[Cerowrt-devel] [Bloat] Two d-link products tested for bloat...

dpreed at reed.com dpreed at reed.com
Fri Feb 20 12:20:47 EST 2015

+1 for this idea.  It really worked for Anand's and Tom's - their reviews caught fire and got followed so much that they could become profitable businesses from the ads.
Craigslist style business model, funding both reviewing and CeroWRT promotion activities would be the logical thing.  And I love the names! (free + some premium service that doesn't compromise the purity and freeness of the reviews)...
Thoughts on the premium service that might go with this:
1) some kind of "support service" that links people with skilled support for WiFi in their area (for a percentage on each referral)
2) Premium insider news  content (like LWN.net, which I subscribe to at the professional level, because it is so great).
The point of this is not to maximize the likelihood of buyout for billions of dollars.  I don't oppose that outcome, but it is tricky to aim for that goal without compromising the review (and news if there) quality.  You don't want "vendor sponsorship".  You might want early access to upcoming products, as long as it is on your own terms and not a way of letting vendors buy your integrity, which they would certainly attempt.
I don't normally do this, but I would contribute content at a modest level - and I'm sure others would.  The key missing feature is an editor (e.g. Jonathan Corbet, Michael Swaine, Doc Searls, .. - that type of editor, not necessarily those people).

On Friday, February 20, 2015 3:47am, "Jonathan Morton" <chromatix99 at gmail.com> said:

Out of curiosity, perhaps you could talk to A&A about their FireBrick router. They make a big point of having written the firmware for it themselves, and they might be more interested in having researchers poke at it in interesting ways than the average big name.  A&A are an ISP, not a hardware manufacturer by trade.
Meanwhile, I suspect the ultimate hardware vendors don't care because their customers, the big brands, don't care. They in turn don't care because neither ISPs nor consumers care (on average). A coherent, magazine style review system with specific areas given star ratings might have a chance of fixing that, if it becomes visible enough. I'm not sure that a rant blog would gain the same sort of traction.
Some guidance can be gained from the business of reviewing other computer hardware. Power supplies are generally, at their core, one of a few standard designs made by one of a couple of big subcontractors. The quality of the components used to implement that design, and ancillary hardware such as heatsinks and cabling, are what distinguish them in the marketplace. Likewise motherboards are all built around a standard CPU socket, chipset and form factor, but the manufacturers find lots of little ways to distinguish themselves on razor thin margins; likewise graphics cards. Laptops are usually badly designed in at least one stupid way despite the best efforts of reviewers, but thanks to them it is now possible to sort through the general mess and find one that doesn't completely suck at a reasonable price.
As for the rating system itself:
- the Communications Black Hole, for when we can't get it to work at all. Maybe we can shrink a screen grab from Interstellar for the job.
- the Tin Cans & String, for when it passes packets okay (out of the box) but is horrible in every other important respect.
- the Carrier Pigeon. Bonus points if we can show it defecating on the message (or the handler's wrist).
- the Telegraph Pole (or Morse Code Key). Maybe put the Titanic in the background just to remind people how hard they are failing.
- the Dial-Up Modem. Perhaps products which become reliable and useful if the user installs OpenWRT should get at least this rating.
- the Silver RJ45, for products which contrive to be overall competent in all important respects.
- the Golden Fibre, for the very best, most outstanding examples of best practice, without any significant faults at all. Bonus Pink Floyd reference.
I've been toying with the idea of putting up a website on a completely different subject, but which might have similar structure. Being able to use the same infrastructure for two different sites might spread the costs in an interesting way...
- Jonathan Morton
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