Tech site CNET was about to give Dish Network's latest set-top box a best-of-show editorial award, but rescinded the plaudits because its parent company, CBS, is suing the manufacturer. Mathew Ingram points out how this compromises CNET's journalistic credibility, and Buzzfeed's John Hermann says it exposes a profound difference in product journalism and actual journalism at the site.
While it looks like clueless corporate spite, I bet it's really about lawyers wanting to lower CBS's exposure to uncertainty in its boring lawsuit over contracts and copyright. The product review could end up influencing the court, and that alone is reason enough for it to come down.
The misery of litigation (including a plaintiff's perceived need to pursue it) blinds us to other risks, expecially for a business as frequently exposed to it the media. For some, it seems inconceivable not to accept legal advice after it's been sought—even when the negative consequences of taking it are profoundly obvious. And it's easy to imagine that lawyers get to micromanage a huge, change-averse company like CBS.
When it defends itself by saying that the litigation blackout "applies only to reviews, not news", though, CNET shows its colors badly. Gadget reviews might be the journalistic outhouse, but it's still bad form to burn it down when your own hacks are on the pot.
Peter Biddle writes, “I get I myself into trouble. I don’t claim that bad stuff happens to me more often than others – it’s more that I find more ways to happen to bad stuff. I actually found a way to get severe hypothermia in 105°F heat.”
Looking for a tiny PC that still has space for a gaming-quality video card? SFF PC Cases is a remarkably detailed spreadsheet listing dozens of models, complete with cost, dimensions, volume and even important build tips. The very smallest are not practical for powerful builds, but the critical “Maximum GPU length” field is right there […]
Benji Edwards’s guide to preserving vintage electronics is a fascinating look into all the ways that even solid-state gear can go off in long-term storage: a lot of stuff (batteries, capacitors and even rubber) can leak viscous, electronics-destroying liquids; plastics break down in UV light; mold and corrosion eat your gear from within; spiders, crickets […]
Toaster ovens are the perfect appliance for small things like toasted sandwiches and roasted garlic (try it!), but anything more involved usually requires a full-sized conventional oven.However, despite its small size, the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven can handle anything from baked pastries to broiled meats. This kitchen appliance has a minimal countertop footprint, and cooks […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]