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Bokkie

Bokkie
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Member since: 08.03.2011

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    • More +
      21.03.2011 19:17
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      4 Comments

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      Want to pay 50% less for the same thing essentially - then you should buy the Caplets.

      I am writing this review after having asked Dooyoo to add two very similar products to their product catalogue; Sainsbury's Paracetamol Caplets x 16 and Sainsbury's Paracetamol Capsules x 16 - and as such apologise if this very is similar to my review of the aforementioned Capsules. It is just that the result of my comparison angered me slightly, so I felt the need for people to see the result and methodology whichever in review they read. (I have added a personalised 'My experience' paragraphs, but how much detail can you go into with a pill - so they are quite short)

      This was all prompted by coming home from a shopping trip recently and seeing that, whilst I had paid 45p per packet for Sainsbury's Extra Power Pain Relief, I had paid 41p per packet for just ordinary Paracetamol; at first I thought what a good deal the Extra Power Pain Relief was, then I remembered that usually Paracetamol was usually only 20p a packet and if Paracetamol had gone up in price surely the Extra Power Pain relief would have done as well - as Paracetamol is the prime ingredient. After some investigation on Sainsbury's website I discovered that what I had bought was Sainsbury's Paracetamol Capsules x16 for 41p rather than Sainsbury's Paracetamol Caplets x16 for 20p, and I was prompted to ask - what makes the Capsules double the price?

      Comparison

      Dosage - No Difference
      Capsules - Each capsule contains: Paracetamol 500mg
      Caplet - Paracetamol Caplets 500mg

      Number of units - No Difference
      Capsules - 16 Capsules
      Caplets - 16 Caplets

      Packaging - No Difference
      Capsules - Carton board carton, Aluminium blister, PVC blister, Paper information Leaflet
      Caplets - Carton board carton, Aluminium blister, PVC blister, Paper information Leaflet

      So everything is the same apart from the obvious difference - one is a Capsule and one is Caplet.
      A Capsule is small gelatinous (or vegetarian substitute - always read carefully to make sure you vegetarians) container with ground or pellet medicine inside and a Caplet is basically a tablet with a trendy name - PR Marketing Gurus discovered people trusted 'cap'sules more than 'tab'lets; so they tried to make tablets more like capsules in the cheapest way possible, by changing the name).

      What I have done is scoured the internet for a good comparison, and have (I admit) copied and pasted it from Now Food - who have apparently done extensive market research (as producers of Health products) http://www.nowfoods.com/ Quality/ QualityNotes/M040088.htm - and then added my thoughts / notes

      ADVANTAGES OF CAPSULES
      Unique mixes and ingredients are possible - Pointless as it is the same ingredients
      Sealed hard gelatin caps can be good oxygen barriers - Useful I guess
      Protection for sensitive ingredients - Useful I guess
      Shell normally breaks down/opens in 4 minutes - Fast Acting Pain Relief
      Reduced gastrointestinal irritation - Useful I guess
      Odorless, tasteless, easy to swallow - Major Plus
      Oil and fat-soluble nutrient delivery - (?)

      ADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
      Well accepted, elegant - Ok...
      Custom size, shape, and appearance - Useful, especially with Children
      Notching possible for dose splitting - Very useful
      Low cost - I have noticed
      Low cost coatings for enteric delivery - I have noticed
      Dissolution control for quick, delayed, or extended release - They are Fast Acting Pain Relief as well ??

      DISADANTAGES OF CAPSULES
      Bulky materials can result in large capsule size - Irrelevant with Paracetamol
      Can be susceptible to moisture - Kept in Bathroom so important
      Ingredients can interact with capsule shell - Does Paracetamol?
      More difficult to fill accurately - Worrying ????!!!
      Costly - I have noticed
      Capsule or lubricant allergies/sensitivities are possible - Not good
      Softgel contents restricted to a tight pH range - (?)

      DISADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
      Excessive compaction, poor dissolution - Slow Acting Pain Relief
      Granulation technique can add heat/moisture - (?)
      Customer concerns/self-testing of tablet dissolution - Slow Acting Pain Relief
      Problems with irritant compounds exacerbated by tableting - Not good
      Coating sensitivities - Not good

      Importantly all the materials, with the exception of the Blister / Plastic tab containing the Caplets, can be recycled; the box is mainstream cardboard, and the leaflet mainstream paper - so most Councils will provide doorstep recycling that will take these.

      As somewhat of a side note within this review, my experience with these Caplets is that they are relatively effective at relieving mild headaches and for stopping oncoming headaches in their tracks - primarily what I use them for. Personally I would recommend taking two at a time, for guaranteed performance, but as everyone is different one, or even half (as you have the choice of splitting the Caplets) may be enough.
      Performance wise I find they work as quickly and as effectively as the Capsules, or at least it is so similar I cannot notice the difference. I will admit however that these Caplets are quite bulky and, if you have problems with swallowing tablets, could pose a problem and, if left in the mouth too long, don't smell / taste nice at all, which can be quite an unpleasant experience.
      Personally I will always buy the Caplets (as explained below), and will scour the shelves of Sainsbury's more carefully next time - rather than just grabbing the generic packet that said 'Paracetamol x 16 500g'.

      So what I have paid double the price for is basically that the Capsules are faster acting than Caplets (as I doubt Sainsbury's 20p Paracetamol Caplets have Dissolution Control) and they are easier to swallow.
      At the end of the day, for me, this is not worth spending twice as much (in principle - accepting that in practise 20p is somewhat of an irrelevant amount); I have no problem swallowing tablets (though accept some do) and also have had no problem with the speed at which the Caplets act - generally if my headache is so bad that I think 'I need Fast Acting Pain Relief' I will take some Extra Power Pain Relief.
      In conclusion - If you have trouble swallowing tablets or worry that caplets are not fast enough acting, then go for Capsules at double the price; however if you are fine with swallowing tablets, find 'faster acting' somewhat irrelevant, are a vegetarian (check with Sainsbury's as packaging doesn't say if the capsules are gelatine or not), perhaps like to take half a caplet, or have lubricant allergies then you should pay 50% less for the Caplets.

      Details from back of Caplet packet below -

      Summary
      'For the relief of mild to moderate pain including headache, migraine, neuralgia, toothache, sore throat, and period pains. They are also for the symptomatic relief of sprains, strains, rheumatic pain, sciatia, lumbago, fibrositis, muscular aches and pains, joint swelling and stiffness, influenza, feverishness and feverish colds.'

      How to take
      'Swallow with water. Do not chew. Adults, elderly, and young persons over 16 years: 1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours as required . The dose should not be taken more frequently than every 4 hours, with a maximum of 6 tablets in 24 hours'

      Warning
      'Contains Aspirin and Paracetamol - Do not take with any other paracetamol-containing products'
      'Do not take if you have kidney or live problems'

      Comments

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      • More +
        21.03.2011 19:12
        2 Comments

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        Disadvantages

        If you have trouble swallowing, then go for fast aching Capsules

        This was all prompted by coming home from a shopping trip recently and seeing that, whilst I had paid 45p per packet for Sainsbury's Extra Power Pain Relief, I had paid 41p per packet for just ordinary Paracetamol; at first I thought what a good deal the Extra Power Pain Relief was, then I remembered that usually Paracetamol was usually only 20p a packet and if Paracetamol had gone up in price surely the Extra Power Pain relief would have done as well - as Paracetamol is the prime ingredient. After some investigation on Sainsbury's website I discovered that what I had bought was Sainsbury's Paracetamol Capsules x16 for 41p rather than Sainsbury's Paracetamol Caplets x16 for 20p, and I was prompted to ask - what makes the Capsules double the price?

        Comparison

        Dosage - No Difference
        Capsules - Each capsule contains: Paracetamol 500mg
        Caplet - Paracetamol Caplets 500mg

        Number of units - No Difference
        Capsules - 16 Capsules
        Caplets - 16 Caplets

        Packaging - No Difference
        Capsules - Carton board carton, Aluminium blister, PVC blister, Paper information Leaflet
        Caplets - Carton board carton, Aluminium blister, PVC blister, Paper information Leaflet

        So everything is the same apart from the obvious difference - one is a Capsule and one is Caplet.
        A Capsule is small gelatinous (or vegetarian substitute - always read carefully to make sure you vegetarians) container with ground or pellet medicine inside and a Caplet is basically a tablet with a trendy name - PR Marketing Gurus discovered people trusted 'cap'sules more than 'tab'lets; so they tried to make tablets more like capsules in the cheapest way possible, by changing the name).

        What I have done is scoured the internet for a good comparison, and have (I admit) copied and pasted it from Now Food - who have apparently done extensive market research (as producers of Health products) http://www.nowfoods.com/ Quality/ QualityNotes/M040088.htm - and then added my thoughts / notes

        ADVANTAGES OF CAPSULES
        Unique mixes and ingredients are possible - Pointless as it is the same ingredients
        Sealed hard gelatin caps can be good oxygen barriers - Useful I guess
        Protection for sensitive ingredients - Useful I guess
        Shell normally breaks down/opens in 4 minutes - Fast Acting Pain Relief
        Reduced gastrointestinal irritation - Useful I guess
        Odorless, tasteless, easy to swallow - Major Plus
        Oil and fat-soluble nutrient delivery - (?)

        ADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
        Well accepted, elegant - Ok...
        Custom size, shape, and appearance - Useful, especially with Children
        Notching possible for dose splitting - Very useful
        Low cost - I have noticed
        Low cost coatings for enteric delivery - I have noticed
        Dissolution control for quick, delayed, or extended release - They are Fast Acting Pain Relief as well ??

        DISADANTAGES OF CAPSULES
        Bulky materials can result in large capsule size - Irrelevant with Paracetamol
        Can be susceptible to moisture - Kept in Bathroom so important
        Ingredients can interact with capsule shell - Does Paracetamol?
        More difficult to fill accurately - Worrying ????!!!
        Costly - I have noticed
        Capsule or lubricant allergies/sensitivities are possible - Not good
        Softgel contents restricted to a tight pH range - (?)

        DISADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
        Excessive compaction, poor dissolution - Slow Acting Pain Relief
        Granulation technique can add heat/moisture - (?)
        Customer concerns/self-testing of tablet dissolution - Slow Acting Pain Relief
        Problems with irritant compounds exacerbated by tableting - Not good
        Coating sensitivities - Not good

        As somewhat of a side note within this review, my experience with these capsules is that they are relatively effective at relieving mild headaches and for stopping oncoming headaches in their tracks - primarily what I use them for. Personally I would recommend taking two at a time, for guaranteed performance, but as everyone is different one may be enough.
        Performance wise I find they work as quickly and as effectively as the caplet. I do admit that these capsules are easy to swallow and don't smell / taste at all, which is quite a pleasant change - just a slight plastically taste if you allow the gelatine sheath to begin to dissolve on your tongue.

        Details from back of packet below -

        Summary
        'For the relief of mild to moderate pain including headache, migraine, neuralgia, toothache, sore throat, and period pains. They are also for the symptomatic relief of sprains, strains, rheumatic pain, sciatia, lumbago, fibrositis, muscular aches and pains, joint swelling and stiffness, influenza, feverishness and feverish colds.'

        How to take
        'Swallow with water. Do not chew. Adults, elderly, and young persons over 16 years: 1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours as required . The dose should not be taken more frequently than every 4 hours, with a maximum of 6 tablets in 24 hours'

        Warning
        'Contains Aspirin and Paracetamol - Do not take with any other paracetamol-containing products'
        'Do not take if you have kidney or live problems'

        Importantly all the materials, with the exception of the Blister / Plastic tab containing the Capsules, can be recycled; the box is mainstream cardboard, and the leaflet mainstream paper - so most Councils will provide doorstep recycling that will take these.

        So what I have paid double the price for is basically that the Capsules are faster acting than Caplets (as I doubt Sainsbury's 20p Paracetamol Caplets have Dissolution Control) and they are easier to swallow.
        At the end of the day, for me, this is not worth spending twice as much (in principle - accepting that in practise 20p is somewhat of an irrelevant amount); I have no problem swallowing tablets (though accept some do) and also have had no problem with the speed at which the Caplets act - generally if my headache is so bad that I think 'I need Fast Acting Pain Relief' I will take some Extra Power Pain Relief.
        In conclusion - If you have trouble swallowing tablets or worry that caplets are not fast enough acting, then go for Capsules at double the price; however if you are fine with swallowing tablets, find 'faster acting' somewhat irrelevant, are a vegetarian (check with Sainsbury's as packaging doesn't say if the capsules are gelatine or not), perhaps like to take half a caplet, or have lubricant allergies then you should pay 50% less for the Caplets.

        Comments

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        • More +
          19.03.2011 19:20
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

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          Extra Power Pain Relievers that actually work.

          Since I have started working, which involves sitting in front of a computer monitor for large parts of the day, I have become more and more prone to headaches, and the occasional migraine, and as such have been constantly in search of adequate and effective Pain relief; with Sainsbury's Extra Power Pain Relief I have fulfilled that search.

          Boring bits first -

          Sainsbury's Extra Power Pain Reliever caplets - Paracetamol, aspirin, & Caffeine x16

          Packaging
          Recently Sainsbury's have updated their packaging, so it doesn't look the same as the picture for this product - though it stills looks similar.
          It is still a rectangle shape, but the picture and wording is presented landscape rather than portrait. The colour scheme is blue and red, with a white stripe, and a picture of two white tablets.; the back is covered with different text-boxes (coloured white, blue, pink, and yellow) detailing all the information you could want to know about the tablets.

          Essential bits - copied of the back of box (as I feel it is safer to give people an accurate picture of these tablets, which I may dilute if I try to reword).

          Summary
          'For the relief of mild to moderate pain including headache, migraine, neuralgia, toothache, sore throat, and period pains. They are also for the symptomatic relief of sprains, strains, rheumatic pain, sciatia, lumbago, fibrositis, muscular aches and pains, joint swelling and stiffness, influenza, feverishness and feverish colds.'

          How to take
          'Swallow with water. Do not chew. Adults, elderly, and young persons over 16 years: 1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours as required . The dose should not be taken more frequently than every 4 hours, with a maximum of 6 tablets in 24 hours'

          Warning
          'Contains Aspirin and Paracetamol - Do not take with any other paracetamol-containing products'
          'Do not take if you have kidney or live problems'

          My thoughts -
          I take these primarily for headaches and they are excellent, I have found nothing more effective; enough said, but I think I should perhaps be a bit more descriptive.

          As the box says they are for relieving mild to moderate pains and, thanks to years of treating headaches with naps rather pills, I find that they truly work. Though I mostly take these for headaches I have also found that, the day after a particularly long jog, they remove joint and muscular aches and pains - though for this type of pain or ache I would recommend ibuprofen, which works by reducing swelling.

          For even the worst headaches they are fast acting and effective, taking about 5 minutes to kick in and dull most headache related pain; with the caffeine kicking in to keep you alert, rather than that drowsy feeling you sometimes get with pain relief.

          Also, thanks to the caffeine (according to recent scientific studies showing caffeine's effectiveness with migraine relief) perhaps, these caplets work very well when used to head off an oncoming migraine; if you are like me, and experience blurred vision / spots before a migraine comes on, then, if they are taken before the pain starts, two caplets are effective in stopping the migraine before it begins - something straight paracetamol has failed to do.

          A useful side note - if, for some reason, these don't work they can (though probably shouldn't) be used in conjunction with ibuprofen based pain relievers.

          Possibly the best thing about the caplets is, remembering how effective they are, that a pack currently costs 45 pence. My thoughts on cheap pharmaceuticals are that surely this is such a highly regulated industry that cheaper, own brand, versions cannot be any worse; I am sceptical about own brand food, knowing that they can reduce the size or amount of actual food to bump down the price, however own brand pharmaceuticals cannot be bad for you (as surely medicine that is bad for is just harmful), or they would not be allowed.

          As an Environmental side note it is worth saying that, whilst the plastic tabs containing the caplets are not, the box and paper instructions are fully recyclable, making this quite an Environmentally friendly product - in fact, one of the first things I do (and do not recommend anyone else do) after opening the box is put the instructions in the recycling so I don't forget later (who reads them anyway).

          So, bearing this in mind, I cannot recommend these enough; they are a fraction of the price of branded products that work to the same extent, or not as well. I always keep a box of these in my desk at work, in the medicine cabinet at home, and I even keep a tab of caplets in my coat pocket for emergencies.

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        • More +
          18.03.2011 00:42
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

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          • Reliability

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          Excellent low-end 4 Slice Toaster - Perfect, unless you want designer

          When it came to buying a toaster for my new flat, having left University and moved cities for work, my partner and I immediately decided that what we wanted was a four-slice toaster - due to differing opinions on levels of browning. Expense was the first thing that came to mind; I pictured something by Morphy Richards, Russel Hobbs, or Breville that would cost me £50 and, as such, was very pleased when I saw that there was good range of well priced 4 Slice Toasters.
          After not much searching I came across this toaster in Tesco; now, if you have read my Tesco Value Kettle review you will understand when I say that I went with this Toaster as I trust Tesco Electronics.

          Price-
          A very decent £19.97 from Tesco Direct, especially as it comes with a 12 month warranty.

          The Basics -
          Its dimensions are (all approx - I am not patient with a ruler) 20cm tall, 30cm in length, 30cm deep, and it is actually quite light - which is useful for the original positioning once you have unpacked it from the box. It is quite bulky, which means it will take up more room than more compact 4-Slice toasters and, as such, may not be the ideal choice for a tiny kitchen.

          Aesthetically it is very nice to look at. It's body is mainly polished steel, it has a matt black plastic base and control area, and light grey button, knobs, and levers. Despite it's low-end price, it will look like it fits in most high-end kitchens. Admittedly it can feel a little cheap sometimes, especially the lightweight / thin plastic levers, but this isn't a major problem.

          Cleaning-
          Most people dread cleaning their toasters, and I too am one of them; no matter how careful you are crumbs always seem to go everywhere This toaster seems to be designed with that mind, and has two individual well designed crumb trays that seem to actually collect and control most of the crumbs; alongside this, the cage that encloses the toast, within the toaster, also prevents anything getting burnt onto the element - meaning there is almost no need to clean the toaster's insides.

          Controls-
          The biggest selling point of this Toaster is that the 4 toasting slots are controlled in pairs, meaning
          you can toast four slices of bread - having 2 slices burnt to a crisp (like some people like it) and 2 slices
          toasted normally. The Controls for each pair of toasting slots consist of 2 buttons on the left marked 'Reheat' and 'Frozen', 1 knob numbered 1 to 7, 1 button on the right marked 'Cancel, and the toasting lever.
          It is all relatively straightforward - could toasting bread be anything else? You can set the browning control anywhere between 1-7, using the numbered knob (4 1/2 seems to achieve a good level of browning), you also have the option of using the 'Reheat' function (for when you have let your toast get cold after it has Popped) and a 'Frozen' function to defrost freezer bread, and press the lever down when you are ready to Toast - a cage will encase each slice of bread securely (whatever the thickness), making sure that both edges are the same distance away from the element, ensuring an even toast. Another couple of useful features are that the toasting slots are a very acceptable (approx) 5cm wide, facilitating the use of even thick slices of toast, and the toast pops out above the main body of the toaster, meaning you won't burn yourself when retrieving it.

          Stats from http://direct.tesco.com/q/ R.100-8124.aspx

          Brand Tesco
          Cancel Mid-cycle Yes
          Colour Silver
          Colour Palette Silver
          Coolwall Yes
          Crumb Tray Yes
          Frozen Setting Yes
          High Lift Facility Yes
          Two or Four Slice 4
          Variable Browning Yes
          Variable Width Yes

          Overall I have been very happy with this toaster. Having owned it for quite a while now I can confirm that it is very reliable, achieving consistent brownings on each of the levels we use, it is easy to clean, and simple to use. If you want a 4 Slice toaster, and don't want to break the bank, I would advise opting for this one; there is very little that can be criticised, despite it's relatively low price.

          Comments

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        • Tesco JK07 Jug / Kettle / 13 Readings / 9 Ratings
          More +
          17.03.2011 21:14
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          1 Comment

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          Basic but incredibe Value for Money

          My initial thought when making the decision to purchase this Kettle was that 'a Kettle is a Kettle'; when you think about it how much do you want from a Kettle?
          You want it to look nice, you want it to boil water in an acceptable time, you want it to be robust, you want it to be easy to clean, you want it to be portable, and you want it to be easy to use.

          Ease of Use-
          How difficult can a kettle be to use I hear you ask. Even the most poorly designed or complex kettle essentially only has one function - to boil water - and the question is more about how the design facilitates the ease of this one process. With this kettle, whilst boiling water is never more than a simple task, you feel a little more thought could have gone into it.

          The fact it is portable, with the kettle essentially coming in 2 parts - Jug and base, allows for easy removal to fill and this, when combined with large top opening, makes filling and cleaning the jug quite easy; this said, when replacing the kettle onto the base it never feels like it fits - there is always the need to jiggle it a bit until satisfied that it is on properly. Also if you look up the hole in the bottom of the jug, where it connects with the base, it doesn't fill one with confidence to see how exposed certain bits of electronics are.

          My biggest problem with this kettle, with regards to usability, becomes apparent when pouring; the large lid is only loosely locked, by which I mean it is a simple pull / bolt lock rather than being rubber sealed, and does have gaps, and water finds plenty of places to leak out in small amounts when poured at an angle past 45 degrees.

          Boiling, the kettle's primary function, is quite impressive, considering the price; a small cup of tea's worth will take 30 seconds, a large coffee mug's worth about 1 minute, and around 5 minutes for the full 1.7Ltrs. This isn't terribly fast, but fast enough; the large, exposed filter, heating at 2.2Kw works very well. Another criticism of this kettle is also applicable to mention at this stage, and that is that the kettle boils whether the lid is closed or not; not a great problem, but has the potential for scalding - especially if children are present / curious about what is going on. Granted most cheap models don't have cut off switches, but it is worth mentioning.

          It also has a clear water level indicator so you can see exactly how much water you have in the kettle (found on all kettles, most with clearer details than on this one - so hardly worth mentioning, but useful to know) and, as a side note (because as a guy I dislike cleaning), the exposed element makes for easier cleaning.

          Aesthetics -
          I am no interior designer, but I think it is fair to say that this Kettle doesn't particularly look nice; there is something 'off' about it's shape, specifically the long sloping lid. This said, it isn't repulsive either; it just looks a little cheap. It only comes in white, it is made of plastic (albeit robust hard plastic), and you can see little effort has gone into it's design; a plastic bodied kettle does however have the positive that it won't get as hot as a metal bodied kettle. A major plus point is that it does feel robust, it doesn't feel cheap - it feels like it will last, which is most certainly something you want and is something you would please to get for the price.

          Price-
          You may have noticed that I have mentioned price numerous times in this review, and I have deliberately left it to last to tell you as it is the BIGGEST selling point - £4.78, cheaper than large jar of instant coffee.

          Finally the stats - taken from http://direct.tesco.com/q /R.203-7540.aspx

          Capacity (Litres) 1.7
          Colour White
          Cordless Yes
          Element Exposed
          Limescale Filter Yes
          Power in Kw 2.2
          Product Depth 12.9 cm
          Product Height 26.4 cm
          Product Weight 0.85 kg
          Product Width 23.7 cm
          Rapid Boil No
          Style Jug and base
          Water Indicator Yes

          Basically, if you are just looking for something that boils water adequately quickly and pours relatively easily, I can't recommend this enough; it has flaws, it does spill a bit of water, and it does look a little odd, but for £4.78 you can't complain.

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          • More +
            16.03.2011 19:16
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            3 Comments

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            I could not be happier with Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

            I must admit that, despite been quite clued up technologically, I have very little understanding of how viruses and malware work; I understand the basic concept behind what most types of malware do, however further than that I am relatively clueless. As such I am relatively paranoid about the security of my data, and the longevity of my computer, and am very pleased with the peace of mind that Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 gives me.

            My biggest problem, when selecting Anti-Virus / Internet Security software has been finding the right balance between price, protection, and computer performance. I have tried, and been dissatisfied with, AVG's free antivirus software, which performed well in price and also in that it did not effect my computer's performance but failed to satisfy the level of protection I was looking for, and Norton 360, which offered me very good protection but (at £59.99 per One Year 3 PC License - for the newest edition) failed on price and definitely failed by taking up so much RAM that my laptop struggled with basic functions, however with Kaspersky Internet Security - first 2010 and now 2011 - I have found the perfect middle ground - and I do mean perfect, I cannot fault it in any respect.

            Price -
            It is priced at £39.99 per One Year Licence for 1 PC or £49.99 for 3 PCs on Kaspersky's website; granted this is only a saving of £10 when compared to Norton 360, but when you trade in 2011 for 2012 at the end of the year you will get 20% off the standard price.
            It is also worth noting that a large proportion of people may qualify to get Kaspersky Internet Security free, as I did; if you are a Current Account holder with Barclays Bank you are eligible to download this product, good for one year (and then renewable for free) and 3 PCs, without paying a charge - http://www.barclays.co.uk/ Helpsupport/ FreeInternetsecuritysoftware/ P1242557966961

            Effect on Computers performance
            Whilst running in the background, constantly keeping my computer safe, Kaspersky's effect on my Laptop's performance is hardly noticeable, and my Laptop only runs a 2GHZ processor with 2GB of RAM - a relatively averagely powered computer.
            I have read in some reviews that computers are been slowed down when the program updates; personally I never found this to be the case - if it were not for the fact that when I check the Protection reports I would not know it had been updating itself daily at all.
            The only time I admit that it does have an effect on my computer's performance is when it is running it's 'Full Scan' and even then it really isn't too noticeable, when compared to the suicidalally slow performance Norton reduces computers to - at worse programs tend to take an extra second or two to start with Kaspersky.

            Protection and Ease of use-
            Installation first of all; I personally would recommend downloading Kaspersky if you have broadband, either through the Barclays link or through the Kaspersky site having paid for it online, as it is not an overly large file (mine is sitting in Program Files at 60.6MB) and it means that, once downloaded, it is instantly ready to go.
            Once downloaded or once the CD is inserted it is SO easy. Kaspersky's set-up wizard starts up quickly, and is simple and easy to use; you are guided through logical screen progressions by clear and concise instructions, it advices on solutions to problems (such as needing to uninstall other anti-virus software), and comprehensively makes sure you know what you are doing. As per most Anti-Virus systems you will be prompted to restart your computer toward the end of the installation process, after which the Set-up wizard will restart itself promptly - saving you the trouble of doing anything.
            Once installed you are offered the chance to go through the Training Wizard, a useful feature if you are a PC novice, and also prompted to decide whether you want to configure the safety settings and application access levels yourself, something an advanced user may want to do, or if you want Kaspersky to do it automatically (continuously updating it's setting based on your usage and how safe it thinks applications are); as a side note, if you choose for Kaspersky to automatically decide, it will still ask for your input with regards to certain applications access levels - not enough to become annoying however

            I could describe the full functionality of the product in gross detail, but I do not have the inclination nor do I think any reader would have the patience to read a review detailing each of the packages features; it suffices to say it has many useful, relevant, functional, and perfectly automated features that all work well in coordination to comprehensively protect my computer - nothing has got through yet (fingers crossed, touch wood, throw salt over left shoulder, ect). Alongside this ,with regards to ease of use, every function in this product is well thought out, simple to use, and can even boast to be one of those products that perfect achieves functionality without sacrificing any aesthetics - it evens looks good.
            All of this said, for fear of people saying I have sold this jolly good product short by not mentioning any of its extensive features, below is a slightly descriptive list of what you can expect to find within the Control Panel

            Kaspersky Internet Security's Control Panel is broken down into 7 Sections.

            The first is the large Green, Yellow, or Red indicator button at the top; it's colour changes to indicates your security status - a handy and easy to understand function - and if you click on it you gain access to a more detailed Status report, the Detected Threats tab (with the ability to see past detected threats), and the Reports tab (where you can find daily, monthly, and yearly reports, displayed in easy to understand graphs, for the entire period you have used the product).

            The second is Protection Centre, within which is 3 Tabs containing information and access to a host of different functions....
            File and Private Data Protection - 'File Anti-Virus' (Scans all open, saved, or accessed files), 'Application Control' (Classifies Applications and restricts their behaviour), and the 'Proactive Defence'.
            System and Application Protection - 'Web Anti-Virus', 'Mail Anti-Virus', 'IM Anti-Virus', 'Anti-Spam', 'System Watcher' (Monitors All Application activity), and 'Network attack blocker'.
            Online Security - 'Firewall', 'Anti-Phishing', and 'Anti-Banner',
            Whilst skipping over how each of these works, I will say that they all work very well and are very easy to program and understand. Everything in the protection centre is displayed with an on/off green/red icon next to it (for obvious reasons) and their settings can all be modifiable for advances users.

            The third is Safe Run, which contains 'Safe Run for applications' (creates isolated desktop so you can run potentially dangerous applications in safety), 'Safe Run for websites' (adds an additional layer of protection when accessing potentially dangerous website), and the 'virtual keyboard' (which also appears as an icon on your default browser)

            The fourth is Scan within which is contained the 'Full Scan' and 'Scan Critical Areas' functions
            The fifth is Update Centre which allows you the ability to 'Run Update' (or set its schedule / tell it to update whenever it needs to) and 'Rollback' (allowing you to rollback to a previous session if any particular update upset your computer)

            The sixth is Parental Control - simply a menu that restricts and tracks (as many) users access to the computer and internet based on how it has been set by the administrator.

            The Seventh is Tools, which is for the more advanced user, containing 'Rescue Disk', 'Vulnerability Scan', 'Browser Configuration', 'Privacy Cleaner' (scans computer for, and deletes, cookies and temp files), and 'System Restore'.

            Overall, as I have said throughout (and as I am sure the tone of this review denotes), I could not be happier with Kaspersky Internet Security 2011; for the price it is perfect and for what it claims to be it is perfect, I cannot imagine what they have added to Kaspersky Pure to make it more comprehensive but it must be awesome to be able to claim to be better than this program.

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            • More +
              13.03.2011 18:29
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              • "Ease of use"

              Disadvantages

              Brita Maxtra Filter Cartridges x 3 - Perfect apart from the x3; buy x6

              Firstly - I have already reviewed the Brita Fjord Cool Water Jug, and included a bit about the Maxtra cartidges in that - as the cartidges essentially make the Jug, without them you are paying for an expensive and oddly designed Water Jug - so I ask that people do not flag me up for copying if my opinions about the Brita Maxtra Filter Cartridges x 3 are similar to those expressed about the Brita Fjord Cool - (Bokkie [ie Me], Good at what it does - Holds and Filters water Brita Fjord Cool 2011).
              Secondly - I know it appears on the Brita kettles section, but the Maxtra Cartridge are the same for jugs and kettles

              'Having grown up in a relatively rural town in South Africa and having lived in rural Spain, and drank the tap water with no problems, I find owning a water filter jug a tad pretentious' - (Bokkie [ie Me], Good at what it does - Holds and Filters water Brita Fjord Cool 2011); I include this as I want to amend it slightly - pretentious is unfair, I find water filter jugs (and water filters) a bit of a unnessary expense most of the time.
              I, however, own a Brita Jug, and regularily buy filters, due to been able to taste the difference in coffee when using hard / unfiltered water; as such I can understand the need for owning and using Water Filters if people can taste the difference between unfiltered and filtered water.

              The Price-

              I find myself purchasing Maxtra Cartridges fairly regularily now I own Brita Fjord Cool Water Jug - granted this is only in comparision to when I did not buy any because I had no reason to - and personally I find that you do actually get a better price per Cartridge when buying the 6 packs, as opposed to this product which is a 3 pack. For example, having just done a quick Google Shopping Search, 3 packs retail at between £14 and £25 (which is between £4.66 and £8.33 a cartridge) wereas 6 packs retails at between £17 and £25 (which is between £2.83 and £4.15 a cartridge); personally I buy them for £22 from Tesco Direct - apparently a 'Special Offer', but it has been available nearly everytime I have gone to purchse them. As a little side note - they are quite large, but buying 6 rather than 3 does not take up much more room so don't be put off buying in bulk because of size.
              They are expensive but, as I will explain further along, they are worth it.

              The Cartridge itself-

              Apparently the Maxtra Cartridges use a four stage filtration - 1. Intensive Pre-Filtration, 2. Ion Exchange Filtration, 3. Activated Carbon Filtration, 4. Intensive Final Filtration (Brita, http://www.brita.net/uk/maxtrafiltration.html?L=1) - and, though I don't understand / or care how it works, I do believe that it makes all the difference / I believe that it works well. As I have previously said - though I cannot taste the difference between filtered water and tap water, the difference is evident to me when the two waters are used for brewing coffee. Water filtered through Maxtra Cartridges really do get rid of the hard water taste that previously ruined my coffee.

              Installing the cartridges into a Water Jug could not be easier, in my opinion - 'simply twist the old one off, submerge the new one in water and shake until the bubbles stop, twist it on, and do two or three runs of 1.5litres (using the same water for each run if you are an environmentalist)' (Bokkie [ie Me], Good at what it does - Holds and Filters water Brita Fjord Cool 2011). If it does seem a little daunting, as admittedly it did to me first time (not wanting to break my new purchase), the installation instructions are well covered on the side of the Filter Box, and on the side of each individual filters packaging.

              In an area of hard water Brita advertises that the cartridges will filter up to 100Ltrs; so each cartridge should last just over a month and a half for the average Household - filtering 2ltrs a day - or will last longer or shorter according to your usage. Most Brita jugs come with a Cartridge Exchange Indicator, which essentially counts down until when it has been programmed to think the average household would need to change cartridges; if you use more or less than average (2Ltrs) - such as myself using only enough for a mug of coffee a day - you will have to keep a mental record of how much of that 100Ltrs you have used, and just ignore the Cartridge Exchange Indicator flashing away to tell you that you should change your cartridge.

              Environment -

              A nice little side note about Maxtra Cartridges is that Brita encourages you to recycle them - either by posting them to BRITA Recycling, Freepost TK1917, Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 5BR or by calling Brita's customer care on 0844 742 4800 to find out where your nearest recycling point is.
              You can also recycle the box (most Council's run recycling schemes that cover cardboard), however the main let down in this department is that it is near impossible for the average householder to correctly find a way to recycle the individual plastic wrappers around each cartridge.

              Overall if filtering water is a necessary expense for you, then I recommend you buy Brita Maxtra Filters - as they do outperform the competition, and do exactly what they promise to; I however would recommend you buy the 6 pack rather than the 3 pack though.

              *As a humourous side note - in the quick rating section I am been asked to rate the 'Picture Quality' and 'Sound Quality' of a Water filter ???? *

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            • More +
              13.03.2011 17:14
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              Overall an excellent home-use printer, scanner, and copier - let down slightly by false promises

              Due to a concerted TV, Internet, and Retail advertising campaign that billed Kodak printers as 'The wireless way to save money on everything you print' (Kodak, http://store.kodak.com), when my old printer - a HP PSC 1215 - finally died under the stress of printing my University Dissertation I opted to give the Kodak ESP5250 a go.

              It's biggest selling point, and the main focus of the advertising campaign, is the price of Kodak ink cartridges in comparison to other manufacturers. Most manufactures apparently sell their printers at a loss in order to draw in sales, upping the price of the cartridges once you are stuck with their printer so that the loss made on the printer is recouped ten fold on the cartridges sold during the printers life-time (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ink_ cartridge#cite_note-Article-3). Kodak apparently do not do this, they operate a 'Fairly priced Ink' policy that, according to their savers calculator, makes you an average 5-10p a page saving in comparison to most other large brands - working out an average of £50-75 a year (Kodak, http://www.kodak.com/ global/mul/consumer/ print/en_gb/fairly_priced_ink.html); a black ink cartridge costs £6.99 and a colour one £12.99. The printer itself, considering what it promises in both ink savings and performance, is relatively well priced as well at £65-95, depending where you purchase it (I bought mine for £60 from a Currys Sale.)
              As an *FYI* the cartridges for this printer do seem to last a bit less time (you seem to get less prints out of them) than other brand's cartridges; this said I have been printing photo's and posters for a local charity, printing reports and such for work, and scanning and printing / copying many pages of books / journals for an MSc dissertation - so it may be that I am just using more it often than I have used others, but I would say that they seem to get less prints per cartridges. An especially annoying related feature is that when the Printer deems it has run out of ink / got below the acceptable level for a cartridge it bars all printing using that cartridge; apparently this is to protect the printer, but if you are like me and leave ordering cartridges to the last minute then it is frustrating.

              Before I go into the technical details and failings I should look at ease of use and comfort of use. The first thing to mention is that it is very loud , when printing and when starting up; when you are prompted to print your test page during set up, and hear the sounds it makes, you will be forgiven for worrying that something has already broken - this said, how important is a quite printer? The second thing to mention is, unfortunately, another let down, or at least another warning - it processes incredibly slowly when printing over a wireless network, with an average of 15-30 seconds delay between saying it is printing and when printing actually starts. Now onto the positives. The set-up process, aided by the set-up wizard on the cd is easy to use, with prompts and simple screen to screen progression, though it is perhaps a little thorough / long; the most useful feature is that it configures the wireless connection for you, requiring only your network password. The flip up LCD screen is on the small side (2.4"), but when you are actually using it it is more than satisfactory, easily readable, and not at all blurred; alongside this it is a nice addition in that it makes copying and scanning, using the Manual Control Panel rather than the AIO Home Centre, simple and quick.

              The software that the printer comes with is excellent. The set-up-wizards and network-configuration-utility are simple to use and easy to understand, and essentially work by basic screen progression; alongside this there is Status Monitor for your printer, which runs in the background, and alerts you to the status of each print, how full your ink cartridges are, and alerts you to any Printer / network problems.
              The Kodak AIO Home centre is a plethora of fun and useful accessories. It allows you access to many more advanced settings (through the Tools and Documentation button); so, once set-up, if you are technical minded and want to tweek your configurations you can. This is something which can be to each individual print as well, as the printer-driver adds many more-than-standard options to the Print Menu Pop Up that you get when clicking print. Within the AIO Home centre there is also the Scan / Character Recognition Software (described further down) and the Print / Edit photo's option; both of which allow pre and post print / scanning editing, using good quality software (similar to Windows Photo Editor - ie remove red-eye ect), to make sure you get, and are getting, exactly what you want. There are also two buttons that connect you to the Kodak website; the tips and projects button which takes you to the online Tips & Projects Centre (where you can access very useful functions such as Tips from the Pros and Project making utilities) and the order supplies button (which takes you to Kodak's shop and automatically shows you what cartridges are suitable for your printer - rather than you having to faf through the shop trying to find the right ones).

              Now to bore you with the technical stuff; general specifications taken from Amazon (Amazon, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kodak-ESP5250- Wifi-Wireless-Printer/dp/tech-data/ B002MROEMY/ref=de_a_smtd) -

              Print Quality - Thanks to the Software you can choose Draft, Normal, or Best for non photo paper / photo quality, allowing you a range of options - in my experience the Best / Photo option produces superb quality prints for a home use printer.
              Print Size - It prints Standard-size borderless photos up to 8.5 × 11 in. and ordinary documents at 210 × 297 mm (A4 size); this is standard, and all the average user needs, but be aware that it cannot print any larger than this (ie -A3)
              Print speed - It claims that it can print documents at a speed of up to 30 pages per minute in black and 29 pages per minute in colour. This was a major selling point for myself, and I am let down as it is not true; granted when it gets rolling it can print perhaps 10 pages a minute, but generally it will take a good 30 seconds to print a page - in either colour or black ink. Again this may be down to a number of factors not related to the printer, ie the speed of my computer and wireless network, however that it does not even appear that it could ever reach it's claim is disappointing.
              Connectability - It's connectability is a very impressive hardware feature - allowing you to print without a computer by using either a Memory Card (straight from a digital camera) or a USB Memory Stick (Good when wanting to do a one-off print straight from a Computer that isn't linked to your printer or your network, and don't want the faff of having to go through the set-up procedure).
              Wireless - Once set up, the wireless function is fantastic; it takes a while to process operations, but ultimately saves time, the necessity of wires running all over your house, and means that you can print from anywhere using a laptop.
              Scanner - It has an optical scanner, working at 1200 DPI at 24 bit, which in my experience creates sharp images and clear scans of documents. Two very useful features about the scanner are that you can scan numerous pictures at once and the software will create separate image files for them, and that it comes with character recognition software - essentially meaning it will extract / recognise text from a scanned document and allow you to convert it into text-format rather than having it as an image.

              Overall it is a very good package; it works well, is reliable (in my experience), comes with very useful functions and software, and performs admirably.
              The fact it promises far more than it delivers is a let down, mostly because Kodak could be realistic and this printer would still be highly appealing. This said I do recommend it.

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            • Brita Fjord Cool / Water Filter / 14 Readings / 12 Ratings
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              13.03.2011 15:48
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              Holds + Filters water; buy it over more expensive models, unless you really want an in-built sensor

              Having grown up in a relatively rural town in South Africa and having lived in rural Spain, and drank the tap water with no problems, I find the necessity of owning a water filter jug a tad pretentious; on the other hand I find it difficult to taste the difference between expensive and average wines, so perhaps my views are based around not having a particularly good palette and not been able to taste the difference. Normally though I would not purchase such a frivolous luxury, so it is difficult for me to advise anyone to do so unless necessary - however if you are going to buy a water filter jug I recommend this one.
              The reason I bought it was, after having become hooked on good filter coffee at University, I needed something to negate the effect of the hard water where I live on the coffee's taste - brewed with my old coffee machine that did not come with an in-built filter.

              The Jug -

              The first thing to say is that it does what it says on the tin - it holds water; in fact it holds 1.5l of filtered water in the main body, and another 1.1l in the filtering reservoir. The reservoir is filled from the tap, through a hatch that is opened by pressing down on a extension of it, with you thumb, that is located (cleverly) where your thumb sits naturally when holding the handle. Once the water has poured through the reservoir and filter, and into the main body of the jug, it is easily poured out through the spout; cleverly the spout has a cap over it, which opens automatically as water is poured through and closes again afterwards - helping keep the water fresh. Alongside this the reservoir is not connected to the spout, so you can pour half way through the filtering process and only get water that has made it through the filter / has been filtered. Aesthetically it is quite pleasing as well, and comes with nice design features like non-slip rubber on the base and handle. Possibly the best design feature of the jug is that it fits nicely into the door tray of my quite small fridge, unlike a bulky Optima jug I tried before.

              Cartridge Exchange Indicator -

              This is an electronic gadget, inlaid into the top of the jug, that essentially tells you when you should change cartridges; which in theory is very useful for someone like me, who wouldn't be able to taste the difference. Whilst it sounds clever at first you soon realise that it's function is moot, unless you are the average Brita user; this is because it is not a sensor as much as it is a very basic clock, counting down in % from when you start it until when it has been programmed to think that (through average household use - filtering 2 litres a day) the cartridge will need changing. I however am not the average user, as I only use the amount of water each morning that I need for a mug of coffee, so it is actually just a slightly annoyance to have it flashing away at me when, by my calculations, I have another 15 Litres of use left. I understand that there are more expensive jugs with actual sensors, which may be very useful - but this isn't either a sensor or useful.


              The Maxtra Cartridge

              Though this is a review about the jug, rather than the cartridge, it would be remiss not to talk about the Maxtra Cartridge, given that it is a component of the jug and key in the filtering process - without it you would have just bought an expensive and weird (if the cartridge isn't in place) jug.
              Brita tells me that the Cartridge is better than the competition because of it's four stage filtration - 1. Intensive Pre-Filtration, 2. Ion Exchange Filtration, 3. Activated Carbon Filtration, 4. Intensive Final Filtration (Brita, http://www.brita.net/uk/maxtrafiltration.html?L=1) - and, though I don't understand / or care, I do believe that it is true. I cannot taste the difference between filtered water and British tap water, but I can taste when filter coffee isn't right; Optima Water Filters failed to improve the taste, but Brita's Maxtra Cartridges really do get rid of the hard water taste that ruined my coffee.
              Something I like about Brita is that they encourage you to recycle their cartridges; which you can do by posting them to BRITA Recycling, Freepost TK1917, Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 5BR (or at least that used to be the address - it is what it says in my Instruction manual) or by calling BRITA customer care on 0844 742 4800 to find out where their nearest recycling point is.

              Ease of use I have already covered with regards to using the jug; you can only pour filtered water, the hatch over the reservoir is easy to open and ergonomically designed, and there is non-slip rubber in the right places. Though it is not of importance to me, others might be interested to know that it isn't the quickest of filters - probably taking 3-5minutes (I have never timed it) to filter the entire contents of the reservoir; however if you are desperate for a glass of filtered water you can pour mid-filtering, and only get filtered water, so the time it takes to filter the entire 1.1l is really neither here nor there. With regards to the installation of the cartridges, this to is simple (and well covered in the jugs manual, and on the side of the cartridge packets) - simply twist the old one off, submerge the new one in water and shake until the bubbles stop, twist it on, and do two or three runs of 1.1litres (using the same water for each run if you are an environmentalist). Simple.

              Overall a good product that does what it says.
              Except for the addition of an actual sensor to tell you when to change your cartridge, I can not understand why anyone would purchase a more expensive model; he filters work (and are the same on all Jugs - I presume), it is aesthetically quite pleasing, and it fits in the fridge. Cost wise it varies between £10 - £20, and comes with various number of free cartridges depending on where you buy it , and additionally when I last checked Tesco did the best deal on stand alone cartridges - selling a 6-pack for £22.

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              • BT Studio 3100 / Telephone / 9 Readings / 8 Ratings
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                12.03.2011 00:43
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                Middle of the Road - better than a corded / non-digital phone, but not as good as an expensive model

                I bought this phone when I moved into a house with 6 of my friends at the start of my second year of University; obviously, as students and boys, spending large sums of money on a Home Phone was not of great concern to us - mostly I insisted we get a Home Phone so we got the most out of the Virgin Line Rental we were paying for - so we went for the cheapest option, from a reputable brand.

                Personally I think I fall into the middle ground with regards to how I feel about this phone; I don't hate it, however nor do I think it is worthy of 4 stars. If it were possible I would give it 2.5, however I will give it 3 as I believe the pros outweigh the cons.

                It's first selling point is the price - easy to pick up from £5-15 on sites like Amazon or Ebay or £+ - 20 from the BT Shop or other retailers; the related downside however is that I don't actually believe they still in production, and so most on the market (even in BT Shop) are graded or refurb models - meaning they will be harder and harder to find, and less and less supported by BT.

                Physically it is quite neutral; I am neither pleased by how light it feels nor do I think the weight reflects that it is 'tat'. It is light because it's, neutrally coloured and neutrally shaped, plastic shell hides the workings of a very basic digital-age phone. The button design is basic, as it the layout; it is designed for the few functions it performs to be as simple as possible to perform.

                The aforementioned functions are pretty much an address book (that stores 50 names and numbers), the ability to choose from a limited selection of rings and beeps, call waiting, caller ID, and - not to forget the best of all - the handset locator button on the base, that makes the handset emit a shrill noise so that it can be located....fun times returning home at 3am to see that one of my friends had inadvertently left the handset in their room when they had made a call before going to sleep. (Haha)

                Functionally it is easy to use - possibly because it has few functions - aided by what I thought was a clear and well worded manual. It also aides operations by having helpful, if shrill and annoying, alerts such as its out of range alert, running low on battery alert, and inputting error beep. Though I never tried it, the DECT wireless linking of up of 4 bases is apparently straight forward.

                With regards to call quality, I tend to agree with others who have noted that it is quite poor; infrequently the line does become distorted, or the caller becomes faint, however the majority of the time it is clear enough. Though, given that this phone is purely designed to be a phone rather than an all singing all dancing gadget, it is quite a let down.

                Overall, though let down by poor call quality - which is it's prime function, this basic phone is quite good and all the average person really needs for a home phone; testament to this conclusion is that I am no longer at University and I still own and frequently use it.

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                • Goodmans LD2271D / LCD TV / 13 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                  11.03.2011 20:35
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                  Overall it is a very decent TV for the price

                  Upon moving into a new Flat I decided to buy replace my old Sony CRT TV with a new Slimline LCD and, seeing that this was on sale in Comet for £129.99 (last July), I decided to gamble on it. FYI - It is currently a very decent £159 at Comet

                  Outwardly I knew it had everything I was looking for. It was slim, lightweight (at just over 5kg), and it was a good size - 22" was a compromise with my partner who wanted 19"; at first I worried that perhaps 22" would be too small, but in a medium size lounge with the TV a good distance away the image is perfectly visable - both when watching TV and when playing graphically detailed PC games.
                  It also has a built in freeview tuner, which is useful as it saves cluttering the TV area with a Freeview box, however in my experience the Freeview Tuner is struggles in weak signal areas, failing to pick up certain channels- luckily my DVR had a built in Freeview Tuner (See my Inverto IDL70000 Review if you have this same issue or want a good DVR) so this hasn't been an issue for me.

                  One major function, that high range contemporaries come inbuilt with, is wireless connectivity, however with the introduction of Internet TV (ie Apple TV and Google TV) boxes that connect to the TV via HDMI this isn't too much of a problem - as they will make sure the TV won't be outdated by the proliferation of Internet TV, by allowing internet connectivity and connection to your local networks for media sharing.

                  Connectivity-wise is has everything an average owner would want. It is HD Ready, has an HDMI In socket, a Scart Socket, a Headphone Socket, a CI input (meaning you can upgrade to Freeview Pay TV), Video and Audio Jacks for attaching games consoles, and VGA and PC Audio In (meaning you can connect PC's and Laptops for both image and sound); the main let downs are that there is only one Scart socket - granted this can be fixed by the purchase of a Scart Switcher with multiple connections, but still it is an added expense and an annoyance if you are connecting a DVR, DVD player, and a Games Console - and also that there is no USB connection - which would allow for easy media sharing between devices (in lieu of Wireless connectivity - which this lacks).

                  I cannot really say much about the picture quality, other than it is sharp, strong, and bold; no particular let down in this area, especially given the range of options for personalisation available through the remote.
                  The sound quality however is another story; whilst performing adequately most of the time, it does become awefully metallic and echoey at anything above average volume and also with particularily bassy sounds - this can be fixed by attaching a good quality speaker, but it is a major let down.

                  One of the best selling points is the TV's ease of use, perhaps because it is a basic module without the more complicated technological frills. Firstly the remote is a good size, well laid out, and not over cluttered with buttons. Secondly the on-screen prompts (during setup, configuration, and every day use) are clear, consise, and actually match up with what is printed on the remote (unlike certain TVs I have owned). A particularily nice function is that it automatically switches screen size to fit the program / channel you are watching, rather than cut some of the picture off or leave a black frame around the picture. The Freeview tuner comes with a decent Electronic TV Guide, however (as the other review for this product states perfectly) 'you can't go forward to see what is next which is [very] annoying' (topsyturvy, 01/2011).

                  Overall it is a very decent TV for the price that I acquired it for, and for the price that it can be acquired at the moment (£159 as I said earlier). It is no frills, but has everything that is required by the average TV watcher, and basic PC / console gamer.

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                • More +
                  10.03.2011 20:04
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                  A very Professional Filter Coffee Maker

                  I am a Coffee Lover and, after much searching, I have finally found a Coffee Machine that brews filter coffee well enough, and consistently enough, for me to say that I have found a coffee machine I will stick with as long as it works.

                  Firstly The Gordon Ramsay Professional 12 Cup Coffee Maker has many well designed components that have been overlooked in previous coffee machines that I have owned. The Glass Jar for example is made of hardened and reinforced glass, so that it isn't easily broken when it has been heated up; the filter is gold tone metal, rather than cheap plastic or paper, meaning it is long lasting and acts as a better filter; often it comes with a charcoal water filter, which helps if you live in an area with hard or overly treated water - which would ruin the coffee taste (a problem I consistently had with coffee machines before this one); and the water pump, whilst still steam based (ie it pumps water from the resevoir through the filter by heating it) rather than pressurised (like in Expresso machines), doesn't overheat the water, which means the coffee grounds aren't burnt like in other machines.

                  It is also packed full of useful features. It can make 1 to 12 cups of coffee, and usefully has a 1-4 cup function that creates more flavoured cups of coffee by not diluting the grounds with as much water as usual; it has a Auto function - meaning you can fill the machine, set the timer for anytime of day, and the machine will brew at the preset time - eg. you have a cup of coffee waiting for you when you awake in the morning; and the hotplate will switch off after 2 hours of been left on - a controversial feature for certain people who want it to stay on all day, but realistically if it is left on the coffee becomes overly burnt and loses all taste.

                  The only downsides - it is quite loud when it is brewing, the Auto Timer controls are, though easy to master, somewhat illogical and not at all intuitive, and it is actually quite difficult to find (with only a couple of retailers on Amazon) and it is quite expensive. Also it is top of the range, and top of the price bracket, for filter Coffee Machines - which in itself is a downside as, if you are willing to spend this much money, it may be worth purchasing an all singing all dancing machine which can make Lattes, Expressos, Mochas ect for only slightly more.

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                  • More +
                    09.03.2011 22:29
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                    Highly recommended

                    This review is an extract from a larger piece of work I wrote whilst at University - so would appreciate if it is not reused in any form.

                    As a book, and a commentary on contemporary (1999) South African society, Disgrace has been lauded as one of the best; it has won the CNA Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the prestigious Man Booker Prize, to name but a few. However, despite its evident literary success, it has been criticised for presenting a vision of contemporary South Africa 'that will comfort no one, no matter what race, nationality or viewpoint' (The Complete Review 1999-2009).
                    Coetzee uses empty prose to great effect, and though he writes without flourish or stimulating description he depicts the cold hard reality of his post-Apartheid South Africa perfectly. 'What transforms Disgrace from a good, compelling book into a work of brilliance is its allegorical reach' (The Complete Review 1999-2009). Coetzee's depiction of contemporary South Africa depends less on obvious commentary and more on deeper analysis. He makes his characters metonymic by creating a link between their humanity and how their roles in South African society are changing; he 'explores the troubling tensions between generations, sexes, and races' (The Complete Review 1999-2009).
                    Arguably Coetzee has got it spot on, if one remembers that he is writing around 1999. White South African's, and Afrikaner men especially, have lost the political-power and social-influence they once had and are struggling to find a place within a new social-fabric that seems diametrically opposed to them; however, slowly, they are beginning to adapt, as personified by David Lurie's partial recovery. Alongside this, the relationship between the two schools of white social-thought are characterized well in David and Lucy; one is still struggling to understand the situation and wants to be involved, looking back to the past as an escape, whilst the new generation merely wants to survive, to come to terms with what they owe as penance to continue living in South Africa. Disgrace also covers the difference between the political and economic revolution, showing that whilst Africans are quickly adapting to their new positions of power and influence the majority are still living in poverty; through Lucy's rape and burglary it also unveils a darker understanding that under this situation, where the minority have lots and the majority have little, peaceful coexistence cannot last and eventually it will come to point where the majority will take what they want. Also shown is that crime, rape, car theft, HIV/AIDS, and poverty are all major issues in South Africa. For me though, however naively optimistic it is to admit, Disgrace conveys an element hope in the form of Lucy's unborn baby; begat of rape and abuse, it signifies hope that a new South Africa can be born out of the violence and disgrace that preceded it.

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                  • Inverto IDL-7000PVR-T / Receiver / 2 Readings / 1 Rating
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                    09.03.2011 22:11

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                    I would not swap Inverto for anything else currently on the Market, while it is still running.

                    I purchased my Inverto IDL-7000PVR-T off Ebay 3 1/2 years ago because it was cheap, when I was a student looking for an inexpensive gadget, and now I wouldn't swap it for anything currently on the market.
                    The first plus about Inverto (or Verty if you a reader of any dedicated Inverto forums - of which there are a few highly specialised ones for Inverto owners coping with it's many foibles that I will cover later) is that because it is no longer sold in retail stores / in great demand it can be found for a very reasonable £30 - £60, however the flipside of this is that it is difficult to find and only really sold on ebay (where I bought mine for £45).
                    Hardware wise Inverto is packed full of technology associated with higher end, more modern, PVR's; it has a twin tuner (meaning you can record two programs at once, or alternatively record one and watch another), built in freeview tuner, and an easily changeable hard drive (meaning it can be upgraded). Unfortunately most Inverto IDL-7000PVR-T's have an inherent hardware flaw, which has effected most posters on Inverto forums, in that it's original Maxtor hard drive is likely to fail and become unfixably corrupt relatively quickly; this isn't a huge problem though, given most hard drives compatible with PVR's can be transfixed into Inverto - solving the problem.
                    Inverto's software functionality is generally excellent, almost intuitive. The remote is easy to use despite the numerous buttons, especially with the simple on-screen prompts, and the menus are straightforward and logically ordered. Setting Inverto up is easy, due to the auto-tune function, as is deciphering the best personal settings for yourself. Two downsides are that the 14-day Electronic Program Guide that Inverto comes with is now redundant, following the financial collapse of the company that provided the service - meaning you can only see what is on and what is on next, and secondly that Long Play recording is inherently flawed and will corrupt the recorded data on your hard drive.
                    Recording is easy enough - either done by selecting programs from the TV guide or by programming in what you want based on time and channel; viewing your recording is easy as well, done simply by going into the library and selecting what you want either by program or by specific 'scene' / time frame.
                    Overall however, as I said earlier, I would not swap Inverto for anything else currently on the Market, while it is still running; if anything, for me, Inverto's problems and foibles, which would put some off as unreliability, give it a sort of personality that somehow enders it to me.

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                  • Dell Inspiron 6400 Extreme / Laptop / 6 Readings / 4 Ratings
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                    08.03.2011 20:04

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                    Ok for mid-range use, though there are considerably better buys in the market nowadays

                    When Dual Core processors were relatively new (this one has two cores working on one die), this laptop was one of the best mid-range laptops on the Market; now however, it is out dated and time has shown some serious flaws.
                    On my Laptop, as on many others I have read about, after 4 years of use (so after a good run) the connection for the charger bit became loose inside, which (I was told) required a new motherboard to fix. I have read certain articles stating that an electricl repair man could resolder the connection to the motherboard, but this doesn't seem like a 100% certain solution.
                    This apart, the laptop is quite good; the processing power is relatively weak, however this is made up for by the dual-core nature of the processor which means that multi-tasking is simple and runs smoothly; new games however will struggle of this computer, because of the processor and also the relatively underpowered graphics card - indicitive of laptops.
                    Minor points - the screen is clear, and good for movie watching and simple browsing, and the wireless card is faultless; the battery life is poor however, quickly runs down, and eventually corrodes to the point where the Laptop must be continously plugged in.

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