I too have chimed in about the SPOT in the past several months, especially since I received one from my wife for Christmas 2007. To say that my wife is less than pleased with her purchase would be a HUGE understatement. I solo and she knows I am not a risk taker when I hike, but she still worries about my safety, as one should when in the boonies.
SPOT appeared to be the answer, but in practice one does not ever have the required "perfect view of the entire sky". If one did I am sure it would be the most boring hike one might ever take. No, real world conditions, as commented on in the review, make every hike a unique experience with shade, canyon walls, tree cover, rock outcropppings, etc. And as such SPOT really does not deliver the one thing that it must to be a piece of safety equipement - reliability and consistency. I have used it on several hikes, mostly in the San Gabriel Mountains that ring LA. My success rate has been on the order of the 17% that the testers indicate as the lowest performance rate for the SPOT. On my last hike, a simple overnight along side a creek that covered about 16 miles there and back, I attempted both simple OK messages and initiated the traking feature as well. Over the entire period of 20 hours that I was out, only the initial OK message sent from the trailhead open parking lot got through to my wife. Later, I attempted an OK from another open parking lot with a 110 degree open sky which did not get delivered. In all only one message got through out of a total of 5 OKs and none of the traking message were sent.
I can understand that BPL probably had to consider legal issues in doing this review and I respect that your had to couch your review in terms that would leave the decision to us potential buyers/users, but you still did a very respectable job of clearly and subtly indicating that in sum the SPOT is a poor, probably a very poor, piece of safety equipement with next to zero reliability due to the many components in train to deliver both OK, HELP and 911 messages. That it uses old technology which cannot be upgraded is a further indictment of its utility in emergency situations.
Maybe someday SPOT will be what it proports to be -- a piece of utterly reliable safety equipement that a backpacker would not dream of leaving home without. Until then it is about as useful as my AMEX card in the back of beyond.