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About Dong Knows Tech

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

The original spelling of my name is Đông Ngô, and its correct pronunciation, which is impossible to many, is not even close to sharing the meaning of what you might be thinking of right now. Thank you, English!

Who is Dong Ngo?

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

I published my last piece of content for the tech site on Jun 10, 2017.

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 the drawing 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.

Your visit to Dong Knows Tech will be worth the effort. I’m not going to waste your time!

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

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 children — in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has been a long and memorable journey to the real American dream.

As a teenager, inspired by Michael Jackson’s music, specifically the song “Black or White,” I learned English — it’s not my first language. (It’s 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.

Elaboration 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 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 personal gain — via views and clicks or whatever form. I don’t do clickbait.
  • I don’t take money to say good (or bad) things, nor do I say good things so I can sell something. (I get many offers, which is why my contact page seems unfriendly.) In other words, I’m not one of those “influencers.”
  • 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.
  • This website does not use AI or bots to write articles or regularly change the introductions or dates of stories to make them “SEO friendly”. It also strictly does not publish content with ulterior motives. Specifically, it:
    • does not accept guest posts with backlinks.
    • does not accept sponsored posts with third-party content.
    • does not buy links or accept link exchange.

After some two decades 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.

Technology is my passion

I write about tech because I love it, not because I have to or need to.

I didn’t start this website aiming to be rich. I only hope it makes enough money to justify my time.

Every piece of hardware or software I mention on this website is there because I love it or the idea of it. It’s a type of personal attention you won’t find anywhere else.

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! The “no-nonsense” notion of the site goes both ways. Keep that in mind!

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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 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 get things 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 arising from your voluntary consumption of the information posted here. Consider yourself warned.

But I can tell you from experience 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 affiliate banners/links from Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and ads managed by Mediavine.

The former might give the site small — tiny — commissions at no additional cost to readers when they click through and make any permanent purchase. All links to Amazon on this website are affiliate links — that’s automatically the case. When possible, that’s made extra clear via a shopping icon (πŸ›οΈ) prefix.

Amazon decides which purchase is qualified. It takes over 60 days since a product is shipped for the site to receive a commission, if at all.

Once in a while, the site may also accept paid static ad banners — for a price — that are not part of the programmatic add services mentioned above.

To maintain impartiality, this website has no additional affiliation with any other company or party and intends to remain that way.

Dong’s 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 few 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 via the little icon in its lower right corner.
  • The number of ads displayed is based on specific settings, and, within my control, I’ve already picked the option for the best user experience.
  • 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 for me to sustain the site.

Compared to mainstream tech sites, Dong Knows Tech has modest viewership and revenue, which vary from month to month. It has many fixed expenses, including almost twenty annual and monthly paid services — hosting, security, backups, anti-spam, image compression, caching, etc.

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

Ads, ad-blockers, and ad-blocker detector

Since late March 2022, an ad-blocker detector has been added to the website — only in certain parts or 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 ad-blockers also block non-ad elements and, among other things, cause the site’s analytics to be incorrect, further adversely affecting the site’s value.

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

For ad-blocking to work, the software needs you to 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 good online ads can still be distracting, a (bad) ad-blocker can silently track your browsing activities and personal information. The blocking software 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 ad-blocker 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 get 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 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 before the public — 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.

Please note

  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 particular “popular” or “viral” products covered here.
  3. Some vendors offer to pay for my time to cover their products. 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, among other things, I take my time in testing, and I often buy multiple units to avoid hardware defects and test different scenarios. So, I’ve often had to count them as operating costs.

Once in a while, a friend or a local reader offers to buy one from me to support my work. But generally, it’s a long number game.

Within a few months, the revenue from ads and Amazon affiliation of an individual review has never been enough to pay for the cost of the hardware. But over a year, the combined revenue of all reviews might get (significantly) more than the total hardware cost.

I’d hope so, anyway. It’s not a guarantee.

Those vendors send me, I generally prepare to ship them back, though that might not always be the case due to various reasons. (Some vendors don’t want their stuff back.)

In all honesty, repacking and shipping can be a hassle. I’d rather not have to do that for the sake of efficiency. That’s not to mention I have three little children who need lots of attention.

In case a return is not necessary, and if the device is not broken after being tested, I might continue to 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 released 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 project. I generally try to have creative and efficient ways to deal with these hardware “surpluses.” Eventually, I recycle them as e-waste.

The point is this: Generally, I don’t sell review samples vendors ship me for cash. 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 many things and substantial financial costs. It’s also time-consuming.

And I do this practically by myself, including the site’s design, functions, and maintenance. It’s a hobby, a passion for tech. You can call it a labor of love. But, frankly, even love can’t survive just by itself.

Before you get concerned, I keep a day job to care for 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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