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The July 2000 article "Anywhere, Everywhere, Everything Palm" states that the Handspring Visor OS is not upgradable. According to the Handspring Web site, the OS is upgradable through software patches.

Joel A. Karahadian,
Pasadena, California

You can update the Handspring OS using patches, but you can't upgrade it to newer full versions (such as Palm OS 3.3 or 3.5, the current versions) because the Visor ROMs can't be upgraded. It's kind of like fixing the plumbing in your house: you can bring a plumber out to repair leaks and extend connections (patches), but if your pipes are really shot, you need to replace the whole system (upgrade). --Jeff Carlson

In the sidebar "Your Cube Is Not Your Castle" ("Protect Yourself Online," July 2000), you suggest that former CIA director John Deutch should have protected his Mac with OS 9's Voiceprint feature. It has been my experience that Mac OS 9's Multiple Users is not secure; with a different start-up disk -- such as an external drive or even the Mac OS 9 CD -- you can easily access the hard drive. While Mac OS is the best platform out there, OS 9's Voiceprint is certainly not a secure means of locking a hard disk.

Matt McEmber
Midland, Michigan

The sidebar "Your Cube Is Not Your Castle" states, "If you use text passwords, include capital and lowercase letters." While this is generally good practice, it's pointless with Mac OS 9's Multiple Users feature because the passwords, unlike those for File Sharing, are not case sensitive. This may have been done intentionally to improve ease-of-use for new users, but case sensitivity should be an option for the security conscious.

Kurt Sheffer
Wilmette, Illinois

As anyone who has spent any time with Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 5 ( Reviews , July 2000) knows, the program is great as long as you're viewing a single Web site and not using Java. Try opening multiple pages -- especially dynamically generated e-commerce pages -- and the browser becomes increasingly unstable. A crash in IE 5 doesn't lock up the application and require a forced quit; it brings down the whole system, forcing a reboot. IE 5 looks great and renders pages quite nicely, but it is in desperate need of some under-the-hood improvements.

Rob Wyatt
Los Angeles, California

I am routinely able to have five or ten pages open in IE 5. All you have to do is give IE a bigger memory allocation. (I currently have the program running at 10Mb.) As for Java, IE 5 uses Apple's MRJ (Macintosh Runtime for Java). MRJ for Mac OS 9 is behind the times -- and Apple has no plans to improve it. When you are able to upgrade to OS X, you'll get a modern Java from Apple. However, it's not fair to dun Microsoft for Apple's poor implementation of Java. Netscape 4.X still uses its own Java virtual machine, which is even older than MRJ. --Tom Negrino

Just picked up your July 2000 issue and noticed a little blooper. In Christopher Breen's The Game Room , a caption titled "Madden's Missing Easter Egg," makes reference to the "1984 Raiders-Chiefs Super Bowl." While I agree with Breen that it would've been cool to see Apple's famous "1984" commercial during the game's halftime show, it would've been cooler to see the Raiders play the Chiefs in the Super Bowl at all (they're both AFC teams).

Warren Oshita
Palo Alto, California

You're absolutely correct: the 1984 Super Bowl was played by the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins, not the Raiders and the Chiefs. We'll just have to chalk this one up to brain fade. Thankfully, my condition wasn't so extreme that I listed the Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians -- and placed baseball players at the Super Bowl. --Christopher Breen

Thanks for a great column ("Real Estate Breakers," The Desktop Critic , July 2000). The reason for Apple's bigger icons is the only in-house designer that counts: Steve Jobs. In case no one has noticed, this forty-something suffers from a common malady -- aging eyes. Notice how the old Apple print ads were full of text? That was Steve's influence back then. Notice the new print ads? Just a couple of words. I understand completely what's going on. Reading glasses have become the norm for both Steve and me. Expect ever larger icons.

Jim Hoyt
Portland, Oregon

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The Power Macintosh G4/500 ( Reviews , July 2000) has a 27GB hard drive.

This month's comments come to us from postings at Many are reactions to stories about hopes for an Apple handheld and about the cost of a Mac versus the cost of a PC. To participate in the forums on hot topics, visit

Just give me a tan metal box, and knock several hundred off the price tag, please.

Settle for cardboard, and we'll knock the price down even more! --Ed.

If price is inversely related to market share, then I guess that explains why the infamous Yugo has dominated the auto market since it was introduced.

Well, it has in Yugoslavia, anyway.... --Ed.

What is this obsession with using Macintoshes right out of the box? I saw a Mac nut at work proudly demonstrate that he could set up a brand-new iMac and be online in less than 10 minutes. I bought an eMachine a few weeks later and decided to time myself. I was online in about 15 minutes. This was the first non-Apple computer I had set up. I don't think those five minutes of my life were worth paying for.

That's the problem with products today. If only they were more difficult to set up and inefficient to use. Whatever happened to the good old days of slide rules, manually operated printing presses, and Soviet-made cars? --Ed.

Rome wasn't built in a day, but if it had been, Apple would've built it.

But then they would've announced a shipping delay. --Ed.

I've lost my Newton pen and am not having much success with fingernails and pencils. I live in London, and I haven't yet found a place to buy Newton pens in the United Kingdom. Is there a mail-order service I can contact?

Snide answer: Might we suggest crayons? Useful answer: Cross makes a pen with a stylus tip. Levenger ( ) has plenty to choose from. --Ed.

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