Reader letters from issue 1108, Oct. 2, 2006

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

September 30, 2006

2 Min Read

Fraud By Any Other Name
It seems like "pretext" is just another word for fraud ("Two-Ring Circus: HP And The Government's Probe," Sept. 25, 2006). Apparently our culture has a penchant for inventing new words for old crimes so we can then say there's no law against it. This gives perpetrators the opportunity to get by with whatever they want to do and lets congresspeople justify their existence by passing even more laws and making life more and more miserable for the majority of us law-abiding, mostly ethical citizens.

All we need to do is to enforce the laws we already have and quit mollycoddling criminals, who have way too much money, power, and influence.

Gary S. Lea
Applications Group Manager
Dexter Magnetic Technologies
Fremont, Calif.

Master Of Mediocrity
My son owns and operates a PC-repair business ("Windows After Vista ... Radical Surgery," Sept. 4, 2006). About 90% of its gross income results from fixing security issues and other "Windows annoyances." He says, "Microsoft does what it does better than anyone else, so it has no effective competition."

What does Microsoft do so well? Some years ago, Bill Gates described his objective quite clearly: "A PC on every desktop, running Microsoft software." Seldom has such a lofty business goal been fulfilled so swiftly and definitively--yet with an arguably mediocre product.

Sun Microsystems says, "The network is the computer." For Microsoft to lean in this direction, as I think you suggest, is to invite competition, perhaps from the likes of Cisco. Indeed a daring change, but is it inevitable (or even necessary)? My bet is that Steve Ballmer will prevail. In so doing, he'll define a new, noncompetitive arena, just as Gates did before him, and the product will continue to be mediocre--because technical excellence won't become the prime directive. Why should it?

Frank A. Browne
President, Control Technologies
West Lawn, Pa.

Kiosk Caveat
You'd better trust the person setting up the Internet kiosk if you're going to be conducting sensitive business with it ("VPN Danger Zone," Sept. 4, 2006). How easy is it to install a hidden keylogger or something? I guess that's a lot like trusting that the corner store isn't making a record of your credit card or ATM information.

Robin Schatzman
Systems Administrator, Edfund
Rancho Cordova, Calif.

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