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since 19/11/2002


Samsung CLP 300 08/07/2007

Colour That Doesnt Run

Samsung CLP 300 I have had a colour ink jet printer for years, and this has serviced me well, however I always used to get annoyed with the smudging that can occur whilst the ink is drying. Also when using a printed envelope the address would run if it was raining when the postman was delivering or on the way to the post box. I had always wanted a colour laser printer but they had always been put off by the price of the printers and the ongoing cost of consumables. However I was in my local PC World one weekend and spotted the Samsung CLP-300 for what I considered a reasonable price £150, so I picked one up. -----------The Specification----------- The CLP-300 claims to be the world's smallest and lightest colour laser printer! I am not sure if this claim is correct but the printer does come in a small package measuring in at 390 x 344 x 265 mm, this is very useful if you want to put it on the end of a desk, compared to the HP Colour LaserJet 1600 which measures in at 407 x 453 x 370 mm it is smaller. The printer also weighs 13.6 kg so is pretty light for the class of printer it is. In this day and age one of the key factors to consider when purchasing any products is the green credentials of the product. The main one is power consumption, the CLP-300 claims to use 350W when printing and 17W when in standby. Compared to the equivalent HP model the Colour LaserJet 1600 which uses 12 watts (powersave), 13 watts (standby), 190 watts (active) the CLP-300 uses slightly more when ...

Belkin QUADRA 4 in 1 PEN/LED/STYLUS - handheld stylus 18/03/2007

Writing with out ink

Belkin QUADRA 4 in 1 PEN/LED/STYLUS - handheld stylus I have yet another new laptop this time a tablet the HP Pavilion tx1030ea, the cool feature of it is that I can write on it like a piece of paper. It does come with a stylus but it didn't feel right using it as it is just made of plastic and didn't have a pen feel so I looked around at buying a better quality stylus. -----------The Pen Design----------- The pen is called a Quadra 4 in 1 and although is branded by HP it is made by Belkin. It is called a 4 in 1 because it has four functions in it, a ball point pen to write normally, a stylus nib, a LED light and a laser pointer. The pen is marketed as being for the IPAQ series of PDA' but I didn't see why it couldn't be used on my laptop. The pen has been designed to look like a high quality pen something along the lines of a Parker pen. It is black in colour with silver highlights to make the design look more attractive there is a HP logo on the pen. It has a standard clip on the pen so it can be clipped to a shirt pocket or inside a suit jacket. Looking at the extra functions especially the laser pointer it would appear that the pen is geared up towards people who present a lot. As the pen has all the batteries and electronics in the top for the laser and led and therefore it is a little more top heavy than a normal pen but it is still usable. I am not sure how it would feel if you were writing the complete works of Shakespeare with it but for small document it's fine. ...

Momento Model 70 06/03/2007

Send your snaps home in an instant

Momento Model 70 Due to the number of digital photos we now have we had been considering a digital photo frames for sometime. We had come to the conclusion that the Philips ones were the best on the market. That was until we made a trip into our local PC world and spotted the i-mate momento. -----------The Specification----------- The momento has a 7" LCD TFT screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, this is the same resolution as the more renown Philips frames. The quality of the images produced on screen are very good, the viewing angle is not the greatest but it's acceptable I would recommend that you place the frame at eye level for the best viewing experience. As for the colour definition, this is good but I don't know the exact figures. A number of memory cards can be used in the momento including the following:- • SD • MMC • xD • SmartMedia • Memory Stick® • USB I think the unique one in that list is USB, this is quite handy as it allows people to just use a plain old USB key to play photos off. In addition to these plugin formats there is an internal memory which can store 200 or so photos. I have noticed that the device copies photos from your plugin device or the wifi on to the internal memory, this allows your photos to be played when you don't have a memory device plugged in. The frame has wifi connectivity built in, this supports WEP and WPA encryption and can be set up using a USB key with the settings preconfigured from ...

Tortworth Court, Wotten-under-Edge 04/03/2007

The Captivating Cotswolds

Tortworth Court, Wotten-under-Edge It was half term and my girlfriend and her sister's birthdays, so it was suggested that we went away for the weekend. A hotel in the Cotswolds was chosen, Tortworth Court ++++++++++Booking++++++++++ The stay was booked through the Four Pillars reservations line on 0800-374692 this was quite a painless process. All that was required was a credit or debit card to secure the reservation, a booking reference was issued. The price was very good value at £49 per person per night for a double room with dinner, and breakfast included. The hotel is part of the a small chain called Four Pillars , the chain has all its hotels based in the Cotswolds. Booking can be made through their website but you are more likely to get a good deal by calling them on the above number. The deal we were on couldn't be found on their website and appeared to only be available through their central bookings line. ++++++++++Location++++++++++ Tortworth Court is located in the Cotswolds, at Wotton-under-Edge. You can see a satellite image on 8&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000 as you will see the hotel is a grade 2 listed building and at the time of the image was undergoing refurbishment. There is a low category prison next door but it is well hidden by trees and cannot really be seen unless you are looking. The grounds are very nice and would be lovely in ...

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Hong Kong 30/12/2006

Great For Shopping and sleeping

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Hong Kong Another year another Christmas, this year we decided to go to Hong Kong for our time off a bit different to the normal. We ended up booking the flights and hotels through British Airways holidays, the hotel we chose was the Marco Polo Hong Kong in Kowloon. ++++++++++Booking++++++++++ I booked our stay through British Airways Holidays the whole stay was paid upfront, which is useful as there a multitude of taxes and service charges that get added to the room rate. I managed to get the hotel for a rate of £66 per night for the 5 days we were staying in Hong Kong, I thought this was very good considering we were staying over Christmas Day.. The hotel is part of a chain of hotels which operate in Asia predominantly China you can make a booking through their website, as with all hotels I would recommend going through a broker site as the rates will be a lot cheaper, due to them buying rooms in bulk. ++++++++++Location++++++++++ The Marco Polo Hong Kong is located in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Kowloon. The hotel is one of three owned by the Marco Polo chain and all are part of Hong Kong's largest shopping centre called Harbour City. Here is a link to the location through Microsoft Live Harbour city is by Canton Road. The Hotel has a fantastic location being no more than 5 minutes walk from the Star Ferry and stunning views of Victoria Harbour. There is a local MTR (underground) station no more ... 09/10/2006

Managing Contacts Just Got Easy So what is Linkedin you may ask? Well I will try to explain the concept (not easy) and then I will delve into some of the features that could be useful. In essence Linkedin is a contact management tool similar to Plaxo (if you know how that works) where by your contacts update their details and then these can be viewed by you, no more worrying about people changing email address and pone numbers. There is one key difference though in that you join a network and you can contact people through trusted connections. An example is that I am linked to Fred and Fred is linked to Tom, so I can ask Fred to put me in touch with Tom if he has something to offer me like a specific skill or service. --------------- -----Joining--------------- ------ There are two ways you can join the service, there are invitations by somebody who knows you and wants to connect to you, this has the advantage of getting you your first connection. Alternatively you can just sign up for Linkedin at and start to build your network. The basic service is free although you can upgrade the account to give more features, such as more introductions and inmail --------------- -----Profile--------------- ------ When you sign up you get the opportunity to create a profile that people can see when they look you up on the site. The profile can contain details of your career and education history, it's basically an online CV that people can see, mine can be seen here ...

Puccinis Southampton 12/08/2006

Eat For Free On Your Birthday

Puccinis Southampton It was my Birthday 25th June and the England match as well, so what do you want to do was the question asked by my girlfriend. The answer was simple as far as I was concerned, the local to watch the football then some food. The restaurant of choice was Puccinis in Shirley, Southampton which is a short walk from my local. --------------The Location-------------- The restaurant is located in Shirley, a suburb of Southampton. The area was not really not renown for quality restaurants but this is changing as a number of good restaurants have recently opened, the most recent being Puccinis. Puccinis is located on Shirley Road there are a few restaurants in this area so if you drop in on the off chance and get turned away there are plenty of other restaurants you could try. I would however advise booking on 02380-764522 if you want to visit as we have tried to get in a few times on the off chance and never had any luck apart from early weekday evenings. Getting to the restaurant is quite easy as Shirley Road is well served by public transport with busses running from Southampton's main railway station, and the town centre, it's about five to ten minutes. Getting there by car is also very easy as the restaurant is on the main road also there is plenty of free on street parking in the vicinity. The area is currently not very well served by bars so you would be well advised to have a drink in the restaurant bar area, rather than trying one of the local pubs which can ...

Nokia N80 27/05/2006

Never be disconnected again

Nokia N80 Another 10 months passed time for another phone! Having perused the market place and what was available on Orange my network provider I decided on the Nokia N80. The Sony Ericsson K600i was retired to the top draw of the bedside table and a shiny new N80 was unboxed and charged. The Retail Packaging --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- -------------- For a phone these days the box is quite large, but there is a reason for this as there is a fair bit tucked away inside. Inside the box you get the following bits and bobs:- • The phone (of course) • Battery • A charger • Manual • Memory card 128MB (I think this size varies with the service provider) • Head phones/ Handsfree • Data cable • Charger cable converter (more on this later) • A pop port converter for sending out audio to a 3.5mm jack plug • And a very nice strap! The Phone Look and Feel --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- -------------- The N80 isn't a small phone it comes as a package 95.4 x 50 x 26 mm package and weighs 134g but this is not bad when you consider what it is capable of, more on that later. The phone is a slide type which I have never had before I have had candy bar types and flips, which I hate, and I have to say that I find the slide quite good. The physical build quality of the phone is very good and seems well engineered the slide is not too lose and the keys have a ...

Paco's Restaurant, Perth 27/03/2006

Choices and More Choices

Paco's Restaurant, Perth On my many visits for work to Perth in Scotland I always eat in Pacos restaurant, I like the choice they have on their menu. --------------The Location and history-------------- The location of the restaurant is located on Mill Street in Perth, directly opposite the new Perth concert hall, this must have been a real bonus for the owner when the development was announced. Mill Street is slightly away from the main part of Perth town centre, although a five minute walk will see you getting to bars such as the Foundry and Sportsters. The restaurant was first opened in 1990 and is quite well known with the Perth locals, people in my office always recommend it when ever I visit for work. They will take reservations for a table and these can be made on 01738 622290. They also have a web site where you can look at the menu, --------------The Restaurant Setting-------------- The restaurant is a predominately an American restaurant which also offers Italian and Mexican food on the menu. The décor consists of wood panelling and lots of memorabilia from days gone by, it reminds me of TGI Fridays, with lots of useless tat hanging around, but it is quite interesting to look at. The restaurant is very large and spacious, there are no places where you can get some privacy, so not ideal for an imitate meal, but that is part of the appeal as it has a buzzing atmosphere when there are a few people in. If the restaurant is not busy and you are on your own it can ...

Radisson Lexington Hotel New York, New York City 27/03/2006

Excellent Location

Radisson Lexington Hotel New York, New York City Last year for Christmas we decided to use the time off to do something a bit different. We ended up booking a holiday to the USA with two stops in New York and Boston. This review is of the hotel we stayed at in New York, The Radisson Lexington. ++++++++++Booking++++++++++ I booked our stay through Expedia and was paid upfront, I managed to get the hotel for an average rate of £82.22 per night for Christmas eve and Day, this went up to £123.59 for the 26th December, on top of the room rate there is also the tax and charges which were £17.55 per night. The hotel is part of the Radisson chain and can be booked through their website, as with all hotels I would recommend going through a broker site as the rates will be a lot cheaper, due to them buying rooms in bulk. ++++++++++Location++++++++++ The Radisson Lexington is located at Lexington Avenue and 48th street, which is on the east side of Manhattan. Nearby to the hotel is the Waldorf Astoria on Park Ave. The Hotel is almost parallel with the Rockerfella centre, a few avenues away and can be walked to in under ten minutes. Also nearby is St Patrick's Cathedral, which is worth a visit if you do stay here. Other nearby attractions include Grand Central Terminal used in a number of famous films, and the architectural master piece the Chrysler Building. This is a very good base for exploring the city as there are attractions within walking distance and public transport can be ...

Park Plaza Boston Hotel and Towers, Boston 14/01/2006

Christmas In Boston, Stay Here

Park Plaza Boston Hotel and Towers, Boston Last year for Christmas we decided to use the time off to do something a bit different. We ended up booking a holiday to the USA with two stops in New York and Boston. This review is of the hotel we stayed at in Boston, The Boston Park Plaza. ++++++++++Booking++++++++++ I booked our stay through Expedia and was paid upfront, I managed to get the hotel for an average rate of £50.10 per night for the three nights, on top of the room rate there is also the dreaded tax which was £7.87 per night. The hotel has it's own web site where you can make a booking and have a look at the facilities etc, although I would recommend going through a broker site as the rates will be a lot cheaper, due to them buying rooms in bulk. ++++++++++Location++++++++++ The park Plaza is located in the Back Bay area of Boston. The hotel is located on the junction of Arlington and St James Ave, there is a very large multi-storey car park or garage as the Americans like to call them across the street. There is also Arlington station a MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) station within 100 metres, this is on the green line a very handy line as it stops at most of the tourist areas such as the science museum, art gallery, prudential tower, and the government centre, and at $1.25 it is a bargain. The Hotel is very near the Boston Public Garden which is very picturesque and has a beautiful pond which is the summer you can take a Swan paddle ...

Garmin Streetpilot I 3 10/01/2006

Sack the wife get an i3

Garmin Streetpilot I 3 I had wanted a GPS for a while just for the odd occasion on a weekend when visiting somewhere, but I was not willing to part with in excess of £300 for a TomTom. I could write for hours about the i3 but I have summarised my thoughts and the main features of the unit below. --------------- -----------Size mounting and power--------------- ----------- One of the most endearing features of the unit is its size 3.00" W x 2.74" H x 2.15" D which is around the size of a cricket ball or thereabouts. For me this is ideal as you can fit it in a pocket rather than leaving it in the car when away from the car. Mounting the unit is quite easy with a suckered mounting bracket supplied with the unit, this connects to the i3 using a ball which inserts in to a socket in the back of the unit. The ball joint is quite positive in its operation and the unit doesn't flop around when a bump is hit. Removing the unit from the mounting is quite easy and the sucker strength is sufficient enough to allow the unit to be pulled off without the mount coming off. The i3 also comes with a circular piece of metal that is just slightly larger than the sucker and has a sticky pad on the back, this can be stuck to your dashboard and allows the mount to be stuck to it rather than the windscreen. I did try the disc in my car but it just wouldn't stick to the dash, so I gave up in the end, this was most likely to the curves on my dash. The unit comes with a cigarette lighter power lead which can be ...

Reef One Biorb 27/11/2005

An eye catching fish tank for the bachelor pad

Reef One Biorb It's been nearly a year since I purchased my BI-ORB so I have updated my review to reflect my experiences of the fish tank. I purchased my BI-ORB back in December 2004 for two reasons, primarily the design which I thought was quite unique and secondly that they claim the maintenance required is low. Well the design is still unique, as are my fish that live in the tank! --------------- -----------Setup--------------- ----------- The tank is very easy to setup it comes with everything (pump, media, filter, chemicals) that is needed apart from your fish! First the stone media has to be washed to remove any small stones and the dust that gets created whilst the stones are transported. Next the filter and bubble tube are installed it is best to do this before putting the stones into the tank as otherwise some stones will fall into the filter area. After installing the stone media, the water can be added to the tank with the water treatment chemicals which removed the chlorine from the water. Once 24hrs has passed your fish can be added to the tank, there are guidelines as to how many fish to add, this is to allow the ammonia levels and other stuff balance and let the filter establish. --------------- -----------Maintenance--------------- ----------- As for the maintenance aspect I can agree that it is low maintenance with a filter change every 5-6 weeks and a 1/3rd water change every couple. The service kit as reef-one call it will cost around £6 each time, this means ... 20/09/2005

Earn Some Cash Buy lots of stuff using the web? Then you need to sign up to Greasy Palm! ------------What is Greasy Palm?------------ Greasy palm is a website which offers cash discounts/incentives when you sign up for offers on the web or make purchases. The catch is you have to click through the Greasy Palm web site to get the cash. ------------How it works------------ Greasy Palm works through referrals i.e. when you click through their website to another site for example Currys or American Express, they received either a fixed amount in the instance of a credit card sign up etc, or a percentage of the money you spend with the retailer. Retailers use referrals to increase the traffic they get to their web sites, it's basically paid advertising, Greasy palm then passes on some of the money they receive for the referral to you. Once signed up to gain the cash you need to logon to the Greasy Palm website to click through to the site you want to purchase from, if you don't logon and click through then the cash back will not be recorded and will not show in your account. There is a piece of software that Greasy Palm has written which once installed monitors your web browsing and will tell you when you are accessing a site that could earn you cash back when you connect to it and give you the opportunity to click through so the cash back is earned. ------------Earning the cash------------ There are a vast number of retailers on the site ranging from Banks, online casinos, ...

ZOOM 4312 Bluetooth PC Card Adapter 19/09/2005

Blue but lacking in teeth

ZOOM 4312 Bluetooth PC Card Adapter My new laptop the HP Pavilion zv6065ea had one feature missing, Bluetooth which I accepted when I brought the machine. So I needed connectivity for my mobile phone and the search was on for a Bluetooth device. I looked at the USB key types which are cheap but protrude, as I wanted something that I could leave in the laptop and didn't protrude a PCMCIA card was the answer this is what led me to the Zoom 4312 Bluetooth card. -----------The Card----------- The card is a standard PCMCIA card and fits in a card slot very neatly. There is very little that protrudes outside of the slot, only the blue flashing indicator and the small aerial stub. The card is one of the more powerful Bluetooth devices with a claimed range of 100m, I have not tested this claim, but I suspect by the fact that the card has an aerial that it will achieve a good range. You can tell when the card is active as there is a blue flashing LED on the edge of the card this extends past the edge of the PCMCIA slot by around ½ a cm. The light can be seen if looking for it but is not obtrusive and certainly does light up the room at night. Also on the edge of the card is a pull out aerial which I think is required to achieve the 100m quoted range for Bluetooth. When pulled out there is a positive click that locks the aerial into place, there is an elbow where the aerial can be directed to a specific orientation. One issue I have found with my card is that the screw that is on the elbow of the aerial often ...
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