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Follow-up on Mossberg interaction

by Brandon on March 21st, 2007

Following up on my last post, Walt Mossberg himself decided to drop by my comments section to justify his position. As I said in another comment answering his, I believe his explanation that the 50% difference in cost includes the price of an add-on WiFi adapter to be quite reasonable. However, the article makes no mention of that and in my mind it’s just as reasonable for any reader to believe that figure is in error.

What’s more, I still believe his response to my initial e-mail was uncalled for, and that his suggestion that I should apologize to him is rather absurd. However, I’ve been wrong before. So rather than arguing any further, I’ll simply the share the e-mails in question and let you decide who overreacted.

From: Brandon Paddock
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:34 PM,
Subject: Question about Apple TV article (error?)

Hi there,

I’m curious about this quote from your Apple TV article.

“But the comparable Xbox costs 50% more than Apple TV, is much larger and stores only half as much material.”

Where does the 50% number come from? I would think the Xbox 360 with equivalent functionality would be the Core System, which is priced identically to the Apple TV box ($299). I say equivalent functionality because as far as I’m aware, the Apple TV doesn’t yet store anything on its hard drive, and its primary purpose is to stream data from an iTunes-equipped PC. As a bonus, the 360 can be equipped with a hard drive at a later date (possibly a much larger one) and play games and DVDs.

However, more concerning is that the 50% number doesn’t even make sense for the most expensive Xbox 360 system, which is priced at $399 (thus a 30% number would make more sense, or you could just be clear and say $399). Thus I have to believe the 50% number to be in error. If not, I’d be interested in a clarification of where it came from.

Brandon Paddock

From: Walt Mossberg
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:42 PM
To: Brandon Paddock
Cc: Katherine Boehret
Subject: Re: Question about Apple TV article (error?)

Boy, you really have to read more carefully before accusing people of error. The $299 Apple TV has a 40 GB hard disk and can sync with any Mac or Windows computer, storing the media from those computers, PLUS stream from five more Mac or Windows computers and stream directly from the internet.

Next time, READ the article before emailing.


Walt insists he read my message “word-for-word” before responding. Doesn’t look that way to me, though.

From → Other

  1. Artie Kay permalink

    I read it thusly. You assumed he made a math error and asked for clarification. He flamed you, then later attacked you like you’d claimed his was on the grassy knoll.

    What ironic is he gives the clarification you asked for, in your blog post only. You weren’t the only one confused about the math.

  2. He’s the one who overreacted. No question. You’re about as nice as they come 🙂

  3. I really don’t think the wi-fi is that big of a selling point anyway, his own article states that it can take hours to transfer large videos. A problem you don’t have to worry about if your 360 is hooked to a gigabit lan.

    I havn’t checked, but is there a limit to how many devices a 360 can stream from?

  4. Yeah, I don’t use WiFi with my 360 (doesn’t work well enough to stream HD in my house).

    The 360 lets you connect to however many PCs are on your network, although it’s optimized for one (since it remembers your selection and connects faster). I think the main limit in either case is really the limit imposed by the service you’re using to acquire your media.

  5. David Pogue’s review of the Apple TV – far more open-minded I think:

  6. Engaging in pointless flame wars probably isn’t helpful to the growth of your blog, even if you are right.

    I’m a big fan of the Start++ project, keep up the good work.

  7. Andrew permalink

    Well, in Walt’s article it does say that the apple tv does store stuff and somehow syncs stuff that is on one computer on the apple tv hard drive – so i think thats what he was focusing on..

    But its ironic that he attacks you for not reading his whole article – when its obvious that he didnt read your entire email. If he did he would have answered your question! I’ll tell you one thing – I’ve lost alot of respect for him after that attack on you. There is no reason why he should treat ANY of his readers that way, especially since you were asking a very simple question, it says alot about his character and I think he’s getting too big for his britches (heaven forbid someone correct Walt Mossburg! He knows everything!).

    I’ve never liked Walt’s reviews, I think that his ego is getting too big and hes being portrayed as some “Computer Reviewer God” when there are PLENTY of other reviewing sources who I think give a more unbiased review, and I’d trust their reviews more than him – CNet Reviews, 90% of the bloggers out there – he only got lucky cause hes being published in the Wall Street Journal. David Pogue is a MUCH better reviewer, and I’ve emailed him a few times to point out some factual errors he made in his articles, and he always responded politely and thanking me for pointing out his mistakes.

  8. Pointless flame war? I think not. Traditional media is always screaming how they are held accountable and the internet is the wild wild west. Yet when someone politely ask for that accountability the so called professionals are always talking about. That person gets berated. Someone was either having a bad day or is just an all around jerk. Either way Walt Mossberg didn’t leave his ego at the door. Obviously unlike what we see online none of this mans peers are going to hold him accountable for his bad behavior. If people are willing to stop reading here because someone wants to take up the good fight. Then in my opinion they aren’t worth having around to begin with.

  9. Good points Iggy; and way to go with ‘correction’ Brandon.. And thanks again for Start++.. Love it, but haven’t yet made it ‘second nature.’

    Anyway, peace.

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