NETSCAPE COMES GOOD. Having read PC Week's front page story last week, all I can say is, "It's about bloody time." Thank heavens Netscape has finally wised up to the fact that if people can get Microsoft Internet Explorer for free, they have no reason whatsoever to buy Netscape's own Navigator browser. When something is free and being given away by the world's largest software company, people have no reason to turn to Netscape. It is not as if anyone can fail to ignore Microsoft. What puzzles me with the story is why on earth Netscape would want to give away the source code as well? As far as I know, even Microsoft doesn't give away the source code. Peter Dixon Via the Net SMALLIST GOVERNMENT Why is Tony Blair's new millennium initiative (PC Week, January 27, page 3) only targeting small businesses? The government should be looking to advise and assist all sections of UK business, because every business needs help. Particularly with the problems of EMU breathing down our necks. The government, and the whole of the massive bureaucracy of the European Union - which we pay for - was obviously incapable of working it out, when it planned EMU for the year 2000, that it would place immense strain on companies trying to gear their computer systems to be ready for both problems simultaneously. No one could do anything about the year 2000 problem, as that was inevitable since the sixties when machines were programmed with two-digit year values, but surely the EU could have recognised what a pain EMU would cause for companies across the world, and try to disengage it from the same timeframe as the year 2000 issue? Plus, a story on page 4 of your magazine shows that the European Union is going to cost us another #1 billion for its new data protection act. When is the government going to realise that the EU is just a drain for our hard-earned cash? It's not just farmers who have a gripe with them - it's everybody. Now that both the year 2000 and the EMU changeover problems are nearly upon us, the government's only response is fine words. Fine words butter no parsnips, Mr Blair - and mend no computer systems, either.
Gary Wakefield Slough MICROSOFT SCORES OWN GOAL Microsoft's hype machine seems to have backfired on it recently, with the news of its troubles with the DoJ in the US and now the delay of NT 5.0, as outlined in your story in the 27 January issue of PC Week. Microsoft has always been in the habit of announcing products well before their shipping dates so as to keep people on the hook. For most products it may seem like a good tactic, making people wait for the Microsoft product rather than buy a competing product. But with NT 5.0, Microsoft has so much more to lose. Your NDS story is enlightening; Microsoft has bet on people waiting for NT 5.0 with Active Directory Services, and it riles Microsoft to see a competitor getting the technology out before them. But with NT 5.0 the situation is even worse when you consider the timing. The millennium bug and the changeover to the Euro has meant that IT departments have enough on their hands without worrying about an upgrade to NT, let alone Windows 98. Andrew Casson Via the Net HEALTH WARNING Regarding the "Alert over doctors spreading viruses" story in PC Week, 20 January. I hope Plymouth NHS Trust will keep us informed over progress on implementing thin client devices in place of PCs. It could obviously make life easier for the IT department but what about the doctors? My experience with central file servers is that they either crash or become unavailable from time to time (becoming Net-don't-works) and when they do, the whole department is affected simultaneously. Furthermore, software either tends not to be upgraded at all because of the cost of multi-user licences or everyone has to learn to use the upgraded software regardless of their needs. I like to use the same software in the same configuration in the office as I use at home which is why I install packages on the office machine, and I take diskettes home with me to use during the evening. I also keep certain correspondence on diskettes where it cannot be accessed by network operators without my permission and I take great care to ensure that any new diskette is checked for viruses before I use it on the network. I wonder if Plymouth NHS will abolish the use of diskettes as well, and will it apply similar restrictions to the use of the Internet?
Dr Richard Turner Via the Net Got a gripe, opinion, or viewpoint on what you've read or heard? 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 via the Net at pcweek.vnu.co.uk or Email [email protected]
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