"Hints for Compiling Shopping List" (Computer File, Nov. 25) does a disservice to readers by teaching them to think about computers in the wrong way. Evidently Richard O'Reilly has a bias against Apple computers.
Even as O'Reilly was eating crow over his review of the Apple IIC, he was taking a slap at the Macintosh by stating that IBM compatibility is the first point to consider in deciding which computer to buy. The reason cited is that "the most sophisticated and greatest variety of business and professional software is written for the IBM."
While more programs are available for the IBM than for the Macintosh, most people, even in business, use only a few programs. In the Nov. 25 issue of Info World, software columnist Adam Green observed: "What the Mac users know, but the PC community hasn't realized yet, is that Mac now has as many excellent business programs as the IBM PC. Mac users don't have to run 1-2-3, Dbase III and Wordstar. They are happy with Excel, Helix, Omnis 3 and Microsoft Word."
If a few programs, available for either the IBM or Macintosh, will do the job for most people, the hundreds or thousands of programs they will never use are irrelevant. While IBM compatibility is an issue for some users, particularly those who must regularly exchange data files with other IBM users, it isn't important for small businesses seeking to organize information, track progress and generate reports and correspondence. Indeed, the Mac's ease of use should in some cases be the greater consideration, as small businesses can't afford to train employees to use the IBM operating system and such difficult programs as 1-2-3. Even some large businesses have come to this conclusion.
The IBM and the Macintosh have vastly different approaches to computing. It doesn't help readers to sort things out if your columnists aren't knowledgeable about both.