to change the World, take a chance
Some of what Constantine Dovrolis said in the Point/ Counterpoint “Future In- ternet Architecture: Clean- Slate Versus Evolutionary
What Deeper implications
Research” (Sept. 2010) concerning an
evolutionary approach to developing
Internet architecture made sense, and,
like Jennifer Rexford on the other side,
I applaud and encourage the related
“evolutionary” research. But I found
his “pragmatic vision” argument nei-
ther pragmatic nor visionary. Worse
was the impudence of the claim of
Mid-20th century mathematician
Morris Kline said it best when referring
to the history of mathematics: “The
lesson of history is that our firmest
convictions are not to be asserted dog-
For example, it took 2,000 years for
geometry to move beyond the “prag-
matism” of the parallel postulate,
some 200 years for Einstein to overtake
Newton, 1,400 years for Copernicus to
see beyond Ptolemy, and 10,000 years
for industrialization to supplant agri-
culture as the dominant economic ac-
tivity. The Internet’s paltry 40–50-year
history is negligible compared to these
other clean-slate revolutions.
As someone who has known offshoring for years, I was drawn to the article
“How Offshoring Affects IT Workers”
by Prasanna B. Tambe and Lorin M.
Hitt (Oct. 2010) but disappointed to
find a survey-type analysis that essentially confirmed less than what most of
us in the field already know. For example, at least one reason higher-salaried
workers are less likely to be offshored
is they already appreciate the value of
being able to bridge the skill and cultural gap created by employing offshore workers.
I was also disappointed by the article’s U.S.-centric view (implied at the
top in the word “offshoring”). What
about how offshoring affects IT workers in countries other than the U.S.?
In my experience, they are likewise affected; for example, in India IT workers are in the midst of a dramatic cultural upheaval involving a high rate of
While seeking deeper insight into
offshoring, I would like to ask someone to explain the implications of giving the keys to a mission-critical system to someone in another country not
subject to U.S. law? Imagine if the relationships between countries would deteriorate, and the other country would
seize critical information assets? We
have pursued offshoring for years, but
I have still not heard substantive answers to these questions.
mark Wiman, atlanta, Ga
With so little hard data on outsourcing, it is
important to first confirm some of the many
anecdotes now circulating. The main point
of the article was that the vulnerability of
occupations to offshoring can be captured
by their skill sets and that the skills story
is not the only narrative in the outsourcing
The study was U.S.-centric by design.
How offshoring affects IT workers in other
countries is important, but the effects of
offshoring on the U.S. IT labor market
merits its own discussion.
interpreting Data 100 Years on
Looking to preserve data for a century or more involves two challenging
orthogonal problems, one—how to
preserve the bits—addressed by David
S.H. Rosenthal in his article “
Keeping Bits Safe: How Hard Can It Be?”
(Nov. 2010). The other is how to read
and interpret them 100 years on when
everything might have changed—
formats, protocols, architecture, storage
system, operating system, and more.
Consider the dramatic changes over
just the past 20 years. There is also the
challenge of how to design, build, and
test complete systems, trying to anticipate how they will be used in 100 years.
The common, expensive solution is to
migrate all the data every time something changes while controlling costs
by limiting the amount of data that
must be preserved in light of dedupli-cation, legal obsolescence, librarians,
archivists, and other factors.
For more on data interpretation see:
1. Lorie, R.A. A methodology and
system for preserving digital data. In
Proceedings of the Joint Conference on
Digital Libraries (Portland, OR, July
2. Lorie, R.A. Long-term preservation of digital information. In
Proceedings of the First ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (Roanoke,
VA, Jan. 2001), 346–352.
3. Rothenberg, J. Avoiding Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation. Council on Library & Information