Letters to the Editor

Again'no Apples listed

I am writing regarding the recent Buyers Guide on portable computers, 'Power users take note'. Once again, your magazine has done a disservice to federal computer users by neglecting the Apple Powerbooks.

The advantages of the Powerbooks are many. They include OS X, lightweight, features and lower virus susceptibility. As you may or may not know, OS X is one of the most robust operating systems on the market. It combines the power of Unix and the ease-of-use of Macs. The 15-inch Powerbook G4 weighs about 4.5 pounds, much less than the Hewlett-Packard ze5300 discussed in your article.

Every Powerbook has the same features'screen size and resolution, Superdrives, Universal Serial Bus, FireWire'if not more, as their PC counterparts.

Mac users were immune from the recent attack of the SoBig worm; when the PCs in our office had to be turned off during a recent attack, I kept on being productive on my Powerbook.

The Apple Powerbook is a strong alternative to purchasing a Wintel system, and GCN did a disservice to your readers by not including them in your article.

Tracy Nishikawa

Research hydrologist

Geological Survey,

Water Resources Division

San Diego

Commodity council: old wine, new bottle

That was an interesting article about a 'new' Air Force team in place to acquire information technology, 'New Air Force Team makes its first buy'.

In reality the Commodity Council appears to mimic the Air Force Computer Acquisition Center, formed in the mid-1960s and operational through the late 1990s.

The acquisition center was located at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., the mission of which was to acquire systems services of all types for the federal government.

The acquisition center assisted all government agencies, Defense and civilian. AFCAC was spun off into the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Center in the late 1990s.

I have no doubt that many of the regulations and procedures governing the operation of this new Air Force group will be very familiar to AFCAC and FedCAC personnel past and present.

William G. Mahar

Wilton, N.H.

Editor's note: The writer was a computer specialist at the Air Force Computer Acquisition Agency from 1986 to 1991 and at FEDCAC until 1993.

Skeptical of project managers

The Office of Management and Budget's requirement that every IT project worth more than $5 million must have a full-time project manager could work well'or it could cause more problems.

One important reason projects fail is lack of management support.

But I can envision an agency's senior management hiring a project manager, then washing its hands of the project.

This practically guarantees failure'and even provides an agency's chiefs with a handy person to blame'unless the project manager forces upper management to stay involved.

Another endemic problem is death-march projects that should be canceled but aren't because of inertia.

I wonder how many full-time project managers will be willing to cancel their own projects and jobs because it is the right thing to do.

Granted, having a project manager is a wise thing.

But having one forced on you by outside rules doesn't make the people inside any wiser.

Mike Moxcey

Computer specialist

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Agriculture Department

Fort Collins, Colo.


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