Worst [So Far]"). Morris was a graduate student at Cornell, and mailer logs indicate that he tested the worm there before using a remote login to an MIT machine to launch it onto the Net.

Though accurate in a narrow sense, the language of your timeline item suggests an affiliation between Morris and MIT that didn't exist. This is especially unfortunate given the role MIT researchers played in analyzing the worm and helping the Internet community quash this attack.

Peter Coffee
Managing Partner, SolveWare
Torrance, Calif.

More To The Story
In this day and age, it's so easy to remove the hard drive, ghost it to another, and replace it ("After A Lucky Break With VA Laptop, Feds Tighten Up," July 3, 2006). And then to have the police, or whatever agency, make the statement that the laptop's database appeared intact and unaccessed just to try and avoid blame and placate the obvious misconduct. How stupid do they think we are?

William C. Krause
Transystems Services
Springfield, Va.

Human Behavior
Dan@Axendia says Post-it notes are security's worst enemy (From Our Blog, June 19, 2006). If the system demands that people remember a bunch of random passwords, then don't complain when they act predictably. IS needs to be designed around this basic fact of life. Any solution has to be based upon how people actually behave.

Howard Brazee
Computer Programmer University of Colorado Boulder, Colo.

Technology In The Wild
Our family just returned from five days at Yosemite, and it's as crowded as ever, certainly more crowded than when I was a kid visiting it in the '60s ("Mt. Rushmore Vs. American Idol? No Contest," June 26, 2006). Reservations for lodging are booked a year in advance, and as for cancellations, there's a line every night.

Yosemite might be an exception, but the only effect of technology I saw there was that cell phone service still worked for some (darn it).

John Powell
Network Analyst, CSU Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif.

Get More Out Of VoIP
"Five Things You Must Know About VoIP" is a start, but there are three more things that readers must know to be successful (July 3, 2006):

You don't need to bulk up your data network or budget to benefit from VoIP, because convergence and VoIP aren't the same thing. Avaya, Mitel, NEC, and other strong, reliable telephone vendors successfully migrate from legacy equipment to IP over existing legacy voice infrastructure. This lets you hold off on updating your data network, merging it with voice only when you're good and ready.

The two main reasons for change to VoIP are corporate relocation, business change, or other unforeseen circumstance; and the cost of a replacement or upgrade with a non-VoIP system often is equal to, or more costly than VoIP.

Finally, benefiting from VoIP is only painful if you fail to remember the project management mantra: planning, planning, planning.

Stan Rosenzweig
President, PhoneGuru.Com
Salt Lake City

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