x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

A souq of universities

A reader suggests that the UAE has too much competition among small university branches. Other letters range from over-the-counter drugs to the iPhone to Occupy Wall Street to cyber crime.

A student reads in the cafeteria at NYU in Abu Dhabi. A reader suggests that the proliferation of foreign university branches here may not be the optimal organisation of higher education. Lee Hoagland/ The National
A student reads in the cafeteria at NYU in Abu Dhabi. A reader suggests that the proliferation of foreign university branches here may not be the optimal organisation of higher education. Lee Hoagland/ The National

I refer to Health experts warns of risks with over-the-counter drugs (October 9). In the modern world people assume "there's a pill for that" and head off to the over-the-counter section of the pharmacy for any tiny problem, even a simple headache.

No doubt medicine has improved our lives, not only in the expensive diagnostic machinery and sophisticated pharmaceuticals which are available but also in smaller ways with the array of pills, lotions and treatments for many sorts of minor complaints. You can't blame people for wanting these products, especially the ones continually thrust at us through advertising.

Daoud Abdullah, Dubai

University souq less than ideal

I refer to the letter to the editor Do we really need 53 universities? (October 6).

The present trend certainly gives the impression of a university souq. The UAE would be better raising the standards of its own established universities by drawing on the expertise of foreign universities through seconding faculty and initiating lecturer-exchange programmes. A college within a university could even be partially staffed for a set period by a prestigious, overseas university.

Some local universities could also benefit from a greater mix of nationalities amongst their student populace.

W Vize, Ajman

Not getting most out of new iPhone

Although Apple did not launch the iPhone 5 (Apple iPhone 4 update met with mixed response, October 6) the new iPhone 4S still packs a punch with a slew of exciting  new features and upgrades.

However for most current and aspiring iPhone aficionados in the UAE, the introduction of new ground-breaking features and software like "intelligent assistant" SIRI in the new iPhone 4S does not really make a difference as exorbitant data charges for downloads levied by the mobile operators means that these largely remain as unused widgets on the user's home screen. It may be argued that these features also work well with WiFi connectivity which is quite affordable. However WiFi's limited range defeats the very purpose of the software that is meant to be used on the go.

In the US some mobile carriers offer unlimited monthly downloads at a reasonable price thereby allowing the subscriber to undergo the complete iPhone experience. In the UAE, the high cost of data transfer coupled with a restriction on free video calling features like Facetime means that although the iPhone remains the Apple of the eye, one cannot have one's Apple and completely eat it too.

Amitabh Saxena, Dubai

Wall Street protest still lacking punch

I was struck by an item in your Arabic News Digest, US media underplayed protests (October 6). How does the writer define "underplayed"? What did anyone expect from the major American media?

We have seen this kind of protest before, but frankly it was not that important. If you want to know what is really underplayed in US media, try mentioning war coverage.

Melanie Lefebvre, Ras Al Khaimah

The "Occupy Wall Street" protests still have not really reached critical mass as a protest movement, but I think they may yet.

Electoral politics are a fine safety valve when pressures build up in a society, but the US federal government seems so dysfunctional at the legislative level that there is no relief there. Income inequality is growing, the government cannot keep spending on welfare programmes, the defence budget is enormous, America's place in the world is shrinking and President Barack Obama has not brought the change people expected. The US is in for some rough times.

Joe Schmidt, Dubai

Cyber crime laws must be stricter

Your story Cyber crime hits 76% of residents (October 4) contained the good news that the UAE spends over Dh2.2 billion per year to fight computer crime.

But unless the laws change, I believe cyber crime will only keep growing. Even the FBI has said it won't investigate international computer-fraud cases unless the criminals have stolen at least US$250,000 (Dh918,000).

Unless the laws become stricter, no amount of public awarness will make a significant change.

Hassan Alaoui, from where

If three-quarters of residents really have been victims of cyber crime, then it's certainly a good thing that Cyber security locks up bigger role at Gitex (October 9).

My father advised me to get an extra credit card to use only for all my online purchases. I have done so, and have had no problems, but I still worry about my other data being stolen. The internet is so convenient, but so risky.

Donna Grinn, Abu Dhabi