Having read the various reports on the Net and elsewhere about the Psion Series 5, the following comments may be worthwhile.
Having been a Psion user for over four years, I have changed the machine from Series 3, to 3a and now to 5. I do this because the Psion is a vital part of my working life and its benefits are considerable.
My loyalty is very strong both to the concept of PDAs and to Psion, although this time round I reviewed the PalmPilot 5000 and Windows CE options.
Throughout the move through generations of Psions I have always paid the full monty for the hardware, cables, PsiWin and so on. At no time has Psion worked out that it relies not only on having a good product but also on maintaining the loyalty of users such as me. It has not, therefore, offered any incentive for me to stay with Psion.
Now I learn that I will be expected to pay #50 for a ROM upgrade to fix bugs in the early versions. This is utterly obscene and knocks my loyalty badly.
The update should be distributed free to all current Series 5 owners - after all, we have taken the risk in buying the Series 5 early and thus helped the product to establish its market identity.
I am not an anorak or programmer - I sell large client-server systems and therefore have to understand what makes my customers stay with me through the generations of software I have sold them. It is the relationship that I and my colleagues build with them over the years; a similar relationship should exist between Psion and its users.
Without maintaining the loyalty of people, the tide of Windows will flow from the desktop and wash over the PDA taking Psion with it. Psion has enough problems with production of the Series 5, its share price and other business realities without alienating those on which its success has depended over the years.
Out of touch
Your report (PC Week 16 September) that MPs are considering granting legal status and powers to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), once again proves just how out of touch our representatives at Westminster are with the reality of the technology industry.
The idea of granting "legislative teeth" to the industry body is ridiculous, and was rightly slammed by industry figures. The government should listen to people who actually work in the IT industry instead of imposing their own foolish, half-baked ideas on the rest of us. It would be blatant censorship to let the IWF take legal action against ISPs who fail to wipe illegal material from their servers.
If the government wants to pass Internet legislation, it must devote much more time and effort to it than the simple knee-jerk reaction it seems to be making. Most legal experts are of the opinion that no specific Internet legislation is needed, as any offences committed in cyberspace already come under existing laws. All that is necessary now are a few test cases to decide how the law should and can be implemented in the on-line world.
The government is simply not serious enough in its approach to technology, a force which is rapidly changing all our lives. MPs just don't know enough to tackle these issues on their own.
The ignorance of technology in the House of Commons, for example, was amply demonstrated earlier this year in the row that took place over members using pagers inside the Commons chamber. The US legislature is currently debating whether laptop computers should be allowed inside their government houses. It should not be necessary even to debate these issues.
All legislatures should take advantage of new technology to help them in their work as soon as it becomes available. This is certainly what happens in industry - why are governments afraid of using tools that will make them more efficient?
Practise what you preach
Does anybody else find it a bit rich that Microsoft is one of the group of companies asking Sun to relinquish control of Java?
Bill Gates wants Sun to hand over the technology completely to the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
But I don't see him too keen to hand over Windows to the ISO, even though some people seem to regard that proprietary operating system as "the de facto industry standard".
Why doesn't Gates try practising what he preaches to others, for a change?
Needled over virus writer
After reading your story "Wolf at anti-virus door" (PC Week 16 September) I was shocked to learn that an ex-virus writer is expecting to work in the anti-virus industry. Does Michael Ellison really think that the anti-virus companies will give him a job?
He should have thought about the consequences of his actions before becoming a virus writer in the first place. If the anti-virus industry gives in and employs him, how many other ex virus writers will crawl out of the woodwork. Also, how do they know who is genuine or not. For all the likes of DR Solomon's and Sophos know, he might not be reformed at all and hoping to get into their companies to wreak havoc.
Any company that employs Ellison will end fuelling the existing rumour that these companies write all the viruses themselves anyway.
A taste of their own medicine
Readers such as Louis Roberts (Letters, PCWeek 16 September) who are bothered by junk mail may like to consider adopting the tactics I use in the never-ending battle against this modern epidemic.
Most junk mail comes with a pre-paid self-addressed envelope thoughtfully provided by the sender. Simply put as much of the junk mail as you can back into this envelope and then post it back to them! (Make sure nothing you return to them can be construed as acceptance of their offer.) If the envelope requires a stamp then this is even better, because they will have to pay double the postage when they receive an unstamped envelope.
This method has a number of advantages:
a) They pay the postage, but get no return.
b) They must spend time opening the letter, because it could contain an order.
c) They get a taste of their own medicine.
d) You vent your anger back to the people who deserve it.
PM in cyberspace
So Tony Blair is considering using the Internet to get closer to the people? (Net.news PC Week 16 September). What a load of rubbish.
According to your story he is planning to answer all the Emails himself - I find that hard to believe. How does he plan on having enough time to do that as well as trying to run the country at the same time. I think this is just another case of hype.
Blair is trying to make himself popular in cyberspace. Well it could backfire on him badly if he doesn't manage to reply to everybody.
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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