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Hang up and drive

Also, reader to BSA: come and get me!

Regarding your April column on transferable core (“Keep me moving!”): Research on cell phones and driving has determined that it is the mental act of taking part in a conversation with a remote party that degrades driving performance, not the physical act of holding a phone. I would not want to be crossing the street near a driver who is talking to their computer about a memo to the boss. If you want to use your computer when you travel, take the bus.

John Z. Wetmore

Producer, “Perils For Pedestrians”

I enjoyed your article about a core PC that is small and can have peripherals plugged into it to make it a full-sized PC (“Keep me moving!”). I agree with you about having one device and not a gazillion that you just keep synchronizing with one another.

Your main focus was on Xybernaut’s products, which I have used, but I can’t imagine myself strapped into all that gadgetry while on the go. I used them in the defense sector, where it has numerous applications, but for a mainstream business executive this may not be the ideal solution.

I recently read about OQO, a California company that has created a modular PC that will operate as a standalone wireless handheld computer, akin to a Palm. Or, it can connect to a full-sized keyboard, mouse, and monitor to replace a desktop PC. Please review this hardware.

Hassan Khawaja

Judging by recent letters to the editor, Microsoft and its BSA goons have succeeded. And here I thought software piracy was someone making back-alley copies of Windows and selling them on the street. Or something from the “one country-one copy” part of the world. Apparently, now it’s defined as being unable to prove to the BSA that your copy of Office was a Christmas gift-better save those receipts!

The letter writers failed to address the bigger question: Why are CDs and software so ridiculously overpriced? Why does Microsoft charge $525 for Office XP Professional? How about $149? Why not price CD music at $9.95 per disc instead of $18.95? Fair profit is fine; bloated profit is not.

Meanwhile, I will continue to download from Audio Galaxy, burn CDs, and use my gift copy of Office XP Professional (damn, I can’t find the receipt) with nary a guilty thought. And if the BSA kicks in my door, I will sue them.


I wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading Insights each month. You have the rare ability to relate the contents of the issue, the state of the hardware and software communities, and your own personal take on these changes and how they relate to you as a thoughtful end-user. Thanks.

Jon Hosmer

I enjoyed your column about Foveon (“No photo finish in chips,” May), but I have to point out that in the future, taking pictures might not require skill, but taking a photograph will. A Foveon chip can make the job easier, but it probably won’t make the results better.

As for your question of whether Photoshop can “make the pictures more true to life,” the simple answer is probably yes. But I don’t think you want to do that. The bottom line, as David MacAdams pointed out years ago, is that people do not want true-to-life color pictures. I worked in optical physics for many years. From the experiments we ran on visibility, stimulus and perception, nature is more drab than anybody wants to believe-or to look at.

Bernard W. Joseph


Contrary to an article in April’s issue (“Keep me moving!”), though Xybernaut has stated that IBM is producing Xybernaut wearable computing units, IBM has not licensed the transferable core technology that is part of the units it is producing.

Also, the Iomega Fotoshow Digital Image Center reviewed in April’s issue (“A drive that’s driven”) has been discontinued by Iomega.

CU regrets the errors.

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