December 7, 2013 at 7:18 AM
Dangerous for driving and other physical tasks
It seems like Google Glass is causing conflicts around the world. I wonder how Google Glass is going to affect our society once it becomes viral, if it ever will ["Google Glass techie ejected from hipster hotspot,” Online, Nov. 26].
I understand both the wearer’s and the non-wearer’s argument: It could revolutionize our technology, but it could become an item for potential crimes and make people around the wearer uncomfortable. There will definitely be problems about how the law will draw the line of wearing it in public.
October 29, 2013 at 7:01 AM
It’s difficult to implement a brand-new software system
I couldn’t help notice in today’s Times on page A10 Patrick Marshall’s advice column to readers experiencing computer-software problems [“Windows 8 update bombing? Sounds like a driver conflict,” Business, Oct. 26].
Back in the ‘90s and 2000s I worked for a company that had offices in eight Western states and went through several new software-operating systems. All were painful experiences, with even some employees leaving because of the stress and frustration involved in using the new systems.
Our country is now trying to roll out a nationwide software system to sign citizens up for health-care insurance. This involves 50 states — some implementing their own systems, some not — coordinating with hundreds of insurers, dealing with thousands of medical conditions and income levels. Did Microsoft have problems with its initial software rollouts? Did Amazon? Did the U.S. with Medicare Part D?
These experiences show how difficult it is to implement a brand-new software system, especially one that affects the entire U.S. population. Be patient, people. Software can be fixed, patched, upgraded, or whatever, just like in the company I worked for or in the one that employs you now.
Ken White, Seattle
August 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Ask a librarian
The article about millions of people not plugged in to the Internet barely mentioned libraries. [“Web’s there, but millions in U.S. not plugging in,” page one, Aug. 19.]
I have been at the downtown library at opening time. A crowd surges in and heads for the computers. I have seen people at the computers at our local library in Edmonds.
Job seekers need to seek out their local librarian for help. Librarians are among the most helpful people you will meet.
Barbara Chase, Edmonds
March 22, 2013 at 7:12 AM
Online learning suits some
A recent Seattle Times article highlights the need to improve success in online courses; however, there’s more to the story [“Online classes could widen achievement gap, study shows,” NWSunday, March 17].
Online courses at two-year colleges make higher education possible for thousands of working adults — many of whom are parents — to balance busy lives without attending class in person. On average, 85 percent of our students who begin an online course complete successfully.
While online students have slightly lower completion rates, the Columbia University study cited uses 2004-2009 data. It does not mention important efforts to help online students succeed: 24/7 access to e-tutoring, free professional development and mandatory faculty training. In 2014, a new learning-management system, “Canvas,” will offer a suite of e-learning tools accessible on any mobile device or social media site and analytics to pinpoint the best content and experiences for students.
Online learning requires self-direction and time management. Just as students have different learning styles, some learn better in a classroom, others online.
While classroom learning dates back hundreds of years, there are still vital lessons to be learned about online education. Colleges continually strive to give every student a chance to succeed, regardless of class format.
–Marty Brown, executive director, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Olympia
March 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM
Science education should start earlier
Here we go again. Time and again, Bill Gates and his ilk look to high schools and colleges to bring up student achievement in math and science [“Science, math education backers find friends in U.S. Capitol,” NWWednesday, March 20]. Yet, since the state doesn’t test students in science until eighth grade, most students don’t get any science education until they hit middle school.
Other countries begin science education early, giving their students a head start over ours. I realize that many elementary school teachers are not comfortable with science, but we have music and physical-education specialists in the schools.
It is high time we put our money where our mouths are and put science-education specialists in the elementary schools.
–Linda Hill, Bothell
March 7, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Support the Global Fund
Thanks for the story on the American baby who has been cured of HIV [“Scientists say HIV baby apparently is cured now,” page one, March 4].
We still permit more than 300,000 babies to be born with the death sentence each year. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria makes the drugs available to do that.
The Global Fund has already said that it could virtually eliminate HIV in newborns by 2015. We need to be a part of the funding to make this possible. For every dollar we put in to do that, the fund raises two additional dollars.
And preventing the transmission of HIV is an incredible money-saving practice. [There are] no further costs to fight HIV and AIDS in that child as it grows, and that child will not pass on the virus to anyone else in its lifetime either. A win-win for sure.
–Robert C. Dickerson II, Seattle
March 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Possible conflicts of interests should be defused
I agree with U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene that her background does not present a conflict of interest with her current role [“Foreign workers’ visas familiar issue for DelBene,” NWSunday, March 3]. In fact, it would be an advantage in understanding the intricacies of current immigration law.
However, I take issue with her belief that a conflict of interest does not currently exist.
When the largest contributors to her campaign for the House of Representatives, and her family’s income via her husband Kurt DelBene, are directly impacted by any work she may do on H-1B visas, there is a conflict of interest.
Either she does not know what conflict of interest is, or she just does not care. I find either option frightening.
Her constituents, the people that voted her into office, deserve better.
The bar should not be that she would benefit or has benefitted; it should be that she might. If Suzan DelBene or any other representative or senator might personally benefit from a piece of legislation, they should recuse themselves. DelBene, (as well as all U.S. representatives and senators) should not even allow the perception that their vote is for sale to the highest contributor.
–Jeffrey D. Myers, Bellevue
Unemployed, underemployed domestic workers ignored
In the softball article featuring Rep. Suzan DelBene, the Microsoft insider says she met with industry officials to bolster her labor immigration opinions.
I note she did not mention meeting with unemployed or underemployed computer scientists. Many of these incurred significant subsidized student debt to get their degrees, but many job opportunities have been pre-empted by imported H-1B indentured labor.
DelBene seems to have absorbed the corporate line. Corporate Kool-Aid is not a health drink, even if your mother gives you lots of it.
–Dwight Rousu, Redmond
March 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Economists and politicians are not addressing change
I just read an article that appeared in the March 3 Seattle Times by Jon Talton [“Rise of the robots beyond assembly line,” Business]. I found it an insightful and provocative analysis of the effect of automation and robot technology on jobs.
What he and other recent writers have identified is a potentially catastrophic breakdown of the present economic paradigm. I wonder how many people realize the significance of this. Is anyone actively proposing alternative paradigms? If not, why not? If so, who? What might they be?
How many of the country’s economists and political leaders understand the medium- and long-term social consequences of such a far-reaching paradigm shift in the U.S. economic system or in the interconnected economic systems of other industrialized countries?
All I see are bewilderment and confusion among the majority of U.S. economists and politicians, who are so blinded by convention that they apply ineffectual solutions to effects rather than causes.
–William Manatt, Mount Vernon
March 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Thriving tech businesses should invest in state students
Today’s opinion piece by Susan Sigl and Bryan Mistele ended with the sentence, “The answer should be clear” [“Tech industry tax incentives should be extended,” Opinion, March 1]. The answer could be clear if the correct question were asked: “If the tech industry is as successful as they say they are due to past incentives, and they need our students to be better-educated, why are they seeking to retain incentives now that their businesses are thriving?”
The phrase “pay it forward” has become popular recently. How about some good old-fashioned “pay it back” from those established businesses in the tech industry? Companies that have become successful due to past incentives should pay the state back for those previously received incentives by letting go of them.
This is a clear answer to the problem of fully funding education for all state students, including those studying STEM subjects.
–Marcia Stedman, Bothell
Tax incentives should not go to established companies
It seem to me tax incentives should be for startups or struggling innovative companies.
I wish someone would look at Microsoft and other large, very profitable tech companies and simply list the recent profits and the tax breaks they will receive if these incentives are continued and then look at the need for education funding.
How can these companies continually lament the lack of skilled workers while avoiding paying taxes that help fund education? Am I missing something? Please enlighten us.
–Sherry Taylor, Seattle
March 4, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Social-media sites resemble private realm
Employers have no right to demand or expect applicants to give up their passwords to social-media sites [“Social-media passwords not the bosses’ business,” Opinion, Feb. 27]. I understand companies’ desire to get to know the people they are considering hiring, and why they might want to monitor their employee’s online activities. However, requiring access to Facebook profiles and other online media sites goes to far into being an invasion of privacy.
Employees have a right to keep some level of privacy and should be able to conduct themselves differently in private, if they so choose. I myself wear different clothes on the weekends and talk differently to my mother than I do to my college buddies. Requiring access to their Facebook seems suspiciously similar to showing up at their house and poking around their bedroom.
As long as employee’s online behavior does not affect their work performance or tarnish the companies image significantly, they should be free to do as they please, without anyone looking over their shoulder. After all, if a company needs someone’s password to find embarrassing information online, no one else will be able to easily find it either.
–Austin Williams, Salem, Ore.
Trending with readers