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About Dong Knows Tech

Dong Ngo at Dong Knows Tech
Hello! You’re looking at yours truly.

Hi everyone, Dong Ngo’s here! (Weird last name? Dong “Know” will do.)

Who is Dong Ngo?

You probably remember me as the “router guy” at CNET during its heyday. Fair enough! From late 1999 until mid-2017, among other things, I managed product testing and reviewed networking gadgets there.

What you sure don’t know is how my obsession with technology started.

As a teenager, I ran into a repurposed cardboard piece with a life-size QWERTY keyboard drawing on it. Upon finding out what it was supposed to be, I used it to practice typing with all ten fingers, just for fun… Years later, I got a hold of a real keyboard with a computer attached to it, and my life changed forever.

In a way, that piece of cardboard was my first touchscreen. Now, like many of you, cutting down on screen hours is my daily struggle. So, I’ll make sure your visit to Dong Knows Tech is worth it. I’m not going to waste your time!

A bit of personal stuff

I was born and raised in a tiny village in North Vietnam, surrounded by paddy fields. The part just before I arrived had been ravaged by American air supremacy during the American war.

For years, we had nothing, tech- and non-tech-wise.

I spent most of my childhood as a farmer, without electricity or running water. I remember being ready to eat a bit more at any given time as a kid — I was just always hungry — and having no experience with shoes until I was 17.

Now I live with my little family (wife and kids) in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has been a long and memorable journey to the real American dream.

English is not my first language. (Not even my second or third, so to speak.) That said, once in a while, please excuse my French! πŸ™‚

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What can you expect from Dong Knows Tech?

“This Dong guy knows tech!” is something you might tell yourself after reading my posts. But that’s not the point of this website.

A bit on the website’s name

My last name is often mispronounced as “No,” which sounds the same as “Know,” so a good friend suggested “Dong Knows Tech,” and I found it a good pun — at least it’s easy to say and remember.

Contrary to the name, I have no desire to say or prove that I know better than anyone on any matter. I believe everyone should and can figure things out by themselves if they really want to.

“Dong Knows Tech” is an alternate spelling of “Dong Ngo’s Tech.” By the way, if you go to dongngostech.com, you’ll also end up here.

What you should pay attention to is that I do my own research and review products independently.

Dong’s promise

I remember every promise I’ve made — I don’t make one easily. Here is one:

My reviews and how-to posts derive from my thorough first-hand testing or real-world experience. You’ll find no bullshit, no click baits, no patchwriting, no pointless listicles, and no product pushing/placement on this website.

Specifically:

  • I never intentionally mislead you for my personal gain — via views and clicks or whatever form.
  • I don’t take money to say good (or bad) things, nor do I say good things so I can sell something. (I get lots of offers, which is why my contact page seems unfriendly.)
  • I don’t publish just marketing materials, specs, or commentaries and call it a review.
  • I don’t steal content from other websites in any form whatsoever.

After years in the mainstream tech news and reviews, I understand their not-so-savory secrets and the endless online shenanigans. You will not have to deal with that on this website.

In short, “Dong Knows Tech – And THAT’s Good for YOU!” is real. I mean it.

(That is, of course, if you spend time and read what I have to write. Else, it’s only good for somebody else!)

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Disclaimers

The tech world is fluid — things can change quite dramatically over time. You’ll note that I often update many of my posts with new, up-to-date information, but nobody can keep tabs on everything or test every scenario.

The reviews and how-to posts on this website are accurate to the best of my knowledge, applicable to the time of publication, and all done with the best intention. But they are not necessarily free of errors or mistakes.

The point is I can be wrong. If anything, I’m just always working hard on avoiding that.

(But I’d be happy to share the stupid mistakes, tech- or non-tech-wise, I’ve made over a drink.)

So, use the content at your own risk. I assume no responsibility for any consequences that might arise from your voluntary consumption of the information posted here. Consider yourself warned.

(But I can tell you that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. In that sense, a mistake is better than nothing at all.)

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Disclosure

Dong Knows Tech’s website contains ads managed by Mediavine and affiliate links from Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

The latter might give me a small — tiny — commission at no additional cost to you when you click through and make any permanent purchase. By the way, all links to Amazon on this website are affiliate links. When possible, I also make that extra clear by adding a shopping icon (πŸ›οΈ) by the link, as you will notice.

Amazon decides which purchase is qualified, and I have no say in the process. It takes over 60 days, since a product is shipped, for me to receive a commission, if at all.

I have no additional affiliation with any other company or party and intend to remain that way.

A sincere note on ads and Amazon affiliate links

I don’t want you to buy something from Amazon solely to support me, nor do I ever coerce or trick you into spending money on anything.

But, if you find a good product that you’d like to buy anyway, it helps my work when you get to Amazon’s store via a link on this website and make a permanent purchase within 24 hours upon clicking on it. You probably can even bookmark a link for later.

As for the ads, I don’t directly manage them. The ad network does that. A couple of things to note:

  • Ads on this website, managed by Mediavine, are all safe and non-intrusive. View them for yourself! You can report an inappropriate ad by clicking on the little icon in its lower right corner.
  • Online ads are a number game. The site needs to reach certain ad impressions — in the millions over a while — to start making money. And then I only get to keep a portion of it, also after over 60 days.
  • The higher the impression levels, the higher percentage I’m allowed to keep. But the amount needs to be at some threshold before I receive any payment.
  • The number of ads displayed is based on certain settings, and, within my control, I’ve already picked the option for the best user experience.

If you see more ads than you’d like, that’s likely because others in your area (city/country) don’t allow them at all — they use an adblocker. The impression game must go on, or the site can’t sustain itself.

If you appreciate the site’s honest content and want to see fewer ads, please do your part in ad displaying. Thoughts, prayers, and compliments are appreciated, but they alone are not enough to absorb the operating costs — more below.

Ads and adblockers

Since late March 2022, an adblocker detector has been added to the website — only in certain parts and on certain days — asking you to allow ads. I thought long and hard before making that decision. I knew some readers would find it annoying.

Other than ripping this website off financially, many adblockers also block non-ad elements and, among other things, cause the analytics of the site to be incorrect, further adversely affecting the site’s value.

It’s complicated, but if, for some reason, you believe adblockers keep you “safe,” which is debatable, also keep the following in mind:

For ad-blocking to work, the software needs and you agree to give it access to your online activities and browsing records — there’s no way out of that. As a result, the software owner knows what you do with the browser.

While even good online ads can still be distracting, a (bad) adblocker can silently track all of your browsing activities and online personal information. The blocking software itself needs to generate benefits for its creator, just like the content you’re viewing.

The point is that you’ll end up having to “pay” for the information, one way or another. Why not support the upfront, transparent, and likely less costly party? Mind you, that party also creates content that benefits you.

The adblocker detector serves as a reminder, not a challenge. If you definitely don’t want to see it, please consider subscribing.

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“How do you get products to review?”

I got this question a lot and want to be completely transparent on this front.

I buy many, if not most, of the products I review with my own money. But yes, increasingly, vendors also offer to ship me the hardware, and I sometimes send them requests.

In this case, while I appreciate the timeliness — I tend to get the product ahead of the launch — I make it clear that I’ll test them thoroughly and evaluate them impartially.

In fact, I often send them to this page — we’re literally all on the same page.

  1. Not all products pitched get to be reviewed. (I often refuse even to receive stuff I don’t want to spend my time on.)
  2. After reading this page, some vendors withdraw their review requests — put two and two (that’s 1 and 2 in this case) together, and you know why you don’t see certain “popular” products reviewed here.
  3. Some vendors offer to pay for my time. I generally decline.

“What do you do with the device post-review?”

That depends.

I treat those I buy the way anyone does theirs — it’s nobody’s business. But for the sake of transparency:

Sometimes, I return them if I finish the reviews fast enough, there’s no need for additional testing or personal use, and the logistics plus return policies work out.

And that’s a big if since I take my time in testing, among other things. So, I’ve often had to count them as operating costs.

Those vendors send me I generally prepare to ship them back. Many vendors, however, would like to leave their products with me. Some even refuse to provide a return label or address.

(In all honesty, repacking and shipping can be a hassle, and I’d rather not have to do that for the sake of efficiency and safety.)

In that case, and if the device is not broken after being tested, I might use them for myself, friends, and family for further long-term evaluations. That is how I’ve been able to publish posts with extended or extensive hands-on experience, or comparison posts on products leased months or even years apart, as you will note.

Still, inevitably, I’ve ended up with a sizable collection of reviewed products in my garage — one can use only so many Wi-Fi routers. Once in a while, having those readily available can become quite handy for a spontaneous geeky project. I generally always try to have creative and efficient ways to deal with these “surpluses.” Eventually, when applicable, I recycle them as e-waste.

But in case you’re wondering, I don’t sell them for cash. The monetary gain is not worth the logistics of selling, shipping, and keeping records.

The only benefit I get from these “free” products is the experience and real-world knowledge I share on this website and whatever that returns.

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How you can support Dong Knows Tech

Thank you for thinking of supporting this website. Financially, you can donate or give a Ko-fi right now.

The devil is in the details. Running a tech site, especially one free of nonsense, involves so many things and substantial financial costs. It’s also time-consuming.

And I do this practically by myself, from the design, maintenance, and functions of this website itself. It’s a hobby, a passion for tech, or even a labor of love. I keep a day job to take care of the growing family.

That said, to support my work, please:

  • Take your time to read my articles instead of skimming over them — you’ll miss a lot. You’ll note that I work hard on the writing. It’s only fair that you do your part in the reading.
  • Report typos when you run into one by selecting (highlighting) the text in question and hitting the red button to the right of the screen. I proofread myself, and that’s very challenging. Again, English is not my mother tongue, and I’m still terrible at it.
  • Turn off your adblocker — ads help me make money.

Also, please let me know when you run into sites that use this website’s materials without disclosing the source.

Finally, I welcome suggestions and appreciate constructive criticism. Please keep them coming!

Thank you for visiting Dong Knows Tech and for your support! ❀️

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Please consider this site icon or this full-size logo when mentioning Dong Knows Tech in your publication, and don’t forget to link back or attribute to the source when you translate my work into your local language.

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