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I normally like to write a fully in-depth review on dooyoo but this one will not be up to my normal standards as I only had this phone for three days as it is without doubt the worst piece of kit I have ever used.
Some may say that I didn't give it a chance but there's a difference between perservering with a phone while you learn how to use it and having a phone actually work against you in everything you try to do.
Make no mistake, the Storm is truly abysmal.
I couldn't hear people when they were talking to me and I think they struggled to hear me.
As for texting, I would rather hammer my never regions to a sinking ship than have to endure using the Storm's unresponsive, un-intuitive touch screen again.
Effectively I refused to speak to my friends for three days until the phone was replaced as communicating with them was painful.
So then all I could do with the phone is take pictures, browse the internat and listen to music.
But when I took pictures the phone crashed, I missed out on two great shots because the entire phone seized up, before it even saved the image.
Meanwhile, the internet browser was diabolical, with the few web pages I looked at not loading in correctly. Moreover WLAN is not supported on the Storm so you have to rely on the Edge technology which is not really comparable.
And the music player was, to be fair, quite good but the sound quality without the headphones was awful meaning you would need external speakers to get any kind of decent sound from the phone.
The only good word I have to say about this phone is how it looks. It is a stunning looking phone but, as the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep.
Add: I have just tried to submit this review but as I had not entered anything for Processing/quality; reliability or ease of use the site made me re-submit - so my score is actually false for this. I rate it 0!
The N97 is Nokia's attempt to eat away at the iPhone's dominance in the smart phone market and to be truthful, it's not the phone that's let them down - it's the marketing of it.
On a hardware level, the N97 can do everything the iPhone can do - and more - but most people who buy an iPhone are more interested in the software apps that make the iphone do all the cool little things than what hardware specifications there are.
Firstly, let's just look at the key features the N97 has to offer. The first thing you will notice is the slide-out keypad which is very easy to use and responds to the slighest touch so even if you have chubby fingers, the fact it's not necessary to fully depress the key means you won't be constantly making typos.
That's not to say that texting by the conventional method, albeit on a touchscreen, is a thing of the past. I still find that sending a quick text arranging a meeting place and time with a friend is quicker than sliding out the keypad. But for anything more than a sentence, the keypad is undoubtedly the way forward.
Then there's the internal 32Gb of memory. Yes, 32 gigs. This is an immense amount of internal memory and from my perspective means I can get every music album I own on there and still have 15Gb left for videos and photographs. If 32Gb is not enough for you, there is also a micro-SD slot which means you can further expand the phone's memory or even, if you so wish, partition off music from videos etc.
The phone also boasts a 5.2mp camera with flash which takes excellent quality images. Unfortunately there are occasions when the flash causes flare on the left hand side of the picture. Not being an expert photographer, I'm not sure under what exact conditions this problem arises - or how to resolve the problem - but I know I am not the only N97 user to have noticed this issue.
From a connectivity point of view, the N97 supports wifi (802.11b/g ), 3.5G, GPS, USB and Bluetooth technologies so there's pretty much all you need to be in communication at any time.
The phone also, obviously, has an MP3 player and also plays back video extremely well. On top of that there is an FM transmitter which means you can play back music through, for example, your car radio which is an excellent feature considering you can carry your music colection around in your pocket.
So far then, the N97 seems like a better proposition than the iPhone. But Nokia, while realising that the Apps Store is what gives the iPhone its strength, have largely failed to match Apple with their Ovi Store.
I found it tricky to set up and even now I'm fully registered it's not a very user-friendly experience. When browsing for apps on the phone in particular, there is no way to look at newly added applications, nor does there seem to be a way to search for applications according to price etc.
Online too is not as fluent an experience as it could/should be and I think this factor is what lets the N97 down the most.
The applications that are available seem largely to be based on iPhone applications and it seems that developers are more interested in converting/ emulating iPhone apps than they are creating new apps for the N97's superior hardware. It's frustrating too, to see apps available for an iPhone that are not developed for the N97. Logmein is my particular bugbear as this is a site I use everyday and blame must surely lie at Nokia's door that developers don't see fit to make N97 apps a priority.
One possible reason for this is that the N97 uses a different operating system to the iPhone and one which I think may disappear or at best evolve so radically that developers don't see fit to invest time into making new original apps for.
While on the subject of the OS, the phone can sometimes malfunction in odd ways. Issues I've experienced include text messages not coming through despite having full network coverage, not being able to connect the phone to a PC via the Nokia suite (this was a huge problem until I updated the firmware and I occasionally still get the odd glitch), and the phone crashing from time to time where the only way to use it again is to restart it.
You may think from reading all this that the N97 is not a good purchase but the truth is it is. It is undoubtedly the best phone I have owned and despite the problems I have mentioned with it, using it on a day to day basis it an easy, pleasurable experience.
It does everything you could want it to, and more, but sometimes you have to coax it to.
Ultimately, if you have some commonsense and a bit of patience, you can use the N97 and will have a better experience than you would using an iPhone. However, if technology isn't your thing then you may be better off opting for an iPhone as the N97 will frustrate and infuriate you.
When I first saw this film 20 years ago it was instantly installed as one of my top five films.
To this day it stays there.
As a film it has it all, and quite simply is a superb tale about treachery; jeopardy; double jeopardy; survival; instinct,; good versus evil; right and wrong; and moral dilemmas set admist the back drop of the American Civil War.
It's a slow moving film, very slow. So much so that watching it is an event as opposed to an activity.
But buying the DVD is an absolute must because there is only a certain amount of times that you can hear the unmistakable theme without needing (yes, needing) to watch the film again.
Westerns usually fail to engage me - indeed the first two in the Man With No Name (as Clint Eastwood is generally known) trilogy were a struggle - but this film has all the ingredients required to make you watch it time and again.
You will feel almost every emotion there is in the three or so hours it will take you to watch this epic, but only one will prevail as the final scene comes to a close - a sense of complete satisfaction.
If you have not seen this then I have to instruct you to buy it now!
It has often been copied but never matched and is undoubtedly one of the best films ever produced.
The beauty of this film is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the plot without ruining it. The hidden beauty of the film is the plot is actually extremely thin but the sub-plots and characters are as equally fascinating, engaging and ingenious as each other.
So unable to go into any detail with you, all that can be said is that the film revolves around 10 or so people and how their paths cross each other.
What director Quentin Tarantino does expertly is punctuate the film with absolute classic scenes involving these characters that will leave a permanent imprint on your memory. Combined with an unforgettable soundtrack it is not difficult to see why this film is a cult classic.
Sometimes you'll laugh, sometimes you'll cringe and sometimes you'll be confused. What you will never be is bored as this film entertains and engages from the moment the opening cafe scene starts to the minute the cafe scene conculdes two-and-a-half scintillating hours later.
Confused? You will be and you'll love it.
The football violence genre is one that has been subject to interest to film makers for the past two decades but no film really comes close to I.D. when it comes down to encapsulating what the culture is about.
Don't get me wrong, like every film before and after it there are elements of the film that are beyond belief, something that is always a great annoyance to me given that the subject matter needs no glorification.
If the film-makers fully understood what they were dealing with, they wouldn't need to come up with far-fetched sub-plots to "enhance" the appeal of the film.
But given that we always have to suspend reality, at least I.D. sticks loosely to the match-day experience of a football hooligan - if not in the modern day then certainly in the late 80s/early 90s when this film is set.
The message the film sends out is a true one, that football violence is like a drug, a natural high (albeit enhanced by drugs!), a mindset and a culture. It pinpoints exactly how it can be addictive, even if the way it gets the message across requires that suspension of belief.
I won't go in to any more depth because it will give too much of the film away. But for anyone who doesn't understand hooliganism and wants to, this film goes a long way to explaining.
And for those not interested in hooliganism, or find themselves repulsed by the whole culture I would still have to urge you to watch this film as it is actaully a very good yarn.
In fact, I would hazard a guess that if you have no idea what match day is about then this film will reinforce your opinions of what goes on in an entertaining and, indeed, mostly insightful way.
No doubt you have heard about Twitter by now,but if you are wondering if there's any point then here's my view on it.
As recently as a week ago I swore I wouldn't have a twitter account as it seemed to be just a glorified version of Facebook's Status feature.
A week on and I have three Twitter accounts and I'm tweeting like a tw*t!
However, don't let this turnaround fool you into believing that I'm addicted to Twitter overnight, or indeed even like it.
Quite the opposite. A week of being a Twitterer (is that what I am?) and it's clearly obvious to me that the only people who care about it are the media, corparate companies and webmasters hoping to get a little bit of extra traffic.
I work for a corporate company and at the start of the week was tasked with setting up a Twitter account, I started off by creating a personal account to see what it was all about, added all my friends and have heard nothing back from one of them.
I own my own website so then I created an account for that, so far with little success but I can see potential.
Then I created the account for work and I'm the blue-eyed boy. We are still devoid of followers though!
Going back to my personal account and there is a use for it - following my football team and other news sites.
But it's hardly social networking is it?
I really can't recommend this series enough, and currently it can be bought for next to nothing on Amazon, making it a great value and highly educational purchase.
There wouldn't be much point in me telling you what I think of this because I'm biased. I could write a premium review that would basically read
"I love history, I love the history and nuances of Great Britain and this DVD set is 12 hours of pure bliss for someone like me."
However, my girlfriend is not so enthusiastic about such things, but following the Martin Clunes Islands series that has recently broadcast on ITV I managed to convince her that Coast is a far superior and informative programme, not dumbed down for the masses.
She reluctantly agreed to watch a couple of episodes and now she is hooked.
While she would prefer it to be slightly lass staid, she nevertheless enjoys the factual tit-bits that can be picked up from the experts and of course, as do we all, she becomes even more interested when they cover a location that she has been to.
Coast was worth the licence fee when it was broadcast, arguably worth the £40 price tag when originally released but undeniably a must at the knock down price it is now available at.
If nothing else, for those looking to tighten their purse strings in the current times, this is a cheap and informative brochure for an interesting break somewhere in the British Isles this summer.
Let me start by saying that there is plenty of literature on the internet on how to use Betfair. So I won't go into the technical areas of using the site in this review, instead I will highlight the positives and negatives of the site.
Firstly the positives.
The stand out reason to use Betfair is the ability to lay bets. In simple terms this means you become the bookmaker and are betting for something NOT to happen as, opposed to something happening.
On its own this feature is quite unique, but combine it with the fact that you can do it in play, and you have the possibility to buy yourself out of a bet, and even make profit. As I say, this is something that is easier to learn to do than it seems and it is worth looking it up on the internet.
The other big tick in Betfair's box is the odds offered. On average, Betfair offers higher odds than other betting sites and, since they introduced SP betting a while back, you now have the opportunity of taking the price when placing the bet, or waiting to see what price a horse goes off at.
Another big plus for betfair is the range of things you can bet on. Not only can you bet on the usual sporting events but it also has a casino, poker-room and games/arcade area. These are all pretty typical of betting sites nowadays, but often betfair has its own unique twist or games that are more intriguing than the standard fare, which of course is also available. However, as well as these areas to bet on there are financial markets to bet on and a taikai area, where you can engage in tournaments with other betfair users.
The Betfair community (as it is known) is also a big draw. You can discuss bets and betting in the forums which makes the site all the more a place where you "hang out" as opposed to visit.
Another great feature is the ability to bet on the Tote through the betfair site. This means you can take part in the Jackpots, Placepots and Scoop6 offered by the Tote amongst other things.
Finally, although by no means completely, once you have finally got your bet on there is usually the opportunity to follow its progress either through the video or radio broadcasts that the site provides.
At this point it's time to look at the negatives which, believe it or not, there are some.
Undoubtedly, the biggest drawback for me is that £2 is the minimum stake that can be wagered.
Now this shouldn't be a problem when you are making serious bets, but sometimes it's nice just to have a fun 50p on a 50/1 outsider for instance and the £2 makes that less attractive. Moreover if, like me, you like to do multiples then going over £2 again takes the fun out of it. Finally if you've just lost a bet that leaves you with below £2 in the account, then it means you have to put more cash (minimum £10) in which can be very annoying and also sometimes means you bet more than you would like to.
There are good reasons why £2 is the minimum stake, but it doesn't alter the fact that it is a major drawback for casual punting/punters.
Another problem is that while the range of markets is very extensive, sometimes you just can't get the bet on something you would be able to with another bookie. This is usually because there is no interest in the market, and therefore no "liquidity". But this, again, doesn't alter the fact it is very inconvinient.
And of course, the other problem with Betfair is its initial appearance. I don't know one person, hardened gambler or rookie flutterer, who hasn't gasped at the seeming complexity of the site. Nevertheless, the help is out there, if nowhere else than in its very own forums.
I couldn't wait for the release of PES 2009. Last year's predecessor, for me, was almost the complete football game.
The revolutionary controls made for an extremely fulfilling experience and the couple of things that didn't feel right were forgiven.
However, they did niggle. For me, the shooting just seemed a bit of a lottery and direct free kicks at goal seemed even more random. The defence mechanism also came in for wide-spread criticism and although I personally didn't find it to bad, I did now and again find myself conceding a goal, usually thanks to a completely inexplicable gap opening up that I was unable to plug.
Fortunately, PES 2009 has rectified all these problems, plus thrown in a few new features for good measure.
You now have the option of whether to swing the nunchuk (a la 2008) when shooting or to attempt to place the ball by aiming the cursor and pressing the B button (much like you would to pass), this gives you the
With free kicks, you can choose which area of the goal you want to aim for. It's still a bit random, but at least you have more control over it and there's a better sense of "c'est la vie" if it doesn't hurtle into the top right hand corner.
When defending a free kick, you can now instruct your goalie to go to the left or right - again this adds to the overall feeling of total control.
And the defence mechanism has been improved too - you can now readjust your defender's position with the nunchuck stick. I'd be lying if I said I'd completely mastered the new mechanism but I concede a lot fewer goals in open play, which can't be a coincedence.
That said, I'm finding it difficult to defend corners against the CPU and I currently have no idea if this is my fault as I haven't worked out what to do or whether it's a bias in the game. I suspect it's the former, but currently I'm leaking goals like a sieve whenever the opposition do get a corner and have had to take to sything down players instead of conceding one!
There are many other little intricacies in-game, such as the pass-and-go feature which has been introduced, meaning you can highlight the finishing run of a player who is about to pass. Again it all adds to the sense of total control in the game.
Elsewhere, a masters league has been included and the champions road has been tweaked for the better.
As for the controls, as well as the system introduced in 2008, you can now use a classic controller, or the wii-mote sideways. Now personally I'm against this as I think Konami should have pushed their system else you may as well play boring old Pro Evo on a PS3. However, from a marketing point of view it is undoubtedly a wise move as a few people just couldn't grasp the new controls.
Finally, as if proof were needed that Konami really have sat down and thought about what was needed in 2009, online updates are available so even though all the teams are based on the August 2008 transfers, a quick update and you can have Arshavan playing for Arsenal and Robbie Keane back at the Lane.
I stayed at the Future Hotel with my girlfriend at the end of March and it has to be said that this is one of the best value, modern hotels I've stayed in in quite some time.
Firstly let's look at it's location. Situated in the fashionable Cardiff Bay, the hotel is a couple of minutes walk from the bustling Mermaid Quay where you will be spoilt for choice for independent or chain bars and restaurants.
The rail link into Cardiff City centre is also very close to the hotel and situated inside the "Red Dragon Centre" where the hotel itself is located is a nightclub, casino, bowling alley and some more chain bar and restaurants amongst other things.
Back to the hotel itself and as you would expect from a hotel so new everything is in pristine condition. The main lobby and adjacent bar and restaurant are warm, inviting and comfortable.
But where the future hotel really shines is its rooms. We booked a standard room, including breakfast for both of us for £85 and we certainly weren't disappointed (by the room at least - more about the breakfast later).
The spacious room contained an equally generous-sized double bed plus a comfy sofa-bed (at least to sit on, there was no call to make it into a bed!) a spotlessly clean bathroom and toilet (ingeniusouly either/or - the door swings right round so someone can be in the bath/shower while someone is in the toilet or you can have the whole place to yourself!), and an ETV.
What's an ETV I hear you ask? Well it is a TV which gives you limited internet access, plus all your normal Freeview channels. On top of that it has a radio function, and the real clincher - a jukebox. I created a playlist from the thousands of songs available and believe me there was something for everyone. It was fantastic feature I felt and one that more hotels should offer.
Also, obviously, you can have the premium movies etc that you would expect in an hotel.
Of course the room provides all the other little basics such as tea/coffe making facilities but we were also impressed by the provision of an ironing board and iron and an ice bucket with two wine glasses. Ice can be aquired, for free, from a vending mention on the first floor.
Basically, the Future hotel provides everything you would expect from a hotel of this standard, but quite often don't get, plus a few little luxuries on top.
A good indicator or what the hotel is all about is it's Businessman's Deal (or something like that!) which offers, for an extra £15 a night - a two course meal in the Thomas Restaurant and bar, plus a drink beforehand. Access to broadband and as many pay-per-view movies as you want to view. I think there may have been a couple of other bits and bobs but that was the crux of it, which is exceptional value in my eyes.
Finally on to the aforemention restaurant and bar. As the whole point of the trip was to explore the bay, we chose not to eat in the hotel and going solely by the standard of the breakfast it's sad to say it might well have been a wise choice.
Now I used to work in the catering industry and so I know how frustrating it is when a guest saunters down to breakfast with only 5 minutes of service remaining. But guests are what my partner and myself were, and so we expect to be greeted with a smile and some indication of where to sit etc.
Once we'd figured everything out by ourselves and managed to wrangle some tea out of the waitress we went to the self serve bar and came back somewhat disappointed. It could be argued that we'd left it too late to get the best food available, but that's not stopping me write a bad review now is it? The food was quite frankly of a poor standard, cold, hard and generally inedible.
Which is a shame, because everything else about the hotel is appealing and welcoming.
This phone is, without doubt, the most underrated phone ever.
I demand a lot from a mobile phone and the W880i delivers 99% of what I want.
The missing 1% is a flash on the camera.
And don't get me wrong, for heavy email and internet usage it's not going to rival a Blackberry, but the functionality is there to complete small tasks you may need to address on the spot.
So what else do you want in a phone? 3G? Check. Good sized screen? Check. Good gaming capabilities? Check. Sony walkman MP£? Check. Good still/video camera? Check.
I could go on, but won't - let's just end it with saying it's absolutely tiny given the available functions and pretty good looking to boot.
The beauty is for those reading this now, the phone is available at an absolute song and, for me, worth every penny.
My contract is due to expire soon, and I've always shopped around to get the best deal, but the truth is it's going to have to be some phone and some offer for me to give up using this phone.
I never, ever, thought I'd utter the words: "Slash has got nothing on me."
But, after axing my way through Welcome to the Jungle - and being told "I rock" - that's exactly what I said, meant; and felt.
This game gives musical no marks like myself the oppurtunity to become, as it says on the tin, a legend of rock, albeit only in your own living room.
Don't get me wrong, there are areas that could do with improvement. Personally I find the career mode somewhat lacking in any challenge or involvement.
You just want to work your way through the songs available and so having to play some of the really bad songs to get to the real gems like Welcome to the Jungle, Paranoid etc is actually quite frustrating.
The thing is, the increasingly difficult levels of play offer enough of a challenge to render the tour pointless. As I write this, I can't get past the third level of play available and that no way detracts from my enjoyment of the game, more makes me think that I truly will be a challenge for Slash once I've managed it.
Moreover the battle modes and online play also make the game have a longetivity that belies the tour mode.
But let's not dwell on the negatives, this game has upset my neighbours, taken me back twenty-odd years (my girlfriend turns into my mother regarding the noise levels) and I've already broken one coffee table because of stage diving antics.
If you are looking for the best TV/telephone and broadband package then can I suggest you look no further.
I say this for two reasons - 1) Once installed you'll never look back and 2) If your experience is anything like mine you'll need plenty of free time so that you can wait on the end of a phone in order to get it installed.
You see, the problem with BT Vision (indeed BT as a whole) is that the guys who come up with and develop the products must be up there with the best in the world. But the guys who sell these products, and the after sales departments seem to share one (severely -damaged) brain cell.
I won't go into the problems I had, mainly because it took a 2,000 word letter to their MD to get near to rectifying the problems - so you can imagine how bad things were. In short, receiving the equipment was proving nigh on impossible!
What I will go into is that now everything has been rectified I'm delighted with the set up I have and, more tellingly, so ids my TV addict girlfriend.
Put simply, the built in dual-channel recorder and the EPG used to navigate it is superb, the range of channels on offer is (while only Freeview) enough for us and the On Demand packages are, quite frankly the icing on an already very pleasant cake.
And all this for a very low cost (or nothing if you can get the right deal at the right time).
My only concern is that BT Vision doesn't seem to be spreading to the masses quickly enough. I suspect that the requirement that you are a BT Broadband customer is the problem and they would do well to maybe sacrifice this exclusitivity because I would hate to see them discontinue this fantastic service.
It doesn't take a genius to realise that one of the most obvious games the Wii lends itself to is golf.
And you need to know very little about gaming to know how huge EA's Tiger Woods franchise is.
But sometimes, what appears to be the easiest thing in the world to get right can lead to disaster.
Fortunately, this isn't the case with TW09, in fact it's fair to say that it is one of the best gaming experiences I have ever had.
Before we go into why the game shines, let's just for a moment look at the major criticism I'd heard before purchasing TW09 - the putting mechanism.
Rumours were that the mechanism was "broken", felt too "digital" and that holing was largely down to luck.
What I would say to this is that I can understand the "digital" statement - it's too easy to just look at the power bar and slightly adjust the Wii-mote until you're happy with the power, then snap the mote through the starting point, which just doesn't have a realistic feel.
I would also agree that it is not 100% perfect, it is very difficult to read the green without the putt preview turned on.
However, these minor problems are nowhere near severe enough to affect the game and, while there's room for improvement, the putting is more than adequate.
So what about the rest of the game? Well as far as playability goes, I can't get enough of TW09.
Driving is an absolute dream and it's not an overstatement to say that it feels completely natural. If you make a bad shot, there's only one person to blame and that's yourself. If you end up in an unfavourable lie, then know that you had all the information available to you to know that is what would happen if you swung like that.
What this means is that a good shot gives you a sense of satisfaction and a bad shot leaves you cursing yourself and tweaking your shot or swing next time.
I'm sure it's psychosematic but I find that once my swing starts to draw or fade, I find it, much like on a real golf course, very difficult to readjust.
And so it follows for all other shots, except when we come to short approach shots to the green.
The only disappointment for me is that the 1-1 swing doesn't feel entirely accurate, and even taking into consideration that the emphasis is on the speed and rhythm of your downswing (not how far you take your backswing) it is still difficult to perfect those 50%-90% shots all of the time.
Nevertheless, much like the putting it's not enough to spoil your game, even if you mishit at a critical hole.
With a huge variety of courses, players, and modes to play, there's always a reason to turn to TW09 no matter what mood you're in or how much time you have.
However, if you do have an hour or so spare, make sure to take advantage of the online facilit as this is truly one of the best online gaming experiences there is. Instead of taking it turns with your online opponent, as you might expect, TW09 allows you to play simultaneously, while still being able to see how your opponent is faring. It's difficult to describe, but is similar to the "ghost" concept seen on many racing games.
Finally it would be wrong not to mention the party mode, which quite frankly is a riot to play with friends.
While this mode blows all pretence of realism out of the water, and is massively fixed to those who are losing (in a Super MArio Kart kinf of way) there is literally hours of fun to be had if you fancy playing something a bit less serious of an evening.