Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

by / April 30, 1998

Incredible! Your special edition [Government Technology Special Edition, February 1998] was absolutely marvelous! Although I enjoy the regular issues and find them the most valuable of "tech" trade journals that I get (in fact, I usually read GovTech cover to cover, unlike the others), the "Visions" editions are truly informative.

I heard James Burke at a past GTC, and he was most memorable. I was pleased to see him featured and interviewed in "Visions." Excellent. Please keep this feature alive and coming. It is unique and something that refreshes the mind. Thanks!

Dennis Kessinger
Crime Analyst & Web Site Designer
Redding Police Department, Redding, Calif.

The February 1998 "Special Edition" of Government Technology contains a number of powerful messages, which I found both enlightening and inspiring. I'm now even more convinced the human mind is our greatest (and often the most under-utilized) resource. Admittedly, the convergence of technologies has created both the demand for and tools to handle large amounts of information, but the appropriate application of new technologies still requires the input of visionaries.

I enjoy reading GT because you routinely highlight new technology and describe practical applications of same. But, we also need articles like those in the "Special Edition" to keep technology issues in perspective. I am not a visionary on par with those interviewed, however, I was privileged to teach at Oregon's Institute of Technology during the tenure of its "futurist" president, Dr. Larry Blake. I enjoyed synthesizing the messages in your "Special Edition" with his influence.

As an example, I was interested to learn that the concepts underlying the graphic user interface were developed in 1971, roughly 15-25 years before mass implementation of same. It is a sobering thought to realize the process of change, such as that described by James Burke, might take so long. On the other hand, like cream, good ideas have a way of coming to the surface, and I certainly agree; simultaneous arrival of several good ideas creates a synergistic whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Earl F. Burkholder, PS, PE
Global COGO Inc.


Just got March [Government Technology, 1998] issue. Interview on Cities with Joel Kotkin, and the article on Crash Course in Networks, illustrates why I look forward to each issue. I ALWAYS learn something about the big picture, and also something practical too. I realize balance like that is difficult to achieve month after month. Please pass on to your staff how much I appreciate it.

Edward Welsh
Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, Ariz.


Dear [author] John [Stanard],

Thank you for your timely (and enjoyable) article "Demystifying PC Hardware" in Government Technology [January 1998]. I work for a fledgling Internet company and we are in the process of purchasing a Web server for our site. I passed your article along to my hardware gurus, who just looked at me and went, "Duh!," but I know that they ran back to the office and redid the specs on the system we were looking at.

Thanks for helping us avoid a costly mistake.

Mary Dellucci
General Manager & Web Doyenne


While the article by Bill Curtis on smart cards ["The Great Electronic Frontier," Government Technology, February 1998] was interesting and explored the positive aspects of the technology, it was conspicuously silent on the downside. It is well known that families and individuals who use plastic/credit/debit cards for purchases typically do more impulse spending. In fact, even families who pay off their credit balances on credit cards spend an average of 31 percent more than those who use cash.

Clearly the downside of smart cards is that they do not teach the users how to manage their money and thus perpetuate overspending and poor thrift. A truly useful smart card would, instead of obscuring the balance from the user, provide accurate balance information so intelligent choices can be made.

While there is a risk that users will abuse their smart cards and buy unauthorized booze, tobacco products, or even trade items for cash, this risk is outweighed by the obvious benefit incurred when welfare and food stamp recipients learn to manage personal finances. I encourage you to discuss the downside of new technologies as well as the glitz and glitter. Unless we have "the rest of the story," it is difficult for readers to evaluate the merits of techno-wonders described in your publication.

John J. Townsley
U.S. Forest Service
Okanogan, Wash.


I receive your magazine at work and enjoy the articles and ads. It is chock-full of up-to-date information, and though I am a member of a small police department, there is much stimulation in ideas. Keep up the good work, from a Canadian fan.

David Roberts
Forensic Identification Services
Delta Police Department, British Columbia, Canada
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