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Petrolheadguru

Petrolheadguru
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Member since: 16.06.2010

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    • Mazda RX8 / Car / 23 Readings / 22 Ratings
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      21.08.2010 11:25
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      Great car loads of fun and won't break the bank to own either

      I have owned many Japanese sports cars over the years and when the chance of an RX8 came my way I dived in feet first and bought it without even taking a test drive.

      Mine is an 06 model RX8- 192 with 40K on the clock and is in superb condition only having had one owner from new.This is the 5 speed 192 BHP model and has premium two tone leather red/black (£1600 option new) very smart looking with velocity red bodywork.It has a golden mica sheen that only appears in bright sunlight,otherwise it looks non metallic red on a cloudy day,very unusual but beautiful looking as it suddenly comes "alive" like magic when the sun shines.
      It has a premium sound system by Bose,CD,radio,other comforts include heated seats that are electrically adjustable,airconditioning and for the ladies the all important vanity mirror and built in light.Not too be used while driving of course!

      Safety features include a traction and stability control system (it can be switched off if you are feeling brave or stupid!), airbags for front and rear passangers all round,it scores so well that the insurance group is a mere 14/15 for the RX8 depending on the model and power rating.There is a 231 BHP model with 6 speed transmission,you can get automatic versions too.Another reason for the low insurance group is the small 1300 rotary engine (equivalent to a 2600 piston engine),don't be fooled into thinking this tiny engine can't be capable of much,its amazing.Road tax just £235,low for this class of car.
      To get the best from an RX8 is effortless,over 4000 rpm it comes alive,good roar from the exhaust and a constant thrust of power is delivered upto the redline at around 7000rpm.The engine sounds are remarkable,a soft whirring noise like a washing machine,never intrusive,super smooth and quiet.The speedo is a digital number readout and you have to glance down and check your speed as it is so easy to shoot well over the speed limit without trying.These are quick cars and handling is pin sharp having a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and rear wheel drive like a proper sports car should have.

      Cornering is flat and direct,no understeer,just a little tail happy having a tendancy to oversteer if pushing too hard but very easy to control with no nasty suprises even in the wet.Those 18 inch alloys and Bridgestone Potenza tyres hold the car down on the road like no other 4 door coupe I have ever driven,its as good as a Lotus Elise!
      The clever design fools you into thinking its just a 2 door,but open the drivers door and you will find a black handle on the inside of the rear door and hay presto it opens up the opposite way as it is hinged at the rear C pillar.This small rear door opens to reveal a generous back seat area for two and big enough for adults too,unless your 6ft plus.This is a very safe arrangement for kids as they can only get out when the front passengers get out first and open the front doors.No climbing over from seat to seat in the back,strictly a snug 2+2 arrangement here.

      There is a generous boot and a clever ski hatch,just open up the compartment in the middle on the inside and they slide in on top of the transmission tunnel through a hole in the back of the boot,great idea! No spare wheel,just a kit for temporary repair of your flat,never used one of these but seems a good idea.
      Open the bonnet and there is a series of large plastic covers "Renesis" cover hides the disappointing looking tiny 1300 rotary engine that sits almost under the dash,hence the light weight of the RX8 and pefect 50/50 weight distribution.It may look like a washing machine motor and sound like one but driving it is a thrill.Front left cover hides the battery,plenty of space under the bonnet so its all easy to work on.To the right is the oil dipstick,bright yellow and easy to spot but only if you remove the Renesis cover,not a difficult job but a bit inconvenient if you are in a hurry on the petrol station forcourt.

      IMPORTANT-Rotary engines are ultra reliable if you look after them properly.The unit uses a little squirt of oil to lubricate seals and prevent premature wear of the turbine blade tips.There is a series of 100ml indicators on the dipstick so its simple,just top it up every third fill up at the petrol station.I have no problem with this and it only uses about 10ml every 500 miles or so.MPG is mid 20's for my car,I guess the RX8-192 has a lower state of tune and is more economical than its big brother but the performance is great,0-60 sub 7 secs and will probably go on to around 140 mph so no big difference in the real world of driving.The best part of this car is the handling,as good as any mid engined 2 seat car.Mazda should try making a super hot version,Twin turbo with 300 BHP would be great,the chassis can easily manage,remember the last RX7.
      In conlusion,RX8 is a seriously good car to drive and excellent value for money.They are good looking,practical car for this class of 2+2 with more room than most.Fuel economy is reasonable,maintenance is not a big issue with 12500 mile service intervals,no cambelt to worry about,no head gaskets to blow up,very few moving parts and Mazda reliability make this a no brainer,just buy one and see for yourself.Alloys do have a tendancy to corrode too easily,mine are ok but some of the cars a year or two older seemed quite bad with bubbling paint,thats the only negative I can think of.If you are buying secondhand then make sure it has a good Mazda service record and there should be no problem.If it has had too many owners just be careful,like any used car there is always a good reason for selling it so get it tested if you do not know what youre doing.

      Thanks for reading my review and hope you will find it useful so please remember to rate it for me.I have more reviews on Dooyoo and Ciao website too,thanks for looking

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    • Warhammer 40 000 / Archive Game / 36 Readings / 33 Ratings
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      06.07.2010 19:50
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      A great way to waste time!

      Warhammer 40,000 game of strategy

      I was first made aware of this table top strategy game by my young boys about 10 years ago, back when our eldest was 12 years old. I was intrigued that they were into playing toy soldiers but it was much more than that and quite unlike what I imagined. Suitable for ages 12 upwards to adult, it is a time consuming hobby and not just a game between like minded friends.
      The story revolves around the 41st millennium in the dark distant future where mankind has a vast crumbling Intergalactic Empire he is desperately trying to defend from marauding Aliens and traitors who have turned against the God Emperor. All very heavy going I am sure but once you see them play the game properly it is interesting.

      First of all I was rather horrified at the cost of the models, they were spending their pocket money so its totally up to them what they waste it on. A box of 12 plastic figures each measuring just 5cm high would cost around £10 - £12.The figures are very highly detailed with separate chest, legs, arms, heads and weapons so that the modeller can glue his soldiers in different fighting poses. A far cry from the boxes of one piece plastic Airfix soldiers I used to buy as a child for £1 for 20 or more, these really do have minute realistic detail in the faces, bodies and weapons. The tanks too, if built well have moving turrets and weapons. Yu can see the rivets in the armour and a clever modeller will using a craft knife simulate small bullet holes and minor battle damage to make it unique.
      There are a range of different armies to collect in the 40K game, you pick you favourite army and build up a collection based on a points system. Each unit, tank, figure has a points value, the higher its value the more effective it is in combat. It may be a heavily armoured tank ,a foot soldier or a special character with superhuman or even magic power. The point system works well so that armies of different types or ability can fight each other on a point by point basis fairly, for example 750 points for each side. A tank maybe 180 points, a normal soldier 5 points and a special character, leader about 200 points. You need a Command squad or HQ, consisting of a battle commander and his bodyguard ,then a fast attack ,a heavy support, elite troops and some ordinary foot soldiers.

      Each army has a Codex, a guide book that describes each unit in detail and its points value. There is also a main rules book that applies to all 40K game players and has to be followed rigidly, no exceptions! The rules are long winded and can take a long time to learn properly but any arguments can be resolved easily referring back to the rule book.
      Half the fun is constructing the figures and tanks that are purchased in kit form from the Games Workshop, most are plastic and a few of the special characters are metal (a soft easy cast metal similar to lead but it's a harmless white metal alloy).Paints are supplied exclusively from the Games Workshop costing £2 per pot, so that using the codex colour charts you can paint your army in the correct colours. Some of the professional painters are fantastic, very skilful producing realistic, lifelike models that would impress the most sceptical of us.

      My eldest boys have moved on from the game but my youngest who is just 9 has been loving it for the last year or more, luckily he inherited many figures and tanks from his brothers to start him off.
      He is collecting Imperial Guard at the moment and for his birthday wanted an Executioner tank,£30,a Demolisher tank £30 and some troops to add to his growing army. This is an expensive hobby if you are buying all new and very time consuming as it does take a few hours to construct something like a tank. He is only 9 and manages to do a great job with a little help from me, but he is a little old man and not every 8 or 9 year old would be interested as it does require concentration and patience to put the things together.
      When you have your two armies, either end of the dinning table works for us, you throw the dice to see who goes first, highest wins.

      Phase 1
      Moving ,foot soldiers and tanks move up to 6 inches, fast attack units up to 12 inches. This is a simplification of the basics as there are certain units allowed to move further or slowed down by rough terrain.

      Phase 2
      Shooting! Figures if in range of the enemy take a shot based on clear line of sight, you may have scenery set up such as buildings or bushes that may be in the way. You throw a dice to hit, each unit has a ballistic skill, lower the number the better so if you match or exceed the ballistic skill number you score a hit. Now look at the number of hits and roll to wound. The enemy may be heavily armoured and your weapons strength is matched against the toughness of the enemy using a wound chart. If you have scored wounds against an enemy he has a chance to roll a "save". If the save throw fails then the casualties are removed. This is a simplification of the rules but gives you an idea of how it works.

      Phase 3
      Assault! The troops within 1 inch of each other go into close combat and are locked in battle until one side or the other is defeated or forced to retreat. Some special characters get multiple attacks, one superhuman character could beat an entire squad but he will cost lots of points, get the idea?
      Other units can not fire on the enemy if they are locked in assault with one of your own squads,this is fair as you would not want to shoot your own men by mistake! This again is a simplification of the rules to give you an idea of the way its played.

      When your turn is over, the enemy repeats phase 1,2 and 3.You may decide at the start to limit the number of turns each to say five or six, alternatively you may set a time limit.
      Styles of play range from annihilation of the enemy, take and hold where you defend a position for an agreed number of turns to win. The rule book is full of ideas to keep it interesting, no two games are quite the same!

      The table top 40K game has in recent years found its way onto our computer, PC and game console games are available where you can play against the computer or over the internet. These are also very good but I recommend those who only know 40K as a computer game to try the real thing!
      We have even visited Warhammer World in Nottingham to play games, great to find that the products are designed and made in the UK. It is quite well known in the western world and there are international competitions for playing and painting the best figures. Most local Games Workshop stores allow youngsters to go and play (they now have to be over 12 years old so my son is broken hearted, thanks Gordon Brown!),the kids can also sit and paint figures. We used to go and play on a Wednesday night after school, father and sons night but unfortunately the child has to be 12+ to play as of the start of 2010.

      This review is a taste of what it is like to play the 40K game, it is very complex and requires a great deal of patience so not for everyone.

      I hope this review was helpful and thanks for rating it.much appreciated.I have other reviews on Dooyoo and Ciao website too,thanks for looking

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      • BT Studio 3500 Single / Telephone / 23 Readings / 23 Ratings
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        29.06.2010 18:47
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        A no nonsense phone & answer machine great value too

        Our old landline BT phone needed updating and we wanted something stylish easy to use and not cost a fortune.We bought ours about 2 years ago and I have to say its a neat little package for people who just want a phone and nothing more.At Just under £30 it was a good buy for us.

        It is smart in silver and has grey numbers,cordless handset and base is the charger/answer machin.The instructions are easy to follow just plug in the power adaptor and telephone cable into the base, pop in the batteries in the handset and put it on to the base to charge.This takes 24 hours so you will still need your old phone to start with.When fully charged plug the phone line into main socket.

        Its now ready to make and receive calls,simple.The answer machine is also ready,there is an off button and it will speak "Answer off",very clever.You set the time and day on the answer machine using the handset,this is childs play.

        It features a secrecy button you can press so caller can not hear you,It has a redial/pause,and menu button.You scroll up and down through menu options using volume up and down,straight forward really.

        It has a talk end button and phone book button where you can store 50 names and numbers,neat.There is a keypad lock to prevent accidental use of keypad,an INT button for internal calls to other similar handsets you may set up around the house.We only have the one main phone so no need for another handset,but if you have more than one handset you can use this to transfer calls too if desired.
        Finally power on/off.

        Listening to answer machine messages just hit the big "play" button on the base,there is a skip forward/back ,a delete messages button and stop button to switch it off from answer machine mode.The "OGM" button is for recording your own out going message so this will be heard by callers.You can set to answer and record or answer only,your choice.You even have a record memo option,say if youre leaving the house and want to leave a message to the wife,you can record it on the phone,quite useful at times if you are in a hurry and are driving unable to call home using your mobile.

        It has a call screen option too,useful if you get troubled by canvassers and the like wanting to sell you double glazing or a new kitchen.

        We found it simple to set up and easy to use,not too technical.The handset has a good range around the house and even outside in the garden.It may be too limited for some but suits us fine as sometimes a phone just has to be that,a phone and nothing more.

        I hope you found this review useful and thanks for rating it for me.I have other reviews on DooYoo and Ciao website too,thanks for looking.

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      • More +
        29.06.2010 16:48
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        Great little machine for on the move

        My old laptop was looking tired ,had a broken hinge,isn't that annoying?
        It was a quite good Advent 7073,purchased from Currys about 5 or 6 years ago for £399,reasonable at the time as it was ex display.I would not buy an ex display model again,it had a knackered battery due to being on all the time,only found out when I tried to use it for the first time,lasted just over an hour hopeless.

        I needed something portable but powerful enough to do the job and have a decent battery life.My target price for such a machine was £300-£400 max.I thought I would try PC world for a change and after looking over a few laptops found this smaller notebook at less than £300 that would do the job!
        Ok Advent and Acer are amongst the cheaper makes but they are good enough for most people.I had chosen the Acer Aspire One Pro 531h-0Bk Atom,I decided I could not be bothered to keep looking around anymore and this seemed a bargain late last year in 2009.

        For under £300 you will get N270 Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor,a bit less than my old Advent laptop that had a 3.0 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor but I really do not notice any difference.It has 1 GB RAM and HD 160 GB,alot more than my old machine!The screen was smaller than I am used to a 10.1" TFT compared with the 15" TFT of my old Laptop but the keyboard is nice and big,well laid out too.Comes with Windows XP home edition installed.
        It works fine at home with my USB wireless adapter and the battery life is an impressive 4 to 5 hours! More than enough for most of us,it has a built in webcam I never use anyway and other features I am not really bothered with,it does what I want it to do ,so I am happy.

        It has LAN,WLAN,Memory card reader,mmc,rs-mmc,mem stick,xd-Pc card,XD mem card too,all very useful for such a compact light weight machine.I am sure if you need to work on the move this could be well worth checking out,I have had mine 6/7 months and its been fine.PC world will try and push insurance for breakdown etc but you should be covered for a year free anyway.
        I recommend this one,excellent value.
        Hope my review has been useful and I thankyou for leaving a review for me,much appreciated.I have more reviews on DooYoo and Ciao website,thanks for looking!

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        29.06.2010 00:32
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        A useless waste of time

        The Child Support Agency is a joke.It took my wife over 9 years to start getting any kind of payment from her ex husband,beat that!!!
        You can not operate an honour system where non resident parents honestly disclose their true income voluntarily.Unfotunately alot lie because they wrongly assume its down to the mother or her new partner to pay for the kids letting them off the hook.

        The CSA case workers are in the main powerless individuals that you talk to,overwhelmed by the system,too many rules,too many complaints and red tape abound.Most get tired of hearing the same over and over,hearing too many complaints would get anybody down.

        I can not believe what we went through,even worse when my wife eventually got her divorce case to court herself by paying for it out of my pocket (no legal aid!)she only managed to get a proportion of their joint property.He claimed to have no money to pay my wife so a forced sale had to be made,but he had 30 days to come up with his half to stop her taking control and selling at true market value.Low and behold he came up with the money in full knowing he was getting it cheap.This was because the valuation was so low by the jointly appointed surveyor.He had run the place down deliberately damaging it,it looked like a bomb had hit it.

        He even came to court without a solicitor and this made a mockery of proceedings and even though we won we paid most of our own costs because even though the judge awarded "reasonable costs"to us,her ex said £7k was unreasonable and paid just £2K,ouch!!The judge proclaimed that maintenance was a job for the CSA and not this court.We could have sorted the matter right there and saved time and tax payers money,that was back in early 2001.What was wrong with the courts deciding child maintenance like in the old days?

        For the court her ex husband presented accounts that were a real joke,a child could have done it.He is self employed,pays no incometax,lives with his partner who owned a lovely 4 bed detached house down on the south coast and they even regularly went to Florida to stay in her villa,very nice for them!The CSA are not interested in investigating peoples life styles,they seem to accept whatever the non resident parent says.

        When the CSA tried contacting him he would evade them by returning letters unopened writing "Not at this address" that worked for years even though his kids had stayed there for short breaks just a couple of times in the early days.He then broke contact with them about 7 or 8 years ago,his choice,he could not care if they were alive or dead!

        We tried contacting our local MP,this did help a little as after months of no or little news the CSA did respond.Try this,it may help because the CSA are not scared of jo public but they do care about the Government breathing down their necks.So called MPs cases get noticed!

        CSA failed us big time,they never even sent officers to his address to check our story out,so frustrating.By the time they eventually did go years later they had moved house!

        By luck and my own hard work I found out where he was living and reported this to the CSA.After much wrangling with them to take action as they were on the verge of dropping her case,a helpful case worker finally telephoned him.He was there at home and claimed to be someone else! Luckily the CSA officer was very helpful,contacted the local council and found out he did live there and they remembered him because he had delayed in paying his community charge,even argued about paying it in full.This prompted another call as this proved he was living at this new address,his own flat,he even had a mortgage on it claiming he earned £40K per year to get it!We asked for a proper assessment of the non residents income to be made but this was rejected without further investigation even though we had hard evidence he had a business and property overseas,this just did not count.

        After so many court cases we have lost count,the CSA were thrown out by Magistrates again and again for not being prepared and unable to answer his barristers questions.Yes thats right,the guy paid thousands to solicitors etc rather than pay for his own children.Just think of the waste of tax payers money for the CSA going into court back and fourth a dozen times or more!

        Eventually the CSA came back to us with an award of about £6 per week!! We appealed against this taking the CSA to a Tribunal,her ex was in attendance and it was a great day.The judge was assisted by an ex inland revenue officer and they tore his accounts appart and proclaimed the CSA incompatent.Unfortunately due to lack of evidence of income,re- accounts,they could only disallow his unreasonable business expences which were considerable.Worse than a dodgy MP he claimed for as much as possible including holiday flights 4 times per year to Florida and hire car etc etc.It added up to thousands,even disallowed his "rent" he claimed he paid his partner at their house.He said she was just his landlady but unfortunately for him there was enough evidence from his own mouth and things he had written to prove she was his partner.Even his own kids wrote letters confirming they shared a bedroom when they visited.

        When quizzed at the tribunal about the Florida villa he said the one year he went the pool was green,hardly luxury!When asked about his Volvo with private registration he claimed it was scrapped!! I would like to visit that salvage yard.When asked about his mortgage application where he claimed income of £40K+ he said he lied,it went on and on.Poor guy,this evidence he provided really shocked the Tribunal and its a wonder he has never been fined or put away in gaol.

        The story goes on and on,breath taking really,trying to claim he was ill too,all sorts of rubbish,these kind people really do exist you know and the CSA were useless never questioning him and always taking his word as true with no hard evidence.Finally she was awarded £13K for 9 years backdated money,a tiny sum from a guy claiming on one hand to have a jet set lifestyle with £40K a year,then on the other paying no tax as he earns less than minimum wage!

        Even now the payments are spread over I don't know how many years,crazy.He has his place in the UK on the market to sell and will be off to Florida,you can bet on it.

        We gave up really,better than nothing.Then he decides to fight the Tribunal ruling way after the deadline for doing so.Pays more solicitors etc but delayed making any payment.He was buying time hoping to do a runner on the liability order and would rather waste the money than see his ex get anything.
        Finally he lost his appeal but who really suffers? The kids.The eldest boy is 22 and youngest nearly 18,too little too late for us.

        I am a far better father than he could have been anyway but the kids still have hangups about the father that rejected them as a liability,shame.

        Some officers in the CSA were understanding,others were not and seemed to believe everything my wifes ex partner said,crazy!We need a better system to handle the bad eggs,CSA claims to have powers but they never use them.Some poor guys are getting nailed to the wall,totally wrong,after setting up a second family home some are getting treated like criminals,losing their new homes to pay the ex wife and kids.This is all wrong,all I ask is play fair,CSA don't seem to care or can not cope.

        Hope you found my review of interest and take the time to review it,much appreciated.I have reviews on DooYoo and Ciao website too,please take a look.

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        28.06.2010 19:38
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        Shop around you may do better elswhere maybe not.

        I am an old old customer of AOL dating back to 1998! I used to log on with the old dial up system,watching every minute carefully as it used to be mega expensive getting online to do anything.

        I was happy with there service,free,yes free customer service and technical help was available,I was paying them a fortune so they could afford to do this in the old days.I needed my dial up for business and the choices of ISP were few,AOL was the leader,safe and secure being more important than anything else.

        Along came broadband and the monthly payment plan,alot cheaper than dial up and much much better! Fast speeds at long last,alot less wasting time,all good,so yes please.

        OK you cry,expensive but at £29.99 per month it started out as a real bargain after the crazy hour by hour charges I used to pay.They supply a free Broadband modem and set up was straight forward following the instructions on the CD-rom.If you get stuck there was always the "Free" technical help at a UK call centre.

        That seems a very long time ago now.Moving house and taking your Broadband with you is always difficult and can take weeks to sort out.This costs business users that work form home like me alot of lost business with no compensation regardless of the contract you have with them.This I am sure is true with all ISP brands,Mac codes seem to be top secret and nothing is straight forward,all shrouded in mystery.Why do we all put up with useless customer service?

        I decided to stick with AOL,I want to keep my email address,better the devil you know kind of idea.Now they charge for help,5p per minute,keep you on hold,put you through to an Indian call centre for the umpteenth time to run through the same parrot fashion checks to see if the customers equipment is at fault.

        I had a month where there was a fault on my BT line.BT fixed the phone fault in 4 days,not bad and two visits but they could not fix the Broadband due to contract obligations,rules,whatever,it did not help me.AOL would not fix the problem on the line until the phone was fixed first,the phone has priority over Broadband,not for me it doesn't!

        I regretably lost my temper with one Indian level 1 basic technical help adviser,I demanded he put me through to someone in authority in the UK,he refused trying to stick to the parrot like system of checks I had done over and over the past few weeks,but last time I called today I was told I would be put straight through to somebody,a senor level 2 adviser!

        Now I am not a racist and generally I am very easy going,its just he could not understand,English being his second language and only being able to talk like a parrot made it impossible for me to get the proper help.

        I phoned AOL via a different number (not technical help,accounts),talked to someone from accounts in Ireland in depth ,almost begging but threatning to leave AOL after over 10 years and voila,they took action.They record everything regards faults,they could see I was not at fault,my equiment is fine,obvious the customer was right this time.OK they sent me a new router to try first and I lost another few days but this proved fault was on the BT phone line.

        Guess who comes to fix the Broadband,the BT engineer under contract for AOL! What a waste of time ,calls cost me about £60 that month to AOL,however the new router was free,even though I do not need it and the new contract I had to sign up for was alot cheaper,down from £14.99 per month to £9.99.

        Conclusion,I only stick with them because I do not hear from friends or family they are doing any better with the other ISPs.It works fine for me 90%+ of the time the last 12 years or so,minimal spam and junk mail means I am safer than average and save time not having to sift through and delete loads of useless email every day.Speed varies in our area ,6 meg or so,why change if it works for you?

        Even after all the trouble I am still with AOL but I would not rush to recommend,shop around,look for a good deal and stick with it.

        I hope you found my review useful and if you take time to rate it then many thanks,much appreciated.I have other reviews on DooYoo and the Ciao website too,thanks for looking.

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        • More +
          28.06.2010 15:42
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          Buy antiques and collectables for pleasure not just value

          In my opinion the value of "antiques" is a secondary consideration to the pleasure of collecting.

          The Millers Antiques guides stretch back several decades now and the "Collectors" Handbooks are a later idea,introduced to satisfy the interest in more modern "Collectables",pricey junk you may say!

          I have had an interest in Antique collecting since a very young age,starting with coins and stamps as many of us have.This is just the start,when you get the collecting bug it can take over your life,become obsessive,an addiction even so beware starting something you may never finish.

          The Millers collectable guides are only a rough idea of values,the information on each item listed is scant at best,its amazing really just how uninformative they are about the actual pieces themselves.If you want to learn more about the items you are collecting then look elsewhere.

          Most of the information comes from dealers who are having items of their stock listed in the book so they can have published any price they can think of.So how reliable is that? Even worse are the prices achieved at auction.How many times have you heard about people getting excited,desperate to own a particular piece,run each other up in a fever of bidding,a bidding war even,just to own a particular piece?

          Or look at the times Auction houses slip up and miss a major piece,only for it to be snapped up by a knowledgable collector or dealer for a song.It happens and I have seen it and done it!

          My point is,that no two items are quite the same and one may sell for £x one week and the following week £y,just because there were not enough bidders in the room and the auction house did not have a clue what they were selling,or it was snowing outside that particualr day,or a war broke out so price of gold has shot through the roof and so on.Millers or any guide therefore is just a vague notion that a piece may or may not be valuable.

          I regularly get these guides as presents from friends and family,thats ok but I would not go out my way to buy them myself unless they are old editions being let go at a discount outlet.You only have to thumb through these past guides to see like stocks and shares prices of Antique and collectable items go up and down.

          Thats why I say buy what you like,antique or collectable doesn't matter,if it gives you pleasure thats great but don't expect Millers guides to give you the right answer on value.

          I hope you found my review useful and thanks for rating it for me,much appreciated.I have more reviews on DooYoo and the Ciao website too,thanks for looking!

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          • paypal.com / Bank / 15 Readings / 11 Ratings
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            24.06.2010 18:15
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            Works fine if everyone is honest and follows the rules

            Once Upon a time when Ebay was small and Paypal was a new online independant tool for making payments or sending money to friends life was simple.That was back in 1998/9 when I first started an account on Ebay and needed a safe way to make and receive payment other than taking dodgey US$ Western union Drafts,bank to bank transfers and rubber UK cheques,BOING!

            I was possibly one of the first UK citizens to get a Paypal account,tough proving who I was back then as there was no UK branch,just Paypal USA.I had to fax over passport details several times,household bills to prove address and countless phone calls long distance to the "Great US of A".

            Its much more simple now to get registered but Ebay have control,they have owned Paypal for some years now and promptly put up their "Fees".Ebay get a big chunk out of the sellers and they just keep on charging and charging,nothings ever free.

            Paypal protection,well this works most of the time.First as a seller make sure goods are sent recorded signed for TO THE BUYERS ADDRESS REGISTERED ON PAYPAL ONLY!! so you can track your parcel and most important get a signature the other end.Be careful as some delivery options even with tracking will not count for protection,it must be signed for.Buyers should demand the same,recorded signed for,otherwise its your own risk.Seller could send any old rubbish and if it gets lost by the post office you wish you had paid the few pence extra!

            Next if the goods received are "not as significantly described in the listing" the buyer has every right to return the goods but buyer can only get back cost of item and not extra return costs,ok thats fine.

            However some dishonest "buyers" may use this system to scam sellers.Goods are not returned,just a parcel is returned that the poor seller signs for "proving"to Paypal item was returned.Now the arguments start and Paypal makes a ruling depending on cooperation from both sides,emails sent,past deals,feedback etc,all very messy.This could go either way,seller has lost costs of delivery at best and worst loses the item too and gets a warning!

            No system is perfect and is heavily reliant on both sides being honest.I know of people buying stuff and claiming they never received it again and again,same guy tried this with me twice.He forgot me but I remebered him!Paypal will only help if the rules have been followed,you have been warned!

            To avoid trouble for buyers is easy,just look at sellers feedback,a rating in the thousands is best with 100% positive feedback,great.If they have been members a very short time with no rating just take extra care,remember if what they are selling is too good to be true then avoid.

            Trouble is sellers are not treated equally,with no chance to leave negative feedback if they are scammed by a dishonest buyer the system will surely breakdown.You can only set sellers preferences to block buyers with a negative rating of -1 or worse,unfortunately this allows scammers with a zero or low rating to bid,shame.You can be selective and sell in the UK only,less trouble maybe but not good for business.

            Fortunately most of the time Paypal works fine for buyers,just be aware of the rules and you will not get caught.

            I hope this review has been useful and I appreciate your rating,many thanks.I have more reviews on Ciao and Dooyoo website,thanks fo looking!

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          • ebid.co.uk / Auction / 10 Readings / 9 Ratings
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            24.06.2010 17:06
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            Worth supporting it is bound to grow so worth a look

            I joined Ebay back in 1998 when it was already huge in the USA and hardly known in the UK,just starting to grow slowly around the world.I discovered Ebid UK early on early /mid 2000s and was pleased to see another website taking on the US giant head on.

            I have bought and sold quite well on Ebay UK over the years,not so well in recent times as Ebay is charging too much to part time sellers.They are highly profit motivated and are trying to move away from the carboot mentality,more towards big business and high street brands,shame on them.
            Ebid is different,similar style to Ebay but operates a fair system for both buyer and seller alike,fees much much lower!

            I have bought quite well on Ebid,signed up for Ppay their version of Ebays' Paypal online payment system and it works fine,good security,easy to use 10/10.
            I built up a reasonable rating buying goods I needed and had no trouble from the sellers,all went well on that side.
            Only problem is however cheap the listing fee it just did not work for me,sorry.
            I tried and tried but could not get a sale,Ebay fine,lots of hits on the same items and plenty of bidders.Ebid useless so I gave up after a few months.

            I will take a serious look at it again,can't hurt especially as Ebay is going off the boil.
            Is Ebay turning more and more people off? Maybe.
            I would love Ebid to succeed,take a look you may be suprised!

            I hope this review has been of help and your rating is appreciated.I have more reviews on DooYoo and Ciao website too,thanks for looking!

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          • ebay.co.uk / Auction / 11 Readings / 8 Ratings
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            24.06.2010 11:05
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            An interesting experience

            Ebay to buy or not to buy that is the question!
            I use Ebay alot,buying,selling its the worlds biggest carboot sale.I am possibly one of the oldest UK members having registered back in 1998 and also one of the first to get a Paypal account,that was tough! They wanted me to fax over passport details,etc so many hoops to jump through,alot of phone calls,but worth it in the end.
            Noone had heard of Ebay back then,I found out from a friend of mine,they never advertised in the UK so most sales/purchases were with people in the US.

            At the start it worked well for me and I had no complaints,most people are honest after all, but now its a huge global market its not so great.Unfortunately the honour system does not always work,too often people are getting ripped off and Ebay is slow to help.They just rake in the money from the millions of users, so what if a few complain?

            Fortunately you can buy safely,just lookout for the obvious,people or businesses that have a high rating in the thousands are usually ok.The rogues can be spotted,check out the feedback as customers who have a bad experience will leave a negative comment and if a seller has too many of these you should stay away.

            If you want to sell on Ebay may I suggest you should try buying some stuff to help boost your rating first and most of all do not leave feedback unless you are totally satisfied with your purchase!

            Buy using Paypal or a credit card this will offer you some protection,make sure though goods are sent recorded post ,signed for,or you will never be able to get protection from Paypal or a refund if something goes wrong.Legally buyer is responsible for costs of return regardless so take this into account when making a purchase.Most sellers with a decent rating of 99% or more have worked hard to keep it so be reasonable and give them a chance to sort out a problem,no good getting angry that never works with me.

            Post delays,postage costs and rough handling occur at times and this is the fault of the post not the seller.Best pay for recorded/insured post so everyones happy,seller included.

            If you buy overseas,especially outside of Europe you may have to pay import duty and VAT on the item,again not sellers fault.Buyer needs to check this out before bidding,same goes for shipping,email the overseas seller and ask for a quote or you may regret it.

            If you are selling,be honest!! Lots of pictures help,as a regular seller I use Auctiva picture hosting as its cheaper than using Ebay for your pictures.As much description as possible helps especially on used stuff,if its not perfect say so!Sellers watch the fees creep up,it can be an expensive business if you have to keep relisting stuff that does not sell first time out.

            If you are prepared to take a gamble then Ebay is fine for buying and selling,it can be fun,just do your homework and do not rush in.

            If this review has been useful please remember to rate it for me,much appreciated.I have more reviews on DooYoo and Ciao website too,thanks for looking.

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            • Qualcast Hedgemaster 370 / Trimmer / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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              24.06.2010 09:54
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              A great easy to useRobust but light weight trimmer

              We bought a house that was in a mess in 2007,a real nightmare! The garden was so overgrown I expected to see WW2 crashed fighter planes buried in the undergrowth,a real jungle.The old lady who owned the property had obviously not touched the garden in years and years,at the front a huge conifer bigger than the house threatened its foundations.It has conifer hedges all around at the back that are about 5ft wide and 10ft high.

              Described by the estate agent as nothing a chainsaw could put right,the garden was once upon a time lovely,but now trees and bushes were growing into each other fighting for light,the summer house in the corner was huge,good enough to use as a small workshop.I had to clear loads and loads of rubbish and at times wondered if it would ever end?

              Rooting around in the summer house I uncovered some useful garden tools and to my suprise there was a Qualcast Hedgemaster 370 hedge trimmer minus a plug,soon fitted one and away we go! I guess it was 4 or 5 years old and doubt if it had seen much action in this garden,so looked quite new.

              The big conifer out front needed removal and I called in a professional gardner to do the job,also persuaded him to remove some of the bushes around the back of the property to let some light in so we could see what we bought.Well worth the £200 I paid him,he even cleared all the mess up and took it away,a great deal.

              I decided armed with my new toy,the Hedgemaster 370,I would tackle the hedges around the back.I had never used one before,our last houses had fences or stone walls and my parents house had privit hedge we used to cut by hand every few weeks!
              It always makes me a bit nervous operating machinery that could do you serious harm so cautiously I lifted it up and tried it out.

              Its a lightweight easy to handle affair with a built in plastic guard moulded as part of the body to protect your left hand (I am right handed but left handed people could use this no problem).You hold it with your right hand at the back and press down the long black "on" button/lever thats part of the grip of the handle but it will not work unless you are pressing down the safety,a large "T" shaped lever you press down on the right hand grip nearer to the front just behind the protective guard.

              Its noisey as you would expect,the 2 foot or so long blades shaped like teeth move back and forth to cut.Just glides around without any effort,much easier than using old fashioned shears!It can handle quite thick pieces of branch,half inch or so without effort,remember its a trimmer and not a chainsaw.Never force it to do anything,you may slip,if it requires effort then leave that bit and saw it later.I use it with a safety RCD plug,just in case I accidently cut the electric cable! You have to take care but the cable is bright orange and stands out well against the green of the hedge.

              I have used my "Free" Qualcast Hedgemaster 370 for three years now and my hedges have started to recover well after years of neglect.A neat trim 3 or 4 times a year is all they have needed and with this tool the job is easy,done in a few hours or so from start to finish.By hand it would take all day long and never look as neat,straight edges are much easier to achieve! I rate this 10/10,the blades seem fine to me and will last years,I would buy one tomorrow if this one packs up.

              Hope this review was useful and please take the time to rate it for me,much appreciated.I have other reviews on DooYoo and on the Chiao website,thanks for looking!

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            • Bosch SKS50E18EU / Dishwasher / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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              23.06.2010 01:08
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              Bosch great quality name and a bargain price

              This has to be the bargain of the century as far as dishwashers go.We have used are old Bosch now for 8 years or so and its saved us alot of time and energy trying to keep up with washing plates,cups and cuttlery etc for four of us.It gets filled and used everyday unless we are away on holiday!
              It has never ever broken down,Bosch is a quality German manufacturer so have confidence it will last.Ours is still working strong,unbelievable really.
              It is a free standing unit with simple easy to use settings,I always stick it on economy cycle,doesnt take too long,an hour or so at the most including the final steaming/drying process.
              Everything comes out hot,sterilised and ready to use.We could not live withut it now.
              Inside there is a roll out white wire tray at the bottom with compartments for plates and pans,with a lift out basket for your cuttlery,another white wire shelf above that pulls out has supports for saucers,cups ,bowls etc.
              Behind the door which opens down towards you is the compatment for rinse aid and your dishwasher tablet,it slides just across,pop the tablet in and slide back till it clicks shut.
              So easy to use,reliable and bomb proof German solidity,why buy anything else?

              I hope this review was helpful and your rating is much appreciated,thankyou.You may wish to see my other reviews on DooYoo and I have more like this on the Ciao website too,many thanks!

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            • Sony KDL-23B4050 / LCD TV / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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              22.06.2010 22:51
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              Best 23" TV I could find

              Looking around for a cheap LCD or Plasma TV took time and patience.I needed a big TV for livingroom and a smaller TV for upstairs bedroom.As luck would have it some bankrupt stock from a TV store appeared at my local auction house.My main target was a Panasonic Viera 37" LCD TV and if I bought the first one for a good price I fancied a smart 23" Sony Bravia LCD TV.
              That was about 18 months ago,prices for the Sony were expensive for a 23" at around £500 or so and I managed to walk away with mine for about £180! It was an as new display model,no warranty but it looked fine and everyhting works.
              Some cheap LCD TV can not be viewed from the side or below,the picture is terrible but with the Bravia it great from any angle,hih resolution HD ready,lots of features we do not use but may be useful such as Virtual Dolby surround sound,HD3D sound,HDMI point,PC point,2 scart points with smart link and has extra speaker points for the surround sound Cinema set up.
              A great piece of kit,dare I say its a bit sharper and better quaity than the big Panasonic Viera.Its slim,lightweight and easy to carry,a real portable TV.It was easy to set up,even without instructions as it was bankrupt stock after all,good job as I am not great with this kind of thing and needs to be idiot proof for me.If I can't get it to work in 5 minutes I get irritated an bored very quickly so setting this up using the handset was a doddle.
              I recommend this TV without hesitation!

              I hope you found this review of use and hope you will take the time to rate it,much appreciated.I have posted other reviews about this and other items of interest on this website and the Ciao website,please take a look,many thanks!

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            • Honda Prelude (1997 on) / Car / 5 Readings / 3 Ratings
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              22.06.2010 22:26
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              Well worth looking for as these were underated

              During the 1990s I travelled out to Japan on business alot,staying for 4 weeks here and there,staying with friends,touring round,having a good time.I noticed how cheap the cars were and with the strong pound on my side is wasn't long before I started buying cars to use back home,why not? When the Honda Prelude was on sale in the UK,it was marketed as quite an expensive upmarket car well above £20K+ I quite liked it,some prefered the older model with the XJS type rear lights and futuristic cabin so maybe this was a step backward in style? To me it was more grown up,not such a kids car and may suite my girlfriend as she had sold on her old Audi.
              I looked around a few places,I think this was back around 1999/2000 and found a reliable dealer I had bought from before.She located a one year old car that was as new,only 6000 miles, in Black, a Japanese type "S" I think with manual 5 speed transmission,smart 16" alloys,2.2 Vtec 16V engine that had around 190 BHP and had more than enough oomph.I considered this against a Honda Intergra type-R for similar money but the Japanese spec car was quite different from the UK model having a different front end,wrap around style lights instead of round so thought this may be a problem getting parts etc.The Integra-R was a quick car indeed,nothing ordinary about this ones performance!
              Best to pick something close to UK spec or you may find it hard to service and sell on when youre finished.Key to this,do your reaserch,looking the "same" is not always true for the mechanicals and electronics (try reading some of my other reviews!)
              This car was very smart looking,gleaming black,red pinstripes,alloys,black cloth interior,a great sound system,all for less than half price of a UK car,so yes buy!
              After paying the shipping,import duty/tax,getting the car SVA tested (SVA is an MOT for imports to check it complies with UK regulations)and registered it worked out thousands cheaper than buying from a UK main dealer.The strong pound at the time helped alot,not so sure you would do so well today!
              We used that car for about 18 months,my girlfriends car before we were married actually,a good allrounder.I was used to more powerful metal at the time,300 BHP or more so this felt a bit ordinary to me but my girlfriend loved it,more than quick enough.The Vtec engine has to be thrashed though to get the best performance out of it,very high reving little 4 cylinder engine but powerful for a non turbo and we found it ultra reliable.We sold it eventually but it was not a very popular car so it had to go cheap,somebody bagged a bargain off me!
              These cars sold poorly in the UK,partly because it was not that great looking,wasn't really a sports car and was overpriced.It was trying to be all things to all people,but I liked it,nice big boot,comfortable seats and it didn't breakdown unlike some,what more do you want?

              I hope you found my review interesting and take the time to rate it,much appreciated.I have posted reviews about this and other items on CIAO website so hope you will take a look,many thanks!

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            • Renault 21 / Car / 10 Readings / 8 Ratings
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              22.06.2010 21:55
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              Better look elsewhere not that great

              Renault 21 Savanna estate dark blue paint and grey interior 1988 model and mine when it was about 3 years old only with 40,000 plus miles on the clock.I needed a workhorse second cheap car,not a Vauxhall or a Ford.I like something a bit different and the Renualt "Vingt et Un" seemed a good buy.Very very comfortable supportive seats,good sized practical load lugger with an economical 1.7 litre petrol engine fitted my criteria.OK it was a basic TL model with no luxuries but for £3500 it was a great second hand buy having had just one previous owner and full history.It was a bit cheap and tinny thin bodywork,poor plastics inside but the seat coverings looked decent.I kept it for around a year and traded it for a Citroen XM (I neede some excitement after driving the basic Renault!) and was allowed £2k in the trade a fair deal for my car as it had 60K odd miles on it and I had suffered a bump up the back that was repaired very well by the other peoples insurance.I was hit by an artic just as we came off the motorway,the car took the hit up the back well and was not a writeoff so shows it was either quite tough or the handbrake was a bit weak!
              In the time I owned it though it needed a new clutch,a set of tyres and usual servicing costs every 10,000 miles.It handled ok but was a bit slow and made me wished I had gone for the bigger engined 2.0 litre.The turbo charged top of the range saloon was quite a Q-car,suprisingly quick but my estate was very ordinary.It cruised along the motorway ok and returned decent 30 mpg or better so no real complaints.Not very exciting,a basic useful car that was fairly reliable apart from the clutch going at 50,000 miles,not good.Best thing the seats,very comfortable for a long trip otherwise unremarkable.

              Thanks for reading my review and I hope you found it interesting.If this has been useful to you and you take time to leave Your rating it will be appreciated and hope you will take a look at my other reviews sometime.I also leave reviews on the Ciao website about this and other items,many thanks!

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