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9/8/2006
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Google At The Center
One thing that's quite clear is that Google isn't afraid to roll its own IT solution ("Google Revealed," Aug. 28). It designs and engineers systems with outward thinking in the same way that NASA engineers do. A company that can afford to architect its own IT needs, then build it, charge money for any word in the world (AdWords), while at the same time helping business owners make money, has created an unrivaled historic business model.

The ancient Greeks had a religious mount called Delphi. It was the center of the known world at the time. All eyes were on its prophecies and divination. They called it the "Omphalos," or navel of the Earth. It changed and affected the lives of everyone who knew about it. We have a modern version with Google, where the search giant truly has become, to use your words, "the nexus of human curiosity."

Danny Rosato
VP of Marketing Strategies,
FireHippo Productions
Cary, N.C.

Let The User Beware
I don't know what your sources have been smoking (aside from their laptop batteries), but they're seriously, majorly wrong when they call battery technology "mature" ("Hey! Who Are You Calling Mature?" Aug. 28).

In an effort to do something about the battery life in laptops, which is notoriously between inadequate and laughable, manufacturers have rushed to embrace lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries. Not only are these immature technologies, they don't work like more conventional batteries, and the differences aren't understood by customers. Handle them wrong, and you're likely to find yourself or your computer as the star of the latest Internet video.

Unlike most other battery technologies, lithium-polymer batteries are highly susceptible to thermal runaway, which is a fancy way of saying they can start getting hotter and hotter until they self-destruct. This can be caused by physical damage, improper charging, or several other things.

This doesn't mean the technologies are useless or even dangerous. If the batteries are properly designed and their use is properly understood, they're fine. But both these things are very much works in progress. Meanwhile, the drive for battery life at all costs is causing serious problems for computer makers and users.

Rick Cook
Phoenix

Get A Life
I'm not a workaholic, and I'll take up selling seashells at the seashore before being forced to become one ("Workaholic Lawsuits?! It's Time To Get A Grip," Aug. 24). I'm coming home to be with my family, participate in the life of my church and community, fish, play the piano, whatever. If I have to step down in lifestyle, so be it.

Maintaining balance is ultimately the responsibility of each of us, which is why I believe the lawsuits are frivolous. That said, history is pretty clear as to what happens when workers' lives are treated as, well, expendable (human) resources.

So which would you prefer? Frivolous lawsuits or blood in the streets?

Rick Schrenker
Systems Engineering Manager
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston

Laptop Liability
Until the airlines step up to the fact that their employees steal things from checked luggage, you'd be crazy to put a laptop in checked luggage ("Banned On Board: The Ripple Effect Of High-Tech Travel Restrictions," Aug. 16). At this point the airlines refuse to take responsibility for any electronic devices in checked luggage.

Tom Dahl
Tom Dahl Consulting
Monrovia, Calif.

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