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He wants changes in the Palmtop Paper

He wants changes in the Palmtop Paper

I am a subscriber to your magazine, HP Palmtop. It has been useful for me, and I think it is well done. I like the technical articles by people like Ed Keefe. The snippets of info are interesting, too.

There is an area where I feel the magazine falls short of my needs. This is in the area of product reviews. I would like to see reviews with PC Magazine kind of data and Consumers Guide impartiality. Though David Shier did his best to be impartial in his article on fax/modem/mem cards, impartiality is a bit much to ask from a vendor, and such authorship does not have the appearance of impartiality. He provided useful facts, but I would like to know, for example, exactly how much current (ma) do these products use in various modes of operation. How about reliability figures, etc. How about a detailed matrix of features and pros and cons.

Regarding the other PCMCIA cards discussed, such figures and comparisons were also lacking. The PCMCIA cards reviewed often were products advertised in your magazine, to the exclusion of products not advertised. (That was my reaction; I'm not sure how accurate it is.) As a reader and end user, this pattern shakes my trust.

And, no, I do not feel a strong obligation to support advertisers, just because they advertise in The HP Palmtop Paper. Its a factor, but of higher priority are: cost, functionality, reliability, performance, and support.

As a friend put it, I would like to see more articles of substance. He was referring to lack of hard data, and the repetition of several-page articles describing What I do with my Palmtop. Maybe we're sounding like advanced users, but I wouldn't put myself in that class. I have no trouble finding uses for the Palmtop, but I do hunger for the kind of articles that move me closer to being an advanced user.

I also like articles that quantitatively compare like software packages. For example, language translators: Cost, mem required, speed, words, features, accuracy, ease of use, etc. Again, PC Magazine is a reasonable model.

Well, I'm still your customer. All I ask is that you consider my needs along with all the others you need to consider.

Reed White

CompuServe ID: [73171,2140]

[Thanks for your thoughtful comments. To a significant extent I agree with them, but in practice I don't know what we will be able to do. We will continue Keefe articles.

In terms of the quantitative info you desire, we do not have the facilities or personnel to do PC Magazine like reports. They operate with 2-3 magnitudes more subscribers, capital, advertising revenue, and personnel. We depend on outside people to share their insights and contribute to our magazine. Instead of "objective" analysis, we try to ask ourselves the question: What customer would find which product useful? In terms of the EXP vs. the Apex PC Card modems with flash memory, those more concerned with speed we recommended EXP, those more concerned with power consumption we recommended APEX. That really is the bottom line.

I don't exactly agree with you about what you are implying when you mentioned that PCMCIA cards reviewed often were products advertised. In most cases it is those vendors interested enough in advertising that have the best, most useful, Palmtop-aware products. Other Vendors ignore the Palmtop and leave the Palmtop customer on his own. The reviews we did in PC Card Review included Silicom, AT&T, and HP Starlink, none of whom advertise, but competitors such as Motorola do -- Hal Goldstein.]

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