Vacation & Content; A Personal Message

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     September 16, 2014

As you have all noticed, there has been a distinct lack of content here at Hardware Canucks over the last three or so weeks. Considering we typically publish between two and four reviews per week, the absence hasnít gone unnoticed if the dozens of emails I received are any indication. Many asked for an explanation and thatís exactly what this quick post is intended to do.

HWC has been a love of mine since I started posting here nearly eight years ago. Back then it was a forum that Gav (our ever-present administrator) started for a few dedicated Canadian enthusiasts who wanted a discussion space of their own. Little did I know then that a close partnership would eventually be formed and the forum of a few dozen participants would gradually grow into one of Canadaís premier tech websites.

Hardware Canucksí reviews started as a hobby and in many ways they and the editing of the staffís articles are still a pro bono endeavor. Any advertising money is rolled back into the siteís operation which grants a somewhat unique insight since our opinions can be formed without having to worry about putting bread on the table. Unfortunately this approach has also limited our ability to attract new talent so in many ways it has somewhat castrated HWCís growth potential despite the awesome strengths of our current staff.

With all of that being said, this site is a huge part of my life and will continue to be. Doing this on the nights and during the weekends limits the amount of time spent on the site but in the end, it allows for (in my opinion at least) better productivity. However the demands of working a full time job alongside keeping up with launch schedules and striving to meet the understandably high expectations of our loyal readers took its toll.

Headaches were a constant companion, insomnia became commonplace and recently I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called vitiligo which gradually, over the course of oneís life, destroys the skinís pigment in random patches. This too may be triggered by stress and not knowing how the disease will progress (if it will at all) brings a new meaning to the word anxiety.

Looking back on the past year in hindsight, the content here at Hardware Canucks has suffered as well. The only way to remain competitive was a directional realignment but focusing on any drastic rebuilding was beyond me. It was more than evident that a new, fresh perspective was needed but in order to do that I had to put my mental and physical health first while sacrificing some site content in the short term.

It was time to take a break and for the first time in the last 7 or so years both my girlfriend and I decided to do so by cutting off all contact with the outside world for the better part of three weeks. So with only a pair of carry-on bags and a completely wiped Nexus 7 3G for navigation (even our email accounts were deleted on the tablet) we headed off to Europe. Then, the last five days since our return have been spent planning an in-depth roadmap for HWCís future content.

And now to the futureÖ

The period of refocusing, reenergizing and reviewing the direction of Hardware Canucks has come to an end and I have to say the time off did wonders.

First and foremost, how are things changing? We are basically going back to how Hardware Canucks started: by focusing more on expanding knowledge rather than publishing a deluge of cookie-cutter reviews. While reviews will still be an integral part of this site, in the future they will be supplemented by in-depth articles which cover a variety of different subjects from technology overviews, to comprehensive feature testing, to interviews with some of this industryís most important figures. The list is endless and we have some exciting posts in the pipeline already.

Our budding YouTube channel (which recently hit over 100,000 subscribers) will also start playing a larger role in front-page content since video content has proven to be an awesome way to better display cases, headphones, tablets and other items. Dmitry and Matt have been working night and day to make the channel one of the best around but up to now the amount of visibility it had here on the site was minimal. Thatís going to change.

A continual feed that posts every shred of news, regardless of how minor, isnít in the cards for the time being since in order to compete in that area we would need resources which simply arenít available right now. On the other hand, expect any major news to still be covered in-depth with follow-up articles delving into the finer points of any large announcement. Events like CES, Computex and Cebit will continue to be covered as our staff attends the shows.

Due to my hiatus thereís still a backlog of unposted reviews which will take a few weeks to get through. That includes ASUSí R9 290X Matrix, Seagateís new 6TB Enterprise HDD, MSIís AM3+ 970 GAMING motherboard, ASUSí X99 Deluxe and a number of others. Not to mention all of NVIDIAís upcoming products. With that in mind, expect this shift to be a gradual one over the medium-term one rather than a drastic change from day one.

We also missed a good number of important launches including those of AMDís R9 285 and their new 8-core processors; the FX-8370, FX-8370E and FX-8320E. Those will be addressed in the near future as well.

The coming months will be exciting ones here at Hardware Canucks as we forge ahead with a revised direction for our content. The site may have been idle for the last little while but that doesnít mean minds werenít hard at work in the background. Stay tuned since the articles and reviews will start flowing again later this week.

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