Computers: Letters: Plaudits and (some) brickbats

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'As a person who knew nothing about computers a year ago, I have found these articles most interesting and of considerable practical value. I have kept every article in fact for reference purposes. I now own a modest computer, which does all I need and your articles helped me get the right one.'

There could not be a more fulsome tribute to the success of the Independent's Computer page in its first year than this comment from David Collins of Worton in Wiltshire, writes Nigel Willmott.

He was one of many regular readers who responded to our anniversary request for comment and suggestions. They range from those attracted by our efforts to write in language comprehensible to ordinary mortals - mostly communicating by post - and those drawn by the debate generated by many of our articles - more likely to be professionals and academics using electronic mail.

Brian Richardson of Camberley in Surrey wrote: 'I am semi-literate where computers are concerned and I read your page each Friday to make myself more aware of trends and developments in the PC world. I feel particularly comforted to realise I am not alone in experiencing trials and tribulations when I read of the difficulties experienced by some of your other contributors. It gives me confidence to 'bash on'.'

J A Evans, an electronic mail correspondent (jae@ukc. ac. uk), commented: 'The Computer page is clear and provides information in a way that any one can understand it - especially important when reviewing common packages, such as Wordperfect 6.'

G Wittenberg, a chartered engineer of Pinner, north-west London, commended our efforts in 'balancing the interests and requirements of users with a vast range of experience, not to mention 'platforms',' and the fact that the columns were not filled with games' reviews. He added: 'The letters column is useful, particularly when it warns of purchasing traps or program bugs.'

On the other hand, Alexander Kleanthous (apk@pyrcmh. co. uk), thought we were 'a little light on games'. However, he said: 'Since it began, I have looked forward to it every Friday and always turn to it first. It is good to be able to find something both comprehensible and relevant about computers.' He went on to make his own suggestions for the future direction of the page - as did may others.

'At work, I have a 386 PC; at home, a 486. There is little prospect of this set-up changing so new hardware is of little relevance. New software, on the other hand, is always of interest. I would be particularly interested in the sort of programs that an office-worker might like to buy for himself for use on his employer's PC.'

His employer, of course, might not be so interested. David Collins wanted more book reviews: 'They are expensive and a guide to the best ones would be helpful;' while Mr Wittengberg, commenting he was 'not too interested in equipment that costs thousands of pounds or software that costs many hundreds', said: 'Keep writing about communications, on-line services, E-mail and similar topics because they are difficult and growing in importance. The same applies to multimedia.'

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