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by Readers

Letters to the editor: “SETI@Home project ends; no E.T., but the technology continues”

Jan 16, 20064 mins
Data Center

Also, ISO, CP80, wikis, more

Phone home

Regarding “SETI@Home project ends; no E.T., but the technology continues”: SETI@Home is not ending. It is merely switching from the “classic” software platform on which it has been running for the past six years to the newer, BOINC-based software platform on which it already has been running for more than a year. It will continue to do the same scientific computing it has been doing. Please do not give your readers the impression the project has ended.

Kirk Pearson


Security blanket

Regarding “Security chiefs share pains of being caught in the middle”: This is exactly the kind of situation that ISO 27001 was meant to cover. Independent certification against a commonly agreed best-practice standard for information security management gives business partners considerable confidence in the organization’s security arrangements — rather like ISO 9000-certified firms are trusted to have reasonable quality assurance processes in place (see

Gary Hinson


IsecT Ltd.

Wellington, New Zealand

CP80 not censorship

Regarding Mark Gibbs’ BackSpin column, “Putting lipstick on the Internet porno-pig”: I don’t understand Gibbs’ problem with the CP80 initiative. CP80 isn’t suggesting banning any content from the Internet; it is merely an innovative proposal to create an easy way for businesses and parents to filter content. Simple firewall configuration would allow you to make sure that questionable Web sites can’t be accessed by your child, or at your company. I think it’s a great idea. The main problem I can see would be compliance — everything is already on port 80, how hard would it be to separate all of the questionable content out now? Perhaps a revision is needed, such as marking a different port as clean and only letting approved content use that channel. But I don’t see how censorship would be the major drawback, since it’s entirely up to the user whether or not to block other ports.

Steve Pritchard

Clarence, N.Y.

Wowed by wikis

Regarding your feature, “The wild world of wikis, Weblogs, podcasts and RSS”: Wikipedia is not the original wiki, and your article creates the perception that big public examples like Wikipedia are the way wikis work. Most wiki activity is actually being done behind enterprise firewalls or on personal server networks for small, independent groups. I recently posted my thoughts on this subject and the misperception that tech media and business media alike are creating when it comes to wikis (see

Kris Olsen

Consultant and blogger

Cincinnati, Ohio


Christopher Sloop’s defense of WeatherBug is well written and certainly serves to dispel some common myths about what the product does in the background. However, I think the perception of WeatherBug is not helped by its moniker. Most IT professionals will be loath to install any software product that has “bug” in its name.

Paul Lourd

Greenwich, Conn.

Delivery not bug-free

In “What’s behind on-demand software’s rise”, Ed Barrett of CareRehab states, “We don’t want to invest in a lot of software. We have in the past and now it is shelfware because it did not work for a variety of reasons.” I am presuming Barrett thinks if he gets his software over the wire now, it will be free of bugs and work as advertised. My 20 years of experience tells me he is shortsighted at best and naive at worst.

The delivery medium is not going to preclude what network administrators have known for years: Software vendors routinely, as a matter of business, sell software that does not work, does not work as advertised and does not work within critical subroutines of the software proper. It is rushed to market without complete testing and the end user is the one who will end up on the wrong side of an application fault, much to the chagrin of the corporate bottom-line “profitability.” Software-as-a-service will only allow the delivery of this abuse at wire speed.

Rocky Habeeb

Microsoft systems administrator

James W. Sewall Company

Old Town, Maine