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Pogue and the Bogusness of Advanced Gadget Reviews 127

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-don't-think-bogusness-is-a-word dept.
Jordan Golson writes "New York Times gadget reviewer David Pogue got into an email back-and-forth with Valleywag after he was tricked into writing an article by advance misinformation on a pre-launch product. In theory, it's good for reviewers to test and write up products before release day, so consumers can make informed choices. In practice, Pogue and we wish the industry standard would change." Personally I think this is why blogs are great- if a product sells 100,000 units, it only takes a few dozen bloggers to encounter problems for the truth to come out. Of course, that doesn't help you if you want to pre-order.
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Pogue and the Bogusness of Advanced Gadget Reviews

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  • Ouch. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:37AM (#20973903) Homepage Journal
    Isn't the best solution to not write about it until it can at least be tested? Why does Pogue, or for that matter, any reviewer, have to beat the release date so badly on such an obscure product? So nobody knows about a product when it's actually released, that's not such a bad thing for everyone, except maybe for the company in question if they have predatory intent.

    I think it's important to wait and not rush. I'm happy to let the early adopters try stuff out first for a few months.
    • It's about the sales (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Gazzonyx (982402) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:42AM (#20973947)
      It would be ideal for them to wait, but that won't sell any magazines if their competitors are covering tech. before it comes out. Especially tech. heavy magazines expected to be on the bleeding edge.
      • I don't think it would matter for the NYT in particular, they only happen to cover some tech stuff. Pogue's advantage is mainly that he can make the technology relatable to a lot more people, not that he can scoop others or be more tech-y than a dedicated tech rag. It wouldn't matter if they got "scooped" by a tech-only rag, I'm certain that the NYT has a different demographic to cater to. Heck, even Apple gives him some pre-release products for him to play with, I'd consider any company unwilling to giv
      • by Animats (122034) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:02PM (#20974071) Homepage

        Consumer Reports only reports on products they can buy at retail. They barely even talk to manufacturers. And not only do they make money, they're one of the very few magazines on the web people actually pay for.

        • by westlake (615356)
          Consumer Reports only reports on products they can buy at retail. They barely even talk to manufacturers.

          Consumer Reports only reviews products CU can purchase anonymously.

          That becomes a problem when you are considering custom installations, bundled products and services of every sort.

        • by maxume (22995)
          Do the reviews still use bizarre criteria?
          • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @05:33PM (#20976165) Journal
            Yes they do. I canceled my subscription long ago when I got sick of their reviews of computers. They actually gave a higher score to a dell machine that had trial software, because it had trial software (crapware). And the buying guide had an incredible amount of grammatical, spelling and just plain strange errors. It repeated the same paragraph several times in a chapter. It only didn't fit in any of the spots. If I know they don't know what they are talkng about in my area of expertise, I can't trust them to tell me about anything I know less about.
          • The "best" car is the one with the most cupholders. Apparently, that's CR's metric--count cupholders, and the car with the most is a CR Best Buy. The "best" computer is the one that comes with massive amounts of trial-ware. That's another CR metric--count the number of useless trial applications installed, whichever PC includes the most, that's your winner. Articles are full of "we especially liked...(useless feature x)" On almost every front, CR weights the most obscure and unimportant features heavily, wh
    • nothing to see here
    • by Locutus (9039)
      it looks like the problem was that the telecomm give him bogus pricing data for VOIP phone rates. VOIP isn't really a new technology so how much are you going to question/test the software to prove it's worth? After all, as Pogue said, the main selling point of the product was the VOIP calling prices.

      If anything, any company that puts out incorrect pricing data on pre-released reviewing materials should be fined and the reviewers should blast them for it and be immune to slander charges. THAT will stop the
    • by KZigurs (638781)
      uh.

      why 99% of us are on slashdot?
    • by khallow (566160)

      I think it's important to wait and not rush. I'm happy to let the early adopters try stuff out first for a few months.

      This story was for the early adopter.
    • by pogueNYT (879773)
      Well, IF all the publications agreed to this simultaneously ("no prerelease reviews!"--"we all buy retail anonymously!")--then yes, it would be a wonderful world.

      But there is one counterargument-- a value in letting the public know in advance whether a product's any good.

      * If the product is bad, an early review warns people away from it. It takes *time* to do a review--and if it didn't appear until a couple weeks after the product reached retail, a lot of people would buy the product unknowingly. (Who, exac
      • by jlgolson (19847)
        * If a product is good, an advance review lets readers plan accordingly. They know something better is coming out soon, and they can avoid buying whatever's on the market right now. Isn't something better ALWAYS coming out?
      • by LooTze (988596)
        But if the prerelease product has been cherry-picked and tested specially for the review, its quality might be much better than a store-bought average and therefore make the review very misleading.
  • No no no no no (Score:4, Informative)

    by styryx (952942) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:37AM (#20973905)
    "Pogue and we..."

    Just no.
    • by bfields (66644)
      It's unconventional ("we and pogue" would be more idiomatic), but I don't think it's ungrammatical; note that this is a subject, not an object (hence "we", not "us"). Am I missing something?
      • Re:No no no no no (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:48PM (#20974383) Homepage

        It's unconventional ("we and pogue" would be more idiomatic), but I don't think it's ungrammatical; note that this is a subject, not an object (hence "we", not "us"). Am I missing something?
        It's grammatically correct, but it's very awkward. The grouping of the collective "we" on an equal footing with "Pogue" strains the mental picture of "we". This grouping, intimating a close association, is such that Pogue would naturally be assumed to be part of the "we" in question, so puzzlement ensues when he is not. It's just bad writing. Being an active part of the conversation in question, Pogue should have been included in the collective "we". Alternately, Valleywag could have used a collective pronoun for itself in a subordinate clause to show the separation. Any of the following would have been better:

        "We all wish..."
        "Both Pogue and we at Valleywag wish..."
        "Pogue wishes (as do we at Valleywag) that..."

        It also doesn't help that the /. blurb says "Jordan Golson writes" followed by nothing but a quote lifted from the article, which Jordan Golson certainly did not write, followed by some opinion from CmdrTaco. This sets up a situation where the identity of the "we" in question is thoroughly obfuscated. The original line was marginally acceptable, in a casual online writing sort of way, but it thoroughly lost its footing when it achieved four degrees of separation from the original conversation with Mr. Pogue.
        • "We, along with Pogue, wish that..."
        • It's grammatically correct, but it's very awkward. The grouping of the collective "we" on an equal footing with "Pogue" strains the mental picture of "we". This grouping, intimating a close association, is such that Pogue would naturally be assumed to be part of the "we" in question, so puzzlement ensues when he is not.

          1. On what basis do you claim it's "grammatically correct"? You don't make an argument, and I suspect you know jack about grammar. (Do you happen to have at the very least a B.A. in Linguist
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by flydpnkrtn (114575)
          This is THE most thorough dissection I have ever seen of the grammatical correctness of a /. post.
          Ever.

          Myself and we at /. are impressed.
          • This is THE most thorough dissection I have ever seen of the grammatical correctness of a /. post.

            Are you in a position to be able to tell?

            • Are you in a position to be able to tell?

              Hey guy I was JOKING AROUND. Take the attitude elsewhere. This is Slashdot... not everything has to be serious and heatedly debated. Jeez,
      • It's unconventional ("we and pogue" would be more idiomatic), but I don't think it's ungrammatical; note that this is a subject, not an object (hence "we", not "us"). Am I missing something?
        Why would you even assume that styryx was objecting to the grammar?
        • by bfields (66644)

          Why would you even assume that styryx was objecting to the grammar?

          Oh, probably just a particularly dumb case of guilt by association--I probably accepted the first AC's misreading of the comment.

      • It's unconventional ("we and pogue" would be more idiomatic), but I don't think it's ungrammatical; note that this is a subject, not an object (hence "we", not "us"). Am I missing something?

        Yes, you're missing something. You're not testing your hypothesis against data from actual usage.

        Neither have I, but I'm going to guess:

        1. There will be a preference for the order that places the pronoun second, but plenty of examples of either order.
        2. Coordinated object pronouns (like in Pogue and us) will be far mo
    • by Merk (25521)

      Why not? Would you prefer "Pogue and us wish the industry standard would change" "Us and Pogue wish the industry would change"? "We and Pogue" would probably be the more common construction, but "Pogue and we" is grammatically correct too.

      • by Hucko (998827)
        "Pogue and those of us at ...". Also, "We, along with Pogue, ...", "Pogue and $Company's employees ..." amongst others. The PR company is trying too hard to personable.
        • by Merk (25521)

          Ok, those are acceptable, but is "Pogue and we" violating any grammar rules?

    • by langelgjm (860756)
      Yeah, I'm not a prescriptivist, but I still balked at that.
    • by LarryWake (855436)
      And while we're nitpicking: "Advanced" != "Advance". Although it was a review of an advanced gadget, the point was that the details were provided in advance, and were bogus.

      Oh, and what the heck: "formally" != "formerly"; "for all intensive purposes" is not a phrase, and listen up Dan Piraro: Quakers are not "passivists."

      (...and Aristotle was not Belgian, the principle of Buddhism is not "every man for himself, and the London Underground is not a political movement...)

  • Well Done, I say! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gazzonyx (982402) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:40AM (#20973925)
    I think it was awfully big of Pogue to openly admit the prices were wrong (despite it not being his fault that the company essentially lied to him), and address the issue, rather than submitting a correction that would get filed on the back page.


    He could have also put his hands in his pockets and whistled while rocking back and forth, and hoped no one noticed or said anything. It's rare to see journalists point out when they're wrong (I'm glaring at you, Dvorak!), without being at knife point.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I think it was awfully big of Pogue to openly admit the prices were wrong (despite it not being his fault that the company essentially lied to him), and address the issue, rather than submitting a correction that would get filed on the back page.

      Umm, dude, by admitting his mistake, he hasn't done anything special. He's just done what he should have done. So I don't see the need for praise.

      Just because many of his journalist colleagues fail to admit their misreporting, it doesn't mean that he's special. What
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jarjarthejedi (996957)
        "Umm, dude, by admitting his mistake, he hasn't done anything special"

        Actually, in our modern world, that is something special. What you should have done and what is commonly done are rarely equal and so when someone embraces their responsibility and admits to being wrong they should be praised in order that more people realize that truth is what we want, not looking infallible.
        • There's something fundamentally sick about a society that thinks there's something wrong with pointing out where somebody did something right. Simply brushing things aside as "that's what was expected" while continuing to flagellate those who do wrong is a half-assed way to approach things.
          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            There's something fundamentally sick about a society that thinks there's something wrong with pointing out where somebody did something right.

            No, there's something fundamentally sick about a society when doing your job inadequately and then admitting it when somebody points it out to everybody is considered praiseworthy.

    • I think it was awfully big of Pogue to openly admit the prices were wrong (despite it not being his fault that the company essentially lied to him), and address the issue, rather than submitting a correction that would get filed on the back page.

      He could have also put his hands in his pockets and whistled while rocking back and forth, and hoped no one noticed or said anything.

      The problem with that approach is that, as he wrote in his column, everybody did notice -- he was getting a barrage of emails and other sites had picked up the discrepancies and were starting to take him to task. With that in mind, his column correcting the misinformation was an attempt to save face.

  • Read with caution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MasterVidBoi (267096) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:44AM (#20973969)
    if a product sells 100,000 units, it only takes a few dozen bloggers to encounter problems for the truth to come out

    And the corollary: It only takes a few anecdotes to tarnish a generally reliable product.
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:13PM (#20974133) Homepage
      Precisely. I'm increasingly finding that I cannot rely on internet reviews. Few products are without some problems, and fewer still ship thousands (or tens of thousands) of units without a lemon or two.
       
      But on the 'net, it is those few who seem to drive the reputation of a product. (Bloggers are the worst of the lot - they tend to repeat each other and link in a snarled web, thus making the problem(s) appear even more widespread than they actually are.)
      • The problem I have is that it's all hindsight. I find the chorus of complaints about a product when I go onto a support forum and find out the my issue (here's a short list of my most recent issues: poor interoperability between Skype and Logitech QuickCams, resulting in hung video... this one is a favorite, because my $90 QuickCam was advertised and sold by Skype, and in turn boasts of Skype compatibility on its packaging; the response from both vendors is torpid - shoddy software for the Nintendo Wii USB
        • by gilroy (155262)
          Blockquoth the poster:

          The thing is, where is the place I can go to ahead of time and identify these problems before they occur?

          Um, couldn't you search on the product before you buy? I tend to do that with anything costing more than $10 or so. Google (or other search engine) for product name + "complaint" or + "failure" or whatever. You generally turn up some indicators, if there's a widespread problem.
          • You'll get hits on everything. What's lacking is generally solid comparative reviews and evaluations of problems. Trust me, I've tried to screen out ahead of time: you end up only finding the dirt when you search for specific things, like "Skype Logitech compatibility problems", rather than "Logitech quickcam failure."
      • Re:Read with caution (Score:4, Interesting)

        by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @05:31PM (#20976159) Homepage
        It's the Apple paradox.

        Their machines are built better, and last longer. But whenever they have a problem that affects a small fraction of a percent of their customers, there's suddenly a huge controversy.

        Ask any IT manager, and they'll be able to identify a certain series of machines that were extremely prone to failure (motherboards and power supplies being the usual culprits). You NEVER hear about this sort of thing in the PC world, even though it happens all the time. Maybe it's just because Dell and HP have rather diverse product lines, but anyone who's managed large numbers of machines knows that you occasionally get a bad batch. (The trend also usually doesn't become apparent until at least a year in, unless you've got a truly dismal series of machines).

        That's not to say that Apple hasn't done this -- many of the original colored iMacs had a tendency to fail after 3 or 4 years, and weren't worth repairing. On the flipside, their more expensive machines tend to keep chugging right on to the end of their lifecycle (which is typically a lot longer than for PCs -- plenty of 450mhz G4s from 1999 are still being used today for everyday tasks. However, you rarely see a Pentium II sitting on someone's desk anymore)
        • by j_sp_r (656354)
          My HP Brio Pentium II with 233 mhz (passive cooling!) and now with 384mb ram (You know how computers "counted" ram when booting, it takes ages with 384mb ram) works just perfect. And faster then most machines I see some people using that should be 10 times faster...
          • there is usually an option for fastboot, or non-thorough checking of memory in the BIOS, and it won't count through all the memory.

            it sure felt nice/looked cool for a few days though when i had 512 for the first time.
            but windows...argh...just the wrong combination at the wrong time.

        • "Their machines are built better, and last longer. But whenever they have a problem that affects a small fraction of a percent of their customers, there's suddenly a huge controversy."

          Actually, the machines built are of a more controlled nature and Apple has substantially fewer machines in the field than "PCs". Built better and last longer? That's simply conjecture. I know plenty of Apple hardware that has went belly up on the consumer end. And there's more of a controversy because the Reality Distortion Fi
      • Anyone who admits to being a blogger is a silly cunt; anyone who describes himself as such is an irredeemable, pretentious and arrogant one.

        -- Oscar Wilde.
    • by Fizzl (209397)
      Leave Vista alone!
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:48AM (#20974001)
    The "gadget" is an IP-phone. The technical details are not novel. What was was the prices given. That's something that the company can change at any time. It's not like he was given a styrofoam mockup and gushed about its high quality, he cited prices given a week in advance of the launch. As he says, why on earth would they lie about that? It just makes them look sleazy and/or incompetent. So they suckered Pogue, but shot themselves in the foot.
    • by _|()|\| (159991) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:05PM (#20974085)
      Exactly. I actually RTFA (both of Pogue's and both of Valleywag's), and I kept looking for the stinging indictment of Pogue as a reviewer who "writes whatever you tell him to." Advance reviews are bogus because of golden samples and lavish press junkets. They are not bogus because the manufacturer might change the pricing at the last minute.
    • by Otter (3800) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:32PM (#20974237) Journal
      I completely concur. He quoted prices that were correct when he wrote them and were changed while (or after) the issue was in press. I don't see where he did anything inappropriate at all.
      • i agree with the general sentiment about his culpability, but i am extremely disappointed that he didn't question the conduct of a company so blatant about bait-and-switch nonsense for a exclusive review in the NYT. that would obviously (although not if you were to only go by his words written) be an indictment against any company, with obvious repercussions to their reputation, mindshare, etc.

        i'm disappointed he didn't call them on that. he just lists their obvious 'oh, mistaking web designing!; tomorro

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Procasinator (1173621) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:04PM (#20974081)
    He asked a company for it's pricing and he was supplied with the wrong pricing. For what reason would the prices be wrong? A complete non-story, Pogue did nothing wrong. Releasing prices to the general public is a good thing, not something that should be discouraged. People want to know the price of products like PS3, iPhone and charges of using features of it before they are released, even if only a guideline.
  • Oh really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by dgun (1056422) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:12PM (#20974129) Homepage

    David Pogue writes whatever you tell him to

    I'll keep that in mind. The next time I piss my wife off, I'll have him write an apology.

    You can't top an apology written in the NYT. Unless I can get some putz at the Wall Street Journal...

    • You can't top an apology written in the NYT. Unless I can get some putz at the Wall Street Journal...

      I'm not so sure. The WSJ was recently snagged by our boy Rupert Murdoch, owner of FOX news.

  • by skoda (211470) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:23PM (#20974185) Homepage
    Pogue wrote an article with bogus info, then printed a retraction. ValleyWag wrote that Pogue got duped. And then ValleyWag wrote a searing article noting -- get this -- high level electronics reviewers have better access to help and hardware than the rest of us! Who knew? And sometimes their review hardware is cherry picked for advance features! Investigative journalism at its best.

    I can only assume the real interesting meat is in the unseen "back and forth" emails. Pity we can't read those. We might learn something interesting.
  • The solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:39PM (#20974291)
    to this is to maintain a "shitlist" of companies that have been known to use deceptive marketing practices, or other abuses such as Sony's rootkit, and make this list easily accessible (a well-known Web site) to anyone who is making a purchasing decision. At the very least, it could make the difference between a pre-order of an unreleased product versus waiting a couple of months to let someone else be the guinea pig -- that shiny new object isn't so shiny anymore if you know it might be a lemon. The idea isn't necessarily that you would never want to do business with a company on the list (although that's certainly possible), just that you would know that you were taking a risk and would take measures to minimize it, i.e. by not pre-ordering a product that has yet to be released or otherwise trusting the word of that company to be correct.

    This list should have a reasonable minimum amount of time before any company can be removed (no matter how quickly they improve) and would of course require that the deception/abuse be thoroughly documented, preferably from multiple sources (the standard for this should be high to avoid having the list abused).

    Just as government is supposed to fear its people and not the other way around, I believe that companies should fear losing customers instead of customers being in fear of getting a bad deal.
    • by Daychilde (744181)
      This sounds like a fantastic idea! In fact, there should be some organization to it, otherwise - how would the information be spread? And we should keep the name simple and obvious... so... what would we be trying to accomplish? Well... I suppose we want businesses to be better, right? So... we could call it the Better Business Organization! But wait, I have an even BETTER idea, because alliteration would just MAKE it.

      (note: not sarcasm; intended to be a light-hearted pointing out of the BBB :) )
    • by Alsee (515537)
      The solution to this is to maintain a "shitlist" of companies that have been known to use deceptive marketing practices, or other abuses

      Cool... I found someone already maintaining a pretty good alphabetical list. [nasdaq.com]

      -
      • by Alsee (515537)
        Oh, and as a side note, it appears that they are considering on removing The SCO Group [techrockies.com] from that list.

        If I may be so bold as to make a prediction, I predict that one year from today SCO will no longer be engaging in any deceptive marketing practices or any other abuses. Of any sort. At all. Ever again.

        -
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jimicus (737525)
      to this is to maintain a "shitlist" of companies that have been known to use deceptive marketing practices, or other abuses such as Sony's rootkit,

      I started doing this.

      Unfortunately, following it religiously would have resulted in having to go back to using abacuses.

      Seriously:

      Dell: Didn't accept there was a battery problem with their laptops for months.
      Sony: Make spare parts deliberately difficult to obtain. (You ever tried buying a genuine Sony battery a few months after one of their laptops gets disco
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Anyone operating such a site would be sued out of existence, unless they had phenomenal legal resources at their command. A couple dozen libel suits would take the starch out of any effort ... doesn't much matter if there's any merit to them. Frivolous lawsuits still require money for a defense.
  • by meehawl (73285) <meehawl,spam&gmail,com> on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:40PM (#20974303) Homepage Journal
    Maybe the reason Pogue was so quick to retract is that he was unlikely to get any paid cruises or book deals [valleywag.com] from a 3rd-tier discount telephone operator. Unlike the moolah stemming from, for instance, a fellatrice-like relationship with Apple. Mossberg or Levy wouldn't have made that mistake - they're old enough to work the Apple line almost exclusively.
  • by TechnicolourSquirrel (1092811) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:42PM (#20974329)
    After all, they are the ones who have to buy the thing. Therefore, ultimately, this particular incident is a complete non-issue. Dishonest advance information can possibly fool somebody into buying something that doesn't do what they think it does, but it can't fool anybody into paying a fake price, because guess who's signing the cheque? So, although people could be misled for a little while, ultimately nobody will ever be hurt by incident like this one (though it may reveal a larger communication problem).
    • by khallow (566160)
      Advertising a fake low price is a form of bait and switch. My take is that if someone goes through the trouble of ordering something, there's a good chance they won't stop just because the price is a bit higher than they expected. The extra cost of buying from the dishonest merchant is deliberately less than going through the price searching process again. Glancing at the story, I see that prices were up to four times what were claimed. More importantly, this is pricing information that the customer would h
      • Considering that the article says that readers immediately complained in high numbers to Pogue immediately after the website went live, it appears that the real prices where there for everyone to see before pulling the trigger, so I am still not convinced that we should really be worried about prices being misreported by third parties.
      • by causality (777677)

        Advertising a fake low price is a form of bait and switch. My take is that if someone goes through the trouble of ordering something, there's a good chance they won't stop just because the price is a bit higher than they expected. The extra cost of buying from the dishonest merchant is deliberately less than going through the price searching process again.

        The only realistic solution to this is to allow princinple to be a major influence in our buying decisions. Then, the question of whether you sustain a

  • Back in the late 80's my father and I wrote a BASIC interpreter for the PC, and we sent off a review copy to Byte magazine along with a brochure. It appeared in their "What's New International" column, the text was lifted straight out of our brochure.
    • And?
       
      They made an editorial decision not to review it, for whatever reason.
       
      They decided that it was still worth mentioning as a new product, i.e. some of their readers might be interested in it. Since you had provided them with the relevant information in your brochure they gave you some free advertising....
       
      I don't see a problem, really.
       
      Worth mentioning != worthwhile to spend a lot of time on a full-fledged review.
      • by PhilHibbs (4537)
        We didn't expect a full review and I'm not pissed off or anything, but it read like a review.
    • by cruachan (113813)
      So, isn't this *exactly* what everyone does?

      I've developed several pieces of software over the years. If I want a review I do precisely this - write the review myself and send it off. 95% of the time if the journalist uses the piece they will alter the first and last paragraphs slightly and publish the rest verbatim. On the other 5% of cases they will write their own introductory of closing paragraph.

      You simply need to work on the basis that your journalist would rather get his copy in quickly and get dow
  • I wish I had read a review before I purchased my Apple Airport Extreme router. This is the most problematic, bug-ridden router I've used - and I've used a ton of routers. The software is so bad, that Apple pulled older firmware so people couldn't downgrade.
    • by jmauro (32523)
      Huh. I've not had a lick of trouble with it, unlike the Netgear I had before it that would crap out when I tried to open too many web pages at once.
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @01:06PM (#20974525)

    ...it pays to wait. The technology industry is built around a culture of false urgency, and reviewers like Pogue - along with gadget-a-second blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo - just fuel the fire. It takes days or weeks to discover a new gadgets true strengths and weaknesses, and all that gets glossed over in the quest to be the first to write something meaningful.

    It's been going on for decades, though - I can vividly remember kids in the early 1980s bringing super-slim Sony Walkmans to school. They were several hundreds of dollars a pop. My dad simply put his foot down and uttered words of infinite wisdom: "Just wait a year." So I did. In the end, I purchased an Aiwa clone for a fraction of the cost... and my dad's eyes sparkled. His voice still echoes in the back of my head every time I wander lustfully through Best Buy, deftly avoiding the enormous plasma TVs and zillion dollar smartphones: 99% of the stuff we lust after is unnecessary. Don't let Pogue, Mossberg, Lam or The Great Steve try to tell you otherwise. ;)

    • by Vellmont (569020)
      I was going to post an article with the same sentiment. I couldn't agree more though. We live in an age where people want instant gratification, and over-estimate what each product will bring us.

      I tend to try to get bargains on everything. It doesn't work all the time with everything you want, but it does more often than not. I've only bought one cell phone new (my first one), the other two I've bought used on Ebay for 1/5th of the original price. I think your dads advice applies to any market, not jus
    • by causality (777677)
      Were you expecting them to get that right? What do you think they are, EDITORS or something?
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is just one example. "Best of E3 - 2006" "Best Online Multiplayer - 2006" Release date: October 2007. WTF? How do you get "Best Online Multiplayer" almost a full YEAR before you release?

    Bioware's Mass Effect is another. Award after award for a game that wouldn't ship for another year.

    Game magazines suck. They are sleazy, lying whores. IGN, GameSpy, GameSpot -- I mean you.
  • "A reporter isn't a superhuman essayist researcher, they are your surrogate, your proxy. When there is a fire on your street at two in the morning, and you can't be bothered to go out in the rain, a reporter goes along in your place, and tells you what's going on, but he only does what you'd do: gossips with the neighbours; gets a word or two from whichever member of the emergency services happens to be walking past; and passes that on." ... from an interesting article at http://www.badscience.net/?p=550 [badscience.net]

    The
  • Never Pre-Order. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rssrss (686344) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @02:15PM (#20974921)
    "Of course, that doesn't help you if you want to pre-order."

    Never pre-order.

    Don't buy a pig in a poke.

    Remember the old computer industry maxim: "Pioneers get arrows in their backs; Settlers reap the harvests."
  • But an obvious answer is for the companies to write letters to the sort of press whom they want reviews in, and say, "Go buy our product anywhere. Save the receipt and submit it to us. We'll reimburse you no matter what your review says."

    The magazines (and blogs) just have to start declaring this is their policy. And insisting on it, returning pre-sent merchandise unopened. Telling vendors if they want to encourage a review, this is the only way to do it. (And policing so that only the amount on the
  • The best part:

    At the end of Pogue's retraction/correction article [nytimes.com] he has the following text:

    * Last week's Times column can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/3aew5y [tinyurl.com]

    Tinyurl? Is this new? Did I miss some major strategic partnership announcement?
  • It's all a matter of credibility. Some of these writers (including Mr D. Pogue), write for the masses who are regularly duped with misinformation or unwarranted bias towards one product or another.
    Most of these writers seem to 'tow the line' and I don't think any change in process is going to make any worthwhile difference.
    Irritatingly, Pogue et. al. are constantly pushed by their publishers as 'must read' category, which almost all the time disappoints by lack of product/concept information, poor links (if

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