Ho, Ho, Ho

Not even Santa’s safe nowadays.

No, they haven’t found anthrax in letters to the North Pole quite yet. More like folks
coming up with a pimp interpretation of Santa’s message: “‘ho, ‘ho, ‘ho.”

There seems to be almost frantic desperation in the language I’ve seen in a lot of reviews lately. Some are unintentionally very funny.

There’s so many cases of shock, astonishment and amazement out there that I think some places need paramedics on standby during benchmarking.

I even saw one place describe a product as “unbeatable.” Unless you’re terminal AND you have only two weeks to live, that’s the last thing a computer product is likely to be.

Maybe this is a yet undetected form of biological warfare which leaves victims incapable of any sense of proportion or judgment.

More likely, they’re just being ‘hos.

I could be just old-fashioned, but when the hardware reviews start reading like the porn ad come-ons, I treat them just as seriously.

Pieces like that just set my BS alarm ringing, and I say to myself, “The reviewer is just an idiot or a whore.”

It’s especially bad when the idiot/whore provides benchmarks disproving himself.

Sorry, but a few percentage points is not Apocalypse Now.

Superlatives are meant for information, not decoration. If everything is wonderful, nothing is wonderful.

If the reviewer can’t or won’t even comprehend his own numbers, what does that say?

It reminds me of the old Soviet joke about the guy who wanted to see an eye and ear doctor, even after being told there were no such doctors. When asked why, he said he needed one because “I keep hearing one thing and seeing another.”

Yo A Ho, Not A Pimp

Seems like some of these folks think themselves some sort of geek pimpmaster, scoring free product or advertising or whatever for their activities.

Nope. You’re not a pimp, yo’ the ho’, and the hardware manufacturer is your sugar daddy.

Two big problems with being or acting like a ‘ho:

1. You get no respect and

2. You get used, then tossed when your usefulness comes to an end

What a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that the people they need to please in the long-term is not Mr. Manufacturer but Mr. Audience. Nor do they seem to understand that there’s a difference between screwing your customers and screwing them over.

Then again, ‘hos have never been strong on long-term planning.

I suspect in many cases, it’s not a matter of stupidity or incomprehension, but a quite deliberate and conscious, “I’m getting mine now while I can, Jack, and screw anybody else.”

Of course, “anybody else” is you, the reader.

Getting What You Wanted?

This bothers me. I don’t like supposedly objective people pimping products to me. I don’t like having to watch my back all the time. I don’t like having to read a few of the slicker places (and just about everything coming from the companies themselves) like a lawyer looking for loopholes. (Find that silly? All that means is you’re not even noticing it).

I suppose there’s not much that can be done to get rid of the PR professional prostitutes, but what about all the amateurs claiming to do it just for love?

I suspect I’m in a small minority, though. I’ve gotten the impression that most people visiting these kinds of sites think one of two ways:

“I’m Going To Outhustle The Hustlers” The approach seems to be, “I’ll look at umpteen sites and winnow out the truth one bit at a time.” I suppose that’s the best of the bad, but how well that works depends on how much you know, and it requires a lot of work and judgment.

“You’re All Whores Except My Guy” This approach seems to be “pick the best of the bunch and become a fan.” This seems to be the favorite of newer, lesser informed people. The problems with that approach is that it is likely you may not make a very good choice, and people tend to go to the more popular, slicker packages rather than the better ones.

If I had to take that approach, I think my short list would tend to be more the opposite of what a Family Feud-style survey would be likely to show.

The underlying problem with both approaches is that it’s presumed that this has to be a sleazy environment that nobody can do anything about.

I don’t think that has to be the case. I don’t think that’s going to be the case in the long-term for one simple reason.

If I’m Going to Get Screwed Anyway, Let A Pro Do It

The biggest reasons why these computer hardware sites got popular is that:

1) they were somehow more impartial and less bespoken to corporate interests than the professional reviewers and

2) they were nimbler and quicker than the computer magazines

There might have been something to that a couple years ago, and there may still be some validity to point two. I cannot see for the life of me how anybody without blinders on could possibly say point one is still true with a straight face.

I would go so far as to say that your professional outlets are far less likely to be beholden to a particular corporate entity than the “amateur” websites, simply because their revenue base is much broader. They don’t need any particular sugar daddy as much.

These places also have at least some concept of journalistic ethics and structures meant to keep advertising and editorial people away from each other, something not too apparent or apparent at all with some of the “amateurs.”

If nothing else, at least they have enough sense not to sound like whores.

Before you kneejerk and write me, take a look at a couple recent reviews at a place like ExtremeTech first. Then try to tell me how awful they are. You can’t.

They’re getting quicker and more responsive, too.

So if the computer hardware sites aren’t nimbler and quicker, and they aren’t more objective, what makes David better than Goliath? Especially when the bigger “amateurs” seem to be becoming Goliath wannabes?

What Can We Do About It?

I have a few notions, but this time around, instead of my telling you, why don’t you tell me? Am I just a naive fool, or does this bother you, too?
What would you suggest be done about it? Click on the email address just below and give me your thoughts.

Email Ed

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