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8/96 Letters

Readers related to Fred Langa's "Seven Deadly Web Sins," and we continue to receive letters about Mom's Internet Appliance.

Saints and Sinners

I n his column "Seven Deadly Web Sins" (Start, June), I'm glad Fred Langa made mention of text-only Web browsing with respect to those who are visually impaired. I had the opportunity to visit my local Internet service provider to ask some questions about setting up our site. I was amazed to realize the bright, very capable tech support person was totally blind. I had to ask him to turn on his monitor while he was showing me the missing information for our site. Obviously his interaction with the computer was possible because of the very text-to-speech synthesizers Fred mentioned.
Gregg E. Marshall via CompuServe

I couldn't agree more with Fred Langa's comments on Web site do's and don'ts. I incorporated Fred's suggestions in building our company's Web site and added a few simple rules of my own:
1. No page should exceed 15KB unless it's absolutely required. 2. No single graphic should exceed 20KB. 3. All pages should open with text pointers or nongraphical alternatives. 4. The site has to be readable with Netscape 1.0 and Internet Explorer 1.0, without tables enabled. (It's not pretty, but it works.) 5. All final testing has to be completed through a 14.4 connection, not on a local intranet.
Richard A. McBride via the Internet

I wish Web site authors would heed Fred Langa's advice regarding graphics and other aspects of their Web sites. I'd like to mention an often-overlooked problem that affects 15 to 20 percent of the population: color blindness. The problems range from minor difficulties in reading text to inability to see colored hypertext links.
B. Bergmann via the Internet

Mother, dear

Daryl Lucas gave me something to think about with his article "Moms Everywhere Will Love the Internet Appliance" (Dialog Box, May). Like most serious computer users, I thought the idea of an Internet Appliance was silly until I read Mr. Lucas' article.
All the technophobes I talked to loved the idea of e-mail and Web browsing without the complications inherent in using a PC. After all, these are the same people who bought Nintendos by the truckload. How hard could it be to market an IA to them?
Jim Craig via the Internet

Daryl Lucas proposes that the Internet Appliance will have just one use: e-mail. How many Depression-raised, penny-pinching moms and grandmoms will like the idea of a $500 telephone? Daryl won't call home because of the long-distance tab. But dear ol' Mom is supposed to pay $19.95 a month to get some cold e-mail from her precious baby? Daryl, spend the 20 bucks on a couple of phone calls!
Mike Bronicki via the Internet

I agree completely with Daryl Lucas. I only wish the CEOs who make the R&D and marketing decisions had as much common sense as Mr. Lucas!
George Partlow via the Internet

Race to the finish

In the last few months, I have added four new software programs, all from well-respected companies that run full-page ads in computer magazines. Three of these programs varied from slightly to horribly glitchy from the first reboot. The companies sent updates or fixes right away, but it begs the question: Are software developers sacrificing decent beta testing in favor of beating the developer up the street's similar new release to the marketplace? Have they adopted a philosophy of Òrelease now, fix laterÓ? I am not inclined to purchase again from any company that has burned me on a supposedly well-tested major product release.
Tony Meloche Hartford, Mich.

It keeps growing and growing

I have to take issue with Mike Elgan's statement that nongraphical Internet services are "deader than the CB radio" (The Explorer, May). I have been on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) for almost a year now and have seen its popularity increase tremendously. These other forms are not just a fad; they are steadily growing each day. Indeed, IRC was the proving ground for I-phone, which may one day become more popular than the Web if the technology improves. I'm sure members of mailing lists and those who frequent Usenet would also attest to exponential growth of these services.
John Martin via the Internet

To NT or not NT

In response to John Ruley's column about Windows 95 vs. NT (Windows NT, May), I don't think that NT is a viable choice for most users in its present stage of development. The one thing about Windows 95 that folks like is how easily the Wizards solve most problems. Most of us have legacy hardware (and software) so we encounter system problems from time to time. I've found that Win95 can usually pinpoint the source of the conflict and suggest solutions. NT doesn't strike me as being in the same league. For a server, it's probably the choice, but for most people's desktop/laptop machines, Windows 95 is a better choice.
Paul Morris via the Internet

John Ruley's column about NT vs. Windows 95 was interesting. The answer for me, a user of NT 3.51, is not as simple as he suggests. Several rather typical activities are simply not doable in NT, such as sending a fax from within an application or accessing the Internet from CompuServe. NT requires a lot of memory and costs a lot more. Also, the user-friendly style in Windows 95 is missing in NT. Software and hardware installations are not as easy in NT as the consumer-oriented Win95. It seems, however, based upon Mr. Ruley's column, that 4.0 will be a more consumer-oriented product.
Rob Ekblad via CompuServe

(Editor's reply: Actually, NT 3.51 supports WinFax PRO. In fact, there are several good NT-native fax apps available now. And you certainly can use NT for Internet access via CompuServe; I do exactly that every day.)

Licensed to file

In the article about home finance software ("Stay on Top of Your Bottom Line," May), what really struck a nerve was being able to file your tax return from your PC. In Canada, the electronic tax filing system is regulated by the government. Individuals must obtain a license each year. To open it up to everyone would leave your tax system open to abuse.
George R. Petricko via the Internet

Wading through

Rebecca Day's comment about having to wade through the commercials on Juno's free e-mail service ("Make Your Small Office Look Big," June) is an exaggeration. Juno's commercial advertisements are unobtrusive. I've seen Juno grow to become a very efficient, slick and free package.
Rev. Martin Fors via the Internet

Where to find it

DPT was very pleased to be included in your feature about SCSI technology ("Trickle Down Technology," June). Since our inception in 1977, we have pioneered SCSI technology and embraced new technological advances. Consequently, we were surprised to note DPT was not listed under the sidebar "Where to Get SCSI." Would you please advise your readers they may contact Distributed Processing Technology (DPT) at: 800-322-4378 or 407-830-5522.
Debra Eisenberg Public Relations Manager, DPT


In our June head-to-head review of tape backup drives from Iomega and Tandberg, we incorrectly identified the art as Iomega's Ditto Easy 3200, when in fact it was the Tandberg PantherMini 4600.

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