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Originally published December 5, 2010 at 10:00 PM | Page modified December 7, 2010 at 9:36 AM

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Brier Dudley

Techies have own Rant & Rave

There just aren't enough places to vent nowadays. I think it's time for a Rant & Rave feature to say thanks — or thanks for nothing — to tech companies for their products and services

Seattle Times staff columnist

One of my favorite parts of Sunday's paper is the Rant & Rave feature.

I think it's time for a version to say thanks — or thanks for nothing — to tech companies for their products and services.

There just aren't enough places to vent nowadays.

If you have tech rants and raves of your own, send them along and I may use them in a future column or blog entry.

Here's my inaugural version:

Rave To Dell for being extra clear about how fast its new Venue Pro smartphone downloads data. Instead of only using jargon like "3G" or "HSPA Plus," Dell clearly stated that the Venue Pro downloads at up to 7.2 megabits per second. With wireless networks evolving, it's time for phone makers to provide actual speeds instead of vague acronyms so buyers know what they're getting.

Rant To Microsoft for jerking around thousands of its most loyal customers, by eviscerating its Windows Home Server product. It abruptly decided to kill the server's key feature — its ability to back up files by duplicating them across multiple hard drives — because it didn't mesh with plans for a new business version of the product. I wonder if Microsoft hopes consumers will migrate to online backup services. Still, it's a bad message to send to people who chose Windows as the foundation of their digital homes.

Rave To actress Helen Mirren for the best line ever in a video-game ad in a Nintendo spot airing in Europe: "With the Wii, it's like having a new lover every day."

Rave To Western Digital — and hard-drive makers in general — for big improvements in durability. I was grateful for this last week when I bumped a terabyte external drive off my desk and reeled it in by the power cord, banging it against the wall on the way up. I was expecting the worst — and an earful from the IT shop — but it didn't miss a beat.

Rave and Rant Rave to Samsung for boldly challenging Apple's iPad with its decent Galaxy Tab. Without competition, prices won't fall and these things will remain toys for the rich. But Samsung also gets a rant for charging $600 for the Tab.

Rave To Amazon.com, Tableau Software, EveryDNS.net and other tech companies that dumped WikiLeaks off their networks last week, saying its material violated their terms of service.

Regardless of what you think about WikiLeaks, the blockage of provocative material is great fodder for the debate over "net neutrality" and whether online traffic regulations and charges will limit access to information. Lately the debate focused on cheap access to second-run movies and TV shows. Who cares whether Comcast charges Netflix for bogging down its network, when Americans have to visit a Swiss website to see previously disclosed government documents?

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Media companies are rushing to publish their news through networks run by Amazon, Apple and other Web companies.

Raves to those companies if the WikiLeaks debacle reminds the free press to pause, read the terms of service and decide whether it's really a bargain to outsource distribution to the touchy Web giants.

Brier Dudley's column appears Mondays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.

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About Brier Dudley

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.
bdudley@seattletimes.com | 206-515-5687

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