• United States
by Readers

Letters to the editor: “Google goes to Washington”

Dec 12, 20056 mins
AppleData CenterUnified Communications

Also, Gibbs’ Golden Turkey Awards, Apple, VoIP security, wireless highway

Annual fee

Regarding Johna Till Johnson’s column, “Google goes to Washington”: Doesn’t seem to me the backbone costs all that much to run. I suspect trying to do QoS and dump to peers for routing is costing much more than IP traffic kept simple.

For example, isn’t it well known that the costs for tracking per minute per distance charges is so high, that it is much cheaper to just charge a monthly fee and not track usage? I remember in the mid ’90s people tried to guess at long distance costs and figured the phone companies could charge about $70 per month for unlimited long distance and still make money. And after a decade of inflation, the dollar cost is what — $25-$50 for unlimited long distance? I think I read that about 50% of telco overhead was just the tracking of minute/distance usage and then billing and collecting.

If telcos were actually trying to compete, they’d offer a low annual fee. One bill, one payment and save 22 envelopes coming and going each year — cut down on major overhead by 90%. Seems like a simple increase in efficiency. I suspect telcos are afraid for customers to think about total annual cost. Even more would drop landlines and go to cell only.

Brandon Fouts

Senior systems engineer

Puget Sound Regional Council


Talking turkey

Regarding Mark Gibbs’ BackSpin column, “Our third annual Golden Turkey Awards”: Most definitely a difficult choice.  Apple probably deserves a boost  (nudge) over the edge for its ability to move OS X to an Intel architecture without anyone with existing Intel systems able to use OS X.  Though this software is compatible with Unix and Linux, and though Unix and Linux will run on Intel, OS X will not.  Rumors have it that OS X will always only run on Apple-built computers.  I imagine this is due to what is in the program actively resisting a subversive world rather than what is  missing in the program making the OS too dumb to converse across all but the most inbred of equipment.  It is certain that these Apples will continue to fall incestuously close to the Apple tree.

I think the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deserves a Golden Turkey.  Many of these companies, or as Gibbs calls them mega-corporations, owe their existence to the permissiveness of the SEC.  Without the warm and fuzzy monopolistic nurturing many of these companies have received, they could not have grown into meglomega parasites.  With proper guidance the SEC should be able to assist these corporations to grow to giga proportions.  What a Brave New World we will reap.  Incompetence, corruption, greed and absolutism will be the law of the land.  However, most of this is still a few years away; in the interim, we can continue to enjoy watching Turkeys go for the Gold.

J.W.  Nugent

Spring, Texas

Give Apple credit

In reviewing the Sony VAIO V620G PC, I can’t believe your “Cool Yule Tools” article states, “If all future computers are all-in-one’s, you will be able to thank Sony.”

Although the Sony VAIO V620G is an all-in-one computer, and a fine-looking one at that, Apple is directly responsible for the introduction and popularity of the all-in-one computer, dating back to the original all-in-one CRT iMac, to be followed by the newer all-in-one LCD iMac. Please give credit where it is due.

Sean Hite

Buzzards Bay, Mass.

VoIP security

Regarding Winn Schwartau’s column, “With VoIP, it’s déjà vu all over again”: I experienced a VoIP rollout at a previous employer that had a number of problems.  Fortunately, our IT people were aware of potential security vulnerabilities and did a good job of protecting us as best they could.  However, the core functionality of the Cisco VoIP phones we purchased was not acceptable in my view.  For example, the speed dial functionality required almost as many keystrokes as just dialing the number directly.  As part of the executive team at my current company, if the subject of switching to VoIP were brought up, I would say “Absolutely not” for the near term.

Scott Peterson

Salt Lake City, Utah

Winn Schwartau’s column on VoIP security has me a bit puzzled and saddened. I’m not sure to whom he spoke, but I’d like him to know that there are a good number of VoIP vendors who do understand security issues and are actively working to ensure that VoIP can be deployed securely.

For those not aware of it, there is an organization called the VoIP Security Alliance that includes a wide range of organizations (currently 99) participating. The major effort to date has been to create a taxonomy identifying the actual threats. The next steps are to define more formal security requirements and ultimately create a set of best practices for deploying VoIP.

Dan York

Director of IP Technology, Office of the CTO



Highway robbery

Regarding “U.S. pitches wireless highway safety plan”: The Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) project appears to be the next focus for taxpayer funding of Department of Transportation projects. The VII will take the next 50 years to equip 4 million miles of U.S. roads with wireless hardware to achieve autonomous driving vehicles. During that time, it will be a great benefit to the oblivious driver that is unaware of what should ordinarily be seen through the windshield or mirrors.

What’s more disturbing is the government’s intent to put business interest ahead of public interest. It’s an exploitation of public resources that taxpayers not only fund the VII but will have to further pay to receive the real-time traffic information they helped to create.

I have proposed creating a Public Service Telematics Network based upon U.S. Patent 6,480,121 that not only gives vehicle owners the ability to choose among telematics service providers (TSP), but also unites TSPs in a new mass media for the general public. The difficulty in its implementation is that it undermines the strategic plans of vehicle makers to collect perpetual revenue for the lifetime of their products. The network also provides up to 30-mile traffic status maps to telematics-equipped vehicles without preset destination or time of travel, free of charge from a public TSP. In short, my angle puts the vehicle owners ahead of business and government interests. As of now, no one is educating the public as to what is truly at stake.

Bill Reimann

Oakdale, N.Y.