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since 11/07/2000


Advent 8000 Series 18/05/2001

My Bolt of Lightning

Advent 8000 Series My very first computer capable of using the Internet, was a Mitac 166 MMX. I purchased this nearly 4 years ago at a cost of £1300, including scanner and printer. Within 2 years it had become very outdated with the launch of Pentiums and 56k modems. I was gutted to learn that this computer would only fetch £250 if I sold it! I vowed never to buy a brand new computer again, just as I would never buy a brand new car from a showroom - you loose hundreds of pounds as soon as you walk out of the door. So two years ago, my boyfriend decided to build me one (being very good at electronics etc.). We purchased the parts cheaply from auctions, direct from PC manufacturers and computer shops. I ended up with a 400mhz Celeron processor, 56k modem, 64mb ram memory and a 17” monitor, which all totalled £500. Of course, that soon became outdated and I was in desperate need of more memory. I then saw an advert on the TV for a 1300mhz computer with 128mb memory and a Pentium IV processor. The price: £999. I wanted it, but didn’t have the available cash, so I rang the company and asked if they could do me an interest free ‘buy now, pay next year’. No, sorry, we don’t do that! I was starting to get desperate. Where could I get a grand from without going short? Anyway, I rang a few major stores like Tempo, Time, Tiny, Curry’s and PC World. I was stunned when PC World told me that they could do me an Advent with a Pentium IV, 1400mhz processor, 256mb ...

Search Engines & Directories - Clickthru 17/05/2001

Surf till the cows come home

Search Engines & Directories - Clickthru If you have a web site you will know the importance of traffic. Visitors to your web site. You have put all that effort and energy into your web site and it is now ready to be shown to the world right? Or has your site been around for a while but it isn't getting the number of visitors you would like? Maybe you don't have a site or are planning to have one in the future? Whichever of the above fit your needs you cannot be without Clickthru. To me, Clickthru is the jewel of the website traffic programs and the good thing about it is that it's free! The site itself has recently changed in design and by the way things work. It changed on September 1st last year and I think it now works for the better. Some parts can be difficult to understand but most areas are quite straightforward. Everything is laid out so you can find out information and there are plenty of help buttons. It's design is mainly blue and white, two colours that go well together with a splash of burgundy here and there. So what exactly is Clickthru? Clickthru is a search engine that helps webmasters receive visitors to their sites, while treating surfers to a fun, easy way to surf the web. The advanced targeting techniques take surfers on a tour of sites that interest them. Both webmasters and non-webmasters alike get the opportunity to win additional "credits" as they surf. These credits can then be traded for Clickthru services, cash, or return visitors to the webmaster's ... 13/05/2001

FREE 100MB Searching for somewhere to host your website can be tedious. Many charge a fee and prices can vary, but how about 100 MB of web space for free? Yes, that's right - FREE!! Esmartweb offers free web hosting, and also allow you to take your own domain name with you, if you have one. So what’s the catch? Well, they do include their banner on your pages, but you can’t grumble at that when you get so much. The banners are slightly longer than the one’s displayed on dooyoo. You have the choice of having it fixed to the top of your pages, or you can opt for a pop-up. This can be better, because if your visitor’s leave it minimised, it won’t pop-up again when visiting other pages. This has to be done yourself. Simply insert on it’s own line between your tags. This has to be done for each page that a pop-up is required. Sign up is easy. You first select which domain name suits you. They have plenty to choose from, and your final address will be something like this: (where ‘mywebsite’ is the name you choose). Other domains available are: esmartguy esmartbiz esmartbuyer esmartstudent esmartmusic esmartdesign my100megs multiservers 250x 50g They then ask you to agree to their terms and conditions. These are fair, and not very long. They do not allow adult or pirated software sites, and you have to be at least 13 yrs old, but they do allow you ...

NTL 10/05/2001

ntl Nothing to Loose

NTL I have just been going through some old opinions, as I thought they needed a bit of dusting. I came across this one, that I wrote about NTL's telephone service, and I was taken aback with horror! Did I really write that? Oh my god, I thought. No wonder it had such a low rating. Anyway, I have decided to totally re-write it now that Ciao have the option of moving the opinions back to the top :-) NTL took over another company (Comtel) in our area a few years ago. They have improved the service and have added a lot of new features to the service. Installation - They charge £25 per phone line, and as far as I am aware, you can have quite a few in each household. That is much cheaper than BT's charge, unless of course you are an old returning customer, then it is free. Installers arrive at the designated time, usually 2, one for the outside work, and the other for the inside work. As their service runs through cables, these are already laid, unless you live in an area that has yet to be cabled. I have had quite a few phone lines installed through NTL, and as yet, the installers have left the inside of my home as they had found it. The Service - Line rental is £6.38 per month, which is another plus compared to BT's rental charge. If you call another NTL subscriber living locally, there is no charge for these calls after 6 PM. The quality of the line at times is not very good. Crackling noises on the line are usually remedied by booking a faults call. ...

Ariel Liqui-Tabs Washing Liquid 06/05/2001

My Knickers Smell Great....Do Yours

Ariel Liqui-Tabs Washing Liquid I woke up one morning and my boyfriend said to me: “Oh, I’ve got you a half price Ariel Liqui-Tabs voucher coming through the post.” That was nice of him to think of ME when he spotted the offer (she thinks sarcastically). He spotted the offer on Open, part of our interactive TV via Sky Digital. Apparently he couldn’t sleep, so while I was snoring away, he spotted the offer. The voucher took about a week to arrive, so I placed it in my bag and took it shopping with me. Down the soap powder aisle, I looked for this new offering from Proctor & Gamble. There they were, only 2 boxes on the shelf. I grabbed one quickly in case an army of voucher holding shoppers came storming down the aisle. So what is this new product? It’s a laundry washing liquid in a little sachet called Ariel Essential Liqui-Tabs. A box contains 12 sachets, divided into 3 plastic trays, each containing 4 sachets. Each sachet contains 50ml of green liquid. This is supposed to be enough for one normal load, so if your sums are as good as mine, you will get 12 washes from one box. A box costs £3.38 (Tesco’s), and my first box was half price, so it was worth a try. The test. I put my normal load in the machine and placed the plastic sachet on top of the washing. Shut the door and started the program. After a while my kitchen starting smelling of...freshness. That’s the only word that comes to mind - the freshness smell of newly dried washing off the line, ...

Lansoprazole 05/05/2001

An Acid Trip I Didn't Enjoy

Lansoprazole My problem is called REFLUX OESOPHAGITIS, and the best place to start is at the beginning. I have often suffered from very bad heartburn, with worse attacks during pregnancy. Normal acid relieving cures such as Rennies, Settlers and Gaviscon have never helped. Over the years it had become worse. I would wake up in the middle of the night with a horrible acid taste in my mouth, and on some occasions I would wake up choking on stomach acid, I felt like I was drowning. Last year was the final straw. Every meal I ate felt like it was getting stuck in my gullet, right in the centre of my breast bone. I tried to eat smaller mouth-fulls, and even chewed the food for ages before swallowing. No good. I was starting to feel scared, thinking that I might choke and would have to leave the meal and walk around the house until the pain in my gullet went away. I didn’t know what it was. I first blamed it on my panic attacks, but brushed that off due to the acid coming up. Then I thought it might be ulcers. I booked an appointment with my doctor. She asked me what I thought it was. Huh? You’re the doctor, you are supposed to tell me! I told her I thought I might have ulcers, so she arranged for me to have a GASTOSCOMY at my local hospital. A Gastoscomy is where a camera is inserted through the mouth, down the gullet and into the stomach. The hospital gave me a choice. I could either be put to sleep or have some anaesthetic sprayed onto the back of my throat and have the ...

The Witching Hour - Anne Rice 04/05/2001

No Black Cats or Broomsticks

The Witching Hour - Anne Rice After having read all of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles to date, I have been reading some of her other books. This time I am reading the set of three books about the Mayfair Witches. The first, The Witching Hour, is quite a fat book, with over 1,000 pages. It took a while to read, and I found myself nipping off to bed early for a bit of peace and quiet to get on with reading it. Not only that, but it is a book that once you start, you just want to keep reading. The setting of the book is in New Orleans, where Anne Rice herself lives, so you can be sure that all descriptions of buildings and places are going to be very accurate. Sometimes she does tend to go overboard with descriptions, giving the reader every detail, and this can be annoying when it is a good part of the book because you just want to know what happens. The book starts with the lives of different people, who will eventually meet up as the book progresses. MICHAEL CURRY He was born in New Orleans in the Irish quarter, and after his father died, his family move to San Francisco. He becomes a bit of a celebrity in the local newspapers after having drowned and has a ‘near death’ experience. After he is rescued, he finds that he has gained some unusual power. He can see images when he touches things with his hands. This drives him to drink because he cannot handle it, and he also starts to wear black gloves. ROWAN MAYFAIR Adopted by relatives shortly after she was born, 30 year old ...

Tesco Pet Insurance 28/04/2001

My Pussy is Well Protected

Tesco Pet Insurance When we bring a pet into our homes, we undertake a responsibility to that animal. To love and to cherish, in sickness and in health. OK, so we are not marrying our pet, but we undertake the responsibility to care for that animal until the day it passes away. To care for it, groom it, play with it, feed it, and of course to comfort it in sickness and to see that it is given treatment if needed. In the early eighties, I used to own a beautiful cat. He was a silvery-grey long haired cat. We lived at the time near some fields, and one day he came home with half of his back leg missing. He had caught it in a rabbit trap. I rushed him to our local vets and was told that the remainder of his leg would have to be amputated. It would cost over £100. Money was tight at the time and I had these terrible thoughts running through my head that I would have to have him put to sleep because it would be cheaper than the operation. The vet suggested that I could get aid from the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals), which is a charitable organisation. They did help me, and my cat went on to live another 10 years, the loss of his back leg not hampering him in any way. To this day, I always give old clothing and unwanted items to the PDSA shop. If I had had insurance, I would have had peace of mind. Last year we adopted 2 cats from an animal sanctuary, and I immediately suggested insurance. We were deciding between Pet Plan and Tesco Pet Insurance. We eventually decided on ... 23/04/2001

The Early Bird Catches The Worm We all like making money right? We are here writing opinions to make a few quid right? Of course! How about writing less for more? What if I told you that I have earned over £30 for about an hours work? Well, read on. I was sent an invitation by a dooyoo user to join this new site. It’s called ‘As Recommended By’. It’s not an opinion site. You don’t have to sit there and write and write and write! It’s very new, just starting out and they are paying very well indeed. Just like dooyoo and ciao paid well at first until they got a regular amount of members. I guess this one will work the same so I recommend getting in now while the rewards are great. OK, stop blabbing and give us the gist, I hear you say. Right then. The site is a directory of businesses throughout England, Wales and Scotland (sorry, it doesn’t mention Ireland), except they don’t have any businesses listed yet. That’s where you come in. You give them local businesses in your area and you are paid. That’s all! Sign up is easy. They ask for your email address and then you are asked to give the first three letters of your town/city. The next page brings up a list of all towns/cities beginning with those three letters. You like on yours. A map then appears and you click the part of the map where you live. Then you are asked your name. An email is then sent to you with your login name (which is your email address) and a password. This can be ...

The Vampire Armand - Anne Rice 17/04/2001

Lusting for Blood at 17

The Vampire Armand - Anne Rice I am really enjoying reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and this is the latest book that I have just finished reading. The last two books were a bit boring in places, but this one I enjoyed immensely. It tells the story of the vampire Armand. If you have seen the film ‘Interview with the Vampire’, he was the vampire that lead the Theatre of Vampires in Paris. Portrayed by Antonio Banderas, he did not look anything like the character that Anne Rice describes in her books. Armand is a young 17 year old boy when he becomes a vampire, with curling red hair. The cover of the book shows him well, with his whitened face, pouting lips, and soft red curling hair. I borrowed this book from my sister, why pay when you can read it for free? It is the first edition hardback, and I found it a lot easier to read than a paperback. The cover shows as I’ve explained, Armand, and on the back sleeve there is a picture of Anne Rice herself, with black hair cut into a bob, looking very gothic-like. The way she describes some of her characters. The book starts with all the vampires congregating at Lestat’s chapel, where he lays on the floor, not speaking, and not moving. His tour of Heaven and Hell in the book ‘Memnoch the Devil’ has had some effect on him, and they all come to make sure that he is OK. Armand meets with David Talbot (he was once a 74 year old man that was head of the psychic investigation organisation, the Talamasca. In the ...

Merrick - Anne Rice 17/04/2001

Witch Mayfair is She

Merrick - Anne Rice This is the last book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles published so far. Her latest offering in the story is due to be published this year, and I can’t wait. In the last Chronicle, we were told the story of Armand. Now, Anne brings us a new character, Merrick Mayfair. The story of the Mayfair’s has already been written by Anne in her books: The Witching Hour, Lasher, and Taltos. The Mayfair’s are a long line of voodoo witches, both coloured and white, from New Orleans. As Anne herself lives here, she knows much about the voodoo background. In this book, Merrick Mayfair is placed into the hands of the Talamasca (an organisation dealing with psychic investigations) when she is 14 years old, on the wishes of her God Mother, Great Nannene. Here she is schooled and educated. She becomes friends with David Talbot (the 74 year old head of the organisation, before he became a vampire - Tale of the Body Thief). Lestat still lays on his chapel floor, in a trance after his tour of Heaven and Hell with Memnoch (Memnoch the Devil). Louis has asked David to approach Merrick, to ask her if she will raise the spirit of Claudia, the child vampire locked out in the sun by the Theatre of Vampires. All these years he has been thinking about her, and he wants to find out if she is at peace. Merrick agrees, and it is done. Louis has also fallen in love with Merrick, and she with him. The beginning and ending of the book are very exciting, but the middle ...

Servant of the Bones - Anne Rice 16/04/2001

Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Golden Bones

Servant of the Bones - Anne Rice As I have now read all of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles to date, I decided to read some of her other work. I tried her book The Feast of all Saints, but gave up on it after a few pages. I just couldn’t get into it. So here I am, having just finished her book Servant of the Bones instead. The cover shows a gold skull laid on red velvet, with a thin lair of cobweb over it. This actually does give a clue, as it is significant to the story. I already knew that the book was about a ghost, and that Anne Rice had based the character on Antonio Banderas. Not himself, but because of the way he looked in the film Interview With The Vampire. So what’s it all about? A gold skull? Well, sort of. A whole golden skeleton in fact, but I jump ahead of my tale (Anne Rice fans will know this line). Jonathan was a professor and writer of academic books. He liked to work in peace and quiet, so he retreated to his small cabin in the snow, leaving his family at home. He became very ill, and whilst delirious, a man entered his cabin. The man cared for him, gave him water, and fed him soup. He also made sure that Jonathan was kept warm. This wasn’t a man. In fact it was a ghost. His name was Azriel and he wanted to tell Jonathan his story, so that he could write it. This is where the bells rang in my ears. It sounded very similar to Interview With The Vampire. You know, the Vampire coming to tell the Interviewer his story. Don’t be put off by this though, ... 14/04/2001

I Made A Love Connection This is my story of how I met up with my current live-in boyfriend on the Internet. I would liked to have placed it in the 'relationships' category, but wasn't listed there. It's quite a long story, so grab a coffee. Guys, if you don't like reading lovey-dovey stuff, leave now, otherwise sit quietly and don't leave any silly comments, such as 'puke'. (The bits I don’t want you to know about are marked with the word FADE, like you were watching a play). If you have read my opinion about Great Western Railways and Virgin trains, you will know that I took a trip to Edinburgh just over 3 years ago to meet my online love. So how did it all come about? I have been very unlucky in love throughout the years, I allowed my attraction to the ‘bad guy’ get the better of me. After a divorce and then the break up of a 9 year relationship, I decided I was going to go it alone for a while. I had 3 of my children living at home with me, so at least I had things to do to keep me occupied. I also purchased myself a computer, as they were starting to become the rage, but it sat in the box for a week because I didn’t know how to set it up. I finally had a friend come round and set it all up for me, and during the next few weeks I taught myself the ins and outs. My friend asked if I was ready to connect to the Internet yet, but I shrieked in horror. What was I going to do on it? He told me not to be silly and proceeded to sign me up with an ISP ...

Fight Club (DVD) 11/04/2001

It Knocked 10 Colours of Laughter Out of Me

Fight Club (DVD) This DVD has been sat in our DVD rack since before Christmas. Why haven’t I watched it up until now? Well, I thought it was about boxing. You know, a ring, 2 boxers wearing boxing gloves, a crowd cheering. I was so bored, and I had already watched Interview With The Vampire again last night, so I decided to give Fight Club a try. It wasn’t what I expected at all, and I feel a bit of a fool for not having watched it already. So, with a title like that, what’s it all about? I have to admit that the first 20 minutes were very boring. I nearly switched it off. Basically it starts at the end, and then we are given a commentary as to how the film ended up at that place. Jack (played by Edward Norton), is a single guy, living alone. He works for a motoring manufacturer, and his job is to check their vehicles after they have been involved in accidents to see if they need to recall that particular model. He suffers from insomnia and asks the hospital to give him something for it. They tell him that all he needs is a good nights sleep and some exercise. He then joins a support class, for cancer sufferers. It makes him feel better, so he starts to join other support classes for other life threatening diseases. It becomes a kind of hobby for him. Nobody at these groups knows he is not terminally ill. Then he meets a woman that turns up to the same groups as he does, Marla (played by Helena Bonham Carter). He doesn’t want to be found out, so they ...

Mission: Impossible 2 (DVD) 10/04/2001

Cruising on a Mission with Tom

Mission: Impossible 2 (DVD) Another excellent film that I have recently purchased on DVD, is Mission Impossible 2. Not only is it a great action movie, reminding me sometimes of other great movies, like The Matrix and James Bond, but it has a fairly good storyline, as well as a bit of lovey dovey stuff. Tom Cruise is back playing Ethan Hunt, our Mission Impossible hero. Sequels are so much better when the original star is cast. So what’s the impossible mission this time? Doctor Nekhorvich (played by Rade Serbedzija), has found out that the company he works for, Biocyte, has developed a lethal form of influenza known as Chimera. They have also developed a cure for this (Bellerophon), and Doctor Nekhorvich learns that they plan to release Chimera into the population so that they can make huge profits on the cure, Bellerophon. He informs the head of Impossible Mission Force, Swanbeck (played by Anthony Hopkins), that he needs an IMF escort for the disease and it’s cure, and that he will only trust Ethan Hunt. Ethan is on holiday, so Swanbeck puts another force member in his place, Sean Ambrose (played by Dougray Scott), wearing a mask and voice inhibitor so that he looks and sounds exactly like our hero. But Sean Ambrose has decided he has had enough of living in Ethan Hunt’s shadow, and decides to become a renegade, recruiting ex military members for his team. He does not know that Doctor Nekhorvich has injected the disease into his body. He thinks that the disease and cure are ...
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