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The Great Debate: Mac OS X

The topic of Mac OS X is white-hot. Our mailboxes and online forums are overrun with arguments for and against the next generation of Mac OS. If you want to speak your mind, visit our Mac OS X subject page at www.macworld.com/subject/macosx.

Beta Blues

Henry Bortman's discussion of the Mac OS X public beta was very disappointing ( "Classic Confusion," in "OS X-Beta Survival Guide," December 2000). Of course Mac OS X was not meant for daily use. Apple released a public beta so users could test it out and send feedback, bug reports, general comments, feature requests, and the like. I think this is a great step - it's better than having to sit around and hold your breath.

Considering that users get protected memory, preemptive multitasking, and rock-solid Unix underneath the operating system, it seems Bortman was quick to judge the Mac OS X public beta.

Simone Manganelli
Mountain View, California

Apple gets my applause for the changes it's making to the design of the user interface in OS X. Every day, I help casual Mac users through the trials of operating a computer. This new operating system is a clearer, more logical approach to computing.

However, I use a Mac every day for my own work, and I see the new OS as something that won't help my productivity - its interface changes will clutter my screen and make it more difficult to do what I need to.

At this point in computer development, it's ludicrous to expect one OS design to be the best both for novices and professionals. I hope Apple recognizes this fact.

Thomas Payne
Waverly, Iowa

Shh

David Pogue is reckless and irresponsible to dismiss the threat that increasingly invasive electronic surveillance plays in our lives ( The Desktop Critic , December 2000). In an age when our children are subjected to ads in the classroom, in their textbooks, and on the playing field, we shouldn't be asking for "targeted" Web ads - we should be demanding less advertising! And the Web pages I visit - naughty or not - are, quite simply, none of anyone's business. I can also assure Pogue that his friend who pays cash is not being hurt by his paranoia - he's simply not receiving (the credit card company's) 2-percent reward for being a good little unquestioning consumer. In the long run, I'd wager, he's better off.

Pogue sounds as though he has surrendered to the system and is desperately trying to find some rationalization for his lack of outrage. I recommend visiting the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( www.eff.org ) for a healthy injection of inspiration.

Eric Hoffsten
Brooklyn, New York

Pogue hit the nail right on the head in his excellent column on Internet privacy. I have been quite exasperated by the mindless reports on this issue, and government involvement is especially worrisome. The government should not restrict the information that companies can obtain about my surfing habits (without authorization). Frankly, I want information gathered about what I like and what I don't. Is that so wrong?

A company's ability to tailor its site to specific individuals would be greatly restricted under many of the Internet-privacy measures that have recently been proposed. Pogue took Macworld readers beyond the surface to take a look at what is really occurring behind the scares.

Stephen Dean
via the Internet

Panic?

While I agree with Andrew Gore that it's too soon to panic about Apple's future ( The Vision Thing , December 2000), I disagree that the G4 Cube can not be the "something new for consumers" he says is needed. The Cube's unique style makes it immediately attractive to many consumers. Unfortunately, it is way too expensive as currently configured. Today's average consumers have firm budgets; it's difficult to lure them to more-powerful and more-expensive models. Trying to sell $1,800 Cubes to iMac customers is a losing battle, even with a $300 rebate.

Daniel Gonneau
Astoria, New York

Corral Corel

Philip Michaels lets Corel off much too easily ( "Corel Draws Up Mac Battle Plan," Buzz, December 2000). Corel Spokeswoman Meredith Dundas would have us believe that Corel is "a company with a reputation for strong Mac products." I find that to be an odd statement, considering that Corel purchased WordPerfect - really the only solid competition Microsoft Word has ever had - from Novell, only to let it rot on the shelves. If I were a user of Corel Painter, Bryce, KPT, or KPT Vector Effects, I would begin an immediate evaluation of replacement products.

Zeph Bender
Los Angeles, California

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Corrections
In our review of FireWire CD-RW drives ( Reviews , November 2000), the drives' speeds are listed in the following order: write, rewrite, and read.

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