Long Zheng, who seems very disheartened over this Windows Vista free PC blogger fiasco, posts about the new Velocity Micro Media Center that he was sent by the PR folks. The ironic thing: His arrived broken, with various internal components smashed around during the shipping process. Cables were disconnected, the hard drive had broken loose, and the circuit board was generally fried. After all the crap Long has to go through, he didn’t even get a computer out of it. Crazy.
I was talking with one of the bloggers who got a free laptop, and I feel like I shouldn’t save the way I feel for just IM conversations. Here’s the fact: There is nothing wrong with bloggers accepting free stuff. Major news organizations have policies about not accepting swag because reporters fight over this stuff, and because there are lots of dishonest people who literally trade products for positive reviews. That is their fault. The readers of this blog know who I am, and if they don’t trust me, they shouldn’t be reading here.
Any blogger who feels he could not accept a free laptop and remain impartial is a blogger I’m not interested in reading. If you don’t have enough confidence in your abilities as a journalist to not be blinded by a laptop, then why should I, or anyone else, have any confidence in you? You don’t have to accept the laptop, but if you don’t believe in yourself, then neither do I.
The worst part about this is that it is bringing out the worst elements of the online community. The haters, the flamers, the assholes who only comment when they are mad. These aren’t the regular readers of Scott Beale’s blog. These people don’t hang onto Long Zheng’s every witty remark. They don’t rely on Brandon LeBlanc, they’ve never heard of Mitch Denny, and they don’t care how hard Ed Bott works. They hang out at community sites, working on their post counts, fighting with the moderators, and only venture into the blogosphere when something pisses them off.
I hope none of my favorite bloggers wind up hanging it up because of this. To all of them, I say: Your readers, your colleagues, we are all with you. We are happy for you, or we are jealous of you, but we do not respect you any less, nor do we hate you. We have faith in you, and that will not be shook by this fiasco.
For the record: I would have taken the laptop, and I would have kept it. Not only that, but I am looking for the right people, because I am going to request one. I am a huge enthusiast in Windows Media Center, yet I can’t do any half-decent coverage of Vista Media Center because the damn thing doesn’t run right on my laptop. My HDTV tuners require a more powerful processor than the one I’ve got, and I don’t have half the money to afford a new PC right now. If I can get it working with a little help from a PR firm, damn right I’m going to go for it.
Plus, my wife could use her own machine