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ayanayuk

ayanayuk

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Reviews written

since 16/08/2001

96

Advent AW10 04/08/2011

Does the AW10 mean awful wireless?

Advent AW10 One of my pet hates in the world of technology is printers. From my very first dot matrix printer back in 1993, to the current printer I have now, I've hated them. It's not the function they do, or the fact that they can be noisy and annoying (especially when you least expect it to kick in because your other half has hit the print button and the network printer kicks into life next to you) – I just never liked setting them up. Anyway, it's the yearly technology purge at Ant Towers at the moment and one of the things that was on the “really needs replacing” list was Shush's old printer/scanner combo. It had seen better days, the print head was acting up and the general use for it was to occasionally scan any work notes or correspondence to PDF for the file server we have in the house. After allowing myself to be lured into PC World (basically because I urgently need a new wireless mouse), we saw this set-up for £29.99. There was a bit of umm-ing and ahh-ing as to whether we bought it, although this was mainly down to who was going to carry it home (no car), but once I'd agreed to be the donkey, it was bought. In the box was the printer (obviously), the set-up disk, printer cartridges and head and some photo paper which is the usual bumph you get with such items. Putting it together was a breeze, even being distracted by one of my cats deciding that it liked the colourful bit of plastic you need to remove, and in about 5 minutes it was done. It connected to the wi-fi after a ...

HTC Wildfire 04/08/2011

Wild about the Wildfire S?

HTC Wildfire How I came to end up with the HTC Wildfire S is interesting as it wasn't actually my choice. About 6 weeks ago my previous "smartphone", the Samsung Galaxy Portal (aka Samsung Spica) decided to turn itself into a high-tech paperweight. Being relatively technically minded, and having a laptop to hand and an internet connection meant that although I was away working I was able to at least get the phone useable again (it involves lots of words like 'rooting', 'flashing' and others I won't mention for those of a nervous disposition), but it was far from stable. I rang Shushy up to see if she could some how get a phone from 3 for a week or so, while the Portal went in for repair as she pays the bill on the mobile. After a lot of phonecalls back and fro, and a couple of arguments, the end result was they actually replaced the Portal with the Wildfire S for free. Has it been a blessing or a curse? To be honest, if I'd actively gone looking for a replacement phone the HTC Wildfire S would have been a phone that I'd have not taken much notice of. The main reason is because it's not a brand like Nokia, Sony or Samsung. Ironically though, HTC are the company responsible for the Google Nexus One (Google's flagship Android phone), and they actually produced the first phone using Android back in 2008. Gone are the days when they were considered a cheap brand of phone, as they actually now have the heritage to back them up. The phone I have is the black version and is quite understated. ...

Sky Broadband 21/04/2011

Sky Connect? Sky Disconnect Is More Like It...

Sky Broadband Back in January our contract with BT ran out so Shushy (my wife - and yes - that really is her name) decided to scout out what alternatives we had. As we live out in the middle of the country we're a bit limited for choice in regards to what we can get broadband wise. There's no cable around here and although our exchange is unbundled we also had little choice due to very few ISPs putting their equipment in our exchange. One of the options available that caught Shushy's attention was the Sky Talk and Broadband package. Anyway she rang up and was told we could only have Sky Connect as their equipment isn't in our exchange yet. She asked what impact that would have and she was told absolutely none - we'd get a better service than BT (6 Meg compared to the 4 Meg we were getting then), but it would cost us £17.50 a month on top of the call package until they got their equipment in and then it would drop to £7.50 per month. The only real downside would be that we'd be limited to 40Gig of downloads a month until they could switch us over to the unlimited package (which would be coming along 'soon'). Anyway, she decided that I'd just have to download less and signed up. Three weeks later and it went live. Now the switch over was seamless and trouble free, but this was were the first problem we encountered was. The BT Homehubs we had have a built in router and although they can be configured to work with other ISPs Sky refused point blank to give us our login details. The Sky ...

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC) 22/09/2010

What's your $%^&ing Game?

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC) WARNING – This is the second revision of a BIG review about BIG game so if you're looking for a quick synopsis, look elsewhere :) I've also left out a lot of information about the upcoming release of the expansion pack 'Cataclysm' as I don't want to speculate as to what may and may not be in there until it's released, which will get a seperate review. The title of the review is also a line taken from a WoW advert by Ozzy Osbourne (look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6LpGBS-BUo to see it :) ). Way back in 2005 I heard a couple of friends wibbling on about a game called World of Warcraft. It was what's known as a role playing game where you play a character and do various quests and level up your character as well as do various achievements for managing various things. "How sad..." I thought. The only role playing I liked to do was in the bedroom and if I wanted to take it onto the PC I had a game called Neverwinter Nights which I used to play. When an expansion pack to World of Warcraft called The Burning Crusade came out in January 2007 I couldn't understand their impatience to get the hands on it. "How sad..." I thought. In November 2008 the next expansion came out called Wrath of The Lich King and a few of these mates went to a games shop at midnight to get their copy. "How sad..." I thought. A week later my then partner ended up in hospital and would require someone around the house for two weeks. For some reason I decided to have a look at what was doing the rounds ...

Sony PlayStation 3 Slim (PS3) 05/05/2010

The PS3 Slim Comparison

Sony PlayStation 3 Slim (PS3) ***AUTHORS NOTE*** This review as stated is a comparison between the PS3 Fat and the PS3 Slim. At the bottom of this review, is my review of the original PS3. This is included for comparison, and to save me having to explain vast amounts of information again. I'd advise reading both (if possible) so you can draw comparisons. As anyone who reads my reviews regularly may know, I've a bit of a Sony fetish. When it comes to consoles the PS3 is in my list of must haves. The problem is I've already destroyed two of them. One got launched down the stairs, and the other had a bottle of wine poured over it (long story, don't ask). This meant that I was banned from buying another console for the same to happen. Shushy, my wife, however wanted a Wii. I'd previously owned a Wii and sold it due to lack of use, but I saw a possible bargaining tool. She could have a Wii and I'd get a new PS3. After some "umm-ing" and "ahh-ing" (and a promise not to kill this one) I had a result. The only problem was I wasn't entirely convinced by the new PS3 Slim. For most people the only difference between the Fat (original) version and the Slim version is the appearance. Gone is the retro style of the original PS3 and it's beautiful looks all decked out in shiny piano black with touch sensitive buttons. Now what we have is something attempting to look as sexy as it's older counterpart did, except it looks slightly smaller, has a matte, charcoal black finish and proper buttons (the reason for this - ...

asda.co.uk 27/01/2010

Now I Never Have To Go To The Shops Again!

asda.co.uk One of the things I hate about living in the countryside is the fact that the nearest supermarket is a trek and a half away. As we don't have a car at the moment it means walking is our only means of transport, unless we manage to time it at the right point a bus comes along (which isn't often). Following a hectic day yesterday, and being too harrassed to even contemplate the walk to the shops, the walk back and not to mention being weighed down with shopping, Shushy and I decided to order online from Asda. We already have an account at Asda because we've had food delivered from them a few times before, so all we needed to do was log-in. If this is your first visit then you need to check that they deliver to your postcode, and then create an account. It only takes a couple of minutes and then you're good to go. The site itself is fairly well set-up and you can filter categories based on brands, certain products etc. Say you want Pepsi, then you go to drinks, click colas which show you all the various types of colas, and then you click Pepsi and it will show you all the various Pepsi products they sell. I've used other online stores that haven't had this feature in the past and it is a welcome addition. If you decided you wanted to go for Coca-cola instead then you simply click the 'x' next to Pepsi and it will take you back to the various brands. The other nice thing is they have a tab for special offers which will list all the offers they have on at the time. It's ...

3 Mobile 26/08/2009

3 Me From This Madness Again...

3 Mobile Following my move to Nottingham, and a new fiancee and a new house I decided a new mobile contract would be in order since I'd had my previous one taken off me when I decided to bail out of the Northwest. The problem was I already had a phone (Sony Ericsson W595) that I actually liked so I decided to look for a SIM only deal. The one that caught my eye was a 3 £15 deal. For the deal I got 300 any network minutes, 3000 texts and 2000 3 to 3 minutes as well as free Skype. Now I decided that I also needed the internet max package to allow me to go on Facebook and YouTube for when I had long train journeys which bumped the whole package up to £20. Not a bad deal, because if I'd gone with the PAYG option (which was seriously tempting) I'd have forked out that a month anyway. The thing that was tempting was that it was what is known as a 'rolling contract'. Your signed up for one month and then it just keeps rolling until you decide to cancel and then all you need to do is give 30 days notice. As there is no phone that you're subsidising, there's not a lengthy contract so you're not locked in. Don't be fooled by the fact it's SIM only. You still get credit checked, albeit not as in depth as the one for a standard phone. My problem was as I'd just moved to the area, and the fact I'd forgotten to update my bank details *DOH!* I got refused. It may also be the fact that I wasn't on the electoral roll or whatever, but Shushy (my fiancee) stepped in and saved the day by having the ...

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 16/02/2009

The Tazmanian Devil!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Last April (2008) one of Donna's mates rang up to say his dog had been killed in accident with a car (thankfully it was instant and she didn't suffer) and that he was looking at getting another dog which was preferably a rescue dog. Anyway Donna, being the kind and helpful soul she is, spent the next few days running him around to find him a dog, and in the process decided she wanted a dog as well. I'd mentioned it to her a few months before, but I was instantly over-ruled due to fact that we have two cats as well as rats and a hamster to look after as well as the fact that I'm wary of dogs. I used to be petrified of dogs and have been known to take massive detours to avoid them, but due to spending time in households where there were dogs I'd started to get over it. Anyway, Donna mentioned it to me and I said we could sleep on it and then if she still wanted to get one we could. The only problem I had was that she wanted a rescue dog. As I put it, an accident waiting to happen. A few days later, and after a bit of searching we found our hound. He was 11 months old, called Buster and the only thing that was known about him was that he'd been handed in for being a natural chewer. He'd apparently destroyed some cuddly toys that belonged to the children at his former home, but what worried me even more was that he was a Staffy/Spitzer cross. We went to have a look at him and he looked like a proper Staffy apart from being slightly taller, and having more angular features. Oh, ...

Burnout Paradise (PS3) 22/04/2008

Take me down to Paradise City...

Burnout Paradise (PS3) One of my favourite things to do is driving. I just love jumping in the car and driving around aimlessly. It's a great stress killer and gives me something to do on a sunny day when I get bored. The only thing that spoils it are some of the other idiots on the road. Whether it's the idiot with the Beemer that doesn't realise that they are capable of doing under 100mph or the wannabe boy racers in their Ford Fiestas with plywood spoilers attempting to burn anyone who happens to look in their direction at the traffic lights, I have often dreamed of ramming their cars into a wall, other cars or simply just burning them off. Unfortunately, the local police have a slight issue with people who do that so I had to be content with my dark desires. Well until now that is. Burnout is one of a series of games that I previously had a severe dislike for. The graphics looked a little too plastic, the physics and handling weren't the best and to be honest the games were totally infuriating. It wasn't until Buggy came home from a days shopping last year, clutching a copy of Burnout : Takedown that I actually wondered whether I may have misjudged. I need to digress a bit here, but most of the point of Takedown was to crash into the AI opponents and, well, take them down. It was kind of road rage in a box. So it was with great delight that I got Burnout Paradise. Burnout Paradise doesn't have a story to it. You're basically one guy in a big city and apart from gaining all the licences by ...

Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) 18/02/2008

To PS3 or not to PS3?

Sony PlayStation 3  (PS3) I have a rather annoying habit. I tend to collect games consoles. The problem with this is threefold. It's expensive, Buggy (she who must be obeyed, but rarely is) doesn't like the fact that the bedroom where they all live and we sleep has more lights flashing than the average xmas tree and the one that's most annoying is I rarely play any games. I can't justify them, and I'm not even going to attempt to, although I managed to state a convincing argument about having a blu-ray player at the time. I did have a PS3 from the day they first came out (I get some great freebies with my job), but due to a slight moment of clumsiness I killed the original so decided to buy another one so this review is for the now standard 40Gb version. Anyway it found it's way to Ant Towers, but the question is should it have stayed in the shop? The PS3 isn't a light console in any way. It weighs in at around 6KG as well as being pretty big (it's about 12"x10"x3" if memory serves right), but it does looks pretty cool in a retro style. Decked out in black, It has a convex top with the Playstation 3 logo on it in silver, and apart from two power lights on the front and two USB ports that's it. Like the Wii it can either be propped up on it's side (handy if you're low on space) or laid flat. At the back is your ethernet cable port and your many video output options including the HDMI port (for those of you with a HD ready TV), but make note this is my first gripe. The HDMI cable doesn't come with ...

Apple iPod Nano 8GB Third Generation 29/12/2007

Na-no or Nan-yes?

Apple iPod Nano 8GB Third Generation For the past year I've had a dilemma. It's all revolved around the iPod. Basically my mobile phone doubles as an MP3 player and a video player as well as the standard mobile phone functions. The dilemma I had was whether I could actually justify an iPod video. Why fix something that wasn't broken? Anyway, for Xmas, Buggy bought me an iPod Nano (mainly to stop me hanging around the tech department of Asda for 30 mins everytime we went debating the pros and cons of such a purchase). Well that\'s my dilemma solved, but are they any good. As usual, the nano looks very sexy. Decked out with a matte black fascia the back is shiny silver/metal, but what makes it even sexier is the fact the nano is absolutely tiny. I mean the thing is totally dinky. It's 7cm high and about 5cm wide but the depth of it is the part that blows you away. It's only 6mm thick! It also weighs in at around 2oz as well. It's that tiny it looks fragile and you're scared you're going to break the thing. The screen is 2" though and very well lit (at 50% it's still quite bright) so viewing things isn't going to give you serious eye strain unless you're watching a subtitled film (which would be near impossible) or you have poor eyesight. Underneath the screen you have what\'s known as the clickwheel. Despite it's name the wheel doesn't actually rotate, but more on that later. As I said it looks tiny, but very sexy and in to the small space apple have managed to fit 8Gb of memory for storing your favourite ...

TalkTalk 13/12/2007

It's Good to Talk... And That's About All

TalkTalk As a few people who have read my reviews may have guessed, I spend a lot of time on the internet. One of my main problems had always been having seperate bills for both the internet and my phoneline. Plenty of places had the call services, but the problem with this was the fact that I also had to pay line rental, so when I moved back to Liverpool we decided to go with TalkTalk. The phone service AND free internet - too good to be true? Yep, it was. The line switch-over itself was pretty painless, but there was a problem with the broadband. Apparently the exchange we're on didn't have the appropriate kit installed to allow us to have the free broadband so we had to pay an extra £10 a month on top of our call package. This meant that the option 3 package we had for the free landline calls 24/7 ended up costing us £30 instead of the £20 it should have done. Yes it was still cheaper than having the two seperate bills, but hardly ideal. Anyway, we got on with it as it was unmetered access which meant that I could download as much as I want and not have to worry about any restrictions. The downside was that the speed was only 2Mb/s as opposed to 8Mb/s, but we were told that when our exchange was finally kitted out to handle TalkTalk's broadband service then we'd enjoy the full 8Mb/s service. Everything went well until October this year. We had a stable and reliable net connection. A lot of the stuff I do involves downloading DVD ISO images of various software and associated ...

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (PSP) 18/11/2007

An 80s Classic Brought Up To Date

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (PSP) Back in the mists of time, around 1987, I spent a lot of my school holidays in Benidorm, Spain. It didn't matter if it was winter, spring or summer. If I had a school holiday then I was hauled of to Benidorm. It effectively meant that it had become a second home to me, and with that it meant that boredom would usually set in (although admittedly the weather was nicer). Knowing the place like the back of my hand, meant that I was more or less let loose. This gave me the advantage of checking out places during the day, that I would usually have to beg and plead with my nan and gramps (I lived with them) to go in of an evening. One of these places was the games arcades. For a while, the only game I played was Kung Fu Master, but in 1987 I saw a strange looking machine. A big red cabinet decked out with the Sega and Ferrari logos resembling a car. It was a racing game called OutRun. I sat in it, popped my pesetas in it and pressed the start button. I was totally unprepared for what happened next. The cabinet tilted around as I drove. At first, it completely threw me and I ended up hashing up the game before reaching the end of the first level, but needless to say I was hooked. I loved the game and whenever I saw the game I just had to play (I even played it on a cross-channel ferry which was an experience - choppy seas + tilty cabinet = perfect recipe for enjoying lunch again). The amount I've ploughed into the game since then could have probably been invested in a cabinet of my ...

Family Guy Season 6 DVD 12/11/2007

I Love A Family Guy

Family Guy Season 6 DVD Dysfunctional families - don't you just love them. Since The Simpsons burst onto our screens 18 years ago there have been several attempts to try and create the magic that The Simpsons have, but all have failed. Family Guy, however, looks set to steal the crown from them. For the uninitiated Family Guy centres around a family called the Griffins. While on the outside they look like a fairly normal family, you seen see that they're as dysfunctional as The Simpsons. The family consists of the following... Peter Griffin - Peter is a bit of a bumble wit and works in a brewery (although you rarely see him working). He loves his family and tries his best, but through a usually misguided attempt to do something he sees as right calamity usually ensues. Just like Homer Simpson has his D'OH!, Peter has a trademark laugh. Lois Griffin - Peter's loving, but long suffering wife. While she can be totally compassionate and sympathetic towards her children, at the same time she can also be nasty and vindictive and gives the impression that she doesn't tolerate fools. She has also retained the youth and vitality she had when she was younger and has occasional nymphomaniac tendencies. Meg Griffin - Meg is the daughter of the family and is around 17 years old in this series. She is the butt of a fair few jokes and seems chronically depressed. She is convinced she's fat and unpopular. There are also hints that she's bisexual and in one special that was shot, she also has a ...

Soulcalibur II (PS2) 12/11/2007

Definitely Not Soul Destroying

Soulcalibur II (PS2) Japanese beat-em-ups are cool. There is no doubt about it. How else can you pretend to be a Japanese schoolgirl, grab hold of someone, beat them to a pulp and then not have to worry about the old bill knocking at your door afterwards or the fact that they may be harder than you and put you in hospital (or even worry about your neighbours commenting on the fact that you're dressed as a Japanese schoolgirl). Soulcalibur II (my spelling is right - Ciao's isn't) is one such beat-em-up and it's done with flair. Basically the whole story centres around an evil sword called the Soul Edge (don't you just love these Japanese names) which caused whoever holds it to become a murderous psychopath to satisfy the swords blood lust. In the previous Soulcalibur a knight known as Nightmare possessed the sword, there was a bit of a fight at the vortex of Inferno and a holy sword known Soulcalibur came about. Soulcalibur wins the vortex collapses and both swords are sucked into another realm. Anyway skipping on a bit, warriors start discovering fragments of the Soul Edge, and driven by a desire to either possess or destroy the sword, they start their epic journey. Nightmare goes off on a bit of a mad one again and decides the he needs more souls to restore the Soul Edge. So starts Soulcalibur 2. Now for those of you who are of the opinion that there is absolutely no skill to these games and they're just manic button pressing - you're right. To be honest, while I have a habit of sussing ...
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