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Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

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    Story: LookBack '98

    Dear Sir,

    Point 1: Dragon System's Naturally Speaking (Preferred Edition) is an outstanding voice recognition program. If your system has enough power and the program has been trained properly, you can forget about Typing Tutor.

    Point 2: Regarding your observation that only slackers have enough time to download MP3 files and record them to the Rio, might I suggest that you obtain a cable modem [lightning fast downloads with the "@home" service in the US and Canada].


    James D. Clarke


    Still waiting for a Naturally Speaking sample. As for the Rio, like I said, great gadget, but not ready for the mainstream for two main points: Flash memory is very expensive and you can't just swap albums in an instant - at least an hour's work to record an album and even longer to download...

    Story: Katmai shows little advantage over Pentium II

    Dear Sir

    In your article "Katmai shows little advantage over P2 (part1)" you show numbers for a P2 450 overclocked to 500 Mhz. Did you bump the multiplier up to 5 or did you bump the bus to 112mhz? If you bumped the clock to 5 could you please explain how you reworked the P2 450 to accept multipliers other than 4.5. This information would be very helpful to me.


    Kerry Richardson


    The answer is very simple. We have used an Intel-Confidential-PII which doesn't have the Multiplier limitations. Maybe it's interesting for you that you cannot overclock the Katmai. It doesn't allow to modify the settings for the FSB and multiplier. The end of all overclockers.

    Kai Schmerer, technical editor.

    Letter of the week

    Story: Flat pricing rates for the Internet

    Dear Sir,

    Maybe someone should tell that BT spokesman that the number of Internet users is only relatively low because of their artificial telephone pricing. BT are so backwards, they recently claimed that there was no way they could introduce the US model of flat rate pricing because of "cultural and geographic" differences between Britain and the US. Though I now notice that this obviously doesn't apply to Germany, or to EIRE for that matter. Just to Britain, because we have proper British sausages and aren't uncivilised like all those Johnny Foreigners.

    It is so sickening the way they keep fobbing us off so they can keep making such a ridiculous profit. Anyway, under the new BT way of looking at things, I propose that we charge for Television and radio usage by the minute. Well, why not? I only watch TV a couple of hours a week and I have to pay the same amount as someone who sits there all bloody day! Another point here: have you ever bothered to work out the difference in pricing between TV and the Internet?

    Even at cheap rate calls, I reckon the Internet is about 60 times more expensive... And crucially, the BBC put all the money we pay them back into making programs. Do BT contribute to Internet content and make it a better place? I think not. Do they constantly plow money back into the network? I'm sure they claim to, but if they do, then why do they always use the excuse that we can't have unmetered calls because their network couldn't cope? Surely it must be up scratch by now after all that money I've spent on it? After all the cost of actually making the call is reckoned to be about 1/50,000 of a penny, so where does the extra go to? Anyway, the general concensus it seems, is that we don't want mandatory flat rate pricing, we want the CHOICE! If people want their ?9 a month rental with call charges on top, let them have it. If I want to pay ?25-?30 a month for unmetered calls, then why the hell can't I?

    And so what's BT's great contribution to cutting Internet costs then? BT Click+. Oh well done BT, why not actually INCREASE the call cost? With the advent of FreeServe, Connect Free, Telinco et al, this "service" was dead before it began. I am so sick of this, and I've only been online since September. I can't imagine how people who've been using the Net for years must feel.

    Anyway, why not get your own call cost cut campaign? Or join in with the CUT, who seem quite organised as far as these things go...


    Thankyou for listening,

    Richard Tems


    A cost cut campaign? What do you think? Should BT give us a flat rate service? Mail us if you think so.

    Story: A year in the life of the bug

    Dear Sir,

    Surely you can find something a little less dull than yet another virus? And don't start me on the endless sea of articles on Y2k. It's boring journalists spouting on about Y2k is the real crisis -- call it "y1999duller than john major" crisis.

    Patrick Kirk

    Dear Sir,

    I like your site because its got a lot of news and few graphics. Obviously, if a real virus threat emerges or a real example of a thermonuclear generator that is likely to fall over due to y2k, you'll cover it. What worries me is that we all face an inundation of y2k articles in 1999 just as we faced endless Monica articles in 1998. Surely, sites like yours that are attractive to people interested in the day to day doings of the IT industry don't have to join in?

    I'm off to the pub now. Happy Christmas and a millenium bug free new year!



    Despite the onslaught of Y2K stories they continue to be well read and so, due to demand, we will continue to follow the bug all the way up to 2000. Hopefully by the time we get there, you'll know all about the bug and will have nothing to fear...

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