Dear David Pogue, We're Not Nuts, We're Berries!

We're Not Nuts David!
By Kevin Michaluk on 6 Dec 2008 11:21 am EST
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BlackBerry Nation Still Loves you David. Have a Big CrackBerry Hug!
(image via Gizmodo's Make David Pogue Look Cool Contest)

The odds are if you are reading this you already know the deal. If not, here's a quick recap. On November 26, New York Times' gadget writing dude David Pogue reviewed the BlackBerry Storm, where he basically slammed RIM's first touchscreen BlackBerry. A few you of agreed with every word he wrote. Some of you agreed with a few of his points, but thought he was overly harsh (especially considering a software update was just around the corner). And some of you... well, you thought David was completely out of whack and let him know about it. Some of the criticism was highly constructive (read CIO's article BlackBerry Storm Blasted by David Pogue: Why NYTime Storm Review is a "Dud") while many others took the BlackBerry-addicted approach and let David have it via email (us BlackBerry users are damn good with email!). The overall response was so overwhelming to his review that David followed up with an article on Thursday showcasing some of the reader reactions

In his follow-up article, Pogue makes note that he learned something from his BlackBerry Storm Review experience:

For years, tech critics like me have occasionally endured abuse from the Cult of Mac. If you write anything that even hints at a less-than-perfect Apple effort (like my reviews of, for example, the original Apple TV, iMovie ‘08 or MobileMe), the backlash is swift, vitriolic and heated. We're talking insults, vulgarities and even threats. I've always thought that that vocal sub-population of Mac fans make up the world's most watchful, most hostile grass-roots lobbying arm.

But now I see that I was wrong. There's an even nastier one: the BlackBerry nuts.

It surprised me that David didn't realize before this just how passionate and loyal the BlackBerry Community is. Look no further than CrackBerry.com as an example of that! Check out the What Would You Do for a BlackBerry Storm? Contest... now that's passion!!

The BlackBerry Storm is a controversial device, there's no doubt about that. All of the pre-release reviews prior to the launch of the Storm revealed this would be the case - the SurePress keyboard was something people were either going to love or hate. If you want to know the breakdown of how it's playing out, be sure to visit our Loving or Hating on the BlackBerry Storm thread, where you can cast your vote. But now that an OS update has been released for the Storm, I don't think anybody will deny that the device software the Storm went to market with wasn't quite ready for primetime.

If you're reading this David, be sure to update your Storm's OS this weekend and re-visit your BlackBerry Storm review. Maybe some of your blows will land a little more softly in Round 2. And if none of your opinions have changed, well, to each his own. I can't guarantee you won't receive some harsh emails, but I'll at least put out the request to CrackBerry Nation to take it easy on you. We're lovers, not haters! And besides, you'll be reviewing the BlackBerry Curve 8900 soon and I have no doubt you'll proclaim that to be the best non-3G front facing full QWERTY smartphone in existence. 

Oh, and one last thing. We are not NUTS. We ARE CRACKBERRIES!!

Topics: Editorial

Reader comments

Dear David Pogue, We're Not Nuts, We're Berries!

34 Comments

How is it the Storm has been out for 2 weeks and crackberry.com doesn't even have an official review? Weak, like eggs.

Hey Rodsky11, I've addressed that in the blogs before. If you remember, I wrote a 7,500 word pre-release review of the BlackBerry Storm. You can read it here. When the Storm got officially released, it was very clear to me that the OS was not ready for primetime - it was better than the Storm I had briefly used at DevCon upon which my pre-release review was written, but I knew enough to know that an OS update would be out in a couple of weeks and thus felt it made more sense to hold off and wait for the official update before writing a full out review of the commercially available Storm. Why write a 2nd pre-release review when the device that launched was still pre-release (in my opinion anyway). So it wasn't a lack of berries my friend, but more so having enough brains to know what was going on. Plus, you can just jump into the Storm Forums and read literally thousands of member reviews/opinions. To that end, you can expect to see my full-out BlackBerry Storm review soon. Only thing holding me up at the moment is that the Round Robin is going on, so I need to keep putting out those reviews too (soaks up a lot of time). But look for it soon. Thanks for the patience in the meantime. I just sent you an email with my phone number. If you really can't wait for the review you can call me up and I'll tell it to you. Kevin

It's this quote from your pre-release review that sticks in my craw:

"Drum Roll Please.... I know you're all waiting for this one.... Typing... on... the... BlackBerry... Storm... is....... Awesome!"

I find it hard to reconcile that phrase with my own experiences and the experience of many, many others who find typing on the Storm tiresome rather than awesome.

I just can't see how you could have written those words.

Hey Mr. Anonymous (why don't you post a comment logged in ya big chicken! haha), Yeah, Since now owning the Storm I've definitely back tracked on that a bit. I'd say now that parts of that statement are still accurate, but it depends on what you're comparing to and in what circumstances. Dialing phone numbers on the Storm's keyboard? Awesome. Typing in a bumpy environment - the back of a taxi cab, or on a treadmill? Awesome for a touchscreen! I find with the SureType keyboard on the Storm, the typing experience is still pretty awesome. I'm fast with it. Faster on it than with my Pearl Flip. Compared to my Bold or 8900? Then no. You gotta remember (and I DID say this in my initial review)... those first impressions were just that - first impressions. I had a couple minutes to type on it, and my initial reactions were very positive. I made some mistakes, but nothing I didn't think experience would be able to fix. I said it wouldn't be as quick as a physical qwerty due to the limitations of the SurePress keyboard. Having owned the device now and used it for a while, I am finding I just can't get as fast on the full qwerty as I'd like. Also have found that the benefits of the SurePress are also met with some cons. You should listen to our Storm Podcast Review for the longer term review.

I hope you're joking about the anonymous thing, otherwise it just looks like a cheap crack to deflect attention from a perfectly legitimate question. I value my privacy, and if I chose to post anonymously that's my business, not yours.

The question still stands. How could you possibly make a statement like this: "Drum Roll Please.... I know you're all waiting for this one... Typing... on... the... BlackBerry... Storm... is....... Awesome!"

Not a single part of that statement is accurate, and to attempt to justify it ("Dialing phone numbers on the Storm's keyboard? Awesome. Typing in a bumpy environment - the back of a taxi cab, or on a treadmill? Awesome for a touchscreen!") is just lame. It sounds like you're making excuses, which you are.

I will, of course, listen to the podcast to find out your latest take on the Storm, but, forgive me if I take it with just a little pinch of salt.

David Pouge is maybe my favorite professional tech reviewer out there. I listen to what he says with a great deal of weight. He's also not the be all end all. And his words are similar to what a lot of the tech reviewer are saying objectively.

But then again he's not always right. I love my Blackberry Storm and couldn't imagine a better device for me to use for what I use it for. And this is early in it's development history. I can't wait for the next generation of Blackberry apps to take off and make this truly the next great step in mobile communications.

This is the most shameful show of elitest fanboy-ism I have even been associated with. I though all of the communities I was a part of were above this type of behavior.

Speaking as a crackberry member and IT professional, it's a shame when a reviewer cannot post his honest thoughts on a device without fear of the rabid zealots.

Today, for the first time ever, I am ashamed of being a crackberry. If you want to be blinded by fanboy-ism and rose colored glasses, fine. I will not try to discourage your opinion or convince you otherwise. When a professional reviewer lays into a device that any honest person would see has serious flaws, and you lot behave like this... I am ashamed to be associated with you.

Hey Cexshun,

I'm a little confused by your comment. Can't figure out if you're mad at this post, mad at "some BB users in general" for giving Pogue a tough time or are associating any negative emails he received with CrackBerry.com?!

This blog post was meant in a friendly nature - obviously nobody wants to see people sending less than friendly emails to anybody. And nowhere did David say in his write up (that I know of anyway) that the emails he received came from CrackBerry.com members. Whether some did or not I'm not sure.

This post is simply a good-hearted general "Hey, Sorry You Had a Tough Time with This One" apology. Reading through the forum posts by thousands of Storm owners, it's pretty apparent that this is a device that individuals have to make up their own minds about. There's a lot of opinion in every direction on it. When you read a review it's of that one reviewer's opinion. It's cool for readers to disagree with the reviewer and I agree that a reviewer should be able to speak his/her mind and not get ripped into over it.

But sounds like you're generalizing everybody here as "you lot" and that's unfair. The CB Community is probably one of the most open/friendly communities you'll ever find. And I for one like the Pogue-ster!

All the best!!

K

Kevin, my response was not about your blog entry but more about the fact that the event even took place. True, I am jumping to an assumption that the flood of attack emails he received came from members here.

However, reading our forums(specifically the Storm forum), I think it's likely that some, if not most of his emails came from members. Also, as CB is the premiere BB fan site, I don't think it's unreasonable to believe that his responses came from here.

I jumped over to HoFo, and the users on their BB forum are much more accepting and realistic when it comes to Storm criticisms. The only BB forums I've seen such rabid fanboy behavior is here.

I think it's good that we stand up for our favorite product, but honestly, when the rest of the internet agrees that RIM took a crap in a box and labeled it as a Storm, I find launching an email assault distasteful.

And I used to agree that CB forum members were friendly and open minded. That is until the Storm came out. I was reading threads of negative reviews where personal insults were being slammed around and it became quite an internet brawl. I saw long time members even refer to people as idiots and flat out insulting their intelligence and questioning their loyalty to RIM. I tell you, that board is not a family friendly place to be right now. And this type of behavior leads me to believe that several of our members were involved with the email campaign.

Well said. I notice that Kevin downplays the fact that Pogue received more than 100 emails from new Storm owners who agreed with him, and only 20 from Storm owners who didn't.

Rose colored glasses indeed!

Cexshun - After re-reading Pogue's column, it was very clear to me that he wasn't being unbiased. He was purposely writing a controversial review in order to drive traffic to his web site. The Storm, like most products (including his beloved iphone) has flaws, but his comments were non-specific and over the top. Why? Because he wants other blogs to link to his article and create controversy and discussion. And yes, perhaps because he is an Apple fanboy with blinders on. I don't know that for certain, but it would certainly explains things easier than trying to understand why Pogue's competitors (like Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Business Week, CNET and others) were able to review the product and get a reasonable (not perfect) experience and give it a balanced but reasonably good review.

Of course Pogue is trying to be sensational. Blackberry "Dud"? C'mon please. I know the Storm is far from perfect, but them is fightin' words, and that's exactly what he got from BB fans.

There were a whole string of negative reviews of the Storm before Pogue's was even published, some which were just as strongly worded as his - such as those in Time Magazine and PC World; so to single Pogue out is just silly. RIM and Verizon rushed the device to market with a host of horrendous bugs and they deserve every bit of bad press they have received. Yes, there has been some improvement with the latest update, but significant bugs remain and ClickThrough typing just plain sucks when compared to my Curve... and even the bloody iPhone!!! So what is the Storm for? it falls short of something like the iPhone in terms of user interface, media, the internet and third party apps; and it's no good as a business device because of all the bugs and the terrible keyboard. So I think the negative reviews have been spot on, and one of the good things about Pogue's review was that he didn't apologize for the device by talking up less important features to try and sweeten the pill. This is a Blackberry for crying out loud - and I expected far more.

It takes alot for me to actually respond to a journalist (I can count on one hand the times I have) and David's "review" was nothing more then an Apple advertisement.

Many of the things he mentioned in the artcile showed he had not read the manual on simple operations, wanted the Storm is work "like an iPhone" etc. That is not a review it's a comparasion which sure is helpful for context but tell me about the product not how the product you prefer does it better. (I find his side ads for his Apple books speak volumes to his loyalty)

I also took note that while Apple can get a pass on the horrid issues they have had (and still have) he cannot add a line that while the current OS does have issues, updates are already in development and things can be corrected/improved.

The whole thing (and a series of reviews) were basically how the Storm is not the iPhone which if that is how every new smartphone review is going to be why even bother. The only thing they have it common is they are both capable of things beyond email. iPhone is tied and meant to feed the iTunes Ecosystem, Storm is the consumer-convergence of the Blackberry product line that started with Pearl.

What's funny is the Storm is now pretty stable with the update and is already the fastest selling phone every for Verizon.

What I'd like to see is if all those reviewers who slammed the v1.0 of Storm have the balls to revisit it after it's been updated and improved. Apple fixes issues and sells it as v2.0 so maybe Blackberry should follow the same idiotic hype.

I'll preface by saying I've never owned an iPhone.
The reason the iPhone gets a pass is because Apple was good enough to have their phone first on the market. There were no other options, so people had to deal with it. Being first on the market with a revolutionary phone means people will expect problems. And if I recall, the iPhone was bashed like crazy at launch.

So, why does the Storm not given some slack? Because the iPhone was released 4 YEARS AGO.
"Hey, my Storm sucks."
"Screw you man, the iPhone had bugs at launch 4 years ago too."
"Really, but the iPhone works fine now? I think I'll buy one of those."

You cannot give the Storm slack because the iPhone had horrible OS issues 4 years ago. That is no excuse. The Storm is competing against the iPhone now, not the iPhone 4 years ago. This is the fact that everyone overlooks.

So, when you are competing directly against the industry king, *GASP* you will be compared to it. It only becomes an Apple advert when the Apple is kicking the crap out of the competitor. And at this moment, the iPhone NOW vs the Storm NOW, not even close.

hey man.

I just wanted to give you Kudos for a great job on your response to Rodsky11

i am not sure if you work for RIM but damit, i have never seen a blogger giving out his number to satisfy a reader's question. That is AWESOME.

keep up the good work,

cheers

Is this the guy you are talking about?
"He began writing for Macworld Magazine in 1988, and wrote the triple-award-winning Desktop Critic column (the back-page column) until November 2000, when he became the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times; the column, "State of the Art," appears every Thursday on the front page of the Circuits section.

In 1992, Macworld's sister company, IDG Books, asked Pogue to write Macs for Dummies. (This was back when there was only one Dummies book -- DOS for Dummies.) The book quickly became the #1 bestselling Macintosh book, and remained so, month after month, ever since -- in all of its 17 languages and six editions. Only in 1999 was it overtaken in sales by another Mac book: The iMac for Dummies, which Pogue also wrote. The iBook for Dummies debuted at the end of 1999, covering Apple's chic consumer laptop.

Pogue followed that book with the 1300-page bestseller Macworld Mac Secrets (co-authored with former Yale roommate Joe Schorr) and a novel, Hard Drive (a New York Times "notable book of the year"). His music books are Opera for Dummies and Classical Music for Dummies, co-authored with symphony conductor Scott Speck. A trio of computer-humor books includes The Microsloth Joke Book; The Great Macintosh Easter Egg Hunt; and the hilarious Tales from the Tech Line. In 1998, his PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide became the #1 bestselling Palm book, which it remains to this day (now in its second edition); his popular Magic for Dummies is the bestselling magic book in the country. (Pogue, a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, can't seem to make it through a restaurant meal without doing a few tricks while waiting for the bill.) And Crossing Platforms, co-authored with Adam Engst, makes it easy for people who have to switch from Mac to Windows, or vice versa.

In 2000, he incorporated Pogue Press. In collaboration with O'Reilly & Associates (the publisher of "PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide and "Crossing Platforms"), Pogue created the Missing Manual series: a line of superbly written, printed manuals for computer products that don't come with any--in other words, "the book that should have been in the box." The series includes bestselling books on Mac OS X, Windows XP, Dreamweaver, iMovie, iPhoto, Microsoft Office, AppleWorks 6, Mac OS 9, and others."

I am a Blackberry user for life! As far as the Storm goes IMO it BLOWS! Doesn't mean I'm a Blackberry hater ya'll. Just a storm hater!

errr... i make lots of spelling errors on blog posts my friend. that's what keeps this place real! i'm a crackberry addict - last thing i am is a journalist who knows how to write good :)

BUT... if you're gonna point out an error... you should say what it is?! i don't even know which word you're referring to.

thx!

if the word wasn't "Crackberry", spelt "Crackbery" I would let it slide .. but thats the one you cant miss ;) ..

but. "last thing i am is a journalist who knows how to write good :)" you def made me laugh .. thanks ..

all in good fun !!

First off, i own a storm. Second, I have to say it has its ups and downs. Quality device, yes. Shit OS, BIG YES! Hopefully rim will really put some work into this shit ass OS very soon and give us a real software update.

First, David Pogue is an idiot. Second, to call the Storm a dud is pretty lame for a review title (as it already shows and forces the opinion) on the reader before reading the article. Third, Mac users have always been diehards over their hardware from Apple. Yes, nasty, vile, etc. But we all know what is up. The iPhone is passe, old history and there are new phones in town ready to kick Apple's iPhone right in the bum.

Had a stable version of the RIM OS software been ready for the launch, I really don't think we would have seen so many of the negative reviews. In terms of hardware and of the capability, the Storm outclasses the iPhone by a long shot.

You are an idiot. This has nothing to do with the iPhone and everything to do with the Storm's quality, or lack of it. It's a shame that some of us are so desperate to attack Apple and the iPhone that we've lost all sense of perspective or reason.

"If you're reading this David, be sure to update your Storm's OS this weekend and re-visit your BlackBerry Storm review. Maybe some of your blows will land a little more softly in Round 2."

I'm reading it!

Unfortunately, I no longer have the Storms that RIM sent me; I had to send them back after the review. They came (obviously) with the original, buggy software.

And by the way: to all those Pogue-bashers... lay off the "You should have tested the new software, idiot!!" comments. Why? Because:

1. This was the software RIM sent me to test. This is what they ASKED me to review.

2. Nobody (not Apple, not nobody) gets the courtesy of me waiting months or years while they get their software act together. If they sell it, it's fair game for review. That's why I trashed Apple products like MobileMe, iMovie '08, and the AppleTV in my reviews. Yeah, they all got better in time, but so what? I reviewed what they were selling.

3. Above all, RIM steadfastly refused to acknowledge any shortcomings of its 1.0 software. I even offered to say, in my review, that RIM is working on a software patch that would fix the bugs--I told this directly to RIM!! I offered to add that to my column, if they would just confirm it.

They would not. They insisted that there was no bug-fix version coming!!

All the toxic bashers out there will find this hard to believe, but I would LOVE for the Storm to succeed! Please read my reviews at nytimes.com (it's free): I have never given ANYTHING but rave reviews to BlackBerries! The Pearl, the Curve, the Flip, especially Bold. I love them. And I think Verizon's network is head and shoulders above the rest.

So I'd love for there to be a fast, reliable, intuitive touchscreen Verizon phone.

But the Storm that RIM asked me to review was not it.

--Pogue

Mr. Pogue:

You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but your criticism (and public flogging) of RIM for failing to publicly proclaim weaknesses in their product seems unreasonable and somewhat arrogant to me (and yes, I'm entitled to my opinion too). It's hardly unusual or shocking that a company wouldn't want to criticize their own product. I'm not criticizing you for reviewing their 1.0 software, but many of your comments about RIM seemed gratuitous and thereby lowered the credibility of your review (again, in my opinion).

I expected from the beginnning that Storm would be the kind of product that would draw equal amounts of praise and criticism. Everyone is bound to compare it to the iphone or to other Blackberries (neither of which are appropriate comparisons in my opinion). We have a few on trial in our IT group. Overall, I think it is pretty good as long as you don't want a physical keyboard. It's especially good for their first touchscreen product.

What a load of baloney. The Storm shouldn't be compared to the iPhone, or other Blackberries! Well, please, please tell us what it should be compared to. The Samsung instinct? The LG Dare? Because, compared to other Blackberries or the iPhone, it comes up way short.

Regardless, it sounds like David Pogue gave RIM every opportunity to acknowledge the bugs and/or say when they were going to provide fixes. RIM chose not to do either.

Finally, as Pogue pointed out, his review was written at RIM's request and it was they who sent him the review units. To then refuse to answer his questions adequately was either arrogance or incompetence on their part, not his; they were the ones after the publicity, not him.

I don't want to pick a fight but-

Every other blackberry in existence gets fifty ka jillion reviews upon release by the people running this site-

But the Storm gets preferential treatment in not getting a final release review just because it sucks, and you don't want to admit it.

Its RIM's Bastard Step Child just like the Pear Flip.

You guys at CB are just trying to wait up in writing a final review for the Storm Just because you won't have positive reviews, and if you DO give a positive review it would be a LIE.

It's funny how much you post about the Storm PRE-SALES but now that it's out, you just casually sweep it under the rug to hide the fact that it's no where near what it was supposed to be.

Fess Up.

I had a Storm. I waited on line for it on the 21st. I returned it a week and a half later.

I'm back to my Bold.

I wrote to David Pogue in response to his article and it was pretty harsh. He emailed me back and was not too happy. My email was then read on CNBC where David Pogue was a guest!! I got my 5 seconds of fame!!

Kevin, I agree that you should wait till maybe January to give your final verdict but don't wait too long. I finally got my storm yesterday and promptly updated the software after confirming that the issues with the release firmware were (almost) as bad as people were saying. A world of difference. I have no doubt that the worst issues will be fixed in a month or so so give it a fair review at that point. But, waiting beyond that does not make any sense.