Modern Tech Product Reviews Are Flawed →

November 12, 2017 · 11:51

Thom Holwerda, on OSNews:

Nobody forced The Verge or whomever else to publish a review within 24 hours. The initial embargo rush is important for the bottom-line, I get that, but it still feels rather suspicious. What can you really learn about a product in just 24 hours? Can you really declare something “the best damn product Apple ever made” after using it for less than a day? At what point does writing most of the review in advance before you even receive the product in the first place, peppering it with a few paragraphs inspired by the 24 hours, cross into utter dishonesty?

I usually write my initial impressions within a day or two, but my full reviews are after at least two weeks of using a device, otherwise I never label them as such and make it abundantly clear for how long I used a device.

Seeing “hands-on reviews” after 5 minutes with an iPhone angers me to no end. This “trend” seems to get worse and worse every year. Ultimately it’s the readers job to point this out to the author, which is pretty easy today, with all the Twitters and internets at our disposal.

The Stupidest Trend In Online Journalism

October 20, 2017 · 12:25

For some completely obscure reason, websites have started requiring users to click a button/link after opening an article. I have had this happen multiple times on various sites over the past year or so. What happens is that I click on a link, which opens the page in my browser, which ten shows me usually part of the first paragraph, followed by a “Click here to read the whole article”.

I clicked the link. They got me interested. Now all they have to do is to let me read in peace. But no, they don’t. They require further clicks. What for? Engagement? Page views? And people wonder why people’s attention span is low…

Entertainment Weekly went to a whole new level today, in an article about Blade Runner 2049, which has a total of five short paragraphs, of which four are cut short, followed by a “More…” link. I had to click a total of five times to read the whole thing.

Well… I would have, had I been bothered too. Instead, I closed the tab.

I’ll get back on the subject when I have more time to spare.

Anatomy of a Moral Panic →

September 25, 2017 · 09:25

Maciej Cegłowski:

On September 18, the British Channel 4 ran a news segment with the headline, ‘Potentially deadly bomb ingredients are ‘frequently bought together’ on Amazon.’

The piece claims that “users searching for a common chemical compound used in food production are offered the ingredients to produce explosive black powder” on Amazon’s website, and that “steel ball bearings often used as shrapnel” are also promoted on the page, in some cases as items that other customers also bought.

The ‘common chemical compound’ in Channel 4’s report is potassium nitrate, an ingredient used in curing meat. If you go to Amazon’s page to order a half-kilo bag of the stuff, you’ll see the suggested items include sulfur and charcoal, the other two ingredients of gunpowder. (Unlike Channel 4, I am comfortable revealing the secrets of this 1000-year-old technology.)

Quality journalism is rapidly becoming a niche, and US TV news stations are one example — they’re basically unwatchable. I recently turned on CNN for a few minutes and it was a circus — a far cry from the professionalism I remember from their first few years of broadcasting.

I assume things will get better in the future, but I believe only a handful of publications will retain quality, and it will get a lot worse before that happens.