In "Show Time!" (Cover Story, Feb. 2), I was surprised that you didn't mention the impact mobile phones may have on the world of music. Mobiles have rapidly evolved from being just telephones to becoming personal entertainment terminals with built-in features such as FM radio, digital cameras, and, increasingly, MP3 players. Furthermore, mobile terminals are constantly with the user, making them a logical tool also for consuming digital entertainment. There are already more than 1.3 billion mobile terminals in the world, and with annual sales of around 470 million units, mobile phones will no doubt be one of the serious contenders for upsetting the position of Apple iPod as the MP3 player of choice for consumers.
The "little-known truth" you refer to -- that major parts of the iPod were not designed by Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) -- is in fact not the truth. Apple brought a convergence of new technologies together to create the iPod, including 1.8- and 1.0-inch hard drives. But Apple had to invent the key technologies, such as Auto-Sync, a solid-state "no moving parts" touch wheel, and, most important, a completely new and innovative user interface (all patent pending).
Jon Rubinstein, Senior Vice-President
Apple Computer Inc.
Apple's iPod Growth and the 99 cents-per-song deal reminds me of when I was a boy in the late '50s and early '60s. I used to go to the local record store every week to buy the hottest new 45-rpm record out. It had two songs on it, one on each side. The cost: 99 cents.
Villas, N.J. In your story about my campaign contributions to Eliot Spitzer, a hyperbolic statement made by me was taken completely out of context, resulting in a glaring misimpression ("Spitzer's surprising donor list," Up Front, Feb. 9). When you told me that you had discovered that I made a campaign contribution to Mr. Spitzer on the same day that I surrendered a client on a criminal case with the Attorney General's Office, I told you that I was struck by the irony but that, in my view, there was no conflict of interest. I had agreed to make this contribution before the client had retained me.
I told you that I have known Mr. Spitzer, in a professional capacity, for many years and had previously made campaign contributions to him. I told you also that I would contribute to Mr. Spitzer's campaign efforts regardless of whether I had "business" with his office and that the contribution did not compromise his integrity or mine. No one representing Mr. Spitzer's campaign said, either in words or import, "Where's my check." I have never met anyone associated with Mr. Spitzer who spoke in that manner. You [took] an obvious quip and report[ed] it as fact.
Gerald L. Shargel
New York There can be no doubt of the physical, emotional, and financial toll that lack of sleep can take ("I can't sleep," Cover Story, Jan. 26). While working at a large trauma center, one of my co-workers totaled her car and nearly died after falling asleep at the wheel. There were times after working a double shift in the operating room that I wasn't sure of how I got home -- I, too, probably dropped off at the wheel for a few seconds. I can only imagine the number of mistakes that occur when residents are on call for 48 hours straight. I have since changed my place of employment, get a solid eight hours of sleep, have less stress, and feel like a new person. In my opinion, Ambien (zolpidem), while highly effective in the short term, is not a panacea. FDA guidelines state the medication is for occasional bouts of insomnia, not to exceed 10 days. I know of patients who have been [prescribed] Ambien for years and experience highly unpleasant symptoms (including severe insomnia) when they try to stop taking it.
Marcia Zingman, R.N.
As a 20-year flight attendant for American Airlines (AMR), I now have sharply reduced layover time between flights (from 26 hours down to 11 to 12 hours, including travel time to hotel, check-in, etc.). The actual amount of sleep, if one is lucky (without taking meds), is about four to six hours on both international and domestic flights. The negative occurrences are increasingly obvious -- from doors not being armed or disarmed appropriately (resulting in an increase of popped slides), nodding off in jump seats, lack of attention, flight attendants breaking down in flight when confronted by disgruntled passengers, increased sick days, just to mention a few. Flight attendants are not allowed rest breaks during most flights, nor are they catered with food on any flight.
We have the pleasure of meeting and flying millions of families and business women and men all over the world. We hope that when we see you we will be well rested, with the energy to make your trip enjoyable and, most important, safe.
Marlborough, Mass. Mike France's "Close the lawyer loophole" (Legal Affairs, Feb. 2) shines an important spotlight on the darker side of large corporate law practice in this country. I was trained in the English legal profession, as were my brother and father before me. Some famous American lawyers have commented that the British legal profession is too "elitist." However, I have never witnessed among my British counterparts the slavishly acquiescent attitude toward senior partners and clients that I have frequently seen among lawyers here in the U.S.
Since the demise of Enron Corp., I have wondered why the Enron lawyers have not been included in the many indictments handed down. If my client were facing a jail sentence for the legal advice that I gave, I would expect to be standing in the courthouse alongside -- facing the same fate.
I hope your article signals the need for change so that the lawyers you describe acquire an ethical backbone. That way, the Andy Fastows of the world might be saved from making serious mistakes when placed under too much pressure.
Palo Alto, Calif.
I never knew that Columbia University's ubiquitous John C. Coffee Jr., who has frequently expounded on the Enron fiasco, was paid by Enron's outside counsel, Vinson & Elkins, to be an expert witness on its behalf ("Can law profs consult -- and keep their distance?" Legal Affairs, Feb. 2). Accordingly, the next time I see or hear Mr. Coffee and his similarly conflicted peers analyzing the latest corporate scandal du jour, I'll be far more skeptical of their commentary, given its potential for bias.
What would "Defenders in academia" Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania and Charles W. Wolfram of Cornell Law School [both paid expert witnesses for Enron's law firm, Vinson & Elkins] say about David Boies's fee arrangement with SCO Group (SCOX) ("The most hated company in tech," Information Technology, Feb. 2)? Surely they would recognize the impropriety. Or would they?
Leesburg, Va. As a limited partner in Zond Windsystems, acquired by Enron in 1997 and converted to a special-purpose entity called RADR ZWS, I was pleased to see the proposed penalties for the Fastows ("Who will Fastow implicate?" News: Analysis & Commentary, Jan. 26). Their shenanigans are described in "Heiress in handcuffs" (Cover Story, Nov. 24). Imagine the frustration of the original partners who invested in a "green" energy system 20 years ago, never having seen anything but phantom income, reading of hundreds of thousands being distributed from their wind farm. The limited partners, not known to one another, cannot join to free themselves from an Enron that still owns Zond. We, of course, took a chance on a tax shelter knowing the risks involved.
Richard B. Braunstein
San Carlos, Calif.