Also, migrating to Apple, complexities of outsourcing, smart networks, moreSurviving in ITAs a 20-year veteran of IT, I found Mark Gibbs\u2019 BackSpin column, \u201cHow to survive in IT\u201d to be dead on. At the college where I teach, I frequently try to relate this concept to my students. IT work is not all heads-down programming and network administration; it is a lot about people skills and interpersonal relationships. Gibbs\u2019 column contains excellent advice and will likely be required reading for my students.David ReavisMIS instructorTexas A&M UniversityTexarkanaMark Gibbs\u2019 BackSpin column, \u201cHow to survive in IT\u201d (http:\/\/www.networkworld.com\/columnists\/2005\/102405backspin.html) struck a nerve with me. I see it so much in our field: the company asking more and more.\u00a0 I have taken myself off the management track for that very reason.\u00a0 I have a family and a life. I still work weekends and travel a bit, but I go home at 5 p.m. just about every day. Unless it is a network-down emergency, as Cisco would say, my life is more important.\u00a0 I don't carry a cell phone, only a pager, to keep some distance from the office and the silly calls on the weekends that should never happen.We just had a mutiny at our department this week.\u00a0 Personnel haven't been replaced and staff was going on many back-to-back trips away from home, two sometimes three weeks a month.\u00a0 Finally we all said no to another demand for extra travel, every single staff member.\u00a0 I am sure there will be repercussions, but you can only ask so much from your staff. Personally (and I know this would raise a storm of protest), I wish we would unionize for better treatment, but I know that's just a pipe dream.During times likes this, I remember a quote my father told me: "No one every said on their death bed, \u2018I wish I had spent more time at the office.\u2019 "Craig BonvechioTwinsburg, OhioMigrating to AppleRegarding Kevin Tolly\u2019s column, \u201cTaking the Office to Mac\u201d: Migrate to Apple? It will never happen for my "work" work because my company is not about to enable cross-platform anything.\u00a0 However, for my personal PC, on which I also do paid work, I'd love to.A bigger point: Tolly does not mention PowerPoint compatibility.\u00a0 I have to think his corporate audience will realize that the #2 application in use (after e-mail) is not Access, but PowerPoint. I know the Mac has one; how easy is that transition?\u00a0 Is there an open source, native-file-writing equivalent?And finish the Access thought. What do Mac users do?\u00a0 Surely they aren't still using FileMaker Pro?Doug TharpSalt Lake City, UtahTolly replies: Sorry for not mentioning PowerPoint - just not enough room. So far as I can see, it works fine. I believe NeoOffice\/J might have a similar function, but I've not tried it out.As far as DB goes, I've not seen anything that matches what Access can do, though there are options beyond FileMaker Pro.Outsourcing not so easy\u00a0Regarding \u201cIT complexity and outsource options\u201d: Is this a view from an application designer? Sure, it's easy to outsource the network, it's easy to measure and manage, so outsource it. Yeah, right.\u00a0 Until you get application designers deciding 16 different servers in four locations all need to communicate with unlimited bandwidth and LAN-like delay.\u00a0 Not so easy now.And sure, let's outsource the one thing that lets all the applications actually be used by the users.\u00a0 No network, no application.Applications are (generally) singularly focused.\u00a0 The network touches everything.\u00a0 It's much easier to outsource an application.Michael J. MorrisWAN architectNetwork ApplianceResearch Triangle Park, N.C.Hamming it upRegarding \u201cCisco talking IP-radio nets\u201d: It is truly interesting to see technology that was pioneered by amateur radio operators (hams) become mainstream.\u00a0 For several years now, hams have been pushing this technology forward and using it to communicate across the globe.\u00a0 Right now, I can use my HT (walkie-talkie) to talk with storm-ravaged areas, Alaska, Europe, Australia and even Antarctica.\u00a0 What irritates me is the fact that I have read nothing that credits the hams that have pioneered this concept.\u00a0 Hams did it first!\u00a0 Give credit where credit is due.Ken LinderHenderson, Nev.Getting smartRegarding the Face-off, \u201cAre smart networks worth the investment?\u201d: There are valid points on both sides.\u00a0 As we attempt to wring more and more efficiencies out of our existing networks, they will have to get smarter.\u00a0 The key is to figure out what kind of smarts work best, implement them, check the results and iterate as we learn.Cisco\u2019s AON provides a powerful filtering mechanism that is more useful than the current access list paradigm that primarily relies on addresses and ports.\u00a0 For many years, we've wanted fine-grained controls on routing traffic of differing priorities.\u00a0 Current policy routing and QoS selection mechanisms are too coarse.When I think of the negative points of the smart network, I wonder who is responsible for designing, building and troubleshooting the controls for modifying content within the network?\u00a0 I can imagine a banking transaction being in error, either intentionally or accidentally, as it transits the network.\u00a0 Debugging in this environment is likely to be an order of magnitude more difficult since there are many additional places where the data can be changed.\u00a0 I can see the post-mortem now: "The routes changed and the transaction's data went through a router that didn't have the control to make the desired change."It is clear that the application development staff and the networking staff will have to be much cozier than they have been in the past to make smart networks successful.Terry SlatteryCEO and founderNetcordiaAnnapolis, Md.