The Trouble With PC World

If PC World were free, I wouldn’t mind the bad advice.

The problem is that the PC World staff, under the pressure of compiling and publishing a magazine every month, puts out a product that is repetitive, often biased, and sometimes just plain wrong.

First about that bias. While I understand that folks in publishing tend to use Macs and to be Apple-centric, when I want to read about Macs, I’ll buy PC World’s sister publication Macworld. Hey guys and girls, let’s stop proselytizing and start reviewing. And while you’re at it, please stop the childish Microsoft-bashing. It’s so 1990s. Review, not stew. We want food for thought, not clever jibes.

And then there’s the formulaic repetition of boring content. I don’t need more articles about what’s wrong with Vista. Or column after column about the latest “holes” in Microsoft products. You only know about the holes because Microsoft patched them, and guess what. They’re patched on my PCs, too. And frankly, I’ll scream if I you spend yet another page exhorting me to be careful opening emails, and not to visit unfriendly websites. Geez, am I the only nerd in the world who’s kept his or her PCs virus and malware free by safe-surfing and by choosing and using competent software?

Now it is true that almost every techie product out there includes a microprocessor, but cameras, HD TVs, and audio are NOT PCs. Really. When I want competent and complete reviews of these products, I go elsewhere. Reviewing these products just isn’t your forte.

But most insidious of all is just plain getting it wrong when it comes to products and software. Particularly software. In the last few months, I’ve installed more than a few applications that didn’t come anywhere near performing as described. It’s obvious the reviewer never tried them. And ditto for websites. I know you’re not responsible for sending readers to a website that delivers a viral payload — but surely you can tell whether a website actually lives up to its press releases?

PC World feels a lot like a high school science fair. Lots of projects done to get a grade. The rare project that makes it all worthwhile.

Being a self-starter and self-refresher myself, I’ve never been on a retreat. But maybe that’s what the PC World staff needs. A little time away from the grind to review their mission and renew their means.

Take ten.

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