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since 25/10/2006


Samsung SGH E840 27/05/2007

Super slimline Samsung slider

Samsung SGH E840 I had the oportunity recently to get a free upgrade to my old mobile phone and after browsing through the various free phones available to me I opted for this new slimline slider from Samsung. What swung it for me with this phone was the looks. There is no denying that this is a lovely looking phone. The shiny aluminium bezel that surrounds the screen and soft keys and screen gives the Samsung a very professional look and the slide action is smooth in both directions. The rest of the quad band phone is finished in silver plastic and this encases the electronics and keypad. The keypad itself will look very familiar to users of recent Motorola phone like the RAZR and ROKR and is a membrane type pad. The buttons themselves feel soft to use but have the disadvantage of not being very tactile while in use. If you have quite large fingers you may find this is a disadvantage. The screen itself is vibrant in colour and the display images are crisp and clear. This is particularly handy for viewing images taken by the 2.0 megapixel camera that can be accessed at the touch of a button. Picture settings can be adjusted, as with previous samsung phones, which means photos can be taken in various sizes from 240x320 all the way up to 1600x1200 pixels. This is adequate for most purposes. Threre are also four quality settings: Economy, Normal, Fine and Super-fine. Both of these settings will affect the size of the image file itself which can eat up the phone's on board memory. ...

Shaun Of The Dead (Chart Driver) (DVD) 25/11/2006

"Shaun, you've got red on you"

Shaun Of The Dead (Chart Driver) (DVD) Anyone familiar with the Channel 4 comedy Spaced will instantly recognise many of the cast of this movie and even the idea is drawn from one episode of the show involving long hours of playing Resident Evil. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright have taken their love and passion for zombie movies and collided it with their comedy style to create a Rom-Zom-Com (a romantic comedy. With Zombies). Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a normal type of bloke who spends his days working in an electrical store and his evenings drinking at the Winchester with best friend Ed (Nick Frost) and girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashford). Much to Shaun's confusion Liz isn't happy with this life and yearns for things like nice meals at expensive restaurants and romantic evenings together. Shaun commits himself to changing this and keeping the love of his life and promises to take her out the very next night to a nice restaurant. The next day, however, he completely forgets to book the restaurant and, faced with yet another night propping up the bar in the Winchester, Liz dumps him. This is only the start of Shaun's problems as not only has he forgotten to get flowers for his mother (Penelope Wilton) the dead have started to rise and death and pain await anyone who gets in their way. Shaun, however, is completely oblivious to this as he wakes up the morning following a heavy drinking session with Ed to try and get over Liz. Waking in the chair he fell asleep in he sees a drunken note to himself ordering him to "Get Liz ...

The Bumper b3ta Book of Sick Jokes - Rob Manuel 13/11/2006

Does exactly what it says on the cover.

The Bumper b3ta Book of Sick Jokes - Rob Manuel Founded by Rob Manuel, Cal Henderson and Denise Wilton the online community (pronounced beta to rhyme with Peter) is home to 10,000+ members who regularly post pictures they have made using tools such as Photoshop or Flash, funny stories or links to the funniest or wierdest sites on the internet. Indeed b3ta states in it's FAQ that it is dedicated to celebrating the best stuff on the internet. The site is relatively uncensored humour driven by the members. In fact the only real censorship is anything that may be seen as pornographic which could get you fired from work, anything else is pretty much fair game. Think of an email you may have received with a funny photoshopped picture (footballers holding handbags in a penalty line up, for instance) and nine times out of ten it originated on b3ta. Each week Rob himself sends out an email to a mailing list of subscribers with the stuff that he has found or that has been submitted by members so that everyone can enjoy the best the internet has to offer. There are also weekly image challenges and questions that users respond to in their droves. Content can be hit or miss but the sheer volume of posts is staggering. The best image posts are upgraded to frontpage status by the mysterious 'mods' who police the site and these are often the ones emailed on to friends. A couple of months ago one of the questions of the week was for readers to submit the sickest jokes they knew that they would like to share with the ...

Star Wars - Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back (DVD) 11/11/2006

Striking back twice over

Star Wars - Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back (DVD) Star Wars. Those two words conjure up emotions in many men who were once young boys and prompt any stick, pole or broom handle to be wielded around to an accompanying 'voom voom, kapow' sound effect. Women who were once young girls look on bemused as grown men become Jedi fighting the evil Empire when they should be sweeping, mopping or doing whatever it was they should have been doing. Since 1977 George Lucas' space opera has been wowing audiences all over the world and creating new waves of fanboys acting out the same fantasies. Everyone knows the story by now of how farmboy orphan Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) trained as a Jedi and brought down the evil Emperor Palpatine and freed the Galaxy from tyranny and fear. The Empire Strikes Back (or Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back as it has been retitled) is the second of the original 'holy trinity' and is seen by many as the darkest of the three movies. Starting on the ice planet of Hoth, the rebellion's new base of operations, we follow the adventures of Luke, Han Solo (Harrision Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Princess Lea (Carrie Fisher) and the droids R2D2 and C3PO (Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels) as they continue the good fight. Following a vision of his mentor and friend Obi Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guiness) and near death in the ice fields of Hoth, Luke escapes to the swamp planet of Dagobah amid invasion by the deadly Darth Vader intent on crushing the rebellion. There he is trained in the Jedi arts by ...

Google sketchup 03/11/2006

Google the world around you.

Google sketchup SketchUp has been around in it's various incarnations since 2000 when @last software released it to public acclaim. In April this year internet search engine Google bought the company and released Google SketchUp 5 as a free download and opened up the world of powerful 3D modelling for free. Don't be fooled by SketchUp's simplistic approach to 3D modelling. Anyone who has used 3D graphics packages before will be familiar with the 3 view layout of screen whereby you have to design from both the side, top and front and using the array of tools provided create your model, shade it, apply textures, lighting... so on and so forth. SketchUp takes the easy to understand idea of here is a cube. I want to pull this side to here. I want to split it down the middle and raise this half to twice the height. How about a hole through the middle? Point, click and drag and it's done. It sounds simple and more like a tool for teaching children about shapes but it is much more powerful than that. You literally do push and pull shapes around in real time until they are how you need them to be and with a few further clicks of the mouse you can add textures from the selection available. One of the best uses for SketchUp, and perhaps the reason Google aquired it, is that it can be used in conjunction with Google Earth to create scale models of buildings and landmark features from the real world which can then be overlaid in your copy of Google Earth or uploaded onto Google's web warehouse ...

West Park Hotel, Clydebank 01/11/2006

For one night only...

West Park Hotel, Clydebank I recently had the misfortune to have to attend the funeral of a relative up in Scotland and rather than impose on greiving relatives it was decided that we should book into a hotel instead. The ideal choice for somewhere to stay fell on the West Park Hotel, Clydebank. Not only was it the very hotel where the wake was to be held it was close to where the family lived so was perfect for our needs. The West Park is situated on Great Western Road and is easily accessible and visible from the duel carriage way passing right outside. This proved to be something of a mild annoyance at night as you could hear the traffic noise outside the room if the window was left open. Fortunately the weather meant that we had to sleep with the windows closed so the sound from the traffic was considerably muffled. Check in was relatively simple and incident free with rooms costing from £45 for a single room to £75 for a double. There are also a small selection of chalet type rooms right behind the hotel which housed a family of four who were in our group although two adults, an eight year old and an infant of nine months were slightly cramped and there was an issue with a broken bed that was too close to a radiator that was very hot. We were in a double room on the first floor. There are only three floors; basement area which has a bar area and function room, the ground floor where you will find the lobby, another function room, restaurant and bar and the first floor on which you will ...

2010 - The Year We Make Contact (DVD) 29/10/2006

This was the year we made contact

2010 - The Year We Make Contact (DVD) This is classic Sci-Fi at it's best. The sequel to 2001 - A Space Odyssey picks up the story nine years later when a mission is launched to find out what exactly went wrong with the space-ship Discovery, it's missing crew and the psychopathic computer HAL-9000. The film picks up where 2001 left off with the spaceship Discovery in deteriorating orbit around Jupiter. Back on Earth a mission is planned to rescue the sticken ship and reactivate HAL in an attempt to discover what fate befell the crew. Heywood Floyd (Rob Schneider - Jaws) heads up the American contingent and due to circumstances beytond his control are teamed up with a Russian crew on the Leonov and their captain played by Helen Mirren. A race against time and a rival Chinese crew adds to the tension. Can HAL be reactivated and bring the ship home? What did happen to the two man crew of the Discovery all those years ago and what has become of hero David Bowman? All these questions and more are answered in this film. I loved reading Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series when I was younger and the film helps to visualize the story in an all new way. The direction of Stanley Cubrick is sadly missing in this sequel but the visual effects are still stunning none the less. The tension and the interplay between the American and Russian crews aboard the Leonov keep you hooked throughout. This does somewhat date the film though as elements of the 80's cold war (despite being long forgotten in the movie) are ...

Red Dwarf Interactive Quiz - Beat The Geek (DVDi) 29/10/2006

For Smeg Heads and Twonks the world over

Red Dwarf Interactive Quiz - Beat The Geek (DVDi) In 1989 BBC2 screened a sitcom that was unlike anything else on television. Never before had there been a science fiction sitcom broadcast until Rob Grant and Doug Naylor came along with Red Dwarf. The series follows slobby space bum, Dave Lister, the last human being alive who is stranded three million years into deep space. His only travelling companions are Arnold Judas Rimmer, a hologram of his dead bunk mate brought back to life by the ship's senile computer Holly to keep him sane and a creature evolved from the ship's cat. They are later joined by Kryten, a Series 4000 mechanoid with a BA in the lavatorial sciences. Together this mismatched team of no hopers get into some unusual scrapes while trying desparately to get back to Earth. For those of you who have never seen Red Dwarf it became something of a cult classic running for ten years. There are still rumours of a movie version but as time goes on this seems more and more unlikely. The Red Dwarf Interactive - Beat The Geek DVD is an interactive game that guides you through 8 levels of questions hosted by the ship's computer Holly (Norman Lovett and Hatty Hayridge). You start in the landing bay aboard Starbug and work your way through the ship to the Captain's office. There are six questions per round and if you get all six correct in each round you can unlock a bonus game accessible through the main menu. There is even a bonus level if you get all 48 question correct. The game is for one or two players and ...

Mesh Computers 28/10/2006

Buying a new computer has never been so easy

Mesh Computers My old computer was something of an antique and when it started suffering from overheating problems and random freezes it was time to bite the bullet and buy something a little more up to the task. *Who to go to?* Mesh had been recommended to me by a couple of friends and in my opinion they were up there with the likes of Dell when it came to online retailers of computers. Like Dell you won't find Mesh on the high-street, they're the retailer that people that know go to. In fact the high street had already let me down so it was down to the professionals. Let me explain, Mesh give you such a wealth of choice when it comes to choosing a new machine. You start with one of their basic machines, of which there are many to choose from all arranged into categories based on price, £399-£649, £650-£999, £1K-£1200 and the much dreamed of >£1299. Laptop prices are similarly available. *Choosing your machine* As I was on a budget of £500 the Mesh Matrix Inspire was a good base to build on at around £350. Now don't be misled, at this price you get a perfectly capable machine, a bleeding edge Athalon 64 3500+ processor housed in an Asus nForce 420 motherboard with 512Mb of memory. 80Gb hard drive, 128Mb nVidia graphics on board, 17in monitor, DVD ReWriter, USB, Firewire, yada yada yada, all the usual technical gubbins that computer retailers tell you about. At this point we could easily progress to the checkout and order the new machine but Mesh allow you to further ...

Opera 9 26/10/2006

Rival to Firefox and IE?

Opera 9 I have been an Opera user since version 7 was released on the Windows platform and have barely used another browser since. One of the selling points of Opera for me was tabbed browsing which, although being finally rolled out in IE7 and an established feature of FireFox has been part of Opera's make up since the early days. For those unfamiliar with tabbed browsing (those of you still using IE6) it saves you from having multiple windows open on your desktop and the group of windows that sit in the task bar. All of your browsing windows are in one place. There are a raft of new features in the version 9 release one of which is the visual preview of opened pages. Hovering over the ranges of tabs when having multiple tabs open lets you see a thumbnail sized view of the open page without having to open the tab itself. This saves you from flipping from page to page to get back to what you were looking at. Widgets are another landmark feature in this release which come in the form of small downloadable addons available from the Opera community site (accessible through the program itself). These widgets are available for a variety of tastes and range from clocks to news tickers and they all sit on the desktop outside of the main Opera window. The only downside to these addons is you can't have these open on the desktop without the browser running at the same time. although you can minimise Opera leaving the widgets visible on the desktop. BitTorrent support was also ...

The Suburban Book of the Dead - Robert Rankin 26/10/2006

Armageddon III - The Remake

The Suburban Book of the Dead - Robert Rankin The third and final book in the Armageddon - The Musical Trilogy once again sees Rex Mundi battling the forces of evil on Earth alongside the legendary Elvis Aaron Presley. The story starts with Rex being abducted from his front garden while building a cess-pit for his wife Christine (twin sister of Jesus Christ) and spirited away in the back of a time travelling Volvo. He soon finds himself back on Earth before the Nuclear Holocaust Event that nearly destoyed mankind. There is also the mysterious question of why Elvis features so prominantly throughout history, even appearing in the Bible itself. This book neatly ties up any loose ends hanging around from the previous two books and introduces legendry fictional detective Lazlo Woodbine who only works the four locations, as usual. This book had me laughing throughout thanks to the commonly used running gags and wide ranging number of movie references. Chuck in a blend of magic and fantasy and Rankin takes you through an increasingly bleak vision of the future and to the point of Armageddon. This is one of Robert Rankin's earlier books and introduces lots of characters who will be revisited many times over. I am a big fan of his work and always look forward to a new novel but I heartily enjoy revisiting the older books and have read this many times over. The story twists and turns as you would expect from this author and all the strands come together for the climactic and apocolyptic, inevitable rooftop ...
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