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since 07/07/2006


Do employers have a right to use social networking sites and online searches to screen applicants? 30/01/2013

Tweets and statuses maketh the Man!

Do employers have a right to use social networking sites and online searches to screen applicants? Is screening candidates for employment an invasion of privacy, or is Facebook just another public way to project your personality and behaviour? I’m on the fence with this one, but leaning towards the merits of it. Employers hold interviews to assess not only a candidate’s skills and ability but also to see if there is a general fit for their business. This principle applies to many, many industries. The beauty of Facebook is that it is a very interesting window into the characteristics of a person. You get to see the real person. Companies will check out references, so will be checking up on employee’s backgrounds, so what’s the difference in using Facebook to do this? There was a case law a few years back when an employee from Argos was fired because they left rude, defamatory and negatives remarks about them on their personal facebook status. The employee took them to tribunal for unfair dismissal and guess what, they lost! Good for Argos, I say. If they say things like that on Facebook, they're probably slagging them off behind their backs to colleagues and creating bad feeling, which a company doesn't need – a bad apple spoiling the cart, and all that. The behaviours can be spotted on social networks too! As a general rule, in an interview, if someone slags off their boss or previous employer, they instantly get a no from me. I'm led thinking, ok so what are you ...

Should children's books have age certifications or ratings? 11/11/2012

Yes! Yes! Yes! There's method in the book rating madness!

Should children's books have age certifications or ratings? When I first saw this current issue, I raised an eyebrow and thought to myself "don't be ridiculous, literature should never be restricted to anyone wanting to read". Then I started to think along the lines of, “Well if films and videos games are being restriected to speicifc age brackets then why not other mediums too?” …If something isn't age appropriate, then it shouldn't be available for all to read, surely. I then began to think along the lines of, “But there's not enough people reading to begin with, so books are something we should encourage not put limits or restrictions on”. My rational is that it doesn't matter, if a 17 year old wants to read an 18 rated book, they're going to read it anyway! It’s exactly the same for films and video games. Imposing a ban will just make the book more tempting and alluring, which lead me straight to my decision on this issue: Yes! Put age restrictions on books! Let’s have PG, 12A, 15 and 18 ratings on all things literature…including Shakespeare! I don’t know why the government hasn’t thought of it before, whenever they have tried to encourage more reading amongst teenager and young adults. The theory is, if you put a restriction on some books, more under 18s will want to read them. It’s human nature, if you’re told you can’t have something, you want it even more. Put restrictions on books, and consequently increase reading levels amongst the age groups taking their GCSEs and A-levels. As a nation, we need to accept that age ...

Belkin Pace 10.2" Carrying case 08/11/2012

The Perfect Laptop Sleeve, In Case You Need One! (...pun intended

Belkin Pace 10.2" Carrying case Recently I've needed to buy more kit, to help with my ventures into the world of CGI. Not only did I need a new laptop, but also a new style of mouse - infact not even a mouse, but a stylus pen with tablet. I'm on the move quite a lot and need to be able to transport my equipment quite easily, but of course, at the same time, keeping it protected and in full working order. I was worried about my tablet, as it didn't come with any sort of carry I began my quest to find one. Looking online, tablet specific protective sleeves are quite expensive. Which led me to consider using a general laptop sleeve! Tablets can be awkward, not only is it the actual tablet itself that needs to transported, but there's also the cable that needs to stay secure and not end up beaten out of shape to risk damaging it completely. There's also the stylus to contend with. Most tablet stylus's are just a pen shape, with mouse not many with clippy bits that will stay wherever you clip it! So, I figured to a laptop sleeve that I could modify to work for me. I needed the sleeve to be just the right size, so not too big for the tablet to slip around in. I discovered that the best fit would be a 10.2 inch laptop sleeve - this would fit the unit and the cable in nicely, with enough room to pop the stylus in too. I was really pleased with my purchase. The sleeve looks smart and does the job for me. It's not perfect, and I do need to modify the case slightly, I want to sew in some ...

His Dark Materials Trilogy - Philip Pullman 09/10/2012


His Dark Materials Trilogy - Philip Pullman If anyone asks me for my favourite book, His Dark Materials, always leaps to mind. I first read trilogy about five years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. You may recognise them better as individual titles. The first in the trilogy is Northern Lights (known in America as The Golden Compass). The second book is The Subtle Knife, then lastly, book three is The Amber Spyglass. Containing themes such as good and evil, ideas of faith, religion and ideology. I went through emotions of love, family, companionship right through to loss and death…these books really have something for everyone. I love these books for so many reasons. The first book, Northern Lights pretty much starts off as a book aimed at the younger end of the Young Adult readership market, as the story at that stage is relatively straight forward. Then as soon as I got sucked into the books (which for me, happened very quickly), without realising it, the books started to develop into a story of epic proportions, especially as we go through Book2 and into Book3. Very often, whilst reading, I’ve thought to myself, "wow that's so clever", or "I really like what Pullman has done with the story at that bit" but then as I got onto the 3rd book, my mind was blown! I was marveled at Pullman’s ability to grab an audience and take them through so many ideas and themes. You might be familiar with Philip Pullman’s other books? He is a British author and a CBE, from Norwich and has bee listed in the "Top50 list of ...

Samsonite Royal Traveller Inflatable Travel Pillow 10/09/2012

A Balancing Act

Samsonite Royal Traveller Inflatable Travel Pillow Recently, I've had to do a lot of travelling back and forth from Oxford to London, and London to Edinburgh. I always drift off to sleep, even on the shortest of journeys, but found that I never had anything to scrunch up into a pillow to stop me getting a crick in my neck. Flights are always uncomfortable with not a lot of room to maneuver, so anything to help get comfortable is always welcome. I decided to buy one of those pillows that sit on and around your neck, so that when you sleep, you head can rest comfortably to the side, keeping your neck straight, and any cramps or cricks firmly away. After a browse online, I found that there were a lot to choose from, and so decided to a Royal Traveller Inflatable Travel Pillow from Amazon - the word "royal" in the title seemed to suggest quality somehow. The best thing about this product is you can take it anywhere, it folds away neatly and takes up very little space, what this means for me, is I can always keep it in my bag, no matter where I go. It's light and small. So, even if I'm getting a coach to London, I can quickly whip it out, give it a blow until it's firm enough to support my head, and then I'm off to dreamland before I know it. Well, that's the theory. The thing is, I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but it always slips off. To the touch, the pillow is soft and inviting, with just enough friction in the material to stay put on your shoulders, but maybe I'm leaning too hard and too far to the front, because it ...

How would you change education and schools today? 09/09/2012

Ode to Education...

How would you change education and schools today? This is a good question, and one we must ponder, For is there much wrong in schools, we wonder. We have a desire to keep changing, improving When is enough enough, when do we stop not moving? I feel our situ is good, better than before So what else do we do, to move forward some more? When I was at school, some fifteen years ago, Things were not bad, some might say so-so. I had a good time and my grades were good, I didn't feel pressure as most of us would. Nowadays it seems the buzz word is “targets”, Teachers get pressure, work themselves into bits. Every year, the exam grades get better But this year's the first time, that they were wetter! Grades were down for the first time in years, Has the bubble burst and is Gove in tears? This I doubt, for if he really cared, He would listen to schools and get ideas shared. I wouldn't change the way kids are taught. It seems to be fine, but more ways are saught! The key to it, as it seems to me, Is to keep teachers cool, help them to see: There's more to teaching than grades and high marks Let's get kids interested in books, less in the parks. For why would a kid spend time on things boring, When everyone knows in class they'd be snoring? Learning should be lively, and it should be fun, Get the kids engaged: You can teach them a tonne! I had some teachers who would stick in my mind, Who brought learning to life, and the answers we'd find! I know this sounds unrealistic to some, Idealistic and impractical for teachers to ...

Wacom Bamboo Touch - digitizer 07/09/2012

A load of Wac?

Wacom Bamboo Touch - digitizer I've recently enrolled on a course to learn how to become a 3D Animator. As part of this training, I was introduced for the first time to a Wacom Tablet. I had seen them before, but never actually used one. They are a way of communicating with your computer, through a tablet. So, instead of a mouse, you use a stylus on a tablet, to move around your screen and carry out whatever function you need. I have 2 Wacom tablets (greedy greedy) one with a stylus, and one without. The one with the stylus is fine, but the one without a stylus, the Wacom Touch (which this is the review is for) just seems a bit pointless to me. I got them both in a deal online, so I wasn't too fussed about the expense...but on reflection, it's just the necessity that I'm pondering over. Basically, the Wacom Touch is like plugging in your iPod, iPhone, iPad (or any touch technology device) tablet into your PC, and using that instead of the mouse. So, you slide you finger around on the tablet and it controls the cursor on your screen. Sounds fine, doesn't it? I find the tablet quite redundant though. There's just no justifiable need for it. The pen version of the tablet is good if your designing, as it helps with any RSI you may incur in your hand, by trying to use a mouse. But using your fingers to scroll around your PC puts your hands in all sorts of awkward positions. I'm also using a MacBook Pro, which has a very similar trackpad on the laptop itself, which seems to do more than the Wacom touch - ...

Since computer games have become so popular do you think children are reading less for pleasure? 29/08/2012

In a Child's Eye - Is Reading Cool?

Since computer games have become so popular do you think children are reading less for pleasure? Since the rise of computer games in today’s society, what effect is this having on people’s time, and time spent doing other things? A concern, is of course, that children are choosing to play games rather than expand their minds in other ways, particularly by picking up a book and reading it. Then again, one could argue that playing computer games allow the mind to behave more logically and assess situations with a reasoned approach, based on the practice of puzzle solving and being goal orientated. Reading for pleasure is a tricky one to consider. There was a phase when reading was very cool, especially during the days of being the first to finish the latest Harry Potter novel, but more recently, books aren’t so much in the fore front of the media’s attention, to help keep books cool. If Children’s advertising is about games and computer games, with little or no mention of books, why would a child choose to read? I remember 20 years ago, playing on my Super Nintendo out of choice, whilst my sister read her books. I just wasn’t really interested in reading, because all I cared about was rescuing the Princess from the evil clutches of Bowser. I don’t why I didn’t want to read, but I have distinct memories of Mario being all we would talk about at Primary school (and the Simpsons, of course) and I watched programmes and read magazines about computer games too. Perhaps in order to get children reading, there needs to be focus on it from external sources, such as the TV, with ...

Bridgestone E5 High 17/08/2012

My Dimpletastic Balls

Bridgestone E5 High I golf occasionally - not very often, but enough to know about what balls are good for what. I never really paid much attention to the type of balls I would play with, but as I got to know the game, I steered away from the bright fluorescent balls (just because they looked fun) and paid more attention to what the best players were using. I found the Bridgestone Golf E5 balls in American Golf, whilst browsing with a friend (who is far more into the sport than me). I got a box of 6, and compared to your standard golf ball, these ones are pretty good indeed. I was skeptical about the claims about how they are better and can help you play a better game of golf, but as I began to play more with them, I can see the benefit. The biggest selling point about these golf balls is the fact that they are double dimpled. They have the regular looking dimples all around the outside, but within this initial dimples, are smaller dimples. Fascinating you might say to yourself with an air of non-chalance, but these extra dimples help with getting distance on your ball, as you send it flying into the air, with your best swing. The second set of little dimples give the balls the extra umph and thrust as you swing the ball into the sky. The extra air stream that this design gives to your balls, makes the gold ball less resistance to the air, thus adding extra distance. Clever stuff, eh? I'm sure if you remember your science lessons at school, that the more aerodynamic an object is, in other ...

Sony PRS-T1 2 GB 06/08/2012

Only 16 Shades of Grey...and a mere 6 incher!

Sony PRS-T1 2 GB I'm one of these people who have resisted Kindles and E-book readers for as long as I could. I love books. I love holding and turning the pages of a book, I love the smell of a book, I like seeing how far into a book I am by where the bookmark is positioned. I just don't "get" electronic books or E-readers. Slowly but surely, I made my way to a Kindle. Ok, so I liked it. but I've yet to own my own, my lovely friends let me borrow theirs from time to time, as they're keen to convert me. The only e-Reader I've tried to date is a Kindle and this, the Sony PRS-T1. I've tried reading books on my iPhone and iPad but I wasn't a fan. I've never tried the Kobo to compare, so really I only have one decent e-reader that I've experienced to draw comparison, and that is the Kindle. My friend let me borrow their Sony PRS T1 to review - luckily it came with a book already loaded. My first impression was that it look quite cheap compared to a Kindle. The casing is made of black plastic, and it doesn't have that sophisticated je-ne-sais-quoi that I like my tech to have. It's quite light in weight, so felt comfortable to hold and read (another reason why I don't like reading on the iPad - it's too heavy on the arms to keep held up). The thing I like about the Sony PRS-T1 (especially compared to iProducts) is the display. It uses E-ink. What this is, is the display is lit in such a way that it creates the look of paper. It's like Magic. There's no glare on the screen, thanks to the matt ...

What is your most memorable Olympic moment? 29/07/2012

My Torching Olympic Memory

What is your most memorable Olympic moment? When I reach into the depths of my mind, looking for significant memories that I associate with the Olympics, a couple of things spring up. My first recollection of the Olympics, is the Seoul Olympics back in the 80s. At school we did so many projects based around it. I remember having to write out lists of the sporting events that took place and learning for the first time, what Volleyball and Badminton were. We used to have to colour in the rings, make performance graphs on previous games that took place and generally try to get as excited as we could - although at the age I was (about 7, I believe), we didn't really understand exactly what was going on. I just associate those Olympics with homework. More recently, I associate the Barcelona Olympics with Freddie Mercury and the Beijing Olympics with Mario and Sonic DA game - go figure. When the Olympic games 2012 were first announced as being held in London, I was quite non-plussed. It's not until the date got closer and closer did I start to get excited. One of the biggest things about this Olympics, is the tour (and logistical nightmare) of the Olympic torch. It feels like its been going on for months and only visited my local town very recently. I know we've had a naff summer with the largest amount of rainfall the world has ever seen (or that's as some people would like you to believe) which seems to make everyone act dreary and negative about being in the UK...but I really genuinely and truly believe this has been ...

Bioforce Salt of the Earth Deodorant Classic (Crystal Spring) 29/07/2012

Salty Hygiene

Bioforce Salt of the Earth Deodorant Classic (Crystal Spring) I love trying new products, especially personal and beauty type products. If there’s a new type of toothpaste, I want to try it. If there’s a new aftershave I want to test it. When I heard about Crystal Spring’s totally Natural Deodorant Salt of the Earth …yup, I wanted it. I first heard about Salt of the Earth in a review, which explained why it not only works and makes for a good product, but also about how good it is for the environment. Trying to be enviro-conscious now and then, I wanted to get some. I don’t really like roll on deodorants, I find them sticky and generally ineffective, so I was slightly sceptical about trying this. However, what I do like about roll ons is that as there is no spray, you don’t choke yourself stupid on the mist that you’re applying to yourself…one particular brand always make me cough like a madman (hmmm, maybe I should review it!). Whilst, this isn’t a roll on per se, it’s actually a stick of salt, so you certainly don’t get fumigated with each use! Essentially, all this product is, is a stick of salt. Salt of course, is dry, so you can’t just rub it on your skin for it to work. To apply it, you have to wet the stick -putting it under a running tap, or applying to wet skin – so straight out of the shower, is perfect, and use it as you would an ordinary roll on. Salt has very drying properties, which is why it works on your skin to keep you dry and sweat free. I didn’t really think it would work, but it does. Those astute amongst you, ...

Nivea for Men Revitalising Creme Q10 01/07/2012

Mmm Nivea, you really know how to make a man feel claggy & sweaty

Nivea for Men Revitalising Creme Q10 I always need a moisturiser. My face gets really dry, really quickly. Shaving doesn’t help, my skin gets angry and red, unless I see to it with some sort of moisturisation relief. In my efforts to get a good face full of happy skin, I try different moisturisers until I find the one that works, sad to say, Nivea for Men, Skin Energy Moisturiser, Instant effect Q10, does not do the job. It’s crap. Looks The moisturiser sits in a pump action tube, when you get some out, it looks thick and creamy, with a slight beigey tint. When you rub it between your fingers it feels thick too, none of this watery gumf that some moisturisers feel like. Smells The smell is feint and quite non-descript – I liked this. Some moisturisers can have quite a perfumed smell that can often sting once you rub it into your face, and some smell like something straight of a hospital medicine cabinet. This one just smells like clean product, not much going on. Feels This is where my love for this product goes out the window. Applying it your face is fine, and have no problem with this – it doesn’t change consistency, it doesn’t go thin, like lurpak, it’s spreadable, so to speak. Once it’s on your face, you can feel it, it feels heavy. I tried rubbing in some more, but it doesn’t really seem to make a difference. I apply the moisturiser usually once I’m dried off out of the shower, which inevitably means the room is warm and moist – as soon as this lotion hits my face, it instantly feels sweaty, and small ...

L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Moisturising Lotion 01/07/2012

L'Oreal - 'cause Men are worth it too

L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Moisturising Lotion I often have dry skin on my face, especially after I shave, so having some sort of moisturiser to hand is essential for me. I’ve tried all sorts of different moisturisers, some better than others. It’s almost like a gamble for me if I try a new one, whether or not it will do the job properly, or make my face feel greasy and gross. I’m pleased to report that L’Oreal Men Expert, Hydra Energetic, Daily Antifatigue Moisturising Lotion with Vitamin C (phew that’s a face full of a product title, isn’t it?) is a good’un. Looks Some moisturisers have a look of single cream, and a viscosity to match, but this L’Oreal cream looks slightly thicker than single cream and juicy as you depress the pump, to get it out of it’s tube. It has a slight blueish tinge, making it look somehow medical, medicinal or mentholly – perhaps having a psychological healing effect on my mind, before actually applying it. It looked like it would feel fresh and good for my skin. And it did. Smells The moisturising lotion smells fresh too, with a clinically, medical, fresh smell that brings to mind a quality of not smelling of perfume fragrances, but rather the sort of lotion that will heal you (I hope that makes sense?). What I’m trying to say, is it smells pretty good. Feels There’s nothing worse than a heavy, claggy, thick moisturiser that you can feel on your face for hours after you’ve used it. One of the things I love about this product, is that it feels light on the face. It’s easy to apply, the ...

SpecSavers Lenses 06/05/2012

Eye Like These Lenses

SpecSavers Lenses I have been a customer of SpecSavers for at least 12 years now. I've had to wear glasses my whole life, and only have sight in one eye. For a very long time, I was never allowed to wear contacts lenses. I was advised that there was too much risk of me getting an infection in my good eye - potentially developing sight problems or even worse, causing me to lose my sight and be classified as blind. Over the years, with the advance in technology, the risks seem to have reduced. Upon having my eyes tested, I saw the nice people at SpecSavers who told me I could have contact last! I was delighted as I was getting fed up of my glasses and really wanted some alternatives. Eager to go for the simplest option, I wanted daily disposables - I didn't want to risk keeping the same lenses and catch an infection if they weren't cleaned properly. At that time, daily disposables didn't come in my prescription. I'm also astigmatic (which means my eyeballs are rugby ball shaped), so needing toric lenses. So, daily disposable prescriptions that fit my criteria, just weren't available. Caving into the desire to be without glasses, I got the monthlys and became spectacle-less for the first time in my life. Monthlys Normally, if you wear contact lenses, you have two different lens, one for each eye. As I can only wear one contact lens, I got half of what customers would get regularly. People always think it's weird that I only wear one lens, but as I can't see out of my bad eye, there's ...
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