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Feeding the Mouths That Sing We are concerned with your August 2000 cover. The word steal is highlighted in red so as to catch the reader's eye. We understand your wish to sell more magazines, but we object to your willingness to propose outright stealing by the use of such an inflammatory tactic. To be fair, the article inside is fairly evenhanded. However, how would you like it if our organization published a newsletter with a cover tease about "stealing" copies of Macworld? For the record, we represent the professional musicians of St. Louis, Missouri. Our members' skills and talents make it possible for the students you mention in your article to have music to enjoy in the first place. If you starve the golden goose, you will have no golden eggs to enjoy.

Nancy R. Schick, The Board of Directors, Musicians' Association of St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri

About " Steal This Song " (August 2000): the real issue is a creator's inherent right to receive fair compensation for her creation. The fact that technology provides the means to acquire something without paying for it doesn't make doing so morally acceptable or economically wise. In an information-driven economy, everyone must support and protect the value of intellectual property, or ultimately all of us will be out of work.

Bill Anderson
Atlanta, Georgia

Although I hesitated before upgrading from America Online 4.0 to 5.0 (Reviews, August 2000), I ultimately decided to give it a try. I connect every time I log on. I can send pictures in e-mail messages, I can "sign" my e-mail, and most importantly, I can retrieve e-mail that I've deleted within the past 24 hours--a feature I've used a number of times. I have no use for the My Calendar, My Places, or You've Got Pictures features found in 5.0, so I don't use them. But I wish AOL had put separate history trails in the tool bar for each user.

David Lubin
Tampa, Florida

I never thought I would say anything in favor of America Online, but your giving AOL 5.0 a score of

25 mice
failed to acknowledge one of its strongest features: reliable, worldwide TCP/IP Internet access. AOL is the only Internet access provider that could connect me in Barcelona, London, and all of Latvia. The AOL 5.0 client is clean and reliable and allows me to bypass its own Internet tools in favor of Eudora Pro and Netscape Communicator. Furthermore, people have lured me into using AOL Instant Messenger, a perfect tool for making Europe seem only a few miles away.

Michael Dexter
Portland, Oregon

Thanks for your review on broadband Internet routers (Reviews, August 2000). However, it contains a mistake. The review states: "[Software routers] require a dedicated computer." I've been using Vicomsoft SurfDoubler on my wife's G4, networked with my G3, to access our DSL line. While her G4 functions as a software router, Web server, and file server, she can do everything she needs to do: desktop publishing, word processing, e-mail, browsing, etc. No dedicated machine required.

John DiPetto
New York, New York

The computer acting as a router doesn't have to be dedicated to the task but must remain on if other connected computers are to be able to access the Internet.--Ed.

Using Speedmark 2.0 sounds like a good idea (Reviews, August 2000). Sure, the new PowerBook is faster, but does speed make a difference to me? It sounds as though Speedmark will be able to answer that question.

Can you explain Speedmark scores as you did MacBench scores (include a blurb in the tables with Speedmark measurements and scores)? And could you print a review of the software and let us download and try it?

via the Internet

We are unable to distribute Speedmark because it's based on a series of real-world commercial applications, such as SoundJam, Quake, and Microsoft Office. For more information, visit

I just read " Create a Barrier-Free Web Site " (Create, August 2000). Thanks for such a helpful piece. I run a Web site for a nonprofit that helps many people with disabilities, but I hadn't seen a good how-to for improving the site's accessibility. Our clients will thank you, too, once I implement some changes.

Scott McCormick
Berkeley, California

After reading " The Dawn of a New Error " (Desktop Critic, August 2000), I had to come to Apple's defense. Although I agree that Apple's error messages are cold, it seems that the company is at least trying to change the relationship between its hardware and the user. Turn your AirPort Base Station or your new iBook power supply over and read the bottom!

Mark R. Burch
Albrightsville, Pennsylvania

Yes, the new iBook's power supply amiably announces, "i was assembled in Thailand."--Ed.

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.

There may be few guarantees in life, but we've stumbled upon one: people just love arguing about Napster. After our cover story on Napster ("Steal This Song," August 2000), our mailbox and message boards were filled with comments about the music-sharing service.

But one reader took it upon himself to attack the true evil: libraries. "[They] take artists' copyrighted work and distribute it for free--despite never having received permission to do so," he writes. "They wrest control of valuable work out of the hands of artists--libraries are nothing more than greedy thieves."

Another astute reader offered a revelation about downloadable music: that Todd Rundgren is, "as usual, a visionary." True, "Hello It's Me" is a personal favorite of ours, but we'd rather work than listen to "Bang on the Drum All Day" all day.

Other readers had pessimistic outlooks on the idea of downloadable music. One remarked that today's Napster is tomorrow's disaster for movies, TV, and anything you can digitize. We couldn't agree more. When we start seeing digitized versions of The Love Boat, the end is nigh.

On another note, Mac users are often questioned about why we love our Macs so much. University student Jason Hackworth wrote us boasting about the looks people give him when he totes around his tangerine iBook, but he asked, "How can I justify my love for Macintosh?" Well, you could always take the Madonna approach: wrap your iBook in leather and dance with it in the quad (until the campus police drag you away).

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