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Don't Trust The Reviews
Oh great, you say - if I can't trust the reviews, what can I trust? Good question, next question. The problem is that most reviewers don't even look at the products they are testing, and even if they do, they do such cursory tests that they can't be of much help to you anyway. Further, these reviewers are not rocket scientists. Often they are less adept at Smart Computing than you are.
A reviewer does not have to face the consquences of the install of a deliquent product: The reviewer can call support and have them take the badly behaved machine away and replace it with a new one. Bottom line: Reviewers don't have to care, and few really do.
So who do you trust? You trust the newsgroups, you trust sites like this, like PC Help, like Spychecker, like Web Attack, you trust anyone who wants to tell it like it is. Above all, you trust yourself - you guard your machine carefully when you try any new product, fully prepared to revert your machine to its previous state if you don't like what you get.
Next: What Is Bad Software?