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Broaden your skills

Also, an $800 iPod?

I coordinate financial reporting on a corporate intranet for a major corporation. I have found that programmers are a dime a dozen if they have no other skills. For example, about a year ago, I approached a recruiter to find me someone who can program ASP, VB, SQL Server–and who had a degree in Accounting. I was laughed at and was told that person didn’t exist.

They do exist, and they command top dollar, but I’m willing to pay it for those credentials. I don’t have the time to hold a programmer’s hand and explain how liabilities work with equity accounts to generate a balance sheet. I was able to find an ex-Enron employee, and now this person is invaluable to my department.

Someone once told me when I was in school to get my undergraduate degree in something I really liked and then go on for an MBA to be able to get a job in that field. I would suggest something similar for the IT community. Get a degree in a field you’re interested in (other than computers) while getting your IT certifications. There are so many people who are great programmers but who really don’t understand their employer’s core business. Gain knowledge about a field and become a programmer. The degree is very important, not only for the knowledge, but to prove to a prospective employer you’re willing to jump through hoops. So many in the IT field feel they are above this. Guess what? You’re not. The degree is a must.

Jim Cline

While the iPod (“Gifts for Geeks”) is an amazing device, it is not so amazing that it contains 20GB of Flash RAM. There is a small 5GB, 10GB, or 20GB hard drive in the iPod that holds a user’s MP3 files. It is not a solid-state disk as you claim in your article, but an actual spinning platter, read/write head hard drive, so your claim that the iPod has no moving parts is technically incorrect. However, the iPod does contain 32MB of RAM into which songs are loaded from the hard drive and from which the songs are played, so while a song is playing none of the moving parts is actually moving. Therefore, the point you made, that the user would not have to worry about music skipping and jumping, is essentially correct.

The other discrepancy is the price. As cool as the iPod is, it’s not worth $800! The 20GB iPod you recommend in your article sells for $499 (Mac or Windows). The 10GB iPod sells for only $399, so I guess if you really wanted to spend $800 for a 20GB iPod you could buy two 10GB iPods for that price. In fact, if you think $800 is a fair price for an iPod, I’d be happy to sell you mine.

Marc Robinson, Philadelphia

Editor’s note: The facts in the story were all verified on Apple’s Web site prior to our deadline, with the exception of the erroneous claim for the iPod being solid-state. COMPUTERUSER apologizes for that error.

I agree with Alex Franks’ comments about Mozilla, but I find that even Mozilla 1.1 does not seem to have resolved the poor bookmark import/export function and continues to choke on various sites written in ASP rather than HTML. These problems prevent me from using it as a full time browser, and as a result Internet Explorer is still set as my default. I hope the Mozilla people can get these problems resolved soon.

Karl Tipple

You mentioned a box that allows the Playstation 2 to be used on a PC, the YPsPr VGA Box. I’ve heard rumors of the existence of such a device but have been unable to find it available anywhere. The Sony and Pricegrabber Web sites are mute about it. Can you help me out?

Hank Scovern

Editor’s note: The YPsPr, Redant’s updated VGA box, allows the use of a Playstation, PSOne, or PS2 on a VGA monitor. Released in November, it’s now available from most electronics and gaming retailers.

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