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since 22/09/2001

8 28/09/2001

EXTRA DISCOUNT for RAM - Crucial... It couldn't be easier than at Crucial... If you've got a crosshead screwdriver then you can be assured that you can't go wrong. At Crucial's UK website you can search for the type of memory you need by type and it's very quick and simple to order on-line. If you don't know what kind of memory you need (SIMM, DIMM etc) then you can select what kind of computer you have and it will tell you the kinds of memory which will work in it! A very simple idea, but great for those who aren't sure of what will and won't work in their computer. Crucial even guarantee that if they sell you the wrong kind of memory for your computer then you can send it back free of charge which I think gives the consumer excellent peace-of-mind. BEST of all, if you go to then you get an EXTRA DISCOUNT for buying your memory online... this offer doesn't seem to be advertised on the site but it will get you an extra 10% off your order. There's a box on that page for a promotional code, just put anything in there, anything will work. Maybe you should put "" in there to let them know it's listed on this website! Delivery is great too; they use Royal Mail Special Delivery and it's free of charge - the price you see on the website is the price you pay. They offer next-day delivery if you order your memory in the morning. The packaging was decent and certainally enough to withstand abuse. The prices are great even without ...

MBNA Platinum Card 28/09/2001

Loans cheaper than high street banks!!!

MBNA Platinum Card I've had an MBNA Platinum VISA card for about 5 years now. The rates for retail purchases are average when compared to all the other cards; 15.9% is typical. The credit limit is shopping-friendly without being silly. When you first get the card they appear to start you off on a low credit limit, and they increase it on your statements until you've had the card long enough and you notice that the credit limit is noticably more than you spend, but not so much that you'd abuse it and get into difficulties with the repayments. I've had one or two fraudulent transactions on this card even though I never lost the card. No doubt, then, not MBNA's fault for not cancelling it (since I never lost it) but probably someone in a shop making a copy of my card or duplicating a receipt. This could have happened with any card so no criticism to MBNA. In fact, when I noticed the extra transactions on my statement, they had no problem at all crediting my account with the correct amount, which I was very impressed with. A really good thing about this card is that recently they sent me a letter noting that I had not used their cash advance offer... I had not used this because I always considered "cash" from a credit card to be very expensive... You would imagine my surprise when I saw they were offering me a cash advance of up to my credit limit with only 3.9% to pay over the next six months! At the time I was looking at getting a short-term bank loan which was going to be around 7% so I ...

Capital One Platinum 28/09/2001

Capital One is a good thing

Capital One Platinum There's obviously mixed feelings in this area about Capital One. I've had no problems with the Capital One Platinum Card. They appealed to me to start with because of the 0% interest for the first six months, also because of the low rate on balance transfers. In fact, they offered me a free CD player walkman thing if I transferred over £1000 onto the card along with the application form. I promptly received my credit card, telephoned the 0800 number to activate it and then a few days later, I got my CD player. I promptly then paid the card off with cash at the bank and I got charged about £7 for the interest inbetween transferring the £1000 onto the card and paying it off in full. Not bad for a CD player :-) I've used the card extensively within the first six months but I'm still paying it off nearly as quickly as I'm spending - you have to do this otherwise you get stuck when the six months is over and then you can't pay off the balance and then you start with the whole interest-paying thing!!! I've never been told in a shop that I can't use the card, and even when I made a purchase of over £1000 on the card, it just went "right through" as if it were any other platinum card. I can't make up my mind whether I think that's a good thing or not; something inside me tells me that it would be a bad thing if I lost the card because large purchases don't get queried or anything. With a "standard" card, they might indicate on the swipe machine that the shop should phone up ...

Physio Sport Fresh Blast 25/09/2001

Smells good, but sticks hard

Physio Sport Fresh Blast I was first tempted to try Physio Sport Fresh Blast when I saw a 3-for-2 offer at the supermarket. Since then (the best part of six months) I've been buying regularly even if it's not on an offer. The product itself works very well, it lasts all day and keeps you dry. It smells really nice too without having an overpowering aroma (there's nothing worse than working in a busy office and you've got something really powerful like Old Spice on!)... Unfortunately more recently I don't know if the product has changed or not but I've had two adverse experiences: 1) Unless I shake the tin for the best part of a minute, my skin becomes covered in white sticky powder. If this happens, you've either got the choice of washing it all off (good idea!) or going to work like that and having (a) uncomfortable arms and (b) white crusty bits falling out of your shirt all morning..! 2) The top seems to have a very strange design. This morning I opened a new can in the usual way - move the locking tab out the way and then swivel the top round so the spray nozzle aligns with the hole in the top. For some unknown reason, when I pushed the button to spray, nothing happened but lots of cold liquid came out from around the button and then froze my hand to the can!!! The can is a decent size as well, it has a press down cap instead of a removable top, so you won't lose it. You can also turn round the top so you can't accidentally spray inside your sports bag, but I tend to open it the ...

BT Anytime 25/09/2001

BT Anytime - Changing but still excellent

BT Anytime BT Anytime has been an option since about March 2001. Previously for a tenner a month you could go online, unmetered with a freephone number between 6pm and 8am. Now it's £15 a month (without other options such as surftime) for all-in access. One good thing I've noticed about the new service is that it doesn't "kick you off" so much anymore. It used to have a dial-in limit of two hours at a time, presumably to stop you from running web servers or the like. I consistently get a good connection speed with a 56K modem (indicated connection speed of 46K or more). Dialling in at around 6pm sometimes takes one or two goes to get "online" - presumably lots of people are already used to connecting at this time of night and old habits die hard. Once you're logged in, the calls hardly ever drop out so that keeps me happy enough :) BT's own website has a good selection of content and they've also recently revamped the webmail service. Webmail allows you to read e-mails on your account and also send new e-mails just using a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer) from anywhere in the world, but without needing to set up a mail client (e.g. Outlook Express) in order to do it. I succesfully tried out the webmail service when I was in the USA a year ago and found it very useful. The recent changes to the webmail service include a spell checker (very useful!) but it also seems to be quicker too. It is also a lot more intuitive to navigate as well, with your messages being listed on ...

Nero Burning ROM 5.5 Licence 24/09/2001

NERO most reliable burning

Nero Burning ROM 5.5 Licence I've found NERO Burning Rom (my current version v5.022) to be the most reliable burning tool that I've used yet. I've had a few drives in my PCs, both Hewlett Packard and Ricoh rewriters. The Hewlett Packard unit came with an earlier version of NERO and it made a good first impression. The explorer-style interface coupled with good reliability (hardly no coffee mats generated!) convinced me to use NERO. With NERO you can make all different kinds of CDs, from Audio CD backups fine for the car and also you can make backups of your documents in case your hard drive fails. Of course, NERO supports multisessions as well as single sessions (write-at-once). When my trusty HP unit failed I swapped to a Ricoh unit which didn't come with NERO. I wasn't impressed with the number of CDRs I wasted with Adaptec's DirectCD product and Adaptec CD-Creator kept asking me to install newer drivers. Uninstalling the Adaptec efforts and reverting to NERO solved all the problems. The newer versions of NERO also support writing CD Text to audio CDs which I love because my car stereo supports it (also my Sony CD player works with it too). The software is also very good at stopping you from making coffee mats, pre-buffering enough data to keep the CDRW buffer full but also stopping you from writing on cheap slow-rated 2x discs accidentally at 4x speed. Also supports overburning too, with an easy-to-use dialogue which explains about what overburning is. The ultimate software for producing ...

Agfa SnapScan 1212p 24/09/2001

AGFA SnapScan 1212p

Agfa SnapScan 1212p I've had the AGFA SnapScan 1212p for a few years now. I would agree that it's not exactly a slimline scanner, but then again, compare it with other scanners that are a few years old and it's nothing out of the ordinary. It's very easy to install in Windows 95 and Windows 98. Upgrading from Windows 98 to ME didn't make a difference, it quite happily continued working without needing to be installed again. I tend to use the TWAIN import feature in my paint package though, instead of using the software that came with the scanner. It's slow by todays standards but then I did pick it up for £20 on the bargain rail in PC World about three years ago! The speed is not a problem unless you're scanning lots of items, I am a fairly light scanner user so it doesn't matter to me. The resolution is fine as well, colour reproduction is pretty close but sometimes the scans don't always appear to be 'quite' in-focus. A quick 'sharpen' though in the paint package and all is well. My only gripe with this scanner is that it doesn't work in Windows 2000. The AGFA website simply states that the parallel version is not supported and I should get the SCSI version or the USB version. That's not my idea of customer service. It's obviously been a very popular model and I would have expected it to have been supported for more than a token number of years. I can't recommend this product to future buyers since more people will be moving to Windows 2000 by the time I write this. It would ...

Gillette Mach 3 Razor 24/09/2001

Back to Mach III

Gillette Mach 3 Razor After moving from an electric shaver to a Sensor Excel (twin blade) I was pleasantly surprised. When I upgraded again to Mach 3 when it came out, I was simply amazed compared to the Sensor Excel. A much closer shave resulted and it was quicker too. The blades last longer as well. The small strip which lifts the hair before the blades cut is also a great idea and even though you might not think it would be comfortable, it's fine to use. I'd tried the disposable types but they simply cut my sensitive skin. With the Mach 3 I can put the gel or foam on fairly quickly and shave quite quickly against the direction of the hair without it cutting my face. Recently on grounds of trying to save some money I tried the Wilkinson Sword triple blade system but it just doesn't feel right in the hand (too light) and also the blades seemed to either rip the hair out or didn't cut close enough. Well done to Gillette, I've moved back to my Mach 3 razor even though it's slightly more expensive than some of the other makes in consumable blades.
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