(I did too many of them while Technical Editor at CADalyst magazine, and then later as Contributing Editor at Cadence magazine. I am proud, however, of the testing standards I established at CADalyst in the late-1980s; some still stand today.)
I just don't have the time.
A couple weeks ago, though, Alienware emails to ask if I want to review one of their notebook computers. I kinda ignore them, but they keep up. I relent, but only if they pay the freight in _both_ directions_ and_ pay the customs fees for crossing the USA-Canada board. They agree. Darn!
Then I get a detailed form to fill out: how and when and why and where and who and on and on... would the review take place. In particular, what benchmarking would I be using. Benchmarking? 'I guess I'll have to invent one,' I filled in. There: that shud turn them off.
Nope: a couple more questions by email, and then an email letting me know that UPFRONTEZINE PUBLISHING LTD's notebook computer is being assembled lovingly by hand. I click on a link in the email to learn the status of "my" computer. But that doesn't work; I don't have the code numbers. Never mind.
Another email message that it is on its way by FedEx.
Friday late afternoon, I notice a tag hanging on the doorknob: FedEx had knocked, but nobody was home. Well, there was, but I guess I was playing music too loudly to hear. In thick black felt pen, I scribble on the tag to tell the FexEx man that the FedEx sticker on my door's window means he is permitted to leave packages without signing.
Monday later afternoon I see the FedEx truck backing into the driveway. And then the FexEx man has a black cardboard box as big as the kind desktop computers come in. I tell my daughter to answer the door. Mr FedEx explains he was nervous about leaving items costing $4000 abandoned at front doors. Whatever. It's not my $4000.
My son's home for a few hours from college, and his eyes grow wide at the logo. Joy overcomes him. I can already hear him bragging to his dorm mates. Happens to be his dream machine. Likes to spend time on the Alienware Web site putting together dream machines. [Note to Alienware: your Web site is the male equivalent to .]
It's good he's home, because the Autodesk NDA scandal is unfolding and I'm busy tracking it. He and another of my daughters start unpacking the big black box:
* Monster notebook computer (see photo above compared with my first color notebook computer).
* Carrying case
* Mouse (not wireless: good; Microsoft brand: not good)
* Binder with instructions
* Flat metal box containing ... the mouse pad
* T-shirt with Alien logo.
* External floppy drive.
* Odd and ends, like a telephone cable for modem use.
The kids plug the stuff in, and turn on the machine. "Cool, dad," they report: "It's already got upFront.eZine's name as the login." Later: "The screensaver's got upFront.eZine in it, too."
Talk about shameless pandering.