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Oh, insofar as the Wall St Journal is concerned: it's a shadow of its former self, these days.

I've walked its press rooms, twice. The first time it was a hive of activity (in the early 1990's); the next time, in the latter part of the mid-90's, it was quiet, almost library like. And there were far fewer people, and the paper itself had taken an ideological turn that belied its original purpose - reporting on Wall St.

As an ex-(international) subscriber, I can honestly say that I can't stand to read that "rag" these days! It's a rag, pure and simple: only slightly more sophisticated than People, and usually not quite as erudite, plausible or contained.

I don't have any hopes of it improving (even to the point of being what it used to be: a trusted and worthy newspaper) under the tutelage of that Australian Neanderthal, either.

Carolyn Ann

Hyperbole. It's a reasonable word, used to describe incredible attributions. Gorbachov and Reagan, hmm? Last I recall, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down because the Soviet Union ran out of money. Having made the rather outrageous, and incredibly stupid, attempt to outspend Reagan, who - and this may escape notice by some - nearly bankrupted the US economy with his rather deliberate ploy. Deficits do matter, no matter [sic] what Uncle Dick says.

Besides, since when did political freedom (or the ersatz version that Russia now enjoys) have any parallel with wireless phone charges?

I find it odd that I've not read about any parallels between the way the US carriers look at their wireless networks and the way AT&T looked at the entire communications network. (British Telecom has a similar problem; it's called "I'm big and powerful and you're not" syndrome. Good politicians and lawyers are the only known antidote. Sadly, these seem to be in short supply.)

I'm skeptical about the phone companies and their ambitions; not least because I worked for a really big one, but because they are stupendous beaurocracies that are, almost by definition, incompetent. Verizon is opening its networks not because it has "seen the light", but because it makes business sense to do so. They are reading the from same book as IBM's Lou Gerstner; maybe they'll be just as adept and capable in forcing "corporate cultural" change. (Oh, how I hate those benign inanities! Such a waste of decent words!)

Considering that the US market is almost primitive in the wireless telephony world, I'm sure that Verizon's announcement is a step forward. But I can't help but think some other thigns have to come first - like a network that actually works. (And doesn't fade out at the first sign of a power brown-out, a hint of an overload and maybe, even, stay up when it rains.)

Personally, I'd like a phone/DSL connection that doesn't fade out in the rain, and a wireless connection that doesn't require me to stand next the right hand side of a nice piece of quarter-sawn white oak Art Deco cabinetry in the Dining Room - that being the only place in the 1 acre of ground I own that actually gets a signal. Verizon is our provider, for many reasons, not least being their co-billing arrangements, the resulting discounts and their response to trouble reports. At least they're prompt, if not exactly helpful.

Sorry, his hyperbole doesn't persuade me. I would say, however, that this is an important step in helping the US consumer catch up with the rest of the world in terms of wireless capabilities. Surpass it? We'll see.

Carolyn Ann

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