Feedback, March 31
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Thursday February 3, 2005
Real Player shame
What a shame the BBC didn't spot that the relaunch of their Radio Player (Internet saved the radio star, January 27) was the perfect opportunity to dump the irritating and invasive Real Player.
In reference to the BBC Radio Player you say, "As before, you must still download Real Player to be able to listen". This is not true, I don't have Real Player installed on my machine. I use the excellent Real Alternative (www.codecguide.com/about_real.htm).
Under lock and key
Dave Birch (Second Sight, January 27) is correct that S/MIME capabilities exist in many email clients, but unless there is a Public Key Infrastructure with well-understood trust levels, it can only really be used by the technically astute. I don't know what checks Thawte did on his identity before supplying a certificate, but I expect it would be very easy to set up an email address claiming to be Dave Birch and get it certified by a certification authority. A further problem with encrypted email is that many organisations will reject it at their boundary systems because they are unable to check it for malicious content.
Play against type
Brian Elsey (Feedback, January 27) seems to imply he misunderstood how the keys are laid out in the abKey keyboard. In abKey's patented layout, all vowels are in the home row, under the fingers of the left hand, the three middle fingers of which also covers early consonants: BCD by moving down and FGH by moving up. The home row of the right hand covers space (thumb), RST (middle three fingers) and return (last finger). By moving up, the middle three covers LMN as well. Elsey is right, to type fast you want all common consonants right under the hand and the abKey layout allows that. abKey ensures all common letters are within easy reach of both hands. Studies have proven that for a given eight hours of work, abKey typists move their fingers half the distance compared with those using a Qwerty keyboard, which translates into faster speed and lower fatigue.
Not up to speed
Cheap, high bandwidth, low transfer limit broadband services are great for many people, such as Pete Meddings (Feedback, January 27). If 1GB per month is sufficient to meet your needs, it seems foolish to pay for more. However, it seems exaggerated to say bandwidth matters more than data capacity. A 2Mbps connection can download that 1GB limit in one hour and seven minutes. So what is the point of so much bandwidth? Nor is bandwidth directly proportional to speed. Most delays in web browsing are not caused by bandwidth, but by latency and server overload at the website's end of the connection. The ISPs don't mention any of this in their "40x the speed of dial-up" sales pitch. Perhaps they should add "only when downloading at full capacity and we'll cut you off if you spend more than an hour doing that".
Get a load on
Pete Meddings says "the speed of the connection is far more useful than the capacity". For him. I treat any internet service provider that limits downloads as inferior. Surely the beauty of broadband is you can download what you like, when you like. Freedom To Surf offers poor value compared with other 512Kbps 1Mbps services with unlimited data downloads. Different strokes ...
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