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ZDNet UK News' Mail Room
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

ZDNet readers were not happy when American media began blaming the Littleton school massacre on the Net. Spammers got a rough ride and privacy advocates reckon Deja News should stop scooping email. As for the Internet in the sky...

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    Story: Violent games - shootings connected?

    Dear Editor,

    Couldn't resist a reply, society will always look for a scapegoat to justify the terrible actions of the few. Instead of blaming itself for failing the individuals who perpetrated this awful crime, people like Lieberman misuse their position to try and whip those who claim to hold the moral high ground into a feeding frenzy. Those who would burn witches should look at themselves before lighting the fires.

    Paul Thomas

    Story: as above

    Dear Editor

    In light of the recent Columbine high school shootings, I have come to the realisation that violent juvenile crime is a circle, a puzzle if you can imagine it! All the pieces to the puzzle make up our children's lives and when pieces are taken out the puzzle breaks down. Pieces include; family life, parental influence, school, media violence and community. They all work together and when pieces are removed, children are playing violent video games, watching violent TV shows and movies, parents are not monitoring their childrens' comings and goings, parents are not spending time with their children, it all begins to take its toll. Children start acting out, they no longer feel!

    Eva Kay

    Story: Anti-spammers hobble Oxfam's Kosovo e-mail campaign

    Dear Editor

    Unfortunately, the anti-spammers are right. Much as I applaud the efforts of Oxfam and similar organisations, the ramifications of charities believing they can email the world for their causes are obvious.

    There is nothing wrong with Oxfam advertising an email appeal or newsletter on their Web site and asking people to sign up for it -- make it attractive,"you'll be of the first we turn to when we need extra help", etc. given "signees"access to a closed area for email appeal members, let them have statistics first or in more detail, more pictures of the aid effort, a faster changing news section, etc. Now that is called 1 to 1 marketing -- not spam! Oxfam needs some advice on modern "Permission Marketing" techniques -- in that way they'll increase their donations. AND stay friends with everyone.

    Stephen Bell

    Story Deja News caught storing e-mail records

    My views are generally that if one has nothing to hide, then why worry who's looking, but I feel very uncomfortable about your article about Deja News. Ultimately the question is why? (are they looking). If they wish Marketing info, then they seem to be getting close to (or over) the limit. If the material is used for more "sinister" results, then I'm against it. If it helps to prevent wackos killing school kids, then I'm for it. I don't believe it's easy to differentiate, so the answer is they SHOULD NOT GATHER SUCH DATA.


    Colin Smith

    Story: Internet in the Sky - Net revolution?

    Dear Mailroom

    The really sad thing about this announcement is that better technology is already in common use in the US and other countries: cable modems. This provides a perfectly 'normal' Internet connection at a speed of 10 to 50 Mbit/s -- much faster than the satellite system, and fully interactive.

    This service isn't really one I would be interested in -- except that in the UK, thanks to the cartel operated jointly by BT and the cable companies, there is little chance of the UK catching up with other countries in the near future. Cable modems are already established technology, as is ADSL -- yet the cable companies and BT respectively are still dragging their feet, presumably because they are presently able to make a fortune by charging those who can afford it a fortune for home Internet access -- often £30 or £40 per month, or even multiples of that in some cases.

    The downside, however, is that this slows the uptake of Internet access in the UK -- meaning that the UK then lags behind by years in terms of e-commerce and the development of an information economy -- all for the sake of increased short-term profits for a few companies. This is appalling; no other country would allow a couple of companies to sacrifice the country's long term economic welfare for the sake of increased short-term profits to individual companies.

    James A Sutherland

    Story: Call waiting... interested in double glazing

    If BT are to offer 2 mins of free calling time after an initial 10 second advert, surely this would be an ideal way to quickly dial up an ISP just to check for new email -- after all, only your modem would hear the advert and you'd save the 5p minimum call charge each time.

    If an individual has two phone lines and went about it carefully, they could place two calls with an ISP each 60 seconds out of sync with the other, so that at any one time they'd be getting data down at least one of them. Surely either BT will have to block data calls or restrict the 0845 numbers used by Freeserve et al.

    Martin Strange

    Story: as above

    Dear Sir

    This has to be the most insane thing I've heard from BT since the prices for Home Highway.

    It's not as if BT users aren't already bombarded with adverts. Within weeks of your name going into the phone book, callers are offering to sell you double glazing or carpet cleaning services. Registering with the Telephone Preference Service makes little difference. I find it incredible to think that there may be people out there volunteering to get even more advertising down their phone line.

    Of course the final irony is that if the scheme is rolled out, I can expect another unsolicited advertising call, this time from BT, asking me if I'd like to try the new service.

    Neil Sedgwick

    Story: as above

    Has anyone else realised that this will enable modem users to make free calls?

    Most modern modems can cope quite happily with a 10-second break in connection and will automatically wait and reconnect after a 10-second loss. They will only break the connection after 20-30 seconds.

    So will BT make the 0845 local rate ISP numbers exempt from these free services? What about ISPs such as Demon which have a bevy of genuinely local dialing code numbers -- for example here in the Cheltenham area my nearest Demon number is a perfectly legitimate Gloucester 01452 number.

    I'm quite happy for my modem to listen to the adverts every few minutes...

    Andrew Oakley

    Story: Consumers failing to protect themselves

    As a response to your webpage asking for tales of woe from CIH, I sadly report that due to the fact I own 2 different AVP packages (Norton and Mcaffe), neither were installed on Tuesday thus I lost nearly 24 gigs of data from 5 separate machines. I have lost large amounts of my college coursework , and even worse account records from my mothers business. Needless to say the 1st program I installed after recovering the HD's from my computers was Norton. The reason the packages weren't running was because I removed them after numerous false alarms that was causing all kinds of mischief to my network. The lesson has been learnt the hard way and what little annoyances AV programs cause I will be putting up with now. As for my experience in computers I should have known much better, I have been on a computer since the time of the Spectrum and have owned a PC since 88.


    a rather disgruntled Chris Booth

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