I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

An apology and clarification on “softball” reviews

In the first version of my post from this morning, I wrote that the Ars Technica review of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 “exemplifies the softball ‘please keep sending us gadgets’ review so prevalent recently.”

This was a much more serious accusation than I intended: it implied fraud and a lack of journalistic integrity, which understandably is a horrible thing to accuse a journalist of, so I deleted that phrase. I sincerely apologize to Ars Technica and the article’s author, Ryan Paul, for that accusation.

What I intended to point out was the tendency of tech reviews to give too much credit for trying. Too many of the mediocre-gadget reviews I see by otherwise great sites seem like they’re stretching to balance the “pros” and “cons” lists with minutia and equivocation.

They rarely ever say anything blunt and honest, such as “Very few people should buy this.”

And they often fail to address the big-picture questions at all, such as “What will make this sell in enough quantity that we’ll still care about it in three months?”

That’s what I meant, but that’s not what I said, and I’m sorry. It’s easy to forget, sometimes, that there are people on the other end of what I write.