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Squeakster

Squeakster
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Member since: 13.08.2001

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    • The family unit / Discussion / 0 Readings / 28 Ratings
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      20.10.2001 16:13
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      Time and time again we hear different government members saying that children should be bought up in a 'stable' family unit. This, of course, includes marriage of the parents. When I sit and ponder this concept I become uneasy. Is the government saying that only married couples are capable of bringing up children who feel loved and cared for? Are they saying that only married couples are capable of bringing up children who will be a 'pillar of society'? Are they saying that 'well-balanced individuals' can only be the product of married couples? I sincerely hope not. I am not going to go on about my students as examples for a change, but I am going to examine my own childhood upbringing for this opinion. From the outside, we were what was considered the 'perfect' family. I had young parents and I am piggy in the middle with two brothers. I was brought up in a community. It was a large house with others living there. My parents would often bring home people who needed somewhere to live, who were either homeless, or recovering drug addicts or alcoholics. I made many friends and lived in one large family. We lived in the countryside and I would be out in the fields playing, down by the stream getting muddy, having a wonderful time. My Mum and Dad had also written a musical. They took this on the road. Although I remember being really proud of them while watching rehearsals, I also remember waking at night crying for my parents who weren't there. One of the other members of the community would look after us while they were out performing. In 1977 we moved to Nottingham. My Dad was going to train to become a vicar. It was a 'family' decision. Although my brothers and I were young, we were sat down and asked what we thought. If any of us had said no, I do believe that my Dad would not have gone through with it. It was from this point that I became the 'vicar's daug
      hter'. No, at times it felt as though I was not a real person! My Dad's ministry was a team/family effort. We all mucked in. I clearly remember going to get the milk in one morning to find some children asleep on the door step. They had been locked out by their parents (they were aged three and five) It was early and my parents were asleep. I brought them in, fed them, bathed them and looked after them until Mum and Dad got up. There were also times when my parents were out at some vicar and wife do when a distraught person would turn up on the doorstep. The vicar was out, but they needed someone to talk to, and even a 15 year old would do. That was my life, caring for others. There was a time at the age of 16 that I really needed my parents. Unfortunately they were too busy. Other people needed them. At that age the message that I received was that others were more important than me. I began to self harm and lie in a big way. It was from that time onwards that the relationship broke down between my parents and me. Then the revelation that I was gay! Yes I became the devils child! When my Mum died 4 years ago I didn't shed a tear. I went into 'vicar's daughter' mode, organised the funeral and looked after my dad and brothers. There were over 500 people at her funeral. I sat there getting angry. I heard all these people saying how she had become a mother to them, how much time she had given them, and yet here was her daughter who felt as though she hadn't been a mother to her. I had no good memories, only arguments. Some might say that I am a well-balanced person. I think I am now, but that, I would say is because of my Mum's death and the fact that I went to counseling. The self harming is no longer, and nor is the attention seeking. This is not a result of the family I was brought up in. The family unit is a powerful thing. It can make or break a person. The best family un
      its are not necessarily those with Mum, Dad and 2.4 children, but are those who spend time with each other, those that have love. Being 'married' and being part of a family does not make an individual a 'good' parent, nor a well-balanced person. Thanks for reading.

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      • MS Office XP / Office Software / 0 Readings / 9 Ratings
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        30.09.2001 14:19
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        We have seen very little change between Office '97 and 2000. There were one or two nice tweaks, but it was nothing special. Enter Office XP. XP standing for experienced. Not recommended for education, or those who didn't know the basics in Office. I decided to take a look anyway. On first appearances I didn't see any change. All he icons were the same. So I opened Word. I was immediately struck by a different feel. There is a task bar listing recent documents, types of new documents you can open and short cuts to web sites. To begin with this annoyed me as I wasn't used to it, however, I soon got used to it, and will close it when I have started my task. The following is a list of some of the features: The buttons have had a 'hover' button effect added to them. Clipit has at long last disappeared, and been replaced by a more modest help search box. The clipboard appears in the task box, and lists everything you have copied. I find this a pain, but then I found the clipboard a pain in 2000! If you use keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste, as I do, this new clipboard does not make things any faster, but clutters the window. In PowerPoint you are no longer met with the annoying wizard. You can call up the templates if you want them. Not a lot of change really, but here is where I get excited. A speech recognition program has been incorporated into all the Office applications. For the past 4/5 years I have played around with speech recognition programs. However, having the attention span of a child, I soon became bored with each one. It took SO long to train! Here, in Office XP we have the ultimate in speed training. Within 10 mins I had about 80% accuracy. I have done an extra training session and now there are only a few errors. I now use it all the time. You also have a handwriting option. If you have a graphic slate in can convert your handwriting to tex
        t. Not having one I haven't tried it, so I don't know how accurate that is. Being a teacher, I started thinking about how this could be used within school. In comparison to 2000 if is far better as a teaching tool. It doesn't do everything for the student, and you are able to teach an application more accurately. But, it is the speech recognition that I have become excited about. I have a student within my class who has a very bad speech impediment. I wondered if we could get XP to recognise him. Now that is a challenge. ( I would like to point out that he is a student who refuses speech therapy.) I spent an hour with him training the program. His speech runs each word into each other and being deaf in his left ear means that there are certain letter formations that are very difficult to pronounce. He picked up the program very quickly. I left him to 'play', once we had completed the training. I stood outside the door listening. This student began correcting his speech, splitting the words, not running them into each other, his speech was becoming clearer. Although XP wasn't as accurate after the first training as it was with me, that was to be expected. However, with more training, I think that this will be a major move forward for this student. He, at 15, has a reading age of a 6 year old, and so when it comes to having to write his opinions, he refuses as he believes he can't. He is too frightened to make mistakes...if he can dictate it to a computer, not only will the presentation be spot on, but the ideas will all be there! Through the use of the speech recognition though, more importantly, his speech will improve. Exciting times. I am impressed with Office XP. I have had no crashes, and found no bugs as yet. I have, however, only been using it for a week! Highly recommended. Thanks for reading.

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        • Education System / Parenting Issue / 0 Readings / 20 Ratings
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          02.09.2001 17:12
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          I woke up this morning (sounds like a blues song!…well, I suppose it is really!) with a sinking feeling, a feeling I’m sure teachers all over the country are experiencing. Tomorrow is the beginning of term. Back to work, back to the hum drum of students! Questions of what this term will bring are playing on my mind, even questions of whether I’ll still have the knack of educating these wonderful students. I usually find that within two minutes of being back I feel as though I’ve never been away and think “What Holiday?!” This ‘sinking feeling’ has been enhanced by the news this week that “one in five teachers appointed for the start of the school year is unsatisfactory.” Here are some facts: Heads were unhappy with 1,372 of the 7,127 appointments they made. (If this is typical, it would mean that 6,000 of the 30,000 appointments in England and Wales were unsatisfactory.) Many schools have had to appoint people who were unqualified, teaching a subject not their own, or overseas recruits unfamiliar with the curriculum. 40 per cent of newly-qualified staff were quitting within three years. A head of a South-east comprehensive appointed two teachers who "walked in off the street”, with no qualifications. Now I know that doesn’t include me, nor anyone in my school, but it does reflect the state of the education system today. Firstly, saying that teachers employed are ‘unsatisfactory’ leads to suspicion from the general public on ALL teachers. We forget that 24,000 of the teachers employed were in fact satisfactory or above! Now, I understand why they are saying this. If I was a head I would be wondering why the applicant hadn’t already managed to find a position with so many jobs going. They may be unqualified, they may not be ‘specialists’, and this can, to begin
          with, cause problems. I would like to point out that although someone is ‘unqualified’ or a ‘non-specialist’ it does not make them a ‘bad’ teacher. I am a ‘specialist’ in Special Needs Education, and I am also trained in teaching Drama. The subjects I teach are Art, Music, PE, Leisure and Tourism and ICT. I am therefore not a specialist. I do however get high results from my students and most people believe that I am a specialist in these areas! I have had the pleasure of working with some ‘unqualified’ teachers. These people are usually not straight out of college, and are actually very talented teachers, who work exceptionally hard. Yes, they find it difficult to begin with, but so does any ‘qualified’ teacher who starts a new job. An ‘unsatisfactory’ teacher does not necessarily mean they will always be that way. I have worked with teachers who have been a disaster in their first term of teaching, and I have thought would never survive, but they have worked hard, and been supported and it has resulted in excellence. I know that not all teachers will be as brilliant as me! (Joke!), but not every teacher is an ‘unsatisfactory’ one either. Our education system is more than the teachers. It is local government and central government. It is here that we find the cause of our problems. Some more facts: I am about to enter my eighth year of teaching. During that time the curriculum has changed four times. Each exam syllabus I have taught has changed every two years. I’m not saying that I would be happier if I didn’t have to update and adapt everything I do…this needs to be done every year to be relevant to the particular needs of the class you are teaching. The difficulty with the changes isn’t so much the content, but the ethos behind it. With these changes come paper
          work. Now I’m not frightened of paperwork…far from it, and because of my ability to use the PC, I actually get through it much faster than others, it does however become ridiculous. Surveys have shown that teachers work around 50-60 hours per week. “What about the long holidays?” you cry. Well, yes I guess that on paper we do get them, in reality, not really. For anyone that knows a teacher, you will know that Half terms are spent working or being ill, Christmas and Easter, the first week is being ill and the second is working! And the 6 weeks, well yes, we get a break. I this year haven’t though. 4 weeks have been spent working and two weeks have been spent being ill!! Yes, being ill does come up a lot!! You fight the germs all term and then your body packs in! Paperwork is an issue for many teachers, there is lots of it, and much of it has to be completed by law. I could go on forever on this subject, but I’m not going to. Is our education system letting us down? Simply, yes. The system is, not the teachers. They work hard and do all they can to jump through hoops. Many excellent teachers are leaving the profession because the workload is outweighing the enjoyment of teaching , many begin teaching because they think it’s an easy option and soon realise it isn’t. The Government need to start looking at where the heart of teaching is, how they can rekindle the flame of passion for the education system. They need to start recognising where good is being done (and I don’t mean by giving financial reward), the blaming of teachers needs to stop, otherwise, before long, we will not have an education system.

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            29.08.2001 18:50
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            It was the May bank holiday weekend 1998. I remember it well. I had just installed a modem on my computer, and it was time to find out what all this surfing lark was about! It didn't take long for my beady eyes to see a 'Chat' icon on my tool bar. 'What's all this about then?' I asked myself. I clicked on the icon. I searched to find 'my type of room' (there were a number of options), I sat there looking at them, 'shall I?' hmmmm. Ok, I thought, I can always leave if I don't like it. Armed with mouse and a cup of tea, into the chat room I went. I think there were about 60 odd people in there (odd being the word!) I sat there...nothing, no one spoke. I decided to say 'hello'. A couple of people replied 'hi', 'hello', 'welcome', then nothing. Later I realise they were all whispering! SUDDENLY I had a message on my screen. One of the members wanted to send me something. I was ignorant to what was going on, and agreed to accept it. Once received I opened it. There in front of me was a pornographic picture! ARGHHH! I made a quick exit! I decided to enter a different room. I walked in and was immediately welcomed. I settled down for the evening. I chatted with all the folks there, joked, laughed, sang songs (yes it's possible!) and had a really good time. I looked at my watch, it was 4.00am! I asked the room if any of them ever went to bed! It was then that I found out that I was talking to people from all over the world! Like I say, I was an internet virgin and knew nothing! I went to bed for a couple of hours. Up I got, back on line, and continued to chat to my new found friends! I was introduced to ICQ and how to send music across the internet. There was one VERY helpful member. She was sincere, honest, fun and so patient in teaching me all the ins and outs of cyberspace! We struck up a friendship, and soon st
            arted talking on the phone. She was from America, and has the most seductive voice! We spent hours talking, in the chat rooms and over the phone. I would get up at 4.00am and immediately go on line to talk to her. I'd go to work, come home and get straight on line until about 10.00pm. I would then phone the states and we would talk until around 1.00am! Yes I was addicted. We became close and soon realised that we had to meet. My phone bill came through. I opened it and sat down very quickly. It was £2,000!! Gulp. How was I going to pay that? How was I going to get to the states in the summer to meet the person I had fallen in love with? What would I do, I knew we wouldn't be able to talk as much as we had been, but I didn't know if I could cope without her and the internet! We talked, we tried to cut down the time, but it didn't seem to work. All the friends we had met in the chat room learned of our predicament. We could not continue the hours we were keeping. We knew that either we had to find a way of being together, or all this had to end. We were both in the chat room (as usual) when one of the members said "You two just have to be together. I'll buy your ticket!" We took that with a pinch of salt. In text you can say anything and not be held accountable. However, over in the States, mad selling was going on to try and get over here, and the application for a passport was made. One day I was chatting on the phone to the states. There was a knock on the door that end. My partner went to the door, came back to the phone. She said, "It's here!" It took me a while to get out of her want she was on about. The person who had offered to buy the ticket had done so. A complete stranger had spent $1,600 in order that we could be together. We were flabbergasted! The problem was that as yet the passport hadn't arrived and the flight was in a week
            s time. Two days before the flight, the passport arrives. I was now on my summer holidays and sleep just wasn't an option! I was excited, apprehensive and scared all at the same time! On the 25th July 1998, (three months after we had met), I found myself at Heathrow Airport. It was 5.00am. I waited as people came through arrivals. There was no sign. Suddenly, a lone figure, ladened down with suitcases appeared. She looked up, our eyes met. I lifted my hand to wave...she dropped her suitcases. We stood there in silence. Having spoken nonstop for months, neither of us could speak. I just found that I had the most STUPID grin on my face! We arrived home and immediately jumped on line to speak to all our friends, to let them know she had arrived. There were cheers all round. For three days, apart from eating, we slept. Getting to know each other in real life was harder than we thought! We knew so much about one another, but out of text things were very different. That was three years ago. We are still together and she has now been granted temporary residence based on our relationship. No more having to smuggle her in and out of the country! (That's another story! Needless to say, it hasn't always been easy due to immigration laws!) Would I recommend this to someone else? Yes and no. No, because I know so many who have tried and had disastrous experiences, it is a risky business, I consider myself very lucky. Yes, because you may meet your soul mate, the person who you were meant to be with. I will always be grateful to the complete stranger who believed in us and was willing to pay for the ticket. To that person I say 'thank you'. Thank you for reading this.

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            • Jack Russell / Pet / Animal / 2 Readings / 16 Ratings
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              26.08.2001 06:31
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              Hello, my name's Hiccup. I was born on 5th October 1998. I arrived at my new home on 5th December of that year. My Mum finally allowed me to come onto Dooyoo to tell you all the gossip on her, but she told me I could only write about my life so far! When I was picked up and taken from my actual mother, my new human mother picked me up. I fitted snuggly into her hand. Her hand wrapped around me making me feel secure. On the way to my new home I was very sick.....I don't like the car much. On arriving at my new home I was in for a big shock. There were 3 other dogs there!! I didn't really know what to do, so I went up to them to introduce myself. To begin with they ran away from me, I must have really scared them. Maybe when I grow up I'm going to be a German Shepherd, maybe that's why they were scared. The first dog I was introduced to was Joshua. I was told he was my Father. He has long hair and is white and tan. He's a scruffy Jack Russell, just like me, but I'm tri coloured, black, tan and white. I was then introduced to Saunders. Wow, what a BIG dog. He's a retriever cross collie. He has a wonderful tail. I couldn't help it....I just had to....it was there....it might have killed something, so with all my might I decided to sink my teeth into this long swinging thing. I held on and on and on....I was not going to let go. I was being pulled all around the place. I couldn't hold on for ever though and let go. It was a good few hours before I saw that tail again. I was then introduced to Rags a Cairn Terrier. He smelt funny...I guess it's because he's old. I bumbled over to him to say hello...he wasn't very interested. He took one sniff and walked away. Hmmmm, I wasn't going to have that....it was time to play!! Like a roll of thunder I heard this noise....yep, Rags was growling at me. Suddenly "Hic, Hic, Hic"...no, my new
              mums hadn't given me alcohol, but I think the excitement and the being frightened of Rags made me hiccup. That is how I got my name. That night I slept on one of my mums tummy, and that is where I sleep every night. After a few days Saunders (the big dog) and myself were best of friends. We play great games. I hold on to his tail and he drags me everywhere! I wasn't happy though. I ate in the kitchen by myself. I had something called Puppy food. This was not on. I am a BIG dog really. I am very nearly at my mums ankles, but it won't take me long to be the size of Saunders who goes up to her knees. It was hunger strike time. I wasn't going to eat Puppy food any more. I was only going to eat what Saunders ate...BIG dog food! (remember, I am going to be a big dog one day.) Walks are great. We go down to the brook . To begin with I didn't like it, but Saunders always goes in the water and my Daddy, Joshua, plays with his toys in the water. It didn't take me long to start joining in. It was while on one of these walks that I discovered my destiny. I met the woman of my dreams. She was beautiful! She was a young German Shepherd. We immediately hit it off chasing each other around the field. If I was to totally win her heart though I knew I had to be a German Shepherd. From that day onwards my ears have stuck up. I never let them droop. After all, I am going to be a big dog one day. I soon learned to get what I wanted from my mums. I had noticed that when Saunders wanted something he gave them his paw. I managed to out do him. If ever I want anything I sit on my hind legs and wave my paws at them. My Mums make all sorts of funny noises (Oos and ahhs) and I always get a treat! On one occasion my Mums took me in that machine with wheels and we went on a 'trip'. Yes I was sick. We arrived at this house. Out we all got and I was greeted by a big black dog. He was g
              reat! I never did get hold of his tail though. While I was introducing myself I heard this noise. I turned round to see lots of little dogs running towards me. ARGHHHH!!! I was so scared....it was my sisters!! They were sooo small!! (Ok, in actual height at that moment, being the runt of the litter, they were slightly bigger than me...but remember, I am going to be a BIG dog one day!) Well I ran and hid behind my mums. Rags, the old dog, didn't seem to be well. I wanted to make him better and so would curl up with him. He actually let me....this was a miracle! On December 23rd 2000 he died. It was strange not seeing him, but I had found the perfect opportunity to show the others that I was now THE DOG! After all, I am going to be the biggest dog. Unfortunately, my mums wouldn't let me push this issue to far. I now accept the fact that although I am a BIG dog ( I come up to just above my mums ankle) I am the youngest. My Mums bought all of us a new bed. I was NOT impressed. There was a really big bed, a medium sized bed and they gave me a tiny bed. I couldn't even fit into it! I decided to show them. I stretched, I wriggled, I got very uncomfortable, I was hanging out of it, and I gave then my best 'evil' stare. I am after all going to be a BIG dog, and so will try and pinch the biggest bed in time. I'm not over keen on little people. I make a really deep growl, just like a BIG dog, to make sure they don't come near me, and I hide behind my mums legs to make sure that they don't. My favourite food is peanut M&M's. I get these occasionally. I collect them all and guard them. I wait until the others have finished eating theirs and I move them so they can see me and I eat one at a time, REALLY slowly! I love watching nature programmes. I growl at the monkeys, just so they know what a big dog I am. I love cuddling my mums and I have to sleep in the sa
              me position every night. I'm trying to be a BIG dog. I try to sleep on the floor in the dog bed, but it just isn't right. I love all things big, people and dogs, little things scare me, except for my daddy. The thing I hate most is when my Mum calls Saunders her 'baby boy'. She's calling him now. I've got to show her that I'm her baby boy that I'm her cuddle cups. Nice speaking to you all. Signed The BIG little dog, Hiccup

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                25.08.2001 21:34
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                As a Special Needs teacher I thought it might be useful to list some sites for parents as a source of information into finding out the process that schools and LEA's should be taking in identifying a child's special educational need. http://www.dfee.gov.uk/sen/ http://www.dfee.gov.uk/sen/parinf.htm THE JARGON: Special Educational Needs is a wide and diverse field. There are many types of disorders and syndromes that the education authority split into three headings. Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) Examples of these include, difficulties with reading, dyslexia, dyspraxia, students who have had a hearing problem that has gone undetected and therefore they have got behind in their studies, a mild form of autism called aspergers, and so on Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) Example include, autism, downs syndrome and so on...this is not my field and so only limited examples....sorry! Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) This is very often linked with MLD. A student who has found learning difficulties suddenly starts exhibiting behaviour problems, or due to behaviour a student has got 'behind' on their schooling. ADD and ADHD also comes under this bracket as it is a medical disorder that affects behaviour. Students who are introverted, withdrawn and lack self esteem or students with eating disorder can also come under this heading. The examples I have included are by no means all of them. There are 100's and 1000's of special needs out there. My field is MLD and EBD. This opinion will be based around these needs. THE PROCESS Schools follow a scale of 1 - 5 when identifying students with special educational needs. 1 = Recognising and identifying a problem. Setting up extra provision for the student, whether it be extra reading or assistant help within a class. Some students never progress beyond this level and eventually
                will be removed as a concern as they have made sufficient progress. 5 = This is when the school set up the special needs statement for the child. In plain English that means looking at firstly categorising the need and secondly what provision is needed for the child. This process can take up to six months and involves Parents, Teachers, Social Services (if they are involved with the student), the LEA, educational psychologists and doctors. The statement makes recommendations on the way forward. It might be that the school is equipped and able to deal with the situation, but in many situations a special needs school is recommended. Parents DO NOT have to accept these recommendations and there are procedures in place to contest this. I would however ask parents to consider whey they are contesting it, if they chose to do so. What is the best thing for the child? SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOLS: When many parents hear that their child needs to go to a special needs school their hearts sink. I have never been in this position, but have dealt with parents who have. The reason for this 'sinking feeling' is because immediately, society begins to label the parents and the child as a 'failure'. Special Needs Schools have been given a lot of bad press. They are considered 'sin bins', schools for 'thick' children, students are seen as 'failures' and the teachers themselves are considered as second rate teachers who couldn't get a job in a main stream school! It has also been suggested that within special needs schools students can do what they want, when they want, and rule the roost! These attitudes and ideas are firstly misguided, and secondly detrimental to the welfare of the students who attend special needs schools. The hardest part of my job is getting students to believe in themselves. Students arrive at Special Needs Schools with a very low self esteem. They have been labeled by so many th
                at they now feel as though they will achieve nothing. Once students believe in themselves, their self-esteem increases, learning can then begin and success is inevitable. If the media, government and society itself did not make special needs schools and those that attend feel like second class citizens, then my job would be much easier! I want to break down some of these misconceptions. Special Needs Schools follow the National Curriculum, it is the approach that is different. A child who is in year 6 of a special needs school will be taught exactly what a child in year 6 of a main stream school will be taught. However, within the classroom of a special needs school there will be no more than 14 students (I have taught class with only 6 children). This enables students to have extra individual attention and help. Students who attend a Special Needs School are not 'thick'. The first thing that we do at the school I teach at is give a student an IQ test. Many of the students turn out to have high IQ's. Special Needs Schools do enter students for exams. They do SATS , GCSE's, GNVQ's and all the other qualifications. Two days ago I went into school to look at my students exam results. For my subjects 100% of those entered for GCSE art passed, 100% entered for many different certificates of achievement passed, the students who are half way through their GNVQ's (equivalent to 4 GCSE's) in ICT and Leisure and Tourism they are on target for either a merit or a distinction. This puts the students at, or in some cases above the national 'norm'. The students I teach are intelligent, have a lot to offer, but find certain skills difficult. As for the teachers at special needs schools....well don't get me onto that one! But I will say, I have a teaching degree just like those in main stream, I have a Masters Degree in Special Needs Education, I have been asked to talk at conferences for te
                achers from main stream schools on the use of ICT in Art, I have been offered jobs in main stream schools, but I CHOSE to teach in special education. In my experience as a teacher, the teachers within special education are highly skilled people as are all teachers. INCLUSION Yes, I agree with inclusion. I agree with the individuals right to have the same education as the next person...but does this necessarily mean that they have to attend the same school to get this? My fear with complete inclusion is that teachers will become 'Jack of all trades' and the children will lose out on specialist teachers. In the teaching profession, the paper work is enormous, with students who have special needs statements, this paperwork is trebled because of legal documentation that has to be done for them. Teachers will have to add to their work load by researching different disorders, etc, and therefore they will possibly not be as effectual as they are at the moment. In a class of 30, the students that I teach would invariably get 'lost'. It is impossible for them to have the amount of attention as they are getting at the moment, and they do need more attention than most. Doing this will possibly result in less attention being given to the majority and more students suffering the consequences. I think we are naïve if we believe that there is no room in society for special needs schools. I feel that this facility benefits all the children, those in main stream and those in special education. Both help students succeed and achieve. Below are some useful links giving details about some of the special needs that I have mentioned above. http://www.oneworld.org/autism_uk/asd/aspleaf.html http://www.ummed.edu/pub/o/ozbayrak/asperger.html http://www.emmbrook.demon.co.uk/dysprax/homepage.htm http://www.dyslexia.uk.com/ http://www.addcontact.org.uk/

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                • Euthanasia / Discussion / 0 Readings / 18 Ratings
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                  25.08.2001 05:59
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                  Euthanasia, a subject that many have argued over the years. It is a sensitive issue that I debated as a teenager, battling for whichever side appeared to be loosing!! It is a subject that I learned did not have a black and white answer, only shades of gray. No, I didn't know which side of the fence I sat on, I didn't know what I considered to be the 'right' way to go, but I did know the arguments for and against, arguing passionately. But these arguments were hollow, as I didn't really know what I believed. Since those VIth form days I never really gave much of a thought to this subject. I saw things on the news, but still didn't formulate an opinion. Four years ago, I began to rethink this issue. My Mum had been rushed into hospital with a headache. I wasn't really fazed by the fact that she had a headache, but something nagged away at me, and the same day I traveled back to the family home to visit. Ten days later she had died. She was young, only 49, but had suffered a brain tumor that took her life quickly. Throughout these ten days, I watched my mother go through terrible pain and frustration. She was a compassionate woman with a sharp mind. She believed in trying to bring peace to others who were in emotional pain. While in the hospital she visited and spent time with people on the wards, if she heard anyone crying at might she would go to them and sing them to sleep.....she had the most wonderful voice. Through these days she believed that she was doing volunteer work at the hospital, not recognising that she was in fact a patient. She had rational moments, but her mind was quickly going. Things seen on TV became reality. She used to be a dancer and watched Riverdance on one particular evening at the hospital. She believed that she was in the show and would have to get ready soon for her performance. Many things like this were comical, but at the same time soul d
                  estroying for her when she was in a 'rational' moment. Although there was no hope for Mum's survival, and no cure, the doctors decided they wanted to do a biopsy. It was considered successful. However, the day after, when I sat holding her hand while she slept, looking at her face and seeing her pain, seeing her stitches, seeing where the left side of her face had now drooped, and knowing that she found speaking difficult (she had resigned herself to not speaking as she had no control over what she was saying) I asked God at that moment to stop her suffering and to take her. Within 24 hours we were sat in a room with doctors telling us that her brain had given up and they were recommending that her life support machines were turned off. My brothers, my father and I were all totally at peace with this and totally relieved for Mum that it was all over. After Mum died, I took on the family dog. Last Christmas, at the age of 16, we had him put down. This was not a decision taken lightly. He had suffered strokes, and his eyes said, enough is enough. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and watching him die was not a nice experience, but he is now free of his suffering and pain. These experiences have helped me formulate what I think about Euthanasia. Many say that we shouldn't play 'God'. They are right, we shouldn't. With technology and medicine as it is today, I believe that we are actually taking on this role. There are many strengths with medicine, and it saves lives, gives people a second chance. Transplants enable people to live and people?s quality of life is much improved. But what of when we are 80 and are being kept alive, when we are suffering, when we are ready to go, but not being given that option? Should we be allowed to make the decision not to receive medication, should we be allowed to let nature take its course? I believe we should. In cases
                  such as these I think that we are prolonging life unnecessarily. What of being terminally ill? Should we, if we know we haven't got long to live, be allowed to take the option of ending it all? Again, there are instances when the treatments given are prolonging life, putting off the inevitable for a little while longer. Some of these treatments can cause emotional and physical pain to the patient. Some would rather the process of dieing to happen quickly, for them, why shouldn't they be allowed to take the euthanasia route? What of those who end up with Alzheimer?s? If in sane mind, before this happens, they say they would like to be assisted in death if they 'loose' their mind, then why should they not be able to? Some would argue that we often really believe something until we are faced with the situation. To follow this through, if I decided that I would like to be assisted in my death if and when my mind goes, I sign all the papers and am happy about this. I then find that something happens in the future where I am considered 'not of sound mind'. Although this may have happened, I might be happy with my life, I might be happy with who I am, but I might not have the resources to communicate this to those around me. What happens then? There are many gray areas. You may be wondering why I mentioned my dog. Well, we are, after all, animals. Yes, there are things that separate us from animals, although I believe that we are not really as separate as we would like to think! (that, however, is another subject!) Animals think, feel, care, communicate and so on. We, in Britain are an animal loving nation. How often have you heard others say that the kindest thing to do for an animal when they are suffering is to put them out of their misery? My vet implied this when I took the old dog to him. I wanted him to die at home, and at that time wasn't ready to face that he was going to di
                  e. We prolonged his life for a short while, but then let him go. We do this for animals, why not humans? Yes, there are risks that the implementation of euthanasia could be abused.....however, everything we see or do is open to being abused. I just keep coming back to the look in my Mum's eyes, and then a few years later, my dog?s eyes, that enough was enough. When someone is at peace with dieing and are ready to go, why shouldn't they be allowed to?

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                  • Hear'Say in general / Archive Music / 1 Reading / 20 Ratings
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                    21.08.2001 16:35
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                    Today, as we all know, Pop is an Industry. In my opinion Hear'Say are breaking the rules of this industry. What I'm going to write is an opinion on them as a band, not on their album (although I will mention one or two songs....there are plenty of ops which give a run down of these.) Some ops that I have read have really put Hear'Say down and have annoyed me. So I'm coming out in defence of this band. Having watched the lasted few episodes of 'Popstars', I was drawn to the personalities involved. They are young (yes I come into the over 25 bracket), excited by the whole experience, and, more importantly, human. For those that didn't watch the episode, there was a part where Nasty Nigel commented on Kym's weight, implying that she had to loose a few pounds to be acceptable for the band. She flew all over him. Good on her. She in the next episode explained why she had reacted in this way. She in the past has had an eating disorder, and it this disorder came about by trying to be what society expects people in 'show business' to look like, slim and beautiful. She was angry because of the message this was sending out to younger viewers. Good on her. Some ops have implied that they are not sexy enough and that is what the pop industry is about! WHAT!! OK, in a tiny way, I understand that arguement. The industry want the 'viewers' to be drawn to the members of the band, to find them attractive to try and increase sales, but it takes all sorts. What makes someone attractive? To me, each of the bands characters shine through. Danny has a fantastic smile and is just so grateful for this opportunity. All of them are enjoying the experience and come across so genuinely, that this, in my eyes makes them attractive. Surely, we are not going to go along with the Pop Industries model of everyone having to look one way?! I believe that the music industry sh
                    ould be about the music itself, and the voices singing. I love listening to Madonna, but hate watching her perform, but it doesn't stop me from buying her music. Hear'Say CAN sing. Each voice is individual and they are learning to compliment each other. When they perform, they want to sing live. This, through nerves, can cause being out of tune. They will get better at singing live as time goes on. However, remember seeing their first interview with the press? Hear'Say were asked to sing. Immediately, unaccompained, the burst into 'Bridge over Troubled Water'. The harmonies were spot on and sent shivers down my spine. This takes skill, and the ability to sing! 'I doubt if the Spice Girls could have done that', was a comment from one of the reporters. He was so right. Which Pop artists have survived over the years? Those with musical ability, those whose voices that are able to carry the music. I am looking forward to their next album when the music will be theirs to see what way they are going. If we give them a chance rather than just have the attitude of 'another manufactured band', they might go far.

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                    • Marriage - Is it outdated? / Discussion / 0 Readings / 14 Ratings
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                      19.08.2001 02:14
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                      Marriage outdated? I don't think so. Although today we see statistics showing high divorce rate and no benefit for having that little piece of paper, there are many who see the value of marriage, who believe in it whole-heartedly, who take their vows seriously, who after many years still love and adore their partner. I don't know if this is the place to write what I'm about to say, but here goes anyway! I believe marriage should be updated. I say this, not because they should include multiple partners, not because you should take the 'for better or for worse' out of it and exchange it for a 'if I feel like it'. I simply say this because there are many people who believe very deeply in marriage, but legally, in this country are not able to marry. I am a gay woman, who has been living with my partner for three years. I love her deeply, as I know she loves me, and we both want to get married. I know you can have 'blessings' but that's not what we want. Why do we want that paper? The reasons I am going to list are by no means an order of priority. Firstly, for us, it will save a lot of hassle later in life. As things stand at the moment, if either of us were to become ill, needed surgery, etc, we are not considered a spouse. Because of this, it could be other members of our families that have say so and are informed of what is happening, rather than either of us. If we were able to marry, we would not be in the position we are now. We met over the internet. She is American. If we had that bit of paper we wouldn't still be trying to keep her in this country. The process for a married couple takes 1 year, for us it has taken 3 years and we estimate another 2 years to go with the way the home office is at the moment. This means that she is unable to leave the country, even if something happens to any of her family......this, however, is all to do with another top
                      ic!! The point I am trying to say is that marriage would make our future secure, enabling us to get on with living. The most important reason for us though, is to be given the opportunity to publically announce, in the presence of God, our love for each other and our commitment to each other. (yes, Lesbians can believe in God!) I believe that many people today take marriage for granted. Can you imagine not being allowed to marry your partner though? May be attitudes would change towards marriage if this was the case. Maybe it has become too easy for some, I don't know.....but I do know that marriage is a gift that is given to us. Many enjoy this gift and continue to enjoy it. Unfortunately, there are those, like myself, who are not even given that chance.

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                      • Bullying in Schools / Discussion / 0 Readings / 44 Ratings
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                        18.08.2001 19:23
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                        School's and teachers are in the position to do something about bullying. Many do and are succesful, however more often than not, they aren't. When they have tried everything the bully is moved on. This is great news for the victim, although still struggling with the scars that have been left, they no longer have to deal with the bully face to face. What happens to the bully? Does the exculsion 'teach them a lesson'? Do they realise the error of their ways? The answer is simply NO. All the bullies are put in one place......otherwise known as Special Needs Schools. This is where I come in. I am a Special Needs teacher whose field is teaching those with behaviour difficulties. I am sad to say that teachers and the system let these students down day in, day out. -----Why do Bullies Bully?------- It is flippantly said 'because they are victims of bullying'. People scoff at this and argue that this should make them more understanding. Let me shed some light on to the extent of the bullying I am talking about. Student A: 9 years old. In his short life he has undergone extreme bullying. At the age of five he cried because he was hungry. Dad was not impressed, called him a wimp and told him that he would teach him never to cry again. He sat his son in the bath, held him down and filled the bath with scalding water....the whole time he told his son that he must not cry or he would get worse happen to him. Student A did not cry, but suffered extreme burns, his body still carries the scars. On another occasion Dad woke his son up at 3.00am and told him to tidy his room. Student A didn't want to. He told his dad he would do it in the morning. His dad got hold of him, and held him from his feet out of the window. He then stripped his sons room of everything, leaving him there naked. Outside his sons room, his father sat, telling him that he was worthl
                        ess, no good, and so on. This went on for over a week. Mixed in with all this there was regular sexual abuse from his father, uncle and grandfather. Student A was put into a foster home. He was removed from this home because they physically abused him. The following foster home seemed more promising, but they too abused him. He was brought to us immediately after this for emergency care (we did not usually take students this young.) Although a day school, we had a residential unit for cases such as these. Student A was a bully himself. He would whisper names to other students, corner them, demand money, cigarettes, anything really. He also made students do his wishes. He had an effective method for this. He would corner students in the toilets. He would make them look in the mirror and tell them "Say Candy Man three times". The students did this and on the third time of saying "Candy Man", student A would whip out a blade and nick the students face. He would tell them that they were now his property and in his control. I can imagine your horror at this and your thoughts of "He must have been excluded for this!" The answer is no, he wasn't. It is our job to deal with these behaviours. As children, and even as adults, we learn how to manipulate people to get our own way. I remember as a child with my 2 brothers, plotting how we could get downstairs to watch 'Blankety Blank' on a Friday night (sad I know)! Being the only girl, I was nominated. My brothers made me cry.....I went downstairs and turned these tears towards my parents! We got to watch the TV. I will add that the following week that method didn't work! So I started trying to find another 'manipulation' method! My point is that in life we find ways in getting friends, in trying to be liked, in being admired, in getting our own way. Most of us learn these skills and are taug
                        ht them through watching how others do them. Although in a distorted way, this is what Student A was doing. He was getting his own way, people admired him (feared), he had friends (a gang of people who were frightened), he was liked, afterall, they did what he wanted. The only way he knew how to do this was by drawing on the experiences he had had....using violence and bullying. -------So what can be done?-------- Education, Education, Education! Educate children on bullying and it will stop. In some circumstances this will work, but in the environment I work in, it doesn't. If I were to walk into one of my classrooms and ask my students to outline the characteristics of bullying, and explain the effect that bullying has on others, they would tell me everything in detail and passionately argue how wrong it is. As soon as the lesson is over they would walk through the corridors of the school finding their next victim. Through the introduction of teaching about bullying, the extreme bullies have learned how to become more devious, secretive and 'evil'. The bullying has been pushed underground and is becoming more harmful. The bullies are also learning how to bully teachers. In the particular school where student A was at, I witnessed this day after day. Having taught for 4 years in a special school I moved to the school purely for behaviour difficulties. The perils that teachers face when new in any school is tough. Students play practical jokes, and try and see how far they can push you. These were extreme at this school. Not wanting to blow my own trumpet, I was head hunted for this position. The school had high hopes, and thought I could change things over night. I was given what was considered the 'toughest' class. Now I'm not big. I'm 5ft 5 and bit (the bit is very important to me!) I am a slim build and the majorit
                        y of the students (all boys) were taller than me. My first break time and I was doing a whole class detention. The students had run me ragged all morning and achieved no work. I resorted to the sitting and waiting tactic (I don't believe in shouting....students just shout back!). It lasted the whole lesson. The bell went for break time. The students grabbed their bags and headed for the door. They found little old me stood in the doorway. I asked them to sit down so we could do the lesson they had missed. The barrage of verbal abuse and threats that I received was incredible. I was surrounded by 5 boys, while the rest of the class sat down. I continued to ask them if they could sit down. One of the boys tried to push past me. Although there's not a lot to me, I have two brothers and have spent a lot of my life on a farm, and so am stronger than I look. I didn't move. I wasn't going to back down. With threats still flying, one of the boys filled his mouth with crisps, came nose to nose with me and started spitting them at me.....much to the amusement of the rest of the class. Was I scared? I needed a change of underwear! But, I still did not move. These students decided to break up the class, tables chairs, anything really. Assistance had been called for and the 'heavy mob' arrived. This was my first experience of restraint. It is not a pretty sight. It was six months before the boys started backing down. I was occasionally physically hurt, but I was determind. I decided to watch other members of teaching staff. What I witnessed distressed me. How did other teachers 'control' the classes? Through bullying themselves, using restraint, verbal put downs and so on. Or some teachers just let the bullies do what they wanted, and use bribes so they behave in their class. These particular boys also bullied students. I reported the bullying and the result was the victim was removed
                        from the class. AGHHHHHH!!!!! I was fighting the tide, but found some allies within the school, who tried to approach things from the same angle as me. I spent time with the bullies, and I spent time with the victims. I listened, I cared, I never raised my voice and I rarely physically restrained them. On these occasions it was for the protection of others. Students poured into my classes (skipping classes was a big thing.) Why? They were protected. They were dealt with fairly, they were listened to, and if something had been handled incorrectly by me, they would get a public appology. They were made to feel that they mattered, victim and bully alike. Within my class I didn't get rid of the bullying, but it reduced considerably. After 2 years at the school I left. Why? They way the bullies and victims were being handled was detrimental to their well being and development as people. Morally I couldn't stay there any more, I had done all I could. The students were the ones that had kept me going for those 2 years. I left exhausted. ------My Belief-------- I now teach at another school for students with behaviour difficulties. The calaibre of student is the same as before, all have experienced similar abuse within their lives. The bullying however is virtually non existent. Why? Each student is given time. Each student is informed of the behaviours we are trying to reduce, the student and teacher work together on these behaviours. Victims and bullies alike are listened to, time is spent with each and they are all treated with respect. The ethos of repect for other comes through loud and clear, and students are taught 'how' to do this. Although I deal with extreme behaviour, I believe that the above also applies within a mainstream school situation. Afterall, it does not matter what type of school you go to, if you are listened to and have time spent with you, and are
                        treated fairly, surely you start to examine your actions. <br>Will we ever get rid of bullying? I don't think so. Until we as a society teach our children to care for others, to respect each other, and equipe them with the skills to manage their lives and to help them believe that they are worth something, the same problem will always arise. Bullying, whether it be at school, or in the work place is to do with the bullier feeling inadequate, not needed and worthless. Once we make people feel valued, feel loved, feel able, the problem should reduce.

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                        • MS PowerPoint 2000 / Office Software / 0 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                          15.08.2001 16:54
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                          With Office 2000 you recieve the New and Improved PowerPoint! Or is it? Often programs are released and in appearance things appear differently, but when you get into what it does, there is not much change. _____________________________________________ So what is PowerPoint? PowerPoint is a piece of Presentation Software, a glorified slide projector or OHP (overhead projector). It is commonly used when for giving talks, but can also be seen in entrance halls to business giving a looped slideshow of what they offer. As a teacher I use PowerPoint regularly. I love it, and use it for more than giving a 'lecture' (not my style!) One of the subjects I teach is Art and I use it for showing artists pictures, giving and idea of the scale of the work.....books just don't do that! My students are now using it as an electronic portfolio of their work. I'm sure examiners will get used to it! Yes, PowerPoint is presentation software, but don't just stick to talks....use your imagination, have fun with it! _____________________________________________ Features: The templates provided when you enter the program are a good starting point for those who are not used to working in frames. (You have to draw boxes to write in, or to put a picture in. It's not like Word were you just type.) The templates provide many options, just text, text and graphics, text, graphics and graphs or text, graphics, graphs and tables! You do have the blank slide option aswell....this is usually my starting point! Microsoft have added more styles with 2000. You are provided with an array of colour schemes to work with. They look wonderful on the PC screen, but a word of caution. CHECK that they look wonderful when on a big screen, in a big room, with light flooding in through the windows! As a teacher, for me, I make sure the colours won't cause a
                          problem to anyone who is colour blind! Once you have designed your slide, it is time to put all the information you require on to the slides. As mention previously this is done in a frame layout. At this point I have found it useful to think about how I want the overall presentation to appear at the end. If I want lots of animation, use lots of frames. Once your prentation content is complete its time for the fun stuff! Adding animation. This is very easy to do. Right click on the frame you want, select animation, and away you go. There have been more options added here in the 2000 version, have a look and play. It is here that you can also add sound Hidden buttons and the ability to add notes while your presentation is being presented (so no one else can see) is also available. As usual you are able to print out the slides in a note form, so that people listening and watching can keep track of what you are doing. With PowerPoint 2000 you are also able to make some attractive web based presentations. However, I have found it limited and would rather use Flash 5. _____________________________________________ Ease of Use With Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 things are getting incredibly simple and easy to use. The students that I teach are 14 year olds and over. They are special needs students and many have a reading age of less than 8. After a 10 min demo and 'how to' on PowerPoint they are able to produce a simple presentation in 30 mins. Microsoft have given us the ability to concentrate on the content of what we are doing rather than getting it all to work. This means that if landed it having to give a talk at short notice, making it look good won't be difficult! _____________________________________________ And finally......... If you have seen on TV programmes, poeple giving talks, amazing computer graphics and s
                          o many things happening on the screen, you have probably not witnessed Microsoft PowerPoint. If you want that, use a different piece of software. If you want a professional, crisp look presentation that is quick and easy to use, then this is the option for you. Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 is basically the same as it always has been, however, it has additionally templates, designs, animations and has become, yet again, easier to use.

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                          • Dremel 3956 Multi / Household Product / 2 Readings / 12 Ratings
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                            14.08.2001 21:33
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                            I have never felt so much like a kid at Christmas when I was given my Dremel. I immediately wanted to start doing! This handy little tool is able to do almost anything. It is ideal for all those smaller DIY jobs you have left lying around your house just waiting to be done. It is also very useful for using it in making crafts. I have used it to cut Sheep wire fencing to size, sand all those little areas you can never get to, carve features into wood and drill holes. I, however, am just using what suits me.....it can do so much more. This tool is about the size of an electric screwdriver. It is comfortable and lightweight and therefore easy to use with just one hand. Dremel provide over 150 interchangable heads to be used with various types of materials. It polishes, cuts, sands and engraves By buying extra accessories you can turn it into a router or a tle cutter. What versitle tool. They say size isn't everything.....its what you do with it that counts!! A word of warning. I used my Dremel consistently for over a year and eventually blew the motor! Ofcourse it landed outside the guarentee period! BUT, without my Dremel I was lost, so I purchased another one. Well worth £70.

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                            • More +
                              14.08.2001 21:12
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                              For those that do not know what Age of Empires is all about, I'll give an outline of the game. A simulation/strategy game that requires you to guide tribes through their day-to-day life. The aim of the game is to build your tribe into a great civilization that can eventually defeat the world. You begin the game in the stone age on an unexplored map. You will reveal different terrain types and find food, wood, gold, and stones. You assign villagers to collect these by hunting, fishing, foraging, farming, chopping down trees and mining. You need to gather enough resources and build enough housing to support your growing civilization. By creating buildings you train military units and boats to defend yourself, or attack other civilizations. As you advance through the ages, you can build new buildings, create new boats and military units, and research new technologies. You can establish alliances with other civilizations, exchange tribute, and establsh trade routes. The winning of a game is determined by the victory conditions of the senario. You can play single player campaigns, as well as single player or multi player random maps or senarios. There is also and option to create your own senarios. _____________________________________________ BUILDINGS Each building created brings a different characteristic to the game. Town Centre: Allows villagers, Storage Pits, Granaries, Docks, and Barracks to be constructed. Storage Pit: Villagers go here to deliver meat, stone, gold and wood. Allows Toolworking, Leather Armor (for infantry,Calvery,Archers...I,C,A), Bronze Shield, Iron Shield, Metalworking, Scale Armor (I,C,A), Metalurgy, and Chain Mail (I,C,A) to be researched. Barracks: Creates Clubman, Axeman, Short Swordsman, Broadswordsman, Longswordsman, and Legions. Allows construction of Archery Range and Stable. Granary: Food from farms and berries is brought here. Allows construction of a market. Walls and Towers upgrades are researched here. Dock: Builds Fishing Boats, Trade Boats, Transports (L,H), War Galleys, Scout Ships, Merchant Ships, Fishing Ships, Trimemes, Catapult Trimemes, and Juggernaughts. Market: Allows construction of Farms, Temples, and Government Centers. Woodworking, Artisanship, Craftsmanship, Stonemining, Siegecraft, Wheel, Goldmining, Coinage, Domestication, Plow, and Irrigation are researched here. House: Provides a home for your units. Must have adequate housing to build more units. Stable: Builds Scouts, Chariots, War Elephants, Heavy Calvary, Cataphrat and Calvary. Needed to build an Academy. Archery Range: Builds Bowman, Chariot Archer, Elephant Archer, Horse Archer, Improved Bowman, Composite Bowman, and Heavy Horse Archer. Needed to Build a Siege Workshop. Farm: Villagers can farm here and gather food. Seige Workshop: Builds Stone Throwers, Ballistas, Helepolis, Catapults, and Heavy Catapults. Academy: Builds Hoplites, Phalanxes, and Centurions. Government Centre: Needed to build additional Town Centers. Research Nobility, Writing, Architecture, Engineering, Aristocracy, Alchemy, and Ballistics here. Temple: Train Priests here. Research Polythesism, Mysticism, Astrology, Monotheism, Afterlife, Jihad, and Fanaticism here. Wonder: In standard play, this qualifies as victory. It does however require lots of resources to build _____________________________________________ UNITS This is your army. To create each one you needed a certain amount of resources. You get different types of units as you progress through the ages and research technologies. Infantry: Clubman, Axeman, Short Swordsman, Broad Swordsman, Long Swordsman, Legion, Hoplite, Phalanx, Centurion. Arche
                              rs: Bowman, Improved bowman, Composite bowman, Chariot Archer, Elephant Archer, Horse Archer and Heavy Horse Archer. Cavalry: Scout, Chariot, Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry, Cataphract, War Elephant Seige Weapons: Stone Thrower, Catapult, Heavy Catapult, Balista, Helepolis Boats: Fishing Boat, Fishing Ship, Trade Boat, Merchant Ship, Light Transport, Heavy Transport, Scout Ship, War Galley, Trireme, Catapult Trireme, Juggernaught. _____________________________________________ CIVILIZATIONS You play against and play the part of each civilization. Each has different characteristics and different unit options. Assyrian: +40% Archery Range unit fire rate Villagers 30% faster Babylonian: Double wall and tower hit points +30% Priest rejuventation rate +30% stone mining Ancient Choson: +80 Long Swordsman and Legion hit points +2 tower range -30% Priest Cost Egyptian: +20% gold mining +33% Chariot and Archer hit points +3 Priest Range Greek: Hoplite, Phalanx and Centurion 30% faster War ships 30% faster Hittite: Double Tone Thrower, Catapult, Heavy Catapult hit points +1 Archery Range unit attack +4 war ship range Minoan: 30% ship cost +2 Composite Bowman range +25% Farm production Persian: +30% huntin -30% farm production War elephant and Elephant archer 50% faster +50% Trireme fire rate Phoenician: -25% war elephant and elephant archer cost +65% catapult trireme and juggernaught fire rate Shang: -30% villiger cost double wall hit points Sumerian: +15 villager hit points +50% stone thrower, catapult, heavy catapult fire rate double farm production Yamato: -25% horse archers, scout, cavalry, heavy cavalry, cataphract cost villagers 30% faster +30% ship hit points _________
                              ____________________________________ The game took me a good few months of playing to finish it. I played every opportunity I could (abut 4 hours an evening and all the weekends....what a sad existance!) However, this was just the single senarios, I haven't tried the multplayers yet.......I'm not brave enough! During play I experienced no freeze ups _____________________________________________ The graphics are excellent, you are slightly above the action. No blood and guts (making it suitable for younger people), but the sound effects lets you know what's going on. _____________________________________________ The game gets harder as you progress. On some senarios I became totally bamboozled. There is nothing more frustrating when you can't continue with a game because you just seem to have tried everything, but just can't seem to beat the thing! I have to admit that to get past these points I resorted to cheat codes. This game has hooked me. Althoug it might seem to be the same game as Microsoft have released before, it is a formula that works. I have tried other, similar games, but have not had the frustration and exhileration that I have found with this one. Totally addictive!

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                              • Dyson DC01 / Vacuum Cleaner / 2 Readings / 9 Ratings
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                                14.08.2001 18:02
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                                4 dogs and so much hair! 2 years ago I bought the DC01. I had vacuumed that morning, but wanted to try out the new Dyson. What a shock! I don't know if they purposfully show you the grit and grime in order to make you realise just how filthy your house is, or if it actually makes the suction power greater! Either way, the DC01 transformed my home! The Dyson tackled everything that was not meant to be on, in or beneath the carpet with ease. I cannot fault the ability of this hoover, however, the hose had a few problems. The handle of the hoover is situated in the hose and you remove it from its casing when you want to use it. This was awkward to use and the hose eventual tore. Just after a year of having it the power went totally. I managed to contact Dyson very quickly. No phone queues, and the line was answered immediately. They came out that week and gave the Dyson a service. They replaced with power cable and the hose with modified parts....they had obviously had this problem before. The repair man was efficient and went beyond the call of duty. He didn't just repair what he had been told to, but made sure that the DC01 was in tip top condition. The changes in design on the hose have made the use easier and has kept the suction power more consitent. I love this vacuum!

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                                • Dell Inspiron 7500 / Laptop / 6 Readings / 14 Ratings
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                                  14.08.2001 17:14
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                                  A year ago I needed to purchase a laptop. With my previous job I had been provided with one, but was entering a job where I needed one. I began to scout around for a reliable, but 'able to cope with anything' laptop. Dell have a good reputation and I have had dealings with them in the past, so I looked at their products. They also offer a very good financial service, and as I knew this wasn't going to be cheap I took full advantage of this. My 7500 is PIII 600mhz processor, 128mb, 13gb hard drive, internal modem, DVD/CDrom drive and floppy. Everything is inbuilt, no extra attachments are needed. You are provided with a nifty little cable that means you can link your Dell to your TV, turning it into a DVD player!! A year on and I have had no problems with any of the hardware. I use software that makes the system work hard (Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc) and the Dell Inspiron 7500 takes it all in it's stride. I have now been provided with a laptop for work use, but I regularly seem to end up using my own. With some many new moves forward in IT and the new Ghtz processors I thought that I might find myself becoming envious of these new funky machines, but no. The Dell Inspiron 7500 will last me until it, or I die!

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