Letters to Redmond

[email protected]: Nov. 2006

This month, readers take issue with our use of bikers to depict "IT Gone Bad." Plus, is Microsoft taking unfair advantage by jumping into the security market, or just doing its job?

Negative Stereotype
I just finished reading Doug Barney's article, "IT Gone Bad" [October 2006]. However, I must comment on the pictures used for this. By using pictures of guys with tattoos and on motorcycles to provide a visual, you're adding to the negative stereotype of motorcyclists. I certainly don't think readers of Redmond magazine are idiots that will automatically think all people that ride motorcycles are bad, but I can guarantee some will. It's an image that the American Motorcycle Association fights every day on behalf of their members.

Today's motorcyclists are made up of people from all over the economic map: doctors, lawyers, IT professionals, all of whom ride. Some of us even have tattoos.

Keep up the excellent articles -- I love the magazine.
B.E. Farace
Toms River, N.J.

I must say, I was amused by the cover of the current issue; that is, until I saw the words "Would you trust your IT with this guy?"

I flipped immediately to "IT Gone Bad" and was again assaulted by black and white pictures of motorcyclists, playing on the stereotype of the "bad biker."

I took offense, for many reasons.

Stereotyping any group, whether it's religious, ethnic or just a group of hobbyists is wrong, as I'm sure you'll agree. I've been riding motorcycles for more than 15 years, and do not feel that I'm a threat to my employer, my company or my fellow employees. My hair's long, I wear a beard and have a tattoo. I ride my motorcycle to work often, and never see anyone cringe or hide their data as I walk by them. I'm a member of the Harley Owners Group and the Motorcyclists for Jesus Ministries. I wear blue jeans and boots because of our work environment. I start my day on time and often work overtime to keep our networks up and running.

As the sole IT manager for more than 75 employees at three different locations, I've been entrusted with a great deal of confidential data -- and I keep it that way.

Would my boss trust his IT to a guy like the ones portrayed on the cover and in the article? He does, yes.

I humbly ask that an apology be printed for your use of these images. Thank you for your time, and God bless.
Drew B. Frank
Mt. Joy, Pa.

I myself have 14 motorcycles, including a Ducati SS, four Harley's, a KTM, and the rest from Japan. Bikers themselves put forward the "bad boy" image. It is a stereotype of their own making. In the biker world, you're either a real "bad ass" or pretending to be, at least according to my art director who spent eight years doing art for Cycle World magazine! Our photography was meant to denote outlaw bikers as opposed to the doctors, lawyers and dentists that put on their chaps and leather jackets, hop on their new hogs, and try to look tough on the weekends.
Doug Barney, editor in chief

Self Protection
Doug Barney's column, "Glutton for Market Share" [September 2006], is somewhat unfair. If you drive your Honda into a ditch, do we insist that Honda design a car that's ditch-proof, or do we suggest more prudent driving?

The operating system is just the OS, but, when the clever advantage of the OS was taken and code was injected, people didn't go to third-party vendors and ask for help -- they blamed the OS maker. Governments, agencies and your publication have insisted that Microsoft do something. Now, when the very market that drives sales asks Microsoft to protect them from themselves and Microsoft responds, we again blame Microsoft for doing other vendors' jobs and competing with them.
Terry L. Innis
Costa Mesa, Calif.

Right on the Money
I just read Barney's column. He's right on the money. Why can't Microsoft just improve upon what it has? The company seems to acquire more and then move on to a new market, never improving. I once tried to tell a customer who was being flippant about his Microsoft problem that one day he's going to wake up and put on his Microsoft clothes, brush with his Microsoft toothpaste and drive to work in his Microsoft car -- he laughed. I know that what I suggested was over the top, but, still, you have to wonder …
Jim Senato
Kansas City, Mo.

About the Author

This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at [email protected] and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.


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