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  Daily Column, August 16th 
  Aug 16, 2001, 07:00am EDT 
By: Dan Mepham

Good morning, everyone. I hope youíre all well. Iíd like to take a few paragraphs this morning to talk about bias. Following my somewhat positive review of Iwillís KK266Plus, I received an email essentially accusing Hardware Analysis of being a sell out, and biased toward Iwill products.

First of all, I think itís important to describe what bias actually means, and how the term should and shouldnít be used. Frankly I donít like the word, or rather I donít like the way many use it. Itís very easy to call someone biased. It's a very easy and convenient way to cast doubt on someone, without having to actually execute any reasonable higher thought process. The individual from whom I received the email used the word as precisely that, a substitute for actual thought. Even worse, it sounds intelligent. Itís really exactly the same as calling someone a big dummy, only somehow, Ďbiasedí sounds more educated or sophisticated, as if there were real substance behind it. Itís not, and there isnít. Donít be fooled by it. Without explanation or justification (which there usually isnít), calling someone biased is no different than me calling you a big meanie ... and how seriously would you take that? Next time someone calls you biased, instead of saying Ďno, you are!í, try asking him or her why they think that. Donít be surprised if they either back out of the discussion, or make an ass of themselves rather quickly.

Using the term Ďbiasedí in the literal sense, yes, of course Hardware Analysis is biased. Everyone is. Ourselves, weíre biased toward high-quality, high-performance products, low prices, and in general, items that will best serve us and our readers. Not all biases are bad. In fact, I think thatís a pretty decent bias for us to have. If a company continues to offer products that fit into those categories, then youíll probably see us talk about them a lot. I donít see that as unreasonable. I think most of you realize that, and you realize that Iwill is really on the ball right now, and thatís why weíve been talking so favorably about its products recently.

We know a good product when we see it, and weíre going to make sure you know about it too. Weíll be the first to congratulate that company for a job well done. Weíll also be the first to point out problems, as we see them.

As a brief aside, when I posted a review of Iwillís DVD266-R motherboard some months ago, I criticized Iwill for some problems with its Userís Manual. No less than five days after posting it, we were contacted by Iwill Taiwan, informing us that it was looking into the issue, and asking what more we thought could be done to improve its manuals. I can tell you that usually when I criticize a company in public, thatís hardly the reaction received. Take that for what you will.

So am I biased toward a company who caters almost exclusively to our audience? Am I biased toward a company that goes beyond most any other in order to ensure customer satisfaction? Toward a company who not only listens, but takes action when I offer suggestions as to how it can improve upon its products? You better believe I am.

Whatís important here is that Iím biased, and always will be biased, toward that company, not toward Iwill specifically. Thereís a big difference. Right now Iwill happens to be that company, but that could always change. If it does, we will remain loyal to that company, whoever it becomes, and that certainly will not change.

As always, constructive feedback is welcomed.

Dan Mepham


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