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The Macalope Weekly: Small sample sizes

The Macalope | Jan. 2, 2013
If there were one useless tool of the silly technology pundit that the Macalope could smite with his mighty horns ... well, there isn't just one. But making mountains out of the molehills of small or specious data sets would at least be in the top ten.

Actually, no, that doesn't mean anything, either. Sorry, the Macalope doesn't know what he was thinking there.

9 out of 10 sockpuppets agree!

But, wait! Other anecdotal evidence is also in, proving the Surface is the bestest tablet EVAAAAAAAH!

"Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush" (tip o' the antlers to Jim Miles)

Who are these "reviewers" that Information Week's Paul McDougall trusts so much he has to put them in quotes?

Forget for a moment that it won't run Windows applications, starts at $200 more than Kindle Fire HD and doesn't have a Facebook app. The consensus among those who purchased Microsoft's Windows 8 tablet from Best Buy is that it is pretty much the best computing device in history.

Well, that explains why the Microsoft Stores were empty. All the Surface action was going on over at Best Buy.

You can forgive the Best Buy reviewers for their lack of nuance. Of those who critiqued Surface RT, the vast majority had previously never reviewed any other products, and most never had a Best Buy user's profile until last week, when Surface first went on sale at the store (mousing over a reviewer's handle provides this info).

Yes, Best Buy shoppers who took the trouble to log into Best Buy's website to create brand new profiles after the Surface's launch just loooove their new Surfaces (man, that plural always sounds wrong). Well, it doesn't get any more concrete than that, and there's nothing at all fishy about it!

"Coty 09," whose activity on the Best Buy site dates back as far as Monday, had this to say: "The Surface RT is a great product that is easy to use and is built very well. This will be great for work, school and play." Who talks that way? Marketing people, according to The Consumerist's list of "30 Ways You Can Spot Fake Online Reviews."

Paul! Please! Are you accusing Microsoft of sockpuppetry?! Microsoft would never engage in such shenanigans!

In addition to Best Buy, Surface RT is also available at Staples. Staples customer reviewers--all four of them--appeared equally impressed with the device.

Not Staples! The Macalope buys his staples there! HOW DEEP DOES THIS GO?

Four reviews after almost a week of availability suggests Staples isn't likely to sell out of Surface RT any time soon, but at least those who bought appear to like it.

Or they like being paid to pretend to like it. Which is almost the same thing.

Saving the best for last

Speaking of small sample sizes, how about a sample size of one?

Writing for Forbes, Patrick Moorhead tells us "Why I am Leaving the iPhone" (no link, and the Macalope thinks you'll agree).


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