Letters to the Editor

Add-on to suites review

Since we're needing to upgrade eventually, and I've been very impressed with your product reviews in the past, I was very interested to read 'From XML to wireless, office suites move with the times'. After reading it, though, I'm left wondering if your reviewer is just a Microsoft lackey.

Even though Office 11 is much more expensive than the other three reviewed, you couldn't find any cons to list?

Word's past propensity to crash or perform 'illegal operations' and close down rates nary a mention? And how is Word's inability to read WordPerfect documents a con for WordPerfect Office, which has little difficulty reading Word documents?

Further, Office deserves a big con for the continued refusal to allow the users access to its formatting code, unlike WordPerfect.

I am one of those government users; I have both Microsoft Office and Corel WordPerfect Office Suite on my PC. Yet, I only resort to Word when I can stand the frustration of having so little control over my document's appearance, especially when I'm trying to import graphics into a document.

I also prefer Corel Corp.'s Presentations to Microsoft's PowerPoint. Compare the animation, the choice of backgrounds and the runtime versions.

I do agree that Microsoft Access is easier than Corel's Paradox, but it's also more fragile. I've had so many fixes installed to patch problems with Access that I'm not sure it would be compatible with databases I created just two years ago.

With Microsoft Outlook at home and Novell GroupWise at work, I agree that the current version of Outlook has a lot of room for improvement. I'm glad Microsoft has made the effort to improve it.

Before I quit writing, I must say that I most look forward to R. Fink's column in each issue. His writing is tight and witty, and we government managers can certainly relate to his trials and frustrations.

Thanks for a great and helpful publication, and especially that it's complimentary, which helps in these days of budget cuts.

John Petter

Chief, Bureau of Support Services

Office of the Inspector General

Illinois Human Services Department

Springfield, Ill.

Unwashed, but experienced

I appreciated Stephen Holden's 'What's a college degree worth, anyhow?'. I've been watching this diploma mill debacle with great interest, particularly since those of us in the acquisition community have been under an education imposition for the last several years.

As one of the unwashed with years of experience, but an incomplete transcript, I found myself continuously frustrated. It seemed as through the goal line kept getting moved. The seesawing in legislation didn't help either. Then when you'd inevitably run into what I sometimes call education snobs, it only got worse.

I could appreciate the call for 24 semester hours in business disciplines. We interact with the business world and an understanding of that arena is essential. But to require a bachelor's degree, regardless of discipline, seemed ridiculous. I was incredulous to learn of some of the credentials of my peers. One co-worker in Japan held a degree in, irony of ironies, Latin American studies.

Things like that made it tough for me to give the requirement much credibility, but I continue to grind away on my undergrad with night courses at the local university. Supposedly I'm grandfathered after many years as a GS-1102, but the education snobs would never hire me without the sheepskin. Still, I sometimes feel I'm wasting time and federal money with the pursuit.

Reaching GS-12 outside the Beltway seems like a pretty solid career. I wonder if the degree will take me any further when I finish?

Your points ring true. A shortcut education is no education at all, and I freely admit I'm finding my studies much more interesting and myself more focused than 20 years ago, when I was fooling around at the local community college, directionless and more in need of a job than an education.

Bryan Stroud

Contracting officer

Army 842nd Transportation Battalion

Beaumont, Texas

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