A case of deja vu
I have just read Martin Banks' article headed "When I were a Lad" (PC Week 1 July).
The thing that I found really funny was the idea that companies should be rushing to re-hire the very people who programmed this problem in the first place.
Would they be able to cure the expected problems or would they be too busy securing their re-employment into the next century?
More junk mail
A short addition to your letters on junk e-mail (PC Week 1 July).
One of your correspondents (Andy Bates) commented on "Cookies" being used to pick up Email addresses. I am sure this is true however my worst experiences come from the "managed" networks.
I have been a long-term user of CompuServe with a mail ID there. I have also had an Internet mail ID for the past two or three years.
On my Internet ID the only unsolicited mail I get is from sites where I have registered products or expressed an interest in receiving information.
On the other hand my CompuServe ID is now running at a ratio of about 90% junk mails to 10% useful ones and some months even worse.
I am inclined to cancel my CompuServe account as much to get rid of this junk as for any other reason (I also object to the fact that CompuServe unilaterally decided that because I live in Luxembourg then I want the French version of their magazine).
Gloat over bloat
In your Leader comment "PC goes on a diet", (PC Week 24 June) you ended by saying that it would be good to send a tough message to software companies who continue developing ever larger, bloated applications.
It may have escaped your attention, but when the much-maligned OpenDoc product was a viable alternative to bloatware, you lot in the Wintel world berated its validity and behaved as if it was of no interest to the user.
Indeed, some took great pleasure in seeing this excellent product fall into obscurity.
Therefore, it's a bit late and rich of you and your peers to now support the development of software which OpenDoc pioneered.
Reshuffling the cards
As regular readers of PC Week, we were surprised to read the recent article "Caching in on the Internet" (PC Week 10 June) which missed some vital points in reporting the development of Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) cryptography.
The facts are these:
Steve Mott is senior vice president of Electronic Commerce and New Ventures for MasterCard International, rather than working for Visa International as reported (a bit like attributing a Coke quote to Pepsi).
Mott did not say that SET is insecure. This misunderstanding resulted from a lively but confusing discussion at a recent press conference on SET and its evolution. A journalist (not one from PC Week) asked Mott about the security of 56-bit DES code, mistakenly thinking that SET was based purely on this technology.
However, SET is based not only on 56-bit DES code, but also the much more secure 1024-bit RSA technology. Hackers won't be able to compromise a SET transaction without cracking both these technologies. The SET standard is therefore many time more secure than the standalone DES technology - in fact, it's the most secure encryption technology in the market today.
Visa International EU Region
London W8 5TE
I read with great interest the many letters and articles that are being published regarding the year 2000 problem.
All seem to be concerned what will happen in the few seconds after midnight on 31/12/1999. Whereas this is a great concern to many companies and the individuals which have been assigned to deal with the problem, I am getting mixed views as to whether the year 2000 is a leap year or not.
In my work, I have spent many working hours making sure that the application we have written is year 2000 compliant, and currently, our software sees the year 2000 as a leap year, as do our PC BIOS'.
However, I have read several letters in other computing magazines to state the contrary. Some suggest that the year 2000 will not be a leap year, as the year 1000 was. Apparently, some rule about "every other millennium will be a leap year".
When I put my PC clock forward to 23:59:59 on 28/2/2000 it does tick over to 29/2/2000. So, I don't believe the other magazines.
However, I still have a nagging feeling about this. The DTI "year 2000" fact sheet does not mention anything about the year 2000 being a leap year, and I have yet to find an "official" calendar to prove otherwise.
Can any other readers shed any light on this "rule"?
Julian Bond (Letters, PC Week 8 July) is wrong. Any server on the Internet can perform a "reverse domain lookup", that is, use your IP address to determine your identity, which is usually recorded as your email address.
This is of course dependent on your company (or ISP) creating DNS entries for individual users, but this is often essential as many sites will not accept an FTP unless your site accepts the reverse lookup (Mr Bond's own ISP Demon is a prime example).
To say that there is "no way" something can happen in the world of Internet security is a very brave statement indeed.
However, I do agree with his comments regarding the Data Protection Act.
Humble PC support analyst
After watching all of the building hype over the Year 2000 and how Cobol programmers et al have been experiencing building salaries I feel you are missing out on one group of IT professionals who will also have an increasing role to play. Who do I mean? The humble PC support analyst.
Just think of all those PCs that are going to need BIOS changes and new ones that will need to be configured.
The PC support analyst's role is going to be more important than people think and should also be paid gratuitously large amounts of cash.
PC support analyst
Got a gripe, then don't delay, get your pen out and write today send all your correspondence to:
- The Editor, PC Week, VNU House, 32-34 Broadwick Street, London, W1A 2HG. or on the Net at http//www.pcweek.vnu.co.uk or Email [email protected]
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