For the longest time, we’ve been in a bit of quandary.
While hardware reviews have their role, they certainly don’t (and indeed can’t) do the whole job. The only real way to get a good idea of how good or bad a piece of equipment is, or to address all the issues that can come up with one, is for a lot of people to test under a lot of circumstances.
While you can find that out from looking through forums, it is often a . . . tedious . . . task, much like panning for gold.
So what we’re going to start to do is experiment with ways to get the experiences people are having in the trenches without having to live in the trenches. If we can shake out at least some of the muck ahead of time, so much the better.
Something I’ve noticed over the course of time is that when people talk about their equipment in an email, the comments made tend to be more complete than those made in a forum.
So this is what we suggest:
We’re going to ask people who have a particular piece of equipment to talk about their experiences with it. We’re not interested in technical specs on these products. Those can be looked up.
What we’re more interested in are your experiences with the product, the problems, annoyances and yes, even the good things you ran into with it that you don’t often or at all see in a review, and what you think of it.
What we at least initially plan to do is put up the most relevant sections of the comments received in articles, and see if that proves helpful to people.
We’re going to start today with a simple little peripheral: USB thumb drives. These are these little devices that usually hold 32-256Mb of storage that you can easily carry in a pocket and plug into a USB port to transfer data from one machine to another.
If you have one, tell us what you have, what good and bad things you’ve run across with them, and whether or not you’d do it again. Do your own little mini-review of the product.
Don’t worry if nobody mistakes you for Shakespeare, we’ll edit where necessary.
If and when you do this, also tell us whether or not you’d like your name and/or email address attached to your comments.
Eventually, we’d like to expand this to all different categories of products, but we’ll take this one step at a time. If you have suggestions, please feel free to send them in; this is definitely a work-in-progress.
You know where to find me.