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ben-lloyd

ben-lloyd

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I'm going legit - www.tech-write.co.uk | See what I do here - www.benlloydcopywriter.com

Reviews written

since 08/02/2004

72

Trust Ultra Small Bluetooth 2 USB Adapter 10m BT-2400p 09/02/2011

Tiny tooth Keeps me from feeling blue - Trust 15542

Trust Ultra Small Bluetooth 2 USB Adapter 10m BT-2400p Overview Trust are a well-known manufacturer of relatively reliable, middle-of-road computer accessories. Chances are that when you are looking to buy a new mouse, or a set of speakers, a microphone or a webcam, a Trust product will be at least one of the top ten search results. Trust are a global brand with offices in 19 countries spread across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In their own words, Trust "is a solid brand that stands for quality at a competitive price." The 15542 provides Bluetooth connectivity to PCs and laptops allowing connection to compatible mice, keyboards and mobile phones. Using the bluetooth connector, you are able to set up a "Personal Area Network" (PAN) allowing you to use your mobile as a virtual modem for your laptop, or to synchronise pictures and files between the two. Appearance As far as nondescript computer accessories go, the "Ultra Small Bluetooth Adapter" (or 15542 for short) is truly unremarkable in every single way except for it's minuscule size. The unit appears to be nothing more than a standard USB plug with a tiny black plastic cap on the end where a lead would usually protrude. The end of the unit bears the Trust brand name and one side of the cap the item number. And that's it. Use Before plugging in the 15542, install the drivers available from the Trust website (no one supplies them on disk any more!) and the helpful wizard will lead you through the required configurations to get your bluetooth adapter set up. ...

Nightmare - Robin Parrish 31/01/2011

Not a Nightmare, but not a perfect dream either

Nightmare - Robin Parrish Synopsis Maia Peters harbours dreams of a future career in law enforcement, an aspiration which sees her putting herself through college. Maia is also something of a minor celebrity thanks to her parents; a pair of world-renowned para-psychologists who host an extremely popular TV show. Despite being something of loner, Maia is talked into visiting a local theme park, the star attraction of which is a haunted house experience by her housemates from college. Being something of an expert on ghosts, Maia is deeply sceptical of the whole event until she is visited by an apparition of her college acquaintance, Jordin Cole who warns "The Nightmare is coming". Jordin herself is a rich orphan with a very unhealthy interest in the supernatural fostered in part by Maia herself. When Maia discovers that Jordin has been missing for several weeks, the apparition at the haunted house takes on a more menacing aspect, as does the repeated warning "The Nightmare is coming". As Maia takes off in search Jordin with the assistance of Derek, Jordin's fiancée, she is forced to revisit their ghost hunting trips together to try and piece together the mystery of her disappearance and what "The Nightmare" could possibly be. Opinion Nightmare is an unusual novel in that attempts to bring parapsychology into a scientific context whilst maintaining a definite supernatural edge which come the denouement, is probably far beyond Derek Acorah's wildest imaginings. Maia is very keen to ...

Sure for Men Xtra Cool Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick 13/01/2011

Reece gets lucky? Sure Men Xtra Cool

Sure for Men Xtra Cool Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick The Essentials Container: A metallic blue cap sits astride an unusual pearlescent blue body. The pearlescent colouring extends to the rotating base used to advance the deodorant up inside the container. A blue label matching the cap and accentuated with metallic silver highlights shows the brand name on the front of the unit whist a double-sided silver label has all the boring stuff like ingredients on the back. Antiperspirant stick: Off-white, quite sticky and very pungent. When "rolled" onto skin, it leaves an invisible layer of odour-defeating slime on the skin which fades in appearance as does the scent. Price: Around £2.25 at Tesco. What Reece thinks After that last Mitchum junk Mum bought I had hoped we would get more Lynx stuff but instead she goes an' buys this girly-looking thing from Sure. On the up though, this aint no normal Sure (what is for girls anyway) because it says "Men" on the front. And it's called "Xtra Cool" cos I reckon it probably makes you like extra cool an' stuff. When I opened the pack I was a bit shocked by the smell cos it is supposed to be menthol which I thought was minty but this stuff smells like that pine toilet cleaner stuff Mum uses in the bathroom. But anyway, cos this is for Men it must be ok. The deodorant goes on all smooth and it's invisible so I put loads on cos at first I thought it weren't working. Cos I am now all "Xtra Cool" I go down the park in search of honeys. "You again?" says fit bird. "Word ...

His Robot Girlfriend - Wesley Allison 13/01/2011

His Robot Clothes Horse / Work Horse / Sex Pony Girlfriend

His Robot Girlfriend - Wesley Allison Synopsis Mike Smith is a fat, middle aged widower who spends his days teaching "World Geography" in middle school before returning to his lonely existence in front of the VueTee at home each night. Lacking direction, purpose or drive following the death of his wife, Mike toys with idea of buying a robotic companion to help out around the house and provide company, before finally succumbing to a top-of-the-range model from Daffodil, the most fashionable of all robot manufacturers. A week later a small box is delivered containing his new ultra-realistic humanoid robot and Mike's life begins to drastically change. Patience becomes Mike's constant companion, cleaning and cooking, sorting household finances and even implementing a new exercise regime all of which immediately improve Mike's existence. However, Mike's children retain some suspicion of the beautiful android; is it possible that everything is just too good to be true? Opinion His Robot Girlfriend is currently riding high in the iBooks charts, which is what first brought it to my attention. I like reading, and I like free, so it seemed a reasonable fit for my needs, particularly as it was a far smaller book than my previous download ( Painless ) . Despite being classed as "Sci Fi", a genre I have not really touched since reading a couple of bizarre Soviet attempts from the 60s when I was still at school, I figured I would give Mr Allison the benefit of the doubt and try at least one of his ...

Painless - Derek Ciccone 02/01/2011

Painless. Apart from my neck maybe.

Painless - Derek Ciccone Synopsis Billy Harper is a loser. Having turned his back on a glittering college football career in favour of following his academic studies to widespread condemnation, his bad luck is further compounded by a divorce from his upper class wife and loss of his cushy job in her family firm. Whilst seeking a publishing deal, Billy has turned to drink in the hope of drowning the ghosts of his past. With the help of his agent Dana Boulanger, a wealthy socialite with a bad taste in men, Billy lands a job on a small local newspaper and bed and board in the home of the Chuck and Beth Whitcomb providing daycare for their daughter by return. Carolyn is a fearless, precocious and charming four year old with an odd sense of humour and even stranger pain threshold. The more time Billy spends with Carolyn, the more obvious it becomes that something is seriously wrong with the girl who is beginning to thaw the ice in Billy's heart. Following a serious accident, Carolyn is diagnosed with an extremely rare medical condition which renders her unable to feel pain. However, this is just the start of Carolyn's problems as she comes to the attention of the sinister "Operation Anesthesia"... Opinion Painless appears to be an exercise in thriller cliché; alcoholic loser made good through the love of a child, extra-governmental agencies running clandestine wars without official backing, megalomaniac doctors and mercenaries, idealistic lunatics, freaky medical conditions and sacrificial love ...

Daffodil UCR01 17/12/2010

"I love Tochnology" - Daffodil UCR01 All-In-One Card Reader

Daffodil UCR01 Daffodil UCR01 Card Reader According to their website, Digital Daffodil Ltd is an UK based e-commerce company specializing in sourcing and supplying digital and electronic products integrating the most advanced technology. A quick flick through the pages of said website reveals that Digital Daffodil specialise in USB-powered "gadgets" and other assorted cheap-n-nasty goodies from the powerhouse of cost-effective manufacturing, China. The use of a z in the word "specialising" suggests that Digital Daffodil probably aren't quite as British as they claim… Appearance Measuring approximately 2.5 inches by 1.5 inches and a mere 1/4" inch thick and made out of white plastic, which if Apple are to be believed means it must be like super-wicked cool. Somewhat spoiling the effect of the white finish is the patchwork of silver and blue squares affixed to the top of the unit which wouldn't be so bad if they had at least been stuck on straight. At one end a small USB-B port allows connection to a PC or Mac using the appropriate cable (USB-A to USB-B if you want to be precise, although a really short one is supplied to prevent confusion). The longer sides accommodate the 6 slots for all the memory card variants available on the mass market today. The base of the unit features a handy diagram explaining which slot accepts which memory card type. Nice! When connected to your computer, a small red LED indicates that the unit is powered up and ready to accept upload of your ...

Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place Tour - Anberlin 14/12/2010

"London, Belfast Anberlin." to misquote Bono

Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place Tour - Anberlin What? To support their latest album, Dark is the Way, Light is a Place, floridian rockers Anberlin undertook a 9 date tour of the UK, culminating in a final performance at the O2 Academy in Islington on the 22nd November 2010. It is three years since Anberlin last visited these shores, and in that time they have released a further two albums, giving them a rich vein of material for live performances. Since discovering Anberlin via their breakthrough album Cities, my sons and I have enjoyed many car journeys rocking out to such gems as Godspeed, A Whisper and a Clamor (excuse the spelling - they are American after all) and (*fin). My sons had also made me promise that should Anberlin ever tour the UK again, that I would take them. When I won two tickets to the Islington gig, Mrs Ben had no further grounds to refuse, so our party of five went off to London, pretending to be an emo family in the hope of blending in with the crowd. The Band Hailing from Florida and comprising Stephen Christian (vocals), Joseph Milligan (guitar), Deon Rexroat (bass guitar), Christian McAlhaney (guitar) and Nathan Young (drums), Anberlin are yet another relatively well-known US band with plenty of potential but who are yet to make it big here on our insulated little island group. Formed in 2003, Anberlin is definitely not named after one of Henry VIII's unfortunate wives but the inspiration of the name remains a mystery. Christian has attributed the name to numerous different ...

Mitchum for Men Clean Smart Solid 09/11/2010

This Mitchum is a bitumen. And SmartSolid aint Smart. Or Solid.

Mitchum for Men Clean Smart Solid The Essentials Container: Opaque white plastic with a see-through green lid. A wraparound sticker boldly announces "Mitchum SmartSolid" on the front, whilst the reverse is shiny silver with tiny lettering in green denoting the advertising rubric, instructions and a list of ingredients. The base of the unit features a discreet circular knob which is used to advance the "SmartSolid" up the inside of the package. Antiperspirant stick: Off-white, quite sticky and initially aromatically pungent. When "rolled" onto skin, the stick leaves a thick layer of gunk on the skin which (usually) fades in appearance as does the scent. Price: Usually on a 2 for £2 offer at Tesco. What Reece thinks So the Lynx deals are over and we are back to cheapo products. The Lynx may not have been all that, but at least it had a cool name, not like summink they use to surface roads. Mitchum might think they have a smart solid but this stuff is well dodgy. It goes on really thick and clumpy and sometimes big bits break off and stick to my hairs. Some times even bigger bits break off all over my floor which is proper nasty. And Mum keeps complaining about weird white stains on the carpet which aint good. Cos Mitchum makes all manly statements on their packaging ("Powerful", "Ultimate strength", "fights" etc) I reckon I have a good chance down the park this time. "Alright darlin'?" I ask, feeling proper tough. "You what?" fit bird goes yelling to hear herself over her iPod. "I ...

Nemesis (DVD) 03/11/2010

You killed my sis, Nemesis!

Nemesis (DVD) Movie only review Synopsis It is 2027 and Alex is one of the Los Angeles Police Department's top officers, tracking down and destroying cyborgs who traffic data and secrets, known as "information terrorists". Through the course of his work, Alex has frequently been severely injured, requiring rebuilding and replacement of his body with synthetic parts. During a period of recuperation after a showdown with some of cyborg operatives of the Red Army Hammerheads terrorist group, Alex is in lured out of his semi-retirement to track down a rogue LAPD operative named Jared who has defected to the terrorists side with some vital secrets. To help "encourage" Alex to complete his mission, he has been fitted with a small bomb, set to detonate in two days, unless he successfully captures Jared and returns the missing information to the police commissioner. As Alex encounters hostility on all sides, he is forced to question what makes a human anyway? Opinion Nemesis is a very, very odd movie. It is clear from the synopsis above that Nemesis borrows heavily from other sci-fi adventures including Bladerunner, The Terminator and Escape from New York among others, and yet rather than being a straight pastiche, Nemesis seems almost an homage by director Pyun. As Alex is crossed, double-crossed and crossed again, he is forced to consider not only his own humanity, but that of the cyborgs he tracks and destroys and also his human masters at the LAPD. Alex is a man torn in all ...

The Dying Game - Beverly Barton 30/10/2010

The Dying Game is killing me. Of boredom.

The Dying Game - Beverly Barton Synopsis For four years the FBI and private detective Griffin Powell have tracked a sadistic murdered known as the "Beauty Queen Killer" or "BQK" for short. All over the Southern States of America, a maniac is targeting past winners of beauty pageants, brutally butchering them and leaving a single rose on their dismembered bodies. Powell's unusual agency has been brought in by Judd Walker, grieving widower and long time friend of Griffin to track his wife's murderer, one of the Beauty Queen Killer's early victims. It is apparent to all involved that the BQK is playing some kind of twisted game, but despite the high body count and increasing kill rate, no one is any closer to finding his true identity. Opinion The Dying Game tries to bring its own new twists to the serial killer crime genre through Powell's agency, headed up by the mysterious and complex Griffin and with an assortment of other sketchy, secretive agents. Unfortunately that is where the ingenuity and originality runs out. The main characters of The Dying Game are in fact Judd Walker, a hollow shell of a man seeking vengeance on his wife's killer, and Lindsey McAllister, the Powell agent who has fallen in love with him. Walker and McAllister have a romantic history which she wants to rekindle and which he wants to sever, and at points the manhunt seems to be peripheral to McAllister's pining obsession with Walker. Sadly McAllister comes across as a Clarice Starling-type ingenue, but lacking the ...

Alone in Berlin - Hans Fallada 27/10/2010

Alone in Berlin. No one is alone, but it is set in Berlin...

Alone in Berlin - Hans Fallada Synopsis Otto and Elise Quangel receive the letter all parents of soldiers fear, their son has been killed on the western front, fighting for Germany against the Allied forces. Reeling from shock, and awakened to the remorselessly consuming Nazi war machine, Otto and Elise set out to start a revolution from their kitchen. Otto and Elise begin distributing hand-written postcards warning of the dangers of Hitler's regime, leaving them in the stairwells of buildings in the hope of awakening their fellow berliners, pricking their consciences and launching a groundswell against the fascist government. Unbeknown to Otto and Elise, the public of Berlin, terrified of implication in these acts of treason have been handing the postcards to the Gestapo and Inspector Escherich is in pursuit. Thus begins a cat-and-mouse game to find the traitors Otto and Elise. Opinion Reviewers of Alone in Berlin frequently refer to the book as a thriller, and from the synopsis above, such a designation may seem correct. In my experience however, thrillers are fast-moving, unpredictable and often sketchy. Alone in Berlin is thoughtful, character driven and predictable, the writing and translation are impeccable and the story is driven by an interest in the characters lives. The story, although focused on the Quangels, charts the lives of the other residents of their apartment block, giving a fascinating sympathetic account of the lives of the common German living under the ...

JB's Diner, Brighton 17/09/2010

JB's unAmerican Diner

JB's Diner, Brighton Overview As a special treat at the end of our annual family holiday in the Brighton area, we decided to take the kids out for lunch. One of our friends holidaying with us had suggested JB's Diner and much to my reluctance Mrs Ben decided that this should be the place for lunch. We checked the restaurant website on Mrs Ben's new iPad and downloaded a voucher for a free starter from Vouchercloud before setting off along the seafront to find the "diner". Ambience From the outside, JB's could have been any old seaside café, bar the neon sign above the door. Beyond the portal lay a pool table and a number of tables scattered haphazardly towards the back of the restaurant. Down the right-hand side of the building a number of "booths" complete with red vinyl seats accommodated a number of other diners. On the left of the room a bar dominates, complete with the obligatory stools. The floor was also notable purely because is was so noticeable; black and white vinyl tiles extending as far as the eye could see. We were shown to one of the tables (our party of 6 exceeded the capacity of a booth) and a number of menus speedily distributed. As our waitress departed my misgivings became ever stronger. The advertised food did not appeal to me greatly, but more than that there was something obviously wrong in the diner. Despite being three-quarters full, there was a distinct lack of low-level noise which was unnerving for a restaurant targeted at, and mostly full of, families. ...

NEC AccuSync 72VM 17 in 14/09/2010

My NEC Energy Star - Accusync 72VM

NEC AccuSync 72VM 17 in Part of a now dead design ideal, the 72VM is a 17" TFT computer monitor from Japanese electronics giant NEC. Appearance The unit is a traditional 4:3 square design which immediately shows it age thanks to the modern hunger for widescreen monitors. A small black foot holds the monitor proper which features an attractive silver bezel and black casing to the rear. The front of the monitor has a speaker in each of the lower corners, a headphone input jack and five buttons controlling menu functions and power. The rear of the unit features a 15-pin VGA port (to be used with the supplied VGA lead), a power socket and another 3.5mm audio input jack for connecting to your PC's soundcard. Use The genius of this monitor is that you just connect it to your PC, plug in the power lead and optionally connect the audio lead (not supplied) between monitor and computer and you are ready to go. If you are really geeky, pressing the "Select" button produces an onscreen menu to further adjust colour balance, image alignment, cornerstone settings and more using the + and - buttons. Once done, and the settings saved you will probably never need to use the menu again. In my opinion the "Auto Reset" and Power buttons are more useful anyway! At one time I had two of these monitors on my PC at home and they did the job admirably. I have since brought both these monitors into work where they are still going 5 years after original purchase. Colours are slightly pale in ...

Lynx Dry Click Anti-Perspirant Stick 26/08/2010

Reece - this Lynx aint no Click Kat

Lynx Dry Click Anti-Perspirant Stick The Essentials Container: Black plastic with black lid featuring a twisting silver base which helps advance the anti-perspirant stick inside when rotated to the right. The packaging is completely different in all but shape to that pictured; the label is also shiny silver on the front and matte grey-silver on the back. Antiperspirant stick: Off-white, quite sticky and initially aromatically pungent. When "rolled" onto skin, the stick leaves a thin layer of gunk on the skin which eventually fades in appearance as does the scent. Price: About £1 on sale. What Reece thinks Mum has got in her head that this Lynx stuff is good so she keeps buying it on offer at Tesco. She thought I'd be chuffed wiv more Lynx but seeing as I never end up wiv any fit birds it's blatant this stuff is rubbish. Like the Lynx Africa, Click makes all my underarm hairs stick together which aint very sexy. It also smells like some cheap n nasty marine toilet cleaner so I don't reckon no bird is gonna want to have a "hot encounter" wiv me. Cos I'm desperate though I go and try it out on the fit bird at the park again. I walk past her a few times, playing it cool. "Alright?" I said. "Yeah," she goes. "I got a new scent," I said. "What? 50 Cent?" she goes "Err. No," I said, "what do you think of my new smell?" "You're so weird man. Always wantin' me to sniff you. Are you some kind of perv?" she said, "Now sod off perv boy or I'll get my boyfriend to do ya." I make a quick exit. ...

The Haunting of James Hastings - Christopher Ransom 11/08/2010

The Not Haunting of James Hastings

The Haunting of James Hastings - Christopher Ransom Synopsis Professional look-a-like James Hastings is crushed when his wife Stacey is killed in a tragic hit-and-run accident. Retreating into his large home Hastings' life has become an endless cycle of mexican beer, telescope voyeurism and days spent sleeping on his own couch avoiding and embracing memories of his late wife. Hastings strikes up an on-off relationship with one of his neighbours, a police officer, spies on his neighbour Mr Ennis and trades occasional pleasantries with the mexican family next door. Despite these interactions, James' life continues in a spiral of drink-crash until one night Mr Ennis dies of a heart attack shortly after James believes he has seen Stacey moving around Ennis' house. James' life appears to be on the up when a beautiful stranger, Annette, moves in next door, but all is not as it seems. First he begins receiving telephone calls from his dead wife and then he hears her moving around their house. Things get worse when his dead wife's shoes reappear in the house caked in mud and Annette begins telling James things only Stacey could know. The more intense James and Annette become, the worse the fallout from his ghostly tormentor. James begins to question his sanity. Is he being haunted? Is he a part of some colossal conspiracy? Is he losing his mind? As his situation worsens, James realises that not only is his life in danger, so too is his soul. Opinion From the synopsis above it is readily apparent that this book ...
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