Letters to the Editor

One missing from Pentagon

I was moved by Page 30 of your special Sept. 11 issue of GCN, 'In Memoriam.' However, I noted with some distress that a name was absent. Bryan Jack, a civilian employee of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, was on duty that day, and was among the victims at the Pentagon. I can only assume that he was overlooked because his duties placed him on the plane that morning.

Name Withheld

Who says ATM doesn't scale?

The article 'New Pentagon offices get Gig-E' includes one of the most ludicrous statements that might be uttered with respect to a transmission technology. The statement attributed to Sajeel Ahmed, director of engineering for the Defense Department's Information Systems Engineering Command, in which he asserted asynchronous transfer mode 'does not provide flexibility and scalability' evidences a complete misunderstanding of the capabilities as well as the functionality requirements upon which the technology was designed.

The virtues of intelligent, switched pathway selection; broad bandwidth availability options; inherent resilience and subsecond fault tolerance; topology independence; service aggregation and multiplexing; long transmission distances; self-healing characteristics; and support for current and legacy transport requirements appear to have been dismissed as irrelevant.

The glorification of Ethernet's Carrier Sense Multiple Access'Collision Detection technology as something more 'flexible and scalable' than ATM would seem to indicate a lack of understanding of qualities that initially prompted selection of ATM as a transmission technology for DOD critical information networks.

Given the fact that the national communications infrastructure is substantially constructed on and reliant upon ATM, I think it safe to assume that the attributes of flexibility and scalability are inherent in the technology.

Vance K. Baker

Consulting engineer

Tampa, Fla.


A call for accessories

I was surprised that you did not evaluate the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition in 'PDAs and cell phones unite'. But that might have been apples and oranges.

This unit is probably the most useful piece of electronic wizardry'I use the term loosely'I have ever owned. It combines all the usefulness of a Pocket PC with Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel; street maps, music and video with a cell phone. It's a real time-saver to dial right out of my contacts.

It can also be useful to browse the Web real-time in the original format with a semi-usable screen, especially in my line of work.

I loaded the Citrix client on it and am able to access our network, read e-mail and use proprietary applications. I was at a conference and my agency's CIO asked me to forward her an e-mail. No problem. I pulled out the phone, logged on, forwarded her the e-mail. Her response was: 'Don't show this to anyone, they'll want one.'

If I have any complaints, they are a lack of accessories'where's the car charger!'and I have to soft-reset it more times than I would like (that's Microsoft for you).

It's worth a look.

Terry Lane

IT specialist, Internet

Labor Department, Occupational

Safety and Health Administration

Salt Lake City


Let's have the whole story: CD-RW under Linux

In 'Rewritable drives burn bright' I noticed you only tested CD-rewritable drives on Windows XP, so I have no idea how, or if, it works under Macintosh operating systems, Windows 98 or, more importantly, open-source operating systems.

It is a common mistake to assume that if one is running Linux or any of the FreeBSD or OpenBSD variants, one must already know how to make these devices work. Also wrong is the assumption that if one is reading these reviews, one is probably a home user who will not dare to use Linux.

Could your lab please try this hardware under nonproprietary operating systems and report back to us with the whole story, instead of a lowest-common-denominator set of assumptions?

Peter Burris

Unix systems administrator

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Greenbelt, Md.

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