Moving out, part 1: returning review hardware

It’s been a heart-warming few days reading my e-mail and the occasional supportive blog post (seriously, doesn’t somebody want to highlight the hack work I’ve subjected readers to?), but I do have a day job.

And part of that involves logistics: returning review hardware.

One lesser-known fact about tech PR is that while some loaner hardware comes with strict return deadlines, a lot of it doesn’t. When you add in my typical level of distraction and forgetfulness, plus the storage space available here and at home, you get a backlog of gadgets past their sell-by date–despite my avowed policy of not keeping review hardware for personal use. Here’s a partial list:

  • Logitech Revue Google TV (I had legitimate aspirations of revisiting my earlier review, but when I turned it on one last time and got the only software update available, it still doesn’t feature the Android Market that was supposed to arrive “in early 2011”)
  • Xbox 360 and Kinect sensor
  • MacBook Air laptop (I have to confess that I’ve used this for some work trips)
  • Verizon iPhone, Sprint Samsung Epic, T-Mobile MyTouch 4G and AT&T Samsung Focus phones (I don’t know that I even turned on the 4G)
  • Two USB mobile-broadband modems
  • “ClearStream” over-the-air TV antenna (it didn’t seem to work better than the hardware I had at home)
  • Peek wireless e-mail reader (never turned on)
  • A collection of Powermat inductive-charging mats and adapters
  • Zune HD player (Microsoft said I could keep it around for reference purposes, then it never left a desk drawer until reports of the Zune’s demise emerged last month).
  • Various Bluetooth headsets sent unsolicited
  • Elgato eyeTV and and turbo.264 video-to-Mac adapters (the date on my eyeTV review actually understates how long that’s been sitting around)
  • ClickFree external backup hard drive (yikes, that might have been collecting dust in a drawer for even longer)
  • Far too many random, unidentifiable cables to count

That inventory leaves out things I’ve reviewed within the past month or so, such as the iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom tablets and three of the four Android 4G phones I covered two weeks ago.

It also omits an embarrassing oversight remedied only recently: Months after trashing AT&T’s HTC Pure smartphone for its “inept” Windows Mobile 6.5 software, I discovered that I must have sent back an empty box to Microsoft’s PR firm. The phone itself was hiding at the bottom of the desk drawer–and nobody had even called me on that. (See, nobody cared about WM 6.5!)

So if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to around the office, there’s one answer: I’m trying to contact the publicists involved to see if they want any of this back. If they don’t, I may hand the hardware off to my colleagues for their possible use.

Or it will get sent to the Post’s equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys. Every December, we fill an auditorium with all the leftover things sent here for review, from novels to cookbooks to DVDs to bottles of wine, sell it off to employees at going-out-of-business prices and then donate the proceeds of this exercise in crazed capitalism (typically over $10,000) to the N Street Village homeless shelter a few blocks away.

That annual discounted-shopping opportunity is one thing I’ll miss about this place. But not the only thing.

5 thoughts on “Moving out, part 1: returning review hardware

  1. Well Rob… I have followed your columns for a long time, and while there is some technical stuff I just did not agree with you on, I always enjoyed not agreeing with you. I was the guy yelling in the background on occasion, “… what are you nuts???”. I hope that you continue to write on a regular basis either on this blog which I have RSSed to my email client, or in another venue.

    I fully understand your sadness at being dumped by a company you loved to work at, and a job you loved to do every day. Big companies today have no idea what allegiance means. You give it the organization, they never seem to return it.

    All the best in your future endeavors.

  2. Loved your column and I hate to see you go. What will I read in the Sunday Business section? 😦 Take care and best of luck in the future.

  3. As a former newspaperman myself, I can assure you there’s life outside of newspapers. I my case, a very good one. I work hard but hardly ever work weekends.

    Since I left the stress of the Seattle Times newsroom 3+ years ago, I’ve dropped 60 pounds and feel better than I have in ages. It might be a little easier for a graphic/web designer like me, but I think your pedigree will serve you well.

    I’ll keep tuned. I always loved your columns. I look forward to a little more deep thinking from this site, now that you have some time.

    Speaking of graphic design, your site will need some work. πŸ™‚ Find one when this thing takes off.

  4. Rob, I’ve no doubt you’ll look back on this as a healthy & positive step so no problem with emotions of the moment. If you change blogs, let us all know, and be assured you’ll be welcomed back to the Pi again. And now, if you write something that you think our Mac community would be interested in, send it to us to put in our Pi Journal!

  5. Pingback: Moving out, part 2: cubicle un-decorating | Rob Pegoraro

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