What a pleasant surprise it was for us to read Bob Evans' article on the National Sex Offender Public Registry Web site ("Registry Web Site As Model Of Cooperation," Sept. 19). And how gratifying it is to see something we've worked so hard on in such a reputable publication.
But most of all, we're excited that your readers will know about this tool that protects the well-being of our children. So a big thanks to you from all of us at the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice, and our partners.
Domingo S. Herraiz, Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance,
Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice,
Positives And Negatives
We find that open source is often introduced "through the back door" ("Open Source Goes Corporate," Sept. 26). Even then, it's had a powerful impact, but there are negatives and positives to that.
The positive is that it often creates an internal "groundswell" effect that drives adoption. The downside is that you often have engineers accepting or adopting a license without reading it--or, if they do, without understanding the legal ramifications. For example, if developers use a GNU General Public License product within a production framework, what happens if the company later decides to sell that framework?
What I try to teach CIOs and IT managers is to have a plan. Open source as an artifact can be good or bad, but you don't know in advance ... and managers need to be aware of that. At minimum, every IT manager should have a spreadsheet that tracks every open-source tool, and all of the team technologists should be aware of it.
Jason McKerr, Operations Manager,
The Open Source Lab,
Open Source = Freedom
The computer industry is the same as the energy industry. If you're not a big player, you're dirt. Open source will level the field. It's a shame to see where this industry could be if it wasn't for all the fighting and jockeying to be No 1. Companies like Microsoft haven't helped.
Open source will be accepted, but like all things, it will take time.
Thanks for highlighting the good side of the tech news, particularly in the wake of the recent natural disasters (Sept. 26). The Wal-Mart example and others demonstrate that technology can be a great tool for good people and good companies to do greater good than could be done manually.
Calvin Olsen, Project Manager, Hewlett-Packard,
General Systems & Technology Lab,
In "Microsoft's Allchin Seeks One Last Stamp On The Desktop," an analyst says of Microsoft's Jim Allchin: "During his sabbatical, he helped friends install Windows ... and he had a horrible experience" (Sept. 22). If you think installing Windows is a "horrible experience," try supporting and maintaining it. I honestly don't know how your typical home user can do it.
Nowhere in all the Vista hype have I ever found any reference to "keeping it simple" or "simplifying" processes.
No Cells On Board
Heaven help us when cell phones become as ubiquitous in airplanes as they are in those places where we are all held captive ("First Planes To Trial Cell Phones," Sept. 22). These (ab)users ought to be relegated to--and locked in--their own soundproof area, obliged to listen to one another's inanities. For the entire flight.
The letter "Amateur Radio Can Help" is absolutely right, and it was proven by amateur radio operators from all parts of the United States (Sept. 12). I speak from experience because I was one of the operators working in the Gulfport, Miss., command center. I worked with a number of different amateur operators from Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and more. I've never seen a more efficient and professional group of people. I'm proud to be part of such a worthwhile organization. I'm even more proud during times of disaster because I think our goal for excellence and to help people is even greater.
Jerry Tew, Director, Instructional Support And Technology,
University of Central Florida,
Planning For The Worst
What would company and government employees actually do after driving 200 miles to a budget hotel that had high-speed internet service after a disaster like Hurricane Katrina ("Recommendations For Continuity During Disasters," Sept. 7)? They could not be in contact with their co-workers who were in the disaster-affected area. So what if they can run a Web site or take calls? What good does that do?
Eleven days after Hurricane Katrina, communications is still in a mess. I'm in Baton Rouge, La., and I can't make long-distance calls about nine out of 10 tries. Cell phones are still almost useless.
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