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Letters To The Editor

Real-World Examples
The article "Real-World RFID: Wal-Mart, Gillette, And Others Share What They're Learning" provides some misconceptions about the benefits of RFID (May 25; "Real-World RFID: Wal-Mart, Gillette, And Others Share What They're Learning"). The examples cited could just as easily have been achieved (and most likely less expensively) by executing a bar-code scan at the time of product movement.

Having the person receiving the goods scan upon receipt and the person moving the goods to the retail shelf scan upon placement on the shelf would provide the same level of information.

There was one instance where using RFID to take an inventory did do something in less time and with less effort than scanning bar codes, but it was the only example of real RFID benefits. A better article would have been to show examples of where RFID does provide information that wouldn't be just as easily obtained with a scan of a bar-coded label.

William Tyng
Systems Consultant,
Forte, Mason, Ohio

Service Comes First
The article on how Home Depot is modernizing its IT infrastructure was very informative ("Home Depot Looks To SAP As It Modernizes," May 23, p. 28). It seems that great strides are being made in the IT department, but its customer-service department is one of the worst I've seen.

I have two Home Depot stores close to where I live, and both of them have been marked off of my list of home-improvement outlets. Home Depot is spending a lot of money on IT applications, but if its employees don't know how to treat customers, it will continue to lose customers.

Rick Harvey
Visalia, Calif.

Methodology Myth
I've been "formally trained" three different times ("Four Steps To Make Big Projects Work," May 23, p. 76). The methodologies have their place, but I've had to throw a lot of it out the window and rely on plain old communication and gut instincts. Funny, I've always been able to deliver. Sometimes projects were over budget because people wanted to change the scope, but simply getting everyone to bite up front, and put their name on the line, works.

Darrell Redford
Senior Project Manager,
Backcountry.com, Park City, Utah

Digital Cinema Pioneer
Thanks for the great article on digital cinema ("Digital Force," May 16, p. 38). Your information was very accurate and well-explained.

I appreciate the overview of what the various theater chains are doing to convert to a digital delivery system. However, it did leave out AMC Theaters, which was one of the first to begin installing digital projectors in some of its high-profile movie theaters. Also, I would have liked to read your opinions on digital projection and more about how it benefits the audience. Finally, a bit of information on the companies such as Texas Instruments that play a vital role in digital cinema would have been interesting.

Thanks again for bringing this subject to the attention of the general public (something Hollywood isn't doing very well).

Brian Satchfield
Clearwater, Fla.

IBM Bucks The Trend
Thank you for the great article ("IBM Embraces Firefox For Web Browsing," May 13). As an IT consultant, I'm convinced that most IT departments are filled with sheep that stick with Microsoft products because they feel it's a safe choice. I convert every operation I work with to Firefox and Thunderbird. They're simply safer, better choices. IBM obviously looked at facts.

As far as its choice to go with Linux, we'll see. I would install a complete Apple Mac OS X system. I understand IBM's choice, being that it's so involved in Linux. Linux has a way to go before main developers start writing for it. Apple has an advantage in that most common applications are already available for OS X. OS X is Unix, stable, and very easy to maintain in a large environment.

Brian Davids
President, Converging Lines,
Simi Valley, Calif.

Kids' Interest Takes Flight
The U.S. education system isn't doing enough to train future employees in math, science, and related fields ("It's Time For IT To Get Off The Dime," May 9, p. 8). School-age kids today don't have the exposure to aerospace that we did, even though this is one of the most exciting times in history for the field.

Nick Eftimiades saw this void and founded the Federation Of Galaxy Explorers in 2002, a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization, dedicated to exposing students in grades 3-12 to aerospace. After three years, we're 3,000 kids strong and have an admirable cadre of volunteers and impressive board. Nick has done this passionately, funding much of it himself, and gathering momentum and interest from the private sector. Nick wants to reach 100,000 kids in the near future. But getting financial and volunteer help is difficult.

It's thrilling to watch kids come alive with the wonders of space science, and we envision many of them moving into related careers. Good job, Nick. Now, who wants to help? Go to www.FOGE.org.

Sally J.F. Baron
FOGE Volunteer

Cost-Cutting Costs
Stephanie Stahl writes, "Don't we all want the best? The best teachers for our children, the best doctors for our ailments? ..."

When was the last time you brought your child to a foreign doctor hired by your health plan on a temporary visa so it could save a few bucks? Your reader Roger Agness is correct: Managers who advocate importing low-cost foreign workers ought to be willing to work for those wages, too.

Hmmm, I wonder what English-speaking editors-in-chief in India make.

Alan Radding
Freelance Writer,
Newton, Mass.

Share The Blame
Bob Evans mentions that there will likely be a federal customer-notification law following in the footsteps of the California law ("If Data Is Breached, Do The Right Thing," April 25, p. 76). I absolutely agree.

The "shame" shouldn't fall only on the company that lost control of the data, but also the company that captured the data in the first place. We're far too quick to capture data for one purpose and use it for another purpose. The "cost" to these companies should be greater if they've repurposed the data.

John Moehrke
Menomonee Falls, Wis.

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