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Qwazyd0gg last won the day on March 9

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About Qwazyd0gg

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  1. Qwazyd0gg

    FastestVPN Review

    Todays blog post is brought to you by FastestVPN. FastestVPN offers a competitive all in one VPN solution that is perfect for anyone from casual connector to business professional. With some of the best rates in the business, Fastest VPN offers rates as low as only $0.83/month, or a lifetime subscription for only $80! Visit their site today by clicking on the bold text within this post. I've been using a VPN service FastestVPN for a little over 3 weeks, and during that I have been exceptionally impressed with its ease of use, up-time, connectivity speed, and its suite of features included within the base subscription service. In a previous forum post on this site, I talked briefly about the benefits of using a VPN and why you should be considering one. In case you missed that post, I will link it here (http://bit.ly/2GK8KYV) but also quickly summarize it below: A VPN grants you complete online anonymity (Providing the service you use does not collect/track LOG files), as well as granting you a new geolocation. Why is this important? Well, not every connection you use is secure, especially when it comes to publicly accessible access points. In basic terms, a VPN will act as a tunnel or gateway between you and the internet which will hide your traffic from any prying eyes that may be lurking about. This includes masking P2P usage from your ISP and preventing service/speed throttling if your ISP restricts or limits specific online content or services. Lastly, VPNs can also grant you a new geolocation to theoretically any location across the globe (Dependant on your services server locations), which is great for accessing region locked content like Netflix/HULU/PrimeVideo or preferred pricing while online shopping for digital goods and services. Now, I've been around the block and I've tested a handful of VPN services of the last couple of years. Most start out ok; however, in my experience they tend to either inflate in cost or lose their competitive speed advantages once more people buy into their platform. With that being said, my limited time with FastestVPN has been exceptional to date. I have tested FastestVPN across my wired AMD based desktop PC, my Apple MacBook Pro via Wi-Fi (2.4Ghz & 5Ghz), and my Google Pixel 3 XL via both Wi-Fi & LTE+. Across all services, I found almost the exact same results with the only exception coming from my Pixel 3 XL via LTE+. Upon connecting all of my devices to my closes Hamilton based FastestVPN server, they all yielded 80+% of their connection speed compared to connecting directly through my ISP. On my desktop PC, I my pre-VPN connection was roughly 900mbps upload and download, with a ping of 3. When connected to my VPN using the included FastestVPN software, my results were averaging in the low 800mbps range for download, with the upload staying closer to 850mbps. As for the ping, I saw an average increase of about 10-20ms. I then decided to connect using my MacBook Pro in the far corner of my home with the lowest quality Wi-Fi signal. My pre-VPN results were averaging 90mbps for both my upload and download, with a ping of roughly 22ms. When connected via FastestVPN my speeds were very similar to the slight 80% drop I saw across my wired testing. Download was averaging at about 75mbps, with upload staying higher at roughly 85-90mbps. As for ping, I again noticed about double that of my pre-VPN, going from roughly 22ms to exactly 40ms across every speed test. These results were again replicated with similar results on my Pixel 3 XL via Wi-Fi; however, when testing via LTE+ noticed a drastic change. My pre-VPN LTE+ speeds were averaging 200-215mbps download and 12-15mbps upload, with a ping of 61ms. When connected via the FastestVPN application on my device over LTE+ I was cut down to the mid 30mbps range for download and 15mbps upload, with a ping of 48ms. I'm not sure why I experienced such a drastic change in speed over the LTE+ network; however, I will likely never mask my connectivity over cellular and only performed the testing for curiosity's sake. The next thing I tested was streaming media. At first this looked promising, as I was able to see the entire US library of content via Netflix; however, upon testing a couple of shows I realized Netflix saw right through my ruse and would not allow me to access any of the media. I may test other streaming sites in the future, but for now at least I can tell you that this is not a viable option for Netflix US content from here in Canada. There are other VPN services that offer specific servers to work specifically for this feature. As far as P2P traffic is concerned, I have had no issues to date. Everything downloads and uploads as it should via my client of choice, and I have the peace of mind that if my VPN fails then the built in Kill-Switch will terminate my desktops internet connectivity it allows any traffic to be logged by my ISP. In my 3+ weeks of testing, this has yet to happen, which should hopefully speak towards FastestVPNs overall reliability. Other than that the 256bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, unlimited bandwidth (This one is HUGE!), and more offer a well rounded suite of options that should please both your average and more advanced users out there. The icing on the cake here is it's pricing and ease of use. I tested the service out for it's $10/month tier; however, will be switching to their $80/lifetime platform once my initial month expires. I have used and cancelled other services in the past that started at a decent up front price; however, would always inflate exceptionally after their given time-frames expired. I remember being shocked a couple years about by a charge of over $100CAD on my credit card, only to find out it was an auto-renewal from the VPN service I signed up for the year before with an introductory offer of I believe $19USD for the first year. After that I tried out a couple other budget oriented options; however, most would only yield speeds around 20-30% of my pre-VPN results when connecting to the closest Canadian server they offered. At the time I was supplementing my entertainment needs with an in-home Plex Server for movies and TV, and those speeds just weren't cutting it for P2P downloads and regular usage all from the same machine. As far as using FastestVPN, it's honestly as easy as downloading the app, selecting your desired server, and hitting connect. This rule of thumb plays true across all the devices I was able to test, and I had no problem using the services at all. For the more technically advanced out there, they also offer the ability to use their services on open-source software driven routers, servers, and more. I honestly think there is something here for everyone, which is very nice to see. So, let's draw a conclusion solely based on my needs, usage, and experience thus far. Opening the application and hitting connect is as easy as pie, in fact it almost feels too easy. Connectivity is fantastic across the testing I had done over the last 3 weeks, and for me I honestly just wanted a VPN that was affordable, log-free, and reliable. FastestVPN checked off all those boxes for me and I love the fact that I can just buy into the lifetime subscription and be done with it. No more worrying about auto-renewals, future costs, or anything else. If they go away or fold in a couple of years, well at least I would have still gotten my moneys worth compared to the alternative VPN services on the market. I honestly urge you to test out their services with their risk-free money back guarantee trial. If you've ever considered a VPN in the past but were maybe scared away by the thoughts of it being too difficult or pricey, then this is the service you should be using. If you're currently using a VPN, which one are you using? I would love to know in the comments section below.
  2. Qwazyd0gg

    Who am I?

    Thanks man! I'm glad my ramblings can help you out I've always enjoyed writing, but never really tried applying it towards anything other than school work 15 years ago lol
  3. Qwazyd0gg

    Beta tester

    I just wish there were more open Beta's that did not require you to preorder the game. Nothing worse than finding you hate the gameplay mechanics or play style and aren't able to cancel your preorder
  4. I 100% agree with this statement. I too am considering picking up this title, but with first party Nintendo titles carrying that dang "Nintendo Tax" far too often without ever really going on sale, I find it hard to consider games for my Switch. I've already purchased Zelda BOTW (Beat the end game but didn't complete all sides), Mario Party, Pokemon Let's Go, Mario + Rabbids, Smash Bros, and about half a dozen indie titles, and for some reason I just can't bring myself to play them even after spending almost $1000 to get into the platform itself just before Christmas
  5. I actually just preordered this today on PS4. I was on the fence about it for the longest time, but honestly I really enjoyed the experience the first Division provided until I felt I it that completion wall where I wasn't really moving any farther ahead. There are not many experiences you can have in a game where you can pick up and play solo, then immediately change tasks when friends jump on, and I found this to be one of the few. Especially coming off the recent disappointment that was Red Dead Redemption 2 Online. God that was and still is terrible
  6. Apex Legends has taken the gaming world by storm and has accumulated a player base of over 50 million players since its release less than 1 month ago. Is it perfect? No at all. But the one thing I believe the game has going for it outside of its fantastic lobby system and action packed gameplay is its ability to listen to user feedback. So... Respawn Entertainment, please listen to my plead of this implementation. Apex Legends is in dire need of a system to rate a users overall experience when playing with other online players. This of course is not a new idea in the slightest. In fact, many games before it have allowed its fan base to rate and/or report the experience they have received when playing with other in game players. Games such as Destiny, Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, and many more all offer the ability to report a player for a variety of different reasons. Far too many times have I entered a match with team members that immediately disconnect if they do not get their desired character or drop location, go rogue and immediately die causing the remainder of your team to play at a disadvantage, or get on their mic with severe vulgarity for the sole purpose of making the rest of your match unenjoyable. Sure, these are things that plague all online communities, and in the end jerks will be jerks; however, I think a rating and/or reporting system can and will cause a drastic shift in the amount of this activity we see if it is executed properly. Now as far as repercussions are concerned, I'm not saying that Respawn Entertainments needs to start laying the ban hammer on people, that would be crazy. I also understand that accidental disconnects can and will happen to an online platform, player skill will always vary, and some people will just like issuing fake player reports for the hell of being unnecessarily malicious. With all that in mind, here are my thoughts: Reporting and/or rating features: At the end of any given match that was lobby created and not party driven, offer up a "Team Play" rating system under each player card on your team. This would allow you to rate your team-mates by giving a 1 through 5 star rating for how well the players on your team played together. This could be a combination of whether or not they offered communications via vocal commands on the mic, ping queues via the in-game marking system, offered or asked for needed supplies in game, and more. Or, just simply an overall score based on whether or not you would recommend that player to other squads. Within the game itself, you should also be able to select your team-mate and offer either positive or negative feedback for a given situation as it happens. Similar to games like Battlefield, you could select topics like Connection, Abuse/harassment, Cheating, Disconnecting, etc, in order to draw immediate attention to unnecessary online activity and/or to collect behavioural trends for the player. Repercussions or reward: All these statistics could then be accumulated in order to provide players with an overall rating. Say a player consistently scores high 4s or 5s from his team-mates that choose to participate in the quick after game survey. They should then be rewarded at the end of a given timeframe based on how well they decided to play with others and the community as a whole. As for the other players with lower overall ratings, well, it's time to give them a taste of their own medicine by allowing the lobby creating algorithm to place them with other squad-mates of a similar rating. They can then choose to change their attitudes in order to raise their scores, or not, it's entirely up to them. This could and would severely reduce the overall toxicity that is periodically plaguing this otherwise exceptionally enjoyable experience. We could also take this a step further by either offering the ability to earn Apex Packs or other in game signals such as skins and/or emblems to those who consistently offer a fun and fair playing experience to every player they meet on the platform. This plays towards an in game morality system that is typically only seen in narrative driven titles. Since all the before mentioned benefits do not offer any game breaking or strategic advantages to the overall player dynamic of the game, no one can complain that a "Good" player would have an edge over a "Bad" player. Heck, if anything this could cause an interesting and enticing Good Vs Evil dynamic when it comes to facing off with enemy squads in game. Lastly, if players simply cannot do anything more than be a thorn in the communities side, then maybe instituting some sort of lockout period towards the users Respawn account may be necessary in the end. If the user uses the same Respawn account across multiple platforms, that would effectively reduce and/or limit their abilities to play the game on any given platform. Conclusion: In the end, not everyone can be a superstar at every game on their platform of choice, and that's not their fault. You can play and practice to your hearts content, but maybe you will never become the top tier player you are working so hard to be. What you can control from day one and continue to do throughout your entire gaming experience is to be a decent human being and help keep the online community fun and inviting (Or not) for players like you. To me, there is really no risk or reward for any given behaviour on any online platform other than towards those who flat out cheat or exploit their way through their gameplay experience. With Respawn Entertainment and Apex Legends being so well dialed into their user base already in such a small amount of time, I think this would just be another giant step forward for them as they continue to make their way onto new platforms and to the top of everyones list of titles they enjoy. If you're reading this Respawn Entertainment, or honestly anyone else that may have found your way here, know this blog is an open platform. The ability to comment on all blog posts has been opened up down below and you do not need an account to participate in any conversations I have started here. So, do you think this is something you would like to see? Are there any unforeseen limitations to this implementation? Is this too "policing"? let me know down below!
  7. I agree Luc. It's not that the console is bad by any means, I just think it's lacking at its current price point compared to the other heavy hitters in the industry space. With such an onslaught of positive press over the last couple of weeks with the eve of its 2 year anniversary, I felt it appropriate to speak towards some of the negative aspects of the mostly positively praised console.
  8. It's been just a little over two years since the Nintendo Switch launched back on March 3rd of 2017. Looking into the sales statistics to date, The Nintendo Switch has sold an astounding 32+ million units so far, and achieved the title of Best Selling Console of 2018's Thanksgiving weekend. So, why am I still a little upset with my purchase? Coming off the nostalgia that was the Nintendo 64, I've been mildly disappointed and uninterested in most of the consoles and the game lineup that Nintendo has released in the last decade or more. Needless to say, I wasn't totally shocked when I didn't fall completely head over heels in love with the Switch and what it has to offer shortly after my initial purchase; however, I was hoping it would have grasped my attention a little tighter than it has so far. Now, don't get me wrong here.. The Nintendo Switch IS NOT a "bad" console, especially now that it has had a chance to mature and grow over the last two years. With that being said, here is where I think it falls a little flat (for me): Cost: The Nintendo Switch IS NOT an affordable platform, in fact I feel like it is one of the most expensive options available right now outside of specialty platforms like the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X. At it's $399.99 Canadian price-point, it is currently more than both the PlayStation 4 ($379.99 off sale price brand new) and the Xbox One S (Also $379.99 off sale price), and does not include a free game like the before mentioned offerings. Other than the console, the controllers or "Joy-Cons" are also $99.99 for a set of two. Sure, you can play a select variety of games with the included pair of Joy-Cons that come with the console; however, there is a growing list of titles that either require a full set of controllers per player, or simply play better with a set vs using one Joy-Con each. Lastly, we have the games. We are constantly plagued with the "Nintendo Tax" across the entire platform. What is the "Nintendo Tax"? Well simply put, first party Nintendo games and accessories simply NEVER go on sale. Want Zelda Breath of the Wild? FULL PRICE. Mario Odyssey? FULL PRICE. Both of these titles, although good, are at this point very old titles when it comes to their release dates respectively. If you're into indie titles, be prepared to again pay that oh so sweet Nintendo Tax on those too as those titles tend to be unnecessarily more expensive on the Switch compared to PC and competing consoles. Outside of games, first party accessories like Joy-Cons, extra Switch Docks, Pro Controllers, and more are all exceedingly more expensive than offerings from competing console brands. Online experience: The Nintendo Switch now requires a subscription based service to play multiplayer games with friends and family online. Although it is the most inexpensive offering of all the consoles, it is also the most lacking in features and return on investment. Sure, you get to enjoy a couple of nostalgic NES originals for your $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year, but I need more than that. Both Sony and Microsoft offer 2 to 4 free titles PER MONTH, as well as offer an extensive back catalogue of high tier and quality titles from both first and third party developers. Their online experience is passable at best and typically results in a lag and/or delay filled experience on titles like Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and their online voice chat... It's non-existent. Nothing is worse than trying to play a Smash Bros tournament with friends and having all of our phones die one by one as we try to communicate over a third party service like Facebook Messenger or Discord. Performance: Now I have to admit, I am a snob when it comes to both image and sound quality. An immersive experience to me is one filled with 7.2 surround sound and amazing cutting edge visuals. These again are two things that are lacking on the Nintendo Switch. When it is off the dock, the Nintendo Switch offers a 720p experience with audio provided by its from facing stereo speakers. While docked, it can offer a maximum resolution of 1080p at 60fps; however, most titles never max that out (Zelda Breath of the Wild currently supports 900p at 30fps with frequent dips) with 5,1 surround sound (This honestly shocked me). There are a handful of services such as YouTube that will provide additional entertainment outside of gaming, but yet again we see a lot of popular services like Netflix missing from its current line-up. Game selection: Other than a handful of amazing titles like Mario Odyssey, Zelda Breath of the Wild, and Super Smash Bros Ultimate, there are not many titles that have really held my attention for a great deal of time... And trust me, I have spent a lot of money trying to find my next go-to game for the platform. Games like Mario Aces and Mario Kart are amazing to play with friends, but I could never sit for a great deal of time and play them on a continuous bases on my own as a constant source of entertainment. Thankfully we are seeing more indie titles and triple-A ports coming to the platform, but again we are also getting hit with the Nintendo Tax on games that are both aging in their release dates and simply play better on most other consoles at a fraction of the eShops asking prices. So, everything is sounded pretty negative to this point right? Well, ok... Maybe I have been a little hard on the console throughout this blog post. There are a couple of things the Nintendo Switch does exceptionally well that you simply cannot find anywhere else. Let's take a further look at a couple of these categories: Portability: No other console is currently doing what the Nintendo Switch is going when it comes to pick up and go playing. Some have tried by using either third party accessories or remote play; however, those all require a much larger investment that the base console itself and only work half as well as the Switches native pick up and go nature. Although flimsy, the built in kickstand is passable for vertical play, with handheld mode being a secondary option for mobile entertainment. Local Multiplayer: The Nintendo Switch does this SO MUCH better than any other console in recent years. Most titles offer a split screen or local play option for either 2 player fun or even larger group play. During a staff party, we had a Smash Bros tournament and I have to say that it was once of the most memorable local gaming experiences I have had since playing Golden Eye 64 in my younger years. Aside from same console fun, the Nintendo Switch also allows for remote connectivity between multiple consoles, meaning you can all play the same game on multiple screens while in the same room. Something that requires too much equipment to be a viable option on any other mainstream console. First party titles: Although they my not hold my attention for a long period of time, there really isn't anything better than some of the first party titles that the Nintendo Switch has to offer. Mario Kart, Mario Ace's (Tennis), Pokemon Let's Go, Zelda, and many more are exceptionally fun to play over the short term... I just wish they weren't so damn expensive! Do I regret my decision? No, not really. I have sunk ENDLESS hours into Zelda Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros Ultimate since I purchased my console in November of last year. My major issue is there is nothing to date that had captivated me to turn on my Nintendo Switch before my PC or PlayStation 4 Pro. I am a little shocked and upset that I've spent nearly $1,000 on the console, 2 full sets of Joy-Cons, over a dozen games, travel accessories, expandable memory options, and more... All to have my Nintendo Switch for the most part sit underneath my upper-livingroom TV collecting dust as I favour other consoles. I'm sure in the summer my Nintendo Switch will come into play more often, as we tend to travel frequently during our couple of months of nice Canadian weather. I am also looking forward to taking with me on my upcoming trip to Costa Rica to entertain me during the long flights and layovers at the airports. For me, I just don't think I am the key demographic of user for the platform; however, I can see the appeal for those who are on the go more often compared to myself. What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch? Do you own one, and if you do, how do you like it? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
  9. Thanks Luc! If was fun to vent the experience down in written form, and to help prevent this type of thing happening to other honest reviewers out there.
  10. I'm assuming it is a design choice as there are other slightly louder audio queues like refilling your armour tanks with shield cells and/or batteries. If an enemy exits a gun fight and attempts to refill their shield or health while out of sight, you can actually hear them using replenishment items if you're listening close enough. This adds to the intense risk/reward factor as if you want to recharge yourself to get back into the fight, you also run the risk of being heard and found before you can replenish yourself (Recharge takes either 5, 8, or 10 seconds depending on the item being used). Same goes with gun fights. It creates an risk/reward strategy system by which you can either stealth yourself closer to the end game, or take out every team in sight for extra XP and/or loot, but also risk being flanked by another team that gears on mayhem. You can also hear speciality item drops in the game, which are the only way of getting some of the best loot available. Once you hear it, you can look into the sky or on the map and try to pinpoint it's location... But so is every other team.
  11. Todays blog post is brought to you by FastestVPN. FastestVPN offers a competitive all in one VPN solution that is perfect for anyone from casual connector to a business professional. With some of the best rates in the business, Fastest VPN offers rates as low as only $0.83/month, or a lifetime subscription for only $80! Visit their site today by clicking on the bold text within this post. In yesterdays post I talked about how you can get started in the endless world of product reviews, and I had mentioned that there are some things that you should avoid along the way. Well... This is a story about one of the things you should 100% avoid, and how it ultimately led to Amazon Canada banning my user profile from community submissions. Again, for those TL;DR readers out there (I see you lurking!), make sure you stay 100% honest, don't be scared to provide negative feedback, don't allow yourself to get bullied, stay ethical in your decisions and negotiations surrounding your product reviews, watch your volume of reviews, and READ THE TERMS OF SERVICES on the platform you are using to publish your reviews. Now, on with the story! Back when I first began writing Amazon Canada reviews, I applied all the methods mentioned in my last blog. I started by looking around my home for things that I had previous purchased from any retailer, and if the product was available on Amazon Canada, I would simply review it there. Before long, my review count was soaring close to 50 reviews! Around this time, I began receiving emails from companies asking if they could supply me with coupon codes or direct shipment to my door of their products in exchange for reviews, which would effectively discount the item to $0 using either method. Free product? Sure, send it on over and I will write a review on it! This was an exceptionally slippery slope that I was not even close to being prepared for. Before long I was receiving products, sometimes in multiples, almost every single day. I think at one point I had actually logged somewhere around 80 products shipped in just one calendar quarter (3 month window) from Amazon, and that's not even counting the items that were directly shipped from the vendors warehouses. Everyday would be the same routine. I would receive one or more products in the mail, snap some photos of the exterior packaging, open them, snap some more product shots of the item itself, then go about my testing. Once everything had been thoroughly tested, I would write my review, attach my photos, and submit it for processing. I was exceptionally proud of my reviews, and in my opinion they were pretty high up there on the quality scale, especially compared to some of the one to two liners most other purchasers were writing. I think this is what led to more and more resellers reaching out to me to supply free product, and it just kept going from there. I was on cloud nine! I was so caught up in all this "free" stuff coming in, that by the end of it I didn't know what to do with it all. Now, it wasn't all stuff that I would consider useful either, or at least not in the volume I had been receiving. In fact, I think I've lost count of how many dehumidifiers and essential oil defusers I have in my storage closed. I had gotten so caught up in my climb to the top of the Amazon Canada leaderboard that I didn't really care what I was receiving. If it was reviewable, I would review it! Now, I think we need to stop for an ethics check here for a moment. I DID NOT give everything I received a 5 star review, and at times may have been a little too brutally honest when it came to the poorer quality of some of the items I would receive. I remember some pretty heated email chains between myself and some resellers who would demand a 5 star review because they had provided me their item free of cost, and some would even go as far as to try and pay me to append my review. With an exceptionally large volume of reviews and a high level of user likes thanks to the quality of my reviews, I had hit the Top 100 on the leaderboards in less than one year. This was a HUGE deal to me as there were MILLIONS of unique users writing reviews on Amazon. Then, everything changed... Remember in my last blog post when I said that Amazon had changed their review policies? Well, that happened while I was actively reviewing. You see, Amazon realized that not every reviewer on the platform was honest (Shocker!), and many people were trading free product and/or payment for 5 star reviews. If you search for a product on Amazon, their algorithm will rank product results based on purchase history and review ratings/volume. This lead to most of the top suggested products on Amazon simply being utter junk with large volumes of purchases ($0 after coupon was still considered a purchase) and exceptionally high average user scores. So, what could Amazon do to fix this issue? Well, a couple different things. To start, Amazon cracked down on the reviews that would actually become published and displayed for potential buyers. If the review happened too quickly after receipt, was "purchased" using 100% off coupons, or had no purchase history at all, they simply would not publish your review. This drove a steak directly in the heart of some resellers, especially those who seemed to rely solely on paid reviews. Before long, people found a way around this policy, a loop hole hole if you well... And everything started up again right where it left off. Resellers were offering PayPal refunds in exchange for the reviewer purchasing the product with their own money for the purpose of a "Verified Purchase" review. This created a seemingly untraceable system of back end compensation that Amazon could not see. So, the reviews continued on. Purchases would be made out of pocket, with refunds coming in via PayPal within a short time after the review was audited and posted by Amazons community team. Was this system perfect? No, of course it wasn't. Some resellers would simply cease communications and ignore reimbursement requests if the review was not up to their standards. Before long, I had found myself almost in debt as I would buy a large volume of products, to then only receive partial reimbursement from a handful of resellers. Not only that, it was also becoming very hard to track the financial volume of purchases compared to the trickle in effect of back end reimbursements, causing credit card billed to skyrocket without knowing how much was actually received back to pay off the growing debt. But, I was still in it to win it and was forever shooting for that top 50, top 25, top 10, then maybe someday the very top Amazon Canada reviewer. Then one day, it all came CRASHING down You see, not only was Amazon tracking the verified purchase volume of users, they were also tracking the types of items purchased as well. Honestly, I should have known better looking back on it now. Who in their right mind would buy such a large variety of stuff (And sometimes junk) in such short bursts? Camping tumblers, a dehumidifier for the 6th time, 2 bluetooth speakers, and a manual blood pressure cuff? What is this man doing with his life?!?! Then it happened... One day I opened my email inbox to a notice from Amazons community team letting me know that my community involvement had been officially and irreversibly terminated due to suspicion of paid reviews. Is that what I was doing? Accepting money for 5 star reviews? Absolutely not. In fact, I believed that I had actually been performing a justifiable service to the platform. I was taking time out of my life on an almost daily basis to either create orders or write honest reviews to help supply accurate feedback for the potential buyer in order for them to make the best educated purchasing decision with their own money. But, can I actually prove this? Nah, not really. Not without willingly admitting that I hadn't actually read Amazons community involvement terms of service and had been unknowingly skirting the line this entire time. In the end I accepted my termination from the platform... Mostly because they even locked my ability to appeal the reason for my dismissal. Let's just chalk that up to being one and the same shall we? Thankfully this ban was only against community involvement, so I can still purchase from Amazon whenever I want... I just can't comment, rate, or review anything, and EVERY SINGLE REVIEW I wrote over the course of 2 years had been pulled down and my ranking or reviewer score was stripped from my account If you are considering taking a stab at the world of product reviews, then please learn from my mistakes. Be sure to watch your review volume, make sure what you are reviewing makes sense to your niche or knowledge base, and never accept payment in exchange for unearned reviews or publications. Remember, what you are doing will directly impact the financials of the potential buyer, and this is a responsibility that you should not take lightly. Let's get some comments on todays blog! Have you found this post useful in any way? Let me know in the comments section below. Also, if you are new to this platform, what brought you to the blog? I am always looking for new ways to get this seen, and would love to know what brought you to my little corner of the internet.
  12. Today's post is brought to you by PulseLabz. PulseLabz is a Vancouver based gaming chair company with a passion for everything gaming and e-sports. Their goal is to bring you high quality and affordable gaming furniture, backed by their incredible 10 year warranty. Use coupon "QWAZY" for 10% off your purchase. Today I want to talk about how to get started in the world of product reviews, and more specifically how to become a product reviewer. For the TL;DR readers out there, this isn't something you can achieve overnight or in an instant; however, if you want to put in a little work here and there in your spare time it can be a very rewarding and worth while process. I want to break this blog into a couple of different steps or instalments. These are not necessary in any particular order, but will all for the most part need to be combined in order to find some success. In a later post I also want to discuss the "Do's and Don'ts" when it comes to product reviews, as well as an experience that ultimately led my Amazon Canada community contributions being forever restricted... But I think that warrants it's own separate discussion. How do I get started: This one is an easy section to tackle first... Hence why, well... I'm starting here first. This is as easy as looking around your house at what you already have. Do you own any electronics? Appliances? Vehicles? Stationary? Come on, I'm sure you have to say yes to at least one of those! Whatever it is, review it. Reviewing items you already own and actively use is the easiest way to get started in product reviews since you've already gained the experience needed to share your thoughts and/or give your recommendations. Let's say the item in question is a Wi-Fi Smart Bulb. Where did you buy it? Most retailers offer the ability to review the product you purchased from them. Who else sells the product? Even if you bought your item from your local Best Buy, see if other retailers like Amazon or Walmart carry the same item. In most cases, there is nothing stopping you from reviewing the same item on another retailers pages (With some exceptions like Amazon, but we will touch base on that later), or even the direct manufacturers website. From there, you could even branch out and create a free Blogger or Wordpress account to further your review portfolio. Keep track of your data: It's important to keep track of your reviews in one way or another, and this is actually a lot easier than you think. Let's use Amazon as an example. Amazon actually keeps track of every review you've written in a clean and easy format using your existing Amazon login. Best Buy and other resellers also operate in a similar fashion, providing you are of course logging into an account to publish your reviews. Why is this important? This helps you present your ROI, or return on investment, which we will touch base on in just a little bit. Further your portfolio for free: There are many programs and platforms online that allow you to receive free or heavily discounted products in exchange for UNBIASED (We will go over this in the next few points) reviews or feedback. Some examples are the Anker Power User program, Influenster, GearBest Pro Program, Vipon, Dealspotr, and many more. These platforms allow you to connect with brands and/or resellers to help promote and/or review their products. These can be exceptionally rewarding, as well as personally beneficial as it may present you with exciting new gadgets and gizmos to play with. Pictures, pictures, and more pictures!: This point is simple and to the point. If the site you are using to publish your reviews allows for photo uploads, then upload! Manufactures/resellers/businesses are like fast food restaurants when it comes to their product pictures. Most are over produced, over edited, and may not be true to life. Your reviews will stand out above all others if you include GOOD product photography. Now, I'm not saying that you need to invest in an expensive DSLR and go crazy with studio lighting... Unless of course you've already obtained all these things through other reviews (lol). You would be amazing at the photo quality you can get with natural window lighting and a modern cellphone. People want to see the product they are considering in it's true form, and sometimes from multiple angles. Do this, and you will be surprised at how well you will rank above those who only produce written reviews. Be UNBIASED and HONEST: I CANNOT stress this point enough! It may be tempting to give 5 star review after 5 star review, but does every product really deserve it? Remember that your review may be the influencing decision that results in someone else's educated purchase, so if the product is terrible or not up to snuff, it's your responsibility to everyone reading your review to be honest. I can't tell you how many times resellers attempted to persuade me into providing their product with a 5 star review. that it didn't deserve. Some would even go as far as to offer me products under the sole premise that I provide them 5 star feedback, or have even offered to directly pay for a 5 star review. Even though you may be getting an item for free, others aren't, and you need to consider that with every review you write. Amazon had to change their entire review platform and structure due to actions like this which was the leading cause of very cheaply made products ranking higher in Amazon product search results due to their overwhelming high (and fake!) positive product reviews. Besides, giving negative feedback can actually be very rewarding. Believe it or not, I've received many free product revisions from manufactures who had taken my feedback and criticisms to heart and made the necessary changes in order to provide a more positive experience to their buyers. Honest reviews can also result in higher user feedback ratings from readers (If the platform used offers a user based "like" system for your reviews), which may also boost your overall rating on the platform you are using. ROI or Return on Investment: Just because you are potentially getting something for free or HEAVILY discounted, it doesn't mean it's free for the seller and/or manufacturer. Everything has a cost associated to it. There are manufacturing costs, shipping costs, advertising costs, correspondence and/or employee costs, and many other factors at play on the manufacturers or resellers side. So, why should they give you something for "free"? If you can present a sensible return for the manufacturers/resellers/businesses time and efforts, you can easily circumvent objections before they happen. Letting an individual or business know your review history, viewership, ratings history, or any other measurable factor can help educate that individual as to why you are worth their time and financial investment. I will further discuss ROI in future blog posts pertaining to affiliate marketing, ambassadorships, and other means, and why you should track your analytics. In the end, nothing is "free" and no one will simply give you something for no good reason. So, give them a good reason! Diversify and branch out: Once you've become comfortable with product reviews on various websites, it's time to consider sharing your feedback on other platforms. These could include Twitter, Facebook, various blog websites, Instagram, and more. You can then further your ROI collection by using trackable URLs such as Bit.ly, Goo.gl, Amazon Associates, and many more. This will allow you to collect and present tangible click-rate results that you can present to manufacturers/resellers/businesses to prove to them that you can drive traffic in a positive way to their product or business. You can also use outside sites and social media to drive more traffic to your reviews by using @'s and #Hashtags to get your reviews in front of a larger audience. Being able to let a business/manufacturer/reseller know that you were able to drive say 100+ clicks to a specific product page or review in 30 days will give them a reason to put their trust and time into you, which again further snowballs your portfolio in order to take the next steps forward in your new hobby/career. Conclusion: I hope that you came away from this post with some useful tips and information to help you get started in the world of product reviewing, or to further your hobby into something more. All of these tips and tricks were learned throughout my own personal journey into product reviewing, and are tactics I still deploy and use today. For me, reviewing started as a hobby while I was home with my children for 6 months while I was on parental leave from work. I was typically too tired to produce YouTube content and the house was too noisy and messy for anything relating to me or my environment being on camera; however, I still had a creative itch that needed scratched! Within 6 months, I was receiving packages and products almost daily, which kept me both busy and creatively fulfilled. Not only that, but this also created an interesting "stockpile" of items I could easily pull from when I was ready to get back into YouTube production without needing to spend any money out of pocket or take the time to seek out clients for video work when I was ready to get the ball rolling again.
  13. Qwazyd0gg

    Who am I?

    Good afternoon everyone! Let's start off with a brief introduction. My name is Andrew, or "Qwazyd0gg" if we are using my online handle/alias, and I am a New Brunswick based content creator with a passion for gaming and technology. A passion that ultimately led me into consumer and business based electronics and telecommunications sales and/or repairs, which has been my profession for the past last 14 years. A couple of years ago I decided to try my hand at YouTube and created my own channel and brand surrounding my online gamer handle "Qwazyd0gg". The channel started as a Let's Play style channel, where I would pre-record and/or stream a variety of games. I did this for about a year, accumulating a plethora of equipment along the way such as cameras, green screens, lights, an Elgato sponsorship (Although shortly lived), and more to continuously grow my channel in attempts to take things to the next level. I met a lot of cool people along the way, some of which have actually "made it" as you would say. Although I enjoyed gaming, I began to grow tired of recording and uploading gaming content. Playing games started to take the form of a chore with the set up of my equipment, lighting, audio, and to force myself to commentate over gameplay that was "trendy" rather than what I would have rather been playing. Around that time, another video on my channel began to grow in views and engagement. This was a tutorial video educating viewers on the proper process of disassembling a Seagate external HDD and using it as a higher storage replacement option within the original PS4 launch console. Today the video is irrelevant as you can simply use an external HDD on a PS4 console with modern software, but this got me thinking. Can I producing technology based content? Will people watch it? Fast-forward ahead about another year or so and here I am, making technology based reviews, overviews, and unboxing videos. It was a rocky start for sure, and some of my initial content within my growing stages was cringe worthy at best, but I was finally having fun creating again. Today I have roughly 3,700 subscribers and a view count of close to 1 million views. But, do you want to know the best part? I am enjoying content creation again. My children are growing up, now 9 and 3 years old, so spare time to record has dwindled down; however, I am always looking for new outlets to stay creative. Thus bringing me here, to this blog! Although I may not have a lot of time to record content amidst my busy and not so quiet household filled with pets and kids, I can surely put my fingers to work while my youngest watches Mighty Morphing Power Rangers (The 1993 original series. Let's be real, it's the only good one!) on Netflix. So, now that you know my background, you now have my ears (Or eyes I should say). What types of things would you like to talk about and/or discuss on this blog? Software? Hardware? Trends? Gaming? Share stories? Camera Equipment? YouTube? I can keep going on and on, but let me leave this with you. I would like to see this blog grow in viewership and engagement, and I think we can make that happen together.
  14. It's well worth it. I would recommend playing it on PS4 if you're just starting off vs PC or Xbox One. I find the PC and Xbox One side to be a little more "professional" with better equipment (higher refresh rate monitors, KB/Mouse support, etc) that may make your introduction a little more frustrating than if you were to be pitted up against a community solely operating via a controller. If you can spare the 20ish GB of storage I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
  15. Apex has taken the gaming world by storm with its addictive battle royal style gameplay and F2P accessibility. I'm curious to see who out there is playing it and what your thoughts of the game are. For me... I'm addicted. I haven't been one for battle royal style games as I could never get behind the gameplay mechanics of Fortnite, the stylings of Realm Royale, or the startup costs of Black Out or PUBG (Other than PUBG Mobile, I played that a ton). The last competitive style FPS shooter I played was Destiny, and I loved The Crucible. Their downfall was being too money hungry and forcing to many paywalls into their game. This left me with a bit of an FPS void that had never been filled until now. I decided to give Apex Legends a try after the F2P platform dropped surprisingly at the start of the month, and I've been playing almost daily ever since. It's pickup and play nature has me into a game within about 2 minutes of booting up my PS4 Pro, which allows me to play the quick and addictive game during the small amount of free time I get around my busy work/family lifestyle. If you die, you're back in a new match within about 30-45 seconds thanks to the large player base and their great server setup, something almost no other game has going for it right now. For me, I play with a group of about 4-5 co-workers, so I can usually find someone online to play with. If no one is on, I still very much enjoy playing with random players thanks to their intuitive ping based systems. I rarely if ever unmute my headset when I'm playing with strangers due to the toxicity of most online communities, yet the ping system let's players communicate quickly and efficiently without saying a word. Marking locations, enemies, loot, asking for supplies, and more are all completed with a click of the shoulder button in a universal system that had been previously unheard of up until now. My go-to characters are either Mirage or Wraith, and I tend to play them both offensively and defensively. Apex Legends character variety is an added bonus as every character has their own unique traits and play style, and the game restricts all parties to only 1 of any given character. This lends to an almost infinite array of cooperative and strategic play styles and also forces the player to learn and utilize a couple of different characters in the event that their main is taken by another player. I would love to hear what you all think of the game if you are playing it at all. Who are your mains? Anyone make Champion? Looking forward to your responses!

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