If your life is anything like mine, time is a precious commodity. There always seems to be more tasks to do than time to do them in. So, I recently decided to automate one task in my life: vacuuming. Don't laugh—I know that this might be a trivial task for some people, but since I have a house full of furry friends, let's just say that the fur is flying feverishly if I don't vacuum every day. Obviously, no script can automate this tedious and time-consuming task, but I had heard about a gadget that could possibly do so—a cleaning robot named Roomba. I decided to check it out.

No one I know has purchased a Roomba, so I did an Internet search to find out more about it. I quickly found the Web site of the manufacturer, iRobot. As expected, the Web site extolled Roomba's virtues and the customer reviews raved about Roomba. Wanting unbiased confirmation that this robotic vacuum sucks literally and not figuratively, I read articles in magazines, consumers' reviews on Web sites such as eBay and DealTime, and consumers' reviews on forums not affiliated with iRobot. The reviews turned out to be extremely helpful because they contained the real-life experiences of pet owners who have used the product. I found out the product's strengths and weaknesses and the situations in which the product shines or fails miserably.

These real-life reviews got me thinking about the Scripting Pro VIP forum site. Because Scripting Pro VIP isn't affiliated with any vendor (including Microsoft), the Scripting Pro VIP forum site could serve as a valuable resource to people looking for unbiased firsthand information about scripting-related tools. Toward this end, I added two new forums that I hope you'll participate in:

  • Free Utilities: In this forum, you can share your real-life experiences with the free scripting-related utilities you've tried. To start, I incorporated the utilities that people had recommended in the "Scripters' Favorite Free Utilities" Web page. (Previously, this page was accessed through a link under the RELATED LINKS heading on the Scripting Pro VIP Web site.) However, you aren't limited to only recommending utilities or talking about utilities' positive attributes. You can also let everyone know about the utilities you wouldn't recommend or talk about utilities' pros and cons.
  • Products: In this forum, you can share your experiences with the scripting-related products you've purchased. Like the Free Utilities forum, the Products forum can include positive reviews, negative reviews, or a combination thereof. You can tell fellow scripters what you like about a product, what you don't like about it, and even what features you'd like to see in a future version.

I encourage you to share your experiences in these forums. Let other scripters know what works and what doesn't work in the utilities or products you've been using. The more reviews the better. Then when you're wondering whether a free utility or product works as promised, you'll know where to go to get the real scoop and not the hype.