By Van Smith
Date: July 17, 2001
Welcome to Van's Hardware Journal, a modest attempt to provide a free resource for computer industry news presented with an insider's perspective along with in depth analysis and reviews.
Who are "we"? My name is Van Smith, formerly of InQuest Market Research and Tom's Hardware Guide. Those of you who are familiar with me probably are aware that I am a driven idealist, always fighting through and exposing established bias. It's this determination that is the primary reason for my establishing this site. If you'd like to learn a little more about who I am, please visit our About page. The only other member of this team right now is my wife, Kathy Smith. Kathy also wrote a few articles for Tom's Hardware Guide and has experience as a data analyst and instructor.
We want to provide a reliable resource that we can ensure will resist the corruption and manipulation that is unfortunately all too prevalent in this medium. But we also want to do this while providing the highest quality material possible. Our NVIDIA nForce analysis and the Archos Jukebox 6000 review hint at our ambitions.
We need your feedback. Although I have experience as a programmer, this is the first attempt either I or my wife have made in designing a website. Our intentions were to provide a simple, clean, flexible design that could pack a lot of data into a small area. Moreover, we wanted our articles themselves to be free of clutter and distractions and easily viewable at any resolution.
You might notice on other sites that it is common to break up articles into many parts. Some sites don't even provide an index which forces the reader to navigate blindly through reams of pages. We don't like either practice because neither is done for the reader, but are attempts to inflate up hit counts. For most sites, hit counts drive revenue. Right now, we have no revenue so we can do as we please. In the future, if we start carrying ads it might be necessary for us to break up articles into multiple pages. We will resist this, but if we have to concede, then we will at least provide a comprehensive navigation index throughout all articles.
Please let us know what you think of our site design and how we can improve it. We knew that our decision to use frames would be the biggest design aspect some people might not like. I was not a fan of frames after seeing so many sites grossly overuse them. I understand why frames are not popular, but we don't use them the way that drives me crazy -- by opening new pages within frames and making navigation a nightmare.
Regardless, please tell us what you think and how we can improve site design. Our resources are limited and both Kathy and I are novices at this, so please be patient as we try to implement improvements.
Of course, we also want to know what you want to read about, what you thought of our articles and any other suggestions you may have.
This site is for you, the reader. We solicit any contributions you may have in the form of analysis, reviews, or news. We will regularly post such contributions. Given our limited resources, we will depend on these contributions, so please help if you can.
And don't feel held back by your passions. Too often, neutered writing is passed off as "professional journalism." That is a load of poop. If you can provide insight to your readership by stating your opinion in your analysis, then do that. If your opinion is passionate then let this show through and motivate your readers. If it means something to you -- and it is not driven by greed, avarice or lunacy -- then make it mean something to your readership.
Today, it's simply impossible for anyone to keep up with all aspects of computer related technology. Our jobs as writers and analysts are to investigate, dissect, condense and report while doing our best to be scrupulous and objective. It's hard sometimes while reading analysis to connect the dots, so make sure you do this when writing.
One stipulation I must make is that all submissions containing foul language will be rejected. We live in a world that appears to be growing increasingly coarse and uncivil, and I do not want to contribute to this trend.
You might have noticed our free software page. I am a big fan of free software, so if you have found anything you think is great, please let me know, and I'll add it to our page and give you credit.
Similarly, we have an extensive links page. The Web is wonderful, but it is often hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you know of a site that you trust and find useful, please tell me about it.
The Web is liberating when it is approached as a community. We want to be a nexus in that community, connecting people together and sharing what we know.
An essential component of this site will be the Comprehensive Open Source Benchmarking Initiative, or COSBI. Started over a year ago while I worked at Tom's Hardware Guide, this effort is produced with the intent to ensure dependable and verifiable diagnostic tools to aid hardware reviewers in their evaluations. The current state of benchmarking remains deplorable with many tools tainted by various interests and almost none are verifiable. But as a reviewer I have had to depend these tools because nothing else was available. COSBI goal is to change this situation.
We have been working with several leaders in this field and will be reporting more with time. We will have a brief introduction to COSBI published later this week.
If you are interested in participating, please contact us.
As I have stated already, we have set out on this venture on our own and are bearing all of the expenses. I would like to devote all of my time to this site and would like to see this site grow, but this will only be possible if we can find some method to fund Van's Hardware.
If you are interested in advertising on our site or know someone who might be, please contact us. For more information about Van's Hardware Journal, please see our About page.
Our success yesterday went far beyond our most positive projections. Thank you for your interest in our site, and we will work hard to ensure that Van's Hardware Journal lives up to your expectations and is worthy of your time.
But please be patient. After my resigning from InQuest last month, my family has not had any form of income. Consequently, updates are likely to be erratic at first as I both search for employment and seek funding for this site in this lean time. Editing may at times be sloppy. Also, the site itself may undergo changes as we try to implement improvements. And we know the server was bogged down pretty severely at times yesterday and we are working to improve service.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my dear, beloved wife, Kathy. I would be nothing without you. And to our two beautiful little girls, Flora and Evelyn, I will not be sacrificing our time together as I have unfortunately had to do in the past.
Lastly, thanks for all of the kind emails. They make a difference.
Van's Hardware Journal