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one47

one47

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since 30/11/-0001

46

Member Advice on Giving Up Smoking 13/08/2002

Give up regularly... 4th year update

Member Advice on Giving Up Smoking UPDATE: I have just passed my 4th anniversary of not smoking. If nobody else is going to congratulate me, that's OK, because I congratulate myself each year on June 1st :-) The sad thing - In my particular case, my health has been worse since I stopped smoking!!! Doh! I started smoking relatively late in life at 20 (The usual peer-pressure reasons), and spent at least 7 of the following 10 years trying to give up again. I tried patches, gum, cold turkey, hypnosis, fake cigarettes, asking my GP, moving to low-tar cigarettes... All to no avail. My opinions on each of the above methods: PATCHES: These may stop the craving for Nicotine, but that isn't the big problem. Over the years I had moved to smoking Ultra-Light cigarettes, so they gave me more of a hit than a break! The real problem is the habbit of lighting up, inhaling, and feeling the physical change. 0/10 points. GUM: These are slightly better than patches in that they keep your mouth busy. They still miss the main point though. 1/10 points. COLD TURKEY: This is what all never-smoked non-smokers expect you to be able to do to kick the habit. They all know at least one person who did it don't they? Well it isn't that easy! They never hear the whole story. Having said that, I think it is PART of the story (see later) so 5/10 points. HYPNOSIS: This works for some people. I did some research, and gave it a go with two different hypnotists. It is one of the most relaxing ...

Intelligent Finance Mortgages 13/08/2002

IF MORTGAGED to the hilt... UPDATED

Intelligent Finance Mortgages Over the last 9 years as a homeowner I've held mortgages with 3 companies, the Nationwide, the Halifax and now Intelligent Finance (also part of Halifax plc) I have had very positive experiences with all three companies, but Intelligent Finance (IF from here on) have excelled themselves. How much does it cost? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~ As is normal these days, the re-mortgage process costs nothing - There is a valuation fee to pay up front, but this is refunded to your IF account 10 days after completion. To start the ball rolling I spent 60 minutes with my financial adviser, who answered all my questions regarding the product(s), discovered what I wanted in detail (even silly things like "So what do you want to name your savings account?") - And phoned IF for me which took about 30 minutes while they tried to sell the usual insurance products that I already had. The use of the adviser costs nothing too – He is paid by IF for introducing me to the company and making the sale. How do things proceed? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ The survey company phoned and took payment about 4 hours after the above-mentioned meeting, and the booking for the surveyor was made the following day. The survey itself was completed 2 days after that (And agreed exactly with our own valuation, which was nice; Yes, we were sent a copy of the valuation which is unusual.) The paperwork arrived within a week, and was not too bad as paperwork goes. Most of it was filled in already, and following ...

TescoNet 13/08/2002

Tescos from the NET, or TescoNET - REWRITE

TescoNet So who wants an email address of "steve.davies@tesco.net"? It isn't exactly glamorous is it? I would have thought that Tesco's marketing Gurus would have seen that! Well, actually I have that email address (I think!)... I just don't use it much. What do they provide? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~ Basically, Tesco.NET started offering this service because everybody else was getting on the bandwagon at the time. In fact, they offer one of the best "non-professional" ISP services that I've tried, and they have survived the test of time. The downside is that this is not core business, so you will not get all of the bells and whistles. Email account, browsing, and a portal with search facilities and some Tescos advertising is about the sum of it. So why use them? ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Having said the above, Tescos is still one of the best online supermarkets there is, leaving the competition for dead. Combine this with the presentation, and free (except for local call costs) access to the Internet and a well presented "portal" internet page, and they have a marketing tool, but a reasonably well thought out one. There are various reasons why you might dig out your Tescos Clubcard and sign up: 1) You need a "spare" ISP for when your main paid-for service breaks down 2) You don't need all of the extra bells and whistles 3) There is a Tescos near you where you can pick up the starter pack. Look at it another way: They get just enough custom to keep going, are backed by a ...

Internet 13/08/2002

MAKE MONEY FAST with Ciao - UPDATE

Internet Not the type of opinion I norally write, but I did this when I first started, and as I can't un-write it, I'll just have to patch it up a bit :-) The original op: ~~~~~~~~~~~ How? OK, first a small intro. I've only really been using CIAO for a couple of days, having found it and discarded it a while back, but I've found that now I've re-discovered them, there is more here than meets the eye. This is a "Community" site... People who read and write in CIAO will generally be the sort of people who want to get something back from their internet experience (money, points, prizes...) That's me, and probably you. These people will also know about other sites of a similar genre, and to earn something here on CIAO, they're going to be telling us all about them. Thinking about it, a lot of these sites run on a competition or prize-draw basis, so reviews here will dillute their chances of a win, but in the meantime, you can be entering the best of the lotto, consumer-survey and collection schemes that have been hand picked by the masses. So far I would say that by far the best route to these sites is the "Read latest opinions in..." button at the bottom of the homepage, with the "Internet" category selected (Hence the location of this opinion). Scanning this list is quick and easy, and you can choose only the 5-star "Very Useful" articles to read, skipping all of the inappropriate categories... Give it a go. I've bookmarked a few nice ones already. What can I add ...

Aly Bain & Friends - Aly Bain 13/08/2002

Needs special effects...

Aly Bain & Friends - Aly Bain ... like a hole in the head! Film and video opinions are not my forte, so be kind ;-) The film ~~~~~~~~ Based (as are most modern vampire films) on Bram Stoker's Dracula, this is a classic vampire movie. What you might not realise is quite how much of a classic it is! How does 1922 sound? No, NOT 1992, 1922, eighty years ago! This of course places it squarely in the category of "Silent" and "Black and White". The age old tale of a sleepy hamlet, and a mysterious Count Graf Orlak from Transylvania who is looking to buy a new property. Our hero leaves his wife behind to travel to the count's castle to make the sale of the deserted house over the road from his own home (Generally not a good move when dealing with vampires) The count sees a photo of our heroine (the wife) and immediaty packs-up to take residence in his new property, coffins and all. Plague follows in his footsteps as our hero chases him back home... The count is of course finally thwarted by our brave heroine. Horror movies ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Modern horror films are funny. I have yet to find a modern movie that can do more than make me jump once or twice and laugh at the rest of it. This movie has no special effects, the only audio is an old-fashioned piano track, and necessary dialog is displayed as words on the screen. Regardless, it has orders of magnitudes more tension than todays colour extravaganzas. Real deep-down feeling that is hard to feel when you see a familiar actor being ...

Dungeon Siege (PC) 11/08/2002

Hack slash, zap...

Dungeon Siege (PC) ...and what scenery! In fact you'll notice I haven't written an op. for some time. Mostly due to a complete immersion in this and another similar game (Op. to follow... Eventually.) What's it all about? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ RPG = Role Playing Game. You the player take the part of one or more fictional characters in a fictional world, populated (usually) by creatures from Tolkiens Middle-Earth. In this case you are a lowly farmer (male or female) toiling in the land of Ehb, who is plunged into adversity as your village is burned to the ground by raiders, and picking up the pieces, taking revenge and saving the Kingdom falls to you and any hapless companions you meet on your journey. The interface ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In one word, "simple." ... Is that good or bad though? This is the first attempt by Gas Powered Games to enter into the RPG scene, they have an impressive though relatively short track record in the games market, and in this case they have used Microsoft as the publisher, which may well put some potential buyers off. What they have tried to do is take the classic pen-and paper RPG, which has already been transferred to the PC by the likes of Black Isle, and bring it to the masses. In this, the interface they provide reigns supreme. Unfortunately it will probably not suit the hardened Role-Playing Gamer. Much of the complexity of character development has been removed, and replaced by a gradual self-development system, whereby the more ...

Comdirect 07/07/2002

Buy, no sell, no buy, Argh.

Comdirect If you, like me, occasionally fancy yourself as a bit of a wheeler-dealer, and fancy making a buck-or-two on the stockmarket, you could do far worse than taking a very close look at Comdirect.co.uk They are an execution-only (they don't offer advice) trading service, but the breadth of their services, and the low prices are astounding! They have been around a bit less than two years, but in my opinion they will go a long way. *** The Game This was my introduction to the company. comdirect run a monthly share dealing game, where each player is given £100,000 of play-money, and access to almost the full range of trading facilities available to those trading with real money. At the end of the month, the player with the most fake-money wins a prize. This facility is fantastic, really shows off the site's abilities, and can bring you back to the real world as you compare the few pennies of money you have left at the end of the month with the thousands being earned by the pros. *** The Real World! At the end of the day, this site is about share-dealing for-real. I have only used one other similar site, but have researched others, and the range of facilities offered, and the prices charged are incredible by comparison. You are able to trade in 19 share-markets around the world, a large proportion of them are accessible instantly online, and the remainder by phone. There is also a large selection of investment funds that can be purchased through this ...

chessworld.net 10/06/2002

Check MY mates.

chessworld.net Ahh... The school days classic. The domain of the boffin maths-genius 7-year old. The 1,400 year old game of Chess! Until recently, the last time I played chess was more than half-a-lifetime ago. I wasn't a masterclass player then, and an almost 20-year break from the game has done nothing to improve my game. On the other hand, I am once again hooked! The concept ~~~~~~~~~~~ As you might expect is very simple. The website provides you with one or more virtual chess-boards on which to play games against friends and strangers alike. After-all, the Internet has a habit of breaking down international barriers, and this is no exception. I am currently playing 4 games against: my father, a work colleague, an old friend who now lives in America, and a guy who lives in the next town. The pace is set to an easy 20 days maximum per move, and it is fun! If you fancy challenging me, either sign up, and request a game with "One47", or drop me a line, and I can refer you, which sets up an account and starts the first game all in one go. I still qualify as a beginner, but am willing to have a laugh with more expert players if it improves my game. (Note/disclosure: I wouldn't benefit immediately/directly from that referral, but would get extended membership if you join-up) How it works ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Free play is possible on this site, giving the required basic facilities (below) but if like me you find yourself hooked, it costs about $15 / £10 per year for a ...

Netscape 6 31/05/2002

No more Netscape - UPDATED

Netscape 6 Okay, I was wrong. Very wrong... Netscape 6.x continues to live in the form of an AOL owned product, and is being developed based on the Mozilla browser (http://www.mozilla.org/). In fact Netscape 7.0 is now on its way, and looks like it will be well worth the wait. There are rumours in the pipeline that AOL will even be ditching Internet Exploder (sic) in favour of the new Netscape. Only time will tell! In the meantime I am upgrading my opinion on this product from *** to ****. ------- Previous text -------- I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the AOL/Netscape team are pulling out of the browser-client market (I haven’t read exactly when though). I personally believe that this will be a great loss, if only because it is one less competitor for IE. (BTW, IE needs the competition to keep it on the straight and narrow, and keep it moving, not because it is a bad browser.) I used Netscape 4.7x for many moons, and in some places, still do (mostly for mail, as I use Opera as my main browser) and waited with baited breath for Netscape 6 to come along. Having experienced previous pre-releases, and having heard "Bad Things" I avoided the pre-1 and pre-2 downloads, only biting the bullet for the official release. I, like many others was bitterly disappointed with the result. Very pretty, but too slow, and several of the changes made it less easy to use, not more. The origins of Netscape 6 --------------- ---------- Netscape 6 is based on the "Mozilla" ...

ink4u.co.uk 26/04/2002

Does what is says on the Errr... cartridge.

ink4u.co.uk Ahhh... Another discount site, that's how I like to see the Internet developing. As those of you who read my opinions will know, not too long ago I purchased a wonderful new printer. This wonderful new printer drinks ink... No, it doesn't just put it onto the paper, it drinks it; It must do... I'm quite sure of that! With this in mind, the ink cartridge and paper costs involved in enlarging photos of my daughter to A4 size for the delight of several grandparents mounts up very quickly. *** What do they offer? The name of the site suggests little more than a retailer of ink cartridges, and indeed this is why I initially visited the site at a friend's suggestion. They in fact supply a lot more than just ink: - Ink cartridges, branded - Ink cartridges, replacement (more later) - Printer paper, not copier paper, but most photo and film papers - Laser printer toners and drums, branded - Laser printer toners and drums, compatible - Printers - Digital Cameras - Fax and Copier supplies - CR-R and CD-R/W - A special offers section where all sorts of computer bits appear. *** Replacement ink cartridges??? Yes - Ink cartridges which are not just another brand, but which save you money by re-using some part of your old branded cartridge. For example: With an Epson printer (like mine) you might re-use a small chip that records ink-levels, and ink4u will sell a chip-free ink-cartridge, and a starter kit with a tool to reset the ink-level recorded ...

Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse - mouse 24/01/2002

Take the squeak out of your mouse

Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse - mouse Several years ago I was "gifted" with a number of spare mice... Computer mice that is... So have not really thought about buying one for a very long time. I'd previously heard about these new-fangled optical mice selling for £50+, and just nodded wisely... Recently, I found that said new-fangled optical mice have come down in price to as little as £15! Given that £15 will buy you a traditional (known-brand) ball-mouse, how could I not have one? --- Features --- Erm... It's a computer mouse... Erm... It makes the pointy thing on your screen move about. This isn't easy you know; I't just a computer mouse! OK, so what's special about the optical wheelmouse? Well, lets start with what has NOT changed. * It still has clicky buttons on top. * It still makes the pointer on your screen move up/down/left/right. So far so good, so what is different? * It has a pretty glowing light on the back that shines so you know it is on. * It has a wheel on top for scrolling windows (some mice might already have this) * It can be connected using PS/2 or USB (Not a totally new feature) * It has NO roller ball underneath!!! The reduction (almost removal) of moving parts serves to improve the rugged feeling of this type of mouse. There is no little hatch in the bottom, and no rattle if you shake it. Mine has the very slightly rough surface to it that you get on plastic computer cases; A change from the normal smooth white of previous Microsoft mice I've owned. I ...

A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge 24/01/2002

A fiery SF tale

A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge If this title is anything to go by, then Mr Vinge surely is the master that his reputation says he is. This is the first of his books that I've read, and while it is not a tale that grabs you by the throat and does not let you put it down until the end (600+ pages sees to that one!), once finished, it leaves the reader with feeling that they've been part of a worthwhile experience. In a far-future version of our own galaxy, where the internet's levels of information exchange now span the Milky Way, this tale begins with the birth of an evil, the birth of its nemesis, and of a planetfull of people trying to escape - And that's just the prologue... --- The characters --- There are only a few human players in this story (and one of them has been constructed by a higher intelligence from spare body-parts) but those that we do see are pivotal, and highly developed characters. The following descriptions are brief so as not to give away plot elements: - Jefri and Johanna, a young boy and his older sister, crash landed on a strange planet while escaping the new evil, fighting for survival on this sometimes in-hospitable planet; they are unknowingly in possession of the solution to the evil, "the Blight." - Ravna and Pham, a "librarian" and her constructed companion, his head full of "Godshatter" - Memories put there by the higher intelligence that created him. On a mission to find the children and save the galaxy. - Blueshell and Greenstalk, two alien ...

AMD AthlonXP 22/01/2002

1800 horsepower. Woooosssshhh.

AMD AthlonXP I've been spending money on computer toys again recently.... I wanted to buy a game called "Return to Castle Wolfenstien", but my old PII-350 based PC wasn't up to it, so an upgrade was required. I'd resisted this upgrade for a significant amount of time due to budget restrictions, but now the bullet was due to be bitten... --- What is it? --- Hard question - I suppose that a "Clone of a Pentium IV" would be a good starting point, except that that would be ignoring the true lineage of this chip. AMD started producing cheap equivalents of Intel CPUs back in the days of the 486. So did other companies, but AMD is the only company who can claim to have kept up with (and sometimes exceeded) Intel's products. Sadly you cannot quite go out and buy an AMD chip and plug it in in-place of your Intel processor; Unfortunately Intel patent and copyright their work in a maner designed to prevent that, so AMD cannot just replace an Intel processor - This means that you have to buy a motherboard which will accept one type of processor or the other. C'est la vie! --- Who or What is AMD? --- You've heard of Intel right? If you haven't, you clearly don't get out much. AMD are Intel's supposedly second-class cousins. In my opinion their second-class staus is decidedly undeserved - They produce quality products at reasonable prices, and keep an element of competition in the marketplace, without which we would see Intel pricing their CPUs far higher than they do ...

Epson Stylus Photo 890 21/01/2002

Style is right...

Epson Stylus Photo 890 Invest in a worthwhile printer?... Never! Until now, and even that didn't break the bank. I've finally upgraded my PC, and while my wife wasn't looking, I included a spanky new printer on the order :-) --- Features --- Okay, start with the basics. This is a colour printer, photo-quality, and handles A4 paper at a speed of about 10 pages per minute. For the more technically mined: * Dimensions = 47cm x 29cm x 18cm * Ink cartridge - One black, one Colour, total 6 ink resevoirs. * Paper feeder - A4/Letter sized. * Roll feeder - Can feed paper from a roll. * Resolution - 2880 x 720 dpi * Connections - Parallel and USB * Compatible - PC and Mac Briefly mentioned above is the roll feeder. This was not mentioned in the specification, so could be considered a "free extra" - It holds a roll of 100mm wide photo paper (A small sample roll is supplied) which is fed through the printer to print 150mmx100mm (Approx. 6"x4") photos - The printer will add "cut" lines to the roll so that the paper can be cut without ejecting the whole roll. --- Operation --- The printer has 3 buttons on the front. 1) Power (with power light) - As expected this turns the printer on and off. 2) Clean/Error (with error light) - Clears error conditions. Requests printhead cleaning. 3) Paper control - Loads/unload roll-fed paper. Changing ink cartridges is a doddle - Lift the front flap, press the "Change cartridge" button, and you are presented with the cartridges held in by a ...

visitorfriendly.com 26/12/2001

Can this really last.

visitorfriendly.com It really IS possible to make a few quid from the internet... I started small with a run of luck on Bananalotto, then I discovered Ciao, DooYoo and the other advertising/competition sites, but I hadn't expected VisitorFriendly. Visitor Friendly, like the opinion sites is NOT money for nothing - They expect a certain amount of time and effort from you, but as other opinions point out, the rewards are pretty darn good. *** How does it work? Mystery Shoppers - Heard of them? They visit shops, buy stuff, check out the customer service, and then report back to head office. The "shopper" is paid for their time and for the report. VisitorFriendly works much the same way - You are given a list of websites to visit - You browse, try them out and build your opinion. Then you fill in a questionnaire. Some of the responses are multi-choice, and some expect a paragraph of text or more. The questions are mostly the same set in my experience, but they reserve a section to "Client task based questions"; These will often ask you to try and get to a certain part of the site and ask leading questions about it. *** Do they pay? A commonly asked/answered question on Ciao. Yes. They do. I've been signed-up for four months, and have received a first payment already. I still have un-paid credit in my account though. *** How much do they pay? Well, they seem to have two categories of member, and no-one seems to know how they work out which you are. The "Elite" ...
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