- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
The Hinari Popcorn Maker, Model PC334 If you want to eat hot popcorn whilst watching your home movie, then this popcorn maker is just the trick. What's more popcorn is a delicious cholesterol free, low-calorie snack. I purchased this Popcorn Maker from Index priced £14.50, with a 12 month gurantee. This unit stands just under 30cm's and is about 20cm's in diameter. The unit comes in 3 parts. The motor unit, lid and measuring cup. The lid clips on to the top of the motor unit. The measuring cup is inserted in to the top of the lid. The main unit is white and the lid and measuring cup is a brown colour but see through. The Popcorn maker can make between 30g and 90g per go. The motor unit heats up the popcorn, causing it to pop. The lid has a side cover that deflects popping corn down, so that you can place a bowl at the side of the unit to catch the popped corn. To operate the unit, you simply fill the cup, switch on the motor unit (switch is on the front of the unit), and then pour the popcorn maize in to the unit. Once you have emptied the cup you must place the empty cup in the center of the lid. If you don't the corn will pop out of the unit and go everywhere. All you need to do then is wait with your bowl to catch the popcorn from the unit. The unit takes 30 seconds to produce 3oz or 90g of popcorn. The Lid is very hot once the popcorn is made, so do not touch it all. The unit is very easy to clean as you just have to wipe it over with a damp cloth. To season your popcorn as desired you have to first make the popcorn, then season the popcorn in your bowl. You can not add the seasoning to the unit as it is not designed to work that way. You can add margarine, salt or sugar as a seasoning for your popcorn, depending on how you like it. Popcorn maize can be easily found in health shops or some supermarkets. I got the popcorn maize from Morrisons and it o
nly cost me 59p. So now you have your popcorn, you can sit back and enjoy the movie!!
Outdoor Gas Table Heater Model 9201392 Price £69.99 from Focus DIY Store, March 2002 Contact detail: Focus, Gawsworth House, Westmere Drive, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 6XB. If you enjoy sitting out in the garden on a summer’s night then this small gas table heater is just the ticket. You may have seen other gas powered garden heaters on TV or in your local DIY store. This one is exactly the same, only a miniature version. The heater is designed to be situated on top of your garden table. It stands at 78cm high approximately. It’s diameter at the top is 45cm approximately, and at it’s base it is only 30cm in diameter, so it doesn’t take up much table space. It gives off 6kW of heat when running at full power, so it is ample for heating an area of an average size garden table. The hood of the heater is designed to reflect heat down, so as long as you are below the top of the heater, you will feel the heat on you. You can actually place your hand above the heater and feel hardly any heat. However, if you try to put your hand underneath the hood it will be very hot. So it shows that a big percentage of the heat generated is reflected down onto the table. The heater is powered by propane gas, which can be obtained from any local gas supplies company. The heater is specified to run from a 13Kg propane gas bottle. The heater comes with a clip on style regulator. However, most gas suppliers use a screw fitting regulator, but they will just swap it over for you at no extra charge. Gas bottle rental can be up to £25 , and the cost of gas is around £10 - £15 for a 13Kg bottle quantity. A 13Kg bottle will last you up to 26 hours heating at full power. The heater consumes 400g / hr and runs at a pressure of 37 mbar. When new the heater comes part built, leaving you to carry out the last few parts to assemble. It took me 5 minutes to construct the heater, so it isn’t long at
all. The assembly is very simple and quick. It also makes it easy to store, as you can remove the hood, so it takes up less space when storing it during the winter months. The heater is simple to ignite as it has a piezo push button. This will light the burner every time with ease. It even lights it in a breeze!! The control knob sets the level of gas flow, from low to high. The piezo is operated when you push the knob in. Just like on a gas fire in the home. The heater comes with a clear and concise instruction manual which contains operating instructions, a full lit of parts, cleaning and storage instructions, all safety precautions and the correct method of connecting/disconnecting the gas bottle to the heater. The heater comes with a 2 year guarantee against any defect in manufacturing or materials. This includes free replacement of any defect parts. I have used the heater on several occasions and have been fully satisfied with it’s performance. I would recommend it to anyone interested in purchasing a table top heater. However, please remember, it is designed for use on a table, so it you intend to heat a big area you will need to consider the larger models.
F1 World Grand Prix For Dreamcast This formula 1 racing game follows the 1998 racing season. Therefore, all the 11 teams and 22 drivers are set out as they were in that year. At the time of the game’s creation, the Williams team did not have two drivers, so one of the drivers for the Williams team is listed as, “Williams Driver.” The game has 4 main playing options which are, Single race Championship Time attack Match race (2 player option) If you are looking to just have a short go on the game, the single race option is just the ticket. However, if you want to follow the season from start to finish, you may want to enter the championship option which takes you through all 16 rounds of the 1998 season. If you want to try and better yourself, you can enter the time attack option whereby you try and beat the fastest lap time for a race circuit. If you want to challenge your friends at a race, there is the match race which is for a 2 player, one on one mode. Around each of these options are the set up options. Some options can be set up from the outset, but others are options for a single race, such as car settings. The main options in the menu are language, display, sound and controller options. There are 4 languages available, English, French, Spanish and German. The display options allow you set up the camera view of your car, and what is displayed on the screen during game play. The sound option allows you to set the volume levels of the separate sound effects present during game play. The controller options have 3 set up features. There are 2 controller set up defaults, named “A” and “B”. The 3rd option allows you to customize the controller set up yourself. The game menu also allows you to load and save files on to your VM unit. Therefore, you can save a game if you are in the middle of a championship, or you can save car settings for a particular race
circuit. When setting up a game, you can select the difficulty levels for both yourself, and the CPU controlled cars. You can enter as a novice or professional driver. The novice setting is more forgiving, whereas the professional setting is much more realistic. Therefore, I would advise newcomers to select the novice setting to get used to the controls and race circuits. The CPU controlled cars can be set at different skill levels ranging from easy through to super hard. This really means how fast they go!! Therefore, the easy setting makes them all go slow, making it easy to win. There are also 2 options for assisting with acceleration and braking. This basically allows you to set off without wheel spinning or under braking when approaching corners. Once you have set the difficulty levels for yourself and the CPU, you have a few more options to select. These are as follows, Number of laps – 3,6,12,Half,Full Weather – Sunny/Part cloudy/Cloudy/Light rain/Rain/Random Flags – on/off Pit – on/off Car damage – on/off ’98 events – on/off Grid position – 1-22 (only available in single race mode) Safety car – on/off This sets how many laps you have to complete and the weather conditions. Also whether you have to adhere to race flag conditions, if you have to pit for fuel and repairs, if you can damage your car during racing. The game is based on the ’98 season. Therefore, it has preset memory of who went out in each race, and if there were any collisions. You can set the grid position you start in, but only in single race mode. In the championship mode, you have to qualify to gain your grid position. Once you have selected your team, driver and race circuit, you have just one more set of options prior to racing. These are the car settings which are more technical. You can set the following, Fuel level – In laps
Tyre type – Dry (soft) , Dry (hard) , Intermediate , Rain Front wing – Angle Rear wing – Angle Suspension – Height Brake sensitivity – 1 to 100 Brake balance – Left or right Steering – Left or right Transmission – Manual gears or automatic gears These settings can be saved to the VM unit. Once these settings have been carried out you can start the race. The race then starts!!!! Whilst racing you can change the view mode. This goes from the driver’s view, above the drivers head, just behind the car or a distant view behind the car. You can also look behind you. The car has side mirrors, but they are small and sometimes you cannot see clearly behind you, Therefore, the rear view mode allows you to quickly check behind you. During race mode you can pause the game. When the game is paused you can change some settings. You can return to the race, change the display and sound setting, restart the race or retire from the race. When the race is over, the game displays the race results. Then you can either playback your fastest lap, save the replay, view the race results, try again or exit to the main menu. The game has a good realism, good graphics and sound. Although the text is sometimes a bit small making it hard to read clearly. The game can be a bit longwinded if you always race a full race of 70 laps or so. It is better to race 12 laps, as you get good game play, and you are not as likely to get bored. I purchased the game about 1 year ago and at the time it cost me £10 from Game. I enjoy the game, and it is good to see how your skill develops as you play it more. It can seem very difficult at first, but if you start off on the easy options, you will soon improve.
Flight unlimited III by Looking Glass Studios If you are a flight simulation enthusiast then Flight Unlimited III is a good contender for today’s best flight simulation packages. The game comes on 3 CD ROM’s, and a full installation will take around 3Gb of hard disk space. So I you don’t want the game taking up all your disk space, I would advise a minimal installation so that the game run s from the CD ROM drive. I purchased this game at “GAME”. Priced at around £30 the game is towards the higher priced end for PC games, but if you like realistic controls, views and authenticity, then it is worth the money you pay for it. The game has been around a while now though so it will probably have come down a bit in price. The game follows on from “Flight Unlimited II” which contains the main base for the game. The producers have simply improved the graphics, sounds, scenery and have increased the size of area in which you play the game. 4 new aircraft have also been added to the aircraft hanger. The main introduction is a BeechJet 400A, the first jet in “Flight Unlimited.” The handbook contains all the aircraft specifications, any unique controls for the aircraft and operating limitations. There are 10 aircraft to choose from, these are as follows, 1.Stemme S10-VT Motorglider 2. Lake Renegade T-270 Seaplane 3. Mooney TLS Bravo 4. Beechjet 400A 5. Piper Arrow PA-28R-200 6. Muskrat 7. Windhawk USA 8. P-51D Mustang 9. Trainer 172 10. Fokker DR1 The weather is also more adjustable and realistic in “Flight Unlimited III.” The weather has a set of sliding control bars for cloud, wind, precipitation, visibility and so on. From these, you can achieve any weather pattern you desire. As in version 2, the same radio communications are available. However, more features have been added to aid you in navigation. A GPS syste
m is now active whilst you are flying, so you do not have to rely on VOR information as much. The game has two main views, in flight and map view. From this you can get from A to B with great ease. The map can be set to highlight VOR stations, point of interest, airfields and flight plans which can be predetermined prior to flying. “Flight Unlimited III” is a great simulation game which I believe is close to the standard set by Microsoft’s Flight simulator. The game spec is as follows Windows 95/98 Pentium 233MHz 32Mb RAM 4 Speed CD-ROM 300Mb free hard disk space Mouse or Joystick It is possible to play the game just using the keyboard, but I would advise using a joystick as it does make things a lot easier. Happy Flying!!!!!
The Nokia 402 Mobile Phone Handset The 402 Handset is one of Nokia’s older releases. This handset is available on most service providers, as a “Pay AS You Go”, or a “Contract” handset. The handset has many great features which I will go through in turn. I purchased the handset 2 years ago at a cost of £100. The phone was sold as a “Pay As You Go” package on the “Orange” network. However, the handset will have dropped in price now, and you would expect to pay around £50 to £60. Features of the handset The handset came in a standard package, including the following, Handset 1 Facia cover Charger Sim Card for connection to Orange Phone manual Although the handset comes with only the basics, you will find many accessories available in the shops. There are hundreds of facia’s to choose from, and items such as hands free kits, in car chargers, cases, and even flashing aerials!! The handset is fairly easy to operate for first time users, and is easy for anyone used to using a mobile handset. I am not sure of the battery life but on standby I have found it lasts about 4 to 5 days. If you use it a lot, you may find you have to charge it every 2 days. The Handset “On” Screen Menu The handset has one main power on button, situated at the top of the front cover. When pressed the handset springs to life by illuminating the screen and then connecting to the registered network. Once connected and fully powered up, then handset is ready for use. The main screen has the signal strength indicator up the left hand side of the display. The battery level is indicated on the right hand side of the screen. A clock is displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen, (if it is selected.) The name of the network is displayed in the centre of the screen. Finally the menu text is displayed on the bottom line of the
screen. To navigate through the menu options and change settings of the phone you use 4 main buttons. These are, menu button, up, down and cancel. To enter into the main menu, you first press the menu button on the handset. This then takes you into the top categories, these are as follows, Phonebook Messages Call Register Settings Games Calculator Clock Tones Phonebook The phonebook is the section whereby you can store people’s names and telephone numbers. Therefore, in the category of “Phonebook” you have the following options, Search – This is used to find numbers fast by typing in the person’s name. The search function will take you to the number straight away. Once the number is found, the phone prompts you to call that person. This saves typing in the number each time you make a call. Add Entry – This option allows you to enter a new contact to your phonebook. First you enter the name, followed by the number. The phonebook sorts the names into alphabetical order. This makes it easier to find a number. Erase – This simply allows you to remove a contact from the phonebook. Edit – This function allows you to edit an existing entry in the phonebook. Send Entry – This allows you to forward a person’s name and number to another handset. This saves you having to read out long numbers to people over the phone. Options – This allows you to select how you view the phonebook. You can just view the names, or the names and number together. Also in this category, you can see how many spaces you have left in the phonebook. The phonebook can store 90 entries. Speed Dials – This option allows you to assign a person’s number to a key on the keypad. Therefore, you can just press 1 button and press call, making it easier to dial a number. Messages The mess
ages section is where you can write, read and send/forward text messages. You can write text messages and then send them to anyone with a compatible handset. When you receive a message it is stored in your inbox. You can store up to 10 messages in the inbox. Here you can read the message, forward the message, reply to the message or delete the message. Within the messages category, you enter the message settings. These settings include the message centre number, message validity and delivery report status. The message centre number is the centre which you use to send messages. This is preset in your phone, but you can change it if you wish. The validity sets how long the message centre stores the message until they delete it. The delivery report when switched on, tells you if the message was delivered. Call Register In this section you can view any missed calls you have had, any received calls you have had, any numbers you have dialled and the durations of calls. The handset will store up to 10 numbers in each category. There is also an option to clear all stored numbers, and reset the call duration timers. Settings Within the settings category you can change the calls settings, phone settings and security settings. There is also an option to reset the factory settings. Within the call settings you can switch on auto redial and speed dialling. In the phone settings you can select the language and the network that you are connected to. The available languages on this handset are English, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. You can set the network connection automatically, or manually. This is used if you wish to change your service provider. However, you would require the correct “Sim Card” . The security settings allow you to lock your handset so that only you have access to it. The handset has a lock code, and access codes. By setting the codes you have full control of the hands
et. It is here that you can change the codes. Games The handset has 3 games built into it. When you select the games category from the menu, you get a choice of either, Memory, Snake, or Logic. The games have a level setting, (easy or hard in progressive steps) instructions on how to play each game, a top score, (which stores the highest ever score) and a new game/continue option. The memory game is based on matching pairs of overturned cards. The snake game is a game whereby you control the snake in up/down/left/right directions to aim it for pieces of food which it swallows. Once a piece is swallowed, the snake grows longer until eventually there is no more space for the snake. You have to stay within a box, and the snake is not allowed to back up on itself or touch it’s tail. The logic game consists of a set of unknown symbols in a certain order. The number of symbols is set by the game level. The object of the game is to get the correct order of symbols in the lowest number of moves. This game is similar to the mastermind board game. The Calculator Within the calculator you can carry out basic maths. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division can all be carried out. A useful tool for when you are out and about!! The Clock The clock category is where you can set the time and alarm clock. The clock is displayed on the main screen. This can be switched on or off. The time can be set, and can be in either 12 hour or 24 hour format. The alarm can be switched on or off. The time is simply set, and at that time the alarm is set off. The alarm has either a snooze facility or stop function. The Tones The tones category of the menu is where you set the tone that you want. The first option allows you to switch the tones on or off. If you choose to have the tones on there are 30 ringing tones to choose from for the handset to use when receiving a call.
Each tone volume can be adjusted to the desired level. For text messages, the handset has 4 options. Standard, special, beep once or off are the settings. The special setting beeps more than the standard setting. It is also in this section where you can switch the keypad tones on or off. The keypad tones are the noises made when you press a key on the handset. I have had good use out of my Nokia 402 handset, and although there are now many other newer models on the market, I still think the 402 is a very dependable, robust handset.
The Jenoptik JD-350 Digital Camera If you are looking for a cheap reliable digital camera which does the job, then go no further, as the JD-350 digital camera is just the ticket!! The camera is the same width and length of a credit card, and is just under 1 inch deep!! That means it is light weight and fits into you pocket with ease. The camera is silver in colour, with blue rubber buttons. At the time or purchase the JD-350 Digital camera was priced at £120. This was around 4 months ago, so the price will be around the same. There is a cheaper version of the JD-350 which is £100. The cheaper version is simply a digital camera, but for an extra cost of £20 you can have a digital camera / web cam all in one. I purchased the camera from the “INDEX” catalogue. The Main Features Of The JD-350 The package contains the following 1 x JD-350 camera 1 x Camera clip 1 x Camera stand 1 x Camera strap 1 x Camera case 1 x Serial port lead 1 x USB lead 2 x AA batteries 1 x Floppy disk containing the Twain driver software 1 x CD – ROM containing photographic editing/ Web Cam software The Functions Of The Camera The camera can be run in two distinct modes. The first is to use the camera for taking photographs. The camera has a main power on rotary slide switch on the front face of the camera. By rotating the slide in an anticlockwise direction, the camera is switched on. The camera has an “auto off” facility in which, if the camera is left on for a one minute interval with no use, the camera will switch off to conserve power. This saves your batteries, as you will find that the camera will eat up batteries quickly. This is mainly due to the flash on the camera. The batteries are loaded into the bottom of the camera through a small flip cover that clips into place, flush with the bottom surface of the camera. I find using rechargeable batteries, you sav
e the cost of replacing batteries. The camera has three main buttons to control the operation and set up of the camera, which are situated on the top of the camera, along with a small LCD screen, (Liquid Crystal Display) which is in the centre of the top surface of the camera. The main button is situated on the left hand side of the camera, and is used to actually take a photograph. This button is the largest of the three buttons. This button must be held down for a few seconds for the camera to take the shot. Once the camera has taken the photograph, it lets you know by making a small beep noise. The remaining two buttons are situated on the right hand side of the LCD display. These buttons are smaller than the main button, and are of equal size. They are slightly recessed from the top surface of the camera. These buttons are labelled up as, “MODE” and “SELECT.” The mode button allows you to select the setting you wish to change by going through a menu loop. The select button allows you to change the setting within one of the menus. The menu is as follows, Flash Auto timer Resolution Files stored Delete Picture DC/PC mode The flash mode can be set for, “Red Eye Reduction”, “Standard Flash On”, “Flash Off” and “Auto Flash.” These can be selected by pressing the select button once you are in the “Flash” menu. There is a small light that is situated on the rear panel of the camera. This light indicates when the flash is charged. At the same time the camera beeps to indicate that it is ready to take the photograph. The auto timer mode allows you to take a picture without having to operate the camera manually. The timer has a 10 second delay before it will take the picture. This gives you time to press the main button and get in place for the photograph in time. There is a small red light that indicates how much t
ime is left before the picture will be taken. It starts by remaining on all the time, then it starts to flash at a steady rate, and finally just before the picture the red light starts to flash very rapidly. The resolution selection allows you to choose the required quality for the photograph. There are two settings, “Normal” and “Best.” The best resolution is set at 640 x 480 pixels which I use all the time. The camera has a built in memory of 8Mb. This allows you to store up to 50 photographs at the best resolution. If you were to take all your photographs at the normal resolution, you could store up to 199 photographs. The picture function tells you how many photographs are stored on the camera, and allows you to select a picture number from the stored photographs on the camera. The delete function works in conjunction with this mode. The delete function allows you to delete unwanted photographs from the camera. The DC/PC mode allows you to select whether you want to use the camera to download your photographs or to use the camera as a web cam. Connecting The JD-350 To Your Computer The JD-350 comes with two methods of connecting to your PC. The connection ports are situated on the left hand side of the camera, which are protected by a small rubber flap. You can either connect using an RS232 serial cable, (which connects to your computer via a com port) or using a USB cable, (which connects to your computer via a USB port.) When the camera is connected by USB, it is powered by the USB port. Therefore, you do not require an external power source. However, when you connect your camera by RS232, you have to supply power to the camera by either the batteries or a low voltage adaptor. The adaptor does not come with the camera, but it is available from the manufacturers on request at a given charge. However, I find that batteries do the job, so I have not purchased the adaptor. The Twain Driver comes on a standard floppy disk, which can be installed on a double click of the mouse. This tells you computer where to find your camera so that you can communicate between camera and PC. The software requires that you have Windows 95/98/2000 with RS232/USB and a Pentium or above processor, 32Mb of RAM, CD Rom drive, VGA Display or above, and at least 110Mb of free disk space on your hard drive. To download the pictures from the camera, you simply connect the camera to your PC and open the installed software. The PC will look for the camera, detect it, and then show a small frame for each picture. You then have the option to save the pictures to your PC’s hard drive, or delete them. The pictures can be saved as a JPEG or BMP format. Once the download is complete, you can just disconnect the camera and take more pictures as and when you wish. There is also a CD-Rom which has picture editing software and other useful bits and bats. It also contains some software to run the camera as a web cam. The camera comes with a small stand so that you can mount it on top of your monitor, or any convenient space. As a web cam, the camera has a video resolution of 160 x 120 pixels, and a video frame rate of 28 fps, (frames per second.) You can use the software supplied with the camera, but you can use any software you wish to run the camera as a web cam. You are provided with the driver software for the camera which is all you really need. This is good as you have the freedom of choice to use whatever software you feel at ease with. The JD-350 is a small, neat looking camera that you can take anywhere!
Hanari Lifestyle Microwave Oven/Grill If you are looking for a neat looking, compact microwave oven, then look no further. Hinari have released a “Lifestyle” range of products for the domestic use, which the microwave is part of. The microwave is compact, and has a white enamel finish on the bodywork, allowing you to clean the oven easily. The front of the microwave is made out of a white plastic which has the usual tinted windowed door so you can see inside the oven whilst cooking. The door has a small recessed handle making it easy to open. On the right hand side of the front face are two controls. The top control is the timer and the bottom control is the mode selection. The microwave is a combination of oven and grill. The oven is rated at 800W, and the grill is rated at 1000W. This means that the oven is fairly quick at cooking compared to the lower power rated ovens, such as 600W and 700W microwave ovens. The microwave can be run in the following options, Low power – Microwave only Defrost – Microwave only Medium power – Microwave only Medium High power – Microwave only High power – Microwave only Medium High power & Grill Medium power & Grill Defrost power & Grill Low power & Grill As you can see, there is a wide range of settings that the microwave can be set at. The grill is great feature because you don’t get the soggy effect that you get with standard microwaves. The timer control is a simple dial control. You simply rotate the dial to the desired time duration and the dial will then count down to zero. When the time has reached zero the microwave stops, and the bell rings. As a safety feature, the microwave stops when the door opens. Therefore, you can never run the microwave with the door open. Inside the microwave is a small glass dish which rotates when the microwave is cooking. The
re is also an internal light so that you can keep an eye on the food whist it cooks. The microwave also comes with a small metal frame which you can use for grilling. This is great if you are making cheese on toast, which only takes 1minute 30 seconds!!! Normally you can not use metal trays or grills inside microwave, but this grill frame has been specially designed for use in the microwave, similar to the new types of aluminium trays. The microwave is great value for money as it was only £79.99 which is cheap compared to other microwaves of the same specification, where you would expect to pay at least £100. I purchased this microwave 2 years ago from Argos. I have had a lot of use out of this microwave already, as it is such a useful thing to have in the kitchen. I would definitely recommend this microwave to anyone who is thinking of buying one!!!
The Morphy Richards food processor 48504 is a very useful appliance for the kitchen. The appliance has two main functions, a main processing unit and a blender unit. The blender unit is situated on the top left of the appliance, above the control knobs, whereas the main processing unit is on the bottom right of the appliance. Functions of the main processor The main processor is where most of the work is done. The main unit has a 1 litre jug with a lid that clips on to the jug rim. The lid has a small chute so that you can drop items into the processor safely. The chute has a small insert so that splattering is avoided. You simply add the ingredients into the jug through the chute and before you set it going you push in the small insert. The processor works by rotating a blade/plate at high speed in the bottom of the jug. There are various blades/plates that you can select. The main blade is simply two very sharp blades attached to a central spindle. These blades are capable of chopping up anything you drop into the processor. They are also used for mixing ingredients together, such as dough or cake mixes. Other than just using the blades, you can choose from a range of plates that have different functions. One plate has a raised blade that acts like a peeler. This can be used to chop vegetables into chunks. Other plates act like a grater in various degrees. They range from a rough grade through to a very fine grade. This enables you to choose how fine you wish to grate the ingredients. Functions of the blender unit The blender is mainly used to form liquid based product. The blender has only one type of blade which is permanently fixed into the bottom of the jug. Again, the jug of the blender holds 1 litre of liquid. The lid of the blender is simple a round push fit lid with a small hole in the centre to enable you to add ingredients. The hole can be covered with a small peg before you switch on
the blender. This saves you having to remove the lid all the time. The blender is great for purifying mixtures such as boiled vegetables which can be blended to create soups. It is also great for creating baby foods, as you can just add in whatever you require. Milkshakes are a great drink to make using the blender. You can simply add fresh whole fruits into the jug and let the blender do the work for you. Seconds later you have a refreshing milkshake. Settings of the food processor There are only two settings on the food processor. The first switch selects either off, on or pulse. The pulse position is used when only short bursts of processing are required, such as when you are blending. When the switch is in the pulse position it is spring loaded. Therefore, when you let go of the switch, it returns to the off position automatically. For other processing where it takes a bit longer, you can simply switch to the on position. In this case you have to manually switch the processor off, as it is not spring loaded in the on position. The second switch selects the speed of the processor. This can be either 1 or 2. Setting 1 is slower and setting 2 is faster. Therefore, when more power is needed you can select the higher setting. If you are mixing dough or chopping large vegetables you will require the higher speed setting. If you are just making a milkshake or grating, you may only require a slow speed setting. When we purchased the food processor it was £70 from Argos. I would imagine the price will have dropped slightly since then as it was over 2 years ago since we purchased it.
The Sony 28” Widescreen Television Set The Sony 28” Widescreen allows the viewer to be able to watch films as they were intended to be viewed, in widescreen. As one of “Sony’s widescreen TV’s” in the current range it is a TV suitable for the average sized room. The Sony comes with a customized stand that has room to house a video, set top box, and a DVD player. This stand has a tinted glass front door. Therefore, unless you want to have a specific style of stand, you do not need to get one. Functions of the Sony 28” Widescreen TV The TV comes with a small slim line remote control that takes two AA sized batteries. On the rear the TV has a standard coaxial input, along with 2 scart sockets, as well as a left and right stereo output for Hi-Fi connection. On the front of the TV is a main power on button along with a flip down cover that houses a set of controls for menu selection, channel up/down, volume up/down, headphone jack socket, connection for a monitor, along with left and right stereo outputs. When setting up the TV for the first time, you must use the on screen menu to set the channels and other aspects of the TV such as picture, and sound settings. The menu can be accessed by pressing the menu button on the remote control. The main menu features of the TV are as follows, Picture control, Sound control, Video Connection, Timer, Preset. Preset The preset function is the section where you tune in your TV into all the desired channels. The menu within the Preset heading has various options, Auto, Manual, Language and Picture Rotation. The Auto function when selected automatically searches through all the wavebands from the lowest to the highest, (21 to 60) and stores all the available channels as channel 1, 2, 3 and so on. The Manual function allows you to tune in the channels by yourself
. You can type in the waveband number which makes it quicker to tune in the channels. There is also a fine tuning control. In this option, you can label each channel to whatever you want to call it. If you have devices connected by scart, such as a video or DVD player, you can select the input type to be AV1 or AV2, which are the labels for the 2 scart sockets on the rear of the TV. This makes it quick and easy for tuning in any devices connected by scart. The Language function allows you to select the desired language for the menu. This covers all European languages. Finally the Picture Rotation Function adjusts the angle of the picture on the screen in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise motion. This is because, sometimes if you have a centre speaker on top of the TV set, the magnet in the speaker can interfere with the picture, and it can distort at the top of the screen. By rotating the picture you can eliminate the effect. Picture Control Within the menu heading of picture control, you can set the contrast, brightness, colour and sharpness of the screen. These are controlled by adjusting small sliding bars on a scale. There is also a function called “Reset”, which switches all the adjustable settings back to the factory defaults. There is a function that sets the format of the screen. The screen can be set to 16:9 or 4:3. Wide screen has a ratio of 16:9, whereas a standard screen has a ratio of 4:3. Therefore, you can set the screen to be either of the above settings. Sound Control Within the heading of sound control, you can set the treble, bass, balance of the sound using the small sliding bars, similar to the ones used for picture control. There is also a reset function that returns the sound settings to the default sound setting. The TV has three main sound settings, mono, stereo, and spatial. Mono and stereo are self explanatory. However, spatial sound is
an effect that can be activated or switch off. It is an effect that makes the sound change so that it sounds like you are in a large space. The effect is very impressive. The TV has four speakers, two large rear speakers, and two small tweeters at the front. Video Connection The next heading in the main menu is video connection. Here you can select how the video is connected to your TV set. This can be by coaxial or scart. You also have to select what outputs you have. For instance, if your Hi-Fi is connected by scart, you can select the TV output to be for your Hi-Fi. This sets the TV up so that if you press play on the Video, or DVD player, the TV will automatically switch to that channel for you, and when you press stop, the TV will revert back to the previous channel you were on. Timer The TV has a timer function. This is so that you can set the TV to switch off to standby mode after a desired time. The time intervals are in 30 minute intervals. So they start at 30 minutes up to a maximum of 4 hours. Other Features Also the TV come with “Fast Text” which has the new improved version of “Teletext”. By using four coloured buttons on the remote, (Red, Yellow, Green and Blue) you can quickly search “Teletext” to find what you are looking for. The TV cost me £800 when I purchased it 4 years ago. The price will have dropped since than as widescreen TV’s are more popular. So if you fancy watching films and TV in widescreen why not get a “Sony 28 Widescreen” television set.
The 50’s Fender Stratocaster is just one of many versions of electric guitar released by Fender, (The Well Acclaimed American Producer Of Quality Guitars.) My Fender Stratocaster is a 50’s classic Mexican Sunburst Stratocaster, 6 string style. At the time of purchase, (3 years ago) it cost me £470. This seemed to be the average price at that time, but the value may have dropped since then. The guitar has the following features:- - Jack socket for guitar lead - Volume and two tone control knobs - 5 position selector switch - 3 coil pickups - Tremolo system - 6 fully adjustable bridges - Machine work heads - Adjustable neck - 2 strap hooks One of the first things that you need is a socket to connect your guitar to a practice amp, or speaker system. This is done by having a jack socket for the lead to plug in. It is common practice to loop the lead through the strap of the guitar so that the lead can not be pulled out of the socket easily. To control the sound output the guitar has one master volume control, and two separate tone controls. Using these controls in conjunction with the 5 position selector switch, you can produce the required tone for the style of music you are playing. By having the controls available at close range on the guitar, it stops you having to make adjustments on the main amplifier, which could be a few meters away. The selector switch selects the pick up you are using. There are 3 pick ups on this guitar. The pick up is the device used to pick up the sound vibration off the guitar string as it is plucked. One pick up is positioned to pick up the deeper bass tones, one is to pick up the mid range tones, and the remaining pick up is used to pick up the treble tones. By moving the selector switch you either select one pick up or a combination. It moves from selecting the treble pick up through to selecting just the bass pick up. The 5 c
ombinations are as follows:- Treble Treble / Middle Middle Middle / Bass Bass Therefore, you can achieve the required tone you require. The tone knobs are used for fine adjustments between the switch positions. The guitar has a tremolo system which is a mechanical spring system that allows you to reduce the tension on all 6 strings in one go. To apply the pressure to the spring you use a “Wham bar” which is a small handle that on this guitar is removable by a screw thread. Therefore, if you do not require the bar, you can remove it by un-screwing it. To hold the strings in place on the guitar, they are attached at one end by a rotating pin on the head of the guitar, and by a steel plate in the body of the guitar directly behind the bridge. Guitar strings have a small loop on one end that is wrapped around a small piece of brass, so that the string is pulled against the steel plate in the body of the guitar. The string passes through the body of the guitar and over the bridge up to the neck where it passes through a small groove at the base of the guitar head. Then it is gripped by the rotating pin in the head of the guitar. The rotating pin allows you to tighten the string to the require tension when tuning the guitar. The rotating pin is driven by a cog and screw thread system that is turned by hand. This takes the force of the strings tension. To achieve that correct distance between the string and the fret board of the guitar there are two simple adjustments. The major adjustment can be made by adjusting the angle of the neck on the guitar. This is done by simply turning a screw in the head of the neck. For making finer adjustments, each string rests on an individual bridge. These bridges are fully adjustable for up and down movement. They can also move along the length of the guitar to adjust string length. All settings are made when the guitar is new so you do not have to worry too muc
h about setting it up yourself. However, you may wish to adjust the settings to how you want them. The guitar has two hooks for attaching a strap, one at the base of the body, and one on the top edge of the body. The strap can be used to grip the lead in place so that it does not come out during playing sessions. As an experienced guitarist I find this style of guitar is perfect for what I want in a guitar. The action of the guitar is great, making it easier to play and make great music.
Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98 is a game for anyone who is interested in learning to fly. The game consists of various options whereby you can: learn the basics; practice on specific skills; go on adventures; take up challenges; or simply go where you want to go. Learning the basics For first time users, the game offers a series of lessons which take you step by step through basic principles of flight. There are both theory and practical lessons which the user can go through to achieve a good overall knowledge, and gain the necessary skills for the adventures and challenges that Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98 offers. Practice On Specific Skills For users that have carried out the lessons and covered the basics of flight, there are specific practical lessons set up so that you can practice areas where you experienced difficulty. This way you can continually improve your flying skills. Adventures Once you have got all the lessons out of the way, and polished up your flying skills, you can take on the adventures set by Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98. There are various levels of adventures that the user can carry out. The adventures range from carrying out sections of a flight plan, such as, (Taking Off/Making Turns/Landing) to flying the entire flight plan. The best way to carry out the adventures is to start at the top of the list and work through them, as the required skill level increases each time you go down to the next adventure. For example, some of the first adventures are purely for sight seeing purposes, whereas others follow strategic flight plans that must be adhered to. Challenges As you are in a simulator and not a real life situation, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98 has a section titled “Challenges” whereby you carry out bizarre tasks that you would never dream of doing in real life. Things such as fly upside down in a commercia
l airliner such as a 747!! There are many challenges to take up, which can keep you entertained for hours. If you have passed all the lessons, adventures and challenges, and you want to go flying, you can simply set up your own flight. In this option, you select the aircraft, starting point,(Airfield) the weather, and the date/time. Once you have selected these options you can start your own adventure. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98 comes as a starting package which you can then add to. You can add new aircraft to your collection, or even update new scenery with more detailed surroundings. These are available in most software retailers, such as PC World, Game and Electronic Boutique. However, you can visit internet sites, and download aircraft and scenery for free. By using a search engine on the web you can simply type in Flight Simulator 98, and it will point you in the right direction. Most sites that offer free downloads, include full instructions on how to install the new aircraft/scenery in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator was designed to run using either Windows NT or Windows 95, but it will also run in Windows 98 or Windows Millennium Edition. Unlike many modern games that require high processor speeds and RAM, Flight Simulator 98 does not. Within the game there are options to select the level of detail that is displayed. Therefore, if you have a slower PC and the screen seems to jump, you can reduce the detail to compensate so that your screen stops jumping. You can monitor the system’s performance by noting the frames/second counter that is displayed at the top of the screen. You do not require a joystick to play the game but it is advisable, as you use the keyboard quite a lot even when you are using a joystick. Controls such as the engine, rudder, gear and flaps are controlled using the keyboard. Therefore, by having a joystick it can help you
greatly. On the other hand, you can also purchase custom joysticks such as Microsoft’s Sidewinder which has engine controls and more function buttons so that you do not even require the keyboard to play the game. I have had many hours game play out of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98. For anybody who is interested in learning to fly, or enjoys flight based games, I would recommend Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 98.