International -- Readers Report
Never Mind the Lawsuit--Who's Debugging Windows? (int'l edition)
While William H. Gates III plots strategy and Steven A. Ballmer shakes up the culture, who, might I ask, is looking after good product design? Because they haven't got it right yet ("Remaking Microsoft," Cover Story, May 17). Windows 98, on my Dell 450, consistently crashes two out of three times on booting and locks up. Then it's a random walk as to what will bring it back to life. I'm just glad they don't design and build airplanes.
Pittsfield, Mass.Return to top
Let's Hope AT&T's Customers Want What It's Offering (int'l edition)
"AT&T: What victory means" (American News, May 17) leads off by saying that the company "can now offer 60 million homes phone, cable, or Net access." In the back of my mind, however, linger the unfavorable results of certain prior offerings to cable-TV customers--individual movies, etc.--that they either didn't want or were unwilling to pay enough for to make it profitable for the cable-TV owners.
Doesn't AT&T have a tremendous investment in time and money to improve the "last mile" to be in a position to carry these services? And, after all that time and money, will the customers pay for it?
Jack W. Still
Buellton, Calif.Return to top
Behind Those Low Figures: Trickery? (int'l edition)
The assumptions concerning the economy--to me, as an ordinary retiree--don't add up against what we see every day "The win-win in slowing labor costs" (Business Outlook, May 17). Tossing a blindfold over these government figures, and using only common sense and elementary deduction, I see contradictory facts of life in my shopping for basic survival things, particularly food. I look at the price on an item, take it home, and eat it. The next time I go to the market, the price has increased by a much larger percent than anything your "experts" indicate.
Within the past two months, in the Boston suburbs, bread has jumped from an average $1.29 per loaf to $1.59. Cereal averages $3.39 per standard box, compared with $2.99 a month ago. Through a combination of deliberate trickery in packaging and blatant raises in price, my guess is that I now pay between 15% and 20% more for my groceries (using the same items and purchases) than a year ago. The actual net cost of larger items such as an auto seems not to have jumped as steeply. However, service and repairs on automobiles averages about $5 more per labor hour than last year--it's now "$67 per labor hour" in our area. These factors don't match up with government-sponsored figures.
George S. Clinton
Norfolk, Mass.Return to top
"Americans Need to Stand Up for Themselves" (int'l edition)
It is sad that the American people have become so accustomed to such a lavish lifestyle that they are willing to sacrifice their days with their families and friends, just for the money ("Who's stressed out at work," Economic Trends, Apr. 12).
I feel that companies are taking advantage of their employees by overworking them. Employers want their employees to feel as if they are important, but in fact employers think "me me me"--so why shouldn't the employees feel the same?
I think Americans need to stand up for themselves and let their employers know that they don't live to work: Instead, they work to live. This means that work should only be a fraction of our lives, not our whole life. Quality time with family and friends is much more valuable than anything that work can offer.
Simi Valley, Calif.Return to top