back to article My unpopular career in writing computer reviews? It's a gift

Nice t-shirt. Where did you get it? "Oh, it was just something they put in the box with the socks." You got a free t-shirt with some socks? "No, the socks and t-shirt came free with the bomber jacket." OK, so you bought a jacket and got a free t-shirt and socks... "The jacket was free as well. It all came with the laptop …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    Alternative psychic joke ending

    .....The shop assistant said, "we were hoping that you could tell us".

    P.S. try butchers' gloves.

  2. A K Stiles
    Coat

    USB cables

    I've heard gold plated USB cables are the best thing to use for mooring your narrowboat^W luxury yacht. Perhaps you'll get a chance to test that in your new 'yes man' approach to product reviews?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: USB cables

      I've personally seen >$120,000 yachts moored with nothing more than shore power, a telephone line (POTS) and a fresh water line. The last time I saw this was at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, a place where you'd think they would know better ...

      One of the boats that "broke free" in Santa Cruz, California during the tsunami following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake was "moored" with only coax for a CB radio ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: USB cables

        Well, if you loose one yacht, you just buy another. They're consumable items, like tyres, screenwipes or PZ2 driver bits.

        As Felix Dennis said, of his policy to invest in bricks and mortar: "If it flies, floats or fornicates, rent it; it's cheaper in the long run”

    2. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: USB cables

      Actually you need an oxygen free copper gold plated 5mm solid core thunderbolt cable to ensure your yacht is properly moored with the correct attenuation and frequency response, according to the 120 quid per millimetre Van den Hul yacht mooring cable literature that came with my free promotional gift.

      1. Eltonga
        Coat

        Re: USB cables

        according to the 120 quid per millimetre Van den Hul yacht mooring cable literature that came with my free promotional gift.

        I assume the promotional gift includes at least a small yacht to try the characteristics of the cable.

        1. Oh Homer Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: USB cables

          Sort of. In fact the gift is "An invitation to participate in the breathtaking experience of mooring your yacht using Van den Hul's 120 quid per millimetre oxygen free copper gold plated 5mm solid core thunderbolt yacht mooring cables at a time-limited substantial discount, during a presentation to be held at Fordwich Exhibition and Conference Centre (a.k.a. The George and Dragon Pub)".

  3. jake Silver badge

    That explains it.

    You must be part of the reason Apple won't talk to ElReg.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Commswonk Silver badge
    Joke

    Alistair Dabbs...

    Iron fist in velvet orange glove.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Alistair Dabbs...

      Perhaps he should gift them to the IdiotInChief. They wouldn't clash with the rest of him, and they'd hide his tiny little hands.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: Alistair Dabbs...

        "Perhaps he should gift them to the IdiotInChief."

        Okay, but not before he posts a picture that shows how the gloves go with his dinner jacket.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alistair Dabbs...

          Which idiot-in-chief were you referring to?

  5. sorry, what?
    Coat

    He's got...

    the gift of the dabb.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not if they wanted a decent write-up

    ah, that old chestnut...

    thanks for the photo, by the way. Yeah, THAT one.

  7. TWB

    Blaggers

    "Try as I might, I've never been able to climb aboard the blagging train." - sadly I am also deficient in the blagging gene or whatever it is. If a stream of people are passing a ticket check point all without tickets - I'll be the one who gets the 'Excuse me Sir, can I see you ticket....."

    Keep up the rest of the good work, maybe your luck is changing.

    BTW - just to be boring, those rubber padded/dipped/whatever gloves are really good for picking up heavy items like sheets of plasterboard - far easier to grip than with bare hands and fingers.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Blaggers

      sadly I am also deficient in the blagging gene or whatever it is

      I've managed to blag TWO things that I can remember:

      While buying an OS/2 Warp Special Bundle[1] at a computer fair, I deployed my dogged powers of persuasion to get the SalesDroid to also throw in a *free* OS/2 Warp t-shirt[2]! Fhear my powers of blaggment!

      Secondly, many years ago, I evaluated mice[3] for the company I was then employed by. Note that this was in the days when a serial mouse with more than one button was revolutionary. My first review mouse from a company who has a name akin to Dodgytech was DOA. Expecting nothing, I gave their Sales pimp a call (expecting to be told to go away and bother them no more). The next day, a box with several meeces turned up from said company, along with the request for them to send me my home address so they could send a represtative sample there as well.

      So my home mouse was, for many years, a DodgyTech special, incluging a central button. Which my linux desktop (at the time KDE) singularly failed to notice.

      [1] Special bundle of OS/2 Warp 3 (I think), plus a Soundblaster 16 sound card and CD-Rom drive. A Special Deal for Special People.

      [2] Which I still have. And, sometimes, still wear when it surfaces past the myriad of obscure Prog band t-shirts that my wardrobe/t-shirt drawer is infested with. It has a number of small holes it from the time when $PREVIOUSSENIORCAT used it as his favourite bed.

      [3] I could have taken some free cat-provided samples from home but, alas, they lacked serial connectivity. And tended to make the office smell bad after a few days.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha - Dabsy

    I got sent a free pair of these, in a far more tasteful silver grey, as part of a repair job.

    They seem to be advertised to stop you cutting yourself on a sharp edge, e.g. corned beef tin, knife etc although hopeless at stabbing resistance e.g. cat teeth, claws, thorns on plants etc.

    no "phone finger" like my winter gloves so god help you if you are reading the manual from your phone/fondleslab.

    And you have been sent this both to review, and force yourself to write a flowery, complimentary review of the most useless gloves in the world?

    Maybe you could make a stab-proof vest if you could sew enough together but I think you will find a rolled up newspaper (old school) or the back of your office laptop equally effective.

    So, unless you have a desparate problem of shaky hands when peeling potatoes for your dinner with the sharpest knife available, put them in the bin, grab a beer, and start watching violent children's cartoons to reset your reality

  9. Hero Protagonist

    The obvious IT use

    working inside computer chassis/racks with sharp(ened) metal edges

    1. Adam JC

      Re: The obvious IT use

      I'd imagine the lack of dexterity and precision required by the thickness would negate any benefit of protection.

      (I've sliced my arm/hand/finger more times than I care to remember rummaging around in cheap/nasty cases might I add!)

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: The obvious IT use

        In my experience, a hardware modification or repair will not be successful unless blood has been drawn at some point in the process. Right up there with light a cigarette and a bus will show up before you've smoked half of it.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: The obvious IT use

          In my experience, a hardware modification or repair will not be successful unless blood has been drawn at some point in the process.

          But of course not. The ritual sacrifice is mandatory.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: The obvious IT use

      working inside computer chassis/racks with sharp(ened) metal edges

      And just how do you expect things to work without the requisite blood sacrifices? You'll be banning dead-chicken rituals next!

  10. Potemkine Silver badge

    What is the price of your conscience?

    It seems Mr. Dabbs' one is more expensive that the ones of much of his colleagues...

    Material things are overstated anyway.

  11. Chris G Silver badge

    Some twenty odd years ago I ran a big workshop, the rep's would come in pre-Christmas with bottles of Scotch or cases of wine and be shocked when I gave them straight to the fitters, one guy asked what do you drink so I said 'Tea' he came in a week later with a catering pack of Tetleys and selection box of teas from Fortnum &Masons, his products were good anyway so I would have carried on buying from him anyway.

    Another asked me why I gave away all the booze, I told him I rarely drink at home and tbe standi g I have with the guys in the workshop because they get a share of any goodies is worth more than anything you could give me, they work better, I look better to the bosses, win win.

  12. Tony Haines

    Those gloves look the business

    Top review Dabbsey, very thorough. I'll be looking for all protective clothing I get in future to be cat tested.

    Also, I think the orange tango man should get a whole-body suit made, and fight crime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Those gloves look the business

      Also, I think the orange tango man should get a whole-body suit made, and fight crime.

      Oh, the irony!

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Those gloves look the business

      Top review Dabbsey, very thorough. I'll be looking for all protective clothing I get in future to be cat tested.

      You just can't beat the old standby of half or full plate armour[1]. Just don't wear it to work - you might get funny looks.

      [1] Full biking leathers work too. First time we flea-sprayed[2] our first cats I had the (normally docile) female resting along my arm as we sprayed her. I still have 10 faint scars near the inside of my elbow joint from her rear claws. I wore my bike leathers after that.

      [2] Old-fashioned method. Nowadays, flea drops are (thankfully) a hell of a lot easier to apply. The dog gets the tablet form - even though the first time we gave them to him he ended up with green drool..

  13. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Joke

    Nice mits

    They set off your lipstick lovely... ;)

  14. Dr_N Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Journalistic Intergity

    It's great to see journos come clean about the bribes they accept .

    Can we expect to see other journalism sectors aligning with this new found transparency? Motoring journalists, for example?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Journalistic Intergity

      Are you mad? Think of the economy! Honest reviews are the death of capitalism!

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Journalistic Intergity - Motoring journalists, for example?

      I have always assumed that the code words in reviews "boring/dull/not exciting to drive" translated as "you didn't bribe me enough."

      1. Wulfhaven

        Re: Journalistic Intergity - Motoring journalists, for example?

        Truth be told though, most cars ARE boring, dull and not exciting to drive so it may just be that they didn't get bribed enough to not spill the beans for that particular instance of boring metal box. :D

  15. earl grey Silver badge
    Pint

    a great way to hold your next one

    so have one for the weekend

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So if I was a penetration testing reviewer can I blag a dildo?

    Asking for a friend.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Try the Vadim Farrell.

      As an aside, I hadn't realised how old these were. Where's the Sam Truitt?

  17. satch89450

    Been there, sir

    https://interviews.slashdot.org/story/01/12/17/1235220/ms-oversight-committee-hopeful-stephen-satchell-answers

    Been there as a reviewer, no company has ever met my price. Not that they didn't try. (Full explanation is in my slashdot interview.) I used to freelance in Incline Village, NV, on the north short of Lake Tahoe, to a number of tech magazines. One day, a press kit arrives. Tucked neatly in that press kit is a voucher for The Mustang Ranch -- yes, the brothel that later was "owned and operated" by the US Government, before it was shut down and converted to a museum. Sorry, not good enough.

    I don't know what happened to that voucher -- I suspect that today it would be worth REAL money...

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Been there, sir

      "don't know what happened to that voucher" - a likely story.

  18. Predato0r

    Dear god, why is Sarah Palin your wallpaper?

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Dear god, why is Sarah Palin your wallpaper?

      Post-modern irony. I hope.

  19. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Angel

    Career advice

    Start reviewing bank notes, gold coins, gems and the like!

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Career advice

      One word: Bitcoin.

  20. Arachnoid

    Missing Opportunity

    You forget to tell the retailer you needed covering expenses to test the gloves in different enviroments like aboard a SpaceX launch or even on the Space Station

  21. Fihart

    Please don't write this.

    "Year after year, I watch on........"

    I don't know where this kind of English came from, but I strongly suspect Australian soaps.

    Fine to say "look on" or "watch", but "watch on" jars. It's like "park up" when "park" would do. Parking up is when something is left permanently or semi-permanently.

  22. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Basic Pleasure Model

    Dear Mr Dabbs

    We hope the bearer of this message will leave you shaken and stirred and will convince you to write favourable reviews about our products.

    Tyrell Corporation

  23. ecofeco Silver badge

    Rock climbing with router?

    I'm looking forward to that review.

    Carry on!

    1. Mr Sceptical
      Black Helicopters

      Extreme networking!

      Climb up with the router & mains extenstion cable to lay a vertical network, then do a follow-up test on the tensile strength of CAT6 and if metal jacket RJ45 connectors are strong enough to abseil on - enquiring minds want to know!

      PS. I'm not liable for the mountain rescue/coastguard helicopter/hospital bills if it turns out the answer is no...

      Heli icon cause you may need an airlift home.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You can probably get Microsoft to give you Windows 10...

    Getting rid of it afterwards, not so easy.

    1. earl grey Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: You can probably get Microsoft to give you Windows 10...

      I expect even anti-virals wouldn't help much; nor would anti-fungals or simply anitbiotics. Best to wear those gloves someplace you really need protection.

  25. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    CAT protective gear...

    Yep, perfect use for those little gloves and boots you get. The little kittens can really bite!

  26. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Orange glove guy

    It would appear you have found your USP for all future reviews. Just specialise in reviewing hand-held stuff and your fame will become legendary. Viewers will be so transfixed by the bright orange hands that they won't pay any attention to what you are reviewing (a reviewers dream, surely?) but your "brand recognition" will have marketeers falling over themselves to send you swag.

  27. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I briefly worked for a company that required me to buy their products if I wanted to be able to find out how they worked so I could support customers.

  28. Grunchy

    I actually bought gloves like this

    I got Kevlar knit refractory gloves, the working hypothesis being, if they are for handling red-hot forgings, they ought to have unusually good insulative properties (and also remarkably tough, and cut-proof). And if that is true, they might be warmer than the average glove. They should make remarkable winter gloves!

    I paired them with a set of US military windproof gauntlet mitt covers I got from the surplus and now I've got me a kick butt pair of winter mitts !

    Unfortunately, they are like 1 step down from boxing gloves.

  29. DaveMcK

    Handy...

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