I seldom write letters in response to articles I read, but this one was impossible to
resist. The opening line of the story “Software training is on course” [GCN, Dec. 14, 1998, Page 33] gives a very
disturbing statistic.

The line is: “A distance-learning initiative has cut the Education
Department’s training expenses by nearly 4,000 percent, an agency official
said.” In the next sentence of the article the actual costs are discussed. These have
dropped from $200 to $5.20. This is a difference of $194.80, yielding a reduction of 97.4

It has been my belief that if one cuts something by 100 percent it has been eliminated.
Cuts in excess of 100 percent must go into the negative. For that statement to truly have
been accurate, the training expenses must have become training revenues 39 times the
original expense.

Lee Holden
Network administrator
Ramsey County Department of Public Health
St. Paul, Minn.

I’m writing regarding your review of the Apple iMac [GCN, Nov. 9, 1998, Page 32].

I would prefer to buy a G3, but the iMac does have a lot for an office. It comes at a
low price for great performance with networking built in. Its graphics performance matches
more expensive PCs. Since the iMac is easy to set up and relocate, it requires reduced
support costs. The machine’s portability makes it a less expensive alternative to a

The monitor is high resolution and a good office size, considering the machine’s
price, performance and portability. Having no floppy drive eliminates one path for
viruses. Moreover, a 24X CD-ROM drive is more than adequate for office use and less noisy.
The iMac’s Universal Serial Bus port is another example of Apple pioneering the

A tight case is a plus at an office since it’s less prone to tampering by users,
and I like the larger, two button, color matching mouse. Besides, trackballs and ergonomic
keyboards are available.

Regarding the iMac’s 32M of RAM, most sales catalogs are offering an additional
32M free with the purchase of an iMac.

Other very significant issues for the office not addressed in your review are year 2000
readiness (not a problem) and, with Mac OS 8.5, faster office network file transfer speed
than with a PC. The iMac sports superior office Internet productivity with its Sherlock

Plus you get the traditional Mac benefits. It’s more user friendly. PCs are still
behind, cursed by DOS, file extensions, unusable filenames and other problems. The
iMac’s future operating system path looks good, with an enterprise-level OS just
around the corner. Apple’s future native Java engine will outperform all PCs.

Finally, a footnote: A lava lamp is nothing like a Mac or PC, so giving up a computer
for a lamp is nonsense. But think about it. IMacs are neater in the back with less cable
clutter and more compact and attractive in an office that interfaces with the public. It
is a completely viable option for use in certain government office settings.

Dennis Thornton
Civil engineer
Environmental Compliance Engineering Field Activity
Naval Facilities Engineering Command
Poulsbo, Wash.


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