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I was delighted to find such a comprehensive and evenhanded assessment of the state of speech-recognition technology for the Mac ("Listen Up," June 2000). David Pogue did an admirable job of navigating many of the land mines of myth and misinformation that have dotted the Mac speech landscape for years. I was especially glad to see fair coverage of MacSpeech and its ListenDo application.

I've been using PlainTalk, combined with AppleScript, on my trusty Power Mac 7300/180 for years, to give my mouse (and my right wrist) a rest from many repetitive tasks. It's also downright enjoyable to control your Mac with spoken commands, especially when your friends are watching!

So thanks to David Pogue for extolling the virtues of speech technology on the Mac. I plan to get one of the software packages this year, but for now, it's great to start up my Mac and, even if I'm down the hall or in the kitchen, hear "Kathy" say, "Speakable Items is ready!"

Hunt Sidway
Louisville, Kentucky

Eye am using a new ViaVoice my IBM speech program. It works quite well as you can see by the water. I think you for an Fiat's Stanton article that made by the Senate in. Thanks again Mac World.

Graham Davis
Milford, Michigan

I'm happy two here that you are using ViaVoice sucks S fully. I myself use beach-recognition software for Windows, which is at least a generation a head of Max. Queerly, speech recognition is the technology of today and 2 Maura!--David Pogue

For the past month, I've used my PowerBook 2000 (Reviews, June 2000) daily; it's fast, quiet, and attractive. But why has no one noticed the absurdity of the AC adapter? The round power adapter may be striking to look at, but it's cumbersome, annoyingly large, and a bit heavy. The adapter is also different from every other PowerBook adapter Apple has used, forcing me to lug around the proprietary cord wherever I go or risk becoming power-less.

Bill White
Goffstown, New Hampshire

Only the connector on the end of the cable that goes from the AC outlet to the power adapter has changed. The plug that goes into the back of the PowerBook has remained unchanged for several years, which means you can use power cords from discontinued PowerBook models on Apple's latest portables.--Ed.

Macworld has taken an oversimplified "Chicken Little" approach to Internet and computer security, and I'm disappointed. The latest example is your review of DoorStop Personal (June 2000). Mel Beckman made a blanket statement that I find untrue: "If you're using a continuous connection, you need a firewall--it's simply not optional in today's dangerous Internet environment."

Mac OS users have always had excellent security right out of the box, not only because Apple chooses not to ship Mac OS with IP File Sharing (in OS 9) or Personal Web Sharing enabled, but also because the OS has no command-line access. There are definitely good uses for firewall products such as DoorStop Personal, but your review barely touches on one of them--controlling access according to client IP address.

Readers should understand that running a server is always a security risk, and they need information to decide for themselves whether a utility is worth its cost.

Pete Gontier
Los Angeles, California

Think the Third Little Pig and his brick house, not Chicken Little. Many hacker attacks have nothing to do with careless configuration. Hackers exploit operating-system bugs that lie outside the direct control of end users. Some loopholes, such as the Mac OS 9.0 TCP/IP bug (fixed in January's Open Transport 2.6 update), let hackers coerce an Internet-connected computer into attacking innocent third parties. A firewall prevents arbitrary network traffic from reaching the operating system, drastically reducing the possibility that a hacker can exploit software flaws.--Mel Beckman

Just thought I should mention that the "Port Authority" sidebar in "Bridge the Gap" (June 2000) contains a possible error. I think the labels are flipped on the serial (DB9) and serial (mini-DIN 8) ports.

Jonadab J. Torres
Patterson, New York

You're absolutely right. Regrettably, the captions got switched during our editorial process.--Ed.

I've just finished reading "Bridge the Gap," and I have a question. The author mentions that a USB connection is slower than a SCSI connection: 1.5 MBps. Later, the author reports the data-transfer rate to be 12 Mbps. Which is correct?

J. A. Clark
Grand Island, Nebraska

There are 8 bits in a byte; therefore, a USB connection's speed can be described as either 12 Mbps or 1.5 MBps.--Ed.

Thanks to Jeff Carlson for criticizing Palm's poor Mac support in his Palm IIIc review (Reviews, June 2000). I love my Palm, but dang it, Palm Computing should treat us loyal Mac users better.

Anthony Hornof
Eugene, Oregon

Am I mistaken, or was Cisco the dog (cover, June 2000) digitally whacked? I really don't think people are so prudish they'd be offended by something that innocent--except perhaps the uptight editor who forced Cisco to be digitally neutered. For shame!

Richard Governali
Santa Ana, California

Letters should be sent to Letters, Macworld, 301 Howard St., 16th Fl., San Francisco, CA 94105; via fax, 415/442-0766; or electronically, to letters @ Include a return address and daytime phone number. Due to the high volume of mail received, we can't respond personally to each letter. We reserve the right to edit all letters. All published letters become the property of Macworld.

Arnold Tiosejo created the photograph that appears in Macworld's review of workgroup printers (Reviews, July 2000). m

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