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I've used an Oral B Pulsar now, for over 8 years and I'm happy with my teeth.
My dentist has also regularly commented on how clean my teeth and gums are.
That said, some of the credit must go to the toothpaste and the person doing the brushing!
Why the Pulsar? Simple, after looking at numerous electric toothbrushes and seeing how bulky they all are and digesting the cost and running costs, the Pulsar gives value for money in a small design.
Drawbacks? Well yes. The battery (a single AA Duracel battery) runs out pretty quickly - around 30 days usage. Whilst you can unscrew the end and reveal the battery, you can't replace it, as you have to bend the metal contact plate to remove it. Doing do, renders the contact plate damaged and no longer able make contact with the battery properly.
So you end up throwing a perfectly good toothbrush in the bin.
Aside the drawback, this toothbrush cleans impeccably well, leaving your teeth feeling very clean.
I've seen two versions, a soft version and a medium version and there are also different sizes available to suit various sized mouths. Sadly though, you rarely see the full range in any of the supermarkets.
The medium version could be construed as hard, but that suits me, as I find the soft version too soft. As far as I'm aware, there is no hard version.
The brush contains various bristles and strands, including a rubberized flat strand, that helps polish the teeth. The medium version is particularly good at removing plaque and gunk between the teeth,so much so, that my dentist has never recommended visits to the hygienist, which has saved me pounds!
Whilst the brush has excellent cleaning properties, some credit has to go to how you use the brush and what toothpaste you use. I use two brands of toothpaste, alternately. One for sensitive teeth and the other for whitening.
The price? Well, I've seen the Pulsar as low as £3 and as high as £7.49. Shop around and buy only when they're on offer and you'll save pounds.
The range comes in various colours to suit most. Operating the brush is very simple with two small buttons on the handle, on and off.
I bought this kettle in October 2011 as a special offer from Argos. It came with a toaster, model number VTT212.
On first usage the Kettle appears to be of reasonable quality, but some six months down the line, from purchase it began to leak. On closer inspection, the leak is from the window. So long as I don't fill it above the 6 cup marker, it's okay. Go above that and a nice trickle of water piles out, until the kettle is hot, then the leak stops.
I've lived with the leak ever since it started some three and a half years ago - more about that later.
The Kettle is mostly chrome with a translucent window, encompassing markings up to 7 cups, which equates to about 1.6 litres. The remainder of the kettle is charcoal grey. It rotates 360 degrees on its base. There is only one measurement window, which makes this kettle rather biased to right handed people!
There are two operative buttons, the on off tab, which illuminates blue when on and the open lid button, on top, which you merely press to open the lid. Neither function has failed yet. I should add though, I press the button to close the lid too, as this takes the strain off the lid catch. This may be why it hasn't yet failed.
At this point, I should say, that I swapped to using bottled water only when the leak occurred. I use a supermarket, own brand mineral water,costing 21p / litre. Thus, this has kept the kettle spotless inside and eliminated the need for cleaning. Needless to say, hot drinks taste better!
The VKJ521 is rated between 2750 to 3000 watts, but, alas, is somewhat slow to boil, taking three minutes when full. At minimum fill, it takes 60 seconds.
The pouring spout is fine and pours well, with no spillage.
The handle is comfortable to use and there is no risk of scalding.
What do I do when it leaks? Four pieces of kitchen paper, placed below it to absorb the mess.
So why haven't I replaced it? Disillusionment in the UK kettle market. Ever tried to find a kettle made in the UK? You won't find one. Every single kettle of every single manufacturer is now made in - you guessed it - China. Except Braun, they have two models, both made in Croatia, but come with two pin plugs, so you'll need an adapter.
As a computer technician, I had quite a few critical points in what I wanted from a flash drive. I need robustness, a good deal of storage space, ease of use, security, speed of transfer and the ability to transfer more than just ordinary files and folders. I am pleased to say the Kingston Data Traveler DT Locker+ covers all these points.
The flash drive comes securely packaged in a blister pack, containing the instructions (which you need to tear down the perforated sides to access) a tiny key ring with very thin nylon cord (don't think it would be very hard wearing!) and the flash drive itself.
The flash drive is very neat looking and the main USB drive has a, nice feel, rubber coating, which no doubt gives it protection from knocks and scrapes and liquid spills. The USB flash drive is then attached to a mat black steel, fold over/wrap round case, that is attached with two tiny hex screws. These screws can be loosened or tightened if need be. The steel case is nicely embossed with the Kingston Logo. I would add that because the key ring supplied is so twee, I decided to hunt for something far more substantial and stronger and opted for an old unused Asus neck cord, that came with a wifi dongle.
This flash drive is truly plug n' play and setting it up was easy. First, I plugged it into one of the front USB 2 sockets on the front of my PC. The drive was instantly recognized by Windows Vista 64 bit. The software automatically installs in about 20 seconds (contained within the drive). I should add at this point, that some of the storage is taken up by the software, which is about 100mb out of 32gb. After the software is installed, a box appears with choices such as transferring folders, videos, music or pictures, or, you can browse the files/folders that are on there. You will also notice in your task bar tray, that a new icon will have appeared. Left clicking it once, makes six options appear: DT Locker+ Settings, Browse DT Locker+, Format DT Locker+, an Online Support link,
an About DT Locker+ icon and finally a Shutdown DT Locker+ icon. I must stress, it is important to use the shutdown feature, to ensure that your drive is not damaged in any way, when you remove it!
The first thing you'll want to do with the flash drive, is to secure it with a password and put some details as to who should be contacted, if the drive is lost. This proved really easy. Just click the DT Locker+ Settings icon and you enter a browser, that invites you to enter your password twice and leave a hint, to remember it by! It also displays a page that allows you to enter a name (yourself perhaps) your company details and a details box for a contact telephone number or email perhaps. The flash drive can also be set to one of nine languages, including English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, as well as a number of Oriental languages.
Now to the nitty gritty... How good is it at what it does? I have to say I am impressed. I owned an old Sandisk Cruzer and I was lucky to get 400KB/sec transfer speed out of it. The Kingston Data Traveler Locker+, by contrast, transfers at an average rate of 4.11MB/sec, over 10 times faster. I was able to transfer many different types of files as well as folders, including .exe files and .bat files .zip files, word and text files. I transferred a folder containing all my utility files. This contained 3.02GB of data. The total transfer time was 12 minutes 17 seconds, which makes the average transfer speed 4.11MB/sec. I don't doubt, that if the data being transferred had been simple jpegs, the speed would have been far quicker. I must stress that 4.11MB is an "average" rate. The lowest rate I saw was 1.3MB at the very beginning and the highest was 7.80MB two thirds through the transfer. It ended at 4.8MB/sec. I also randomly tested the software that I had transferred and all of it worked.
Are there any downsides? Well yes, if you are expecting to use every kilobyte of space. When you transfer data to the flash drive the result will be that the amount of data stored has increased somewhat from its original state. The 3.02GB I transferred from my PC had become 3.09GB on the flash drive. That's a 70MB difference. So on the Data Traveler 32GB flash drive, you can expect to lose 742MB of space plus its own software space of 100MB, that's 842MB, leaving you 31.16GB of storage space. Something to bare in mind!
I would say that this flash drive is good value for money and certainly has impressive specs. Robustness?? Ask me that in a year from now, if it hasn't failed by then!! But looking at it, I would say it should hold up to my knocks and spillages far better than my old SanDisk Cruzer did, which is now consigned to the rubbish bin!
This book is NOT for the faint hearted. It's extremely serious and a very controversial and difficult subject to cover, both emotionally and technically. Before anyone thinks about ending their life, they should read Derek's book - thoroughly - at least twice! Most people in Britain believe euthanasia is a good thing (80% on the last poll) when someone's quality of life is so poor, that it really isn't worth continuing.
Derek Humphry looks at different types of euthanasia and the pro's and cons of each, with emphasis on self deliverance, without the aid of someone else. He also looks at the legal side and implications for friends and relatives. He explains in great detail the self deliverance method, backed up by online videos and mock demonstrations. Derek also considers the emotional side and the psychology of ending life.
If you, yourself are suffering with terminal or longterm illness, to the extent that life is no longer worth living, then I urge you to read this - if you can. If you are a friend or relative of someone in the same situation, who has, may be asked you to help them die, this book is also for you. Derek really does put everything about this subject into perspective.
I am so glad Derek published this book, both for the sake of my parents and for the knowledge that if I ever get to a state where quality of life is questionable, then I have the knowledge to peacefully and tranquilly end my life, without anyone in authority intervening, or without anyone breaking the law. Thank you Derek for publishing this Book and thank you for all the hard work you have done to allow people to make an informed and rational decision and to carry out something, that would otherwise have remained elusive to the public in general.
Update on the review below. I'm still using the bag some six years after it was bought! I use it almost everyday and still abuse it! At this point, the material on the padded shoulder strap is now splitting, but still usable and could probably be self repaired. Other than that, although it's looking tired from years of my man handling, it's still in good shape and, no doubt, will go on for a few more years yet! My original review below still stands...
Having bought a laptop bag a few months before this one and having had it fall to bits on me, it didn't inspire me with confidence in buying another! As I did with the previous bag, I bought this one from WH Smith (I was the first to tell them the previous bag from them (another make) had fallen to bits!)
This bag cost considerably more than I wanted to pay, so I hoped that it was going to live up to the price at £23.95. Indeed it has, so far - I have owned the bag now for two years and used it regularly.
The bag is made of a very strong weaved nylon material, that certainly lives up to modern living. I take it with me on the buses, tubes and trains and it comes under a hard beating, especially during peak hours! It's also shower proof, but I don't think I would want to drop it in the canal! That said, in a heavy down-pour, everything stays dry inside.
The colouring is black, grey and yellow. The main body is black and the edging around the outer area of the flap and the bottom edge of the bag is grey. There is a yellow tab on the mobile phone pocket, for easy identification of the pocket lid. The zip tags have the word "Targus" in yellow and Targus is also stitched in yellow to the main carry handle and shoulder strap.
I am guilty of overloading my bags and putting undue strain on them! This Targus lives up to my reputation admirably! Not once have I had the need to worry about handles coming loose, bottoms falling out, rips occurring, or clips coming unfastened.
This bag contains no less than twelve pockets and compartments. On the outside there is a large document/magazine pocket on the rear of the bag, which fastens with a velcro tab. On the front flap there is a zipper pocket for things like glasses, tissues/cleaning cloth and anything that needs to be accessed quickly. At one end/side there is a mobile phone pocket, again secured by a velcro tab.
The main flap fastens by inserting the two parts together with a satisfying click and unfastens via a quick release spring clip, pressed with fore-finger and thumb. The clip is very robust and to date has not failed in any way. The bottom part of the clip has a webbed strap attached to it, so that it can be altered to maintain a close fit, reducing slack in the flap when closed.
Opening the main fold-over flap exposes three large compartments. The first, at the back is a space for your laptop. This compartment is divided off from the other two by way of a velcro padded divider. This can be altered to the size of your laptop to accommodate a snug fit. The bag can accommodate up to a 17" wide screen laptop. My laptop is a Toshiba L500 - quite a hefty beast.
The second compartment (the centre one) is just that, a compartment, which could in theory take a second laptop up to 17", but that, of course, would increase the weight dramatically. A small ring binder could be placed in the centre compartment or extra document folders.
The third compartment, at the front of the bag is a similar size to the others, except that it contains 6 sub pockets and compartments. There are two envelope pockets, secured by velcro, two net pockets (one of which is secured by a zip) one open, sub-divided pocket, for business cards and a large net pocket on the opposite side, for documents, with a zip fastener at the top.
Another very useful feature of this bag, are the two side zips that undo to allow the front panel of the third compartment to drop down, exposing the small pockets for easy access. On the outside front of the third compartment is another zippered net pocket, large enough for markers or pens and next to that are three elastic pen holders.
All of the exterior zip tags are made of tough rubber, extra strengthened by two studded rivets that go through each. The interior zips have conventional, double stitched nylon tabs. So far, none of the zips have failed on me. The main carry handle, is double stitched, cross stitched and has doubled material. Although the handle isn't padded, it is comfortable to carry, even with heavy loads. The shoulder strap is padded at the shoulder rest and is double and cross stitched onto the bag. The shoulder strap can be altered in length to suit different heights.
I am a very fussy consumer and complain about most things. For once I have found something I can't complain about! This bag carries everything I need it to, in comfort and is totally robust. It looks good too and doesn't look stupid when I pack it to the hilt! Could it be improved? Well now I'm being niggly! Yes, I think the grey coloured striping could be swapped for road safety, reflective, silver material - that would make it awesome!! But, Targus have designed and maintained a really fantastic product. Would I buy it again? Almost certainly!
I tried to claim off E&L back in the summer of 2003, for my female cat that acquired breast cancer.
I filled the claim form in and sent it off for the first part of the treatment. After not getting any acknowledgement, I called them. They said they were refusing the claim, as I had not contacted them prior to me seeing the veterinary surgeon. This was rubbish, as I had called them, to check what to do. I asked them to check their recording of the call (which of course, like all financial institutions, they record you for their own benefit). They said they had no record of the call. I spoke to their department manager, who was rude and arrogant and very unhelpful. The bill for the claim came to £4500, which I had to pay by credit card, as these sour faced scrooges wouldn't pay up!!
I then contacted the Insurance Ombudsman (Now the financial Ombudsman, I think) The Insurance Ombudsman was extremely helpful and was courteous and listened properly to my problem. They acted entirely free for me. Whilst I didn't get £4500 back, I did get £3700 out of E&L Scrooge, which I reluctantly accepted. It took nearly four months though!! My thanks to the Ombudsman who worked very hard to get what I did. DO NOT TOUCH E&L WITH A BARGE POST... They take your money and run!!! They lie at every opportunity and try to wriggle out of paying for ANY claim. Their management and directors should be PUNISHED SEVERELY, preferably, Saudi Arabian style!!! They have clearly not changed their ways, since 2003 up to now (Dec 2011)!!
It's sad that people working as organisations like this have to be so dishonest, rude and arrogant - E&L, I sincerely hope you are ashamed of yourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I will NEVER FORGET WHAT HAPPENED - EVER!!! Thank god I had a credit card to pay for my poor cat!!! My cat was eventually put to sleep, as the cancer was vicious and extremely fast growing.
The Logitech K300 Keyboard impresses me. It won't win on the features front, but where it does score is on looks, feel and ease of use.
The keyboard is compact, measuring just 40cm long x 18cm deep x 2cm high (the highest point is at the rear of the keyboard - The lowest point is at the front which is 1cm).
This keyboard is a wired version, so for wireless fans, please see Logitech's wireless version - the MK300 Version.
If you're looking for a keyboard with no fuss, this keyboard is for you. The K300 runs straight out of the box. Just plug in the usb cable and you're away - it really is that simple! No batteries are needed, as the power source is from your usb port. There are instructions included in the box, should you need them!
Some sellers/sites will tell you the K300 is backlit. This is only partly true. The backlighting is for the media controls on the top edge of the keyboard. Backlighting is in a smart amber colour. To operate them, simply select the media control you want. You can increase the illumination of the backlit area by pressing the function (FN) button. The media controls available are as follows: Web home page, Email, Search, Calculator, Music, Previous Track, Pause, Fast forward, Sound on/off, Volume decrease, Volume increase and PC sleep mode. There is also a backlit LED notification, above the number pad, which displays Caps Lock/Scroll Lock and Num Lock.
Although the main part of the keyboard and number pad is not backlit, it does have an amber colour base, beneath the keys, which makes the keys easier to find.
The keyboard does not come with any software. Indeed, no software is needed to operate it, but, as an option, software is downloadable from Logitech's website (www.logitech.com/downloads) The Software is "SetPoint" which allows you to re-allocate the F keys to different functions to that pre-assigned.
The Key board has a remarkably soft key touch, which makes for very quiet typing, no clicking and clacking here!
Logitech have clearly packed a lot into such a compact keyboard and at £14.99 (Amazon Price Jan 2011), it really is good value for money.
I have been into Flight Simulator for fourteen years now, starting with Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.1 in 1995!
Flight Simulator X (or ten) is the latest in the line of Flight Simulator Software from Microsoft. The version talked about here is the Gold edition, which brings you the "Deluxe Edition" and "Acceleration Expansion Pack" together and features 24 aircraft compared to 18 in the Standard Edition (some with the Garmin 1000 suite), 45 high-detail airports compared to 40, 38 high-detail cities compared to 28, and 51 structured missions compared to 30. The Acceleration Pack adds yet more missions.
Before I get started with this mega sophisticated software, I should say this is not for the faint hearted! Nor is it for anyone who doesn't like aircraft - big time! Furthermore, If you have anything less than the following spec computer, you will struggle to run it, even with the sliders put back... Dual Core Processor or AMD equivalent, 3gb ram, Nvidia 8800 Graphics Accelerator Card, 150gb Hard Drive. Also, I would not class this software as a game. More as a training tool to learn to fly.
Okay, let's start by giving a bit of info on how realistic this simulation software is, compared to flying in real life. On a percentage scale I would give Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) 78% accuracy. Why not more? The answer to this question is very complex.
Firstly, the aircraft cockpits do not completely represent what you get in the "real" cockpit. Microsoft have chosen to limit the amount of buttons, switches and gauges that are working or can be used. In other words all are visible, but not all are usable, but there's enough to get your aircraft from a to b. The graphical standard of all the cockpits and of the exteriors of the aircraft are by far improved over previous versions, but still lack lustre. That said, there are a plethora of third party companies offering far more sophisticated addons, where almost everything in the cockpit does work - I will talk about this later. The cockpits themselves can be viewed either in 2D (flat panel view) or in Virtual Cockpit (3D) mode - 3D being far more realistic. The dynamic handling of the aircraft leave something to be desired and, once again, third party add-ons do much better, that said there is a big improvement over FS2004.
Secondly, I'm going to talk about the scenery. This is a debate that many simmers will have different views on. Do you need to have realistic scenery, to learn to fly a plane on a simulator? The answer is no, but to have realistic scenery gives you much more immersion into believing you're actually flying. Microsoft have certainly improved the scenery in FSX over FS2004, but, it still falls a long way short of being true to life! Once again our third party companies have assisted us with this problem and there are add-on scenery/texture/land terrain packs available with detail down to 1 metre per pixel!!
Thirdly, comes the weather. The weather engine in FSX is certainly a working one and gives you wind, rain, snow and cloud and spray on the tarmac with reflection. But not particularly accurately... Winds and weather patterns can change very abruptly, especially using the downloaded real weather from meta stations. To fix this, yes, once again, third party add-ons. Don't get me wrong though, if you're not savvy to what the weather should really be doing, then you'll think the weather engine in FSX is pretty cool!
Fourthly, Air Traffic Control. This has never been a Microsoft strong point, since it was introduced. The controllers are all American - not realistic for the world that exists outside of the USA. The controllers are somewhat limited to their vocabulary, again not very realistic and what you say to them is produced by the software itself, not you're own voice. Once again there are remedies for this through our friends in third party land and, depending on how much you want to spend, it can be made extremely realistic, with voice recognition through a mic.
Fifthly, airports. There are about 28,000 airports included in FSX, dotted over the world from mega airports like Heathrow and New York JFK to tiny ones like Lasham Airfield in Kent. But to be fair to Microsoft, to give realistic detail to all 28,000 would be an impossible task and I doubt you'd be able to fly to everyone of them in your lifetime! So, yes, again third party add-ons are the order of the day, with literally hundreds of airports and airfields available to add on in incredibly realistic detail. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft have highly detailed 45 airports. All the others vary in detail with default buildings and vehicles. But, all the runways of all the airports are accurate in length and angle.
Okay, so you've bought a copy and want to install it on your pc. First things first. FSX will run on Windows XP 32 bit and 64 bit editions, Vista 32 and 64 bit and Windows 7. Windows 7 users are still exploring the pros and cons at this time, but I can say there have been issues with the security side of Vista and Windows 7 affecting FSX. These can be overcome by turning off User Account Control (UAC).
The install is on two dvds, so you must have a dvd rom fitted to your pc, not a cdrom. The install will take about 40 minutes. If you are thinking of putting this on a laptop, then make sure your laptop has plenty of ports to plug in hardware such as joysticks, yokes and pedals - you cannot fly planes using the keyboard, the bare minimum required is a high end joystick. Once FSX has been installed, an icon is placed on your desktop and you can double click it to get started. FSX loads the main menu quicker than FS2004 did, because the main menu is outside of FSX. You then choose your aircraft and location etc, to get to go flying.
There is no book manual with this software, instead the instructions are all on screen in the main menu. If you are a beginner, yes, it will seem daunting - it took me six months to learn to fly a Cessna 182 way back in 1996 on FS 5.1 - but persevere and you'll win through! There are many Flight sim Communities out there, both on the web and for real, so there's plenty of advice to be had for free!! There are a host of "missions" to carry out in FSX - some are actually lessons and will help you to get in the air.
So you've now mastered some flying and made your first landings - albeit, bumpy ones!! Where next? Some simmers are content with keeping FSX as it is, but most want to expand it and make it as realistic as possible! Adding to FSX is merely a process of choosing add-on software and hardware and installing and then learning how to use it. That said, add-ons are not cheap and take up masses of space on your hard drive. Good quality add-on aircraft can cost between £15 and £45 each and can be up to 400mb. There are hundreds available - There is also a huge selection of freeware available on various Flight Sim websites - but, be warned, freeware quality varies tremendously and you, invariably, have to put the software into FSX manually. Scenery packs and airports cost from £10 up to £30 each or there's freeware. Hardware is available and any amount can be spent up to £50,000!!! But to start with I recommend you get a set of pedals and a yoke - cost about £210. This will allow you to fly with a good degree of realism.
Other important things that you will need to purchase in addition to FSX are, FSUIPC (by Pete Dowson) which is an add-on software utility that allows you to use third party aircraft in FSX and also allows manipulation of the FSX engine. A good sound system with 5.1 surround speakers. A head phones with microphone.
Other features of FSX are the ability to take off and land on water with float and amphibian aircraft. Ability to create mechanical failures of the aircraft you are flying, to create emergencies. Ability to fly online and see and here other aircraft and pilots and air traffic controllers. Aircraft can be started from cold and dark cockpits or with the engines already running. Full navigation, communication and Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) are featured in the cockpits of many aircraft. Working GPSs. Numerous warning sounds in cockpits. Artificially Intelligent (AI) Aircraft flying around you (this can be upgraded to real world timetables using third party add-ons). Sound variances when moving around the cockpit. Altitude affects fuel mixture. Ability to alter difficultness and realism of aircraft handling. Realistic crash sounds. AI aircraft sounds. Moving vehicles at airports and on most roads. Working push back tugs for large aircraft at airports. Flying is real time - i.e. it takes 5 hours to fly to New York from London. Clock can be set to PC or sim. 24 hour flying day or night. Reflections on water, glass/windows and on metal parts. Sun glare. shadowing from buildings, vehicles, trees, aircraft and aircraft own shadow on itself. Runway, taxiway and parking area lighting at larger airports. All aircraft lights work - landing lights, taxi lights, strobes, navs etc. Aircraft can break up under undue stresses. World map with Nav Data base including way points, NDBs, VORs, ILS info.
Later on, when you become confident, you will be able to join virtual airlines and join VATSIM (Virtual Air Traffic Simulation) for real air traffic control within FSX (online with other pilots).
This has been a short, yes short, introduction to the world of Flight Simulator X. If you love flying, this is for you. Enjoy.
I have tried and tested many keyboards in my time, some ugly, some bad, some good. The Logitech Desktop S 510 ranks highly and admirably in my books. Its sleek design makes for a desirable addition to any desktop. Its layout is compact and neat, yet still very user friendly. It's ultra slim, which was a requirement for me, as the back edge slides nicely under a piece of equipment I use it with (Flight Simulator) and stays there with rubber grippers (I inserted).
What does impress me particularly, with this keyboard, is its battery life... This is a wireless keyboard and my experiences of many other makes of the wireless type is not great. Logitech excels in this area and the S 510 goes 8-10 weeks, depending on usage, between battery changes. Only two AAA types are needed, so it won't eat up your salary in batteries! Another complaint I have had of wireless keyboards, is that when you come to change the batteries, or, for that matter insert the batteries for the first time, you can never get a connection between the keyboard and your computer first go. You seem to always have to faff around trying to get the thing to connect.... Not with the S 510.... It's brilliant.... Connects first go. All thanks to the usb receiver's strength.
I have to admit, I only use the basic functions of this keyboard, purely for typing and flight simming, but there are many useful features included that others will find worth having... Press F1 and a light displays the battery condition. F1 also launches your default web browser. Other F buttons will load word, exel etc... To the right side are play, fast forward, rewind, pause, stop, media buttons and a very useful shuffle button for your music tracks. Volume and mute are thoughtfully placed nearest to you on the right. A zooming button is nearest to you on the left. On the left too are buttons for automatically making pages 100% size and for rotating images. All very time saving.
Now I know you're not supposed to drop any electrical equipment, but that's one test I always do - accidently - But please don't try this at home! This keyboard is strong and has survived my accidental drop!
The S 510 keyboard comes with a cordless digital mouse that is very accurate and seems to work on almost all surfaces. There's the usual left/right buttons and a rocker wheel with left/right and push down button functions. The mouse batteries are two AA (one size up from the keyboard) but last about six months, so again, not a fortune to run! I have written this review on the basis that I used Duracell batteries, so bear in mind other types may not last as long. Yes I have dropped the mouse, many times and it still lives on in all its glory.
Verdict of the S 510 Keyboard and Mouse? I love them!!
On opening the box, the first thing that struck me was what a good
looking machine this is! Especially as this is one of Toshiba's budget machines. I bought this machine as a field work tool, as it's reputed to be robust and reliable. Six months down the line and it's living up to it's name!
The keyboard is a good size and the keys are amply large, making typing easy. I also liked the depth; There's not much space between the front edge of the machine and where the keyboard starts, just enough for the touch pad. This makes typing easier, as you don't have to reach far into the machine. The touch pad is nicely camouflaged with the main casing, making for nice asthetics.
The display is wide screen format, 15.6 inches, TruBrite HD+ TFT and makes for a good working environment. The only thing that can be said against the screen is that you need to tilt the screen to see it perfectly and people looking from the side won't get a good view either as the screen fades out on side view, that said, that makes it a plus for privacy, no nosy parkers on trains and planes will get to see what you're doing.
The machine I got was actually, not what was advertised on the box - this was Toshiba's mistake, but to my advantage!! I got a 2.2 T6600 processor instead of a 2.1 T6500 advertised on the box!! So you never know you might get lucky as well if you buy one! The motherboard Chipset Type is an Intel GM45 Express and there's a built on Graphics Processor which is Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD. Ram is 3gb of DDR2 SDRAM.
The Windows system loaded is Vista, but Toshiba prevent it from booting the first time you use it, so you can choose whether you want to install a 32bit or a 64bit system. Granted, it takes its time to load the system the first time, but once it's done, it works just fine. Interestingly, the hard drive (320gb) is partitioned with half of it designated to a rescue system and the other half to the OS. This is so that you can recover your system - if need be - from that partition without a rescue disk.
One of my pet hates is loads of unnecessary applications and Toshiba go to town on installing numerous applications that I probably won't ever use. I stopped some from loaded at boot to save boot time. I also loaded PC Tools Registry Mechanic to keep the registry ticking perfectly - very important with Vista. Annoyingly, McAfee came installed and it took an age to find the uninstall tool on their site - in fact I never found it on their site, rather on someone else's!! I got rid of McAfee and installed Eset Smart Security 4 instead, because it uses far less of the CPU's resources. I also installed MAX Secure's Spyware Detector for extra security.
The battery life on this machine is better than most Toshibas, with 3.2 hrs from 100%, so those wanting to work where there's no electricity will be pleased. Charging time is also very quick. When in battery mode the machine is set to have a darker screen though, to save juice.
There are three usb sockets, one doubling as eSATA, an HDMI and an RJ45. Optical Drive is as follows: Type Dual layer DVD±RW/DVD-RAM. Optical Drive ReWrite Speed 10x (CD-RW), 24x (CD-RW), 5x (DVD-RAM), 6x (DVD-RW), 8x (DVD+RW). Optical Drive Read Speed 24x (CD), 8x (DVD). For those of you who need a wireless connection then there's an Integrated 10/100 Network Card, Integrated Wireless LAN, which worked flawlessly!
Altogether this machine is remarkable value and a good size, as well as being reasonably light - can be picked up with one hand. The pros definitely outweigh the cons, so I highly recommend this model.
We originally bought a Breville Kettle, that went wrong in just 3 months!! Sadly we couldn't get our money back and we didn't want to wait for the three weeks to get it repaired, which would have meant we were without a kettle...
We went to John Lewis for a new one and spotted the Bosch Kettle on the shelves (our one is black) John Lewis told us that we could bring it back, anytime, within two years, if it didn't work and they would supply a loan kettle for free, whilst it was being repaired - excellent. Thankfully, we have not had to use that service.
The kettle is robust, reliable, fast and user friendly. It can be filled to 1.7 litres. It has a good handle to grip and is a reasonable weight and it pours extremely well. The on/off button illuminates orange when on. It also looks pleasing. Two niggly things that I find, is that it's somewhat noisy and the lid falls down a bit when filling. But otherwise, this is a good solid reliable buy and worth the money. It's not got the eye candy that some have, but heck we bought it for one reason - to boil water reliably!!