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OlearyMas

OlearyMas
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Member since: 31.03.2007

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    • More +
      04.04.2007 00:53
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      A good Cd player but now out of date

      **My Experience Of Sony DNF 007**

      Here is a piece of social history the good old fashioned CD player and I still have it collecting dust in my cupboard upstairs, I have now moved on to the Ipod Nano but here I will tell you about my now extinct Sony DNF 007 what a good name 007 lol. I used to use it all the time on the way to work and especially when out running however when running it was not great even though it has a built in shock proof system it only stores where it jogged at and does not actually continue playing through the bumps of which there are many when I am out running or cycling.


      The unit itself is very smart in a black design with an LCD screen which displays your current tracks playing various other settings such as extra bass that are currently in operation. All the controls are on the headphones that are supplied with the unit these include all the usual suspects such as play, stop, pause and also added extras such as extra bass for those who like to have their eardrums burst. The controls on the headphones are admittedly basic but serve their purpose very well and I have had no problem with them in the three years that I owned the player.


      A great feature on this model at the time was the ability to play music burnt onto CD's in MP3 and WMA format on your portable player I made up hundreds of discs of music which I was then able to take out and about with me. Well not out and about when running but I always kept my favourite 2 or 3 discs in the case which was also supplied when I bought the player. On the down side this model did not come with rechargeable batteries and does not have the ability to recharge batteries whilst in the unit however this is easily dealt with by getting a battery charger and rechargeable batteries. The player takes three AAA batteries and these usually lasted me abut three hours of play so not fantastic however these were standard batteries I used not the ones designed for playing such gadgets such as the Duracell M3.


      If you like to listen to your Cd's at home in peace then this model is great as it comes with a mains adapter so you can plug it in save your batteries and shut the world outside away and chill with your tunes. I used this way of powering on more than a few occasions especially when in the bath bad I know but I am still here lol. When I bought this player I parted with £65.00 which for what it is and compared to whats on the market today was a lot of money but I have recently seen the same model sell on eBay for £25.00 brand new and boxed.

      This model was only available in black with a chrome disc in it's centre which even though I prefer all things shiny and silver looked sleek, modern and very stylish however when I look at it today and compare the size and look to my trusty Ipod it looks like it belongs in an antique store not plugged into somebody's ears. Seeing as I still have the box and instructions and all the parts I think I will put it away who knows in a few years time I may be taking it to The Antiques Road show. Has anybody else noticed how fast things are changing nowadays or is it the years passing me by without really noticing.

      **Overall Opinion**

      My overall opinion of the Sony DNF 007 is that in it's time it was a great portable player but with the emergence of the MP3 player it has been shuffled to the bottom of the list bordering on extinction. Even at £25.00 it is not really great value for money as you can purchase a good quality MP3 player for less. If you are looking specifically for a portable CD player then yes I would recommend it as of all the models I have owned over the years it was the most stable and although not the most flashy the most reliable CD player of them all. I hope this review has been informative and should you need to know anything further please don't hesitate to comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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      03.04.2007 20:23
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      Good Value For Money

      I bought the Road Angel 6000 from Halfords about 9 months ago it set me back £185 which was at the time an opening offer for this system I believe it now retails at £210.

      I declined the offer from staff to assist me in setting it up in my car outside as it appeared very easy to install and indeed it was.

      What was Included

      Sat Nav System
      Multi Directional Stand
      SD Card
      USB Cable
      Instructions

      Once I had a quick look through the instructions I assembled the stand and plugged the system in this is where the only fault I could find with the system occured it took about 15 minutes for the signal to be connected through GPS.

      Once this had loaded the system worked perfectly unlike other systems I have used. directionally it was perfect only 2 routes since I have had it that it got a bit confused on. New routes and roads can be easily updated by downloading the programme details supplied and then plugging in your USB for easy updating.

      The unit itself is very sleek with touch screen display which is clear and a good size and a strong solid case which I am sure could take a bit of damage not that I have had any accidents.

      Features

      2D or 3D Display
      Night Or Day Setting
      MP3 Player
      Local Service Locator
      Postcode or Address Finder
      TouchScreen
      Choice or Voice
      In Car Charger
      Wall Charger

      Please bear in mind that although it has a built in MP3 player the volume is low and you cannot use both the MP3 player and Sat Nav at the same time. The Night setting is with a black background and yellow purple roads to make it easier on the eye at night.

      I have travelled up and down the country since purchasing the Road Angel 6000 and have always found it easy to use and very accurate in getting me to my destination.

      BlackSpot and Speed Camera Add On

      The Black Spot and Speed Camera addition was also being given away in the price when I purchased this part of the system I do have some problems with. It picks up Black Spot areas easily and accuratly but it is constantly telling me that there is a mobile police van near even when I am on empty roads so that part I question however I must add that the Fixed Cameras are very accurate and always picked up. This service is easily updated by plugging in via USB to your laptop or PC.

      My overall opinion on the Road Angel is fantastic and better than many systems I have used it has been my angel on my windscreen for 9 months and I feel no need to change it.

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      • More +
        03.04.2007 17:07
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        Great taste not the best for you or little ones though

        If you are anything like me and my kid's then you will enjoy a milkshake every now and again, I have always bought the powder kind which you just add milk to or on occasions I will add some milk and ice cream to the blender and some fruit making it fresh. Whilst shopping in Tesco the other day I noticed something completely different that I had not seen before, thinking it was a new type of dilatable juice I picked up a bottle of Crusha Raspberry.

        When I got home my kid's helped unpack the shopping and my daughter shrilled wicked dad you got some Crusha. I thought nothing of it until she started to pour milk into the juice, I screamed out what are you doing that's disgusting. Then I realized what a fool I had been it was supposed to be mixed with milk I quickly apologized and tried a sip of her drink. I was very surprised it was actually very tasty and I quickly poured myself a glass.

        Following the instructions on the bottle which stated I had to use 1 part juice to 7 parts milk I made up a glass and took it into the living room where my wife saw the bright pink milk in the glass and said let me have some. She loved it as well and I had to go and make myself another glass as she had nicked it off of me bless her with her pink milky moustache lol. Eventually I got to sit down and enjoy a glass after getting all the other kid's a glass and really enjoyed it. As for the ingredients when I got to reading them they were not great with a few E numbers, sugar and sweeteners but I suppose as an occasional treat there is no real harm unless you are a health fanatic. Below are the ingredients :

        Water
        Sugar
        Raspberry Juice from Concentrate (2.5%)
        Citric Acid
        Preservative (E202)
        Acidity Regulator (E331)
        Flavouring
        Sweetener (E954)
        Colour (E129)

        Price
        ------
        Well as I said I did not intend to buy milkshake I thought it was a new juice drink for mixing with water and picked it up because it was reduced in price to £1.25 normal retail is £2.10 for a litre bottle. The bottle indicates that it should make up at least 40 glasses of milkshake.

        Other Suggestions
        -----------------------
        Another great idea I had that I now use this for is adding to my ice cream milkshakes that I make in the blender. I simply add two scoops of ice cream with a glass of milk and a dash of Crusha blend together and you have the perfect milkshake.

        Also Available in…..
        ---------------------------
        There are also chocolate, banana and strawberry versions available and also they are all available except the chocolate in sugar free versions however I can't comment on the flavour of the sugar free one I have not yet bought a bottle.

        Suitability
        -------------
        Crusha is suitable for vegetarians but the sugared version I would make sure that you always prepare your child's drink as it is very sweet and as with all kid's they will add far to much juice and end up with far to many trips to the dentist.

        Bottle
        --------
        The bottle is tall and slim much the same as a Ribena bottle and is made of plastic with a screw on lid and under that a pull cover to take off when you first open, inside the top is a non drip device to stop the syrup going everywhere when being poured.

        I would recommend this to anyone looking for a milkshake drink who does not have the time to make them fresh, you can't beat a fresh milkshake but this is a very nice tasting alternative. It is however really pricey at full whack so whilst on offer at Tesco I would grab a bottle to see if you and your kid's like it. Tesco are running the reduced price offer until 20th March so get in there whilst they are nearly half price. The only thing I would say is this is defiantly an occasional treat not something to allow them to have all the time because of the ingredients. I hope this review has been of interest to you and thanks for reading.

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        • game.uk.com / Online Shop / 22 Readings / 19 Ratings
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          03.04.2007 12:48
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          Great site with great prices and service

          game.uk.com > Reviews > You Wanna Play My Game???
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          You Wanna Play My Game???

          A review by bazzaoleary77 on game.uk.com
          February 1st, 2007


          Author's product rating:


          Advantages: Cheap Fast and Reliable
          Disadvantages: None

          Recommend to potential buyers: yes

          Full review
          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          I have been online shopping now for about 4 years and I have bought everything from Sofas to Holidays but the most common purchases I make online are computer games and consoles for my older children. As you will know if your a parent they are changing all the time and your little darlings always want to have the most up to date console or games. I have used many website for games etc but by far the best has to be Game available both off and online. This review is about the online service and my experiences whilst using Game for my purchases and yes they have made a lot of money out of me lol.

          WEBSITE LAYOUT

          The website is very well laid out and very easy to navigate around even for the most novice of internet shoppers with each console and game listed underneath its makers name i.e. PS2 or PSP just click the name of the console you are looking for and it will bring up a full list of all the games available with full descriptions and clearly marked prices.
          You also have sub section to view the most popular games in the games charts and a full list of games that are being released soon ready for pre ordering so that your copy is delivered as soon as it is released and with Game that tends to mean it's on your doorstep the day its released the day after at the latest.

          If you are looking to buy a particular console then this is simple as well just click the consoles button on the home page then click the link that is relevant to the console your wishing to buy. They have a good variety of bundles but one down side is that they tend to go out of stock very quickly in particular the Nintendo DS lite at the moment. Stocks are quickly replenished though so no worries there.

          When you sign up for the site you have access to many features such as obviously online ordering, order tracking and reward card (this I will go into later). As well as consoles and games you can also purchase DVD games and accessories for the different consoles. I pods and MP3 players and many other gadgets can also be purchased at Game for very reasonable prices usually the most competitive online however this is not always the case so still worth shopping around before ordering.

          Also a great feature on the Game website is the Bargain Bucket section where I have bought many great games for ridiculous prices sometimes as low as £1.99 so always worth a check once a week just to see what else they have in there, this is a great section for those who miss out on many new releases or can't quite afford the expensive game releases that are out now.

          As with all websites Game has it's own built in search engine to search for that exact game you want when you either know what you want or have been told what you need to buy as in the case with my kid's lol. (p.s they don't always get what they want) The search engine within the site is great and 99% of the time brings up exactly what you are looking for. There is also an advanced search facility that allow you to search under any critria you want ideal if you don't know what game for instance but only want to buy PS2 game for under 12 years old.

          Game has also introduced a section to purchase games for your mobile phone these start at about £3 and they have all the latest games available for immediate downloading onto your mobile I must confess I have purchased quite a few and they are great especially worms.

          On the front of the website home page you will usually find one or two competitions to enter free of charge hey its always worth a go I never win anything but for the lucky people out there why not it's free prizes are nearly always game's or consoles.

          DELIVERY

          Game operates a FREE delivery system but there are other option where you can pay extra to have it delivered much quicker.
          The standard delivery is Free this is within 2 days however I find that all my orders are generally here the next day if I order in the morning or early afternoon. I have not yet had a game and that includes pre orders that have not turned up and never longer than 3 days on delivery.

          If you however want the game next day that's working day Monday to Friday then you can pay £4.95 for this service but unless you have left a present until the last minute or really are desperate to play the game then I suggest using the free service its just as quick.

          Once you have placed your order you can track it online through the website and see where it is however by the time you log in the next day and check the postman would more than likely have dropped it through your letterbox and in my case being ripped open by the babies.

          REWARD CARD

          Unlike most places where you buy computer games Game have a great reward card scheme which cost's just £3 for life membership and gives you an additional 2.5% off each order and when pre ordering games gives you 5% off your order so this on new games works out fantastic so just on a £50 order easy to spend when your talking gaming you would save £1.25 that's nearly half the original £3 you lay out for the card I didn't get mine for a few orders and missed out so well worth getting before you order.

          You not only get the discounts but you also get reward points with each purchase and these can be used to claim free games in store so an added incentive to use the card but lets not forget that Game are nearly always the cheapest supplier in the first place never mind the discounts and points.

          The points work like this-
          10 Points for every £1 Spent.
          Every 1000 Points means £2.50 off.
          Points are redeemable on or offline.

          These are just a bonus. Then to finish off the reward section you also get regular mailings with discount codes member offers and general information on new games releases etc.

          GIFT CARDS

          You can purchase great gift cards online at Game but please bear in mind these can only be redeemed at offline stores but great as presents for kid's when you just don't know what to get them. The cards come in £25 £15 £10 and £5 and have different game decals on them such as Mario or the Sims so great fun looking as well not that the kid's are worried about that more for people that collect card's lol.
          The gift card's can be purchased online and delivery on these is also free.

          CUSTOMER SERVICE

          Customer service from Game in my experience can only be described as fantastic there are many ways to communicate with them and there is no waiting in queues listening to tacky backing music for hours. You get through to a person or get a personal reply by email and there is even and online live help service where you can IM with a customer service agent so no hiding for them not that they have any need to.

          The service is great and when I did have a problem with a game that would not run they sent out a replacement before I had even returned the faulty one now that is what you call service.

          SECURITY

          I have never had any security issues whilst shopping online and especially not any relating to Game however as with all online transactions please make sure you have all the relevent security software on your PC or Laptop and if you have any concerns contact them before placing your order or placing any card details on file.

          OVERVIEW

          My experiences with Game have been fantastic and I can't recommend them highly enough and before you ask no I am not the Managing Director lol just a average Joe who likes his games opps I was blaming it on kid's earlier lol and finds this site brilliant. From price to customer service you won't be let down and it's not often you can say cheap and good customer service at the same time.

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          • Nintendo DS Lite / Games Console / 20 Readings / 20 Ratings
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            03.04.2007 12:24
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            Great Buy

            I bought my son the Nintendo DS Lite a few months ago and what a buy it was looking on the FridayAd website I found one for sale locally for only £90 including 2 games one of which was Animal Crossing. It was brand new and had everything with it as you get when you buy from the shops so saving about £50 I was a very happy dad. The console itself in most retailers is £99 and thats without any games or a case to keep it in.

            The console was bought to replace the DS he got before Christmas which was bulky and not very practical the new DS Lite is much slimmer and has been vastly improved. Most people will have heard about Gameboys etc and this is Nintendo's latest offering to compete with the Sony PSP and in my eye's is a much more user friendly system and much better suited to younger children.(Although I must add I have spent far to much time on it myself lol.)

            CONSOLE

            The console is very ingenius it has voice activated control on some games especially Nintendogs as per my previous review and has a touch screen which is operated with the use of a stylus that is tucked away inside the unit as they can be very easily lost. The double screen is simply amazing and allows a whole new dimention to game play making maps etc easily visable whilst playing games.

            The built in microphone is a massive improvement on the one within the old DS system as it is central and picks up sound much more accuratly with the old DS you had to virtually speak into the bottom corner to get it to pick up.

            The console itself is very slim and small fit's nicely into a pocket however I would advise using a case designed for it these are readily available for about £8-10 some great designs are available on Ebay. As well as the touch screen and microphone control you also have the standard multi directional control and x,y,a,b buttons and the Left and Right triggers as found on the PSP. The buttons and controls are all very soft touch and no clicking when using they are all very touch sensative great for fast reaction games.

            Included built into the system is a slot for GBA, SP and Gameboy Color games which can all be played on the DS Lite however bear in mind these games will be exactly the same as when played on the older system's and the top screen will be non functional.

            The screen's on the DS Lite are very clear and bright with 4 light setting's making it possible to play even with the brightest of sun glares hitting the screen something nearly all other handheld consoles fail to allow. The one down side is when using the wireless system or WiFi the battery seems to die very quickly.

            An amazing feature on the DS Lite is the Wireless play between two DS Lite users and the WiFi play that allows you to compete and play against or with players from all over the world. You can talk and type to each other using many different games whilst sitting wherever you want however mind out you may get some funny look's playing on the bus or train lol.

            The sound on the DS Lite is good and clear however it could be a bit louder but then I am half deaf and my son say's that it is more than loud enough me showing my age I suppose lol.
            There is a slot for headphones which when plugged in I can hear fine and if the little beeping noises annoy you the kid's can still play and just plug in their headphones.

            The games available for the DS are getting more and more in number but the price on them seems to come down much sooner than with other games consoles also most games are available at super cheap prices on Ebay. Beware on Ebay when buying games people are offering DS Lite for sale with games but the games turn out to be SP games or GBA games no DS specific a cunning selling ploy to get more on their system they are selling.

            OVERALL

            I would advise anyone into gaming to try this out and would defianatly recommend a purchase but if you wait a few months you will probably find that for £99 you get games as well. The console is great fun for all ages however most games are cartoon based and not like the PSP for realism in graphics you dont really buy Nintendo consoles for graphics mind mainly for game play and thats what get's you hooked. The new features added for me put the Nintendo DS Lite at the top of the Handheld pile and is yet to be challenged.

            I do hope this helps you make a decision on whether to purchase one or not and if you have any further please add a comment and I will try to help.

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            • More +
              02.04.2007 18:55
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              Worth it for peace of mind

              I am sure we all know how much it can cost if we have to call a plumber out or if we have a problem with the central heating it can run into £1000's of pounds and can have serious health implications if left unchecked because you don't have the money. Well British Gas have solved this problem for me and I must say their Homecare cover is very good value for money and has more than paid for itself over the past two years. I have had problems with all three of the main things that run in the house, Central Heating, Plumbing and Electrics and for a monthly payment of £25.99 a month I don't have to worry about paying out for any work should these develop problems. Below I will explain my experience of the main problems I have had over those two years I will only use an example for each but have called them out on many occasions and they have made a yearly visit to us to do a service included in the cost on the central heating and boiler.

              Plumbing
              -------------

              The plumbing cover is for all leaks and blockages and includes all materials used to repair the problem. We had a problem where our downstairs toilet had become blocked, I had tried clearing it but the blockage we later found out was in the sewage pipe outside. After ringing British Gas to use my cover they sent someone out the same day but he was unable to locate the blockage so a camera was called out. It was found to be concrete debris god knows how it got down there but it was cleared at no cost and no excess to pay to me.
              I found out from the man who carried out the work that it would have cost me over £800 had I not had the cover PHEW.

              Electrics
              ------------

              After a first visit to check all your electrics are safe they will cover you for all your wiring and sockets in the house as well as the fuse box. I had a problem where my fuse box kept cutting out and after a call to British Gas they sent someone out the next day to check it over. It turned out that a socket had gone faulty and they simply replaced the socket for me not a hugely expensive job but then electricians are not cheap nowadays and this saved me about £200.

              Central Heating
              -----------------------

              They will also after an initial check cover your boiler and central heating system which includes na yearly service on your boiler vital for preventing problems and any build up of carbon monoxide which can be deadly. Last winter our radiators stopped working and we called British Gas to see if we were covered and yes we were, the following day someone came around and checked it all out identifying the problem in minutes and replacing the pump that runs the system. This work alone as well as call out would have cost us in excess of £300 and that's erring on the lower end of a call out.

              Appliances Cover
              -------------------------

              Our house insurance covers all occurrences when it comes to appliances so we did not add this to the policy but for about £15 a month you can also cover all of your appliances for parts and labour, this if you don't already have cover and have appliances over a year old can be invaluable and save you an absolute fortunes especially with things such as washing machines and fridges.

              Customer Service.
              --------------------------

              I must say that British Gas customer service when it comes to Homecare is great you are answered on the phone within a couple of minutes at the most and call outs are very quick and relatively trouble free. The cover is extensive and you will be surprised at just how much is covered within a policy with no clauses that I have come across so far. They do a regular yearly service on your boiler to ensure safe running which in itself would set you back a good few quid should you get someone in to do it. I general check of all the house is carried out if you take out the full policy as I have for Plumbing, Central Heating and Electrics and if it is found that any are faulty they will not cover until it is put right which is fair enough. He people that have attended the call outs have always been quick, reliable and polite always seeming to identify the problem very quickly and professionally.

              Website
              -----------

              The Homecare website is really good and shows you exactly what is covered on each policy using very handy and detailed diagrams, you also have a huge wealth of information to help diagnose possible problems yourself and advice on energy saving and DIY. All this information is very easy to use find and if you have any further questions you have a FAQ section and an email service for further advice. A full contact list is also available on the site should you need to book a call out and all call outs are free of charge with no excess to be paid even if all is found to be well. If you sign up you can also get £250 off the cost of a new boiler and it will be fitted and supplied by British Gas giving you that extra peace of mind knowing that they have supplied and are responsible for it's maintenance.

              Overall
              ----------

              Overall British Gas Homecare is a very cheap and reliable service which will save you a fortune in the long run not to mention extending the life of your boiler through servicing. I have had no problems at all with the service and would recommend it to anyone who is not covered and worries about house repair costs when it comes to the above utilities. Their customer service is surprisingly good considering some of the stories I have heard and call out times are super quick with each call being treated as very important. I hope this review has been informative and if you have any further questions please feel free to comment and I will get back to you.

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              • nspcc.org.uk / Internet Site / 25 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                01.04.2007 18:56
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                We Should All Do What We Can

                I would today like to write about a charity and it's website that is very close to my heart and one I donate on a monthly basis to the NSPCC (National Society Protection of Cruelty to Children). In today's society it seems that more and more children are living in poverty and this can lead to child abuse in it's many forms, I am aware that not all abused children come from poor backgrounds but I tend to see many of such cases are in the poorer and neglected areas of the country and amongst families suffering with unemployment and social deprivation.

                Putting this aside there are increasing numbers of children suffering at the hands of adults and the NSPCC does all it can with the public's help to help these children. I suffered various forms of abuse as a child as you will know from my previous bullying review this ranged from mental torture to physical abuse and I never felt that I had anywhere to turn now children have. Only a very small amount of the abuse is ever really reported and this is a very sad fact but with the power that adults have over their children and children in general many feel they have nowhere to turn.

                How Can You Help ?
                ---------------------------

                I give £5 a month and signed up for this online using the website where you can set up a monthly direct debit for whichever amount you can afford. Every penny helps and goes towards schemes and help lines designed specifically to help child most in need, help lines are listed on the NSPCC website these are free and offer advice for both children and people who suspect a child is being abused. But helping is not just limited to paying out each month if you really want to do more there are a number of ways in which you can help such as working in their charity shops, Fundraising and even volunteering to act as child support when a child has to appear in court and believe me this happens more than you would think.

                The NSPCC is also in the process or signing people up for the Big Bike Ride this is happening all over the country and you can do it on your own or with friends or join an already organized event, raising cash for the NSPCC is simple just get people to fill in the sponsorship forms and ride. I have signed up with my kid's to do a cycle around our local nature park the Blue Lagoon if you wish to sponsor me then just go on the site and buy a band or badge that will be more than enough you can choose the amount you wish to give. Another easy way to help is to buy a full stop badge or wrist band from the website these are sent out and all you have to do is give a donation it is suggested £1 a time but you can pay what you can afford when it comes to the checkout.

                Information
                ---------------

                The NSPCC offers lot's of information and resources on how to recognize possible abuse and the reporting process should you feel that a child is in danger. To many times you hear that social services have failed to protect a child that has died so if you suspect anything it is worth reporting it, if there is nothing to worry about this will be found out but on the other hand if you do nothing a child could be seriously in danger and most don't have the ability to report it or do anything about it themselves. In the information section you can also find all the phone numbers you will need or a child would need to help get advice and support and
                up to date information on fundraising events etc to help you keep up to date.

                Under 18's
                ---------------

                The under 18 years old part of the site is well laid out and easy to follow, here you can find all kinds of useful information, advice and phone numbers of organizations that may be able to help you. You can find help such as Childline and There4Me and many other resources for free help and advice. There are also sections offering advice on bullying and what constitutes abuse helping you to find out who can help best. REMEMBER that if you visit these sites on a shared computer you may want to delete your history files etc so nobody can see you have been looking especially if you are the one being abuse, steps to do this are explained on the website. There is also a great section on how to keep yourself safe in many different situations not just within the home but on the streets and in school.

                Shop and Give
                -------------------

                The Shop and Give section is a brilliant idea and well worth a visit many companies will give a donation to the NSPCC if you shop with them via the NSPCC website. This process is simple just click on the companies link through the NSPCC website and then buy as normal this will be registered and the said donation will be made to the NSPCC by the company you have used. Here are some of the companies currently signed up to the scheme : Debenhams 1% of your spend, BT Broadband £30 for you signing up, Hi Tek Shoes 50p for every sale, Amazon £2.50 when you buy a compilation kid's video, John Dickenson Stationary 10p per box of envelopes ordered, Swiftcover.com £1 for every policy taken out, Agudoo 50p for every sale of children's cutlery I do hope many more companies sign up to this scheme soon and if you are a business take a look. The NSPCC also has it's own gardening shop so check it out online.

                Recycling
                -------------

                We all have things we should recycle such as printer cartridges and mobile phones as well as IT equipment if you donate these to said companies on the site they will donate large amounts to the NSPCC and not only this but you will be helping to save the environment through recycling so two good deeds in one hit. The following companies are currently signed up and can be accessed via the NSPCC website : Reclaim IT, Office Green and Tier 1.

                Final Words
                -----------------

                So many times people take a look and do not act I am urging you to help even if it's only pennies or a little of your time please help to help those most at risk and with nobody to fight their corner. There are a huge list of celebrities who support the NSPCC which can be viewed on the website and the work they do is great but on it's own not enough it's the everyday people like me and you who can make the difference. The NSPCC helps in so many ways not just financially but with support and help for families and carrying their weight into government policies to help give better protection for vulnerable young people. I strongly believe in their causes as I am sure most of you will and I hope that I have made you think a little about how you may be able to help remember young people can't always defend themselves so lets give them a helping hand.

                Many thanks for taking the time to read my review!!!

                Comments

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                • Bullying in Schools / Discussion / 34 Readings / 32 Ratings
                  More +
                  01.04.2007 14:56
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)
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                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  Reasons and Answers Dont Excuse It!!!!

                  I am going to give a bully's view to bullying and yes I know I may get some stick from certain members but I was a bully in more ways than one whilst at school and it was only when I left school that I realized the damage I had caused. Firstly I feel it is important that you understand the up bringing I had from a young age as I believe this contributed to the way in which I turned out so please bear with me as I try and let you into my mind. Please read this entire review as it is important to see where I began and ended up to fully understand my purpose in writing this review. In two parts the first my home life the second the flip side whilst attending school.

                  The Life Of OlearyMas At Home
                  ----------------------------------------------
                  My life began on a sunny summer afternoon at a grubby South London Hospital in Lewisham on the 4th August 1977 born to a mother whom was 18 years old and already married and divorced and giving birth to her first successful pregnancy as two miscarriages had previously occurred. I was taken back to a run down South London Flat in Bellingham and that's where my life began to be shaped. My father had gone and was never on the seen and a series of men had entered and left my mothers life. At the age of 4 I was out playing in the streets unsupervised whilst mum entertained her various male friends and smoked pot all day, no care for what I was up to and learning and boy was I learning the fast way. In 1981 a little piece of stability entered my life in the form of Michael the man whose name I eventually took and along came my brother. I was given to my Grandparents whilst the whole birth process passed and given back when my mum decided that she was ready to have me back.

                  Through no fault of my brother I was suddenly bottom of the pile and the little attention I had received disappeared and I was left to my own devices entirely. Michael did his best to raise me as his own but at the age of 6 I was constantly witnessing him and mum fighting both as bad as each other and just before turning 7 I was asleep in bed when the Armed Police broke in and arrested my Step Father dragging him out at gunpoint. Mum had decided that him going to prison for a series of Armed robberies was a step to far for her and decided to start seeing other men whilst he was in Prison. Soon after a man by the name of Richard entered my mums life and one day at about 12pm in the afternoon I had the audacity to enter her bedroom because I wanted some lunch what a mistake. As I entered I was pounced on by him and he sat on top of me strangling me I passed out. I now understand they were in the middle of sex and I had upset him, my mum had done nothing to stop him and even told me I deserved it. For a few months afterwards I was subjected to regular beatings from both my mum and Richard on one occasion having my head fractured due to being hit so hard I hit a wall.

                  The Richard phase soon passed over my mum and I suddenly began to feel safe when he had gone but a series of men were to follow none of which wanted me about so again I was left to my own devices. At the age of 8 I was being left to look after my brother whilst mum went out at night with her fancy men and when she could be bothered we would have a child minder these were the times I dreaded the most. She used to have her friends over they must have been about 15 and used to play with me in way's that I was not happy with. I was constantly teased and even hit on occasions when I complained. When I mentioned these issues to my mum she just said I can't be with you all the time you know I need my space.

                  Then came mum's next semi stable man Noel who was a very strange man who not only liked men but women as well who was also not to bothered about the age if you get what I mean. He did try molesting me on one occasion inviting me into his bed. I was lucky I kicked off in a huge way and ran out many others are not so lucky. My way of dealing with this at the age of 8 was to set fire to his house whilst he and my mum were inside. They escaped after a neighbor noticed the smoke and called the Fire Brigade when I was eventually caught about 10 hours later I tried to explain to the Police why I had done it but they were not interested at all. Noel eventually went after about a year and a half only to be replaced by the worst of all Tony.

                  Me my brother and mum all moved to a house from our crappy block of flats in a much nicer area and I really thought my life would change but this is where it got much worse. I was bullied daily by my mums new and soon to be husband. Tony appeared at first to be the first decent man she had met but once he had his feet under the table, had moved in and married my mum he turned. As well as nightly beatings of my mum he would beat me to release his frustration and he would beat me like he was beating on a fully grown man. I found a solution eventually and that was to fight back. I would still come out really bad on one occasion having my nose broken but he would not do it as much knowing he would get a reaction from me. This did however bring out a much more nasty monster the psychological kind he would lie to my mother about things I had done and drive me of food when hungry, buy things like sweets etc and leave them in the cupboard for weeks until I ask for one when he would say their mine and eat them all in front of me. He would also promise to buy this that and the other then say I never said that and get me to jobs saying he would give me some pocket money and then give nothing at all.

                  On one occasion he took me out in the car to the and whilst walking around he said right you wait here which I did but two hours later he had not returned. I eventually found someone to help me and they took me home when I arrived he said he had lost me whilst out shopping and beat me for wandering off. I swear to you now I had not moved an inch as I was scared in a large shopping centre on my own. What was my mum's reaction to all of this her man just couldn't be lying could he. My mum I must add has always been insecure and needed a man about, she has also always even to this day been scared of growing old alone even if at the expense of her children. My brother luckily escaped most of the violence but still received the mental torture.

                  As I got older and more mature he slowed the bullying down but at the age of 14 he told me I had to leave the family home and my mum did nothing to stop him. That night I could find nowhere to sleep so in the car park where he parked his car I found a piece of old carpet and curled up to try and sleep, my mother walked past me to the local shop came back with bag's of food and didn't even acknowledge I was there so I slept for a very cold night on the streets. I was still attending school as this was a safe place for me and staying with friends when I could. One day I was so hungry I went to my mums when I knew he was out and asked for some food. Reluctantly my mum said I could have some stew. I was over the moon and sat down to eat but as I did he walked in giving looks that could kill. He sat opposite me and began to eat then looked up at me and said you are going to have to pay for that meal. I laughed thinking he was showing some humor but he said no I am serious that's £1.50. I threw it at him and ran out to spend another night on the streets.

                  Strange thing parents even though she had treated me like shit and never cared what happened to me I still looked after my mum when she hit trouble with Tony. I was 16 and semi sorted in my life about to join the Army, had passed most of my exams and felt the happiest I had in my whole life. Then when I went up to my old school where my mum now worked I noticed she was limping. On asking her what was wrong she said nothing I fell but my old primary school teacher told me no he has beaten her. I flared and went to see some friends for advice they were surprisingly calm and told me to not get involved I owed her nothing. For me this was not an option who was he to beat my mum to this extent and besides I had a score to settle. I waited in the car park outside their home on a wet raining night with a lump of wood at the ready. He pulled into the car park and got out of his car and was nice to me very weird. He asked what I was doing in the rain and I said this and began to beat him. It felt so good every blow I landed that wind being hit out of him, him begging for me to stop but there was no way. When the wood broke I began stabbing him with the sharp shard left in my hand and then I slipped back. I fell to the floor and my head cracked open. I got up and felt my head and noticed the blood gushing out of my head no way back now so I attacked again. He eventually made it back to the house and safety my mum closed the door hiding him inside.

                  I stood outside bleeding and fuming then he emerged at the door with a sledge hammer. I stood my ground and my mum got between him and the door he made out like he could not pass her what a load of rubbish he was shown up for the true coward he was and two weeks later my mum kicked him out whilst me and my friend looked on for her safety. After all was said and done I still loved my mum some may say bizarre but it's true. The Police did attend his house and he wanted to press charges my mum later told me that the Policeman had advised him not to press charges unless he wanted charges pressed against him for assaulting my mum for the first time in her life she had defended me. From there my life turned around I joined the Army for a year and then after a horribly failed relationship I met the most beautiful woman in the world an old fellow school pupil whom gave me my first slap for being a bully really strange how things turn lol. I am now happily married to Jenny and have five great kids and could not be happier. The next part will show the consequences of my life at home at school.

                  The Life Of OlearyMas At School
                  ------------------------------------------------
                  Elfrida Primary School was my first and I attended there until the age of 9 when we moved to our new house. I was a very quiet and subdued child and this was reflected in all my school reports. I was bullied on a regular basis because I was from a single parent family, my mum was a slapper, my mum cut my hair, my clothes were second hand (Yes They Were) and I suffered badly with face sores. I was both physically and verbally bullied on a daily basis on one occasion being shoved in the playground onto a bench and my knee split open. This combined with my home life made me feel worthless and I just submitted knowing that whoever I told they would not care, why should they my own mother didn't. When I reached the age of 9 I knew we were moving and I though good an end to the bullying but little was I to know how badly it would turn out.

                  Kelvin Grove Primary School was my new school and a place where I was hoping I would be able to change my life around. Moving house and mum seemingly meeting a nice man I thought things were going to be on the up for me from here on in but I was wrong in more ways than one and some very unexpected. My home life seemed good but the bullying began at school again same old story just in a different place. A small group of boy's one of whom was to become my best friend started to pick fun at me mild at first but then it got worse. Things were getting bad at home and at school so I made a subconscious decision to fight back I was doing so at home so why not do it at school. One day in the playground David the boy who became my best friend started on me but instead of standing down I stood up and bloodied his nose and eye this earned me enough respect for the bullying to cease. But then things took a massive turn I found I enjoyed the notoriety and thrived on it at last I had found something I was good at being a bully. I started on as many of the weaker kid's I could and eventually nobody tried to mess with me. This is when I met my current beautiful wife for the first time but not in a way you would expect. I was picking on her friend who was mixed race and using some quite frankly disgusting comments that I am deeply ashamed of now when Jenny came up and fought back for her friend. A big slap across the face and the failure of me to act earned her a great level of respect from me. The bullying however was getting worse and I was out of control and not being stopped in anyway nobody even adults would challenge me and I was fitting in with the in crowd.

                  Forest Hill Boys Secondary School was my first and only big school and I had a reputation to keep up when we started. This began by sticking with the crowd I knew from primary school and singling out the weakest members of each house group making their lives hell. Bullying the teachers also gained you tonnes of respect from fellow pupils and on one occasion we even cut the brake cables of a teachers bike dangerous and foolish I know but thank heaven nothing happened. I went through my whole life at the school bullying and getting into trouble and this continued at home and in the street where I spent most of my teenage years.
                  I used all kinds of bullying physical and mental using everything from appearance to sexuality as a tool.
                  Then life changing news hit me like a bulldozer a kid who I had bullied on a daily basis had tried to kill himself I was so horrified that I could have caused this I went to see him in hospital even explaining to his parents who I was and what I had done. They were surprisingly calm agreed to let me see him to say sorry, he was a real mess in hospital but we made our peace and I believe that boy's forgiveness helped turn me around. For the last year of schooling I left people alone kept to myself and got my head down completely shocking the school when I passed my exams. I had turned a corner in my life and was beginning to think about my future and the feelings of others. I had been a disgrace to human society but I was trying to make it right. I tried in the little time I had left to make my peace with all that I had terrorized and thankfully most excepted my sorrow and hopefully felt some level of peace themselves.

                  The Life Of OlearyMas At Work
                  -----------------------------------------------
                  After leaving the Army I had many jobs and only one can I say that I witnessed obvious workplace bullying at fortunately I was a Store Manager at the time so was able to deal with it swiftly and implement my own system of reporting being confidential and to me. I dealt with two main cases in my time and I like to think I used my experience of both being bullied and being a bully to help resolve these issues fairly. Where there is a bully there is always a reason behind their actions be it justified or not and understanding these helped to deal with any problems that arose. I was even bullied at work by an Area Manager who soon learnt that trying to abuse a position of authority or superiority was fatal to his career. Because he did not like my views on where to take the company and the fact I was getting positive feedback from higher management he attempted to bully me out of the company using methods such as setting impossible targets, reducing store bonuses and reporting anything he can find in the shop that was even slightly wrong without checking with me. He was sacked upon a company investigation when I produced a comprehensive diary of all his negative actions against me.

                  The Life Of OlearyMas Now

                  Now I am a very proud Father of five wonderful children and have a beautiful wife of 4 years whom is Jenny yes Jenny the girl who slapped me in the face all those years ago(Thanks FriendsReunited.com lol).
                  I have used all the experiences in my life to try and be the best father and step father I can and if anything my life experiences in the past however nasty have really shaped the person I am today. I am fortunate enough to have learnt from the huge mistakes of myself and others through my life and used these experiences to shape my life to come. I was once a victim, bully and then resolver but all of these experiences have taught me that behind every action there is a history and a future consequence that should be considered where possible and we all learn as we grow right the way through our lives till we die it's what we do with these lessons that counts.

                  I thank you for taking the time to read this review and hope it has given you and insight into my life and that of someone who has been through the full circle of bullying. I hope that you understand where I am coming from with this review and should you wish to know anything further please leave your comment either in the review or should you wish to speak privately send me a message and I will get back to you.

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                  • More +
                    01.04.2007 12:01
                    Very helpful
                    (Rating)
                    3 Comments

                    Advantages

                    • "Ease of use"
                    • "Ease of use"

                    Disadvantages

                    You can't really go wrong with Sony

                    With five kid's in our house there are always fun and games going on, yes it can be very hectic but hey that's the joy of having children. When you have children there are always those special moments that you want to last forever first steps, first words, first bike ride and many more and the best way I have found to record these memories is with my trusty camcorder the Sony DCR SR52E. It wasn't an easy choice with so many available but for the price and the features available on it my decision was made very easy. The best thing I liked about it was the Hard Drive at 30 GB held up to 20 hours of filming and was very easily transferred to the PC for playing and editing.

                    Other great features are the ability to take photos whilst filming and even inserting a Duo Stick for memory and storing your still images separately. I am no technical genius but what I can tell you is that this camera gives a great quality picture and is very easy to operate, there is a LCD screen which is 2.7" and is touch screen so you can control all the settings easily on the one screen. When I fully charge the integrated battery I tend to get about 6 hours of filming time and its easily charged by placing in it's cradle which was supplied when I purchased it for £359.99 from Jessops. Record and stop selection is easily operated from the LCD screen menu but be warned to learn all the functions will take days of reading the very extensive manuals supplied with the camera.

                    Another feature I find great is the ability to view back 10 screens at a time which is brilliant for accessing the best possible clips and you can even add cut scenes via the on board controls to make editing easier when you transfer onto your home PC which is done simply by using the cable supplied with the unit. Also included in the package was a brilliant and handy carry bag with loads of storage pockets and a great protective cover for the camera. Below are the features that are important in helping to compare different cameras.

                    Features
                    -----------
                    Up to 20hrs 50 min recording with built-in 30 GB Hard Disk Drive

                    1 Megapixel Advanced HAD CCD

                    Up to 8 hours 45 minutes

                    Handycam Station

                    Hard Disk Drive Smart Protection system with 3G sensor and memory

                    25x Optical Zoom / 2000x Digital Zoom

                    2.7" Wide, Hybrid LCD screen with touch panel

                    Easy-to-use Home menu and Guide function

                    Easy back up to PC with synchronization

                    One Touch Disc Burn button on Handycam Station

                    Super SteadyShot

                    Super NightShot Plus Easy Handycam function for easy, automatic shooting

                    Memory Stick DUO slot for still image recording 2nd Start / Stop

                    REC and zoom button on LCD frame

                    Hi-speed USB 2.0

                    10 Scene Selection

                    Battery

                    PictBridge compatible for easy printing

                    This camcorder has absolutely hundreds of features and I am still even now learning exactly what they all do but when away in Malta not long ago it really got a good work out, even when walking around and trekking through hillsides I found the picture stayed really steady and believe me we were up and down over some really rough terrain. The night time function and lack of camera light were a bit of a let down and even though it does incorporate a night time shooting mode it's not great and tends to over compensate for dark patches in the shots. There is a 25x Zoom built in and it's very easy to operate again from the LCD touch screen menu which is also where you can manage all your recordings. I used the zoom function a lot when on the ferry over to Gozo to check out and film the beautiful Comino Islands which were beautiful and on playback you would have thought I was on the Island not on a ferry passing by.

                    The handycam station supplied is very good it acts as a charging unit as well as uploading port, picture printing port to bridge over to a printer for still photo prints as well as these you can also burn the recordings straight onto a CD through a DVD recording port or your PC or Laptop. I am by no means an expert cameraman but I find it very easy to operate and very functional, but the instruction manual will scare off a lot of people who get scared by gadgets with hundreds of different settings. I must say I probably don't maximize the full use of this camcorder's abilities due to ignorance and a failure to go through the entire manual.

                    Overall opinion
                    --------------------

                    I personally hold this camera in the highest regard when it comes to the many gadgets I have around the house and it has provided us with so many memories all saved on disc in boxes memories that are perfectly recorded for future reference. It was a very reasonable price and has top end features however if I was to mention a negative point it would have to be the lack of a night light for filming in the dark. The sound recording is crystal clear and has a long range pick up and picture both video and still are brilliant and sharp. I would defiantly recommend anyone thinking about purchasing this camera to do so as long as night time filming is not on the agenda. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and I hope it has been informative.

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                    • Lexmark P 4350 / All in one Printer / 26 Readings / 25 Ratings
                      More +
                      31.03.2007 20:51
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)
                      1 Comment

                      Advantages

                      Disadvantages

                      AWSOME

                      Last night whilst trying to print out documents on behalf of my brother (Claiming his bank charges back for him now see previous review for advice) my Lexmark printer gave up the ghost and just refused to print. I had bought it from Argos about 8 months ago so decided to dig out the receipt and take it back for a refund. I was happily surprised when Argos agreed and told me to choose another printer that's when I noticed the Lexmark P4350 all in one color printer. So needing to only put £10 towards it I snapped it up at a bargain price of £49.99 most retail it around the £100 mark at the moment.

                      SETTING UP
                      ------------------

                      When I got home I decided to give the football on telly a miss(Lucky didn't miss much lol) and set up my new printer and oh how easy it was. After taking it out of the box and clipping on the front display it was ready to go. As usual you are not supplied with a USB printer cable but this is the case whichever printer brand you buy. I saved the one from my old printer so this was not an issue or extra expense. After this was complete I loaded the ink cartridges very easy just slide in to socket and they auto lock in not only this but upon booting up I discovered they had supplied full cartridges normally you only get a small sample cartridge. Once I had assembled and plugged in the printer I loaded the driver disk and within two minutes my new printer was ready for action.

                      INSTRUCTIONS
                      ----------------------
                      Along with the printer comes a very comprehensive book that covers all functions available on the P4350 and is a very easy to follow with a good clear contents guide. There is also online help available should you choose to registar your product something you really should do if only to validate the years warrenty. There is one foldable sheet for setting the printer up which again is very straight forward and not really even needed it is so simple to setup.

                      EFFECTIVENESS
                      ------------------------

                      I had some online court documents to scan and then print out so the all in one was going to get a complete run through and what a nice surprise when I started the very nice LCD screen displayed my documents on a preview and allowed me to adjust using the control panel on the printer as opposed to on the Computer. Although slower at printing than my last printer I must say the P4350 was of top quality when it came to the print result. Beautifully clear and precise and very straight forward to set to your desired effect.

                      You do have to change the setting via a selection switch on the control panel from color or black but this is an ink saving invention to save color being used in anyway with normal documents or documents you don't need to see the color in such as web shots. Scanning is very quick and accurate and again you can adjust the document scan to which ever size or layout you desire through either the computer or control panel on the printer. As for coping this is much the same as scanning the document is displayed on the LCD screen and you can see the image before choosing to scan to computer or memory card.

                      Photo printing is great quality and one of the most clear and most detailed I have ever used. Again the photo you are scanning is displayed on the LCD and can be adjusted on either the control panel or computer. A great addition with the P4350 is the memory card reader that allows you to use this printer for photo printing without the need for a PC all the available card slots will be listed in the Specification section below. There is a fax built in but I must confess I never use this so could not advise on its effectiveness other than to say it works and the fax will be of the same quality as the images you can get on the printer quality at the recipients end can not be guaranteed as that depends on the printer it is being sent to.

                      The control panel is absolutely beautiful to look at looks like a very flash piece of equipment all lit up and soft touch buttons. You can control everything regarding your print from the control panel including Zooming in or out, number of copies, mode selection, brightness etc etc. The LCD screen is small but more than suitable for its purpose again see Specifications for size below. The usual paper guides and complete tray are effective and the auto lock feature when you open up the printer is a nice touch saves that awful slamming when you don't quite get it on the catch right.

                      SPECIFACATIONS

                      Below is a list of the specifications with this printer for any further specs please check out Lexmark's website.

                      100 sheet paper tray.
                      Up to 15ppm color, 22ppm mono print speed.
                      Up to 4800 x 1200dpi print resolution.

                      Memory Slots
                      -------------------
                      Card slots for: Compact Flash types I and II, Microdrive, MMC, SD, MS, MS Duo and MS Duo Pro (with adaptor), SM and XD.
                      PictBridge support.

                      Prints A4, 4 x 6in, 10 x 5cm, 5 x 7in and A6 photos.
                      Prints 6 x 4in/10 x 15cm photos in 38 secs.
                      Prints borderless photos.
                      1.8in LCD color display for photo editing and printing.

                      Flatbed Scanner:
                      -----------------------
                      1200 x 2400 dpi optical resolution.
                      48 bit depth.

                      Copier:
                      ----------
                      Up to 18 ppm mono and 11ppm color copy speed.
                      Enlarge and reduce facility.
                      Enlarge up to 400%.
                      PC free copying.

                      Software
                      ------------
                      Lexmark Imaging Studio, Lexmark Photo Editor, Lexmark All-in-One Centre, Lexmark Solution Centre, OCR and Fax software.

                      USB 2.0 compatible.

                      Required PC Specs
                      ---------------------------
                      Windows:
                      98/ME: Pentium II 233MHz, 128Mb RAM, 500Mb HD space.
                      2000: Pentium II 233MHz, 128Mb RAM, 500Mb HD space, 286Mb virtual memory.
                      XP: Pentium II 300MHz, 128Mb RAM, 500Mb HD space, 300Mb virtual memory.

                      Required Mac Specs
                      -----------------------------
                      Mac OS X 10.2.3 to 10.2.8, 10.3.0 thru 10.3.x: G3 400MHz, 128Mb RAM, 300Mb HD space.

                      PRICE
                      ---------

                      I picked this up at a bargain price and should you be looking for one and I have convinced you this is a top quality printer then get to Argos while they are only £49.99 and you can even get half price photo paper with it at the moment. You also get a pack of small photo paper free inside the box. These I am sure will go quick so if it helps use the reserve service on Argos online to ensure you get one. These specs are top quality for such a low price.

                      OVERALL
                      --------------

                      A fantastic printer at a fantastic price this Lexmark is the best so far and with all the features available on it you really can't go far wrong. I am still testing it out for durability etc (Sure the kids will help me lol) so will add to this review should I come across any problems in the next few days however I must say on past experience I am not expecting any. Thanks for taking the time to read my review and I hope it has been informative and helps you make a decision.

                      Barry

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                      • More +
                        31.03.2007 20:13
                        Very helpful
                        (Rating)
                        9 Comments

                        Advantages

                        Disadvantages

                        All round great performer

                        The London Underground well I consider myself a bit of an expert on the system having worked there as a Control Room Operative based at Euston Station. Below I will give my experiences of the Underground from every angle I can think of and I hope this does not bore you to much lol.

                        HISTORY OF THE UNDERGROUND
                        --------------------------------------------------
                        This seems like a good point to start the review so you have a general understanding of how the Underground system came about and how much more advanced it is today compared to when it first opened.

                        The first Underground system was built way back in 1859 and was the first of it's kind in the world. The first system was set up in London. The first two lines to run were the Metropolitan and Metropolitan District then between 1859 and 1990 13 lines were opened opening the system up to cover most of the surrounding areas of London. The very latest line to open was the Jubilee Line.

                        There were many other smaller branch lines that were used but have since been de commissioned and there are load's of disused station which if you keep your eye's out the window when traveling you may just see yourself whizzing through.
                        Having the great advantage of working on the system I was lucky enough to visit the old and disused Stations hidden behind closed doors in many of the big stations the spookiest of which I found to be Euston.

                        Behind the Northern Line platform is a little door and opens up like a spooky Alice in Wonderland story. As you enter you see all the old posters from the 1940s still intact on the wall's. The damp wet smell can be quite overpowering but you get used to it and the rat's after a while. Passing the old ticket house you can just see everyone piling through and trying to get their tickets before they miss the train.(At one stage I am sure I did actually see someone).

                        Ghost stories are rife amongst the staff and many many reports have been made regarding a tall gentleman in a long tall hat walking up and down the corridors not one I have seen but scares the hell out of you whilst down there. A Ghost Hunters paradise.

                        If you are fortunate enough to know someone that work's on the system ask them to arrange a tour with them they may just be able to sort it out but be aware that this is not normally aloud however some Station Managers will allow it provided all the relevant paperwork is completed it is a real experience especially those interested in history.

                        The Underground stations especially deep lying stations(Those tunneled the deepest down)were used as safe places during the war and many people slept down there during the night bombings as well as my Nan who was a regular visitor at nights.
                        Although it was a known place to go for safety not many bed's were available and toilet facilities were nearly none existent so you just made do. My Nan tells me stories and say's just how close everyone was in the stations singing songs and all feeding each other sounded great in a have to make do kind of a way nothing like nowadays.

                        Bad history
                        ----------------
                        One of the worst pre the London Bombings is the Fire at King's Cross which killed 27 people and was started by a simple cigarette butt being dropped under a wooden escalator in 1987 the fire began at 1930 and had it been earlier would have claimed many more lives. This prompted the Underground stations to be seriously revamped and all wooden escalators to be removed as well as a no smoking policy being introduced.

                        Another was the horrific Tube crash at Moorgate in 1975 which claimed the lives of 43 people there has to this day been no cause found for the crash. The train over ran the platform crashing into the tunnel wall at 30 mph. It took twelve hours to clear the site of injured and dead as most of the station was left in complete darkness.

                        One we all know is the horrible London Bombings on 7th July 2005 when four bombers killed themselves by detonating home made devices on three trains and a bus killing 52 people and injuring a huge 770 people many losing limbs. At first it was thought the explosions were Power stations causing power surges but the horrific truth soon came to light.

                        THE CURRENT SYSTEM
                        -----------------------------------
                        Today the Underground is still one of the largest systems in the world with more stations than anywhere else. 275 Stations serve 13 Lines which are Bakerloo, Victoria, Northern, DLR, Circle, Hammersmith and City, Central, Piccadilly, Jubilee, District, East London, Waterloo and City and Metropolitan Lines and covers a total of 253 miles of railway. Most stations have more than one line running through them making it very easy to change lines and get to your end destination quickly and with little fuss.

                        Every Station is staffed and there are approx 12000 staff employed to help keep the system running smoothly and securely. The Underground reports to have 3 Million passengers every day but I would personally estimate much more than this having seen the sheer volume of people that passed me every hour whilst I was working there.

                        The staff are trained as I was to a very high standard with week's of training pre employment and ongoing training almost on a weekly basis. The staff are treated very well despite what you read and the salaries are good in fact very good shame I had to leave.

                        MAP
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                        The Underground Map is probably one of the most famous in the world created way back in 1933 by an Underground Employee Harry Beck and it has not changed much since his original design some 74 years ago. It was a stroke of genius and started the Underground staff reward system which is a great benefit should an idea of your's be implemented.

                        The map is now available to download from the London Underground Website or can be picked up at any Station, It is also available in large size for those who are visually impaired and in many different languages for travelers however it is very easy to read and color co-ordinated.

                        There are also many helpline phones numbers contained on the map for help whilst traveling on the system as well as a large print map on nearly every platform around the system.
                        All map's supplied are free of charge and also included in most tourist book's for London.

                        TICKETING
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                        London Underground has two types of ticketing both of which are very easy and very easy to use.

                        Oyster Card
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                        The Oyster Card is designed mainly for those who use the system on a very regular basis it can be scanned at either the kiosk or ticket machines and then the relevant amount of credit placed on it.

                        This is a touch sensitive ticket so just approach the barrier and touch your card on the circular Oyster logo and the gates will open providing you have enough money on your card.
                        The system will automatically deduct your fare from the card upon leaving at your destination. The card can also be kept
                        and re used just top it up and away you go again. They can be topped up at any station and newsagents as well as at the manual machines.

                        All form's of Travel Card can be bought and placed on the card it just expires when the date is up.
                        This invention was a god send for staff on the gate line who used to have to use a key to let people through when their passes didn't work but with the Oyster you just touch the pad and let the passenger through.

                        Paper Tickets
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                        You can still purchase the old fashioned paper ticket which you just slide into the slot at the front of the gate and it appears on top and allows you access should your ticket be valid. The machines are very easy to use as they work on a zonal charge basis so your station will be within a designated zone and your destination station in another and you pay for the zones you travel through. You can also just select the station you are going to and it will automatically charge the correct fare.

                        Travel Cards are a great way to get about London for the day as they cover Trains, Buses and Tube trains and provided you get an all zone Travel Card you can travel anywhere in London you like.
                        These can be a cheap and easy way to travel around however if you are only doing one or two journeys this may not be the cheapest ticket, always check with the ticket office if your not sure as they are there to help.

                        STAFF
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                        The staff on the whole are really good well trained and helpful however bear in mind that they do have to deal with some very nasty people and may not always be in the best of mood's as I am sure we are all not sometimes. Working with the public on such a large scale can be very stressful and especially at the very busy times of day.

                        Staff will always help you with information on both traveling and local thing's to see as well as direction's we are very well trained and after telling people where thing's are a couple of hundred times a day usual can help with anything. Staff are put through vigorous training and have to be licensed to carry out their duties so you can rest in the knowledge that should an emergency occur there will be someone on hand that knows what they are doing and can help. Staff also act as Security for the station and deal with not only passengers but some of the very worst of society I personally was attacked with a dirty syringe whilst on duty. Although staff are very well trained obviously things like the London Bombing's just can't really be deterred so they really on the public as well as CCTV and Control room staff for help in keeping the system safe and hopefully nothing like that terrible day will ever happen again.

                        PROBLEMS
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                        Heat

                        The heat is a main problem with London Underground as constantly when the weather get's hot which seems to be more and more regular in the past few years people are taken ill and in some cases have died. The system as such has no ventilation or air conditioning that is effective at bringing the temperature on the system down being underground and especially during rush hours it gets very very hot and can cause some major problems. People are fainting on trains all the time during the hot weather and this has knock on effects as other trains have to wait in tunnels whilst the first incident is dealt with, however by the time the next train comes through someone else has gone down. The most common cause for this is a mixture of the heat and lack of food and drink before leaving home so many times the answer to have you eaten this morning is no.

                        Begging

                        The system having so many people flowing through it is prone to beggars who sometimes can be very aggressive with it and in some extreme cases children are used to help the person beg(this I find the worst).
                        As staff we always did and I am sure they still do our best to clear out beggars and stop the harassment as it can be very intimidating for some passengers and is not short of robbery.
                        You tend to find that most of those begging are drug dependant and this causes more problems with used needles etc being found on the stations on a daily basis, staff do their best to clean them up upon discovery but always appreciate having it reported should you discover one.

                        Delays

                        There are unfortunately many reasons why the system can be shut down from the extreme such as the London Bombings to a train breaking down in a tunnel. The reason something like a train breaking down causes so much trouble is that it blocks the line and unless the line has a slip then you just have to wait until the train can be shunted out the way. The system however is great compared to other forms of public transport and with trains running on average every 2-5 minutes your never waiting long for the next one.
                        You can always make life easier for yourself as all planned work that needs doing and any line closures that are planned are always displayed on boards at the ticket office well worth a check when there.

                        Disabled Facilities

                        Not all stations have disabled access though they are working on this and hope to have all the system updated eventually, staff are however always there to help in any way that they can providing it is safe to do so.

                        Comfort

                        Trains are always very crowded during rush hours and are not the most comfortable ride in the world, they have been improved over the years but without losing a lot of the space for passengers there is not really much that can be done with the limited space, increasing the size of trains or length would put a strain on the system and create major safety issues as well as increasing waiting times.

                        FUTURE PLANS
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                        There are many future plans including Refurbishment of Stations, Mobile Phone Receivers, Kings Cross and St Pancreas redevelopment and probably the biggest project of all is the re development of Wimble Park ready for the opening of the New Wimble Stadium and the Olympics in 2012.


                        WEBSITE
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                        The London Underground has a great website that can be found at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tube/ the site is very easy to navigate and you can find out anything you want to know that you have not learned from this review. Online and printable Map's are available to download as well as the latest travel new's and planned works being carried out on the system. There are also links to be able to purchase your tickets in advance and have them delivered to you.

                        A great feature is also a route planner which will give you times and changes needed to complete your journey on the Underground. Then you have a link to be able to purchase the ticket needed and price you will have to pay. I however always enjoyed using the map however it became imprinted in my head after working for the London Underground for 5 years lol. You can also check the latest job's available on the London Underground.

                        JOBS
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                        There are many different job's you can do on the Underground and the beauty of working for them is they will train you up to be whatever you want within the system. You can go in at entry level as a Station Assistant and various permutations of it and a Train driver however progression is very easy provided you have the dedication required and it has been known for people to become Station managers within a year.

                        The Pay is quite simply great when I started as a Station Assistant my salary for 38 hours a week was £18500 a year and when in the Control Room after being employed for a year I was on £25000 a year.
                        The training is top drawer and no stone is left unturned in getting you up to speed and ready for your new career I am only sad that I had to move out of London otherwise I am sure it would have been my job for life.

                        SUMMARY
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                        The London underground system is probably one of the best if not the best in the world from the reliability to the staff it oozes professionalism and service and can only go from strength to strength. There are a few issues that need to be worked out such as those I have listed above but overall I can't knock a system that is 148 years old and still running strong and improving all the time.

                        I do hope I have covered any queries you may have about the London Underground system and supplied you with some interesting and helpful information however if you have any further questions please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

                        Please note you will find my reviews on another review site under my other O'leary name it is all my own work.

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