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4/27/2007
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Treat Laptops With Care
Most companies have seen laptops go missing, many with mission-critical information--think Los Alamos National Labs--and/or sensitive or confidential data--think Veterans Affairs ("Laptop Lockdown," April 2). Given this reality, the lackluster effort displayed by organizations in securing these devices continues to surprise me.

As I walk around the University of Washington campus, I see students leaving their laptops on tables and running to the restrooms or to get a coffee. Laptops get stolen, and, more important, data on them gets compromised.

The state of affairs in companies isn't much different. Employees leave their laptops in conference rooms, and when they attend off-site meetings they leave their laptops in unknown territories, like the conference room of a client. These laptops can easily get compromised.

Dr. Kevin C. Desouza
Professor
The Information School
University of Washington
Seattle

Immature Discourse
I'm tired of the endless demeaning, filthy--not to say mindless--rants that pass for "discourse" these days ("Hold Everyone To Higher Standards Of Behavior," April 16). I'm often tempted to advise practitioners of this drivel to "grow up" themselves--or seek out a junior high playground, where such behavior is the norm.

The mere suggestion that they clean up their act elicits howls of "censorship," as though any protest about such outrageous behavior were a call for criminalizing their bad conduct. Maybe that's because these seem to be the very folks who constantly call for incarceration (or worse) of anyone they disagree with!

Douglas Lorenz
Research Geoscientist
Company name withheld by request
Houston

U.S. Students Discouraged
As a longtime professor and the first IT person at Carnegie Mellon University, I'm very much opposed to more visas ("Bill To Increase H-1B Visas Makes A Comeback In Congress," April 19). In fact, allowing any foreign IT workers lowers the U.S. level of accomplishment by discouraging young people in this country from pursuing IT education.

As professor of electrical and computer engineering, I knew and worked with many foreign students and can tell you they were never as well prepared as our own, had little physical understanding, and lacked creativity.

Those who want to increase the number of foreign workers are looking for cheap labor and aren't helping our national security. If they want more good IT professionals, let them pay better wages! If they cut their CEO salaries, they could make it worthwhile for American students to go into technical fields once again.

Dr. Frederick J. Young
Professor of Electrical
Engineering (Retired)
Carnegie Institute of Technology
Pittsburgh

With Spam, Cost Is Key
Jeffrey Owens uses a false analogy, comparing spam to postal junk mail ("Spam: The Other Junk Mail," April 9). The junk mailers pay the U.S. Postal Service for the privilege of sending you mail, aside from their costs for materials and handling. (It's a matter of contention whether they pay their own way in postage or are subsidized by more expensive postal classes.) Theirs is a calculated business decision as to whether their revenue from respondents exceeds their costs.

Spammers, on the other hand, can send millions of messages for essentially no cost to themselves, and the costs for handling and disposal then fall to ISPs, enterprises, and recipients. Imagine what it would be like, in terms of both volume and expense, if junk mailers could send as much as they like and have you pay for the postage and materials. That's why there's a federal law prohibiting junk faxes.

Mike Mundorff
Project Manager
Primary Children's Medical Center
Salt Lake City

Quality In Question
From reading your article, I get the impression that Microsoft's goal is to be the Big Dog ("Remember Microsoft? How Could I Forget!" April 23). Once it slips from that position (and when will that happen?), will it try to be the Quality Dog?

Do you think anyone in Redmond read the recent news about Toyota becoming the No. 1 automaker and compared themselves with GM?

Someday, it will be all about quality. Maybe even in our lifetime.

Moe Knight
Operations Director, Shadco Enterprises
Whitesboro, Texas

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