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Letters: Nov. 8, 1999

12 minute read

NICE JOBS, STEVE Thanks for the great article on Steve Jobs and the resurgence of Apple Computer [COVER STORIES, Oct. 18]. While Bill Gates has been in the news lately for his hardball tactics in promoting Microsoft’s products, Jobs is making headlines because his company makes products people want to use. “Think Different,” indeed! ANDRE FERRER Seattle

The difference between Jobs and Gates is as striking as that between Apple’s stunning, colorful iMacs and the standard beige Windows eyesores kludging up desktop space worldwide. Gates seems to view new technology as either a threat to his company or an opportunity to make more money and gain even more control of the market. Jobs responds to new technology by dreaming up ways to make it available to ordinary people like me. MATTHEW CECIL Iowa City

Unfortunately, much of what has been published about Jobs is unflattering and sometimes almost slanderous. There is a fine line between genius and madness, and Steve Jobs has been on the balance beam since the beginning of Apple Computer. But there is no way to achieve greatness without taking gambles, some of which fail while others revolutionize the industry (e.g., iMac and the new G4). While Jobs’ methods may not be popular, they are most effective. Everyone in the world knows the name Gates. It’s unfortunate that Jobs, the true founder of Silicon Valley and the personal computer, is not given the same recognition. TERRI GERGELY Coaldale, Alta.

The new iMacs are beautiful! I am a college student ready to graduate and purchase a new computer, and I don’t even want to think about buying a beige Wintel box. However, the Macintosh platform is still not as universally supported as are PCs, and this puts users at a disadvantage. Apple may be turning a profit and churning out the most dramatic designs in the computer industry, but until more software is written for the Macintosh platform, my money will be going elsewhere. JONATHAN FLESHER Gainesville, Fla.

The longtime complaint that there isn’t much software for the Macintosh has always confused me. It demonstrates a misunderstanding of quality vs. quantity. There doesn’t have to be a lot of software if the software is good. I trust that the Macintosh market share will grow so that the industry is not forever slowed down by the anchor that’s holding back innovation. For now, I’m content that the Mac may not be the computer for everyone. After all, not everyone drives a Mercedes or a Rolls. JOYCE RUDOWSKI Cincinnati, Ohio

A lot of people here in Silicon Valley think Jobs is an arrogant ass. I don’t really care. Every time I fire up my beautiful new Power Mac G4 computer, I thank God and Steve for saving me from the awful alternative. DARRELL GORR San Jose, Calif.


TIME should be commended for providing us with rare insight into the mind of a killer [NATION, Oct. 18]. Unabomber Ted Kaczynski is an unrepentant murderer who deserves the life sentence that was given to him. Perhaps being in prison for the rest of his life will make the Unabomber finally realize the pain and agony he has inflicted. MIGUEL NOE DEJESUS RODRIGUEZ Chicago

You gave that criminal, that murdering lunatic Kaczynski, the very thing he wanted–recognition before a forum of millions. What an appalling editorial decision. Shame on you. EVE BELSON FUDGE Corona del Mar, Calif.

As one of the two official courtroom artists at the Unabomber trial, I sat only a few feet away from Kaczynski when he pleaded guilty. I could see his face as he answered each charge of murder with a crisp assent. Unseen by the gallery, he even laughed during a private exchange with an attorney as the charges were being read. I was chilled, not only by the tragic events that left anguished relatives, maimed victims and grieving widows in their wake but especially by the remorseless behavior of the man responsible. If those eyes weren’t the eyes of “a sicko,” then they belonged to a man twisted by evil. Though a journalist may view Kaczynski’s piece as a good story, for the sake of the Unabomber’s family and his victims, let the man in that Colorado prison be forgotten. CHARLES WALTMIRE Martinez, Calif.

I worked at the local Illinois library that Kaczynski’s parents visited weekly for their reading material. I have a very hard time recognizing dear Wanda Kaczynski in the words of her son Ted. Can this possibly be the sweet, intellectual lady with whom I had so many conversations about literature on quiet afternoons in a peaceful library setting? I don’t feel she was the ogre described by her son. We at the library felt warmly toward her; she was a pleasure to know. EMMY SWEDA Lombard, Ill.

Sticking criminals in prison protects citizens but throws no light on the process of how a person became criminal. If experts learn to spot tendencies that point toward criminal behavior, everyone can profit from the knowledge. Kaczynski seems likely to cooperate. “Let me try to explain it this way,” he says. Let’s listen up! FRANK E. NIESET Concord, Calif.

Reality check! Good and evil are not as clear, neat and tidy as one might wish. Writer Stephen J. Dubner’s talks with Kaczynski in prison revealed a man who is not the archetype of evil, complete with horns, but rather a banal, pitiful human being who committed violent and immoral crimes. And so what if the Unabomber’s brother David Kaczynski and David’s wife are complicated human beings who had emotions other than pure altruism in making their decision to turn Ted in? Struggling with honest human emotions is not a crime.

The reality is that Unabomber Ted Kaczynski killed three innocent people and wounded or maimed 23 more, to say nothing of the grief, pain and anguish those terrible acts brought to his victims, their families and friends. Those are his crimes, and the guilt and responsibility are his and his alone. KATY REMARK Zurich, Switzerland


I am disappointed that the U.S. Senate rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty [NATION, Oct. 25]. Now that the Senate has sent rogue countries a signal that the world’s leading nation doesn’t mind if they test a nuke or two, the world of the 21st century is sure to be full of nations with nuclear arms. Is that what America wants? I have always looked up to the U.S. because it demonstrates the meaning of democracy, justice, equality and vision. Pax Americana is welcome because the U.S. has been reliable. But recently the U.S. hasn’t been leading other countries into a bright future. It no longer seems able to keep pace with the progress of history. HIRO TAKAHASHI Hiroshima

The Senate’s chance to approve the nuclear test-ban treaty–already ratified by 26 nations–was a test of the “leadership” the U.S. likes to talk about. The nation failed that test miserably and damaged its credibility around the world. But what the heck. Congressional Republicans can also be proud of the U.S.’s not paying its U.N. bills, of foisting the Ken Starr fiasco upon the nation and of resisting gun-control measures so that those N.R.A. contributions can keep coming in. Tells you something about their agenda, doesn’t it? JURIS MAZUTIS Nepean, Ont.

Republicans may have rejected the test-ban treaty, as you argue, because they cannot shake Clinton on domestic issues but they can successfully challenge him on relatively less important (from an American perspective) foreign policy issues. Big mistake. This treaty mattered a lot more than some sordid affair for which the Republican right failed to exact retribution. No doubt Europe and Asia will pay the price of American schoolyard politics in the near future through nuclear testing and proliferation. Watch out, Congress. Today Pakistan and India. Tomorrow a country that is right next door? PETER MCNAMARA London


Americans are morally outraged whenever war atrocities bubble to the surface, as they have in recent revelations of the July 1950 killing of civilians by G.I.s at No Gun Ri, South Korea [NATION, Oct. 11]. Somehow we feel that we are above this type of behavior, that we are the protectors of democracy and freedom. But we forget that in times of war, every human being is capable of behavior that would never occur in times of peace and prosperity. The My Lai massacre is a reminder of that painful past. But do isolated terrible acts make us a nation of monsters? No. They only serve to make us human.

As Americans, we need to recognize our past wrongs, understand why they happened and prevent their recurrence in future conflicts. And as citizens of a nation that holds up the banner of morality, we must be prepared to be judged. SANDRA POZAR-KEETER Taegu, South Korea


Your coverage of the show of sensational art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City [ART, Oct. 11] reminds us that there is no easy answer to the question What is art? It often seems that the artistic talent shown in the newspaper’s comic-strip section dwarfs many of the efforts of contemporary “artists.” MICHAEL LUPPNOW Port Elizabeth, South Africa


In your listing of key issues facing Syria [WORLD, Oct. 18], you noted, “In talks with Israel, Syria seeks [water] rights to Lake Tiberius and the Jordan River.” The correct name is Lake Tiberias, as it is named after the famous ancient city of Tiberias and not after Tiberius the Roman Emperor. Most readers may be more familiar with the name Sea of Galilee. It is also called Lake of Gennesar in ancient sources, after the settlement on the northwestern coast of the Sea of Galilee. If names mean anything, then these clearly connect this body of water with geographic areas associated with the state of Israel. JOSHUA SCHWARTZ Efrat, Israel


As the information-technology teacher and computer coordinator here at the Vientiane International School, I read with great interest the article on new software programs for students [Oct. 4]. I found it ironic that the Encarta Reference Suite 2000 was endorsed as a tool when it encourages plagiarism. An application that allows students to “cut and paste” electronic information to index cards, then export that material to a word-processing program for editing and arranging, clearly does just that. In addition, it gives the students the impression that Encarta is the be-all and end-all in the research process. Research, however, means hunting and collecting information from a wide variety of sources to ensure that a complete and accurate viewpoint is represented. By giving students shortcuts, such software undermines this process. We are allowing students to avoid the hard work necessary in educational pursuits. JEFF BARRONS Vientiane, Laos


Robert Hughes’ graphic account of his accident in Australia made for gripping reading [DISPATCH, Oct. 11]. He said of his near-death experience that Jesus “didn’t show.” But one cannot expect to find Christ in death if one has not known him in life. MARIUS J. DE WAAL Stellenbosch, South Africa


Yes, we do have an 8-ft. bronze Leonardo da Vinci horse in Grand Rapids, Mich. [Letters, Oct. 18], but we also have a 24-ft. version, just like the Leonardo horse in Milan, Italy. In fact, ours is not even a copy. It was cast at the same time as the Milan horse; all the parts of the two statues are interchangeable. And thanks to philanthropist Fred Meijer, our horse provides a hands-on art experience for those who visit–art you can walk right up to and touch (not mounted on a pedestal like the one in Milan). Why do you think excellence in the arts occurs only in large cities? West Michigan and Grand Rapids have many high-quality art events, including top-notch music, theater and dance. ANNA COLBY Jenison, Mich.


If we could shrink the world’s population [WORLD, Oct. 18] to a village of 100 people, maintaining all the existing ratios, the village would look like this: 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the western hemisphere (North, Central and South America) and 8 Africans. Seventy of the 100 would be nonwhite. Seventy would be non-Christian. Six people would control 50% of the world’s wealth, and all of them would be citizens of the U.S. Seventy people would be unable to read, more than half would suffer from malnutrition and 80 would live in substandard housing. Only 1 of the 100 would have attended college. Some believe we do not inherit our land from ancestors but borrow it from our children. What we leave them will be determined by an increasing population and the calendar. Our failure to solve the population problem will no longer be a fault; it will be a judgment. HAROLD MUSNITSKY Penn Valley, Pa.


The Reform Party appears to be a gathering of societal misfits. With a would-be candidate like Donald Trump [PUBLIC EYE, Oct. 18] and an elected official like Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, it is a party of airheads and egomaniacs. What a travesty of democracy that these shallow characters aspire to be candidates for public office, or already hold it! With people like them, “In God We Trust” is an even more urgent watchword for the welfare of our country. MIDGE RITTER Gettysburg, Pa.

All I can say is our country will be taking a real gamble if we vote in Trump! DARLA BERRY, age 16 Columbia, Ill.


Hey! I am a huge ‘N Sync fan, and something you said about ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys kind of upset me–that “they’ll both be forgotten in six months” [PEOPLE, Oct. 18]. I agree about Backstreet Boys, but ‘N Sync? Please!

I will never be able to forget these guys, due in part to the 103 posters on my walls and ceilings. Yeah, I know I’m 18 and able to vote to decide who runs this country, but I have spent the past two years obsessing over ‘N Sync, and believe me, I’m more likely to forget my name than I am Joey’s time of birth or what hospital Justin was born in. So don’t say that I’m going to forget them, because it’s not gonna happen. MELISSA DEMETRO Simsbury, Conn.

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