Designs on the Web
After reading Ian Cargill's comments (Letters, PC Week, 24 November) on Web designers I felt that I ought to try to redress the balance a bit.
I am a Web developer working for a company with a large client list.
Designing Web sites can be a real chore as the client usually has their own idea of how a page should look. We have test sites set up for the clients to view development work and changes for ongoing maintenance.
One of the clients I do work for has to have the work signed off by around 30 employees before the changes can go live.
Many of our clients have little or no understanding of the concepts of publishing to the Internet and think that it is as straightforward as paper publishing.
As much as I appreciate the comments made by Mr Cargill, please realise that the final design is not always in our hands; the client is always right. The content is obviously the important part of any Web page but technology moves on and the demands for more dynamic content is on the increase. Most companies have to have their sites designed to extend their corporate image and this in some cases does not translate so well to the Internet.
One final note: the biggest bone of contention for anyone publishing on the Internet is trying to get the design to work with any browser.
We all long for the day when all browsers display pages in the same way.
Via the Net
One school of thought
I think Manny Nair (Letters, PC Week,19 January) has lost the point when he talks about "the government spending more to improve the quality of the education services in the UK."
NT, Unix, VB and all the other "qualifications" he mentions in his letter are not things that should be part of any national curriculum.
These are specialist qualifications which should be studied for by those people wishing to enter into IT. After all, he would not expect Ford car engine maintenance to be part of the curriculum. The qualifications for these are part of the student's induction into his/her chosen field of work.
Also, I think he'll find that medical students are taught old methods.
Not all hospitals the world over have the latest facilities, so the old methods are still relevant. Likewise in IT. There are still businesses using DOS and Windows 3.1, for instance. New and innovative techniques are something you learn.
The poaching and irregularity in pay will continue as long as technology continues to advance. There will always be either businesses with money to spend on training or students willing (or able) to spend the money on their own education. There is also no substitute for experience.
Skills shortages will always be a fact of life. No-one can expect to be up to date with every new advance. There is always going to be a lag between businesses deploying new technology and staff who are 100% au fait with it.
Via the Net
Learning by experience
Manny Nair is wrong about the education system. If our universities tried to keep up with what the job ads were asking for, students would never get taught - the faculty staff would be too busy installing the latest Web-enhanced CORBA-flavoured Java beanlet flavour of the month.
The point is, education is supposed to teach you how to think, not necessarily how to do. Learning IP, NT, Unix, and the like is essentially a manual skill. That's not to say it's easy - far from it - but once you have got your head round the idea of a protocol, or operating system, or whatever, the specifics can be picked up on the job. Sometimes external training is needed, but it seems wasted on new entrants to the profession. At that level there really is no substitute for learning by experience.
I don't doubt that education in this country is underfunded. But expecting the system to solve our skills shortages is unrealistic. What it should be doing is turning out graduates who can think clearly and express themselves.
We can teach them the rest.
Via the Net
In response to letter of the week (PC Week, 19 January) there are some fundamental flaws in the logic of Melanie Levy as I shall illustrate.
Take the case of the person who delivers the sandwiches and tells the woman to shut down some windows then reboot the PC.
The full story, which they don't show, starts with the Permie network administrator who, just two minutes before, took delivery of a pre-ordered tuna sandwich with an unnoticed extra helping of peanut butter. He, being allergic to nuts, was violently and projectiley sick, covering the entire array of RAID and causing it to sieze up and lock the NT server.
Meanwhile, in the server room, windows have been thrown open so that the poor administrator can get a breath of fresh air. The three contract staff (who do not get trained) out of their desire to claim additional support rates, rush from the now open windows, to the aid of the ailing administrator.
All three slip on the rapidly cooling vomit and collide with the aforementioned network administrator. The mass of tangled limbs results in three broken arms and two contused, confused and concussed NT MCSEs.
The mobile phone which had, until that moment, been fixed to the third contractor's ear had to be surgically removed from the year-out student.
The whole department was off sick for prolonged periods, varying from one day (contractor with two broken arms, concussion, and no sickness insurance) to 13 weeks (contractor with no injury but 13 weeks insurance and a lost mobile phone).
The resultant cost was as follows:
Loss of earnings for contractors - #35,000.
Loss of tax to government from above - #198.07.
Loss of earnings for Permie - #nil.
Loss of tax to government from above - #398.
Loss of earnings for year-out student - #48.97.
Savings in grants from government for above - # 398.
Loss to company for above - #600.
Inestimable hardware costs and loss of business.
The sandwich delivery girl got the job as network administrator and installed Banyan Vines, starting the full and final decline of Microsoft, causing millions of people to attend more training courses and finally bankrupting the company.
The conclusion is that if the sandwich girl had not attended that Windows 95 course, she would never have been able to load up Encarta and may never have learned about the allergic reactions which some people have to nuts.
Via the Net
A 17in monitor weekly
Roll up for your chance to win a stunning 17in Taxan ErgoVision 735 TCO99 monitor every week! PC Week will be giving you the chance to walk away with a 17in FST monitor, worth #235, and all you have to do is write a letter. Each week we'll be giving away a monitor to the best, or most relevant, letter we receive. Letters should be about something that has been covered in PC Week and relating to some aspect of the industry that you feel strongly about. So next time you have an opinion on what's happening out there - serious or amusing - write to us and put yourself in with a chance to win. Send your Emails to [email protected], or your letters by post to: PC Week, Letters, VNU Business Publications, 32-34 Broadwick St, London WIA 2HG.
The ErgoVision 735 TCO99
The The Ergovision 735 is a fully compliant TCO99 17in monitor with 0.27mm dot pitch. It is a multiscanning monitor supporting 1024 x 768 at a totally stable 86Hz refresh rate. It has a horizontal scanning frequency between 30-70kHz and a vertical scanning frequency of between 30-120Hz.
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