Smoke Gets in Our Eyes

Some readers were furious at us for featuring a cigar-store owner both on our June Inc. Technology cover and in the article " Lines of Fire," by Alessandra Bianchi:

It is irresponsible to promote a cigar brand, a cigar retailer, and cigar smoking in general. It is not just that cigars stink; they also kill men and women of all ages. And they add to the hundreds of billions of dollars we pay, one way or another, for tobacco-related illnesses. I would like to see an Inc. article about a cigar-smoking CEO dying of throat or mouth cancer and how that impacts his company and his family.

Steve Brown
Mercer Island, Wash.

I don't allow people to smoke--especially cigars--in my offices. Your recent cover and story made me get out the air freshener.

Your coverage promoted the idea that it is smart to smoke cigars. Cigars are even more detrimental to a person's health than are cigarettes. I'm sure you could have found a hundred better stories to make your point, and you might have done a little good at the same time.

Art Fettig
Growth Unlimited Inc.
Battle Creek, Mich.

Palm Readers

June's Road Warrior column, " He's Got the Whole Worllit in His Hands," brought responses from folks who sympathized with author Jeffrey Seglin's frustration at being unable to use the PalmPilot Professional (PPPro) to run cc:Mail Mobile, as well as from the product's fans, who thought we were too critical:

I can see where the Palm-Pilot Pro's limitations would be troublesome to someone who receives as many E-mails as you do, but in my opinion you criticize the product too severely. The PPPro handles E-mail quite well for light to moderate users, which, I would speculate, describes the majority of users. Further, many third-party E-mail applications extend its functionality, thus increasing its flexibility in a mobile environment. While I realize that cc:Mail is a leader in local-area-network E-mail, more and more users are connecting to Internet-enabled E-mail systems.

Mead S. Lawson
Project Manager Technology Systems
Mortgage Management Corp.
Trevose, Pa.

Great article! And from what I can tell, the same thing goes for the Windows CE devices.

U.S. Robotics/3Com really should have been more forthcoming about the PalmPilot's E-mail capability. But marketing types aren't paid to be forthcoming, are they?

Randy Wood
San Ramon, Calif.

I read with amusement your tale of woe with the PPPro. Don't you hate it when the marketing departments oversell the capabilities of something?

I thought you were a bit harsh on the device overall, however. Having used a paper calendar and other personal organizers, I now swear by my PalmPilot. I use it for three critical things--my calendar, my address book, and my to-do list--and it is brilliant at all of them.

Whitney Tilson
Inner-City Ventures
New York City

Everything Old Is New Again

Our Smart Machines column is supposed to be about defunct mechanisms that served as early prototypes for today's advanced technologies. However, the Lamson cash-basket system described in David B. Sicilia's article " Cash Flow" apparently lives on--at least in the Midwest and the Far East:

There's a shoe store in Indianapolis that continues to use the cash-basket system. Whenever I've asked employees, "Why do you handle your transactions this way?" they've replied, "I don't know" or, "Who cares?" The manager's response: "It helps us track inventory and provides a control for documenting sales and commissions."

As a business and accounting student, I've always found this system inefficient. But after reading your article, I now see the method as a part of history and appreciate how it adds to our city's wonderful traditions.

C. Clements
Indiana University School of Business

I observed the system you describe as the "Lamson cash basket" being used in herb stores in Shanghai and Hong Kong last year. It's quite an interesting system and a lot of fun to watch.

Michel Czehatowski
East Earth Trade Winds
Redding, Calif.

Inc. Technology wants to know what you think. Please address all correspondence to Inc. Technology Letters Editor, 38 Commercial Wharf, Boston, MA 02110, or call our editorial-commentary line at 800-238-1756. (Messages will be recorded.) Or E-mail your letter to or fax it to 800-335-3348. Include your name, address, and phone number for verification. Letters must be signed, and all correspondence may be edited for space and style. For help with subscription problems, call 800-234-0999.

Published on: Sep 15, 1998