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Readers write to complain

By DAVID GUSSOW

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 12, 1999


We'll call this batch the "unfan" mail:

I used to avidly root the Business section out of the Monday paper and immediately read my preferred section, Technology. That was before Mr. Gussow became the editor of this section. I can honestly say that I haven't read more than three or four articles since he became editor, whereas before I read three or four per issue. The section now resembles something that should appear on the front of the D section with the little alligator ...

I use my PCs and the Net for business, not games. Games and game reviews are not business. It is still called the Business Times, isn't it? The technology section may be warm and cute and cuddly and all Net nifty, but it doesn't even come close to tech business.

That is partly correct: We are not a tech business section. We are a technology section trying to cover a broad range of issues aimed at consumers and a general audience -- even though our home is in Business Times. Our coverage includes topics we hope are of interest to business readers, but we also want to include things such as our Summer Tech Guide for Kids (June 14), which apparently is what this reader is complaining about.

Tech Times is only part of our technology coverage. We also have increased technology-related stories in the daily and Sunday Business sections and the rest of the newspaper. In my first column in October 1997, I wrote that we would adjust Tech Times "to reflect the trends and interests of the time."

We have tried to do that, particularly beefing up coverage of gadgets and gizmos that seem to be popular with a lot of readers. But our main mission has never wavered: to cover technology and make it interesting, understandable and relevant for readers with varied interests. And, for better or (in this reader's view) worse, I am the only editor Tech Times has had.

Getting individual PCs to work probably is important and interesting to the average tech reader (Tech Times, May 3), but the fact that our government agencies have not adequately addressed the Y2K issues is more distressing. I hope that your future articles will deal with some of the more basic issues that will be of interest to all readers.

Y2K indeed is an important issue. That is why we devoted so much space to the subject throughout the paper on May 2, including stories on 1A, 1B and in the Business section. The Tech Times stories were intended to answer questions for the home user. Sorry you missed the other coverage, though it is available through an archive search at www.sptimes.com. I am sure we will have more stories as 2000 approaches.

Please put a clear warning to your readers that most things related to system configurations and program configurations should not be undertaken until you know clearly the outcome, rather than wait and see what happens.

We have received a couple of messages about the Solutions column voicing concerns that we are covering too specific and technical subjects for many new computer users to understand. (We also got one that complained that the column was too general.)

John Torro has been diligent in trying to make technical issues understandable as well as warning people about precautions to take before undertaking certain procedures. If an answer requires more than a paragraph or two, John will make it longer to ensure clarity and accuracy. If there has been a surprise about the column, it is the very technical questions readers submit, at least compared with other columns I have seen. Most of the reaction has been more like this:

Your column is the first place I go to in the paper on Mondays. I clip all the columns out and refer back to them whenever I come up with a problem.

Thanks for the comments, and please keep them coming.


-- Readers can send questions, comments and suggestions to techtimes@sptimes.com, or to P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Comments may be edited and paraphrased for clarity and space.

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