With a Grain of Salt

By | January 25, 2012
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PC Magazine has rated Norton 2012, the best antivirus. It’s won PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award. It’s no surprise. PC Magazine seems to have an ongoing love affair with Norton and McAfee. PC Magazine says they’ve tested most popular antivirus programs and Norton 2012 protects better than the rest – I’m not going to go into details here, if you’re really interested you can read the article here.

We’ve yet to see anyone corroborate PC Magazine’s test results. Independent labs – at least the two we check always seem to find Norton (name the version) as a mediocre antivirus, mostly running in the middle of the pack as far as empirical data is concerned. We’ve got a rather large folder full of emails from our readers complaining about the resource-hungry, all-pervasive, Norton. So what’s going on here?

Well, Norton has a lot of money, and they spend a lot of money on advertising. You can pick up almost any computer magazine, including PC Magazine, and you’ll almost always find at least one full-page Symantec (the company that makes Norton) advertisement. I’m just saying…you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, do you? You can draw your own conclusions – I just want you to think about that.

What about all that data from the Norton tests? You can spin statistics and data anyway you want to spin it. Again, I’m not saying they did or didn’t. I just want you to think about it.

Another case in point: I have an Amazon Kindle Fire which I received as a Christmas gift. I knew I was going to get one for Christmas, so in the days leading up to Christmas, I started reading reviews about the Kindle Fire. I started getting worried when article after article written by professional technical writers basically gave it a big thumbs down. Luckily for me, I take what technical writers say with a huge grain of salt.

I started watching some YouTube videos made by real people (not tech writers who may be real people – I’m not sure). These were just folks like you and I who had Kindle Fire tablets and were showing how they worked in videos posted on YouTube. Funny thing. Almost all the ordinary people who had bought Kindle Fire tablets really liked them. They were surprised how nice they were for the price ($199.00). So I was a little more optimistic when I saw real people using Kindle Fire tablets who actually thought they were pretty good.

I have had my Kindle Fire since Christmas Day. And I love it. My son was there on Christmas and he has an iPad. So we compared them side by side. His iPad is bigger and can do much more than my Kindle Fire – but his iPad cost $400 more. Still, he was surprised how responsive the touch screen was on the Kindle Fire. Kindle Fire’s touch screen’s responsiveness is very close to the iPad. It was a gift – so I wouldn’t have complained even if it hadn’t been as nice as it is. For $199, I think it’s great 7″ tablet.

The experts pretty much panned the Kindle Fire. Those who are considering a Kindle Fire might decide not to buy one because of what the experts say. And if they don’t, then they’re missing out on a nice little tablet – for a great price. I’ve had a lot of fun with mine – and it’s a great e-reader too. It’s not an iPad, but it works great, it’s useful and it’s a lot of fun.

My point is – don’t give too much weight to what the so-called experts say. Investigate for yourself and see what ordinary people are saying: watch YouTube, read forums, and don’t simply take some tech writer’s word for it. After all, he or she might be getting paid for his or her kind words.

6 thoughts on “With a Grain of Salt

  1. Harold

    I have tried Norton,s also McAfee and dont like either, do you know of any free one,s I am using AVG anti virus free 2010 and it is very good , what is your thought about this one , Your advise is always on the mark.
    Thank you for all the good work and ideas you take the time ti pass on.

  2. John

    I have used Norton Internet Security for years and am very satisfied with it. I have tried McAfee, Vipre, AVG, Avast, MS Security Essentials, and Kaspersky but always return to NIS because you set it up properly and it just works very well. Parental controls for it is a free download in case you have kids using the machine. My own second choice is the free MS Security Essentials as it is also trouble-free. I do not like Norton 360 as it seems too complicated and has too many nag screens that I don’t want to deal with. This is just one man’s opinion – but I have been on the net since “300 baud” was the hot speed and have a good track record for remaining virus/malware free.

  3. Irene

    I have used Norton, AVG free which I upgraded to paying and was extremely disappointed by both. I presently have Avast free ed. which I find remarkable (for now cause I downloaded same about one month ago and all is well and also it updates by itself). Do not know what TC or 8B think about Avast. Have a good day. Irene

  4. Vicki

    I love the Avast free edition! It protects my PC & laptop very well, updates itself, & alerts me immediately if I’ve stumbled across any dangerous site(s). Seriously Harold, give Avast A try, you’ll be pleased. Download it from the authors site or from Major Geeks. Avoid downloads from CNET when possible.

    No ne could pay me to use Norton or MCAfee.

  5. Vicki

    I am one of those who despises McAfee and Norton and anyone who sells a “suite” of products only does it for “show”. I wouldn’t trade my ESET Nod32 Antivirus for anything. That trojan that is infecting people’s email and then sends out Spam was caught by ESET, whereas my friend, who has Norton, is still infected. By the way, this email Trojan is spreading like wildfire, but it’s hard to find any info on it. The receiver thinks they are getting an email from a friend, but it’s actually the trojan that is selecting a handful of addresses from their email account(s) and even though it looks legit, the minute you open your “friend’s” email, you are infected. Has anyone else had this problem lately? I know of several people who have been hit even with my stringent warnings. It’s very sneaky.

  6. Sally

    I have used AVAST ever since it was recommened by CloudEight. It does a great job and it does so without entangling itself in every part of my system. (unlike Norton and McAfee). I upgraded to the paid version after a couple of years of using the free version. No virus or problems. Ever.


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