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Linksys Velop Wireless Whole Home Wi-Fi AC6600 Tri-band Mesh System (3-pack) WHW0303
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4 out of 5 eggs The enVELOPe please..... 02/03/2017

This review is from: Linksys Velop Wireless Whole Home Wi-Fi AC6600 Tri-band Mesh System (3-pack) WHW0303

Pros: Stylish-It’s a very nice bit of design work, the packing is very "fifth element" esq
Mesh networking- You can wow your friends with new tech
Simple installation- My mom could install it
Expandable and configurable- Add new routers/nodes to expand coverage and make it work alongside your current setup if need be
“Secret WBI”- Web Based interface-All of the expected settings can be accessed

Cons: Expensive-Buy in is expensive, two gets you in the game, three makes you a star, one can do for starters
First Generation woes-Firmware and software have been updated, you can expect a couple of more
Management by App limited-App support has limited control of router functions
SWBI-The main controls are hidden for a reason.
Black box networking-You don’t know what’s going on under the hood, I'd like to see what is really going on with signal handoffs and so on. Perhaps down the road this feature will be added. What they supply works, and works well enough.

Other Thoughts: I’ve reviewed quite a few routers over the last few years, I was very excited to see that a Velop three pack was heading my way for a review.

The marketing is clearly consumer-chic, a mag-latch storage box worthy of holding three of the four stones from the Fifth Element movie cradled the three routers.

Linksys even went as far was wrapping each router in a paper sleeve to assure arrival in pristine cosmetic condition. With all of the obvious care taken in the packaging, imagine my shock to find there was something rattling around inside one of the routers!

Turned out it was a misplaced screw. A screw that could have easily damaged the router had it been shorted across some vital bit when the power was applied. At this packaging/price point, a rattle inspection step wouldn’t hurt, would it? I have no doubt the doa’s mentioned in other reviews may have been caused by a similar problem.

The Velop system enVELOPes your home with wi-fi. Clever. By carefully placing the three routers you can easily cover a 6000 sq. ft. residence or business with a solid single SSID wi-fi service. The routers provide feedback both visually and thru a free app as to your router placement expertise. I tried both IoS and Android versions which had identical interfaces, too dark for my taste and hard to read. App support is very limited and you have to establish a Linksys account to configure the router. I wasn’t too happy about that.

After getting thru the setup ( it’s being refined in case you’ve been put off by early reviews), my Velop found and installed a firmware update as soon as they were connected and the IOS app was upgraded the day after I installed it, both promise to make the setup process smoother.

After getting The Velop installed, I plugged in an OBI VoIP adapter into one of the base units ( two Ethernet ports available per unit, and be reminded no USB/Share ports) and I was able to make some phone calls with no quality problems.

The latest firmware/app combo appears to be stable, no drops or weirdness in operation..

The reason the web interface is hidden appears simple, with support costs being what they are and with an excellent three year warranty, Linksys wants an easy to use system with minimal settings that could cause a call to support if not programmed correctly. You can easily control the basics of the router from the advanced interface

Most expected features are found in the hidden interface such as DMZ and port triggering. Logging is minimal. In the modern world logging of activity should be getting more advanced on home routers not simpler. Use a complex password. Kudos to Linksys for not using a default password on each router. That information is on a small sticker in the cleverly designed wire management compartment.

While the setup wasn’t 100% smooth, I got thru it without having to go for a second cup of coffee. My IPhone established contact with the first router via BT and hung, but in the end I connected the wifi directly and the setup finished and I added the two additional routers from there without incident.

Considering factors such as the added expense wiring a new home for data, a Mesh network product that sells for $200 for 2000 sq. ft. of coverage could have some appeal for builders wanting to implement a smart home without all the in wall network wiring.And forget about running hard lines in some really old construction, or in a rental.

The promise of Mesh networking is promising to provide consistent Wi-Fi speed at home. My 2000 sq. ft. ranch was fully saturated by the trio of Velop routers. I was able to walk from one end of the property to another while streaming some HD video and not so much as a blip.

My Speed tests (your results will vary) indicated a 25% speed advantage to the Velop over a couple of other high end AC routers in use, likely due to the nature of the mesh networking scheme. I did not use the Ethernet backhaul feature (this assumes you have a hard line available that runs back to your internet router), which promises for even greater throughput in busy environments.

The Con regarding black box networking is simply my annoyance at not seeing more info about what was actually going on within the Velop network.

The Velop is first adopter’s product right now. Big price point gets you the great performance curve, but at a price budget conscious folks might balk at given its lack of share ports and the interface restriction’s.

If you must have the best possible wi-fi tech, but don’t want to get into a five figure installation, the Velop is what you want to look at.

Lost an egg due to the errant screw, granted it might have come loose in shipment, but being a $500 kit I expected better. Luckily, no damage.

One thing to keep in mind, being all new tech you can expect some problems, if you frustrate easily you need to work on that. Great tech seldom arrives without significant pain for the early adopters.

In the end, The Velop was not painful at all.

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HP Officejet Pro 6978 (T0F29A) Duplex  600 x 1200 dpi USB / Ethernet / Wireless Color Inkjet MFC Printer
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Pros: No power brick, finally!
Includes telephone cable for something called “fax”
Software has matured (finally)
Great functionality for office geeks
Duplex printing with a small footprint
Ink subscription can save money
Supports AirPrint

Cons: No USB or Network cable

Color pictures use a bit more ink then expected

Very invasive marketing hardware, it wants to know what I believe is a little too much information about what the product is doing

Annoying ink subscription messages(until you opt out)

Web server Certificate snafu

An embedded web server provides all functionality including an administrator level of security, no issue updating firmware or doing scans over the network.

There was however a very black cloud coming in over the horizon regarding the web server.

The HTTPS connection’s security certificate isn’t valid and you MUST make an exception to whatever security you have set up to allow access to the administrative page. The security certificate situation was disagreeable; novices will be calling support. That’s a fail (at least with windows 7 and firefox) In an unpleasant tasting nutshell HP shipped a product that has a web server, but for some reason they couldn’t make the process seamless, the user must add an https exception to use the web interface

Other Thoughts: Installation was simple, I did have to download the software from HP, as there was no CD in the box of the review unit. I had no problem installing the software on a number of Win7/64 systems.

With an ink subscription, discounts can be substantial if you have to print hundreds of pages a month. I have a couple of workstation class color lasers in the office, that when using generic toner, gets decent results and a far lower per page cost. Also convenient to have ink ordered automatically if you so desire. When you lose money on the hardware, you MUST sell lots of ink to keep the model working.

The ink being pigment instead of dye, can’t give you knockout glossy travel photos, but this isn’t marketed as a photographic printer. However the ink subscription is by the page printed, not the type of print. So I could spend a day printing 8x10 photographs at pretty much the same cost as printing mailing labels.

The ink plan is good if you are in an office. It’s something like the plans they had when “copy machines” were big in business. You get some fantastic hardware and you pay as you go a minimum per month, and additional charge for every 1000 pages you copy.

Buy what you covet now, as I expect by next year (we’ll revisit this prediction) the price of offshore made computer products are going to rise a bit. The era of cheap offshored products may have to come to a close given the needs of the USA.

The printer, by default, sends data to HP about your use of the printer. Be sure to opt out if you value your privacy. Couple that with a required security exception to a web server...and you get my insinuation of the evil potential of having this printer on your network.

I will give the printer kudos on some of its nicer features, which came in handy because after some family business required a massive scan print and email session.

From the printer’s Color LCD touchscreen you can drop a stack of paper into the sheetfeeder, scan it to a pdf and deliver it to computers on your network that have installed the HP software. That was a major win for me.

The printer would at times enter maintenance mode before printing with no warning and be busy whirring and clacking for what seemed like 5 minutes. You don’t want to switch this printer off, let it go on standby, if you do switch it off, you’ll be waiting for it to finish up its startup maintenance. I noticed this mentioned in other reviews. I cannot imagine wiping the print heads takes so long.

I was able to use this product without having to directly install any of the supporting HP software. Which for me is a plus since as long as I have been using HP products; I have had some issue along the way with the software supplied. While complex and full featured, perhaps overly so.

The Windows scan and fax utility found the 8798 on the network and I was able to scan all the way up to the supported (thru interpolation) 1200 dpi. The web page scan interface is supported to 600 dpi. You seldom need to scan at a higher resolution then that, and if you do you can scan it directly into supported software.

The battle between manufactures and ink cart refill companies is constant. HP was recently in the news for activating a firmware feature for printers that totally blocked the use of third party carts. Given the cost of cartridges, they also added a feature that would not allow ANY OTHER printer to recognize a cartridge that had been “married” to your printer.

Handy if you have somebody in your office that makes ink go from full to empty in the amount of time it takes them to swap in an empty cartridge from their home printer. Office pilferage was in the past limited to pens and paperclips. HP must have gotten significant feedback about cart pilferage to implement this feature (optional activation).

This marrying feature would also prevent the cartridges from being refilled and resold to somebody else, the cart will not work in another printer no matter what. Sort of like a Windows OEM activation.

You can expect the battles to continue, as printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids on the planet.

I expect that the next play will be to include ten carts with each printer, as with privacy concerns increasing by the second, people don’t want their gadgets having communications outside the home that they aren’t aware of. Like Smart TV’s that send you viewing habits back to the manufactures.

For office functionality, the easy to operate LCD touchscreen and decent software, I can rate this printer 5 eggs without reservation. However for the marketing slant of the printer ( it seems like the device is made to sell ink) and the security certificate issue, I have to pull one egg. Once you opt out of data sharing and get the access to the web page setup to administer the printer, it jumps right back to what I call a “solid buy @ five eggs

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Seagate BarraCuda ST3000DM008 3TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
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5 out of 5 eggs Seagate Comes at it again..... 01/05/2017

This review is from: Seagate BarraCuda ST3000DM008 3TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Two year warranty

Good Value

Quiet

Passed without fault my torture tests, which includes killing power while writing a big file and an overnight surface test.

No Bad sectors out of the box.

Cons: For those who buy on impulse or don't fully read descriptions, there are no cables or fixing screws included with a _bare drive_ However, they can always be found for just a few bucks.

Unless you have a specific reason, stay away from locking sata cables. Easy to damage a drive if you "forget" that the cables lock in place.


Other Thoughts: I'm hoping Seagate has tilted their budgets to better QA on products people trust their important memories to, even when they are foolish enough not to keep a full readable backup on an external drive.

I guess we'll see how many people complain about issues on this new series of hard drives.

The 3TB range is pretty optimal for a whole bunch of reasons and with prices hovering around $25-30 a TB this drive falls into the sweet spot of brand loyalty. You can populate an array without breaking the budget.

Seagate drives appear to have had some quality issues in the past if you read the reviews, but consider all the working drives people don't care to write a review about.

While today's manufacturing systems have reduced prices drastically, we're packing data tighter then ever and even a minor fault will result in lost data. (like all the pics from your bachelor party!). Keep good backups.

I consider today's drives sort of disposable; if you do also, have a look at the other drives in Seagates line, specifically the Firecuda, with it's five year warranty. Easily worth the extra costs if you can get by with a 2TB unit and do not have the budget to purchase enterprise level hardware. A five year warranty shows confidence. I need confidence.

After two years my drives get replaced and I use the old drive as a long term backup and I have a box at the bank holding my drives from the last ten years. One of em wouldn't spin up during the annual review. I eventually broke the stiction (GTS) and was able to mount the drive and copy all the data back to my PC. What's a ten year old 80GB drive worth ? ( $10) The data on it?..well you don't want to know what that is worth now do you?

I'm using this drive in a HTPC as the primary recording drive now, data rates are what I expected, your results will most certainly vary but in the 3TB drive segment, the Seagate puts on a good show at a competitive price.

I'd rate it as a good buy with it's two year warranty and five eggs

I'll update this review in the event of something noteworthy happens, but I expect it to be smooth sailing

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Peter P.'s Profile

Display Name: Peter P.

Date Joined: 06/27/07

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  • First Review: 10/28/12
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