Suppliers behaving badly
Last year, at the request of a customer, we placed an order for two leading-brand notebooks with a certain distie. As with many small businesses, we do not hold many accounts, so we were required to pay up-front. We had no problems with that.
Our order arrived and both notebooks had problems: one had a large scratch on the case; the other had a faulty screen with a pixel not working in the middle of the screen. We contacted our supplier immediately, detailed what was wrong and said that we felt the units were DOA (dead on arrival).
The supplier advised us that it would not replace the unit with the damaged screen as it was only one pixel. It could not obtain an exchange from the vendor and suggested we sell the other, scratched unit at a discount price.
Meanwhile, the customer came to check on his order and was not happy. He required the notebooks urgently and offered to buy the scratched unit at a discount. We had to re-order the other unit so we are now stuck with a unit with a faulty screen.
We have had offers of a replacement screen on two occasions, which where subsequently rescinded. During discussions we offered to swap the damaged unit for a current model and pay the difference but have had no reply.
The moral to the story: be selective in what you sell. Suppliers take our money but don't supply what we pay for. It's hard enough for small businesses as it is, so let's set some standards.
Greg Pinnock, East Gippsland Computers, VIC.
Give 802.11a a go
Your article "Caution urged for 802.11a solutions" (February 13, p24) contains a lot more claims than actual facts. To set the record straight:
1. 802.11a products have all the security capabilities, network management and roaming features of 802.11b products and, unlike almost all 802.11b products, Atheros 802.11a suffers no performance degradation when encryption is on.
2. Tests of current 802.11a product show that it has a consistent performance advantage over current 802.11b product at all ranges.
3. In offering the dual band product, Symbol and Agere are implicitly endorsing the notion that 802.11a is the right way to expand an 802.11b network.
4. The claim that g' will succeed b' because of its backwards compatability neglects to mention that the maximum TCP/IP throughput of g' at 54Mbps will in fact be 11.8Mbps. This will be a user experience problem when product eventually ships.
It's a pity to see a good technology being rubbished before it's even tried.
Ian McLean, NetGear, NSW.
Large-scale Linux exists
I was disappointed to read your article entitled "Linux adoption on the rise" (January 30, p28), wherein you mentioned that the take-up of Linux was nevertheless slow in Australia and quoted a Gartner analyst who said: "For Linux usage to grow in the region, large-scale database deployments and financial-type applications have to be deployed. Not having large types of applications such as those from Oracle or SAP running on Linux will impede its growth."
This either shows ignorance of the current state of technology, or a reluctance to come to terms with the success of Linux. Such large-scale database deployments have long been available on Linux. In fact, Linux has probably the widest range of major database support of any OS platform.
I'm sure the reason for Linux's slow uptake in Australia has more to do with local conservatism and ignorance than it does from any lack of availability of database applications.
Eric Browne, Montage Systems, SA.