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  Digital Silence, Amateurs and the Meaning of Life

17 Nov 2002

By: Agi

Well not really, but it was a catchy title ;-) Beforewarned, though, this might be a little long-winded exposition.

On Friday, a comment made by one of our visitors about the
PL/3i review caused me to think a little about this site. The actual item that caught my attention was when he referred to us as "amateurs". What does it mean to be an amateur? Well, Merriam defines an amateur as "a person who engages in a pursuit for pleasure and not as a profession." I think that defines us perfectly. Digital Silence has always been pursuit of pleasure and not a profession. As I have stated in the past, I operate this site at a loss. Why? Because I enjoy it, it's my hobby. It's fun keeping our visitors informed with the latest news. I get a rush seeing something we posted in the morning get picked up by one of the large news sites (, PC World, etc.) later in the day. In fact, we report on many stories long before other sites catch wind of them. I also think we offer a mix of content that isn't found elsewhere (although I could be deluding myself there ;-).

The other definition for amateur was "a person who is not an expert". Once again, I think that appropriately describes us. For Avatar, Occupant, Mungler and myself, this is not our job. It's hard to become an expert at something when it's not the primary focus in your life. We also don't have the testing equipment and rigs that the more "professional" sites have. That's the primary reason (along with lack of time, of course) that prevents us from doing more reviews. Though it's not a significant fact, we have never received any "free" hardware to review either. We have all purchased our own hardware that we could have reviewed, but because of the reasons just described it doesn't happen.

Would things have been different if the visitor called us "imcompetent" or "inept"? No, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I've only ever had to remove one comment and that was for foul language. The visitor also complained about the lack of testing platforms and benchmarks. I do not like 20 page reviews. Too many reviews fill up pages with fluff or only put a little content on each page so that you are forced to view more ads as you constantly have to load new pages. I don't believe in that. I try to keep all reviews to a minimum, just the information necessary to develop an informed conclusion.

There was also a comment made about the slow response/bandwidth problems while posting Comments. It's not a bandwidth issue. Rather it's a problem with the news program we are currently using. I doubt the script was ever designed to be used for a site that posts as much news as we do. For some unknown reason, every time a news story is posted or a comment added, the news program seems to think it is necessary to update every news page we have on the site...even if nothing has changed on those pages! We have not been able to figure out how to disable it. And since the NewsPro site is no longer accessible, there is no chance for support. Once we finish the site redesign, we will be moving to a PHP-based news program instead and that should significantly improve the performance of the site.

Finally, I wanted to thank those visitors who have purchased items from our advertisers. Though it hasn't been a lot, it has helped to defray a bit of the cost of running this site. In the future we may look for other ways to have you share in our vision. I had a prototype t-shirt made to wear at the upcoming AMD Reality Check in Philadelphia (look for the old fart in the Digital Silence shirt!). Who knows, maybe we'll make them available to the public as well.

As I have said in the past, thank you for visiting and making Digital Silence part of your day...we'll try not to disappoint you :-)

      Posted by: , November 17, 2002, 6:00 pm  

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