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Computerworld's Win 7 RAM Source Was a Sham

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 53 comments

Supposed research firm CTO was actually an InfoWorld blogger.

Last week we relayed a story from Computerworld that cited its Devil Mountain Software source as finding that 86 percent of Windows 7 PCs in the over 20,000 machines it monitors would frequently encounter low memory situations.

Despite the entire Internet community jumping on Devil Mountain Software, the company's blog stood by its claims. But things started to fall apart for DMS's exo.performance.network (XPnet) when ZDNet suspected that Craig Barth was actually an InfoWorld/IDG Network columnist (Computerworld is also a part of IDG). Before ZDNet published its suspicions, InfoWorld's Eric Knorr announced that IDG had severed ties with its contributor Randall C. Kennedy, who "had been misrepresenting himself to other media organizations as Craig Barth, CTO of Devil Mountain Software…"

"DevilMountain Software is a business Kennedy established that specializes in the analysis of Windows performance data," Knorr explained. "There is no Craig Barth, and Kennedy has stated that this fabrication was a misguided effort to separate himself (or more accurately, his InfoWorld blogger persona) from his Devil Mountain Software business."

Following the reveal, ZDNet went ahead and published its story detailing the connections found between Barth and Kennedy, making them the same person. Gregg Keizer, who wrote many of the stories for Computerworld that cited Barth, explained his position in a new article.

"The two, Barth and Kennedy, are one and the same. The problem was that I didn't know that. The problem was that Kennedy didn't tell me he was Barth, that I didn't figure out Barth was he, and that together, they were DevilMountain," Keizer wrote. "I have spoken with the man I knew as Barth between 15 and 20 times since December 2007. There was a phone number and a man behind the phone number. The guy seemed to know his technical stuff."

"But on Friday, after I confronted Barth with evidence that linked him to Kennedy -- I didn't yet know they were one and the same -- he assured me that although the two had worked together in the past, and in fact, now worked together at Devil Mountain, any allegations that he and Kennedy were the same person were ridiculous," Keizer continued. "Two hours later, I received an e-mail from Kennedy, who I'd e-mailed separately."

"Time to level with you," Kennedy wrote. "The individual Craig Barth doesn't exist. It's a pseudonym I created a decade ago while writing news copy for Windows NT Magazine. I resurrected it a few years back in an effort to separate my sometimes controversial editorial contributions to InfoWorld from the hard research content I was developing as part of Devil Mountain Software.

"What began as a simple e-mail exchange of benchmark data two years ago snowballed, as all such white lies tend to do, into the mess we have today," he added.

Kennedy and XPnet appears to still stand behind its Windows 7 RAM data, a more pressing real-world implication of Devil Mountain Software's activity deals with the privacy of its clients that use the firm's performance benchmarking software.

In a follow up article, "Barth" revealed that Devil Mountain Software's Clarity Suite was being used at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston, as well as on Wall Street trading floors. The financial firms wouldn't confirm whether or not it used DMS's products, but regardless, it's either a violation of client privacy (perhaps with unauthorized use) or a complete fabrication.

Read ZDNet's expose here and Computerworld's story here.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    theuerkorn , February 22, 2010 3:01 PM
    Yeah but, it's in the Internet ... so it's true. ;-)
  • 21 Hide
    redplanet_returns , February 22, 2010 4:13 PM
    the original article's testing methodology was too vague and make way too many assumptions to be taken seriously anyways.

    i'm sure most of tom's hardware readers already found a lot of problems and faults with the article to begin with.
  • 21 Hide
    ominous prime , February 22, 2010 4:34 PM
    Curnel_D"Despite the entire Internet community jumping on Devil Mountain Software, the company's blog stood by its claims."You mean, despite the entire internet community jumping on you, because it's simply astounding how such ignorant information could be passed on by a 'professional' columnist working for an IT enthusiast site.


    You sir, hit the nail on the head.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    theuerkorn , February 22, 2010 3:01 PM
    Yeah but, it's in the Internet ... so it's true. ;-)
  • -8 Hide
    Pei-chen , February 22, 2010 4:09 PM
    Rule 34 followed by 42.
  • 0 Hide
    Shez , February 22, 2010 4:09 PM
    Bets on if M$ goes after this guy for damages?
  • 21 Hide
    redplanet_returns , February 22, 2010 4:13 PM
    the original article's testing methodology was too vague and make way too many assumptions to be taken seriously anyways.

    i'm sure most of tom's hardware readers already found a lot of problems and faults with the article to begin with.
  • 19 Hide
    curnel_D , February 22, 2010 4:32 PM
    "Despite the entire Internet community jumping on Devil Mountain Software, the company's blog stood by its claims."

    You mean, despite the entire internet community jumping on you, because it's simply astounding how such ignorant information could be passed on by a 'professional' columnist working for an IT enthusiast site.
  • 21 Hide
    ominous prime , February 22, 2010 4:34 PM
    Curnel_D"Despite the entire Internet community jumping on Devil Mountain Software, the company's blog stood by its claims."You mean, despite the entire internet community jumping on you, because it's simply astounding how such ignorant information could be passed on by a 'professional' columnist working for an IT enthusiast site.


    You sir, hit the nail on the head.
  • 12 Hide
    ordcestus , February 22, 2010 4:34 PM
    I knew it wasn't true. I've worked on and examined a hundred windows 7 machines and even the 1 gb netbooks aren't overly starved for ram
  • 12 Hide
    Honis , February 22, 2010 4:35 PM
    Don't forget to update the article from last week.
  • 7 Hide
    rhino13 , February 22, 2010 4:50 PM
    What does this guy stand to gain by discrediting a great OS like Windows 7?
  • -6 Hide
    micr0be , February 22, 2010 5:08 PM
    its all about the he said she said bullshit .....
  • -9 Hide
    marraco , February 22, 2010 5:36 PM
    apple profited from it
  • 6 Hide
    dark_lord69 , February 22, 2010 6:04 PM
    I knew it was total BS
  • 19 Hide
    candrwhite , February 22, 2010 6:28 PM
    rhino13What does this guy stand to gain by discrediting a great OS like Windows 7?


    Page hits.... therefore cash.
  • 3 Hide
    victomofreality , February 22, 2010 6:31 PM
    if they don't give you the peramiters that they tested in to get their data you can bet it's a steaming pile of bs. Glad this got out in the open though.
  • 14 Hide
    tuannguyen , February 22, 2010 6:36 PM
    Parsifal57Hmmm, It still didn't stop Marcus Yam posting as if it was fact!You guys need to validate things like this before posting them, otherwise you're every bit at fault as Computerworld is, in fact probably worse because you supposedly have the technical knowledge to verify and disprove the statements.Its about time you actually acted as Journalists and not as Blog plagiarists.


    Thanks for the tip. My department is responsible for news, and we have to make sure we deliver info to you guys as fast as possible, while trying to be as accurate as possible. We quoted Computerworld, which up until now, many have regarded as a reputable source, wouldn't you say so? And as such, we usually aren't afraid of quoting reputable sources because they're well, usually reputable.

    If we had to do background checking for every piece of breaking news, there would be no breaking news. That's why we have follow-ups, like this article.

    Stop putting your foot in your mouth and acting as though you know how it is to do our job. Calling us "blog pagiarists?"

    Let me tell you, personally, what I owe you: zero.

    What I owe the Tom's Hardware community as a whole:

    - Timely information (News = fast/responsive)
    - Try to be as accurate as possible
    - Try to follow-up

    So before you hammer out your insults, get some perspective.

    / Tuan
  • 6 Hide
    JMcEntegart , February 22, 2010 6:52 PM
    micr0beits all about the he said she said bullshit .....


    Such a great cleaning song.
  • 5 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , February 22, 2010 7:52 PM
    Curnel_D"Despite the entire Internet community jumping on Devil Mountain Software, the company's blog stood by its claims."You mean, despite the entire internet community jumping on you, because it's simply astounding how such ignorant information could be passed on by a 'professional' columnist working for an IT enthusiast site.
    What'd the five fingers saytathe face? SLAP! lol... when I read that article about the high RAM usage I almost peed. I used Win7 RC1 for over a year with 6gigs of RAM and never had a problem (obviously).
  • 3 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , February 22, 2010 7:53 PM
    JMcEntegartSuch a great cleaning song.
    I think she just warned you. :)  I almost thought you were serious for a second though! I guess I am gullible as hell.
  • 4 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , February 22, 2010 7:55 PM
    tuannguyenThanks for the tip. My department is responsible for news, and we have to make sure we deliver info to you guys as fast as possible, while trying to be as accurate as possible. We quoted Computerworld, which up until now, many have regarded as a reputable source, wouldn't you say so? And as such, we usually aren't afraid of quoting reputable sources because they're well, usually reputable.If we had to do background checking for every piece of breaking news, there would be no breaking news. That's why we have follow-ups, like this article.Stop putting your foot in your mouth and acting as though you know how it is to do our job. Calling us "blog pagiarists?" Let me tell you, personally, what I owe you: zero.What I owe the Tom's Hardware community as a whole:- Timely information (News = fast/responsive)- Try to be as accurate as possible- Try to follow-upSo before you hammer out your insults, get some perspective./ Tuan
    With that, I might add, you just got SCHOOLED SON!
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