The Mail

The Mail

November 22 1999
The Mail

The Mail

November 22 1999

The Mail

‘Net’ allure

“Beware the Internet underground” (Cover,

Nov. 8) fed your readers quite a story, but misinformed them about the reality of the Internet.

Functions provided by Hotline Connect software such as file transfer, image viewing, live chat and newsboards are anything but “underground.” Those technologies have evolved over the past 30 years and are used by millions on the World Wide Web, Usenet, IRC, FTP and many other Internet services. The description of Hotline Connect’s user base as a “community of thieves” was sensationalist. The reason for the popularity of Hodine software is that our technology is better. This is the allure to both novice and advanced Internet users (and, according to your own journalists, at least one member of Macleans staff)Your writer focused exclusively on a small segment of Hotline users on public trackers, ignoring the existence of the thousands of organizations that use the software to create Intranets. Your special report also failed to distinguish between our company, Hotline Communications, and the Hotline user universe, creating the impression that our company is involved with illegal content. Hotline Communications does not

condone illegal content. We are well aware of the seriousness of software piracy since, in our first year of business as a software vendor, less than two per cent of our users had actually paid for our product. Our response to this problem was to change our business model. The Hotline Communications-administered network—as distinguished from Hodine software—is a rapidly growing gateway with strict terms of service. We receive hundreds of applications per day from businesses, schools, associations and individuals worldwide wishing to be part of this community network.

John Caliendo, Chief Financial Officer, Hotline Communications Ltd., Toronto

This is the first concise and in-depth article on software piracy I’ve read in a major newsmagazine, and the only one to do enough research to cover all sides of the issue. You should be proud of the quality of your research.

David Granatstein, Waterloo, Ont.

1 am a high-school senior. I’ve been involved with the Internet since its infancy—I’ve practically grown up online. I have never found a medium so rich with talented, individualistic persons. Ideas, concepts and discussions flow around the world in real time, connecting the insights of civilization. As with any new technological advancement, one can always find negative impacts. If piracy and pornography are what people want, then the Internet becomes an easier way for people to obtain such material. Unfortunately, not many children have parents who understand the concept of the Net, let alone the material out there. Blaming

the Internet or software for negative spin-offs isn’t attacking the root of the problem. As a country, we need to realize that our future lies within technology, and we need to better educate the individuals driving this change: our youth. There’s a whole new culture breeding right in our homes—and bringing us all a litde closer together. Lome Bradley Neudorf, Brandon, Man.

Hotline is only a small part of the Net underground. And it used to be a nice community before PC servers started invading it. I have been a pretty wellknown person in the Macintosh underground, helping others as much as I could with the litde knowledge I had the chance to gain from a few years passed with the most infamous personalities of the Mac underground, such as The Weasel, oleBuzzard, Buck Rogers, Zeus, Moondark and others. This letter is not meant to discredit your article, though I must say it lacks information about the underground communities, and it stereotypes. No, Doom II is not a cool game; SiteO doesn’t look like the most elite group at the time. Ever heard of DefCon? That is the real underground, not lame warez sites.

Guillaume Bélanger, Montreal

Hampered heroes

We expect the men and women of our Canadian Forces search-andrescue squadron to risk their lives on a daily basis using equipment that in itself could cause a disaster (“ ‘It takes a special person,’ Canada, Oct. 25). To ask them to fly helicopters that are 35 years old while they wait for our government to purchase replacements is more than I can fathom. Surely we can afford to buy at least three off the shelf immediately to tide them over until delivery of their new helicopters begins in 2001. Maybe the next time our SAR techs do a training run in the old Labradors they should take the minister of national defence with them—nothing like a trip in an aircraft held together with baling wire to make one sit up and pay attention.

Sheila M. McCormack, Nelson, B.C.

Letters to the Editor should be addressed to: Maclean’s Magazine Letters 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7 Fax: (416) 596-7730 E-mail: Maclean 's welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space, style and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear in Maclean’s electronic sites. E-mail queries about subscriptions or delivery problems should be addressed to:

A changing Canada

Conservation and the environment are the responsibility of all Canadians, both native and non-native. A treaty signed in Canada’s early years could not possibly have envisioned Canada or the

world as we live in it today (“Beyond Burnt Church,” Canada, Oct. 18). Life has changed. Every Canadian, regardless of race or origin, is a part of this change—like it or not. We must all do what we have to do.

Mike Murray, Sarnia, Ont.

Co-operative art

I was thrilled to read about the work of musician Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, especially their efforts to bring classical music to grade schools and high schools across our nation (“A white knight hits the road,” Music, Oct. 18). The “light” that this energetic man and the NAC troupe are bringing to our country is to be celebrated. For that reason, I was thoroughly disappointed that you chose to make the artist Bill Reid the cover feature in the same issue (“Trade secrets”). A Canadian icon? Not in my estimation.

Brian Krushel, Camrose, Alta.

Apparently, Maclean’s got so

wrapped up in discrediting Bill Reid it forgot to acknowledge the creator of the remarkable new sculpture commemorating the Persons Case (“Prominent ‘persons,’ ” Opening Notes, Oct. 18). We learned a lot about the deep pockets of the donors but nothing of the artist herself. For the record, she is Barbara Paterson of Edmonton.

Tom Shorthouse, Port Moody, B.C.

Fear for America

Your review “The big screen heats up” (Film, Sept. 27) states that American Beauty was “one of the most talkedabout films at the festival” and that “it will continue to be talked about—all the way up to Oscar time.” That is not surprising. I saw this movie last week. It is truly devastating to think that this film reveals American suburbia with uncanny insight. Though I fear for the American nation, I have a hard time believing that it is in the horrific state as satirized in this movie.

Marg Haliburton, Halifax

Close to Reform?

It’s unlike Barbara Amiel to indulge in published fantasy, but she did that twice in her column of Oct. 25 (“Canada’s left-wing batde”). First, in dreaming up an excuse to avoid supporting the conservatism of Preston

Manning and his Reform followers: “I can’t help feeling that if a lot of them had their way, we’d live in a bit of a Big Nurse Protestant theocracy.” She couldn’t really believe that if she had read Reform’s policy supporting freedom of conscience and religion, or Manning’s own views on religion and politics in his book The New Canada. Her second fantasy is a takeover of the Liberal party by young people who would then have it adopt a series of acceptable policies. But nearly everything Amiel says she stands for is to be found in the Reform Blue Sheet of principles and policies. Robert Nielsen, Wilmot, N.B.

Barbara Amiel has gotten it right: we allowed Pierre Trudeau and his ilk, who couldn’t get elected to power with the NDP, to hijack the Liberal party and turn Canada into a socialist country. Politicians of the other parties followed

the leftist line believing it would help their election possibilities. Not until Preston Manning came along have we had a party that doesn’t, or at least didn’t, take on the lefty line looking for an election win.

Lloyd Dunham, Gananoque, Ont.

Barbara Amiel has missed the obvious contradiction in her own list of “liberal” beliefs when, in her first point, she claims to believe in “no special privileges for any group.” Immediately following that, she asks for the freedom to have a second-tier medical-care system. I know she reasons that the well-off could compete for the services of those devoted to “excellence” in the medical field, thus freeing up the waiting lists and caseloads for those “aging flower children, ideological, magic mushroom eating, bell-bottom wearing” doctors who still believe in universal health care,

but I think her concept of no special privileges and mine differ. What Amiel is really saying is no special privileges for any group—but the rich.

Bill MacLean, Toronto

Economic sense

Robert Mundell is another Canadian who had to leave the country to be recognized, and he was—with a Nobel Prize in economics (“Renaissance man,” World, Oct. 25). My exposure to his ideas is limited to the recent media coverage. But I like what seems to be the general drift of his thinking that led to the euro, and his recommendation that the Canuck buck be pegged to the U.S. dollar. Other reports have pointed out that the dollar’s disastrous decline is the result of Canadian manipulation. The effect is increasing parochialism, which, in today’s world climate, is akin to sawing off the limb you are sitting on closer to the tree trunk.

Roman N. Borsch, Toronto

To serve our people’

Your article “Building new bridges” (Cover, Sept. 27), about a new generation of younger natives coming into its own, raised my interest and curiosity. I am the youngest of three brothers of Métis ancestry, and we all are pursuing medicine as a career. We come from a single-parent family, raised by our father. We were all born and raised in Winnipeg. The eldest of us has his own medical practice and is a specialist in rehabilitation medicine. My next eldest brother was a high-school dropout who then went on to become a registered nurse; now, he is in third-year medical school. I was also a high-school dropout and then I turned my life around, subsequendy becoming an RN as well, and now I am also in medical school—this fall, I started first year at the University of Manitoba. The two of us who were nurses went to northern Manitoba and we lived on reserves and worked almost exclusively with treaty, non-treaty aboriginals and Métis peoples. When we graduate, we will band together to form our own practice. The foundation for this has already been laid. My eldest brother has started another business that caters to the needs of aboriginal people. This is the first of many projects that we all are going to become involved in upon graduation, to serve our own people. Gerald Hoy, Winnipeg

Acquiring Pokémon

At 14, I’m not an avid collector of Pokémon; I quite dislike it (“The craze that ate your kids,” Lifestyles, Nov. 8). But I wanted to bring to your attention that it’s not just Pokémon that is a megahit in North America, but the whole line of Japanese animation. Some of the biggest names are Dragonball by Akira Toriyama, Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi, Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi and Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro. I find it impressive that Japanese animators are making such an impression in North America.

Michael Folkerson, Masham, Que.

My suspicion is that the Pokémon phenomenon is an acquisition craze, having nothing to do with the game of Pokémon. The binders children carry around are for displaying and trading. They are quite impractical when it comes to playing. And this is what I find disturbing: a perfecdy reasonable strategic game has somehow turned into a “game” where children talk about “I’ve got this, what have you got?”

George Klima, Mississauga, Ont.

Honourable citizens

1 nominate Dr. R. Bruce Shepard, director of the Diefenbaker Canada Centre at the University of Saskatchewan for the annual Macleans Honour Roll recognizing Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their community. In the past five years, Dr. Shepard has established the centre as a place where visitors can learn about Canada’s political, social and cultural history through permanent and travelling displays. He has worked tirelessly to promote programs that educate Canadians about leadership and citizenship and instil a sense of pride in our history.

Lee Brodie, Saskatoon

I present Linda Abrahams of the

Women’s Art Resource Centre as an exceptional candidate for Macleans 14th annual Honour Roll. Abrahams is the editor of Matriart magazine, a Canadian women’s art journal, and co-director of the resource centre, which empowers and affirms the vital role of women’s art practice within Canadian culture.

David Downey Gale, Stratford, Ont.

Lack of vision?

Accolades for your Nov. 1 Lifestyles feature, “The best of both worlds,” on Canadians moving back to the city. It is nice to see Edmonton included in the “Downtown looks up” chart. In the mid-1980s, a visionary Edmonton city council developed two downtown communities as “villages in the valley” with a

variety of housing forms appropriate to those historic neighbourhoods. Rossdale and Cloverdale have won planning awards and are featured on almost every piece of literature promoting the city. You mention that there may be an “ugly side” to the trend and cite ill-suited

developments. How about a 750megawatt power plant? That’s what our city council now plans to add to the Rossdale community and Edmonton’s renowned River Valley. Rossdale residents and Edmontonians have not been allowed a say on a decision that

will see a huge power plant operating just a few hundred metres from their doors. The project will see a designated historic building demolished and a transformer yard expanded to the doorstep of Edmonton’s downtown. All this from a city that acted as a property developer and has reaped millions of dollars from the rewards of driving up land prices some 400 per cent, as well as inflating property taxes. Guess the lesson is, if you get a good thing going, don’t let the politicians in or you’ll have the worst of both worlds—sky-high taxes and an industrial neighbourhood. Is this really the 21st century coming up?

Diane Oxenford, Edmonton

The ‘strained’ Forces

It is good to see that Macleans has not lost sight of the good the Canadian Forces do (“Moving in to Timor,” World, Nov. 8). More could have been said about the amphibious landing they made, as I believe it was the first on foreign soil since Korea. You were right when you stated that Canada’s military is strained by tight budgets and numerous peacekeeping missions. The government has clawed back funding to the point where, if any more missions are undertaken, soldiers are going to die needlessly. It has forgotten what our military has contributed to this country this past century.

Chris Farrish, Goderich, Ont.

Not since the end of the Second World War have our armed forces been asked to do so much with so little. It was embarrassing to read about our efforts: two tired transport planes, the only naval supply ship (leaving the West Coast fleet now deprived of strategic support) and one measly infantry company—placed under foreign command. Before embarking on any more international “showboating” that places Canadians in harm’s way, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, et al, need to be shocked back to reality. Our Forces are past the point of no return, barring an early shift in foreign policy and a major infusion of cash to hire more people and buy modern weapons.

J. Cecil Berezowski, Brentwood Bay, B.C.