Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

There's one born every minute

I just finished the Power User column 'In a changing world, computer literacy demands skepticism' [GCN, Nov. 8, 1999, Page 33]. I was struck by the notion that we as a people seem to be gradually losing our critical thinking skills in this modern information age.

I know it wasn't precisely the topic discussed, but what leaped to my mind was the recent spate of e-mail messages I've been receiving that are absolute hoaxes. P.T. Barnum's theory'there's a sucker born every minute'lives on.

Normally reasonable and intelligent people seem ready to believe and propagate any notion sent to them in an e-mail message, such as that Procter & Gamble Co.'s success is due to a pact with the devil or that secret legislation is afoot to charge everyone postage for e-mail.

I try to make it a point to reply to all 3 gazillion people addressed on such e-mail messages to let them know they're being hoodwinked and, when possible, to list a helpful uniform resource locator, but I often feel like I'm bailing out a lake with a teaspoon.

Thanks for letting me state my teaspoon's worth.

Bryan Stroud

Contracting officer

Army 596th Transportation Group

Beaumont, Texas


Numbers don't show NIMA's true loss

Your story quoting Mark E. Schultz, associate director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency's Geospatial Information Management Division, contained a number of interesting word groupings [GCN, Oct. 11, 1999, Page 36].

One concerned the size of the organization. Yes, the current NIMA work force is approximately 7,200, down about 1,800 since NIMA was established in 1996. More to the point, however, is that the mapmaking contingent, as drawn from the former Defense Mapping Agency, went from a pre-NIMA size of about 7,000 people to less than half that. It is the mapmakers and map handlers who have been squeezed out the door.

The dramatic reduction in the number of seasoned mapmakers has forced the remaining employees to focus their efforts on collecting data, which is then sent to contractors to be made into maps or map data sets.

It is also true that NIMA will probably stop making paper maps for users, but NIMA will have a contractor site generate the paper, if still required, for those users.

To imply that paper maps will not be available is dangerously misleading. After all, the users no longer have the resources to make a rapid migration to the digital world.

John R. Haddick

Production manager, Air Force Customer Support Team

National Imagery and Mapping Agency

Reston, Va.

In this issue, on Page 30, we begin a new column on computer security by veteran communications reporter William Jackson. And watch for our next issue, when GCN will have an updated, more contemporary look.

Notice to our readers
GCN welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be typed double-spaced and must include name, address, telephone number and signature of the author.

You can send your letter by:

Mail: Letters to the Editor, Government Computer News, 8601 Georgia Ave., Suite 300, Silver Spring, Md. 20910

Fax: 301-650-2111

E-mail: editor@gcn.com

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