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Member since: 02.07.2008

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    • More +
      22.07.2008 21:50
      Very helpful



      Excellent Anti Virus protection for Free!

      If your looking to save yourself some money, on the yearly expenditure of renewing your Anti Virus software subscription. Then look no further than AVG, because its absolutely FREE!!!

      I've been using AVG for the past two years now and previously i'd tried Norton, Kapersky and Mcafee too, on a combination of both work and home machines in the past. AVG quite simply is brilliant, not just because its free, but its actually a superb essential piece of software for anyones home machine and it works just as well, if not better than those paid yearly subscription titles.

      The current free version is 8 and this review is based on that version.

      Where to get it:


      System Requirements:
      Operating System - Windows 2000, Windows Xp & Vista
      Processor : Intel or AMD 300mhz +
      Memory: 256 mb
      Hard Drive Space 30mb

      Installation & Features:

      Installing the software is relatively quick and straight forward. A series of prompts and clicks will get you fully protected within minutes.

      The "free" version of AVGs software is classed as "basic" and in a nutshell it is. The basic version offers you full protection against virus's, spyware threats, detection and delivers safe removal.

      Of course for a cash upgrade you can get a much more expandable version of AVG that offers applications such as a firewall and anti spam etc. However, with other software developers offering fantastic free firewall applications etc online, then you can survive without the extras that the paid version of AVG can provide and use them in conjunction instead.

      The feature that i like the most about AVG 8, is its "Link Scanner" tracking facility. This kicks in, when your using a search engine such as "google" and when it displays your search results it also displays "green ticks" next to them, to represent that those sites are tested as safe from viruses and spyware. whereas a "red X" suggests the site could be harmful and urges you to proceed with caution.

      * (Online search engines that work in conjunction with the "Link Scanner" protection are Yahoo, Msn and Google.)

      Scanning & Funtionality

      Using the software is fairly straight forward, your presented with a colourful, yet basic interface when you open up the AVG software. Your not overwhelmed by a high level number of options or sub menus, but an interface thats fairly easy on the eyes and for the most self explanatory.

      Where this software can fall down, is it's confusing advanced features and how to interact with them, to personalise your software more.

      For example, the preset of this software, is to virus scan literally everytime you switch your computer on, likewise it will search for virus protection updates everytime you start up your computer too. Great in theory, but a pain if you don't leave your computer on all day, and may switch it on and off a few times. Changing these options so you can decide yourself when to scan and when to update, can be a real trawl, before you finally stumble upon the options to fix that nagging issue.

      A full virus scan using AVG can take time. Speed wise its not great, especially if your using a machine thats only got a single core processor. From my own experience a single core processor machine can take upto and over an hour in some cases to complete its scan. While a dual core processor machine takes around 20-30 minutes.

      The plus side is that you can alter the scanning speed and make it scan faster, however doing so, does leave the software at risk of not searching thoroughly enough. So for me, i wouldn't advise it.

      Detection, Protection & Removal

      For the negatives of how slow a scan can be, and how head scratching it can be to personalise the software for your use. Where this software really scores well, is its detection and protection.

      I'm amazed sometimes just how good this software is, considering its free. I repair computers in my spare time, which includes repairing system problems. I've lost count how many times manually i've had to remove viruses that some "paid" anti virus softwares have either not detected properly and could not remove.

      In all my time of using this software its never had a problem in detection, protection or removal. Even so, on one occasion i popped a version of this on a friends laptop. She wanted to use it to keep her protected between the time of her current software running out, and going to buy another subscription. Only straight away it picked up two viruses threats that her current software failed to detect!

      Equally having tested out this software to the full, should you dare to risk planting your foot in a site thats a "red X" with AVG's built in "Link Scanner", it can and will detect a virus or dangerous file instantly and will either remove or heal it for you, at your request. So this software really is on the ball and never seems to sleep.

      You can't fail to be impressed either, with the continous daily virus updates AVG gives you. That in itself gives you total peace of mind, that despite being free, your getting full value for your loyalty and trust towards this application.

      AVG 8 now has a spyware scan encorporated into its virus scan that previous versions didn't have. So during your scan it will detect any cookies or spyware files that are sat on your machine as well, that are potentially malicious. Again like with any detected viral threats, you can either heal or remove those offending files.

      Support Base

      Ok, so your a little stuck or unsure regarding either elements of the AVG software or help on threats that have been detected? AVG does provide a very good online help facility and Encyclopedia of all known theats. If you see either a suspicious cookie file listed from a search, or even detect a virus on your machine, you can look up via the "help" button, for the defination of the dangers, risk and what this file/s can potentially do to your machine.


      AVG is really an excellent piece of software and i'd recommend anyone to try it. While AVG remains Free then i'd doubt very much i'll ever go back to the paid subscriptions of other Anti Virus software.

      Thanks for reading my review of AVG 8.


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      • More +
        21.07.2008 20:41
        Very helpful



        For those that need a shaver to rid the skin irritation, this is a cut above the rest.

        Shaving.... now what a pain that can be! A pain in terms of the chore of having to do it, but equally a pain, because the whole act of taking a shave for some men, can leave them, feeling uncomfortable by the skin irritation it can cause too.

        I should know about these problems, because i'm talking from experience. I can say, for the first it time in my life, shaving is no longer a pain, it's now enjoyable, because of the Phillips HS8060.

        What this nifty product does, is not just give you a close shave. If your someone that suffers skin irritation from shaving, then the ability to duel both shaving while moisturising at the touch of a button, seems to be a novel way to deal with skin irritation and all that comes with it.

        I've suffered from skin irritation for years caused by shaving. I've tried lots of different things to cure it or prevent it. It had gotten to the point where, as much as i wanted to be clean shaven every day, i was having to give it a miss and shave every third day, purely because of the soreness and irritation to my skin that everyday shaving would give me.

        So let me tell you about this product, that i've been using now for the past four months.

        What You Get

        When it comes packaged, you get...

        Rechargeable base & Plug Adaptor
        Nivea Moisturising lotion Can
        Shaver Heads Protection Cap
        Travel Pouch
        Additional Trimmer
        Instruction Manual & Order Form For Additional Moisturiser.

        How It Works

        The shaver plugs into the rechargeable base to draw its charge. The recharger is mains powered. At the back of the shaver is a small opening, this connects and sits in sync with the moisturising can, that sits at the back of the recharging base. After every use, the moisturising can tops the Shaver up with the moisturising lotion automatically. (Takes a few seconds)

        The battery charge is indicated by three lights on the actual Shaver and it takes around 90 minutes for a full charge.

        The Shaver works against either wet or dry skin, the fundementals of this, is when your shaving, there is a small blue button on the Shaver, that you press that applies small amounts of moisturiser as you shave to your skin. Press the button, and apply as much of the lotion as you wish. As you shave over the moisturiser, it gets worked into the skin. As the facial hair or stubble is cut or pulled out, the moisturiser soothes instantly, thus, hopefully preventing irritations and the after effects of any soreness.

        The end product is a shave thats clean, leaves your face fresh and scented. Ultimately the end product after a few weeks use, should clear up any visable shaving irriation on your face or neck and keep that soreness irritation feeling away too!

        The Positives

        To begin with, Phillips claim the shaver holds around 40 minutes of charge. Their claims hold up pretty well in my experience, i've managed to get four or five shaves at best before needing to recharge. Equally, you can judge the battery life too on the shaver, when you switch it off, as the lights indicate how much charge is left.

        The Shaver is lightweight, and its got a decent grip when holding either wet or dry. Its comfortable to hold when the power is on and the motor is churning away happily. The buttons for both power and applying moisturiser are easy to press and give you full control of using the unit. Its well built too, quite sturdy and having accidentally dropped it on one occasion onto the floor, its not flinched and continued to work fine.

        The three shaving heads rotate well and although not as powerful as some other shavers i've used, they are very flexible as each head adjusts itself to the contours of your face/neck and ultimately you get a decent shave as a result.

        What i like most about this shaver, is the fact you can clean it by running the heads, while the shaver is switched on under either a hot or cold tap. So maintenance is really easy, not time consuming and simple!

        The dispenser on the charging unit is a great touch, innovative and a novel way of topping up the shaver with the enbalming moisturiser.

        Fitting the moisturiser cans into the dispenser is easy, likewise, when removing the heads from the shaver if you want to change the attachment to the trimmer, its also easy and does not take up a head scratching few minutes of your time.

        Its totally Waterproof! So you can use it in the bath or shower, or you might end up dropping it in the sink by accident and this just carrys on working without any problems.

        Noise pollution wise, if i can term that. Its not too bad, the shaver is your normal sound, not too loud, but its not silent either. When charging its totally silent and if anything the loudest noise this whole unit produces, is when its topping up the moisturising lotion form the can into the shaver, but that lasts seconds

        Finally, used properly and over a few weeks, it really can clear up visable skin irritation and stop the soreness feeling all together too!

        The Negatives

        The more often you shave, the quicker you'll run out of the moisturiser. I'm averaging one a month use from one shave per day usage. At around an average price of £7-£10 a time, some people may find this too much of an ongoing expense.

        To boot, finding the moisturiser in the shops can be a trawl. I've ended up ordering online everytime, but saying that online is cheaper, than when i've found it in the high street shops.

        The recharging base, while looking smart, and designed brilliantly, is just too bulky. It can be awkward to find an ideal place in your bathroom and mine has ended up sat in the kitchen!

        Once the battery is dead, you'll have to buy a complete new unit. You can't replace or install your own batteries into this device. On the flipside though it should last a few years, so its still a worthy investment.

        Power wise, its not the most powerful shaver i've used. Its does give a good shave, but as like with all electric shavers in my opinion, it still does not give as clean a shave like your bog standard razor.

        On the occasions i've not shaved for 3 or 4 days, the longer growth has been frustrating to shave off. The cut does not appear as good, and your left going over the same areas for long periods before getting the result you want.

        Final Verdict:

        For me, i can't praise this product enough, its cured a seriously big problem in life for me. I'm sure it won't be to everyones liking, it is quite pricey, and for me its the second most expensive shaver i've ever owned. However this product is innovative and it does exactly what its selling points suggest, therefore its a worthy investment, i can't argue with it and neither is the skin anymore on my neck!

        Price £85 - £150


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      • froogle / Internet Site / 20 Readings / 18 Ratings
        More +
        15.07.2008 17:39
        Very helpful



        Froogle is a handy alternative price comparison site, but it needs to take itself more seriously...

        If your like me, and regularly shop online, looking for the best and lowest priced bargains, no doubt you'll "price comparison" yourself into the ground.

        Froogle (part of google.com) is just one out of many price comparison websites out there. I would have to say as a regular user of this search facility (over 2yrs), its definately starting to improve, but as always has been the case with Froogle, it could do much better.....

        My personal opinion, is that it doesn't quite rub shoulders with the likes of a Pricegrabber or a Kelkoo, or some of the others either, but its a decent alternative.

        Froogle often can throw up a handful of surprise results that you might not find on other and more powerful price comparison search engines.

        As with all price comparison sites, they are only as good as the stores or sites that are affiliated with them, so even if you've tried dozens of alternative sites on prices, the chances are, you could still be missing that major bargain and Froogle might have that answer.....

        Whats good about Froogle?

        While searching for products is always a time consuming task, the Froogle search engine is easy to use. Its fairly basic to look at in terms of presentation and layout, but thats offset as its made easy to understand.

        If you ever venture onto Froogles actual homepage it does not shout out at you, like some price comparison sites do. It does not confuse the eyes with so many different sub sections and pretty product pictures or adverts. Its all simplified and for some who prefer that, it makes price comparison a lot more of a comfortable experience.

        To begin with, as its part of the google search engine, you don't really ever have to step away from the main google homepage to search. One click on the "shopping" link, after you've typed your product search and within seconds you've the compiled list of prices and sites of your chosen product search.

        Like any search engine you can refine your search, to get better and more accurate results. Often Froogle never fails in bringing up the relevant products, but if it does, a few clicks on search refining at the base of the page will give you everything your looking for......

        Add to that you can manipulate the search results to be displayed in grid or list format which is a nice touch. You also have the usual, ascending or descending price options too, as well as seller ratings and a product relevance options.

        What i do like about Froogle, as with some other price comparison search engines is their "seller" ratings. These are not product reviews, but simple reviews of the sites selling those relevant products your searching for. Their previous customers or buyers, give you their lowdown on their service and delivery etc.

        What Froogle Could Do Better?

        With every positive with Froogle, there does seem to be an equal negative.

        Often searches while accurate can throw up many "dead links" to sites, which gives the impression, the search engine itself is not maintained very well.

        Often the prices shown too, can be incorrect, once you've referred yourself onto the product link. This again throws into question just how well this site is maintained or how serious some of these afflilaited stores treat Froogle as a price comparison site and their relationship with it.

        While Froogle can deliver some real gems of lesser known sites selling products at better prices. It doesn't appear to have the affiliation with some of the bigger branded name stores that other major price comparison sites do.

        Finally, as basic as Froogle looks on the eye, its also basic on the price information displayed too. Unfortunately, this site does not provided you with postage, packing or delivery costs, so in essence a good price that you'll find, may end up being outweighed by inflated delivery prices.


        Froogle, is a good alternative search engine, but you just have to be prepared to but up with a few nagging ill luxuries that other price comparison sites deliver well. I've bought many times when searching for products through Froogle, but ultimately its just not quite the comfortable experience you'd hope for.

        When shopping for goods, its proably about my fifth choice search engine when compared with some of the popular price comparison sites. You just get the feeling that Froogle doesn't take itself seriously, or is just crying out for someone to come along, give it a makeover and actually turn it into a really decent option when shopping for goods.

        Give it a try...

        www.google.co.uk then click on the "shopping" link.


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        • More +
          15.07.2008 03:10
          Very helpful
          1 Comment



          Expect teething issues, but expect a decent delivered broadband speed.

          As a broadband user who needs to access the internet at two seperate addresses, i've tasted both the packages of AOL Broadband (which i've praised in another review) and also Virgin Broadband too.

          I've been using Virgin Broadband 2mb for almost 12 months now and despite initial issues with their customer service and installation, as a broadband package, its definately up there with the best.

          To sum up my review, i've broken it down into categories.

          Customer Service & Installation:

          Installation of Virgin Broadband will normally cost around £30. This can vary though, i've known friends to get it cheaper and occasionally Virgin will do promotional installation offers too.

          When you order Broadband, the customer service advisors will give you a time of when to expect the installation engineer and book that time for you on agreement.

          Overall i've suffered indifferent aspects to Virgins Customer Service. Ordering was fine, complaining and resolving an issue on the installation side of things was terrible, but the technical help was excellent!

          When my broadband was first installed, the engineer turned up (35 minutes late), and despite spending plenty of time installing the modem, wiring etc, what he failed to do was fit the correct cable to my Pc. So I was left "half connected".....

          Now, perhaps this is a lesson learnt for me, from being nieve. Once the engineer had finished connecting the modem upto my cable line, he asked me if i wanted the computer switched on. Because i was already pressed for time (from him being late) i refused, trusted his advice and installation. He did show me the "green lights" flashing on the modem to signal a connection to the network, so i left it at that, and looked forward to my Broadband experience a few hours later.

          As he left, the engineer told me "all you need to do, is plug the blue cable in the back of the computer, next to your old modem connection, switch on and away you go"

          Hours later, i followed his advice, only to find the cable he fitted was an "ethernet cable" and my computer being old at the time was only compatible with a USB cable connection. Annoying considering i saw him fiddling around at the back of my Pc tower.

          What made it even more baffling was the drivers disc he left for me, was only to be used for installing Broadband with a USB cable connection, yet he used an "Ethernet cable" to connect to my machine (told you it was baffling)

          Luckily for me, this episode was cured because of my knowledge of computers and what needed to be done, to solve this issue. However, if it had been someone else in my shoes with lesser knowledge, i think it would of caused more anger, stress and frustration.

          After contacting customer services who were equally as "half helpful" such as their "half installation engineer" i managed to resolve the issue. I was informed they were totally out of stock of USB cables!! and i'd have to buy one or wait around a week for one to be despatched!

          Totally not amused by this i agreed i'd go out and buy one. Virgin very kindly deducted £10 from my first bill to cover the cost, which without doubt was the least i expected......

          Broadband Package:

          On the plus side though i'd have to say, i'm very impressed overall with the actual broadband package itself. Speed wise i'm fortunate enough that i'm actually getting slightly over my agreed package deal. My 2mb package more often than not averages a speed of just over 2.2mb and occasionally clocks upto 2.5mb!

          Now these figures to most people are probably the finer details that can be insignificant. However in reality with the debate about broadband providers not delivering the packages they are selling at this moment in time, its good to know that your getting exactly what you pay for.

          Occasionally i do suffer the odd drop out (dip or loss in connection), but its forgivable as these happen rarely, although when they do its frustrating.

          Check your speed - : http://www.mybroadbandspeed.co.uk/

          Software & Technical Support:

          Virgin Broadband unlike some other Broadband providers, don't have any additional software that you need to run, in order to connect online. You may need to install drivers with the accompanied disc your provided with, but thats dependant on the version of the operating system your using.

          So in one sense having no connection software takes the drain off your computers resources, but on the flipside you have to also be aware, that your always connected to the internet, unless your computer and modem is totally switched off.

          The technical support is good, i've only had to call them once, but they were polite, helpful and dealt with the problem straight away.


          Currently from around £4.50 a month (Promotional 2mb Package), Virgin offers the fibre Optic Broadband experience and they have packages to suit all needs (upto 20mb), with no current download limits either. I'd have to say, once your up and running, you'll be happy and content.

          *I would advise after my experience that you ensure you see your broadband connection fully working, before the engineer leaves. If you need to call Customer Service, be prepared, as it may be a frustrating experience.


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          • More +
            14.07.2008 17:21
            Very helpful



            Decent attempt, but needs to work harder on its game engine.

            The summer is here, its time to put down the Football management game for a while, crossover to cricket and concentrate on getting bat on ball, or ball on stumps for a game of International Cricket Captain III....

            Having owned only one other previous version of this game (ICC 2005), i was wondering just how far this game had progressed and if indeed it would be rubbing shoulders now akin to a Football Manager or Championship Manager style of game....

            So what does this installment bring?

            International Cricket Captain, in essence is all about the challenge of Captaining your chosen County cricket side to domestic glory in all competitions, and earning the opportunity along the way to captain your chosen Country on the International stage.


            I for one, am no cricket expert. However if you understand the basics of the game of cricket, then its fairly easy to pick up and play. If your an avid cricket fan, i'm thinking you'll be in cricket heaven.... well almost:-)

            The actual game iself has two difficulty levels, which are a choice of "Easy" or "Normal". Furthermore you only need a trusty mouse and perhaps the touch of a keyboard to play this game.

            Game Modes:

            There are five game modes in total the game player can choose to pick and play. Choose a combination of managing a County side and/or a International side. There are modes for a one off match series and a World Cup too. However the real mode this game will sell itself on, is the "full game" mode, where you begin with a County team and have to earn the right to captain your International side.

            Additionally outside of these game modes is the option for an "Internet Game". Where you can pit your wits online against other players.

            I have to say, the Internet game option is very much a hit and miss experience. Like with any online game play, you can have issues with servers/networks etc, and the reliability in this mode just isn't trustworthy in my experience. I've often had many error messages while playing or i've totally failed to get onto the network.


            The International Cricket Captain series has always been a strategy game based around a database of statistical detail, revolving around a 2D match engine that shows the progression of your game. However, take the 2D engine out of the game, and replace it with a 3D engine and in essence thats the only difference this version of Internationl Cricket Captain brings to the table.

            When the games first begins, your given a list of your selected squad, and an opportunity straight away to decide who you wish to retain, and a list of players available to sign.

            Your also given a squad budget too, this will define just which players you can bring in, and on what salary. The budget is a balancing act, because you have three areas to cater for, which include "Coaching", "Youth Team" and "Physio". How much investment you choose in these areas can have dramatic effect on your ability to sign players, plus the overall progression of your squad.

            Equally before the season starts you can also choose what kind of home pitch you want create. This can maximse either the strengths of your bowlers or batsmen and help achieve results.

            Prior to a match you can adjust the training of your team. This seems all very basic, when you consider just how much statistical depth there is to the game. Your left wondering, "if only" a more in depth training function could have been placed within the game. "Practice", "Technique" and "Physio" are the only training options.

            Again the statistics of teams and players are excellent with all updates for 2007. Once again the lovely little touches like being able to see the impending weather forecasts and a continous update too of the pitch and field conditions keep that sense of realism in tact.

            The game continues to offer a similar feel of control. You can only control a batsmans agression or option to keep strike, where as in bowling you seem to retain more control once again as to how you want your bowler to deliver the line and length.

            Fielding is once again a joy, you can choose either the presets or set your own field. If your a novice at the game of cricket, it can be a steep learning curve to step outside of those presets, but equally an education too!

            Now cricket by definition is for the part a slow game, so be perpared for a time consuming challenge. Playing one match on its own merit can take anything from 30 minutes to a few hours in International Cricket Captain. This all depends how in depth you want to play each game.

            This is one element i like, because it offers a hardcore cricket fan all the depth he/she could ask for with each game. while someone with moderate interest who doesn't want to get too overpowering with batting or bowling tactics, can set it to highlights mode and breeze through the game at a slightly quicker pace.

            You can choose to skip matches too, but i've found this part of the gameplay baffling. More often than not if you choose to "skip" playing any particular game, you will lose it, regardless of how good or bad the opposition is.

            The biggest disappointment has to be the poor attempt at going from a 2D match engine to the new 3D one. In theory it sounds a great leap forward, but in practice it detracts from the game and is shocking.

            At times its almost comical watching the bowler or batsmen in animated action. It gets to the point of being hilarious when you see the unbelievable body angles that the fielders take catches at after the batsmen has ballooned a shot into the air!

            However there are somes positive to take from the 3D engine. There is a sense of tension when a bowler appeals for LBW and you have to sit tight and wait to see umpires decision. The sounds of bat on ball, player appeals and the crowd are decent. Although sometimes when your batsman reaches a milestone, its not always acknowledged. The commentary (Johnation Agnew) is a reasonable effort too, and goes together well with the action.


            The game menus are tidy, well presented and very clear. But where the graphics really matter within the game engine are truely dreadful. You can forgive graphics in a game for being poor if you've not got a fantastic graphics card in your machine, but when you've got some graphical power beneath your computer tower, and those players look like a late 90's attempt at computer graphics, then its a big let down. However, the lack of graphics is compensated for decent gameplay, so all is not lost.


            This game does leave you going back for more, despite its graphical game engine flaw, there is an element of wanting to go back and challenging yourself again and again. There is nothing better than turning a youth player into a star and creating a team of stars from shrewd acquisitions in the end of season market.

            Overall Verdict:

            International Cricket Captain as a series is standing pretty much alone on the field of play. While this game delivers exactly what you would expect from a management type simulation game. You are are left wondering just what more could have been achieved, with a little more creativity and perhaps some stern competition from another game developer.

            Its fun, like most forms of cricket time consuming, but ultimately it is a challenge and will keep you occupied for hours. Here's hoping the next installment is a better step forward.......

            Pc Format: Prices normally between £9.99 - £19.99


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          • More +
            04.07.2008 16:01
            Very helpful



            One of the better Broadband Providers.....

            I've been with AOL now for around seven years. The last four years have all been with their broadband packages.

            Having used a number of other Broadband providers via work machines and on friends computers too, for me AOL comes out on top in terms of speed, price and all be it a frustrating, but half decent customer service.

            The Service, Speed & Connection:

            The Broadband packages vary on AOL, they are constantly updating. This review is based on Fixed line Broadband (not wireless), which has no content download limits. (AOL is now marketing more wireless deals than anything, that vary in price and have a limitations on downloaded content, so always read the small print)

            I've had all the package speeds on AOL Broadband, and on everyone of them, the speed of my service, compared other providers i've used has been fairly good, consistent and in conjuction with the broadband speed i've signed up to.

            Recently there has been a big debate about Internet providers selling packages which do not operate fully at the download speed they are advertising. Well i can safely say, AOL in my experience gives around an average speed performance of around 96% - 100% and has done on all the packages i've been on.

            Connection wise, the connection is strong and rarely do you get "drop outs" (disconnections) for no apparent reason as can be common with some broadband connections. On average i've suffered connection drop out around 2 or 3 times in the past 18months!

            Check your speed - : http://www.mybroadbandspeed.co.uk/

            The Software:

            From my own experience i've suffered plenty of problems with AOL's software. Initially when you first install the AOL software, everything runs fine and works like a dream, but the minute AOL ask you to start downloading updates onto your system, the cold sweat starts to appear on your brow. You start to wonder just what, if anything the latest updates will do to your connection or the function of your AOL software.

            On numerous occasions i've had to reinstall my AOL software because their updates seem to corrupt my AOL connection over a period of time (3 - 6 months). On one occasion, i was offered the chance to upgrade the version of my software, and when i installed it, it failed to work, and when i uninstalled it, popped the previous version back on, that failed to work too... Eventually after 35 minutes technical support to AOL over the phone i was up and running!

            I've got the point now where i no longer download any updates i'm asked too, i always believe "if its not broke, don't fix it"..... even if AOL seem to suggest these downloads will either improve your connection or the function of your software........

            The Customer Service:

            Like many other companies these days, the trend is their customer care is based abroad, and AOL is one of those too. Quite often dealing with a "foreign" customer care advisor can be frustrating and time consuming, when both yourself and the customer care advisor try to understand each others accents, language and most of all the actual problem you want resolving.

            Therefore customer care with AOL is definately a "hit and miss" experience from one customer care advisor to the next. However once your past any issue of language barriers, their technical support is quite good. On occasions i've even had my package tarriff lowered be it temporarily, or permanently to reward either loyalty to AOL or as a goodwill gesture.


            The packages vary and its quite hard for me to give fixed prices, because the deals are changing all the time, currently i'm paying £17.99 for 8mb fixed line Broadband.

            Some providers are cheaper, but ultimately the benefit of AOL is their software when it does work, offers a good browser, online support and many other features too, that make it value for money over their rivals.


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            • dabs.com / Online Shop / 13 Readings / 12 Ratings
              More +
              04.07.2008 00:06
              Very helpful



              Avoid like the plague, shop elswhere and save yourself a stressful experience..

              The saying "Never judge a book by its cover" springs to mind whenever i see Dabs pop up on a price comparison site.

              I buy regularly off the internet and occasionally build computers for people, Dabs does sometimes have good priced pc components within its product range, which is why Dabs have had my custom in the past. However these days i refuse to buy from them as they are completely unreliable and their customer service is shocking!!!

              As a site, Dabs is well designed. Its a very easy site to navigate and its all very enticing with some of their well priced deals.

              However, just like a book with a pretty cover, turn the page and often it can all go just a little bit sour and thats exactly what happens with your shopping experience at Dabs.....

              To being with, when you buy a product online you rely solely not just on the price, the image of the product, but also as much information about the product as possible, that can inform or sway you into buying.

              Quite often when browsing though their specifications on goods, it seems its all a bit hit and miss. Some of the information you require is often missing, so the only way to know for sure is either take a gamble on the product or contact customer services......

              So great... "Lets call customer services", only you can't!

              The only contact you have with Dabs is entirely though an online help facility.... So in affect your having to type your query to an advisor live through a chat window or you can email them for support...

              On both counts their customer service via either communication method in my experience has been lousy. First of all i've emailed them in the past about a product and they've never responded to my query.

              Secondly on one occasion when i did order a product and received email confirmation that my order had gone through, it never arrived......

              When this did happen, i found to my amazement they had no contact number for customer services and i had to click my way through a "self help" option to get to speak to a representative through a chat window, who told me "its gone into transit today and you'll be receiving it tomorrow"...... I waited in the following day..... and nothing arrived......

              So i went back again onto Dabs another day later, and this time i was told by another advisor "Your order was cancelled, we could not verify your card details"...... To say i was bemused was an understatement, especially as two days before i was told, "it was in transit" and even more so, that six months previous i'd ordered with the same card details and i'd received my goods no problem!!!

              Finally, to my stupidity, i even tried to order from them again, a couple of months later, and the same thing happened to me again! This was despite updating my account details as requested from the time before, but to no avail the same thing happened again..... so my custom has now permanently gone elsewhere.....

              Dabs for me is a real shame. When they first came onto the scene as a online electrical retailer a few year ago, they were brilliant.... Obviously they are now "dabbling" with totally the wrong customer service attitude.

              If you ever click on Dabs, i'd advise clicking "back" on your internet browser!


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            • Ebuyer.com / Online Shop / 13 Readings / 12 Ratings
              More +
              03.07.2008 18:23
              Very helpful



              A good place to shop for electrical goods....

              Ebuyer has to be one of the best value for money sites online for the product ranges that it sells.

              It's not just the prices are highly competitive, but the customer service is excellent too!

              I've been buying goods from these for well over 2 years and have absolutely nothing negative to say about them at all. If your like me and you price comparison yourself into the ground when looking for the best deal on products, then Ebuyer is quite hard to beat in terms of its prices within its product range.

              The internet shopping experience with any site should always be a smooth one, from ordering, the delivery and then even should things go wrong, the customer service too. Ebuyer gets five stars for me everytime across the board

              Currently, free delivery is available with orders over £49.99 which is classed as "Super Saver Delivery"... Using this delivery option will normally take 3-5 days for your product/s to arrive. You can always choose to override that, and pay more for a quicker delivery, however through previous experience, Super Saver Deliveries on occasions have arrived within two days of ordering!

              You can track your order online, so you know exactly the day your goods will arrive. Small items are delivered by Royal Mail, whereas City Link are Ebuyers chosen courier for bigger items.

              Now should things go wrong, such as a faulty product?

              While its a pain having the misfortune of goods that are either faulty or go faulty, Ebuyer have a really painfree returns policy. You can choose to speak to an advisor, or you can fill in a returns form via your account and they will set up the whole procedure for you within hours.

              Normally small items you return via Royal Mail with the cost of postage refunded, or a City Link courier will be instructed by Ebuyer to come out and collect your faulty item, a replacement will arrive a day or so later, dependant on your gurrantee terms.

              As for contacting the customer service hotline with a query, their advisors are very knowledgeable, polite and helpful. I ordered a latop from them for a relative and their technical knowledge was impressive when i queried about a component upgrade within the machine i wanted to order.

              Just recently now too, ebuyer has introduced "Ebuyer TV" within its site on some of its products ranges. Whereby on selected goods, you can view a full product demonstration of the item your considering buying or browsing.

              Finally the one thing that i do like about this site the most, is its continually agressive pricing policy and its occasional sale bargains that they run for the odd day or weekend. They update their prices on a regular basis to stay ultra competitive against other similar sites.


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            • cyberfriends.com / Internet Site / 10 Readings / 9 Ratings
              More +
              03.07.2008 16:59
              Very helpful
              1 Comment



              If you want to venture out in making online friends, its a good place to start...

              I consider myself as a veteran internet surfer. Having been a regular online user for almost over a decade now, i'm accustomed to many sites online where you can make friendships and over time i've been fortunate enough to make plenty of friends from around the world etc.

              I have to say, over the years i've noticed a cultural change into how people use the internet and what they seek from it, especially when it comes to finding friends. Most sites these days are geared towards dating and relationships... But for those singletons out there or people who are already happy in love and are genuinely just seeking an online penpal, the choice of sites seems to be ever decreasing.

              A lot of people now tend to seek friends in their own back yard, on sites too, whereas when i first started surfing online, people were really into seeking friends from distant places around the globe.

              Cyberfriends for me is one of the better friend finding sites. It's a great place to start finding friends and getting wonderful insights into how other people live their lives in many many countries around the globe, as well as your own too!

              The Positives .....

              Its free to join and creating a profile is quick, easy and straight forward too. There is a premium account option available, where you can become a "VIP", this gives you an added bonus of uploading more pictures, no email restrictions, full use of messenger chat, broader search parameters and a host of other features too.

              The site is well moderated, all be it too moderated at times and their response to "contact us" queries is better than other sites.

              The pages are crip, clear and the site as an interface is very easy to navigate around.

              The site houses a whole range of multi national people, even in far distant countries where internet usage is still a new concept.

              I've yet to meet an intolerant person on Cyberfriends. Everyone is friendly and has a positive caring attitude to one and other. Even people that are purely browsing your profile will often leave a positive mark in your guestbook to comment on their visit to your page.

              Equally there is a points system too on Cyberfriends, where your usage of the site gains you points, those points don't exactly make prizes but can gain you more coverage or exposure on their site, such as announcments within the site itself to who achived the most points in the last month......

              The search feature is decent, there is also an open chat room too, if you want venture out into an open conversation with other people.

              Finally on the positives, this site has members of all ages. Literally from 18 to 75! So there is a friend for everyone out there, waiting to meet you.

              The Negatives....

              I've been both a VIP (Premium) and a Free user. Personally being a free user suits me fine, but there are nagging issues when you are a free user. For example its heavily censored what you can and cannot say in your emails that you swap with friends. To the point that you can't advertise a personal email address or another website, even if its just purely a topic of conversation. Should you type something like "internet" it will appear in the recipients email as "inter"

              Uploading images can also be a pain. I had the misfortune the once of uploading an image which in my eyes perfectly met the image uploads criteria, but within 24 hours was deleted. There are guidlines around images and what you can upload. This particulary picture was of me, sitting on a sea wall, now it was a distant shot, but not one that you couldn't tell was me, there was no-one else in the picture, but the moderater deemed it unsuitable saying it wasn't clear enough.... I can understand false pictures, nudity, copyright and even advertising images being censored, but this was really harsh....

              Finally the footflow on this site is quite poor. There are lots of members, but the activity within the site seems to be quite low comparable with other sites of the same elk. At best hazzarding a guess, around only 50 - 100 people an hour will log into this site on a good day..... So you'll have to be quite patient when finding friends and understand that the low activity on this site may slow down the friend finding process.....

              Overall though, the impression of this site is its friendliness and the warm people that do participate within it and make it what it is. A great place to start making friends.....


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              • Pure Digital One / Portable Radio / 15 Readings / 11 Ratings
                More +
                03.07.2008 15:27
                Very helpful



                A worthy purchase if your looking for an entry level DAB radio.

                The Pure Digital One was my first venture out in the DAB market. I've owned this product for well over 18 months now and i can honestly say there, there are very few negative points about it...

                As with all Digital recievers be it Radio or TV, ensure your in an area that accepts a digital signal. There are many websites online that will can give you a breakdown of the stations your likely to pick up in your area via your post code check. Alternatively as with myself, high street electrical stores selling these products can also check if your in a strong signal area too, before you buy.

                Now where i live isn't particularly a great digital area. For example i cannot get a signal for digital TV and when trying out a relatives DAB radio in my home to decide if one would benefit me, i could only get signal strength for only a handful of channels..... However, why i chose to go out and buy a DAB radio regardless, was because i could pick up a station on DAB that i struggled to get a good signal on my analogue set up.

                To my surprise the first time i switched the Pure One on and tuned it into its digital frequency it found a lot more stations than my borrowed relatives DAB device, so for me it was a total added bonus.

                Infact since owning the Pure One, as purely an experiment, i've tried a couple of other DAB radios of friends in my home, and still the Pure One seems to find me more channels, this is with or without the aerial extended!

                Now for the product itself......

                Firstly the Pure One is available in different colours. To my knowledge you can choose between a Black, White or a very disturbing shade of Pink unit!!

                Its small, lightweight and very compact as a device. You've a nice sized speaker to the left of the unit. On the right are your main tuner/volume dial, seven smaller buttons to access settings, a small 2.5inch display screen and your power button in the bottom right hand corner. There is also a USB connection on the unit, incase you wish to upgrade the firmware via your PC and a headphone socket too..

                On the reverse side of the radio, lies the mains power adaptor connection and it houses a battery compartment too. I will make a point here of saying, that DAB radios in general guzzle batteries, so if your thinking of going portable with this radio, then i'd advise buying some rechargeable batteries (6x R14). However you can always purchase Pures own "Chargepak" which is a battery pack that will recharge itself within the device itself and give you around 20hrs of usage per charge.

                As soon as your powered up with either batteries or mains connection and extended the aerial, away you go!!

                The set up is very easy and straight forward. It will autotune itself on first power up, although sometimes it pays to run the autotune again, especially when your deciding where to place this product in your home. Sometimes the unit placement can also dictate the signal and how many stations you can pick up, from one room to the next.

                Sound wise, despite only having one speaker, its more than enough, the clarity of sound is good and the volume strength is reasonable too...

                The middle tuning/volume dial is always going to be the main focus of using this radio. Its well designed and comfortable to use. Via pressing the smaller buttons surrounding it the main dial, gives you the additional options which includes switching the unit into FM frequency mode, setting station presets, a timer mode, adjusting the display information and appearance of your small display screen.

                The display screen itself is small, but for me its fine, but for an elderly person or someone with a visual impairment, it may not be easy on the eyes. The backlight when your scrolling through stations and information is quite clear, but ultimately you get the feeling if screen was another inch wider and taller, it would of been perfect.

                However the screen, does present all the information you need. It displays the time, radio station, scrolling text, signal strength and a power gauge which is handy when using batteries...

                Equally, altougth this unit is sturdy, it does give the appearance of a very plastic looking piece of kit. However, i'd advise anyone to see beyond the design, because the device does its job and does it well....

                For an entry level device the Pure One gets my recommendation. It is a very basic DAB radio, more expensive models have the ability to record and playback programmes, their screens are bigger in size and display more text... But for the price and the fact its so portable either inside or outside the home too, with the option for battery usage, then you can't go far wrong......


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                • FIFA 08 (PC) / PC Game / 10 Readings / 10 Ratings
                  More +
                  02.07.2008 23:55
                  Very helpful



                  Close but still not smoking the Pro Evo cigar.....

                  One of the great debates amongst game players of the football genre is are you a FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer fan?

                  Personally i've always preferred Pro Evolution, but i've always ended up at some point buying FIFA to see how "the rival is developing"

                  FIFA 08 is certainly getting there, but its still not quite there and for me its still not yet quite smoking the cigar.

                  There is a slight improvement on gameplay to the 07 version, but its very insignificant. Graphically as always its eye candy, and still the commentary has more class about it than its Pro Evo rival, even if the keeper "makes a good save", when in reality you've blazed the ball well over the bar......

                  Where FIFA always falls down in my opinion, is the lack of feel that your actually playing the game. Whether your a console player or a pc player, the responsiveness of the gameplay seems sluggish at simes. You want to shoot at goal, you shoot, but the response within the game is always a slight delay and in effect it takes away the reality that you feel your really playing and in the thick of the action.

                  Gameplay is and will always be what makes a game, back in the day when graphics weren't always a selling point, people would be happy to play a game if it looked like the back end of a bus, but actually played like a dream.....

                  FIFA cosmetically always holds the trophy over its rival. Slick Presentation, graphics, soundtrack and team/player licensing is always a real winner and a buying point. The depth to the game, is always a major plus, with more leagues and detail, but time and again the gameplay just always fall short and always lets this down.

                  The only real addition to the 07 version seems to be the "Be a Pro" mode, where you can play the role of one player in your chosen team and assign your mates as other players in your team. Great if you've got a handful of mates, but totally frustrating if your on your lonesome as the AI of that mode is a total let down. Lets face it, your friends aren't always around you 24/7!!

                  All in all, its a decent attempt but not worth forking money on, if you already own 07, then give it a miss and wait to see what 09 brings later in the year.

                  Finally, not sure whether this helps, but i've played this game on all platforms and the XBox360 seems to edge the other formats in my opinion.


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                  • More +
                    02.07.2008 22:27
                    Very helpful


                    • Reliability


                    A good all round processor and a neat upgrade for anyone looking to a dual core processor.

                    AMD Vs Intel.... Its always a debate.

                    I think most technical experts would say that an Intel processor always outperforms that of an AMD processor with the same specification all be it by a slight margain. However the benefit of a AMD processor is they are much cheaper to purchase and sometimes that slight margain of performance difference can be overlooked, especially when your on a tight budget.

                    The AMD Athlon 64 6000+ is a processor you won't go far wrong with. I purchased one of these in a computer build. I was amazed at the ease at how this processor performs....

                    The dual core aspect obviously enbables your machine to designate its tasks and workload much easier, but for gaming, video editing or even just plain light computer usage this processor can handle the lot.

                    It even overclocks really well, but unless your a serious tech-head or extreme gamer, it will run fine on its default clock settings..

                    It was fairly easy to install and although AMD's can run hot at times the temperature of it on my build is adequate, but ultimately you can always upgrade to a better heatsink and cooling system... if thats your preference.

                    Its always a joy now when you can run a virus scan on your machine, yet still play a powerful game like Call of Duty 4 at the sametime, and your machine doesn't even struggle with the workload.

                    Definately a great upgrade for anyone looking towards a reasonably priced and good performing dual core processor....


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                  • More +
                    02.07.2008 20:15
                    Very helpful


                    • Reliability


                    Great RAM, steady as a rock and great performance.

                    If your looking for a RAM upgrade in your computer, then this Corsair XMS2 RAM seriously rocks....

                    With more people starting to turn their hand now at upgrading RAM in their machines themselves, quite often people will just buy the amount of RAM they need for the cheapest possible price... which isn't always the best thing to do......

                    From my experience of building quite a few computer systems, Corsair leads the way, and If your a serious game player or love pushing your computer to the limits with lots of multitasking, then this Corsair RAM can cope with anything you throw at it....

                    It's possible to overclock slightly too and still not suffer any loss of performance!

                    Whats great about this particular model, is that the ram has its own heatsink, so when its running hot, all the heat is quickly absorbed and in turn, the memory chips maintain high performance.

                    I've used and fitted these in both Intel and AMD machines, and i can quite honestly say, they are extremley good value for money and easily out perform other models of RAM for around the same price bracket!


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                    • Creative Zen 16 GB / MP3 Player / 9 Readings / 6 Ratings
                      More +
                      02.07.2008 18:47
                      Very helpful
                      1 Comment


                      • Reliability


                      Go buy one.... You won't be disappinted....

                      By definition Creative are one of the best innovaters of sound products on the market today. I've never yet gone wrong with a creative product and once again i'm not disappointed, just purring over another yet another high quality product that does exactly what it says on the tin!

                      I've owned an ipod, and lesser branded mp3 players over the past few years, but for me this beats them all hands down....

                      Firstly its small, compact and extremley lightweight... For a moment when your sat on train listening to one of your many music created playlists, you can even forget that, you've even got the device sat in your coat jacket pocket....

                      As soon as you switch on the "Zen" on, your presented with a very clear, crisp display, giving very good colour definition. Choose between your music collection, pictures, videos clips/movies, microphone for dictation and FM radio..

                      You can adjust your player settings or perhaps check any tasks, contacts or notes that you've synchronised onto the Zen. The software bundled is easy to use and quite efficient at converting and transferring your files in reasonable time.....

                      The menus are easy to navigate and a total breeze.....

                      The sound clarity is excellent and the equaliser presets extract the most out of the different music genres you'll play. Note you can also create your own presets too!

                      As always with most players, the earphones bundled with them are not going to blow you away. So an earphone upgrade might be necessary somewhere along the line if your a big sound enthusiast...

                      There are only a couple of issues (nothing is perfect).. It can be slow to load up when you player is packed full and the additional memory expansion doesn't intergate itself with the rest of your player as you would expect.

                      For example, if you want to access the data on your memory card then you have to go into that the via memory card menu. In other words the memory card itself does not integrate into the main library of files on the player itself. Equally if you wish to create a playlist of the tracks from your memory card then you simply cannot do it, unless you duplicate the songs onto the main players internal memory......

                      So therefore, i'd recommend this 16gb version of Zen if you've a sizeable catalogue of files you wish to store. (Previously i owned the 4gb version)

                      However despite those negative aspects, its truly a wonderful player that can handle many files extensions. Video playback is superb and despite a small screen, the picture quality is excellent... I've often used my player to watch movies and tv programmes while travelling around.

                      Also With other players i've used and played around with sometimes synchronising movie/video files onto players don't always work that well, but this player is upto the task time and again...

                      To sum up...

                      Its a must buy if your looking for a good alternative to an Ipod or Sony Walkman. I would recommend anyone to weigh up their file storage demands first before deciding on which storage size zen to get, due to the issues of integrating a memory card.

                      Its still rock and roll to me:-)


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                      • More +
                        02.07.2008 17:19
                        Very helpful
                        1 Comment



                        A phone that packs a punch and delivers despite some niggly issues.

                        I've owned the N73 music edition for around a year. If your looking for a phone amongst other features that has a good camera (3.2 Megapixels), plays good sounding Mp3 tunes and to top it all off can be used to access symbian software applications, then this might just be the phone for you....

                        The phone has 40mb of memory built into it, but it can be expanded upto 2gb with a mini SD card. One great feature of this music phone is its stereo speakers... One speaker is placed at the top of the phone, the other at the base of it... So when playing music without the earphones, the sound has more clarity to it, than your mono speaker as on most other phones..... The FM radio tuner is a bonus too!

                        The video function is great, and there is also a seperate camera on the top right hand corner of the phone for video calling, to support a 3G network connection. Nokia comes up trumps again, with a variery of connectivity methods to this phone. The support for Infrared, USB, Bluetooth makes it very flexible in connecting with other devices...

                        Navigating of menus within the phone is made easier with a small joystick placed in the centre of the phone. Its also very useful too, especially when editing text messages or emails, The joystick takes away the aggrevation of no longer having to keep pressing one button on your phone to backspace to where you need to edit or correct an error within your text, email or document.

                        However, on the downside, this phone can be slow to start up and its quite weighty too. So if your someone that wants a phone thats ready to go when you switch it on, then this phone is definately not for you.

                        Because the N73me is a smartphone too, then there is always a risk that occasionally you may get software crashes. However in my own experience, my phone has crashed just twice in the 12 months i've owned it and regular available firmware upgrades seem to be addressing most of these issues.

                        The camera is good on this phone, but i've always found it annoying to use. It seems very fiddly to negotiate the camera menu to change settings and scenes etc, but overall the picture quality is good and the shutter speed is decent too for a camera phone.

                        However, the negatives are far outweighed by the positives of this phone. The screen is clear, a decent size. Support for software applications for this phone is very good, and it can handle a number of different music and video file extensions.

                        Overall, if you want a multifunctional phone that can handle different applications and has a stack of features, then i'd advise this, especially if you don't have the budget for the excellent Nokia N95....


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