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With my Macbook only containing a 250GB hard drive, I decided to purchase an external hard drive with massive space for as little as possible, to allow me to copy across films, music and pictures that would otherwise take up too much space on my laptop.
Recently external hard drive prices have plummeted recently and with this one available for £60 with a massive 1tb of space, I decided to snap one up.
The design isn't maybe as flash as other devices on the market, but I kind of like its rugged, simplistic design and with plastic covers on each end, it looks like it could take some serious damage before breaking.
The 1tb of space is massive and is more than I'll ever need but being as the price difference is so minimal between the 1tb and 500gb option it is definitely worth going for the larger one in the long run.
The disadvantages of this product is that it's quite noisy from the disk spinning and if watching a film off it, it can be quite distracting and annoying. Also it needs to be plugged into the wall during use due to its size meaning that you can't use it if you wanted to use it on a plane or train for example. Also it can get pretty hot when either copying things over or playing things off it.
Overall, at such a great price these small imperfections aren't that important.
Not being one for gimmicks or touch-screens, for several years now I have only owned low-spec phones that provide the real basics. However this changed at christmas when I decided that it was finally time to splash a bit of cash on a phone that had a few more features. In the past I've played around on friends touchscreen phones and decided that they aren't for me. I don't like their unpredictability, and knowing how clumsy I am, I knew it'd be scratched to death in now time. Therefore I decided to go for a phone with a QWERTY keyboard as texting would be easy on one and I generally prefer their style.
The obvious choice was to get a blackberry but having been a loyal Nokia customer for several years and the fact my brother had already had this phone and recommended it, I decided to go for the Nokia E72. I have to say I am very happy with my decision, and pretty much loved it since its arrival.
The QWERTY keyboard is great to use. To begin with its a little awkward using the small keys, (slowed me down a bit when texting) but after a few days of use it was fine and I was typing away quickly once again. As can be relied upon with Nokia, the interface is so easy to use and the menu follows Nokia's standard formula meaning its easy to navigate and fun to use. The decent size screen also allows texting and internet browsing to be easy enough to be viewed upon and with a 5mp camera, pictures look great on it too.
A problem I encountered, was that for some reason after a few months, the phone wouldn't vibrate when I received a text message, which was very annoying (especially as I prefer to have my phone on vibrate. After a bit of internet searching I discovered it was a problem with the amount of messages I had in my inbox and so I (reluctantly) decided to empty it which solved the problem.
In summery I think that this is a great looking phone that not only looks professional and smart, but also does a great job of texting, reading and writing emails and web browsing. I would recommend this phone over any blackberry due to the fact Nokia has such a great interface and a better camera attached.
A few years ago I decided that instead of paying thousands of pounds on studio sessions, I would try and build my own studio, as in the long run I would save a hell of a lot of money. The first question I asked myself was which microphones I needed to buy. With high end microphones being so expensive, this list needed to be spot on. With out much thought what so ever, this microphone went straight to the top of this list.
There's so many things that appeal about this microphone, the first being the price. To get a microphone of this quality at £85 is fantastic, but don't let the cheap price tag fool you. They more than match up against the big hitters that sell for £200 and more.
If you go to any good studio around the world, they should have a plentiful stock of them due to their versatility. You can literally record anything on them. I've used mine for brass, drums, strings, woodwind and electric guitars. They even give a good performance recording vocals and acoustic guitars. So even if you dont have the funds to buy a collection of microphones, you can get a pretty tight recording out of just using the SM57.
However if you do need to get a better vocal recording on the same budget, I recommend its big brother - the SM58 as this is also another fantastic microphone and jack of all trades.
2 years ago I was accepted into my university of choice to complete a 'Music Technology and Popular Music' degree. With this in mind I needed a decent pair of studio speakers that would allow me to listen back to many of my own compositions and mixes but more importantly would also contain enough sound quality for me to meticulously scrutinise every aspect of my mixes to allow me to receive as higher grade as possible.
Though like many students across the country I was restricted by my budget. With a lot of research I came to the conclusion that these Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speakers were the cheapest 5* speakers around. At £99 these speakers really are the best I've ever owned. Being on the degree course I am, the universities own facilities contain speakers ranging from about £500 upwards, yet I can only hear minimal differences between my Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's and the universities elite speakers.
Not only do I use these speakers for my mixing but I play pretty much everything else out of them too, including my films and video games. The trebles are bright and the bass frequencies are punchy making them a perfect all round speaker.
The speakers them selves have a very attractive design and come in a range of colours (I picked the black wood option) to cater for individual needs and preferences.
I would recommend buying some speaker stands with them, as to begin with I just placed them on my desk but due to the fact the bass frequencies are so punchy and personal preference of liking my music loud, it caused them to resonate quite badly on top of the wooden surface.
After over 2 years of use, these speakers come highly recommended whether you needed for professional mixing or just casual home use. And at such a great price you wont be disappointed.
I remember 2 years ago, I attended Leeds festival (my first music festival) for the first time. The atmosphere was great, the music was great and I genuinely had one of the best weekends of my life. The only drawback of this weekend was the resulting state of my lips after enduring 3 days of a mixture of cold, warm, wet and dry weather. By the end of the 1st day i was desperate for some lip balm and went along to one of the on site stalls which were selling them. Unfortunately about half of the other festival goers had had the same idea as me and as a result, the stall was completely sold out. So by the end of the weekend my lips felt horrible. They were cracked, dry and as I suffer from sensitive lips at the best of times, they were incredibly sore.
As a result of this, the first thing I bought on returning home was this Nivea Essential Lip Balm. Within a few days of consistent and frequent use, my lips were again back to full health. I have even resorted to using this product pretty much full time due to my (sometimes concerning) obsession with having smooth lips.
When I returned to Leeds Festival the next year, the first thing I packed into my bag was this product and I experienced none of the problems experienced a year earlier. Every time I withdrew it from my pocket I was surrounded by unfortunate friends who had once again over looked the importance of lip balm, begging to borrow some.
Its small shape makes it ideal to put in a handbag or pocket and when outside on a cold winters day, a must have. I also find myself applying it every night before I go to bed as I always used to wake up with horrible dry lips.
I know having dry lips isn't the worst thing in the world, but its certainly very inconvenient and for a couple of pounds this small inconvenience can be almost entirely eradicated.
Having grown up with a Microsoft Windows computer for 19 years, there was always going to be a slight reluctance switching to another operating system. However due to my work (a music composer), I needed to run several programs (including Apple's own 'Logic') that would only run on an apple machine. And since I took the plunge around 1.5 years ago, I have never looked back. This machine has been brilliant to me, keeping itself virus and problem free from the start.
I know there's a huge debate around the whole pricing issue and I have to say, if it wasn't due to my profession, I probably wouldn't of considered one due to the price and my lack of familiarity with the operating system. But since using it, I find myself wondering how I ever survived without it. In my opinion, coming from a background of using both Apple and Windows, Windows seems to over complicate every detail of its OS. Where as Apple can be used by everyone, of all ages without coming across as patronising or dumbing itself down.
The screen is bright and vivid and makes watching films on it a great experience. Its 13" screen is big enough for everyday tasks like word processing and internet browsing, but also small enough to watch films on (eg. when on a train, plane where space is restricted).
Its OS is fast and reliable, with it only crashing on me a couple of times (this was only when I was pushing it to its absolute limits with several music programs open at once). Its boot-up time is barely a couple of minutes and opening applications if fairly instantaneous. The keyboard is a joy to type on and a very attractive machine in general.
A slight drawback is its 250gb hard-drive. While this might be enough for most users, for those who like storing plenty of music, films and pictures on their machines, will see this space getting eaten up fast. A solution for this is doing what I did. Buy an external hard-drive (large capacity hard-drives can be bough for very reasonable prices these days) and simply store these files on it instead. Another great application that this machine offers is the 'Time Machine'. This allows any external hard-drive to contain the entire Macbook's hard-drive when connected. This is a great feature and allows scenarios such as theft, damage and crashing to be a less painful experience knowing that its all backed up.
The machine itself is fairly light-weight compared to other 13" laptops on the market, meaning that if you're always on the go, it wont drag you down when in your bag. The battery life isn't amazing and when watching films, with the screens brightness on max, it can drain pretty fast. Though the majority of the time I have mine plugged in and if I am out the house and need to use it, word processing and internet browsing can last for a few hours at least.
Overall, a great machine that is suitable for everybody. If you can afford that little extra on a laptop then this is highly recommended even if you're unfamiliar with the OS.
I've had my Ipod classic 80gb for around 4 years now, and I have to say, I can see myself still having for another 4. There's just literally (apart an outdated design) nothing that I can see going wrong with it.
There's nothing worse than having a small capacity MP3 player that forces you into deciding which songs make it onto the player, and which ones have to stay on the computer. Due to the Ipod's massive 80gb capacity, this is no longer an issue. It can hold up to around 20,000 songs (more music than I'll ever own) allowing you to take your entire music library with you on the move.
Although the design is now starting to get pretty outdated compared to other MP3 players on the market, I still find it to be a smart looking device. It says it the name really; 'Classic', and it really does have a bit of a retro feel to it, which I personally really like. Its hard, metal shell also gives it strong, rigid feel (mine has survived several drops to the floor with no effect on performance what so ever) making it perfect for everyday, indoor and outdoor use.
In terms of the device's screen and interface, it has a perfectly bright screen and is extremely easy to navigate through your music, films, pictures and other applications. A minor drawback of the screen is that it is very easily scratched, especially when in your pockets. The easy way to solve this is simply buy of the several ipod cases available. The same can be said about the back of the ipod but again, this can be prevented with a case.
Battery life has never been an issue for me when using my ipod classic. When I'm at home, I play it through my ipod dock, which charges it at the same time (another must have accessory), allowing me to take to use it on the go in the daytime with a full battery.
Again this is a great buy, and if you're not one for gimmicks and touch screens and literally just want something to play your music through, this is the MP3 player for you.
After loosing my original 'T-Connection' Macbook charger I purchased this new 'L-Connection' Macbook charger as its pricey, up to date replacement. Initially the charger worked perfectly, the 'L-Connection' design is great and helps when there isn't a lot of space proved around your laptop (eg. when on a train, plane ect.) Its a pretty slick design compared to other laptop changers on the market and when your laptop is fully charged, the LED on the charger goes from a red to green alerting you disconnect it and save electricity.
However, after 7 months of using this charger it became very temperamental. I would be sitting with my laptop changing on my lap and if i were to shuffle or move the charger would momentarily electronically disconnect. This problem continued and worsened to the point where it wouldn't connect again for over 10-15 minutes. It got so bad that I literally had to sit perfectly still when charging my laptop otherwise I would have to play with it for several minutes wiggling it to try and get it to connect again.
Eventually I gave up and decided to ring the Apple Store where they informed me that it was an overheating issue (it makes sense as the connecter is metal and can get really hot while charging) which was a common problem with the charger. I went into the store and they swapped it for me free of charge which was great but but not entirely convenient (had to travel to Sheffield for my nearest Mac Store), which I have now used problem free for around 2 months.
My advice is that if you have to pay so much a Mac charger, I would recommend searching around and trying to find one of the original plastic T-Connection chargers as this one worked great for over 2 years before I lost it.