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heinzmanm

heinzmanm

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Reviews written

since 16/01/2002

8

Virgin Atlantic Airways - VIR 25/01/2002

What better way to fly the Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Airways - VIR I always try to fly Virgin Atlantic if I can, but often their prices are a lot more expensive than other airlines and so more often than not, I can’t justify the extra cost. I’ve flown with them on 2 separate occasions, once from Gatwick to Miami (April 2000) and the other was from Heathrow to New York JFK (December 2000) and on both occasions, I’ve been very impressed. On the outbound New York flight, I was upgraded to Premium Economy but I’ll talk about that later. Let’s look at each aspect of Virgin Atlantic and their service, in both ‘Economy’ and ‘Premium Economy’. PRICES: Economy – unless you manage to get a really good deal, normally by travelling at times other than the summer or any other school holidays, the prices can be quite expensive. My flight to Miami cost £290 return which was very reasonable (this was just after Easter) but I’ve looked for other flights where the price has been over £800. Don’t book through Virgin Atlantic themselves. Instead use an Internet company such as Expedia or Airline Network. Premium Economy – fortunately, we didn’t have to pay for our experience in premium economy. If we had (and I looked into this after the event) it would have cost us £200 on top of the standard fare. While I would love to be able to fly in this class of travel all of the time, I personally could never justify so much extra. Our upgrade was on the outbound New York ...

Vauxhall Vectra Arctic 25/01/2002

Don't slate the Vectra just yet

Vauxhall Vectra Arctic The Vauxhall Vectra Arctic was a Special Edition that was available from 1997 (R reg) to 1999 (T reg) and so is no longer available as a new car but can, as I did, be bought second hand. It makes an amazing buy, primarily due to the extra features that it has and that would only be found on higher priced versions of the Vectra. If you manage to get one with a low mileage too, you are on to a winner. They were only available in metallic blue or silver and with only one choice of engine, 1.8 16V petrol. I have the metallic blue version and it looks really nice. What is also good is that the Arctic is relatively cheap to insure, despite the extra features. It costs roughly the same as an LS trim model to insure but significantly less than a GLS. As a 21 year old male, insurance is always a problem but with this car you can have the best of both worlds. OK, with the background out of the way, lets look at this car in more detail Features/Equipment – for a lot of people, the equipment included in a car is what can persuade them to buy one vehicle over another. The Arctic includes a lot of kit that would cost a lot of money as an option, which is a definite plus point. Basically, it is the LS trim model but with the addition of air conditioning, alloy wheels, integral front fog lights and metallic paint. I haven’t worked out exactly how much extra this would cost but you are looking at an excellent buy if you can find one of these cars. The stereo is a standard RDS ...

PC World (Shop) 22/01/2002

Stay away for your own good

PC World (Shop) PC World is one store that I would NEVER recommend anyone to shop from or even bother going to. There is just so much wrong with this company that it is unbelievable that they can claim to offer a service to the public! The worst of it is that whenever I speak to anyone about their computer or hardware that they have, probably 80% will have bought it from PC World. The reason that they give (which is fairly plausible considering the lack of computer stores where I live) is that “PC World is the only place around here” and “we don’t know where else to go”. So, before I start, is there anything good to be said about them? Well, the only thing that I could possibly say is a good thing is the fact that there is nearly always one of their stores near to where you live and that they do sell everything from software and printer paper right up to whole computer systems. Unfortunately this is where it ends and so to look at why I am so against this company. Overpriced – PC World charge what have to be the highest prices ever for PC’s, components and for that matter, anything else that they sell in their store. Even without looking at an Internet retailer, the prices that they sell their goods for are, in a word, extortionate. Recently, a friend of mine bought a PC (not from PC World I hasten to add!) and then decided after a few months that he wanted to upgrade the memory (RAM). Where he lives, there are not a great deal of options as to ...

Computeractive 18/01/2002

An cheap, easy to read computer magazine

Computeractive Computer Active is one of those really easy reading magazines. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that the content is lacking and it has as much useful information in it as some of the ‘big boys’ magazines (PC Pro etc). The first thing to be said about it is that it is the cheapest computer magazine that you will find at only £1.20 per fortnight. There are others that are slightly cheaper (Web User as an example) but this concentrates on the Internet rather than computing as whole like Computer Active. Another thing to point out is that even though this magazine is aimed at ‘beginners’, it still has some useful information that interests those who feel more at ease with their computer. I’m not a beginner by any means but I still love to read it. So, what about the features of this magazine? Well, there is computing news, reviews, letters, workshops, how to’s as well as a host of other useful sections. The reviews are really very good and cover a wide range of different products each fortnight. Items typically reviews are a computer system, software items, printers, speakers, digital cameras and other such things. Each review clearly points out the main features of each item in an impartial way and then outlines the advantages and disadvantages at the end of the review. Pricing information is also provided as well as contact information in case you wish to buy the product. The workshops that are included cover a wide variety of applications and tell you how to perform ...

PC Pro 16/01/2002

PC Pro - a well compiled magazine

PC Pro PC Pro has been my main computer magazine for many years now. I used to buy only the issues that I wanted and then decided to take out a 1 year subscription as the price of this was so good. The magazine itself is definitely one of the best that I have read and also one of the cheapest. Published monthly, each issue costs only £3 and always comes with a CD-ROM, packed with loads of freeware programs as well as a different full-version program each month. As this magazine is aimed at ‘professionals’, the programs are often business orientated, such as design packages but can be software such as anti-virus programs or office suites. You always get a set of essential applications, for example Internet Explorer browser, a selection of ISP software as well as patches and program updates. The magazine itself is second to none in terms of content. There are always hundreds of reviews of hardware, software and anything else computers. Reviews range from items such as motherboards, processors and graphics cards right up to servers and business software. A different range of PC’s are always reviewed, sometimes budget systems and sometimes top-spec machines. New gadgets, hardware and software information is always included as are listings by companies such as Jungle, Dabs and Simply Computers where you can check the latest prices of items. ...

Flight Sim 2002 (PC) 16/01/2002

FS2002 - a huge improvement

Flight Sim 2002 (PC) I bought Flight Simulator Professional 2002 through a company in Belgium, before it was released in the UK and managed to get it for about £15 less than it was on sale for here. My first impression was that there was a lack of documentation, as provided with previous versions of the game. I later came to realise that the manual does not now exist in paper form and can be found on the CD-ROM in a searchable format. This might be slightly annoying for some, but as an avid flight simmer, I don’t find it a problem as all the new features are explained in a separate section. The game is provided on 3 CD-ROM’s and is a breeze to install. Once I opened the program, I realised what an improvement had been made since FS2000. The graphics are awesome and the inclusion of moving aircraft both in the air and on the ground make it feel much more like real life. Another great addition is real Air Traffic Control. This allows you to ask for take-off and landing clearance as well as being able to be guided to your destination airport. This can be achieved using any of 12 aircraft that are pre-installed with new additions being a Boeing 747 (Jumbo Jet) and a float plane which can actually land on water! This simulation can run pretty well on an average spec computer (500MHz processor, 128MB memory) which is another improvement over previous versions of this game. The standard version can also be bought for about £40-50 but in my opinion, you might as well pay that bit extra for the features ...

jungle.com 16/01/2002

Jungle.Com - good value if you hit on an offer

jungle.com Jungle.Com is one of the first online computer, electronic and software retailers that I remember. They sell a whole host of items, ranging from videos and computer games up to PC’s, TV’s and DVD players. The website is very easy to navigate around although the search function on the site can sometimes throw up some very strange results. The site is divided up into sections for each category of item (e.g. video, computer, games etc) and clicking on any of these takes you to a new page which displays the current best offers available in that section. A further search can be made once inside each section. The results that are displayed aren’t that easy to read in my opinion as each item is shown in a rectangular box, giving basic details such as name, price and availability. It is possible to view more information on most items by clicking the ‘i’ button. As for price, it isn’t the cheapest by a long way unless you hit on when they have something that you want on offer. One recent offer was for 100 blank CD-R’s for £24.99 but this price has now gone up to over £30 and meaning that there are better offers around, at least for this item. Delivery is normally within 2 days and the charge is pretty much average. Order tracking is also available so that you can check the status of anything that you’ve ordered and see when it is due to be despatched. All in all, a good place to check out for any offers but in my experience it can work out cheaper to get your stuff elsewhere. ...

AOL 16/01/2002

AOL - a good value ISP

AOL I’ve been using AOL as my ISP for over 2 years now, after switching from Virgin Net. My main reason for switching to them was that they were one of the first ISP’s to offer cheap access to the net. When I subscribed it was 1p per minute and £10 per month. Now I utilise their unlimited, 24/7 Internet access which costs £15 a month and incurs no extra costs apart from this. I don’t really use AOL’s own content very much and tend to use Internet Explorer as my browser as I’m not too keen on the AOL browser. So what about access? It’s normally OK but can take a couple of attempts in the evenings and it does occasionally disconnect itself. Fortunately, you are not logged off after a set period of time as with many other ISP’s. For new users, it is possible to get 100 hours completely free Internet access and this gives you a good length of time to work out whether its for you or not. The software does offer good access control which prevents children from accessing certain content. And so for a verdict. The deal that I subscribe to is pretty good although there are now cheaper deals available for the same type of access. There is a lot of content provided by AOL although you are not obliged to use it. If nothing else, its child controls are second to none for an ISP. ...
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