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Readers express gratitude for past Windows tips, quibble with the Career Advisor’s anti-outsourcing strategies, and fondly remember when the Commodore was king.

Yesterday I picked up my first copy of ComputerUser with a combination of desperation and dread. As expected, 98 percent of the contents was utterly beyond me.

I persevered until I found Matt Lake’s collection of Windows shortcuts “Windows of the world”, many of which I understood; of those I tested, all were helpful. Thanks very much! It seems to me a pity that this sort of help is so hard to find. (FYI, I took your advice and defragged my hard drive pronto–and it took about three hours. My god, the filth that was in there!)

As a writer, I need very little of what’s available to me in so many advanced or over-cluttered programs. I do left-margin, right-margin, double-space with a centered heading–and that’s about it.

I manage that by having those specs lodged in a file called MS (for manuscript), which I merge into every story I write as soon as I open a new file. Maybe I am antediluvian for still using XYWriteIII+, but you know what? It loads in a blink. I can write a whole paragraph while MSWord is still getting its act together–which consists mostly of (to me) useless frills. (I did use MSW once in an office. It inspired homicidal thoughts Gatesward.) — Bill Marsano

I agree with your assessment of the offshore situation (“Patriot Act”). Offshore outsourcing will continue and most likely will grow.

Unfortunately, in your article you recommended that persons should consider training to move into security, project management, or PC repair. The number of security staff and project managers in this country do not necessarily increase with outsourcing; in many cases, they decrease. Even if these jobs increased, the number of persons losing their jobs in the run-of-the-mill IT slots far exceeds the number of openings in both security and project management combined. PC repair is growing and for those with a technical slant, it’s worth considering.

There seems to be a plethora of good project managers available to manage offshore development with years of experience and in-depth knowledge of specific industries. Training to compete with this group seems at best to be a long shot.

I have been in IT for over 30 years and have watched it mature. I have never seen this kind of sustained downward pressure in the industry before. Offshore outsourcing always would have made sense; it was the lack of infrastructure that kept onshore IT safe. VPN and the Internet have changed the equation rapidly.

Most outsourced individuals I know are moving out of IT altogether (only after months of looking). Those that can, retire, or semi-retire, followed by secondary career paths in teaching, sales, and small business start-ups. The golden days of programming are over and probably will never come back.

I used to talk young people into careers in IT. I now talk them out of it. Service, sales, soft science, teaching, and health all appear to be good. IT, accounting, call centers, processing centers, and manufacturing are all at risk.

The unintended/unexpected consequences in this country of this global revolution will be the reduction in the number of MBAs needed here, diminished readership of papers such as ComputerUser, a reduction in the amount of needed office space, and a consistently higher percentage of unemployed workers. This will be offset, of course, by an increase in all of these things offshore.

I think the areas to move into are those that can take advantage of fulfilling the needs of the people in third-world countries that are quickly becoming first world. Unfortunately these needs tend to be in the area of fast food, snacks, cell phones, satellite TV, and are all pretty well covered. — Tim Winking, [email protected]

I enjoyed your article, “Yo ho ho and a pile of ROMs”. It reminded me that back in the ’80s and ’90s I belonged to two Commodore 64 user groups: FUNHUG and CHUG.

CHUG just disbanded a year ago due to diminishing membership (it was the last C64 group in the Bay Area that I know of). Anyway. back in those days a lot of people were pirating C64 software and contributing to the demise of support for the machine. Some in our groups exchanged software among members, but that’s as far as it went. We also distributed tons of public domain software for the C64. — Richard Greene, [email protected]

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