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I've had my Alba DVD-103 for about 2 and a bit years now. It came free with my dreamcast package at the time from Toys'R'Us and was replacing my super small Sharp player which had developed a fault. I didn't turn my nose up ata free DVD player, no sir-eee. But I didn't expect to be this pleased with the results. The player itself is a nice burnished silver affair and is chunkier than you'd expect from a player these days. However this player has something missing ont he cheaper players now-a-days, an LCD info panel at the front. A nice feature of this is that it has a number of brightness settings all set using the remote control. The player has the usual list of connectors around the rear :- . RGB Scart . Phono output . Coax dolby digital . SPDIF . Power cable Personally I hooked it up to my 32" Philips TV and Videologic Digi-theatre dolby digital system. The video quality is excellent and the audio, as you'd expect, is nice and rich because it's a raw stream going to my external decoder. Even when the audio is going through my TV its pretty meaty. Unlike many more expensive players the Alba has nice audio CD representation and keeps up well with some Sony and JVC players I've listened to. Sure it's not the best, but it's far from it on price. Other nice features of tis player are the multi-region supprt, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+r, DVD+RW and MP3 playback that I've found no-end of use especially since I make my own DVD movies at home. (Digital camcorder, Disneyand Paris and a DVD burner is an excellent combination I'd recommend to anyone :) ).
The kazaa applications is based on the growingly popular peer-to-peer architecture. To get it past us, the P2P method involves you connecting to a central servers, with other users, and being able to share one anothers files. The msrt bit is that it allows you to get different bits of the file from different users. Take me for example, I've got ADSL, so I could be getting a piece of music from 10 modem users, combining to make my max speed on ADSL. Nice. A harse reality for the music industry is that these tools are used more for pirating tha anything else. If someone says that there's a legitimate use then they're talking poppycock as any legitimate files are usually there by mistake or as a marketing exercise. (Please don't flame me for this, I've been in the industry too long to care about getting in a flame-war. These are my opinions, if you disagree then write your own here as well.) In terms of the Kazaa applications, well the interface is reasonably neat. The functionality has become pretty standard, they were the first to use this interface design for P2P and they'll not be the last. The main thing about kazaa isn't really the application anyway, it's the underlying network. And although Kazaa has many many omre users than others P2P network si feel it's had it's day, or will have soon enough. The problem for Kazaa is that they have now reached critical commercial mass, per their company road-map, and are now capitalizing on the userbase they have. You'll note that the music industry can now force their downloads on you above the ones you're probably searching for. So that Celine Deon track you're downloading may well be a promo. As Is said, the commerciality of the product is now becoming too high and the adware is a pain in the rear. If you leave the app running in the background and get up in the morning expect to be closing upwards of 20 pop-ups.
I've been using PC-Chips for years now and don't know why they keep coming under fire. I've only had about 2 motherboards ever fail and one of those was an, ahem, user induced error. This motherboard is now housing a 2GHz processor, 1 GB of memory and a 120GB hard diskwith DVD burner. And it's running like a little dream. The idea here is that it's everything to evry man (Or woman). Onboard you'll find :- . 10/100 network . 56K Modem . Up to 64 MB TNT-2 Chipset Video shared with system memory . Audio . 2 PCI Slots . 1 AGP Slot . Can take up to 1GB SDRAM The fact that so much comes out of the box and for under £50 i think says it all. If you're got a PC case , the floppy drive, CDROM drive, etc. Then this motherboard, a little memory and a new processor might set you back £200 for some meaty kit but it'll give you a brand-new PC which will rock right up there with heavier kit. Fair enough though, the 3D graphica performance will never touch a stand-along card, but I've run Unreal Tournament 2003 on mine and it was more than respectable. It's always nice to know that if you want to improve the graphics you can put in your favourtite GeForce 4 should it take your fancy and voila, an even better machine.
This camera is wonderfull, magnificent and a dream to use. Once you get it working. That last part is mainly for Windows 2000 and Windows XP users. There is a little issue where the operating system locks access to files required for updating during the installation process. This is a non-issue and the philips pc-camera homepage tells you how to get around this. It's also worth getting the updated drivers as the performance improves by about 25% when they're in and running. The quality at 640x480 is superb, so everything lower is greata s well. Audio quality is soo good from this that I use it with dragon dictate for dictation. Honestyl. I was doing a voice-over for a smal video project and my mic was duffed so I actually adjusted the recording levels manually, used microsoft sound recorded and got my WAVs that way through this very camera. The results amazed everyone. The look of the camera is also very nice indeed. I'm so pleased with it that I've got one in my study and one nestled between the XBOX and Sky decoding in my livingroom so my daughter (2.5 years old) can video conference with her grandparents in Ireland on the big-screen. Simply superb. Go get one. Don't wait, go out and do it now, you'll not regret it (Once it's working :) )
The card worked fine for me. It's got two standard USB type 1 ports. It's PCI. It cost £5 brand new. There isn't really a lot to say about this card. It's very cheap and it's highly compatible. The reason for this compatibility is tat it's pretty tightly tied by the standard defined for USB 1.x data transmission. The issues with compatibility which are commonly chucked around at this port could equally apply to any number of other USB cards as the standard for v1 USB were not entirely adhered to by the devices being plugged into the ports. It's easy to blame the cards for this but it's likely to be the device you're using if you've got probs. Timing issues are resolved in part, if you've got windows 2000 or XP, by drivers updates which can help out a lot. If compatibility is a concern then stear clear of all USB 1.x cards and go for a newer model. Justa word to the wise. This device has had everything from scanners, printers, USB webcams, to USB modems, network adapters and ADSL modems running through it just fine.
The camera itself is a odd little ball fellow, very 'Prisoner' esque. I perched it atop my monitor, plugged in the connector, installed and software and everything pretty much took care of itself. The supplied software is the usual fair of video-conferencing and video e-mail drivel. Your best bet is to download the updated version of netmeeting and let it go at that. No frills, good software and a nice little camera to back it up. The picture quality is good at low-resolution, with high-res (640x480) letting is down as these cheaper cameras usually do. The audio quality is average and a little echo-ey in comparison to other webcams I've used. Another nice buy on eBay or if you're getting it as a freebie. I wouldn't want to invest my hard earned cash in one, there's just not enough features for the money you spend. On the subject? I've had hell getting it to work consistently on Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Windows 98 SE is 100% cool with it though, after all it's only the USB version of the earlier parallel camera.
I got this webcam with a mate at a local techie store. It was a factoryr efurb and cost him £5. Not bad we thought, can 't be too terrible for the money we thought. We were right, we thought.... after we got it back to his house. We had to hunt down the drives which was a bit cumbersome as the device itself didn't tell us too much about it's exact model. A little trial and error and hunting on the creative labs website helpded out there though. With the drivers installed we plugged it in and let rip with some quicksharp video conferencing on the LAN using netmeeting. The results for small images (320x240) were as good as any other camera. Where it let itself down a little was at 640x480 resoluton were it tended to look very grainy and pixely. The drivers supplied didn't deal very well with varying light conditions, something which I take for granted with the Philips high-res camera I use. All in all this is worth the money as a refurd or eBay buy. I wouldn't be quite so convinced with the fullr etail price though.
The PCI card installation was, as always, a breeze for my normal desktp and the 3 other machines this card has been installed in. It's fair to say that aside from a few IRQ problems, it's worked with every machine and each operating system it's been installed with, which is :- . Windows 2000 . Windows XP Home . Windows 98 SE Att he back of the card the main input is your COAX, although you've also got the possibility of a Phono input as well. The ATI TV software supplied with the card works well, even though it leaves a little to be desired in terms of th interface. ATI have gone for the super-bubble look which is irritiating after a while. A neat feature is that when you minimize the viewer to the taskbar your wallpaper becomes the TV image. This is cool and makes for a nice way to keep it on in the background. Picture quality was actually very good indeed for the price and quite a bit more. The phono socket and my analogue camcorder of the time have made me more than happy with the card and that particular output was captured straight to MPEG-2 using the provided software and burned immediately to DVD for archival purposes. By using standard drivers you can use this as a capture source for many applications. Premiere 6.5 however, bawked at the card as a source and wanted none of it. This card is an excellent all-rounder worth buying, even when compared to the famous hauppauge cards at a number of times it's price.
It' a nice card and the output is fine and dandy. But that's exactly where my problem lies with this card. It's JUST fne and dandy. For the money you pay for hauppauge I expect a wonderful image, crisp audio, extra input sockets and a nice application interface. What you're getting is a bog-standard card, software with a very 'Visual Basic' interface and little else other than the name. Yes, the card will record to MPEG-1 Yes, the card has good audio Yes, the card has the standard COAX input Yes, the card obvisouyl has a quality build process behind it. Yes, the card is overpriced for what you get these days.
One word really does describe how superb this chip is. I got my AMD 2GHz Athlon not so long ago to be the herat of my new video editing machine. A rather beefy heatsink and extra fan seemed a wise decision at the time and I think I'm feeling the benefit of the lot just now. I opted to save on the motherboard and memory byt getting a PC-Chips 810LMR motherboard with everything combined in there and 1GB of standard SDRAM memory. My logic with video editing is that more is more. So instead of paging to disk I get it all in memory, slower than DDR, but memory none the less. The processor is now working wonders in all of my video editing software. Previews that previously had to pre-render are running in reatime. Photoshop is at least 10 times faster than my old Athlon 650 (As much to do with the 120GB 10k RPM hard disk and memory I guess!). Compatibility has not been an issue and the raw speed to £ value is considerably better than what Intel ever gave me.
The deskstar drive units have had a bad press, there's no doubt abut that. One friend recently described them as deathstar drives because his experience has been so bad. My experience has been as far removed as I could have hoped for. The drive, given it's price, is exceptionally good value for money. The size to £ ratio is very good indeed. The speed of the drive has been more than adequate, with average seek times producing admirable real-world results for my most common use, video editing. My own drive has been heavily partitioned to make effective use of the unit without dealing with the usual waste of space, something I'd highly recommend doing, especially for video editing. One thing that's starting to concern me... which might prompt for update on this drive down the line is the odd clicking and whirring noises it makes. Not that they happen often, just every few days and for only a few seconds. But they've scared the heck out of people who've never heard them before thinking they've caused things to blow up. Immediate verdict is good, in the long term I might be taking advatnge of IBMs superb warranty on the deskstar drives. Who knows!?!
Netgear kit is amongst the best I can recommend for your home, small business or highly connected campervan. Given where Netgear has come from in the past, it's roots are grounded in some of the best networking developers and distributors I can recommend, it's no wonder they keep churning out good kit. This little switch is no exception to the rule. 5 auto-sensing ports make it enough for a small games LAN, all the while managing to give you one of the ports as an uplink. The uplink port will allows you to extend the devise by pluggin other switches or hubs into to for extra ports. Once good use I've found is to extend the networking capabilities of an area that's very under-priviledge in terms of data ports in an office. Plug the oe port you've got into the uplink and let this little baby work it's magic under a desk out of sight and mind. Because it's netgear you can be assured it's going to keep on running without any real interaction. A word to the wise, if you're going to do this use a cable-tie around the devise to hodl the main uplink cable and power cable in their respective ports. This way if it get's knocked over you'll not suddenly loose a section of your network. There's nothing worse than checking a comms problem in a server room and the problems actually 'out in the field' If you're thinking of getting one of these consider eBay to get a bargain as you can pick-up an equally well serving devise from a re-branding company for less money with more ports. It's good, but there are cheaper equally good products out there.
The xbox is superb. The graphics are the business, the audio is spectacular, the controller is sweet to use (But not as good as the small controller). It's all been said, I can safely rate it a grand old 5 out of 5 just for the console traditional use. There's little point in me going into specs, etc because they're platsered all over the place, including other opinions. I've ben honest and say I've had the necesary changes made to my X-Box to make it more usefull. And not for the normal reasons. The out of the box DVD playback is superb. But multi-region is better as it's now replaced my stereo, my DVD player and the PC I used to have hooked up to my TV. I'm running media player software which lets me play anything I can thorw at it. So now I'm more than happy to sit back and play my audio CDs on a nicer interface, play my US DVDs and even playack footage I've edited myself using my digital camcorder and re-encoded as DivX for size. The xbox is amazing for games, mainly because I've not bought pants games. I've read the reviews and made sure when I invest my money it's in a worthwhile game. But that's the same for all console. And for the rest? It's the best multi-media playback tool outside of a PC I've ever used. Bar none. Microsoft may not condone this, but they've already announced their own multi-format medi playback software to come out soon. I'd just as rather support guys writing it in their back-rooms though, that way I know the software will be what I want and not what someone wants me to want.
I got this wee beauty for my other half for Christmas and she seems quite pleased, which is a disappointment to me because I'd love to have had it for myself. The unit's nice and small, light and sexy looking. It doesn't, however, have a tinny feel to it as many of the smaller Nokia phones do.... it's got a good solid feel to it. The number pad is easy to use, unlike some of the newer designs. What seems to have happened here is that Philips have decide to keep what works and make it better. So we're not looking at an innovative phone here, rather it's a good all-round unit that display things in colour. The phone supports :- . Bluetooth for access it's address book and the colours photos and wallpaper sections . WAP Internet . GPRS Internet The full colour systems makes the menus nice and easy to work with, and animations that show what's happening contribute to what is essentially a nice user experience. WAP Internet browser is, as always, a pain in the behind with a telephone. But this is made up for by the fact that it will auto-segment outbound SMS messages to send whatever length of message you want in multiple chunks. Another neat feature is that you can drop on photos of people in your address book. So when I call Louise she can see my ugly mug on the phone. Very Groovy. Ringtones are there in abundance and it's even got some nice wee games inbuilt, although extending the game is not an option... so try not to get bored of what's with it. Battery life is superb running in at a number of days on standby with excellent talk-time battery life to boot, see the official website for exact figures as they're really very accurate for once.