Letters to the editor -- SunWorld, September 1995">

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Letters to the Editor

 Letters to the editor

September  1995
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Letters to the editor

Readers like Sun's new dog

I loved your ad with Network, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, that was on page C26 of the July 6 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Please include this ad here in your online magazine. Also, please make the photo of the dog available as a GIF file -- nice picture!
--Cynthia Lockley, NASA

  • The editors respond: We forwarded your comments to Sun. Apparently it has been getting a lot of requests for more of Network, and is looking for a way to satisfy this reader urge. We'll keep you posted.

    How about ftp or e-mail?

    Is it possible to get a PostScript version of SunWorld Online or at least some of your articles?
    --Henri Brouchoud, France

  • The editors respond: We're looking into various ways of providing the magazine in other formats for those interested. Two key issues for us: Being able to track reader use (for advertising promotion purposes) and being able to deliver ads to all readers regardless of delivery method (so we can pay for things). We'll announce something when we develop it.

    Job well done

    I was skeptical when I saw that this magazine is on the sun.com server as I did not want to hear a bunch of Sun propaganda. Mind you I like Sun and wish I had my Sun IPC back instead of this crummy DOS platform but I get enough advertisements. Any ways, I liked your columns and look forward to seeing more in future issues. The topics you plan to cover look right on and it looks vendor neutral and that is also good.

    I wonder how many other potential readers will think this is a Sun marketing tool and be less likely to access it? Regardless, I have managed to overcome that issue and think this may be an excellent resource for information. The idea of hotlinks to other and supporting info interests me and I look forward to seeing how this all pans out.

    Good luck to you and the rest of the editorial staff.

    --Steve Rogers, EDS Management Consulting Services

    I like the idea that at the end of each subject, we readers can vote and evaluate how good is the subject.
    --Tim Tsao, (firm indeterminate)

    I had my doubts about the usability of an online magazine. I have seen a couple that were done very poorly, and I suspected that it could not be done well, at least not to my satisfaction.

    But SunWorld Online actually is more useful to me that the printed version was (Advanced Systems.) The format is excellent, and the content is also very good. I especially like the lists of links presented at the end of each article.

    The only part of the magazine that is not present in the online form (yet) is the advertising. I think it would be great to have a link to a page of advertisements that are somehow related to the current article (i.e., an article on network performance might link to a page of ads from networking companies.) Asking for ads may sound a bit funny, but they are a very useful part of most publications, especially when they are thoughtfully laid out near associated articles.

    I would caution against mentioning too many companies in your articles to avoid the appearance of the articles being glorified press announcements.

    Congratulations on a job well done!

    --Don Christensen, (firm indeterminate)

    I was pleased to see that when Advanced Systems was discontinued and the new Web-based magazine became available that your column remained. It's one of the most useful features I've come across amongst the wealth of Unix publications I get. I like the new online format too.

    --Jim, (firm indeterminate)

    Some readers like dead trees

    I am not normally the type to send letters to the editor but, I thought it appropriate to comment in this case. I was very disappointed to hear of your decision to put the magazine online. I thought Advanced Systems was the best Unix magazine but now it will not be part of my regular reading list. Reading anything over a paragraph or two in length, even on a large workstation monitor, is neither convenient or easy. I used to enjoy taking the magazine home or reading it during my lunch hour.

    In short, please bring back Advanced Systems in paper form! Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

    --Bob Thompson, (firm indeterminate)

    I agree with some of your readers letters that I don't spend much time reading magazines at my desk, I tend to take them home or on the road with me (I travel a lot, and a net connection at 30,000 ft. is expensive).

    I was glad to see that the sidebars are at the end of an article so that I could print it out to take with me. But I prefer to down-load stuff into my laptop and read from there. My point being that internal links in your articles should be relative-URLs instead of absolute, then I can down load the article and follow them locally.
    --(Name and firm indeterminate)

    I am disturbed by the increased trend of paper magazines to cease paper publication and become electronic-only versions. I don't like to read computer magazines in the office, I have too many other things to do. I like to read in the bathroom -- it's quiet, no one bothers me and if I sit for too long my tush gets numb and I am forced to get up and take a break. I can't read on-line magazines while sitting on the toilet without expensive rewiring of my house -- which I'm not about to do, just to run a telephone line and my laptop into the john in order to read SunWorld Online.

    I say it's time to rethink this great experiment and start paper publishing again.

    --Michael Wilson, NASA

  • The editors respond: You can print the longer articles you want to read; just click the Print icon on your browser.

    We write about Sun, but don't work for Sun

    Where is the "journalistic integrity" of a on-line journal hosted on an advertiser's web page?
    --Henry Cobb, (firm indeterminate)

  • The editors respond: We are careful to avoid story subjects that involve the conflict of interest at the root of your question. Our articles provide high-quality, valuable information to our readers. If you see a specific article that seems a problem, let us know.

    Benchmarking an ISP

    I think the most significant statement of the article on benchmarking ISPs was the statement by Bill Wadley in the sidebar, "Access providers react to the benchmark". Throughput as a sole indicator of an ISP's performance doesn't work. What if the benchmark is done the same week that one of the ISP's commercial clients opens up an ftp site for a popular software package. I realize that the odds of this happening are small, but such an event could skew such a benchmark.

    What is important when it comes to measuring a ISP's service is not the volume of the service, but the quality of the service. As Bill Wadley said, "up-time, busy signals, and whether a real technical support person answers the phone may be more important." Is the provider willing to invest the capital necessary to provide acceptable service. Is tech support available? Does the technical staff have the knowledge to make their equipment work? What about after-hours and weekends?

    I have found all the questions important with my ISP. I know the bandwidth of his link. I know how many dialups he has. I know how many of them are likely to be busy at any particular time. I know that he has two routers made by the industry leader. But in the last several months I have learned, (the hard way) that his staff doesn't really know how to use and configure this equipment. That their authentication server could be down for 10 hours on a weekend without notice. That routing and DNS for a private domain could take months to setup.

    A throughput benchmark is only a "snapshot" of what a provider's data rate is on any particular day. What is needed is a means if determining an ISP's ability to provide reliable service.

    --Johnie Stafford, C & C Technologies

    We like Duck

    I just read the article on women in enginering. A really excellent piece, I really enjoyed it.

    --Mark, (firm indeterminate)

    What a great article! It resonates so strongly with me. I work in the telecommunications/publishing industry. It's fascinating to realize how alike the situations are. Good strategies offered too!
    --(Name and firm indeterminate)

    I thought your article was very entertaining. You are correct that these things do pertain to some women, but not all. I am one of the "not all" females. Work on a Navy base as a contractor. I do enjoy men but working with them I have found a few problems. The projects that I have created do not get recognized as much as my male co-workers; even when I correct their major mistakes. This is very discouraging. I do not feel recognized at meetings, though I do not speak up unless I have something worthwhile to say and do not blabber on just to hear myself talk as I have noticed my male counterparts do. When talking to a male and another male comes up to join in the conversation there is a 98% chance that at that point I will be ignored. Maybe it is because I am 5'4", big blue/silver eyes and tend to be a little sweet. I am also a programmer/analyst with a BSCS. Thank you again for the article.
    --(Name and firm indeterminate)

    Thanks for the article "Women In the Engineering Industry". I found it very amusing, and it had some very good points that even us guys can learn from! A paper copy is going to become a permanent feature in my file drawer, and I'll pass on the URL to several folks.
    --Clark Jones, Schlumberger Technologies

    We like the security column

    I read through your first security column, and I found it quite interesting. I am really pleased that you will be updating the articles in a timely fashion. The computer security field changes quickly, and very few services respond anywhere near as fast.

    Something you might be interested in: http://nad.infostructure.com/watcher.html

    I look forward to seeing your next article.
    --Jason, Case Western Reserve

    I like the concept of your column. Since I am in charge of security at my site. (That's right no 45 trillion dollar firewall here, just me :-) That said, now I have to fear that I didn't do something right. I also like the idea of the index of past articles. That way I don't have to use up all that disk space saving info in files with names that I'm sure made some sorta sense when I put them there :)

    --Johnie, (firm indeterminate)

    A security auditing tool called NetProbe may fit into your next SunWorld Online article. It is faster and more thorough than ISS, SATAN, and PINGWARE.


    I can answer any questions you may have.

    --Charles Braun, InfoStructure Services & Technologies

    I think that security should be part-and-parcel of SunWorld Online as a constant article.

    I would also appreciate SunWorld Online acknowledging that Sun is on the NeXT bandwagon (thankfully I have used NeXT for years and would not use anything else) so it is about time that you start to include it as if it where another OS from Sun. Therefore there should be a constant stream of articles associated with it.

    --Bruce Jones, McCaw Cellular Communications

    Configuration management

    Thanks for giving SCM this vitally needed coverage! This subject has been widely neglected. Keep up the great work!

    As a ClearCase user, I have to say that Dave was a little stingy with his positive comments. I have found Atria's support to be very good. He also failed to mention that process-oriented products only work for those groups following a similar process! ClearCase allows us the flexibility to define and refine our own mature processes.

    Dave also failed to mention Atria's product to handle large development projects scattered in different locations: ClearCase Multisite.

    MORE ARTICLES on Configuration Management and the process of Software Release!
    --(Name and firm indeterminate)

    Client/server feedback

    Your column on enterprise document management interests me greatly. We have been experimenting with Folio Views Infobase technology. I would like also to experiment with Information Dimensions BASIS+. Do you know anything about these? Do you know anybody who does?

    --Harvey Fleet, National Biological Service

  • The editors respond: Readers?

    Sysadmin feedback

    I enjoyed your article on PostScript in SunWorld Online. However, the site at ftp.cc.utexas.edu did not have anything in the source directory when I looked. Is there another site where I can get psnup?

    --Richard Hampo, Ford Research Lab

  • The editors respond: When Hal tracks down psnup we'll let you know here?

    Alacrity! Alacrity!

    Hi...I don't know the reason but your subscription form takes a LONG time to scroll through & complete...I bet people are dropping off it without submitting it...you might want to check this out...it took me 15+ minutes of PATIENCE...thought this input might help. Otherwise, everything looks great.
    --David, Pencom

    I like being able to indicate whether I liked an article at the bottom of the page, but I don't like the time it takes to store the results because you leave me at a whole new page thanking me for my patronage, etc. Just leave me where I was in the article or at least make the page have all of the choices (Sun home page, next article, etc.) of the article page.

    --John Furlani, Sun

  • The editors respond: Our apologies to readers who over the past two months have experienced periods of slow performance, apparently broken links, and other annoyances. Sun Microsystems has happily achieved one of its goals in hosting SunWorld Online: Traffic for July was up by 70% at http://www.sun.com. Sun plans to add four servers and a T3 line. If Sun can stay ahead of the demand, SunWorld Online should become snappy enough to check out even at peak hours.

    Tinkering with browsers

    I usually browse the Web with the Mosaic "Delay Image Loading" option turned on to make browsing faster. You folks have a lot of "buttons" that are graphics only, so I have to load those images to see what the button is before I can decide whether or not to press it.

    I suggest putting an equivalent text link for all "buttons" so the "Delay Image Loading" mode can be used more effectively.
    --(Name and firm indeterminate)

    I`m using Netscape to access your newsletter, and it may be a function of the application but I find the type used in the articles hard to read. Could you make the type a bit wider and larger?
    --(Name and firm indeterminate)

  • The editors respond: In our efforts to design SunWorld Online, we have taken care to include ALT directives for visually impaired browsers, such as Lynx. Unfortunately, when you delay image loading in Mosaic, these ALT directives do not appear. Given that the button images are small (most are less than 1,600 bytes) and will be cached after Mosaic downloads them, we didn't think it necessary to clutter our pages with textual labels.

    Regarding the second letter, the neat thing about HTML publishing is that you the reader control the details of the presentation. Go to Options in the Netscape browser and select Preferences. Then chose the font size you want.

    If you have problems with this magazine, contact webmaster@sunworld.com

    URL: http://www.sunworld.com/swol-09-1995/swol-09-letters.html
    Last updated: 1 September 1995

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