Dear Editor

Dear Sir
Arnold Kalk’s article on the Y2K issue (nose22) shows a depressing lack of understanding. It IS a problem. I didn’t see a single, reliable, informed source quoted. [Look again. – Ed.] There are a LOT of very worried companies and governments spending a LOT to fix their computers. Listen, my china, your train motor may still be going as the clock ticks over, but will the train even get out of the yard when the management systems that handle its schedules fall over? Ja, my broo …
Roger Hislop (Consulting Editor – Computer Reseller News Southern Africa)

Dear Sir
I was alternately amused and flabbergasted by Arnold Kalk’s ignorance. His contention that there are maybe five mainframes left in the world is obviously misinformed.
[Ever heard of humour, poetic licence? Sounds like you could do with some of both. – Ed.]
Many large organisations, including financial institutions, telcos and airlines run on large mainframes. Kalk reckons that “90% of computer owners can be sure that their machine (sic) will effortlessly survive the end of the century”.
Even assuming he’s correct about PCs, he is ignoring these expensive corporate mainframes; ignoring the fact that the majority of the real business in the world is supported by them. I’m no believer in doomsday scares and don’t stand to gain from the massive Y2K spending.
Otherwise, I quite like your magazine.
Ivo Vegter (Freelance IT Journalist)
So, come Y2K, FNB’s interest calculations will be double what they should be, and SAA’s booking system will crash – what’s new? Big organisations that still rely on mainframes can look after themselves. Cape Town City Council decided five years ago to phase out its ICL mainframe – for economic reasons. Our article – unashamedly written by a witty, sensible enthusiast – was aimed at the ordinary people with PCs – our readers – who are being set up by the industry. Why, even the University of Natal has been conned into calling for tenders from IT companies to have the 600 PC’s on its campus “tested” for Y2K problems. Aside from the university’s accounts department – who might conceivably still be functioning on an aged system, all those departments with PC’s might simply have read noseweek and saved themselves stress and bucks. Thanks for “quite liking” us. – Ed.

Dear Sir
Your exposure of the Hollard/ABSA deal in Hersch vs ABSA (nose21) made me query my own policy with Holland. What I discovered was blatant theft masquerading as “industry practice”. Here’s how it works:

You take out insurance on your vehicle or other asset.
Every three months for the duration of the lease, the insurer revalues the asset (without informing the client) at a new, lower, figure.
The premiums remain unchanged at the now over-valued price.
Should you claim, you will only be paid out at the reduced value. The insurer has, therefore, stolen the excess premium (at least by my definition of theft).
The onus to have your premium reduced is placed on the insured party, but nowhere is this stated in any policy or by any insurance broker.
To add insult to injury, should you be over-insured (depending on how your contract is worked), an amount proportional to the amount over-insured may be deducted from the payout. If you multiply this “overpayment” of premiums and “underpayment” of claims by an entire industry, then you can see how this adds up to either fraud or theft on a massive scale. If the insurer arbitrarily reduces the value of your asset, then the onus should be on them to reduce the premium. The ombudsman for the insurance industry should have something to say about it. Advice: Phone your broker every three months to have your premium adjusted.
Bruce Erasmus

Dear Sir
I couldn’t have said it better – or done as much damage to Nedbank – if I’d tried (nose22). And I try hard. I’ve had such a guts full of Nedbank that I closed my 30-year-old account at last because of their continued poor service, arrogant attitude and sheer disregard for their clients. My recommendation to all Nedcor customers: reconsider your options.
The Nedcor Group, which includes
- Old Mutual – try getting quick answers from them
- SA Perm – they refuse to count money
-Nedbank – they have closed all their smaller branches and only want to do business with large corporates (so they can get caught for big bucks!). [What’s new? See page 4.]
Do they seriously think we’re fooled by their “affinity” cheque books and other bullshit?
Pam Herr
Fish Hoek
What of Cape of Good Hope Bank – also in the Nedcor Group? It has taken over financing High Cape from Syfrets, because its clients are believed to be less sensitive to bad publicity than Syfrets’ clients (who tend to read noseweek). – Ed.

Dear Sir
Top marks to your excellent publication for going public on the ambiguous “Green” and revealing that what is actually being conserved has little to do with our natural heritage. Your mantelpiece will never be adorned by the supposedly prestigious “Conserva” award. But please continue equipping the dedicated few with the ammunition they need to counter the scourge of environmental opportunism.
W R Chapman
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