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Reviews written

since 11/07/2000

35

Digital Media Theater 01/12/2001

Big sounds from Boston

Digital Media Theater The Boston Acoustics Digital Media Theater (US Company, hence the spelling) is by far one of the best speaker/subwoofer combos that I have ever heard for the PC. Boston Acoustics have done an excellent job in providing home audio quality in a fairly compact PC set-up. What you get is a reasonably compact system that is self-powered with Dolby-Digital and Dolby Pro Logic decoding. The system comprises of two satellite speakers and a subwoofer, which contains the amplifier and surround-sound circuitry. All of the system functions are easily accessible as they are mounted to the bottom of the left satellite speaker. This means that you have easy access to power/volume, surround level, and subwoofer level controls plus a headphone socket at the side. The subwoofer level control also doubles as the surround sound test. Meaning that you can make sure you have put the speakers in the right places. All of the speakers are magnetically protected by Boson Acoustics' MagnaGuard shielding. This means that you can place the satellite speakers next to your monitor without interference. I have mine right next to my 19" monitor and have never had any problems at all. With just two satellite speakers you get what is known as Virtual Dolby Surround, which simulates Dolby Digital or Dolby Pro Logic surround from just the supplied satellite speakers. I must admit that this is pretty good, but you have sit directly between the two speakers for this to work to its full potential. However, ...

Need for Speed 4: Road Challenge (PC) 16/10/2001

More speed please

Need for Speed 4: Road Challenge (PC) Need for Speed 4: Road Challenge (or High Stakes) absolutely rocks! I borrowed it off of a friend just to check it out and I can't leave it alone. The graphics are of a pretty high standard and the look and feel of the cars is spot-on. You can feel the response of the different cars by the way they drive, unlike some games that I have played where all of the cars feel the same. There is plenty to keep you going for ages. Just enter into the tournaments and race around beautifully created tracks that are based in different countries around the world. From Scotland to the US. As you progress through the tournaments you are presented with the chance to win bonus cars and enter into extra tracks. If this isn't enough for you, then log onto the net and download extra cars and tracks from various official and non-official sites. I definitely recommend that you download the extra cars from the official Need for Speed site - you will not be disappointed! Be wary of some of the extra tracks that you can download from unofficial sites as they may still be in BETA and may damage the game or over-write another track - the same goes with the cars. This is especially important to remember when adding extra cars. Most cars install without any hassle, however, you may come accross the odd one that will not load properly or crashes the game. No real problem just delete its files from the games' directory. Most cars come with a readme.txt file so you can see where all the files ...

Japanese Performance 05/06/2001

No sex, just cars...

Japanese Performance This magazine is fairly similar to Max Power, in that it features mainly modified cars. However, unlike Max Power these cars are only from Japan, hence the title of the magazine (well duh…). Also, you may or may not be pleased to know there are no half-naked women who adorn every other page. No, this magazine concentrates solely on the cars, which is a good thing. If you're into cars in a big way, then you'll know that a modified Japanese car doesn't need a half-naked woman draped over it to make it gorgeous. Enough already… I hear you cry. I'm sorry I know you came here to find out about the magazine. So what else have we got? Obviously you have a cover story. This is usually the pick of the bunch from the cars that are featured. The write-up is of a very high standard, as are the pictures. You are usually given a little bit of history about the car and the owner. Then you are taken on a journey with the car… What I mean by this is the writer introduces you to the car and then gives you a full-on tour. Nothing is left untouched here. Most of the time you can understand and appreciate what you are reading. However, you are taken into more technical areas as well. Some of which are a bit in depth for the average reader, although this is essentially an enthusiasts magazine. I could solely write this opinion on the way the cover features are written, but I won't. Instead I'll be nice and tell you about the rest of the magazine and what it has to offer. News ...

ColdFusion UltraDev 4 Studio 5 Complete package 12/03/2001

What Dreams are made of

ColdFusion UltraDev 4 Studio 5 Complete package Wow, this is such a great product I don't know where to begin. I think the best thing to do is sum it up for you with a quote from the January 2001 edition of Macromedia Magazine: "Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev is the first visual solution that lets developers rapidly create database-driven Web applications for multiple server platforms. This cross-platform product, which is based on the core Dreamweaver architecture, gives you the best of both worlds. It offers the features you need to create ASP, JSP and CMFL-based Web applications and lets you take advantage of the powerful Dreamweaver HTML design features in one design environment." Right, you've read the quote above and are either enthused or confused, or maybe even both. Well, let me try and help you out by breaking down the key parts of the excellent package. Dreamweaver Essentially this product is the standard Macromedia Dreamweaver with a whole host of goodies added into the mix. This gives you the excellent WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) platform and a facility for database connectivity. You can still design you web pages in the same way as the standard Dreamweaver editor, without even laying eyes on the database part of UltraDev. Simply select your work area and view your web page as you build it. If you need to know how something is done in the code, simply select the code view. If you want both the code and you page, no problem, you can combine the two all in the same window. This ...

punchbaby.com 11/03/2001

Punchbaby

punchbaby.com Have you ever wondered where all of your humorous e-mail attachments come from? Well this site is the answer! You can pretty much find all of the humorous games, movie clips, etc that you've ever been sent. There are many categories that you can have a look at, but be warned, some of the things that you find aren't for those of you who are easily offended. However, these such items are usually included in the adult section, and adult does mean adult in some cases as nudity can occur. This site contains all of the clips that you've been dying to own or already have plus many more that will make you laugh, cry, and recoil back in horror. The site layout is very easy to use with all of the sections clearly labelled so as not to confuse you. I definitely recommend this site to those of you with a good sense of humour as there are loads of things to enjoy.

Wilkinson Sword FX Diamond Razor 11/03/2001

Very good, although pricey

Wilkinson Sword FX Diamond Razor I like this razor for the simple fact that the blades stay sharper for longer. This is thanks to their diamond tip. Double diamond blades (not complete diamond you realise), no wonder they're so bloomin' expensive. Nevertheless a damn close shave, even if I do say so myself. The look and feel of this razor is especially good, not too heavy and not too light. When you're picky this does matter. There's nothing worst than an uncomfortable razor - blood everywhere - not a good thing! No this razor is just right for me. It is sturdy and the fact that the blades can flex is very useful, this means you get to use to whole blade rather than just the centre. I must admit that I do find the blades to be much more expensive than the competition! Around £5-6 pounds for just four blades, however, I feel that they are worth it. The whole package is just so comfortable to use. So if you want to spoil yourself check out this razor.

vibe - fm 11/03/2001

Vibe FM - Totally Brilliant - UPDATED

vibe - fm This is simply the best radio station that the east of England has to offer. If you love dance tunes then this is definitely the station for you! Even if you don't I would still recommend that you give it a go - they play lots of music from the 70s, 80, 90s, and now so I'm sure there will be something there that'll get you tapping your toe. All of the presenters are great, and this is what brings this station to life. All of them really get into what they are doing and the listeners are always invited to phone in and join the fun. In particular I love the breakfast show as the presenters really help me to wake up in the mornings when I'm driving in to Uni. There are plenty of jokes and lively banter between the presenters, which means that you don't get bored in between songs. They like nothing more than winding each other up, much to the joy of the listeners. There are travel updates usually every half-hour to an hour, which is also very helpful. This is especially so because the main priority is the local roads, although they do cover roads around the local area. If you live in the east of England I suggest that you tune in and give it a listen. I used to listen to Radio 1 all of the time, but when Vibe FM came out I tuned in and have never turned back. Another good thing about Vibe-FM is that they do sets at the local clubs throughout the week. They have slots at The Junction in Cambridge; De Niro's in Newmarket and various other clubs around the ...

altavista.com 11/03/2001

Searching made easy - albeit a little slow

altavista.com When I was an Internet newbie this was the first search engine that I used. Back then it was quite a bit different to the site that you get now. However, I am looking at the site as it stands today. It is a great search engine, don't get me wrong, but I can't help feeling that it has been turned into a huge money-making "machine" and this has affected the service. Yes it is still up there with the best, however, it is no longer the best. You see the problem is that it has become a lot slower than it was, and I have also noticed the growing amount of dead links left floating around. This is just a minor annoyance - you still get what you're looking for. You just have to look a little harder than you used to. I think one of the most useful features is the category sections. This can speed up searching a great deal as you only get topics that are relevant to the area that you in. However, as you may have noticed this has become very popular with almost all search engines that you visit, although I feel that Altavista provides one of the best categories sections. As well as all of the usual searching facilities you can also select shopping areas and news. Although this is a useful feature to have, when you are simply search this can easily be overlooked. If you take the time to scroll right to the bottom of the screen you will find that Altavista is available in many different countries. This has the added benefit of not presenting you with a world-wide list of ...

alladvantage.com 11/03/2001

Alladvantage is Dead - UPDATED 10-03-2001

alladvantage.com Just as I predicted (see below), February 2001 sees Alladvantage close its doors and leave our lives for good. No longer will we be able to use the Infomediary toolbar to earn money (there's a laugh) surfing the web. They advise that you uninstall it as it may interfere with other programs should you try and continue to use it. So there we have it. Alladvantage has had its day and we now bid a sad or joyful farewell... Rest in Peace Alladvantage. Well I'm sorry to say that if you didn't reach the payout threshold then you'll not see your money. However, this was made clear in the updated Terms and Conditions. However, if you did manage to reach the payout threshold before Alladvantage closed then you should still get your money. I have changed all of the ratings below to either Average or Satisfactory because the site no longer functions. Although the site no longer exists, the domain name, www.alladvantage.com is still registered to them until 26-Feb-2002. Obviously they thought they would still be going a little longer... If you don't believe me then check out www.domaindiscover.com and search for alladvantage.com. You're then given a short list of the Alladvantage domain names they still own. Not very exciting, but something to do. Just think after February 2002 you may be able to own a piece of history by registering the Alladvantage domain name. Wow, won't that be great... --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- ...

Journey Inwards - LTJ Bukem 11/03/2001

Pure and original Beats

Journey Inwards - LTJ Bukem Well it's his first album to contain solely his own work. Okay, so I should point out that this is not your usual Drum and Bass only album that he has been involved in. No, this gives you a blend of mellow trip-hop style beats moving smoothly into Drum and Bass later on, and a surprise dance track on the second CD. First impressions were good, but after listening to the album a few more times I can't stop listening to it! The tunes are so atmospheric that you get totally immersed in the melodies! The bass just rolls along and just adds to the whole atmosphere that Bukem creates. This album is a must have!

FastTrack - Nullsoft WinAmp 10/03/2001

One of the best - a must have

FastTrack - Nullsoft WinAmp Winamp is possibly the best MP3 player that I have ever used... It is very easy to use and configure, with plenty of options to keep both novice and hard-core users happy. Winamp also plays a number of other music formats including .mod, .xm, and .it, which are more commonly known in the tracking community. Not only this, but there are also hundreds of plug-ins and skins available to customise Winamp to look and play the way you want it to! Best of all it's FREE! Winamp is getting bigger by the second. New updates to the engine mean that it is now a lean, mean MP3 playing machine. Bugs have been squashed, and version 3 is on the way - still for free. Also available on the Winamp website there are numerous forums that you can participate in, as well as get information about bugs and technical support. All in all a must have product.

Max Power 10/02/2001

Maximum this - Maximum that

Max Power Where do I start? Well basically what we have here is a magazine aimed at people who enjoy modifying cars. The majority of whom seem to be men. Ok so anyone can buy this magazine, take it home and read it, but it is really aimed at the male population. This is emphasised by the scantly clad women who adorn the pages of the magazine. Many of them are professional models such as Page 3 girls or the like. However, Max Power prefers to call them "Max Babes". Now this is all well and good for the male majority (not all), but what about the female readers and those who are of an impressionable age? Well many people have written into the magazine to address this issue, but to no avail. The general view seems to be tough - if you don't like it, don't buy it! What else it there? There are the cars - the whole point of the magazine. Each month the finest cars in the land are featured in all their glory. The write-ups seem to be of a fairly high standard, containing many facts and figures as well as history (of the car) and humour - often at the owners' expense. At the end of each feature is a 'tech-spec' of the car telling the reader what has been done to the car in certain key areas. These areas are: Engine, Transmission, Suspension, Brakes, Wheels & Tyres, Bodywork, Interior, ICE (In Car Entertainment), and Security. You are also given various performance statistics and telephone numbers you can call from the major suppliers, etc. who helped out with the ...

Rover 416 Si 30/01/2001

Comfortable and refined

Rover 416 Si The car in question is a 1996 P-Reg version. This car was bought on the reputation of Rovers being reliable and comfortable cars. The car has been in the family from new and has always been very reliable and cheap to run. Servicing has always been done through a main Rover dealer, and the service that they provided was excellent. Back to the car, for a 1.6 the engine is very lively and when pushed will out-perform many similar cars in its class. Engine noise is very reasonable even when revs are high up the rev-range, which is very pleasing. Corfort levels are up to the usual Rover standard, being very comfortable on short and longer journeys. Standard equipment is very good - features include: power steering, electric front and rear windows, electric sunroof, electric door mirrors and many other standard features that you would expect.

Nokia In-Car Charger For Nokia 5130 25/01/2001

Certainly comes in handy

Nokia In-Car Charger For Nokia 5130 I don't really know what to say about this product. I mean how do you get excited about a piece of plastic with a cord and plug hanging off of it? Sounds really interesting doesn't it? Right then, I'll try my best to give you the low-down on what is essentially a boring yet useful product. The charger that I am referring to is for the Nokia 5110 (check out my opinion). I'm not too sure whether this charger is universal or not. At a guess I'd say yes and no because not all Nokia phones have the same plugs on their bottom. Basically what you have is the core part of the charger that plugs into you cigarette lighter in your car. This contains the actual workings that take power from the car battery and charge your phone. Once plugged in you'll see a red light (on the charger) come on to let you know that you have power. Then you simply plug the other end into your phone and there you have it your phone should start charging up. Ok so there's a little more than that. When you plug the charger into the phone it beeps at you and then displays a charging symbol. This is to let you know that you phone is aware of the charger and it can begin to charge the battery. You should then see the battery power indicator on the left-hand side of the display moving up and down. Now your phone is charger so you can leave it alone. The cord between the charger and the phone is long enough to reach to a safe place to put your phone while it is charger. I put mine into the centre ...

Subaru Impreza 2.0 WRX Estate 24/01/2001

Who needs a super car

Subaru Impreza 2.0 WRX Estate It has to be said that the Impreza Turbo, as a rally car, has rewritten the record books in the past decade, but I'm here to talk about the road car. Just like the rally car, the road car has had its fair share of success. 1999 saw the Impreza take the JC Power/BBC Top Gear Manufacturers' Gold Award for the second year running. Now this has to say something about the car and the potential that comes with it. As well as this it has won Japanese car of the year many times over. The Impreza Turbo shares the same flat four 'boxer' engine and the perfectly linear All-Wheel Drive system with the rally car. This means that the Impreza road car has huge amounts of power and grip. However, unlike the rally version, the road car only has around 218bhp. Nevertheless, this car is no slouch when it comes to delivering the goods. Subaru claim a 0-62mph time of just 6.3 seconds and a top speed of around 143mph. I think you'll agree that these are some damn good statistics considering this car is effectively a family saloon. Due to its performance, the Impreza has been put up against some stiff competition in its time, yet it has never failed to disappoint. Both in its sheer speed or its huge amounts of grip. Auto Express once said; "… its phenomenal grip cheats the laws of physics". Now that is some statement! On to the other stuff… Exterior styling is largely the same as that of the rally car, except for the two extra doors on the saloon version. All of the stuff that makes ...
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