Money isn't everything I liked your front page story on Netscape, last week. I mean, it's bad news for Netscape and the 400 that are going to lose their jobs, but some of the other magazines I read only had the financial angle and the extent of the profit loss. Having being laid off myself - not from Netscape, but another software company - I know just how painful it can be. It was nice to see the people-angle being made prominent. John Hind Margate Spam jitters Reading the Networking section's report "AOL hit by NOIC spam attack" (PC Week, 13 January), I was surprised to discover that AOL "... tries to block junk mail before it reaches the end user." This is worlds removed from my experience with AOL, when out of curiosity, I succumbed to the temptation to try its ubiquitous free trial CD. After having sent just one Email, to a friend, and having not published my Email address in any other way, I began to receive a barrage of unsolicited commercial Email. Given that the usual electronic means for gathering Email addresses is to extract them from Usenet postings or from WWW pages, I could only conclude that AOL actually sold (or otherwise distributed) the Email address to some mailing list organisation. Meanwhile, over 95% of the Email I received during that month was unsolicited commercial Email. The problem of such spam is not limited to the nuisance value of mailboxes full of unsolicited rubbish and the additional download costs in longer phone calls. The mail host where I work has been attacked by a spammer who, at least once,used it as their host, resulting in loss of service to us, and required us to install additional protection. It is time that Internet service providers tackled such Net abuse seriously, that bulk commercial Email is only allowed where the recipients had actually opted-in to receive such Email, and that existing computer legislation is applied to stop spammers, particularly when hijacking other computers to send their bulk Email. Dr Duncan Campbell via the Net What a con What the hell is ICL up to? We all know that the Year 2000 problem is serious business, but what is ICL hoping to gain from this idea to use prisoners to solve staff shortages for software testing? If the schools turned out more people with some decent IT skills, then companies wouldn't be considering using cons to keep their businesses afloat. Harry Betts via the Net Dark forces No wonder Microsoft is looking shaky in its case against the DoJ, when it wastes the court's time trying to undermine a witness that compared Microsoft to Satan in an Email (PC Week, 13 January, page 3). The reference alleged that using Internet Explorer was like contracting with the Devil, which is true. Once you've made a deal with IE, you can't back out because your desktop is enslaved to a force that casts a dark shadow over all of my Windows applications. Greg Wallace via the Net Apple cheer Yippee! I can't help it but as a Mac user I was delighted to read in last week's issue that Apple posted its first profits in a year. Hah! The Mac isn't dead yet you know. You PC boys have a long way to go to wipe us out. Yippee! (Sung to the tune of "I will survive") "We will survive, we will survive; as long as we've got our Macs running Quark, we're the happiest users alive, we will survive, we will survive, yey heh!! Grant 'Mac Forever' Johnston via the Net Martin Lynch, editor, responds: Grant, I'd check the dosage level on whatever medication you're taking and seek some professional help.
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