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Ayesha-

Ayesha-

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Hoping to get back into writing again. It has been a while!

Reviews written

since 08/12/2005

164

Toshiba Satellite Pro C850 31/01/2014

My Sleeping Satellite

Toshiba Satellite Pro C850 Halfway through last year, my Dell had finally reached the end of its useful life. I sought help from my University for problems affecting my course and discovered I was eligible for Disabled Students Allowance. Included within this, I managed to get my computer replaced, with the Toshiba Satellite Pro. My dad has a Toshiba and I’ve generally thought it to be a reliable brand, so I was pleased. The price was just under £400 at the time I received it. I have now been using it for around 6 months. Appearance and Aesthetics The laptop has a 15.6inch screen with an inch margin around it, so it is rather large, so would need a large bag for carrying. The laptop is heavy for a small person like me, and I often get back ache if I carry it around with me for too long. On the plus side, the computer is nice and robust, with an overlapping hinge that looks really secure. The exterior is black and covered almost entirely with a matt texture that on close examination is made up of tiny squares. TOSHIBA is written in silver in the centre of the cover. It is not particularly attractive, but then marks do not show up, particularly finger marks, so it always looks very clean. Smudges do show up on the screen of course, but they are easy to wipe away with a soft cloth. I’m not a fan of the textured laptop, as it does feel weird to touch, and this pattern is extended to the mouse pad. On the other hand, perhaps this is beneficial in picking up finger movements, but I’m really not sure. ...

Barnes & Noble nook HD 8 GB 30/11/2013

Take a Look at my Nook

Barnes & Noble nook HD 8 GB I fancied the idea of owning a tablet, but I've never really been able to justify it to myself. I remember my partner buying the iPad for around £600, and not really understanding it. Most tablets would still cost a fair amount, but in the last couple of months I have noticed the more affordable brands around. Among them is Barnes and Noble, big in America, but until recently unheard of to me. My partner, sick of his old iPad had been insisting that he needed the iPad Mini recently. When the Nook HD was reduced to just £79 for the 8GB version in John Lewis, he suggested it as a decent alternative. I agreed to go with him to have a look at it and make sure it was not just another impulse purchase, and somehow I ended up buying one for myself! Because I found a way to earn a few points on a consumer loyalty website, I bought two of the tablets, one in each of the available colours: white (snow) for my partner and greyish black (smoke) for myself. The Package On collection I was rather pleased with our purchases. My partner normally likes to go through the opening experience alone, but this time I persuaded him that we should open our new Nooks together. It was an exciting time. Under the John Lewis brown paper stuff, we found two nice clean white Nook boxes, With all the details neatly written and a good image. The box, my partner suggested, was trying to imitate Apple. He is of the Apple religion and I am much less loyal, so I'll except that this is possible, but I like ...

Samsung GALAXY S II 30/09/2013

On A Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Samsung GALAXY S II My phone contract with Orange came to an end way back in April. At that time I wasn’t really ready to sign up to a new contract as I didn’t know exactly what I wanted in a phone. The HTC had been a lot of hassle for me and I certainly did not want to spend £30 odd on something I barely liked. My boyfriend, on the other hand, was in a hurry to get the iPhone and still had a few months left on his o2 contract, which came with this smartphone. I decided I could try this phone in the meantime and then decide whether I wanted to get a better phone or just get a SIM only deal and keep his old phone. Aesthetics/appearance As much as possible, my boyfriend gave me this phone with all its original stuff. The phone itself is white with a silver lining around the front and silver lettering ‘SAMSUNG’. Only one button sticks out on the front and that also has a silver lining. The screen area is quite wide but does not take up the whole length of the phone so it is not that big. On the back is the camera flash, with ‘8.0 MEGA’, to indicate that this phone has an 8 megapixel camera, great! Again, ‘SAMSUNG’ is written at the bottom of the back cover and you can see a notch where you put your nail to lift away the battery/SIM cover. This comes away quite easily, which is a change for me. However, I have noticed on accidentally dropping the phone it perhaps comes away a bit too easily. The back is all white otherwise and on the top, you can see the headphone port. Buttons are along the ...

Rowenta CT 273 30/07/2013

Nice Jugs!

Rowenta CT 273 There is nothing I like more than the tempting aroma of freshly percolated coffee filling the kitchen in the morning. I’m not even sure I’m a big fan of the taste, but I love to drink it because the scent is just so warming. I have memories of visiting my late great aunt since childhood and each morning she would have the percolator running and the beautiful scent would reach up the stairs and make me that much more keen to get up early and enjoy it. In fact I did not like the taste back then, but always said ‘yes please’ to coffee. Percolated coffee, in particular, became something of a special treat in our house as we bought our own machine and started to use it when guests were visiting. Normally in our house we stick to standard instant coffee with boiled water from the kettle, but on the odd occasion we do enjoy a special drink, even without visitors. Currently we are using ground coffee beans but my mum believes that whole beans, although expensive, are even better for percolating. Originally we bought a simple percolator with a glass jug, but when we moved house we went for an upgrade, and the Rowenta Milano Therm CT 273 was introduced to our household. This was very different to our previous, more old fashioned percolator. I have to admit I cannot remember the exact amount we paid for this kettle, although it was in the region of £80-100. It is currently priced at £82 on Amazon. I know I have seen coffee machines on offer for around £50 but even £80, from my ...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 29/07/2013

Number 7 for Luck?

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium The netbook/laptop I am currently using has been mine now for four years. When I bought it, Windows 7 was pretty new and having had a bad experience with Windows Vista, I was a little worried about whether it would be an improvement or worse yet. I had been hoping to revert back to XP, the better operating system that preceded Vista, but decided to take a leap of faith. I will make a lot of comparisons to Windows Vista, the previous operating system but will try to explain the differences where relevant. Regarding installation, although I am sure this is not relevant to most people - my computer came with this operating system so I have not had to install it from scratch. However, I do have the CD in case I ever do and if so I will of course return to describe the process! Appearances The new design of the interface is meant to be more simplified and so in some aspects icons have replaced text. For example the main menu was labelled ‘Start’ before and is now simply a Windows logo. It is positioned in the same place so it did not take me that long to realise that it was the same menu, however, I think some people prefer to just see the word Start. The icons for different programs are very attractive and easy to recognise, even if you are not already familiar with where things are. I found that this did boost my enjoyment of using my new computer. There are some very nice background themes and designs to go with this operating system and as well as being attractive, ...

Microsoft Office Word 2007 27/07/2013

A Little Wordy....

Microsoft Office Word 2007 One of the most frustrating things I find about technology today is also the great thing about it. It is constantly improving and updating. The trouble is that keeping up is an expensive task. Over three years ago I bought my last netbook. It was even longer before that I had purchased some Office software and I have yet to get updated. So I installed Word 2007, along with other office applications onto my 2010 computer. I’m still working in this version today and it shocks me to think it is now over 6 years old. I have become more comfortable with using it over the years and most of my coursework reports have been done using this application. ***Quick note*** I have used a few previous versions for a long time in the past and am also fortunate to have a newer version at my disposal at University. I can therefore recognise a few benefits and drawbacks for those familiar with other versions in switching, however I would not want to cause too much confusion to those interested just in this version. In this review I would prefer not to make too many comparisons but will mention where relevant for those interested. What is it? Microsoft Word is an application developed for making basic text documents, for example reports, agendas, essays, stories, lists or anything you like. You can add pictures, alter the layout and change the font of text to suit a particular style. You can also use templates provided to get you started on a variety of designs for invitations, cards etc. ...

Kenwood SJM270 27/07/2013

Getting Steamy!

Kenwood SJM270 We’ve owned this particular kettle for a number of years now at my parents home, where I have been, well, temporarily stopping for a few, well, months. I myself have been through several kettles and enjoy the challenge of venturing into a new area of reviewing. I have already reviewed the kettle I currently have in my flat, which is probably on the other end of the scale to this one. So I think this would be an interesting one to contrast it with. I have been drinking coffee and tea since childhood and it is a part of our daily life. Since returningm to University and the need to actually be paying attention, I have found that having a cup of coffee has become part of my morning routine. Appearance and Aesthetics We clearly bought this kettle for its style and quality appearance. Mum was going for as many metallic or chrome designs as possible for all her gadgets in the kitchen, and this fitted the former category well. The body is a very shiny metal and does really stand out on the worktop. It has a smart black base and the handle and top of the lid are also black, with a texture that feels comfortable to grip. The jug handle also has a nice finger gripping shape which is nice, at least for small hands like mine. One thing we noticed pretty quickly, however, was that lime-scale would show up blatantly on the outer surface. This means that the kettle needs a regular clean or it quickly starts to look cheap and tacky. To be honest after a while it is just too much ...

ASDA Smartprice Kettle KE7519 15/07/2013

Kettle Ready To Rumble!

ASDA Smartprice Kettle KE7519 I bought this kettle when I started University, to keep in my room and make life a bit more comfortable. It was the cheapest I could find at the time, costing me around £5 and since I would probably not need it once I finished University, I was keen to pay as little as possible. Appearance and Aesthetics This is an economy kettle, and as such it is not exactly designed to look pretty. However, it is also not too unsightly, and whilst it is not eye-catching, at least it fits well in most kitchens and rooms. It has a base and the main jug of the kettle. The base connection is big and often I have to hover the kettle over for a second before placing it on the base correctly, but I notice it is very secure and not easily knocked. Again when picking up the kettle it has to be lifted first before I can pull it towards myself or pour water, which my weak wrists are not always comfortable with. The kettle is a clinical white with a clear blue panel along the centre to indicate water level and a bright red switch that lights up when on. The handle looks nice with a smooth curve, but it can be a bit awkward for me to carry when the kettle is filled with water. Fortunately the kettle is very light and and the grip is reasonably good. The lid has a nice big grip to open it, but takes a little more effort than I would like to release. It is best to keep it on a surface if opening when there is even just a little bit of water left inside. This is because the whole thing shakes when I ...

Storage 24 (dvd) 24/06/2013

Ever wondered what being locked in Storage 24 hours was like?

Storage 24 (dvd) A long time ago I became bored of horror films and moved on to comedy. I could not really see the point in depressing myself with films that have a 90% death rate and very few decent endings. However, recently I found myself getting caught up in the fascination of such gory films, particularly the monster creature type. I knew very little about this film when it came on television one evening, but it sounded like the sort I was looking for so I recorded it and decided to give it a go. I watched it with my boyfriend and my sister, feeling a bit guilty as she had expressed a preference not to watch anything too bloody. Story After a plane crashes into a storage facility, the people just happening to be there at the time find themselves locked inside. Among them is recently dumped Charlie, determined to get an explanation from his ex girlfriend Shelley and struggling to cope with their breakup. After the building goes into lockdown, he finds that he is trapped inside for the night. Worse yet, something appears to be picking people off, and the man who can let them out is one of the first to disappear. The main characters are introduced gradually, and at the start it is not clear who will be most involved in the remainder of the film. However, once we become acquainted with Charlie and his best friend Mark, the story becomes rather predictable. The twists may not be completely expected, but they bring little surprise. We already know more than the characters do about the thing ...

Skyline(DVD) 16/06/2013

Quite Possibly The Worst Film I Have Ever Seen

Skyline(DVD) I watched this film in full for the first and last time one night while staying in halls when I could not get to sleep. It seems to be stuck in my memory now, as that was not a good night for me at all. Story Jarrod’s girlfriend Elaine has discovered she is pregnant and is desperate to secure his commitment to their relationship. But it is difficult when they visit his old friend Terry in LA, and see his successful but morally questionable life. Terry is cheating on his girlfriend Candice with his assistant Denise. As he demonstrates his partying lifestyle and offers work to Jarrod, Elaine could be forgiven for fearing that things between her and Jarrod could change. That night, however, a strange light appears across the city, and soon its fascination leads to terror as people appear to be sucked in by it. The city is under attack by some powerful aliens and as dawn approaches, the group find themselves battling for survival. The film just seems to keep spiralling downwards, and just as you might think it will pick up, you find yourself disappointed further. The absolute hopelessness of the situation might have been seen as artistic by some, but for me it was just painful to watch. Long before the film is over you realise that it is probably not worth watching anymore, yet you might just keep going in case it does get better. The turns in the story are barely convincing at times and I found myself trying to force a laugh just to show how ridiculous I found it, but it was ...

The Purge (DVD) 13/06/2013

Would You Purge?

The Purge (DVD) We don’t really go to the cinema as often as we used to. The price has gone up so much it just does not seem worth it. However, one evening after dinner we just decided to be a bit spontaneous and bought tickets to see this film. I vaguely recalled seeing a trailer and being interested, but could not really remember what it was about. Story Less than a decade into the future, in response to concerns about violent crime, the US introduces ‘Purge Day’. The idea is that on one night each year, crimes all the way up to murder of ordinary people (conveniently not government officials) are not prosecuted, to allow people to get their violent feelings out of their system. In addition, all emergency services become unavailable. Not a good time to become sick then, either. It seems in general that this law has been accepted and maybe even welcomed. In the wealthy suburbs most people have good security anyway, so can simply ‘lockdown’ for the night and sleep through, whilst others indulge in their anger and cravings for blood. However, for the Sandin household, things go terribly wrong when James’s teenage daughter’s boyfriend sneaks into the house to confront him and his son Charlie opens up the house to a desperate outsider being chased down by a gang of killers. When the killers discover where he is seeking refuge, the family are faced with a dilemma: hand over their intended victim, or all become victims themselves. I was expecting this film to be a gripping horror and from the ...

Samsung ML 1710 26/05/2013

Watch This One Go!

Samsung ML 1710 Having waved goodbye to my most recent printer, I find myself thinking back to my first time University years. An hour before the deadline I would still be error-checking my essay. I really do not remember worrying about getting that hard copy printed half as much as the need to get a second copy on a floppy disk and run across a muddy field in the pouring rain to hand it all in moments before the building doors would slam shut. I even remember people running in the wrong direction, panic stricken faces from realising they had forgotten the disk. I remember a lecturer saying ‘If your printer breaks down, I’m afraid that’s no excuse’ and thinking ‘well, what are the chances of that happening?!’ Back then, my dad had bought me a little Samsung black and white laser printer, and now I see just how much I took this little friend for granted. The ML 1710 is a small, modest creature of the printer world, and even with minimal functionality (monochrome, single-sided printing only) I now believe it really is a little wonder. Appearance/aesthetics My dad has never been keen on making or even letting me carry heavy items, and even more so when I was younger (and ironically probably strong enough). This printer looked heavy, and I often let him deal with carrying it up and down steps. In comparison to my last printer, a wide but lightweight HP laserjet, it probably was more dense but also more compact. In fact it is not really heavy to a point that it is a problem, just heavy enough ...

HP Photosmart 5510 25/04/2013

Oh, HP!

HP Photosmart 5510 I bought this printer when I went back to University, realising that although printing costs on campus were not unreasonable (we were even given free credits of 50p to start us off), getting work printed and retrieving it from a shared printer, especially around deadline time, was a nightmare. I’m awful for leaving things to the last minute, even now after having had a fair few years to grow up a bit, I still do it! This meant that having a decent colour printer would be a real help. When my room-mate moved out of our shared room, I had ample space left behind and quickly got onto Amazon with more of those lovely Amazon vouchers. I did a fair bit of research and read several reviews before I found this printer at around £65 sold by Amazon. I made sure I could also get my inks from them, which cost around £17 for a set of colours and one black. Not being very knowledgeable about these things, I didn’t realise you get a free pack with the printer anyway. Appearance/Aesthetics The printer is big but actually not that heavy. I was pretty worried when it was delivered because I lived up 6 flights of stairs and would have to carry it from our communal post room, so I almost took a suitcase. However it was actually not that bad and I carried it myself without much trouble. Inside the big cardboard box, once I removed all that polystyrene, I found the manual, software disc, printer, power cable and oddly, a carrying bag. I also had small packet of free small photo paper to get ...

BBC iplayer 12/03/2013

Don't Know What You're Missing?

BBC iplayer Part of me feels a little harsh for the urge to be heavily critical of something I do not pay a penny for. On the other hand, it is something that takes up my time and often gets my hopes up, when I know there is a great show coming up or episode of a series I have been following and I do not want to miss it. This the kind of thing that can impact on my emotions as much as a lecture I showed up to did when it was cancelled and the only notice we had was a fellow student announcing it from the back of the room. If you have ever had to sit there watching '2 minutes remaining' progress bars for the longest so-called 2 minutes of your life only to discover that the application download failed for one reason or another you will agree that nothing in life is truly free. That said, where does iPlayer sit in my view of 'free' pass-times? Provided you are not watching live television, iPlayer is completely free to use and so having discovered it not long after its introduction just over 5 years ago, I have been a regular user. I tend to view television generally as not just entertainment but an educational tool or at least something to stimulate the mind. Living away from close friends and family and not being able to get out and about much, it has become an important way to find a sense of company in my life, especially with the radio. When I am outside of home but have a lot of time to kill and nothing better to do, like on train journeys, it is also a good way to keep myself ...

Fiction 30/01/2013

Snowed In (review 150)

Fiction When I reached review 100, I wrote about my experience in a bout of snow. So this time, I will try my hand at something fictional. Enjoy. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- Snowed In The New Year had barely settled in when the snow storms came. Warning after warning had been broadcast, until people were convinced it would never really happen. Now Lucy leaned against the glass, staring out at the bitter cold. She could feel it seeping through the window, a small draft of cold air brushing against her face. She was supposed to be working today, but it was impossible. Never before had she seen snow like this. Downstairs, the front door was jammed shut behind half a metre of snow and for those determined to get out there was little to be done. Abandoned cars lined the streets, where the distinction between footpath and road was now forgotten. While the television was still working, reports came in of terrible accidents, gridlocked roads and more advice to stay in and avoid travel. Typical Britain. Shivering, Lucy moved away from the window and stared at her empty shelves. She had scattered the remaining bits of stale bread outside to feed the birds. She was now out of all fresh food and had resorted to crisps, biscuits, tinned peaches and pineapple slices when the power went. After not very long, that just made her feel sick. Alone in this tiny studio in the middle of January, the ...
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