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liquidsquid
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Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:32 pm

The frequency at which new exciting PC related hardware is released has come to a crawl in the last few years, and in many cases, they are very specialized and expensive products. This alienates many readers (latest example: https://techreport.com/review/34105/nvi ... d-reviewed) and I have grown tired of coming to Tech Report and reading nothing particularly relevant to what I may purchase. It is no real fault of TR, but the industry as a whole.

The only tech not fully integrated onto a motherboard these days is the video card. So we get bleeding-edge CPUs and bleeding edge video card reviews. An occasional motherboard tossed in for good measure. I don't have a problem with these, as they are all excellent reviews, but they are infrequent.

I was reading through some replies to the above review link, and the cat box poop-robot, and through to myself that TR better branch out into other technology, or wind up slowly bleeding readers away. If only to fill the cracks between products that TR has always been excellent at reviewing.

Some thoughts of product classes I think that TR could review in a technical manner (not just a feature list comparison of features that don't work right due to bugs and poor implementation).

Cell phones are over-covered, so not worth the trouble.

Wearable sport/smart watches:
Sensors:
1. GPS accuracy
2. Steps accuracy
3. Sleep accuracy
4. Battery life... try to eek out the maximum and how it was done.
5. Elevation accuracy
6. Automatic activity tracking ability
7. Optical heart rate accuracy
8. etc,
All of the above is not tested between devices or talked about during reviews, so as a buyer all you know is "it has a GPS", not "The GPS couldn't track what state you are in".
Much of the other topics for these wearable devices are check-marks for features, but implementation varies wildly such as music support, ANT+ support, etc. so a pro review would certainly draw in readers. I think the wearable watch category is about to really launch now that battery life is getting reasonably useful, Android Wear (Wear OS) is a thing (and a CPU has been developed specifically for it), and tests can be crowd-sourced at times.

Other technical products worth reviewing I give a turd about that isn't already covered well elsewhere:
1. Home automation
2. High efficiency lighting
3. Surveillance cameras
4. Weather monitors/stations
5. Power tools (from a technical nurd perspective)

I am curious if anyone else feels the same way. I prefer reading here as the impartiality to manufacturers has been excellent since day 1.
 
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:36 pm

I'm all for TR expanding its focus beyond just the PC, because the PC is boring. "It's faster than the last generation". There's a VERY rare exception where a new feature has a huge impact on fidelity like DLSS and RTX. Otherwise hardware reviews on PC components is flat-out dull. So yeah, I think those are all great suggestions. There's an argument it's outside of TR's area of expertise, but my counter-argument is that it's just a matter of learning. :p
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:58 pm

I agree with most of those.
 
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:33 pm

I don't necessarily disagree with some of the things you think would be good to cover, but the idea that the RTX series of cards and their reviews are alienating people is....I just don't agree. 296 comments on an article that was posted a mere ~29 hours ago doesn't seem like it's alienating a bunch of people to me. That's just me though I suppose. I think, at least in my case, just because i'm not going to spend 1200 bucks on it doesn't mean I don't want to know how well it works at all the things it does.

Like I said, I agree that PC hardware can be a bit bleh at times, but I don't really think that means it should be avoided. Maybe a shift in editorial focus on the prodcuts TR DOES cover. Like, a big ol' deep dive on power consumption, or process tech, or whatever. I'm just spitballing and doesn't really mean these ideas to be propositions for articles.
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liquidsquid
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:15 pm

It isn't that I find PC related boring, they are just very infrequent these days. I am looking for "fluff" to keep the Tech Report somewhere where I like to go for a decent community and unbiased reviews.
When I mean "alienated" I believe most of use Tech Report faithful will always read and comment, but it isn't going to draw in very many new readers outside of this small community of enthusiasts.
 
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:59 pm

liquidsquid wrote:
It isn't that I find PC related boring, they are just very infrequent these days. I am looking for "fluff" to keep the Tech Report somewhere where I like to go for a decent community and unbiased reviews. When I mean "alienated" I believe most of use Tech Report faithful will always read and comment, but it isn't going to draw in very many new readers outside of this small community of enthusiasts.

Well, the camera stuff is always welcome, but "fluff" smells (to me, and solely IMO) of what wrecked Ars (again, IMO).
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:05 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
liquidsquid wrote:
It isn't that I find PC related boring, they are just very infrequent these days. I am looking for "fluff" to keep the Tech Report somewhere where I like to go for a decent community and unbiased reviews. When I mean "alienated" I believe most of use Tech Report faithful will always read and comment, but it isn't going to draw in very many new readers outside of this small community of enthusiasts.

Well, the camera stuff is always welcome, but "fluff" smells (to me, and solely IMO) of what wrecked Ars (again, IMO).


I totally agree with this. And I always keep a distinction between News and Reviews.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:02 pm

liquidsquid wrote:
I am curious if anyone else feels the same way.

That sounds amazing. I hear Captain Ned is big into wearables.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:05 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Well, the camera stuff is always welcome, but "fluff" smells (to me, and solely IMO) of what wrecked Ars (again, IMO).


Fluff? Smells? Just want exactly are you getting at Ned? :P
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:10 pm

End User wrote:
liquidsquid wrote:
I am curious if anyone else feels the same way.

That sounds amazing. I hear Captain Ned is big into wearables.

This made me lol. Good stuff.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:11 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Well, the camera stuff is always welcome, but "fluff" smells (to me, and solely IMO) of what wrecked Ars (again, IMO).

I classify you as fluff (IMO).
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:16 pm

End User wrote:
That sounds amazing. I hear Captain Ned is big into wearables.

Ahem.

Image
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:17 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
End User wrote:
That sounds amazing. I hear Captain Ned is big into wearables.

Ahem.

Image

I don’t think wearables use quartz.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:21 pm

End User wrote:
I don’t think wearables use quartz.

Well, with mine I don't have to worry about charging, period. Nor does it need to be tethered to another device that also needs periodic recharging.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:23 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
End User wrote:
I don’t think wearables use quartz.

Well, with mine I don't have to worry about charging, period. Nor does it need to be tethered to another device that also needs periodic recharging.

I take it you don’t have an electric car.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:27 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Image

Ned and I are wearable buddies.
Image
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:28 pm

End User wrote:
I take it you don’t have an electric car.

Not when this is possible:

Image
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:31 pm

Oh, and this too:

Image
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:33 pm

Just so you get it, EU, this is me:

viewtopic.php?p=1317310#p1317310
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:52 pm

Another couple of topic suggestions - I got a lot of great suggestions when I asked about NASes the other day, and it led me to discover several interesting options, like the computing power out there in retired server hardware. I think there are probably some good features to be written (or acquired, edited, republished? not sure the economics of that can work) about special-purpose PCs, mainly for around the home or home office. Is anyone building a home network with thin clients (like Raspberry Pis) that can push tasks up to a serious server?
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:02 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Oh, and this too:

Image


Nice stereo setup and vinyl collection. :D
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:24 pm

Wearables is kind of a dead market. There's the Apple Watch and there's a bunch of failed products. Droid-Life had a really great post on that earlier this week.

edit: I guess it was today. https://www.droid-life.com/2018/09/20/s ... ear-os-is/
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:49 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Wearables is kind of a dead market. There's the Apple Watch and there's a bunch of failed products. Droid-Life had a really great post on that earlier this week.

edit: I guess it was today. https://www.droid-life.com/2018/09/20/s ... ear-os-is/

It is pretty dead from the phone OEMs. There are still some semi-interesting fitness products that are worthwhile if that's what you specifically want a device for. I don't think these particular devices would be super interesting to the TR regular crowd, nor do I think they would draw in a ton of new audience. Just my opinion though.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:12 am

Would a multi-part series on Digital Privacy and Security be of any interest? This is a topic that certainly seems to be of ever-escalating importance, and it's one that I personally would appreciate reading about in a few deep dives. Mass media outlets love to report on breaches, but beyond telling you to "Be Afraid: Be Very, Very Afraid!" and then saying "Be safe on the internet!" they're basically worthless.

My circumstance: I'm not a programmer, have only taken a couple of higher level coding classes (more years ago than I'd care to admit), and I work in a non-technical field. Despite these "profound personal failings" I still harbor latent fantasies about being "Mr. Cool Tech Guy: The object of women's desire and he who inspires awe in the minds of men!" And with the help of TR articles, the accompanying comment threads (mostly, except for ... well you know who you are ;) ) I've learned a few things and gleaned info that points me to avenues for independent research. So, Thanks For That, Y'all !

But Digital Privacy & Security still leaves me a bit baffled. Some examples:
- I know VPNs are good things, and why, but how does one track down a good and worthy service? What particular features should I look for and which can I/should I avoid?
- I know "very generally" what a Hosts File is, but how can I configure it to enhance security/privacy without borking something?
- Firefox is my preferred browser, but which extensions truly enhance security/privacy, or what tweaks (if any) should I make in "Config:"?
- How should I configure my router to enhance security/privacy? (Because: ports! Man, I don't know how many ports! And just what the heck do they all do, anyway?)
- I "think" I've got a pretty good grip on fundamental security/privacy best practices, but Do I ... really? (I install updates and avoid "HEY! Click this link TO REALLY COOL SITE!", etc.)

What I'm interested in is a reliable, trusted source on matters of security/privacy that's tailored for a more non-technical audience. I check out Krebs occasionally, and will come across an article here or there on security/privacy, but those are often addressing an audience that's well beyond my knowledge baseline. Perhaps TR isn't the right forum for such discussions, but consider the idea "floated".
 
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:39 am

> rack.jpg
I can see your NADs lol
 
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:52 am

Drones! Considering many drones are heavily used as camera platforms the expertise in photography could be helpful in making interesting drone reviews.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:16 am

I agree.

The PC industry has become boring. Oh look, another 100mhz speed increase. Another core added.

Which is why I think the Robo-kitty box is amazing. Their LED reviews were excellent as is generally any review they do that meets the TR standard. Now that I think about it, I believe TR did a Roomba vac review a while back that was excellent as well.

I do believe that as technology starts integrating itself more into our daily items, reviews of these will be items will become more relevant.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:41 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
Wearables is kind of a dead market. There's the Apple Watch and there's a bunch of failed products. Droid-Life had a really great post on that earlier this week.

edit: I guess it was today. https://www.droid-life.com/2018/09/20/s ... ear-os-is/


I very much agree with this article. What is frustrating to me is the seemingly horrible software residing on many of these devices. Fundamental functions just don't quite work. That is why I think that a site such as TR would have fun with it, if only to bash how bad some of them really are!

I desire that new Apple watch, if only to play with the SOB. But I am firmly married to Android/PC. It is quite frustrating to see competition to Apple lag so stinking far behind. When I want an Apple device, Apple is doing something right.

Wear OS isn't the only competition in town though, Casio has its own, Garmin has its own OS also. Both have some serious warts as far as software updates breaking other features, overpriced (Garmin!), under-delivering. Garmin seemingly has taken off more than they can chew.

The thing is, now that battery life on these smartwatch things are regularly breaking the 1 week barrier, they no longer feel like tethered devices. I think that is something that will nudge the market into a more popular state. While Apple has a definite edge, it will be interesting to watch the competition play catch up.

Like that article mentions, these devices cannot really target just a single market segment like fitness only, or "smart" features only. They really need to be a jack of all trades with the ability to turn off features you don't want to use if they simply are annoying or eat battery life.

What I find really interesting, is the micro-LEDs will make a huge leap for wearables. There is a lot of promise for a bright display AND reasonable battery life.

I have the Garmin Fenix 5, and I do enjoy it. It was an expensive SOB, but I do get 2 weeks of use out of it before a recharge. The display isn't all that great, and until recently, the GPS was lackluster. Also, for a long time, the altimeter was just plan bad due to a software problem. Garmin does appear to be out of its comfort zone with these things though, and has too few resources spread over too many products.
 
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:45 am

FWIW, I like to tell stories when I review things or just write about things in general. The truth is, most the articles I've been writing for a couple years now are just spiffed up versions of what I would have put into a forum post in the past. In fact, for an upcoming piece, I'm drawing heavily from some of my old threads to jog my memory and frame the tale. I couldn't write the bread and butter of TR pieces, though, I'd totally burn out testing CPUs, video cards, motherboards, cases, mice, keyboards, etc all the time. Jeff and the other guys just have magical superpowers that I will never possess. They also have their own passions, which is where Jeff's incredible camera posts have sprung from recently, for example, or why Nathan and Zak's input device coverage is always worth reading.

With that said, personally, I'm mostly limited by my resources, time being the greatest factor. I'm already turning everything I can think of into a post of some kind (and greatly enjoying doing so). The vast majority of the stuff I write about are my own personal purchases (with some exceptions), hardware from my day job, or something I can do as a result of my personal relationships. Of course, there's Shortbread too, and BBQ-related stuff, but that's definitely fluff.

All that is to say that, from me, you get what you get, heh. I'm not buying fitness trackers, so you're not going to see a review of that from me. Smart watches? Meh. Trust me, you don't want to read a review from me about something I'm not excited about or don't have a cool story angle on. Someday, I hope to get around to some drone/RC stuff, 3D printers, something with Amazon Echo, and more.

BUT, if you guys wanted to become part of the story by, say, organizing a thread, making a poll, and voting for something reasonable that I could purchase and test, I could be up for that. No promises or anything, but ~$100 or so a few times a year on a community-choice review candidate could be a lot of fun for everyone.
Last edited by drfish on Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reviews that would suit Tech Report

Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:52 am

When can we talk about Suits that would review Tech Report?
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