Sunday, February 21, 2010

Devil Mountain Software CTO Outed As Liar

As many might have read around the web recently Devil Mountain Software, makers of community-based (XPnet) stated that most (86%) Windows 7 PCs max out memory resulting in slow-downs as the systems were forced to increasingly turn to disk-based virtual memory to handle tasks. At the time I read the reports I summarily dismissed them as the utter nonsense they seemed to be and refused to pass the information on to our readers. Now it sounds like my original sentiments might be accurate as "Craig Barth" the supposed CTO of Devil Mountain Software is actually Randall C. Kennedy, a now former InfoWorld contributor.

Kennedy acting under this assumed identity misrepresented himself to several major sites including Infoworld, Computerworld, the Associated Press, WindowsITPro, and Gizmodo in stories regarding several Microsoft products. Acting as "CTO Craig Barth" he spread information and metrics that was allegedly found via Devil Mountain Software's program XPnet. Information that many now have very serious reasons to question.

According to a posting on ComputerWorld Kennedy holds to his claims and states that everything but his identity was legit (yeah right we believe that one!):

On Friday, Kennedy claimed that everything but his identity was legit: Devil Mountain, which is a registered corporation in the state of Florida; the fact that he developed the performance benchmarking software, which had come out of consulting work he did for Intel; the customers the company had sold its software to; and the data from XPnet. "The research content I've published to date was always based on an unbiased interpretation of the data at hand," he said.

So this brings me to the question, did reports trusting "Barth" do their due diligence? Did they actually do some fact checking before trusting their source? Its one thing to be duped by a smooth talker but you'd think being a mass media outlet these companies would have a enough sense to check with a few other sources to see if there is any validity to the claims. One commenter wrote:

Part of a reporter's job is to evaluate the veracity of a source
Gregg, you never did that. You are a poor excuse for a reporter. You report every potential "news" as long as it may be damaging to Microsoft or controversial enough to generate page hits. Time for you to reflect on your habits. Time to up your source verification and evaluation. You had this coming. And are you *sure* you didn't know RCK was involved with exo performance network (xpnet)? Really?

I don't question that Gregg Keizer whole heartily didn't know that Barth was a fictitious character I do however call into question the integrity in which the story was posted. Gregg and ComputerWorld are not to blame as several sites ran with the story but as a matter of journalistic integrity mass media publications and sites are not supposed to be hit chasers!

If there really was such an issue with W7 leaking memory or being that bad a memory hog there would have been tons of claims protests from users all around the web. It would have been discovered during the beta and RC and you can bet MS detractors would have made sure it made it's way to the web by now.

A great post by Windows Blogger Paul Thurrott - "Insane Blogger Fools Reporter, Gets Fired" and more details on DMS and Barth from ZDNet - "Why we don't trust Devil Mountain Software (and neither should you)"

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