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6/23/2006
06:35 PM
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Gates Will Be Missed
When Bill Gates left the technical side, Microsoft's software quality went downhill fast ("Bye, Bill," June 19). Yes, Microsoft grew and Windows became the predominate operating system, but it sacrificed quality andsecurity.

Then Bill took back the reins as chief software architect and delayed Vista for the first time. Hurray! Someone was back in charge thinking about software quality and not software releases and the money they make. Proof of this can be seen in the technical changes in the Vista beta release.

Now with Vista about to be released and Bill saying goodbye, am I the only one who sees a link between the two?

Barry Fawthrop
IT Consultant, TTI Enterprises
Inverness, Fla.

A Closer Look
Your article didn't live up to its sure-of-itself title with careful research ("No Escaping H-1B," June 12). A few examples:

>> It's not just the CIS study that showed that H-1Bs are often paid less than Americans. There have been several university studies and two congressionally commissioned reports with such findings. The underpayment is usually legal, exploiting gaping loopholes in the law.

>> We have no shortage of Americans with master's and Ph.D.s; many have been laid off. Starting salaries for new master's graduates (adjusted for inflation) have been flat since 1999, hardly the sign of a shortage.

>> The article says that H-1B cannot be the cause of unemployment among Americans, since there were only 85,000 visas issued this year, compared with 163,000 in 2001. But the visa is good for six years, and many of those granted visas during 2001-2004 are still working here. Thus the impact is much heavier than the article implies. And that isn't even counting L-1 visa holders.

Norman Matloff
University of California, Davis
Short-Term Profit

U.S. companies want H-1B because they can hire cheap foreign labor to replace more expensive American labor.
There's no shortage of workers. There's a shortage of willing hiring companies. Our future is being sold out for profit now. Talk to some people who don't stand to benefit from cheap imported labor and you'll hear a different story.

Jim Gearing
VP, Richmar and Associates
Washington, D.C.

Experience Required
The article "No Escaping H-1B" mentions the importance of learning new skills, but then what? Employers want experience, not classwork. But you can't buy experience, and few employers consider aptitude or potential in its place.

Paul Wetor
Senior Programmer, Saks
Milwaukee

Conflicting Laws
While a uniform consumer data bill of rights and uniform best practices for data security are long overdue, in the absence of such agreements and while federal legislation is stalled, states have been enacting legislation to regulate just this issue ("A Data Bill Of Rights," June 7). Most recently, Pennsylvania enacted the Breach of Personal Information Notification Act.

At least 20 states have enacted similar data security breach statutes, and there isn't uniformity among them. Unless Congress acts, any company doing business in various states should familiarize itself with the statutes in those states.

J. David Outtrim
Attorney
Exton, Pa.

Captive Audience
Cell phones will be as ubiquitous in airplanes as they are in places where we are all held captive ("Winner Of In-Flight Broadband Spectrum Wants Cell Phones On Planes, Too," June 7; informationweek.com/1092/broadband.htm). These (ab)users ought to be relegated to their own cabin and compelled to suffer one another's inanities for the entire flight.

Emanuel Molho
French & European Publications
New York

Security Standard
It's not possible to legislate behavior ("It's Time To Get Tough On Security Slackers," May 29). However, hardware-based technology that can solve the cybersecurity and data-protection problems exists. This technology could be the basis for a cybersecurity/data-protection standard. Legislation could then be based on compliance with the standard. This would be simple, straightforward, and enforceable.

Charles W. Kellum
Founder, Acting CTO, CyberDFnz
Alexandria, Va.

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