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I’m on your side

A column with no ulterior motive. Really.

A Mr. Richard Faber e-mails me from Elizabeth, N.J.: Hey, Mike, I just wanna say thanks a million for fighting for us, the beleaguered computer consumers. With all the corporate crapola going on, it’s great to know there’s one reporter on our side. You’re the best, man!

Thanks, Richard. Yes, I made my decision years ago. Other reporters might be shills for the big advertisers, but my devotion is to you, the reader. No computer company is going to rip off my posse, no sir. Although I gotta be frank, if I was buying a box this afternoon, I could do a lot worse than a Gateway 450XL Notebook. It’s so thin you can tuck it under your arm. And the display, my God, it’s like Nutella.

Here’s an incoming message from Donna Goldbaum in Waterloo, Iowa.

Mike, I’m curious how you stand up to the big corporations. Surely you can’t make more than a few bucks writing tech journalism. What exactly are your economics?

Donna, I’ll let you in on a secret. I do it with volume. And speaking of volume, you’ll want to check out the speakers on my new Apple iPod Portable 10GB Player. Buy today and Apple will rebate you $80 for the purchase of new CDs. Now that’s a deal sure to put a smile on your face!

Looks like we’ve started a thread here. Dewayne Naughton chimes in from Windsor, Ontario:

Yeah, but, doesn’t it take a toll on your sense of well-being? I mean, all this fighting, and corporations always being mad at you, and you never having two cents to rub together? You’re like some sort of consumer saint or something.

You’re absolutely right, Dewayne. I’ve cast my fate with the average Joe who just wants a fair shake from technology and the uncompromised honesty of a certain technology reporter. But I’ll tell you what makes it all worthwhile for me, Dewayne–the knowledge that people down there like you look up to people up here like me. Plus the serene solace of a great cigar, like Antonio y Cleopatra’s Grand Sandinista. The aroma alone makes you feel like going toe to toe with the establishment.

Here’s a fax from Matathir bin Mohammad, of Kuala Lumpur. Letterhead says he’s some big government mucky-muck. I’m so sure!

Mr. Reporter Finley, the council sends warmest regards. Shipment of currency took place July 12 per our agreement. We expect reciprocation in August.

Hmm, that sure seems like a wrong number, doesn’t it? Let’s see what Cathy Galligan, of Pretoria, Kan., has to say, instead.

Mike, I’m so mad I could spit. I bought an upgrade motherboard from a small shop not far from me, run by some foreign people. The motherboard was clearly inferior and it fritzed out. But these people–you can plainly tell they’re from out of town–blame me for installing it while wearing tight curlers in a lightning storm the day I got new braces. What can I do?

Cathy, this is the sort of thing that infuriates me. Those people took advantage of you. These arrogant big shots with their fancy corner upgrade shops and their big red signs think they can just push us consumers around. I will get to the bottom of this, you can be sure. I’ll really make them pay. In fact, to drive the point home that they can’t abuse my people, I’ll make them throw me a new DVD player.

Here’s a note from Marion Landrieux of Gallipolis, Ohio:

I don’t know how you do it, Mike, fighting for us every day, without a thought for yourself. Please accept, under separate cover, our gift of a live rooster.

Many thanks for the poultry, Marion. I guess you know that combating the suits is no day at the beach. And you’re right, I do sometimes need a reprieve from time to time from all this fighting. That’s why next month, look for a report from the Emerald Room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur’s beautiful Golden Triangle–a tradition of hospitality since the days of Magellan.

Meanwhile, here’s my monthly salute to you readers and consumers. Remember that I’m fighting for you, as I salute you with a tall glass of Johnny Walker Blue–so smooth, and so satisfying! Soldiering on … Mike

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