AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

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BFBrandon
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AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby BFBrandon » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:38 pm

Hello All,

One of our writers, BFAdvisor, would love to answer any questions you may have related to his work on our site!

This year, BFAdvisor has penned articles on toys, computers, phones, video games and more. He's also covered ultrabooks and the the Wii-U in addition to compiling our Video Game and TV Black Friday Buying Guides (with more to come!). He's been researching a ton this year and will be checking this thread often to provide any advice you may been looking for.

Feel free to leave a question below and check back for more "Ask Me Anything" threads with our other writers in the near future :)

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby BFAdvisor » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:51 pm

Hi everyone. I'll be monitoring the thread and answering as many questions as I can get to. I should be on for a couple more hours tonight and I will be checking back through out the weekend and in the evenings all the way through Black Friday.

Ask Me Anything!

Also, if you are buying for someone who is also on these forums and don't want to blow the surprise, don't be afraid to shoot me a PM to keep your BF shopping a secret.

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby jeanerz13 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:25 am

I've already discussed this in another forum, but I figure it's good to ask the official BF guy too ;) I think I may need to get a new router soon. I was thinking about getting the $25 D-Link from Staples. Most of the routers I've seen advertised are dual-band Netgear routers. The one I'm considering is not dual band, but I will just be using it at home for my desktop (which is actually plugged into it), my laptop, and my smart phone. Is there anything else I should consider? Also, is $25 a reasonable price? It seems like I had only paid $10 or $15 for my current router 5 years ago, but maybe I'm remembering the price of the wired router I had before the wireless one. Thanks!

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby BFAdvisor » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:34 am

jeanerz13 wrote:I've already discussed this in another forum, but I figure it's good to ask the official BF guy too ;) I think I may need to get a new router soon. I was thinking about getting the $25 D-Link from Staples. Most of the routers I've seen advertised are dual-band Netgear routers. The one I'm considering is not dual band, but I will just be using it at home for my desktop (which is actually plugged into it), my laptop, and my smart phone. Is there anything else I should consider? Also, is $25 a reasonable price? It seems like I had only paid $10 or $15 for my current router 5 years ago, but maybe I'm remembering the price of the wired router I had before the wireless one. Thanks!

Hi jeanzers. I'll start out with a short answer and then explain a little bit about dual band for you or anyone that's interested.

I cannot for the life of me find the $25 D-Link you're asking about in the Staples ad, but I can tell you that $25 for a D-Link wireless router is good price, since routers tend to hover in the $50 range, typically. Aside from dual band capability, the price will go up with other features like aside from dual band capability, some higher priced routers have features like a USB port that can share devices over wireless.

If you want to link me to the one you're looking at I can give you an answer specifically related to that device.

To get in to the dual band question, I hope you don't mind but the answer is going to be sort of lengthy so you and others can help determine if paying more for a dual band router is worth the money.

A dual band router means that the router can operate on two different radio bands. Most WiFi devices and routers use the 2.4Ghz band, and getting a dual band router means it can operate on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Paying extra for a dual band router is useful if you're in an area where there are so many wireless signals that it effects the speed or reliability of your normal 2.4Ghz connection. The idea is that, since there are fewer routers operating on the 5Ghz band, there will be less interference, so to speak.

The other advantage is that 5Ghz is it's capable of higher throughput, but that can decrease dramatically with signal strength, which is the largest flaw in 5Ghz largest. Because of the size of the wavelength, 5Ghz is not nearly as good as 2.4Ghz at penetrating walls and doors. If you have a large home or if your router is not centrally located, you might not get the distance you're used to seeing, and your connection speed can easily drop below that of which 2.4Ghz is capable.

Also, just because the router is dual band does not mean every wireless device can connect at 5Ghz. Only devices that specify they are 802.11 N wireless are capable (most devices are Wireless G) and even then, some lower powered devices will not see a 5Ghz signal. This can be problematic because some dual routers can only operate on one band at a time, so you'd have to choose between 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, and if you have even one device that can only connect on 2.4Ghz, you wouldn't be able to use 5Ghz at all unless you replace or upgrade that device.

Hope that helps, sorry if it was too verbose, I tried my best to keep it as sort as I could with such a complicated topic.

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby Shopper X » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:25 am

BFAdvisor: Your guides are written in a neutral tone, which of course is right for the serious, journalistic type of article. This question goes more into the realm of opinion. Thanks in advance for your help.

Regarding televisions, what is your opinion on manufacturer-brand (Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba) vs. off-brand labels that outsource production (Coby, Proscan, Insignia)? Is there value in buying a possibly inferior television at a lower price point? Or, are consumers better off in the long run just paying the higher price for a good brand?

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby BFAdvisor » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:25 am

Shopper X wrote:BFAdvisor: Your guides are written in a neutral tone, which of course is right for the serious, journalistic type of article. This question goes more into the realm of opinion. Thanks in advance for your help.

Regarding televisions, what is your opinion on manufacturer-brand (Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba) vs. off-brand labels that outsource production (Coby, Proscan, Insignia)? Is there value in buying a possibly inferior television at a lower price point? Or, are consumers better off in the long run just paying the higher price for a good brand?

Interesting question, thanks.

I think that brand loyalty and the risk involved in buying an unknown or "generic" brand is something that has really changed over the last few years, mainly because of the internet. Before the internet became such a huge part of our lives, the only way to learn about a brand was from someone you knew or from a salesman that may have an ulterior motive. These days, I think, more important than brand recognition is going online at sites like Amazon or Newegg and reading reviews and getting real world accounts of how people feel about the products they purchased.

In both my personal life and professional life outside of BFads (IT field), I've become much more comfortable taking a risk on an unknown brand if the specific product i'm looking for has stellar reviews. The best example I can think of is when I purchased an HDTV a couple of years ago and ended up going with this Mitsubishi 73" DLP set. Mitsubishi is not an unknown brand, but they seem to fall into a realm of a once prominent brand that has now become an afterthought to consumers, not unlike RCA (Proscan, btw, used to be RCA's premium line of televisions). Also, by that time, DLP had already been shoved out the door from most retailers because consumers demanded thinner, sleeker LCDs and Plasma sets.

The combination of these two factors made me apprehensive. But after reading overwhelmingly positive reviews everywhere I looked I decided to go for it, and it has to be the best TV I've ever owned. Now, in my personal life, I tend to shove DLP in the faces of anyone who asks me for buying advice on a TV. Most people don't want to hear it, because flat panels are all they see in ads and on store shelves, and I left DLP out of my What to Look For in an HDTV altogether because there's not a single one in any Black Friday Ad except for hhgregg,

So yes, I think there is value to be found in going with a lesser known brand if you, as a consumer, perform your due diligence and read up on reviews from both professionals and other buyers. If you've had good luck with a particular brand and feel more comfortable spending your money on a brand you know, that's understandable too, but you should check out online reviews for even long trusted brands.

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby El Zorro » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:34 pm

Bfadvisor: I'm thinking of trying for the 149.00 XBOX 360 at WM for my in-laws kid (they hate BF and know I love it so they're sending me out to get it for them). It seems like every year the 360, PS3, WII and other consoles are at affordable rates. My question is: 1. What's your opinion on the demand for 360's this year especially at the cost vs. last year and 2. Do you think this is the final BF hurrah for the 360/PS3 before their replacements come out, like the WII-U? Thanks!

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby jeanerz13 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:56 pm

BFAdvisor wrote:
jeanerz13 wrote:I've already discussed this in another forum, but I figure it's good to ask the official BF guy too ;) I think I may need to get a new router soon. I was thinking about getting the $25 D-Link from Staples. Most of the routers I've seen advertised are dual-band Netgear routers. The one I'm considering is not dual band, but I will just be using it at home for my desktop (which is actually plugged into it), my laptop, and my smart phone. Is there anything else I should consider? Also, is $25 a reasonable price? It seems like I had only paid $10 or $15 for my current router 5 years ago, but maybe I'm remembering the price of the wired router I had before the wireless one. Thanks!

Hi jeanzers. I'll start out with a short answer and then explain a little bit about dual band for you or anyone that's interested.

I cannot for the life of me find the $25 D-Link you're asking about in the Staples ad, but I can tell you that $25 for a D-Link wireless router is good price, since routers tend to hover in the $50 range, typically. Aside from dual band capability, the price will go up with other features like aside from dual band capability, some higher priced routers have features like a USB port that can share devices over wireless.

If you want to link me to the one you're looking at I can give you an answer specifically related to that device.

To get in to the dual band question, I hope you don't mind but the answer is going to be sort of lengthy so you and others can help determine if paying more for a dual band router is worth the money.

A dual band router means that the router can operate on two different radio bands. Most WiFi devices and routers use the 2.4Ghz band, and getting a dual band router means it can operate on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Paying extra for a dual band router is useful if you're in an area where there are so many wireless signals that it effects the speed or reliability of your normal 2.4Ghz connection. The idea is that, since there are fewer routers operating on the 5Ghz band, there will be less interference, so to speak.

The other advantage is that 5Ghz is it's capable of higher throughput, but that can decrease dramatically with signal strength, which is the largest flaw in 5Ghz largest. Because of the size of the wavelength, 5Ghz is not nearly as good as 2.4Ghz at penetrating walls and doors. If you have a large home or if your router is not centrally located, you might not get the distance you're used to seeing, and your connection speed can easily drop below that of which 2.4Ghz is capable.

Also, just because the router is dual band does not mean every wireless device can connect at 5Ghz. Only devices that specify they are 802.11 N wireless are capable (most devices are Wireless G) and even then, some lower powered devices will not see a 5Ghz signal. This can be problematic because some dual routers can only operate on one band at a time, so you'd have to choose between 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, and if you have even one device that can only connect on 2.4Ghz, you wouldn't be able to use 5Ghz at all unless you replace or upgrade that device.

Hope that helps, sorry if it was too verbose, I tried my best to keep it as sort as I could with such a complicated topic.


Thanks for the information! Turns out it was the Office Depot ad not the Staples ad. Sorry. I guess they all start to blur together :P http://bfads.net/Ad/Office-Depot-2012 If you look at adscan page 3 it's at the top next to the wireless security camera thing. For some reason it wasn't in the item listing. Maybe it got overlooked when they were typing it up. Nothing even pops up if you hover over it.

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby BFAdvisor » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:21 pm

El Zorro wrote:Bfadvisor: I'm thinking of trying for the 149.00 XBOX 360 at WM for my in-laws kid (they hate BF and know I love it so they're sending me out to get it for them). It seems like every year the 360, PS3, WII and other consoles are at affordable rates. My question is: 1. What's your opinion on the demand for 360's this year especially at the cost vs. last year and 2. Do you think this is the final BF hurrah for the 360/PS3 before their replacements come out, like the WII-U? Thanks!

Zorro, this generation of consoles is unique in a lot of ways.

It's one the longest console cycles we've had, especially when next gen consoles have yet to even be announced. Microsoft, specifically has found a way to reinvigorate its fan base and expand its audience with the Kinect, and all 3 console makers have helped keep sales going with console redesigns and special bundles.

I don't think that this will be the last year for 360 and PS3. The Wii is obviously at the end of its life, but remember the Wii-U is only now catching up with what the others can do in terms of hardware.

Historically, consoles have always sold best and made a majority of their sales when they reach the $149 price point, and we have not even reached that point yet with PS3 and 360, Black Friday not withstanding. So in the eyes of Sony and MS, the consoles still have quite a bit of life left and there are quite a bit of sales to be made.

Not to mention that there are already some big name titles planned for next year like Grand Theft Auto 5 and Watch Dogs.

If I was a betting man, I'd say that new consoles will be announced some time next year but won't debut until 2014. Even then I think that because of the huge market saturation you will still see new titles for the 360 and Ps3 even after the next generation of console start, not unlike what happened with the Ps1/2 and what is happening now with the DSi. Again, the Wii is not a good gauge of this because third party software makers all but abandoned the Wii long before the Wii-U was ever announced.

So if your concern is that you are buying a console that may be on its way out, I don't think you should be too worried, like I said in the video games write up, late into a console's life is one of the best times to buy. The hardware is cheaper, the bugs are worked out, and there is a large library of hits that can be found at bargain basement prices.

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby BFAdvisor » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:01 pm

jeanerz13 wrote:Thanks for the information! Turns out it was the Office Depot ad not the Staples ad. Sorry. I guess they all start to blur together :P http://bfads.net/Ad/Office-Depot-2012 If you look at adscan page 3 it's at the top next to the wireless security camera thing. For some reason it wasn't in the item listing. Maybe it got overlooked when they were typing it up. Nothing even pops up if you hover over it.

I've been staring at this picture and searching the Office Depot website and I can't find one that I think is a match. I can definitely make out that it is a wireless N router, in which case this is a good price since N routers typically hover around the $50 starting price, but beyond that there's no way to tell which features this router has. Sorry!

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby klynlynlyn » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:16 am

hi BFAdvisor! I am looking for an desktop, are you going to post a desktop buying guide soon?
if not, any advice on getting an All-in-one?( when broke, is it hard to fix? or hard to upgrade later?)

or should I get regular box + monitor ( or a hdtv?).

and among the monitor I can also choose touchscreen VS non touchscreen... (I saw Winsdows 8 review not that good)

Too many choices here, please help!!

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby steffj89 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:43 am

I can't answer everything but we have the older version of the HP all in one @ WM. Ours is from this time of year in 08. I am very pleased with all of its capabilities, and it works extremely well for what it was bought for...the kids computer.
ours is a 2gig/320gig model.
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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby BFAdvisor » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:23 pm

klynlynlyn wrote:hi BFAdvisor! I am looking for an desktop, are you going to post a desktop buying guide soon?
if not, any advice on getting an All-in-one?( when broke, is it hard to fix? or hard to upgrade later?)

or should I get regular box + monitor ( or a hdtv?).

and among the monitor I can also choose touchscreen VS non touchscreen... (I saw Winsdows 8 review not that good)

Too many choices here, please help!!

Hi klynlynlyn,

I haven't had a chance to go over the desktop offerings this Black Friday, but I'll be glad to help you out.

First, i'll answer your question about the All-In-One machines. Like steffj89 pointed out, these can be great machines. They are attractive, have a smaller footprint, and less cable clutter. In your question about ungradablity and ease of repair, they really fall into the same area as a laptop computer. The most common upgrades/repairs are pretty painless, most of these machines have a simple screw down panel in the back that covers a hard drive or slot to upgrade/replace the RAM.

In my experience (which is going on 15 years) with repairing and upgrading PCs, RAM and hard drives are the most common and most inexpensive upgrades, and are the most common parts that need replacing if something goes wrong. So I think you're pretty well covered in that area.

With a traditional tower, you're able to do other kinds of upgrades like adding a video card if you want to play games, or adding more USB ports if you want them, or upgrading to a better and sharper monitor if you decide yours is too small. Just like laptops, this just not possible in the all-in-one PC.

As far as your question of whether to used an HDTV as a monitor, I would advise against it, the size of the pixels varies wildly and when connected to a computer, text is usually very difficult if not altogether impossible to read on an HDTV.

Touchsceens are normally built in to the all-in-one, but from what ive seen in the installs ive done, people rarely use them unless they are showing off, so I, personally, wouldn't spend the extra money for touch capability unless you want to do something that absolutely requires it. Maybe steffj89 can chime in here again as most of the HP all-iin-one machines have touch screens.

As far as picking a PC goes, its hard for me to point you in a direction without knowing what price range you're in. If you dont mind sharing that and letting me know which stores are in your area i'd be glad to have a look through the ads and give you some more thoughts.

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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby steffj89 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:50 pm

ours is before touch screen was widely available. it is a 2 gig/320 model. Like I said it runs like a champ. It processes plenty fast for what the kids want etc, and has beautiful color in the monitor etc. I haven't had any need to upgrade it whatsoever, it still runs like the day I took it out of the box.
My kids are 9, 8, and 4 in Dec. I bought it the year I was pregnant, because I wanted the kids to have it to work on that winter, knowing we wouldn't be out a lot with a newborn.
They use it plenty, and if I need the added ability for things I can't do on my laptop, I use it periodically. I LOVE the all in one set up, and that there are not extra pieces and wires etc cluttering up. They have a bare bones parsons type desk and it fits perfectly. I would highly recommend it, and I would ABSOLUTELY buy another one just like it.

I would be glad to try and answer any other questions.
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Re: AMA with BF Ads Writer (BFAdvisor)

Postby klynlynlyn » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:27 am

Thanks Steff and BFAvisor's help! Really appreciate it!

I lived in Seattle and looking for a desktop with bigger screen 24 or 27 still undecided :shock: budget :((not sure, maybe below 1000))

I will use my desktop mostly watching TV and also will work with some database software and accounting software. and photo editing.
not a gamer :D

I was thinking about touchscreen just because the windows 8 will be much better experience with it. and some BF deal offer window8 with purchase. but now I will rethink about it.


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