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Roger Wonders Why We're Such Renegades
Many times you seem to say the exact opposite of what other newsletters I subscribe to. For instance, you seem pro-Microsoft and the other newsletters I get have little good to say about Microsoft. You recommend things that others don't. You don't recommend things that others do. But, I respect both of you most of all, because you seem to march to a different drummer. I wondered if you could explain why you two seem so different than other computer help sites and newsletters? Thank for all the years of good information. Roger

Our Answer
Hmmm. Don't know what to think about your assessment of us. We try to tell it the way we see it. Sometimes we go against the grain and sometimes we go with the flow. If we think something is wrong we're going to tell you. If we think something is right, we'll tell you that too.

Nothing gripes us more than a newsletter which claims to be an Windows newsletter, which does nothing more than ramble on, page after page, attacking Microsoft for being lazy, stupid, too rich, too insecure, too uncaring, too unlike Apple, too unlike Linux, too expensive, too lame, etc..

I don't know why this bothers us. We see it everyday, all the time, on television news and newspapers. Bashing the president, regardless of who he is or what party he represents, is the cool thing to do. Apparently, this indicates this is the kind of stuff people want to see and read about. How many news items did you see on TV in the last week that were good news. How many "the sky is falling" type items did you see. What do you see more of: Good news or bad news? Bashing Microsoft sells. Apparently. Many of these so-called Windows help newsletters are far bigger and more popular than ours. Or so they say.

We'd be foolish to say we wouldn't like to be more popular and have Fox News beating down our door for an interview or a feature. But, if, like some of the other newsletters we read, we have to bash Microsoft or scare the pants off you by telling you there's a little-known trojan floating around that is going eat your computer up like hydrochloric acid eating a tin cup - I guess we'll never see the big time.

It's incredible that so many have made so much money by scaring people and ripping apart a company like Microsoft. Even more incredible Microsoft plays right into their hands by GIVING them free software to test. The don't give us anything. We've never gotten one free thing from Microsoft - so if you're thinking we're on Microsoft's dole, you're wrong. Many of the other newsletters are written by people who work closely with Microsoft and Microsoft gives them advance copies of all their software. Maybe they feel guilty for taking it so they bash Microsoft so they won't look biased.

Somewhere in this little scenario, what happened to the truth? One particular newsletter always makes us laugh - not be cause it's funny stuff, but because the person writing it is so obvious.

He'll be writing about "spyware" crippling ten zillion computers and the very next paragraph he'll be advertising an anti-spyware product and saying it's the best - absolutely - and there's none better. Well if he really believes that, it's fine - no problem! He's trying to make a buck and recommending something he believes in and trusts is a great way to create a win-win situation with this readers. They get something good, he makes a buck and all hums merrily along in cyberspace.

But, he loses all credibility, when in the very next issue of his newsletter. his "best ever" XYZ anti-spyware is not the best and ABC anti-spyware is now the best ever. I think this year alone, he's recommended four or five different anti-spyware programs, each one "the best". How much credibility does that earn someone. He does give us a chortle though - we all need a few chortles each week.

We understand what he's doing. We know how things work. We're this business too. We know that the chances of selling a product are better than if you have something "new" "great" "stupendous" than if you keep advertising the same "best" software every week. For instance, we've been recommending Spyware Doctor for many months now because we really believe it's the best.  Not only do we feel that way, we trust it, and use it on our computers. We recommend that you use it on yours too. Maybe sales aren't as good as they could be if we changed our "favorite" anti-spyware to something different every few weeks. But the best means the best to us - it doesn't mean the best way we can make a dollar. It means the best software for the job - something we use ourselves. And, unless or until Spyware Doctor changes for the worse or releases a new version which we don't feel makes the grade, it will remain the program that we use to protect our own computers and the one we recommend that you use to protect yours.

If you think we're renegades, we'll continue to be renegades because we're just being us. Renegades that we are, we're still wondering how useful third party firewalls are for the average user. Once we complete our research, we will tell you what we have learned. We can tell you we're beginning to smell a cat in the bird cage. If we ever stop recommending third party firewalls, many "experts" will be chortling gleefully at us. We'll see. We're not quite ready to make that shocking announcement yet. We're getting close though :)

We've recommended that users turn off anti-virus scanning in email - since it really provides no extra protection - and can end up causing problems with your email program as well as with sending/receiving email; especially if you're using Outlook Express. We got hammered for that one. But we're sticking by it. It is true. We documented it well.

We're glad you asked your question the way you did, because we're glad to know we're lovable rebels - right? There are plenty of newsletters out there that will be glad to scare you death. And there are plenty of newsletters out there that will give you a stomach full of Microsoft bashing, if that's what you want to read. We like to think you subscribe to this one because you like it the way it is and you like us the way we are. Affable, don't you think? :)

We admit can be wrong. We have been wrong. But our mission is to give you the facts as we see them in the most unbiased way we can. Sometimes we get a little carried away when we really don't like something. If we don't like something there's usually a good reason - being made by Microsoft -does not necessarily make a product bad. We simply not do something just to increase sales - or to scare our readers into buying something they don't nee - or to increase our subscriber base. Unfortunately, we feel that's exactly what a lot of other "technical" sites and newsletter do. You'll have to be the final judge of who is telling it straight and who is "spinning" things to increase readership and profits.

And besides all this, Eightball trained me to be a renegade.

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