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I am a mature (but not too mature) guy who loves electronic gadgets and dabbling in Genealogy. I am a very keen member of Slimming World and have reduced my weight to take me from obese to the normal range.

Reviews written

since 27/05/2003


HTC Touch Diamond 02/12/2009

More than just a rough diamond

HTC Touch Diamond HTC make a greater range of phones than most people realise. Lots of friends I speak to just say "never heard of them". The reason this happens is because the firm desgns & makes phones for other companies who then re-badge them. In the last few years they have decided to make the jump into the market with their own badge on the phones. So far all of their devices have been aimed at the top end of the market in the Smart Phone category and the Touch Diamond stays in that bracket. I have been using a Touch Diamond now for about one year so I have been able to find its strengths and weaknesses quite well. Appearance: I was attracted to the phone in the first place because of its looks and I still feel that it looks very attractive due to its sharp clean lines, thin body and clear screen. The screen is flush with the remainder of the body which prevents dust build up and I feel that it helps to make it easier on the fingers when using the touch screen. Features: The main feature is the touch screen operation from which the device takes its name. It is achieved by using a wrap-around on top of Windows Mobile OS but it is this that limits it. The front screen and some of the other screens are touch friendly i.e. easy to use fingers, but certain other parts revert to the native Windows Mobile especially when selecting from the menu listing. The native OS was designed for stylus use which is why a stylus is neatly stored in the base of the device secured magnetically. The ...

Epson SX515W 08/11/2009

EPSON Stylus SX515W - stylish, capable but not perfect

Epson SX515W Introduction We have three computers in the house, one desktop & two laptops which are used wirelessly. Previously, I had a simple low cost printer connected to the desktop. This was fine but in recent months use of the desktop has declined so it has stood unused most of the time. To print it was a case of transfer document to USB stick, switch on desktop, print from USB stick, switch off desktop. What a pain !! I decided enough was enough and after researching the market for multi-function wireless devices I decided to purchase the Epson SX515W as it looked good, had all the features I wanted and was a good price. Installation The salesman advised me to set it up on the desktop initially as it would be hard wired via USB. If you hear this don't let it put you off. The set-up works fine even if you have a single laptop but you must ensure the printer is connected to it via USB when the initial printer setup is carried out. Anyhow, I set the printer & computers up and it now works wonderfully. Text documents are very quick and clear. Photographs when printed on photo paper are incredible ! Just as good as anything from a shop. I only had one problem which was not a fault with the printer but I will mention it. I initially couldn't get wireless printing to work. It turned out it was my firewall blocking the request being sent to the printer. I had to manually change my BitDefender settings to allow it to work and its been ok since. As I say, not the fault of ...

SanDisk Cruzer Titanium - USB flash drive - 8 GB 17/09/2008

Enjoy the day with a cruzer and make life easy !!

SanDisk Cruzer Titanium - USB flash drive - 8 GB The world seems to be full of pen drives these days with varying shapes, colours & capacities. However one thing that never changes is the simple fact that they are a simple solid state storage device... until now!! The SanDisk Cruzer Titanium stores data of course but has an extra trick up its sleeve that makes all the difference. The difference is down to the U3 launcher that resides on the device as a piece of software. When the device is inserted into a USB drive the U3 program launches automatically and adds an extra icon to the system tray. When this "U3" icon is clicked you are presented with the U3 launch pad on the right which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Windows Start menu. The launch pad has a number of pre-installed programs already on it to give you a flavour of the U3 principle. Some examples are Skype, McAfee Virus Scan USB, Portable Vault & Mahjong. There are a number of others so I have included a picture of the menu. U3 programs can be downloaded from their website onto the drive and will become part of the menu under the "More Programs" sub-menu. Many are free and I have loaded Mozilla Firefox, Open Office, WinRAR & a couple of games. Take a look at "U3 Software Central" in your browser to get an idea of software including prices where applicable. The Cruzer can of course be used as a conventional pen drive with the added bonus that you can have a security function selected. If this is done the user trying to access the data ...

Canon MV940 17/05/2008

Easy to use, shame about the battery!!

Canon MV940 I bought the Canon MV940 Camcorder after my previous camcorder was broken in an accident. I wanted something that would be easy to use and would be reliable. I am pleased to say that it has met those expectations and more over a period of 18 months and shows no sign of problems. Features Widescreen display & recording 25X Optical Zoom 800X Digital Zoom Still image capture mode Multi-program settings Ease of use The Camcorder can be use to record video or take still pictures. The video capture can be carried out in two modes "Easy" or "Manual". In Easy mode virtually everything is automatic and all you need to do is capture the data zooming as desired. but switch to program and you can adjust exposure and focus manually plus switch to a number of different programs to suit night conditions, incandescent light, snow plus many more. Still image capture is simply a case of flicking a switch on the camera. Focus is automatic and works extremely well using multi-point program to ensure it picks up on the correct items. Image quality is not up the standard of todays digital cameras but it is more than adequate for most purposes. Downsides Battery life was rather poor and I recommend that you carry a spare at all times. I bought an own brand one from one of the camera shops which was 50% lower cost but perfoms just as well as the canon product. The other downside is the built-in microphone which tends to pick up on wind noise rather too much. On a windy day ...

Norton Internet Security 2007 22/07/2007

Getting better but still a way to go!

Norton Internet Security 2007 My partner bought a copy when obtaining her first computer and it seemed sensible for me to split the cost. I was slightly apprehensive as I had used Internet Security before and had ended up removing it because of the amount of system resources it occupied. I am pleased to say that Symantec have made some improvements in this area although there is still huge room for improvement. If you have a very powerful computer you may not notice it too much but my girlfriends laptop suffers badly. She is reluctant to remove it and buy another as she can\'t afford it yet but I will recommend a change next time if Symantec don\'t sort this out once and for all. Come on Symantec, you have a basically sound product which functions well and is easy to use even if you are a beginner but not everyone has a powerhouse of a PC. Your competitors are overtaking you in terms of capabilities but most of all because they don\'t stretch system resources. I hope you do get something sorted as I would prefer to stay with this product....

Norton - Norton Internet Security 24/08/2004

Lock the door or pay the price !

Norton - Norton Internet Security As time passes the world of computing has been dragged deeper and deeper into the world of the internet. We have now got to the stage where a PC without a connection to the web is very limited in what it can do. The fact that you are reading this means that you are one of the many millions of “surfers” on the planet. I must admit to loving the experience myself but there is a price to pay. The world of the internet is sadly full of viruses, hackers and spammers who are out there to make life miserable for the rest of us so if you want to make things tolerable then you need to have a good anti-virus program and a firewall. The Norton Internet Security package contains both of these plus the other goodies listed below and is well worth considering if you use the internet. • Anti-Virus • Personal Firewall • Privacy Control • Anti-Spam • Parental Control Anti-Virus is self explanatory in its purpose i.e. it scans for viruses being transmitted via your machine and blocks them. It is worth noting that it blocks viruses in both directions so if one gets onto your machine then the software will prevent it being spread further. Emails are scanned when received but not with all software packages. The email package must be POP-3 compliant such as MS Outlook or Outlook Express. Many of the instant messaging programs are also covered by the 2004 version of this software which protects you from threats previously ignored by many manufacturers. Also included with ...

Slim Fast 10/04/2004

Its all a matter of taste

Slim Fast I know that I needed to lose weight but was unsure on the best way to do it having failed with previous slimming attempts. So I decided to give SlimFast a try. The SlimFast range consists of pre-mixed shakes in cans, shakes to mix yourself, pasta meals, soups, snack bars, meal replacement bars and Ice Creams (yes, I did say Ice Creams!). Slimfast Principles --------------- ----------- I find the whole principle easy to follow with meal replacements for breakfast and lunch followed by a meal for dinner which is 600 cals or less. This can be supplemented with snacks in mid morning, afternoon and evening providing the snack is 100 calories or less. The meal replacements can be a shake, pasta meal, soup, microwave meal or a meal bar. Shakes ----------- The shakes are the most varied of the meals with about half a dozen flavours including coffee or chocolate (coffee being my favourite). The first thing that strikes you about the shakes is the sweetness; for a product that is for slimming use it seems rather odd to have it tasting like a can of liquid sugar but the calories are just right. Nevertheless I am not a sugar loving person so I would prefer it if the drink was rather less sweet and more of the taste of fresh fruit. Alternatively, why not provide flavours which are savoury rather than sweet - maybe something similar to V8? The shakes are provided in two forms, either pre-mixed in a can or in powder form which needs mixing with skimmed milk. Being lazy I ...

Pinnacle Studio 9 Version upgrade package 09/04/2004

Lights, Camera, Action !

Pinnacle Studio 9 Version upgrade package When I received my Camcorder I was supplied with a copy of Pinnacles Studio 8 SE as part of the package. This is ok but is somewhat limited in certain aspects such as menus where you can only use a single menu per project. My imagination demanded more than this so I decided to purchase the upgrade to Studio 9. The package installs easily enough and it is worth making sure that you register it so that you are notified of updates as they become available. Studio 9 unlocks many of the features that were not available with the SE version of Studio 8 making it a far more useable product with everything you need to create your movie. My main reason for buying was the increase in menu usage so you can have a menu at the beginning with buttons if you intend to burn to DVD and have screens wherever you like throughout the production to introduce sections of the film so that you don't have to sit and ponder where the heck it is when you watch it in a years time. Instructions for use are supplied on the disc but I opted to purchase a printed manual when I ordered the upgrade. This has proved to be worth its weight in gold because it is extremely tricky to access the electronic manual when in the middle of editing and its so much easier to grab the manual to see how to do something. The manual is well presented with an attractive cover so I would consider it a 'must have'. The first part of the process is the capture of the data. This is normally from the camcorder and if ...

Cadbury Double Decker with Nuts 08/04/2004

Enough to drive me nuts!!

Cadbury Double Decker with Nuts I first encountered this product about a week ago when my girlfriend bought me one after a trip to the local supermarket. I like the usual Double Decker (and all other Cadbury products) so I must admit to being unsure when I first saw it. The first thing I noticed was the newly designed packaging which is much more appealing to the eye than a conventional Double Decker. The eye catching colours would certainly draw me towards it if I saw it on a shelf. After opening the packaging I noticed it looks exactly like a standard double decker but what the hell, I am going to eat it not stare at it! I found the texture and taste very much better than a normal double decker as the nuts take away some of the sweetness and also provide a lovely crunch that compliments the rest of the bar. The chewiness (is that a word?) of the base section along with the crunch of the nuts and the lovely Cadburys chocolate seem to provide a perfect blend for me making it very satisfying to eat and it doesn't disappear instantly after it hits your mouth (unlike some other bars). I was very surprised when I couldn't see it on the Cadbury's web site and had to go and look elsewhere on the web to find about launch dates etc. Come on Cadbury's, you have a belting product here so shout it out to the world! Last of all, I still find it difficult to find them in shops so if you see them grab a few as you might feel agrieved if you have to wait a while for the next bar.

LiteOn LDW-851S 30/03/2004

Let it burn!

LiteOn LDW-851S I recently got into Digital Video editing and decided to go the whole way by creating a DVD of the finished product. After all, why spend hundreds of pounds on equipment and many hours editing if you ain't going to finish it off nicely. So, I decided that I needed to equip my PC with a DVD burner. As usual I spent a lot of time researching things by checking the web and reading DV magazines but even after this there were some worries because there didn't seem to be a single DVD format that was guaranteed to come on top. The formats available are DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW & DVD-RAM. None of the manufacturers seem to be able to agree on a format so I was worried that I would buy something that might turn out to be useless in a year or so. After looking through the web sites I found many variants using various combinations of the formats mentioned but the ones with the best combinations seemed very expensive. Imagine my delight when I came across the Lite-on LDW-851S which can write using all of the DVD formats except DVD-RAM and it also writes CD-R and CD-RW. All this for less than one hundred pounds. I didn't waste any time in ordering one from my local supplier. It arrived very quickly and I am pleased to say I fitted it with a very minimum of problems (none at all) and it looked good when in place. There was an audio lead included in the pack which puzzled me somewhat as the modern CD/DVD drives take the sound data via the IDE cables but what the hell, I don't mind getting ...

Canon MV650i 19/03/2004

A peach of a Camera - beginners take note !

Canon MV650i I have wanted a Camcorder for about 12 months but I am the sort of person who feels nervous about buying these sort of things on impulse. I did a lot of research reading as many articles as possible, getting the feel of the hardware in my local electrical retailers and making decisions as to what sort of things I wanted to do with the camera and the output I would create. After a lot of thought I decided to go for an up-to-date model using digital technology so that I could edit the movie on my PC and finally output to either DVD or tape. The choice of Digital Camcorder narrowed it down somewhat but there were still quite a few to look at. When checking the feel of the hardware I like the feel of the Canon models so I decided it would be one of the 600 series but which one? All the models in the range are fine cameras but I didn't want to buy something that would restrict me when it came to more advanced work later on. All of them have DV in & out which means that you can output data from the DV tape in the camera to your PC or tape, in addition to this you can record from Video tape back onto the DV tape in the camera. This allows you to copy a home movie from tape into the Camcorder and copy it to your PC for further editing before re-recording to tape or DVD. After checking out prices I plumped for the MV650i because it had all the features I wanted including a 22x zoom lens and was on offer on the web with a price that was a snip. I got the camera and proceeded ...

Pinnacle Studio 8.0 Version upgrade package 27/02/2004

A great start to the world of DV

Pinnacle Studio 8.0 Version upgrade package I must admit to being relatively new to the world of Digital Video or DV but I have been playing with demo versions of may editing packages for several months. When I bought my Camcorder I received a copy of Pinnacles Studio 8 SE to get me going. The SE version is a limited version which means that certain features are disabled such as use of multiple menus to introduce different sections of your masterpiece. Nevertheless it is perfectly adequate to edit your DV and to add menus, transitions between sections and soundtracks. If you don't need any more then this version of Pinnacles excellent software is more than adequate. If however you feel that you wish to add a few more bells and whistles then you will need to upgrade to a higher version. The cost of doing this varies from approx £30 to more than £200 depending on how much functionality you want. I am plumping for the plain upgrade to Studio 9 which is the lowest price as it will give me all the features I want. The software is extremely easy to use and after watching the demo supplied on the CD I loaded the example DV and played around for a while producing a short film which pleased me a great deal considering it was my first attempt. It was very interesting to compare this to the other editing packages I have tried which although they have much greater capabilities they also prove to be far harder to use which is not what I want when trying to learn the art. I found the software to be extremely stable on my ...

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (PS2) 14/06/2003

Why you need to have a pet

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (PS2) I must admit to being rather keen on platform games for the PS2 so when I spotted Jak & Daxter in the store at a relatively low price I didn't think twice about purchasing it. As the game is one of the older games for the PS2 it often retails for less than £20 but despite its age the graphics are very good although not surprisingly it cannot match titles such as Ratchet & Clank. Jak is a rather strange looking lad who is given the challenge of finding out all about the Precursors. He is accompanied by a rather strange looking creature which is similar in appearance to a ginger ferret. Daxter has not always been this way and the solution to getting him back to his normal self is part of the quest. The characters rush around with Daxter on Jaks back for most of the time, only getting off when he is still e.g. when he is dead! To work through the game you have to move through a number of different parts of the world but you have to complete a certain number of challenges in each part before you can move on to the next. I found it better to complete as many as possible as you always get valuable supplies by completing the challenges. You begin by talking to your yellow skinned uncle and by yellow skinned I don't mean cowardly. He is literally yellow as a banana! He tells you about your challenge but first lets you loose in a training environment where you can learn the basic moves needed throughout the game. While going through the game you need to collect ...

The Osbournes - Series 1 (DVD) 11/06/2003

Family from Hell

The Osbournes - Series 1 (DVD) This DVD is so very different from anything you are likely to come across anywhere else! There is obviously no script, the language is fairly lucid for most of the time and there are scenes showing things which other shows would edit out such as the pets shitting or puking on the floor. Despite this I found the programmes hugely entertaining due to the variety and sheer normality of it all. So many of the current "reality" TV shows are blatently scripted and hammed up and it makes a refreshing change to see people act as you would expect them to react. Have no fear, this is not an ordinary family and with the Prince of Darkness as the father, a crazy mother as his wife and manager plus two kids who do their best to cause mayhem there is never time to get bored. I felt sorry for the girl who helped out at the home looking after things when the parents were away! There are a total of 10 episodes which is all of series 1 plus a number of special features which comprise of various items including conversations with family members and games. Total running time is 210 minutes which for me is about right. The episodes are on two DVD's with all of the special features being contained on the second disc. Anyone that buys this is likely to know Ozzy Osbourne but you may well be surprised by what you see. This is not the maniac he portrays on the stage but a very caring and sensible father (most of the time!). There are brief instances where insanity rules ok but that is ... 01/06/2003

Addiction to there a cure. I started using auctions a few years ago just to see how it worked. I bought a few trinkets using Yahoo but when that finished I started to use EBay. I have bought all sorts of items from Gas Masks to toy cars to computer games. There is nothing that I will discount looking at. The best aspect is the sheer number of items with most things being available from a number of different sources and often at different prices. I have recently purchased three brand new games for the PS2 from different suppliers getting an average discount of approx 40% on shop prices! I usually go on the site twice a day and just browse for items just about to end to get an idea of final price. I usually bid for about 3 items per week although I usually get about 1 successful purchase per fortnight. Its a pity that the site does not allow the bidders/sellers to customise to suit their needs. I would love to be able to store my frequent searches. Overall a darn good auction site with something for everyone but be warned... once you try it you will be addicted!!
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