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Did you know that some experts believe that the use of any keyboard may cause serious injury to ones hands, wrists, arms or even worse the back or the neck - they even say that if you experience pain, numbness or weakness in any of the mentioned body areas whilst using a keyboard then you should seek help from a qualified medical professional. - And to make matters worse the so called experts have given this condition a name: Carpal Syndrome -
Now, how should one react to such a statement?
Or could it all just all be a selling ploy as the often overlooked keyboard is finally getting more attention from all corners of the PC industry - a piece of computer hardware that is no longer dull looking , flat and rectangular like the keyboards of old. - Instead the traditional QWERTY layout has evolved into this sophisticated and advanced peripheral. Hardware equipment that delivers exceptional design as well as ergonomic comfort when in typing action. The features just don't stop there: hot-keys, extra keys, short cuts, multimedia keys, wireless, and USB connector. - Keyboards are simply being designed to accommodate the consumer's lifestyle. These little babies are on demand and whether you're into playing games, browsing the internet, typing letters, doing spreadsheets or reading emails you can now buy a keyboard that is equipped to suit your needs.
I have to confess I am one of those people that eat (crisps & chocolate), drinks and smokes over my keyboard hence you all know what happens to the state of ones keyboard when you do that. Disgusting habit I know , but I do try and catch the cigarette ash before slipping in between the letters but to no avail lol - Don't blame me , blame the Dooyoo member who submitted a 4,000 word review - as I am reading I am all unawares & my cigarette consumes away. OOops! - There goes another snowflake of ash, landed on letter H this time lol. So taking by bad habits into account as well as the poor condition of my Logitech keyboard it was time to up-grade to a new one. I have a cool PC and a very nice VDU flat screen and so I wanted a keyboard that was small in size but had the wow factor. Basically, I was looking for something different to what I was used to , a keyboard that is reasonably priced , had the simple looking UK QWERTY layout but with no multimedia keys that you tend to find on keyboards these days (how annoying) but at the same time I wanted one that had a trendy innovative design to it. Was I asking for a lot here? I think not as word of mouth pointed me to the right direction and that is how I found out about the Saitek Eclipse keyboard - The moment I saw it, I had to have it & so out came the credit card and did the purchase - Amazon purchase @ £34
[Company Name:] - Saitek
[PC Keyboard Model:] - Saitek Eclipse
[Price:] - £25 - £ 35 - Amazon or Ebay.
[Packaging & Installing Keyboard]
Normally I don't bother talk about the packaging of a product but this time around I feel that it needs mentioning - Having bought keyboards in the past where by the packaging was flimsy & poor hence the contents in the box would sometimes arrive all disorganised and out of place when opening. The installation disc , USB leads and instruction manual all over the place and worse scenario is when you receive damaged goods and your newly purchase product has to be returned. The Saitek keyboard cuts no corners when it comes to delivering it goods - housed in a tough cardboard box you can rest assured the keyboard and its contents have no room for manoeuvre. You can shake the box before opening but you won't hear a thing - all neatly compressed into its interior compartments making sure that whilst in transit the goods arrive safely & in good condition. A well packaged product that speaks volumes on presentation.
I am all in favour for advanced technology but more so when the state-of-the-art technology in use is simple to operate & understand. This is exactly what you will find if you purchase the Saitek Eclipse keyboard - installing the non-wireless peripheral hardware equipment is so easy, so much so that you are up & running in 5 seconds. The plug and play design with USB connector connects into one of your computer USB ports and that's all you have to do. The Add New Hardware wizard will appear and the computer will then automatically install the correct drivers for the keyboard. - Note: No installation CD is needed - A five second process from the moment you take the keyboard out of the box to when you plug it into the computer USB port.- Its remarkably that simple - the quickest hardware installation I have come across.
[Saitek Eclipse - Looks & Design]
This unique bone-shaped keyboard is exceptionally designed and one that can accommodate the private home or the office - a classic 104 key QWERTY layout featuring a host of technology enhancements. The solid black weighted base with large rubber feet keep the keyboard securely planted and positioned to the desk - unlike the lighter and hollow keyboard models that easily slide out of position. Its unusual and interesting shape (looks like a long and thin bone) is designed to use up as little desk space as possible - an excellent feature for those that have very little room to place the keyboard. The metal looking silver keys cry out quality, perfectly shaped and evenly spaced apart to accommodate any finger size. The silver colour keys compliments the black keyboard base giving it the overall stylish finishing touch. A stand out feature on the QWERTY layout keyboard and one that I quickly noticed is the space bar key - its short and fat as oppose to long and thin. Well cool!
Now comes the best part - The Saitek Eclipse is a backlit keyboard with illuminated blue keys. All of the keyboard characters as well as the edges of the keys glow brightly, all of which are visible in any lighting environment. The Eclipse features TruVu keys that allow the lighting to glow through each laser-etched key - making it possible to read the keys in the dark. This unique illuminated characteristic gives the keyboard a truly stunning look - a sci-fi innovative modern image that plays its purpose wonderfully. - Late night internet surfing, no need to turn the light/lamp on and disturb other family members, you can simply type away in total darkness. Or, as all gamers know that when the lights are switched off you create an atmospheric ambiance to a game, always better and more enjoyable to play. The Saitek Eclipse keyboard will support this mood - so look no further if your one of those gamers that like to play into the early hours of the morning.
Like the majority of keyboard nowadays they all come with angle adjustment feet for maximum comfort as well as the removable & adjustable wrist rest, the Saitek Eclipse is no exception. The wrist rest easily clips on/off and is made of high quality material as is the black solid keyboard base. I don't use the wrist rest, no need and besides was never a fan of this additional part to the keyboard - and this goes for all models. This keyboard model only has 4 small additional keys, located top right corner - useful controls that change you computers audio volume as well as the brightness of the illuminated keys (full brightness/half brightness or off completely) - bar this the Saitek Eclipse has a clean cut layout and that's exactly what I wanted. It does the basics and does them very well - I have no need for all these multimedia extra keys that ram the keyboard fascia, keys that I don't plan to use. However, if you like all of these additional extras and shortcuts on your keyboard then this model is definitely not for you.
[Saitek Eclipse - Features & Performance]
At first sight it is so evident that this product is quality, the excellent packaging alone showed signs of good things to come but we all know looks can deceive. As I have previously been fooled by looks instead of substance when purchasing other computer hardware peripherals, I wasn't getting carried away this time around even though I did like the keyboard design - a design that most definitely has the WOW factor when you first set your eyes on it. I purchased this keyboard in June 2007, so after 8 months of constant use I can gladly say that this little baby continues to have the WOW factor, not only in looks but also in quality performance.
The countless hours and usage spent on this keyboard has not fazed it one bit - The Saitek Eclipse shows no hint of wear on neither the key characters nor a brightness glow reduction in the illuminated backlit LED feature. Instead the edges of the laser etched characters are fresh looking and the blue glowing light still has a sharp definition when using in the dark. Now, for the important part when using any keyboard & that's the typing action involved. The Eclipse sure does deliver an excellent tactile feedback, an ergonomic key design for silent and comfortable typing action. When keys gets depressed it gives off clunking sound that is not noisy nor does it distract you when taking on the many tasks on your PC - the clickety-click cheap sound that we have become so accustomed to is a feature the Saitek Eclipse have definitely worked on to avoid.
The UK QWERTY layout and keys are simply sleek looking and the keystroke feels great when typing - your typing speed will definitely improve with this keyboard due to its superb design & comfort when using. Working in total darkness really is amazing, no need to reach out and switch the lights on as the TruVu technology takes care of all of this. Initially I had my doubts, but the lighting glow through each laser etched key continues to be just as sharp as the first day I bought it - making it possible to read all the keys in the dark.
Note: Installation for users of Windows 2000/Windows XP & XP64
[A quick recap on the features:]
~ 104 Key Keyboard With illuminated Keys
~ Laser Etched Key Characters
~ Solid Weighted Base
~ Comfortable Adjustable Wrist Rest
~ TruVu Keys
~ Volume/Bright Buttons To Control The Blue LED Backlighting.
[My Final Verdict - The Saitek Eclipse]
This stunning looking clean-cut keyboard is a fantastic purchase and well worth the money, so much so that I bought myself another one, that's the impression it's made on me. Its all nicely boxed and put in the loft for when I need it. The Saitek Eclipse is an exceptional keyboard design for home & office use and one that will sure turn heads. And although this hardware PC component works via a USB connector and is not wires-free please don't let this put you off. I`ve used several wire-less keyboards in the past and there is no doubt this feature is enticing but not imperative. You can do a lot worse than the Saitek Eclipse keyboard. - A model well worth considering.
Note: This is the Saitek Eclipse not the Saitek Eclipse II its newer brother - So if you plan to purchase one of these take this into account - Although both models offer the illuminated backlight feature they are completely different in style as well as the features & key layout.
Thanks .........© Stroody 2008
[Premium Review - 500 Dooyoo Miles]
[Member Reads - 15 Extra Dooyoo Miles]
[Crown - 1,500 Miles]
[Product Suggestion - 10 Dooyoo Miles]
[Administration Fee Removed]
[Crown Of The Day - Publicity for members on site hence can & will increase reads].
[Regular Up-dates on competitions are announced on the site - Superbly Run.]
Now, Dooyoo members: What seems to be the problem?
From where I am sitting all I can see is Dooyoo miles thrown at me from all angles - an exciting and enticing new system that I embrace fully but more importantly a system that benefit's the majority if not all the members on this site. So for all those that turn around and say they lose miles with the new system instead of gaining then you simply haven`t don't the maths properly. - The earning potential being offered to every member across the board is huge, whether you decide to take part in this new system it's entirely up to you. If your one of those members that have been affected by the new changes due to the fact that you don't write many reviews on the site, then that really is no excuse nor is it Dooyoo`s fault. Members are paid to write hence submitting reviews is what you must do to fully appreciate and enjoy the perks and incentives offered. I personally think this is a superb new Dooyoo mile package and one that has vastly improved for the better when compared to the old traditional system - so for some members to complain so prematurely at what Dooyoo have come up with shows lack of judgement. Sorry, but it isn't going to get better than this perk & incentive wise - Dooyoo can do no more & personally I wouldn't expect them to. - Thumbs up to the new system and long may it continue.
WHO NEEDS A REFERRAL SCHEME WHEN YOU HAVE INCENTIVES LIKE THIS!
[Dooyoo - The Sleeping Giant]
Dooyoo acts as a mediator between consumers, dealers and products hence as a company it obtains its revenue from advertisements - this is done across many websites in Germany, UK, Italy, Spain and France - www.Dooyoo.co.uk has around 3,000 members. This is a poor turn out for a site that has been in circulation for more than 7 years. There are plenty of internet sites that have been around far less yet can boast to have double or even tripled the amount of active members. When I first joined Dooyoo it was like a ghost town - It felt cold, a sense of isolation - Where the hell is everyone? - activity was minimal , reads were low , the submitting of new reviews was very slow , so much so that at times I would come home from work to find no new material to read. This sleeping giant of a site needed a revamp and quick - dormant member accounts needed awakening not to mention the cry for new writing styles and fresh faces into the Dooyoo community. - A feature this site lacked, word of mouth was not enough to bring in the punters to join Dooyoo.
Recruiting members is one thing, this is the easy part. Now the hard part is keeping and holding onto your members for the long haul. The new Dooyoo reward system has successfully managed to do both - the influx of new members since the changes have been implemented has been incredible but more importantly the new members are coming back for more as well as the more established members writing more reviews. The Dooyoo community is growing, reviews are being submitted at a much faster pace hence more reads in circulation for every member involved - How can anyone say they are losing miles instead of gaining. - I say yet again go and do the maths.- The new Dooyoo look is simply bigger and better - name me a rival consumer review site that can match these incentives ... I am waiting ..... Still waiting for an answer - There are none it's as simple as that. Have you had a good look at your Dooyoo miles balance - I bet you have all noticed a rapid increase in earnings over the last few weeks. I have despite only writing one review since the new changes, I have already cashed in my first £50 - Dooyoo were prompt with my cheque payment and this is already in the bank as cleared funds. This new system will most definitely see an increase of members cashing in their Dooyoo miles on a more frequent basis unlike the old system that took far longer to reach the required target before making a cash withdrawal - This applies to all members across the board , miles are there to be grabbed you either get involved or you don't.
[Ignore All The Politics]
As community members we do sometimes get too involved and attached on how members should conduct themselves when submitting reviews on the site - the so called "churners" as we all call them are sometimes not even aware they are churning. When a new member joins he/she is only doing what is being asked and that's to write reviews - there are no strict rules as to how many reviews can be submitted in a 24 hour period. And although the new reward system has definitely seen an increase in the number of reviews submitted per author, whether they are poor or of quality standard it's not really an issue that should concern us as individual members. I say leave all the politics to the Dooyoo staff, it is they who will decipher who are abusing the new reward system. The 72 hour pending mile structure is one measurement of security that Dooyoo have put in place, so leave them to decide which members can be branded as churners or abusers. - It is not our place to point fingers; after all active writers on the site that churn away are doing nothing wrong.
One can argue and say that churners block the flow of the newest review list by taking over and dominating all the spaces allocated hence pushing other members reviews further down the list which eventually disappear onto the next page. This is something that is happening more often since the launch of the new system. - I know this does annoy some members but there are lots of ways to gain access to other members reviews other than just relying on the newest review list.- Explore this avenue as well and you will soon discover that churning really shouldn't be seen as an obstacle when wanting to search and read other members work. Putting all the technicalities & Dooyoo politics aside - When looking closely at the new Dooyoo reward system face value nobody can say members are not getting a GOOD DEAL for their writing efforts and that's the bottom line here.
[Dooyoo Has Been Resurrected - The Aftermath]
THIS SITE IS NOW BUZZING WITH ACTIVITY & GREAT INCENTIVES TO GO WITH IT - WHAT MORE DOES ONE NEED. DOOYOO IS FINALLY BACK ON THE MAP, THIS SLEEPING GIANT HAS RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD - A CONSUMER SITE THAT IS MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND PROVIDING THE NEW SYSTEM IS HERE TO STAY THEN THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT.
A big THUMBS UP!
Thanks for reading - © Stroody 2008
The many doubters out there who said James Blunt , song writer & musician is only a flash in the pan & that he couldn`t pull it off for a second time then all I can say to that is - You are wrong!. I'm not even going to try to convince you to like this artist, as all the irrational hatred towards this man is something that I don't quite understand. The sad thing is, that most of the negative criticism aimed at Blunt comes from individuals that haven`t even heard his music. When I say heard his music, is to have listened to his entire collection of songs and not just "You're Beautiful". So the guy is POSH & well spoken ..... So what! The Harrow educated and ex-British army officer propelled to stardom on 2005 and soon gained international recognition for his melodies. His debut release Back To Bedlam which sold 11 million copies was a huge success - and so the follow-up album had to be equally as good to stand a glimmer of a chance of hitting those heights yet again.
I can confidently say that James Blunt has managed to produce a second great album - There is no question of a doubt that All The Lost Souls CD will effortlessly top the charts - this is a SELL OUT it's simply that good. Released September 17th 2007, the album sold 650,000 copies in the first week; I bought my copy soon after it was launched and for me it was an instant hit - it's musically brilliant. James Blunt is a fantastic song writer that represents British talent at its best - both albums are superbly written and this musician deserves all the recognition he can get. It really is all about the music for this artist, like he himself said "he's not in the music industry to be liked by everyone" - he's in it purely for the joy of what he does. And so that said, let me enlighten you on Blunts latest album offering.
* [All The Lost Souls - CD Cover] *
The presentation cover has a unique artistic look, a collage that consists of hundreds of photographs of James Blunt - pictures from his childhood to recent adulthood which eventually forms a photo mosaic of his face. From a distance the cover image looks a bit like a jig-saw puzzle, the tiny pictures put on view can pass as puzzle pieces that fit perfectly into place, just like his songs. - Perfectly composed. This is a well thought out CD design that has some significance of what James Blunt is all about. You see, the array of personal photographs displayed on the cover is somewhat symbolic - Blunt conveys his personal life experiences in all of his songs and verses, taking his fans on a journey to different chapters of his years. Holding the moment and freezing time. And even though the topics touched on by Blunt are personal to him, they are about feelings and emotions we can all relate to or have experienced in one way or another. So overall, the style presentation and originality of the CD cover is far better than the debut album by miles. - Thumbs Up!
* [Blunts New Material - All The Lost Souls] *
Backed by an amazing band All the Lost Souls album is a breath of fresh air - A stunning and beautifully delivered 10 track work of genius, which is mainly guitar, drum and piano driven acoustics from the first to the tenth track. A unique style that is very distinct, so much so that this talented young man is starting to put his own stamp on his compositions - a mark that sets him apart from the rest. Blunts refreshing vocal techniques inject another lease of life into his songs, his versatility as a singer come to the fore in this album. The lyrics are vocally sung in a striking, graceful and clear voice - haunting yet strangely addictive.
All the tracks are backed up with well crafted acoustic musical instruments that compliment the flow of the lyrics, harmony and melodies of the tunes. The latest album produced is of the same quality and high calibre as the debut album Back To Bedlam but this time around Blunt has given his fans a more light-hearted and less depressive album. Despite the two or three slow heart-wrenching tracks which holds no surprises but still musically brilliant, All The Lost Souls is more of a mid to upbeat tempo album. - faster musical beats with a good folksy rock and pop dynamics to it. Yet the songs contain enough meaningful emotion to connect deeply. Blunt is able to capture and encapsulate LIFE issues in the spotlight - tapping into all those powerful & raw emotions that we can all relate to. What can I say but the more you hear this album the better it gets - heartfelt & catchy melodies you simply can`t get out of your head.
* [All The Lost Souls Album - Ten Track Length 38:39] *
This is not just any CD with ten random tracks that have just been thrown in for the sake of it - it's a collection of powerful melodies that work perfectly together - expressive and moving songs, lyrics and themes that portray maturity beyond his age. Blunts growth and development as a song writer & musician is there for all to see in this second album - clearly Blunts work has a way of connecting deeply and his latest offering is stunning and wonderfully executed. - Pure talent.
1973 - 4:40
One Of The Brightest Stars - 3:12
I'll Take Everything - 3:05
Same Mistake - 4:59
Carry You Home - 3:57
Give Me Some Love - 3:37
I really Want You - 3:30
Shine On - 4:27
Annie - 3:29
I Can't Hear The Music - 3:45
All The Lost Souls is an impressive & outstanding album that is full of beautiful crescendo songs that maintain a funky/folksy guitar and piano rythum melody throughout and all the while portraying dazzling yet hauntingly sensitive compositions. Not only are they fantastic sounds but the imagery used by Blunt on some of the tracks is very powerful - A thought-provoking album that conjures up mixed feelings - emotions which are raw and show no inhibitions. The album soundtrack and lyrics are rich with detail and guile - evoking emotions that reach out and touch the soul.
Yet again Blunt starves his fans by releasing a ten track album that can be played in less than 40 minutes - leaving you a bit short changed and wanting more. However, the one consolation for such a short album is that all the songs released are well crafted and full of lyrical substance - a collection of melodies that will stand the test of time. So without further ado lets take a closer random insight at some of the compilation tracks that make up "All The Lost Souls" album: - James Blunts second release.
* [One Hit Wonder - Think Again] *
[Track Name: 1973 - 4:40]
1973 is an explosive opening track to the album which is driven by piano , electric guitar and drum acoustics - This song is energetic and lively and one that bears much meaning to James Blunt`s social life on the island of Ibiza - Blunt who owns a home on the island was inspired by the club scene and nights out. Apparantly this song came out sometime in July and the original was taken and remixed by DJ Tony in Pacha nightclub which opened in 1973 hence how the track title name came about. Blunt was not born until 1974, so for all those fans out there confused by this, you shouldn`t be now. This catchy and upbeat nostalgic song has a 70`s vibe to it which Blunt captures the era brilliantly - Simone is based on a real woman who he met when clubbing and as the song goes "Simone , wish I was sober , So I could see clearly now the rain has gone" - Blunts emotive vocal style sets the tone perfectly.
[I Really Want You - 3:30]
It's only a matter of time before this song will be a big hit -This fantastic track will blow you away and one that shows Blunt at his very best, lyrically it's a fast paced song about declaring his heart-break - infused with love & loss. It's an open and honest song and one that Blunt sure does pour his heart out to. Instruments put away and fully vocal to the fore bar the on-going sound of the piano, adding a great backdrop to the track. Musically brilliant song that will seduce you once heard - a truly addictive melody.
[Shine On - 4:27]
For me this is my favourite track on the album - "Shine On" opens up with a very slow and mellow tempo which gradually builds up into this explosive folksy rock beat. A track that is delivered beautifully - the lyrical impact and strength is huge and one that maintains a funky piano and guitar rhythum throughout. When listening to this song Blunts graceful and tender voice will hold no surprises - as by track 8 of the album you will have been more than vocally spoilt by this fantastic musician.
* [My Final Verdict] *
All The Lost Souls, the ultimate follow-up to Blunts debut album is a far better crafted masterpiece - Blunt has re-emerged and improved everything about his music and although the themes of sadness, love, loss & redemption continue to be his focal story direction - it's something he does very well. This is a worthy album in every sense - nothing on this CD will disappoint. The songs are memorable, his emotive vocal style is addictive and the lyrics are simply striking.
So my advice to you dear reader - make your own mind up. I already have.
*[Facts @ Your Fingertips]*
~ Album Name: All The Lost Souls
~ Date Released: September 17th 2007
~ Genre: Folk/Rock/Pop
~ CD Length: 38:39
~ Producer: Tom Rothrock
~ Price - £12.99
Thanks for Reading .... © Stroody 31/12/07
Happy New Year Dooyoo members - All the best for 2008
The days of playing console games on the x-box & PS2 are a thing of the past for me - mainly because most games released nowadays have a long and drawn out gaming plot that simply takes up many hours and sometimes months to fully complete - hours and time I can no longer spare. Still , I had to find an alternative fix to feed my game addiction and one that would not consume hours of my day yet provide quality game play , challenging objectives , good sound quality , user friendly controls , - all of this as well as offer a wide spectrum of games to choice from. And so, off I went to search the web to see what I could find on playing online games. After an extensive search as well as trial testing some of the game sites I stumbled across, I narrowed it down to two that are worth mentioning - Worldwinner.com & King.com. - Both appealed in many ways and so I registered and became a member. It is now possible for me to play a good online game without having to spend hours or months to complete and all the while enjoying the fun aspect of the skills required to compete as well as the challenging objectives these testing games provide.
[A Growing Internet Trend - Millions of Members]
King.com is the world's largest skill gaming site where millions of players compete for enjoyment or against each other to win cash prizes. The ethos of skill gaming is that luck & chance do not determine the winner, instead the deciding factor when picking an outright winner in any given game is the players own ability & skill. - King has a wide selection of games to choose from and all are pigeonholed into sections.
There are a total of six game categories on the homepage but within those categories are countless games of skill to pick from - King.com cater for all gamers needs , an online site that frequently releases new games on a regular basis and so members will be constantly spoilt for choice. The odds are you will find a game or two that will catch your eye and overtime as your gaming skill improves you may start to compete against other online players for cash prizes. I tend to play the Sport games & Card games on King - Playing online pool is brilliant, the community lobby is always full & when playing virtual 8-ball it feels quite realistic. As you pot/sink the balls, the sound effects enhance & support the real factor feeling as well. On the whole the 8 and 9 ball pool tables on King.com are of a high quality image & extremely well set-up, the graphics are superb and the more you play the more you appreciate what the technical team have managed to create when shooting pool online. So if you enjoy playing pool then check it out. - Its well cool & its free. - Username: Doorts (Strood backwards) - Anyone up for a challenge you know where you can find me lol.
Another aspect of the gaming site that I quite enjoy is the selection of card games on offer - a total of 12 card games to pick from. King.com have recently launched a new card game called "Top Ace" a type of solitaire card game that is quite challenging but fun to play. However, my preferred card game on the site has to be Go-Go 21 - been playing this game for sometime now & I absolutely enjoy competing in this game. A card game that has grown on me and one that I never get tired of playing. As mentioned earlier there are many more categories and games to pick from but I see no point in rolling out the entire game list in this review - with more than 70 games plus available, lets just say you won't be disappointed. Besides, when joining King.com it takes a while to find your gaming niche but once you do, it is then when you will most relish playing games of skill. There are many games I don't even bother playing, either because I don't like them or due to my poor skill ability that makes me lose interest. After playing a month or two on the site you will soon discover which games you are good at and excel in and which games you continue to fail miserably and therefore see no point in playing.
[Skill Gaming - Attributes Needed To Be Able To Compete]
Skill gaming is a specialised gaming field that not everybody is equipped to take on - So before joining King.com you must take into account that the games on offer require a different type of approach & skill needed in order to be successful in them. Skill gaming is not the same as playing console games on the x-box or PS2 , it requires attributes that you may not be used to , therefore don't think for one minute that because you are a great console player you will be a great skill gaming player - these two gaming worlds are nothing like each other.
When playing games on King.com the first thing you will soon notice is that most of the games are on a timer therefore speed is the essence here - If you freeze and don't react the worse your score will be - the time/speed is a major determine factor in a players overall score and so you will find that time is very precious in games of skill. On some of the games you will need to demonstrate quick reflex actions and you will need to keep this momentum going until the game has finished. To be able to think about your next move well in advance before executing an action but more importantly to keep composed and calm when clicking - a wrong move in these type of quick games can be drastic & irreversible - once all levels are completed in any given game your score will be displayed against your opponents score. - All games are mouse and keyboard orientated.
The theory & rules to all the games on King.com are simple and straight forward to understand but as you begin to play them you soon realise that to achieve constant high scores is not so easy. The ethos of skill gaming is that luck & chance do not determine the winner & evidently this is so, as a players skill & ability will always prevail. Practice & patience makes perfection and this is what you will need to do before you can really compete against other online opponents.
[I am Now Ready To Kick Some Ass - Gold Member]
So you have practiced playing until you have gone blue in the face and you are now ready to kick some ass. Your 1st deposit will automatically make you a Gold Member allowing you to compete for real cash - Its time to get competitive & show those gaming skills off and so it's the cash prize tournaments is where you want to be. All games have progressive tournaments; progressive meaning the pot grows bigger as more players enter at an entry fee of £1.25 per one attempted play. These progressives work on a time scale and so once time expires and the final place standings are verified all of the winnings are deposited into members accounts. You also have smaller tournaments available with different entry fees - the lowest being £0.35p per game played and these winnings are settled instantly into player accounts. The FMR (Fair Match Ranking) system that King.com put in place ensures that all players are fairly matched when competing against each other - as a player you will be paired with players of similar skill level & by doing so you always have a chance of winning. As you get competitive you will be given a ranking score on all games played and this will increase as well as decrease - If you win, ranking goes up & if you lose ranking goes down & all the while this gaming data is stored in ones profile for you as well as other player members to see. - Important gaming information that will stay in your personal profile for as long as you continue to become a King.com member.
[The King Community]
Members on King.com are plentiful - You get all nationalities playing on this site but the main strong four nationalities that you will come across are United Kingdom, USA, Germany & Sweden. A great site if your into languages or travelling as King.com offer a diverse community and spoken in many languages. Features such as being able to send messages to players inbox, challenge an online player to a game , speak on a one to one basis on live chat or write messages in profile guestbook's only strengthens and brings the gaming community closer. Despite all the competitive rivalry around the site the members are very friendly , many wish you success and good luck in your tournaments & some even help out by dishing out advice and tips on how to improve your score. - So generally speaking the King.com community are a nice & friendly bunch. I`ve made lots of international friends as well as UK friends. It turns out a member I was playing pool against only lives 10 minutes away from me, how bizarre is that.
[Is King.com Safe/Legal?]
King.com is a legal site, abiding by the laws & legal aspects put in place by the governing bodies. All transactions are 100% safe and that's one area that king.com guarantee when registering. Minimum deposit is £10 & maximum £30 in any given transaction - most credit cards are accepted as well as paypal payments. Equipped with the latest encryption techniques all King.com transactions are 100% safe - Indeed they are, been a member for sometime now and have done several deposits/withdrawals and I have yet to experience any problems, all transactions are clearly displayed on your bank statement as Midasplayer.com.
Another safety measure put in place by King.com is the one account per household policy only, there are some games sites out there that allow two accounts per household in order to accommodate another family member - .King.com will not allow this, a safety measure that sets this site apart from the rest. Remember that you are playing for cash tournaments and so abuse of this kind is taken seriously. All player winnings can be withdrawn at any time but there is a £1 withdrawal fee, you are in full control of all deposits/withdrawals via your profile links 24/7.
[Tell Me More About This Company]
King.com is a private company which is based in the UK but has a development campus in Stockholm - Sweden. The King.com web- site was launched in 2003 and it's open to players from many international countries and also available in a number of languages as well as currencies. A company which is registered in England under the registration number 4534247 & VAT number 815 0106 77 - Below are their contact details:
[Company Name:] - Midasplayer.com Limited
[Web-Site Name:] - King.com
[Company Address:] - 62 Shaftsbury Avenue - London W1D 6LT
[Email Address:] - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
[I Want In - How Do I Join This King Site?]
Joining King.com is FREE and you have to be 18 years of age to register - its open to many international countries, it's also available in a number of languages as well as honouring the many currencies out there. You simply create a username, answer some personal details as well as give an e-mail address - membership account is then created and you are ready to go. The world's largest skill gaming site allows members to play & compete for fun or for real cash prizes -
You don't need a super powerful PC to play games at King.com , so long as you have IE 5 & above and download the flash shockwave software which can be obtained via the King,com web-site before playing a game , this will be good enough. If you have any problems playing the games or any other queries then customer service/technical help will respond within a 24 hour period. Their staff are very professional and will support and help you in any way they can. Navigating King.com is very easy, the layout of the site is well presented and so it shouldn't take you too long to work things out. The site itself is littered with advice, rules & guidelines so members are always kept up-dated on new developments.
[My Final Verdict - Personal Experience]
Games of skill are my speciality, I have been playing these types of games for more than four years now and so when I stumbled across King.com two years ago I knew then I found myself a really top quality skill gaming site. You can search the web all you want but you won't find a better site that will surpass King.com & this is a fact. My knowledge in this area is vast and so I can confidently say that this site is simply number ONE on the market and the millions of members that keep joining is proof of that. - Providing hours of fun as well as countless game objectives & challenges to suit all needs.
The competition is tough as you are playing against the very best from numerous countries and although the FMR system (Fair Match Ranking) is put in place so you are paired with players of similar skill level you will still have to be on top of your game to win - no margin for error in these quick paced skill games that truly test your gaming skill abilities to its maximum. If you want to be successful on sites like this then concentrate on improving your skills on 2 or 3 games instead of trying to play them all. The more you practice the more you will learn the different techniques needed to win
Do you love games?
Do you enjoy playing games of skill?
Then King.com is the place to be.
Thanks for reading .... ... © Strood 2007 @12.45 on 21/12/07
4 Days to go Ho Ho Ho - MERYY CHRISTMAS ALL
I recently wrote a review on the Discovery channel and to my surprise I was quite taken back at how many people said they don't have Sky Digital TV at home. I've been a Sky customer for so long now(15 years) - starting out with analogue & then converting to digital TV. So I guess I just take it for granted that everyone else has it too - evidently this is not the case. So, for all those people who are missing out on all the countless TV channels that Sky Digital provide or are presently unhappy with your current cable company , then the best thing you can do this Christmas is to treat yourself by subscribing to Sky digital. This is one xmas present that will guarantee to put a smile on all family members faces. So this year why not give the x-box a miss and get a Sky box instead. - Its simply TV viewing at it s very best and this company effortlessly brush aside its competitors both in value for money and in the selection of channels on offer. When moving home from London to Kent I was more concerned about my Sky TV installation than my new fitted kitchen .... Need I say more.- Its that brilliant that I cannot be without it & I will tell you why.
*[Who Needs An X Box When I Got A Sky Box]*
Like all modern state-of-the-art technology, what good is the software without the backing of good and quality hardware equipment - Sky digital TV is no exception & so once you subscribe to this kind of home entertainment viewing , the following hardware equipment will be installed in your property :
 - Satellite Dish - Free
 - Sky Digital Receiver Box - Standard Box Free
 - Classy Remote Control - Free
 - Viewing Sky Card
*All Sky customers will receive the above and all FREE no matter which Sky package you decide to go for but you will have to pay a one off payment of £30 - £40 to get your equipment installed. Nowadays , the equipment provided by Sky is far more sophisticated and stylish looking than what it used to be. The satellite dishes are no longer white in colour & ugly looking , instead they are smaller in size yet pick up a powerful ,strong & clear viewing reception. The standard satellite dish is now a black mesh design & although visible , it is appealing on the eye and one that actually compliments the infrastructure of the building or roof when on view.
*The Sky box or decoder box , what ever you prefer to call it has evolved from your bulky and basic Beta VHS look and transformed itself into this slick & slim line stylish decoder unit. Even the standard free Sky box will look good in your living room - one that will compliment your other technical appliances both in looks and in modern technology. I have multi-room in my home hence my Sky box is slightly different to your normal standard box. Nonetheless , Sky have come a long way from the old traditional TV analogue receivers and so rest assured which ever unit box you decide to opt for you will not be disappointed. - the horrid looking fascia and basic buttons are a thing of the past .- Note: Up-graded decoders are not free and so consult Sky before plunging in , some models are quite expensive.
*The heartbeat and drive to Sky digital , and to fully appreciate TV viewing when sat in the comfort of your sofa has to be the Sky remote control - without this powerful tool Sky digital would not be half as good , oh no most definitely not. It is via this infra red remote that you begin to open a whole new world of home TV entertainment whilst navigating through the numerous pages and options you can choose from. You will be pretty much amazed at the variety of features that one can access & more so when going interactive. - When setting up your Sky box , the installation team will run a phone line cable from your decoder unit into your phone socket. This is compulsory when subscribing , customers need to have a land line in order to comply with Sky's terms & conditions. When clicking interactive you have an array of services at your disposal - from internet access to read emails , home shopping ,online banking , playing games , Sky text and much more. When accessing certain services via interactive the menu screen displays how much it will cost your per minute , and all is calculated via the phone line.
The ergonomically & user friendly numerical / button pad remote is self explanatory making Sky viewing quick and responsive when operating. - Needing to AA batteries to operate , you can navigate with confidence as a displayed message on TV screen will flash when battery life is low. This a small yet excellent feature , this is exactly what you will soon discover once you get familiar with your Sky remote. These small detailed features enhance TV viewing to its maximum , giving you full control on how to set-up and customise when tuning into Sky digital. - One of my favourites has to be Personal Planner - a superb feature that allows you to select a programme you want to watch but it may not be on for another three days. You simply click on it and just before the programme is about to start you are directed to the channel or given a reminder on the screen - an indicator that the programme is about to begin. Many a times I have forgotten about some documentary programme I wanted to watch and as always the personal planner feature has come to the rescue.. With a wide selection of channels on offer the favourite channel feature is one you should to get to grips with real soon - This allows you to store you most viewed channels , thus creating a list of you favourites programmes. This method of approach is so much easier to locate specific Sky channels when ready to view than having to scroll up/down for the search.
However , despite the simple layout and self-explanatory button fascia when navigating via your Sky remote you won't fully understand its full potential overnight - The array of services on offer mean you should really take some time out to read up on your remote and how to operate it fully - this in the long run will benefit the customer not only when viewing Sky digital programmes but also the running of your Sky package account as well as information on updated channels and services that Sky plan to introduce - At all times keeping customers fully informed of all new developments and proposals. Customers will also come across contact telephone numbers on viewed pages , this is in case you don't feel confident enough to verify an action via your remote or you may even feel that further information is needed before going ahead by clicking on the button - either way you can rest assured as help is always just a phone call away 24/7.
*Once all plugged in & hooked up to Sky digital you are ready to insert your Sky viewing card - it's the size of a credit card that easily slots into your decoder and this in return will decipher the channels that your Sky package should contain - all the while receiving a clear and crystal picture/reception at all times. This viewing card contains a small chip , similar to the ones you find on mobile simm cards and it is this that holds and stores all customer information accompanied with a serial viewing card number - your own personal customer identification. You will at times have to quote this number to Sky customer service when contacting them - you simply pull the card out and read out the number and then slot back into decoder. Very simple and easy to do and once viewing card is inserted back the channels will decipher back to normal relatively quick , giving you instant access & TV viewing. All Sky viewing cards are sent to customers by post accompanied with a copy of the contract and details of the Sky package you have subscribed to.
*[Sky TV Packages]*
When selecting a viewing package you will soon discover that the customer is pretty much spoilt for choice - top quality digital TV at a touch of a button and all this can be tailor made to suit your ideal viewing preference when selecting the Sky channels on offer. There are in total 24 different Sky viewing packages hence that is 24 different monthly prices. So in order to give you the customer a fair idea of what you will be paying on a monthly basis I have decided to tackle the cheapest package as well as the most expensive package that Sky offer. This way you have some indicator of what you will getting for your money.
Viewing Package: Sky World
Monthly Fee : £45 Per Month -Direct Debit Payment
Channels Offered: All Sky channels
The above package is my subscription with Sky digital and this is the ultimate viewing package and the most expensive one available. With this package I get to see every possible Sky channel on offer , ranging from all the entertainment programmes to all the movies , sports , news & documentaries , kids , educational & knowledge programmes , music and radio - You name it the Sky World package has it. More than 400 films per week across all of the Sky movie screens as well as 300 entertainment channels. Live sporting events and that too is across all of the four Sky Sports channels - excellent footage and commentary when viewing. So basically for £45 per month this package is well worth it & value for money.
Some of my favourite channels on Sky digital are:
 - National Geographic
 - The Discovery Channel
 - Sky One
 - Paramount Comedy
 - Sky Sports Channels
 - Movie Channels
 - Sci -Fi Channel
 - Sky News
 - Bravo
 - MTV
The cheapest package on offer by Sky is £16 per month - still great value for money for what you get. More than 100 channels plus and there are some real good gem of a channels hidden within these smaller priced packages as well. You will however miss out on all the sport and movie channels events - this a basic package but one that will suit many as well. Those who don't subscribe to the movie package also have the option of viewing pay per view movies by clicking on the box office button via the remote control , pay per view also applies to sporting events. The box office option is not something I use much as I have no need to - my Sky package is jam packed with everything I need.
*[The Company - Sky Digital TV]*
I don't think there are many people in this country that can say they have been a Sky TV customer for more than 15 years - I on the other hand can boast that I have , during which its been one of the best run companies I have dealt with and I have never experienced any complications with my contract or when viewing the Sky channel programmes. Customer service is brilliant and I always come away a satisfied customer - the manner in which my enquiries are dealt with are first class. I only deal with best and Sky digital are the very best in this field. -bringing you TV home viewing entertainment onto another level & one than is expanding all the time. So if you are looking for a top quality digital TV package and one that is superb value for money then look no further than Sky digital.
I more than HIGHLY RECOMMEND Sky TV!!
Thanks ............. Stroody 2007 @ 20.00hrs 06/12/07
[Dennis Nilsen a 37 year old civil servant was a quiet and polite man, but at the same time he was hiding a terrible secret. When contractors started unblocking the drain near his flat in north London, they found it was blocked with decaying human flesh. It was the start of a hunt that would uncover one of the most gruesome serial killings in modern Britain.]
[Ted Bundy was a handsome and ambitious law student - a supply of young college girls were easily charmed by his wit & good looks. Bundy would murder them and move on , leaving a trail of bodies behind as he travelled from one state to another. The true death toll would never be known - Ted Bundy took that to his grave when he was executed in January 1989.]
[John Wayne Gacy a respectable American citizen , businessman and a political fund-raiser yet under his ordinary suburban bungalow were the remains of 35 men who had disappeared in mysterious circumstances.]
[Ivan Milat was a road worker and trucker living in Sydney , he appeared to be a normal and ordinary person - a man who decided to attack backpacking tourists in the early 1990`s and then bury the bodies in the forest.]
Of all forms of murder , the killing of parents by their children is one of the most shocking acts - simply incomprehensible , perplexing to think somebody can do such a thing. Psychologists claim that individuals who carry out such horrific acts - the motivation is the most complex.
Jeremy Bamber shot his entire family to collect his inheritance - he felt it was rightfully his and no longer wanted to wait. He calculated and planned the murders and so one night on the remote farmhouse of Essex , named White House Farm a gruesome massacre took place. A killing spree of the whole family - a mindless slaughter. The first victim was his 61 year old father Nevill Bamber who was in the living room when his son showed up - he was severely beaten and then shot six times in the head & neck. He then went upstairs into the bedroom and shot the twin boys Daniel & Nicholas as they lay asleep. Daniel was shot five times who still had his thumb in his mouth when the police found him and Nicholas had been shot three times. Jeremy Bamber then went into the main bedroom and despite the struggle that took place between mother and son - Mrs Bamber had been cut down in a hail of bullets - blood was spattered everywhere. Finally , Sheila Caffell who was Jeremy's adoptive sister was shot in the head and throat. Jeremy Bamber , 25, planned to commit the perfect murder and it was three weeks after the massacre that he was charged with five murders and in October 1986 he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Death in the family is yet again echoed in another part of the world - The Menendez brothers were also charged with killing their parents for financial gain.
*[Discovery & Discovery +1Channel]*
I guess you the readers must be wondering where I'm going with all of this and if so all will be revealed soon , that's so long you are still with me. I know the opening paragraphs are shocking , distasteful and disturbing & if that's the impression that I have managed to leave on you then I have achieved what I set out to do. You see, the Discovery Channel magnifies these cases ten million times more - a detailed insight into the killers , their crimes and psychology . Hence the shock of such stories are enhanced even further when viewing. Now the reason why I have opted to take on such a subject(apart from shocking you all) is mainly because anybody who plans to subscribe to the Discovery channel will soon come across countless programmes and documentaries of this kind. So regardless of the other educational & interesting topics on offer (Which I will touch on later) at least 40% of the documentaries on the Discovery & Discovery +1 channel are about true crime stories and how the police and the forensic team pool together to structure an investigation and eventually lead to an arrest. - all the while providing an engrossing insight and overview of the sinister criminal behaviour as well as an absorbing insight into the world of the forensic scientist.
Programmes such as:
*Most Evil Serial Killers
*Crimes Investigation: USA
*Crime Scene USA
The above programmes are shown daily , lasting up to three to four hours at times - showing one case after another - The viewers will be shown an informative collection of cases from around the world. - An in-depth analysis into crime from a number of perspectives as well as true crime experts giving us their professional view. These plain case descriptions are relayed in many forms: They can be reconstructed using re-enactments as well as real life & video footage. Testimony from brave witnesses as well the jury's verdict shown in the court of law, or some cases will be about specific interviews with some of the victims that managed to get away as well as some of the dangerous killers that await death row. These type of interview footage can be quite chilling when viewing, not only do you get to see the psychopath but the dialogue and answers that some of these individuals put across is terrifying and alarming. You judge for yourself but here are a few scary quotes from some of the murderers behind bars..
"Violence is arousing"
"The act of killing itself is the whole motivation for the crime"
"I acted on the instruction of the voices"
"I will continue to kill if released"
Documentaries discussing compelling tales of forensic and criminal investigation through the eyes of some of the key players , with actual evidence to put these killers in prison and make society a safer place to live in .The viewers will witness an array of factual events as well as images & photographs which most are graphic and leaving nothing to the imagination. Stories showing the darkness of human-kind, bringing out the worst in people and how these killers live out their twisted fantasies and how many manage to elude the authorities for years. Individuals that are simply devoid of any emotion and for some as they get older and bolder their crimes escalate into depraved and pure evil acts.
*[The Men In White Coats]*
Without a question of doubt that when viewing such documentaries the Discovery channel provides an entrancing insight into a world of outstanding expertise - calling on the skills of a variety of professionals to unravel the case. The investigation begins on the autopsy table where the findings of the forensic scientist will establish the line of enquiry. Criminals try to hide their traces but like in most of these forensic scientist programmes shown on the Discovery channel they cleverly demonstrate how nature has its own way of leaving clues behind. These experts will unearth evidence from countless obscure sources , criminals who believed they were safe soon become suspects and then its just a matter of time before the killer is caught and arrested. Many a times police have no clues , no suspects and no trails to follow - simply baffled, and all forms of investigation have come to a dead end. - It is often the forensic scientist that comes to the rescue.
The tools , methods and approach used by these cunning experts prevent many villains from getting away with murder - evidence from body wounds , weapons , blood , saliva , semen , hair , fingernails , bones , fibres , finger prints as well as DNA technology. The forensic scientist no longer uses dark age techniques , instead the scientific techniques are very sophisticated and advanced . The Discovery channel will draw you in - providing an educational & fascinating tour when demonstrating to the viewers how the men in white manage to tackle all obstacles and challenges put to them in order to crack the case. It truly is an eye-opener how these real life cases are solved on the basis of forensic medical evidence and when viewing such expertise you will be engrossed by the majority of documentaries of this kind.
*[Discovery Knowledge & Discovery Turbo]*
The above two channels make up the complete package of the Discovery channel set-up - You have a total of four Discovery channels on view and they are:
The viewers are pretty much spoilt for choice and as you get familiar with the programme schedule you begin to appreciate this highly under-rated channel that has so much more to offer. Out of the four channels on view , Discovery Turbo tend to show documentaries on the same sort of theme such as cars , motorbikes , stunts - a channel that is aimed and geared more towards men than women. However , when viewing Discovery Knowledge you will find that the material and documentaries on show will appeal to many as well as all age groups. Compelling , informative , and descriptive documentaries on many topics will be aired. Whether it be on wildlife animals or issues that face the world today such as energy & the environment , history , politics , science & technology , the planets and oceans - Either way you will not miss out on the mesmeric findings and discoveries that these experts relay and discuss on the Discovery channel - a diverse array of topics that draws the viewer in. Simply high quality documentaries that will not only shock but will also entertain , fascinate and educate.
*[How Does One Get Tuned To Discovery?]*
The Discovery channel has been around for at least 8 years or so and maybe more , during which its got bigger and better - expanding all the time. I've been with Sky for 15 years or so and so I have personally seen this channel evolve into a brilliant documentary type programme. So if your interested in subscribing you will need Sky digital or Cable package to receive the Discovery channel set-up. On Sky digital the Discovery can be found on channels 520/521/522 & 523 when operating from your Sky remote or decoder box.
*[My Final Verdict]*
Anybody who knocks the Discovery channel really doesn't appreciated fine journalism and incredible documentary footage. This channel has it all in terms of engrossing & enthralling entertainment , educational , the element of surprise and shock. The footage & material shown will not bore the viewers, instead you may find yourself getting ready to watch another programme right after being glued to one of the documentaries for two hours - there is no switching channels here. I can easily have this one channel tuned in all day when at home - that's how entertaining I find the Discovery channel. A channel that has so much to offer to all walks of life - there is no doubt that you will come across a topic or several topics of interest and many will hold your attention from the off.
An under-rated channel that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Thanks ............. Strood 2007 @ 19.30 - 22/11/2007
I have watched them all , the Italian league , the French league , the German league , the English league , the Scottish league and I have even seen games from the Asian and South American leagues. I am what you would call a hardcore football fanatic - not only do I play football for a team but I also watch most live games on the box as well as buy tickets for certain matches. A common scenario in my household is me with a couple bottles of beer in my hand (San Miguel) - I then head for the remote control and switch channels to Sky Sports 1, all the while getting comfortable on my living room sofa and then its eyes fixed on the 40 inch LCD screen. - I am now in my element. You see , the Spanish league is about to start and there is no way I am missing out on the best football league in Europe, also known as La Liga. It is here that I get to experience action packed football at its very best & at its very worse - not only will you see top world class players perform and show boating their technical skills as well as score glorious goals but you will also witness some of the most dirty & unsavoury aspects of the modern game and more so in the Spanish league.
[La Liga Football & Spanish Supporters]
Football matches in La Liga have no obvious outcome - the games are unpredictable and anything can happen, adding far more excitement & fun when viewing. A colourful league that not only caters for the football fan but for the neutral viewer as well. Take this weekend for example 10/11/07: Barcelona got beaten convincingly by Getafe - two teams that are poles apart. Not only in skill but also in the contrast style of football played on the pitch. Yet this unpredictability is what keeps La Liga in the forefront when compared to most European Leagues - the element of surprise & amazement.
The fineness and quality of the top footballers on offer throughout this league not only represent the bigger clubs but even the so called weaker opposition are well equipped with big star names. The rivalry is fierce and the derby's are deadly and this is further fuelled by the passionate Spanish supporters who can make or break a team. Their voices will be heard in thousands for they don't shy away - if the team is losing games and slipping further down the table the people will come together and wave a white handkerchief throughout the entire stadium and what a spectacle it is to see -. For it's the fans way of saying - get the manager out as we are not happy with the current results. In spite of all this fan passion that is expressed throughout the stadium , the atmosphere in any Spanish football ground is family friendly - brawling & violence is seldom seen. Take the Italian league for example: You will be well advised not to take young children to a football match in Italy - for the fans are simply crazy and violence is a common occurrence.
Either way the influence and weight of the fan base is not one that can easily be dismissed , for many top managers in Spain have fallen by the way side right after the white handkerchief protest. The Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello who won the league title last season was sacked by the board - a decision that was cheerfully embraced by the Real Madrid fans. They wanted to see an attacking Real Madrid team not a defensive side - tactics that were frequently used by Capello & with a certain degree of success. Yet despite wining the La Liga title 2006/7 Capello`s tactics were his downfall. If a manager wins a league title in England or any other league for that matter , his job is pretty much safe and more likely offered a new and improved contract - A sheer indicator of what La Liga is all about - a ruthless & demanding football league on and off the pitch.
[Football Entertainment - El Gran Classico]
Gerry Armstrong and Rob Palmer the Sky TV commentators are entertained & drawn in just as much as the viewers are when watching some of the amazing events that unfold in this league. When the referee blows the whistle for kick-off and the two teams are lined up in position - all 22 players are ready to go head-to-head. The Spanish league will no doubt provide 90 minutes plus of sheer entertainment , controversy , thrill and more importantly a show boating display of top quality football from world class footballers. You will witness a collection of special players from all nationalities in La Liga , contributing diverse football skills on the pitch: Whether it be players with sublime technical ability , skilful players that can dribble and run with the ball , players with pace to burn , dead ball specialist at free kicks , physical and strong players , top strikers that can score goals for fun. As well as the very best defenders and goalkeepers on show. - In La Liga there is no shortage of skills , goals , class and talent on display. This is exactly what we the viewers want to see. Some of the premiership games in England are so dull and lack quality - its simply 90 minutes of boring football. - A big yawn!!
However ,there is no question that the pinnacle of all games has to be Barcelona versus Real Madrid also known as "El Gran Classico" - these two giants will clash twice in La Liga season. At the Nou Camp which has a stadium capacity of 98,000 and at the Santiago Bernabeu - an 85,000 seated stadium. A football event that should be circled on everybody's sporting calendar -. I already have it marked , Sunday 23rd December 2007 - Have you? - Here you will see the cream of the crop. All 22 world class players on show , providing action packed football from one end of the pitch to another - for "El Gran Classico" lives up to its name. The rivalry , the history , the hatred , the hunger to win and even the on-going discussions that Barcelona should be the capital of Spain and not Madrid is more than enough spur and drive for the Catalans & the madridistas to perform and raise the temperature - one that is already at boiling point. - For they only have 90 minutes of football to take the enemy down - an important scalp not only for the players , the manager , the fans , and the board of directors but many will also perceive it as a political victory. The last time these two teams met was back in March 2007 - the final score was 3-3. -
[You Dirty Fouler - Yellow & Red - Sent Off]
Anyone that follows the Spanish league will no doubt agree that La Liga provides sublime football and wonderful goals throughout the exciting season. However , having said that La Liga also has an unsavoury aspect to the football game. Its actually a normal occurrence to see on average 7-10 yellow cards in any given football match as well as the odd red or two. The Italian league is just as bad , one thing for sure these two leagues will never win the fair play award. You will witness some rash crunching tackles , shirt pulling , rugby tackles , two footed tackles , player brawls , players diving to get other players sent off , swearing & abuse , dissent , players squaring up to referees ,managers squaring up to referees & vice versa - this league has it all and in abundance. A league with a cutting edge to it and one that is full of surprises. For all those hardcore football fans like myself - Check out the player Alves , right-back for Seville - a talented Brazilian player yet he is one dirty footballer. He will do anything to stop you - arms raised , chop at your heels , literally push you in the back and his main speciality is diving to the ground so to get players sent off. This type of player is one of many in this league hence why the high yellow and red card count. One can argue and say this ruins the game of football and would much prefer to see the Premiership or another European league due to its player fairness and honesty. Then you do that , despite all the above I still consider La Liga to be the best & exciting football league in the world.
[Come On Ref That was a Foul - Blows Whistle]
With all this fast paced football action on the pitch as well as the passionate Spanish fans in the stands you need a very good referee to take charge of the situation. This is one area of the game that beats most European leagues hands down. La Liga has no shortage of quality referees - composed and alert , the men in black will not be intimidated by the crowds nor the players. They are the law & order for 90 minutes of football and if need be they will stamp their authority as early as the first minute of the game - whether it be a yellow card , red card or award a penalty. Spanish referees will punish players when appropriate - they are fair and always act in a neutral manner. Unlike some of the weak & lost the plot referees in the English Premiership. It is so obvious that some of the English refs show favouritism towards certain football clubs and many teams have won games due to the blunders , mistakes and turn the blind eye scenario. The English refs lack balls when it comes to awarding penalties or certain decisions when refereeing at the home ground of a bigger club.. The Spanish refs however , show no such flaw - the club nor the ground will influence their decision. They judge the football game by the letter of the law - there is no corruption in this league , La Liga refereeing is clean and honest.
[Watch The Spanish Sunset]
This is Spain , a country that puts siesta first and then football second - Unlike most European leagues that tend to kick off much earlier in the afternoon , La Liga kick off times are in the evening and some games are played as late as 9pm. - Sky Sports 1 will broadcast two live games on Saturday as well as another live game on a Sunday. You can refer to your Sky magazine for exact times but normally Gerry Armstrong and Rob Palmer will be tuned in approx 6.00pm - 8.00pm - or for the 9.00pm kick off. The rights to televise the Spanish league is somewhat of a luxury as many rival companies would love to have a piece of the action despite the array of leagues on offer. Channel 5 as well as Eurosport broadcast the Italian league - Sentanta Sports broadcast the German , French , English ,& Scottish league and Sky Sports show live coverage on the Spanish and English league.
So once the Spaniards awake from their siesta and nightfall approaches the nation is drawn to La Liga - Football is huge in Spain & the majority of families follow the game as well as support their football team. The once deserted streets whilst the nation slept suddenly come alive for La Liga is about to begin . The bars are packed & the beers and tapas are on the go , for its the football is what they have come to see. Then you have the travelling supporters who arrive in numbers , all packed out stadiums throughout the country. Homes are tuned into Canal Plus (Equivalent to Sky Sports) , Spain's sporting channel that broadcast live La Liga coverage. No matter how exaggerated this may sound to you , this is how it is in Spain - you can feel the football in the atmosphere. - Its just like one big FIESTA.
La Liga is simply the best and no European League can touch it. It also hosts the Copa Del Rey tournament which is equivalent to our FA Cup
I have been to the following football club stadiums in Spain:
Thanks . Strood 2007 @ 17.45 15/11/07
A small insight about the 20 La Liga Football teams that will be competing against each other in the 2007/08 season:
[Team] Atletico Madrid
[Stadium] Vicente Calderon
[Team] Atletico Bilbao
[Stadium] San Mames
[Stadium] Nou Camp
[Stadium] Ruiz De Lopera
[Stadium] Olympico de Montjuic
[Stadium] Coliseum Alfonso Perez
[Stadium] Cuidad de Valencia
[Stadium] Son Moix
[Stadium] Reyno de Navarra
[Team] Racing Santander
[Stadium] El Sardinero
[Team] Real Madrid
[Stadium] Santiago Bernabeu
[Team] Real Murcia
[Stadium] La Condomina
[Stadium] Sanchez Pizjuan
[Stadium] Nuevo Jose Zorilla
[Stadium] El Madrigal
[Stadium] La Romareda
Sporting pictures can be seen on www.ciao.co.uk - Posted pics of the two biggest European stadiums - Nou Camp (98,000) - Santiago Bernabeu (85,000 Capacity) . - Hope you enjoyed as much as I enjoyed writing this piece.
Like the old saying goes - It's not what you know it's who you know and these words couldn't be truer than in the building trade. Most of us when looking to make major alterations in the home , whether it be a new fitted kitchen, new bathroom , flooring we tend to look for that bigger company in the belief that the bigger company always knows best. This passed year alone my entire home has been undergoing major renovations & even though it has been quite stressful the whole experience has been very enlightening. Having already been given a quote from a big company as well as all the paperwork completed but not signed I was on the verge of going ahead with my new fitted kitchen.
That was until a miraculous u-turn unfolded - I was having trouble with my electricity and I had to find an electrician urgently. As one does, I went straight for the yellow pages & browsed the local newspaper and there in small print was "all electrical work - 20 years experience - trustworthy & reliable call Mark"- I followed up the ad and made an appointment for the following day. On arrival the electrician introduced himself and then wanted to know what the exact problem was. I explained to him, that I am due to go ahead with a new fitted kitchen but the electrical re-wiring needed to be looked at because the company that plan to fit my kitchen said it was something that needed doing before they will begin the work. The electrician then asked to see the plans for the kitchen to help him with the problem - on viewing the plans and being very experienced in kitchen fitting he immediately pointed out several faults with the proposed new kitchen. When asked to expand on the problem he got the tape out and proved that the dimensions on the drawings just did not add up. He also told me that there was no need to re-wire and according to him there were no problems with my electricity. He then suggested I look elsewhere as the advice given to me as well as the designer plans I had in front of me were mis-leading and it could end up costing me more money in the long run. He then suggested I contact a company called A La Carte Kitchens which according to him came highly recommended - he wrote the number down on a piece of paper and left but not before I thanked him for all the invaluable information he had passed on.
The company in question was Rochester Interiors - They own one of the biggest kitchen & bathroom showrooms in my area and I was quoted a staggering £23,000 for my fitted kitchen which included wooden/glass units, natural granite worktops as well as top of the range appliances such as:
Neff double built in oven
Neff integrated washing machine,
Neff dish washer.
Neff integrated microwave,
Neff 4 burner gas hob,
Neff glass chimney extractor
Neff slimline dishwasher
As well as removing a stud wall as I wanted an open plan kitchen. The news that came to light had me worried so I decided to follow the electrician's advice and contact A La Carte Kitchens. One thing I was adamant about, I was not going to change the design or layout of the new kitchen as it took me a few months to come up with the overall plan & so that was one of the stipulations I put to A La Carte when contacting them. I just didn't fancy going down that long road again, re-designing the kitchen from scratch. I didn't disclose the price quoted by Rochester Interiors either; instead I played it by ear and wanted to see what A La Carte Kitchens had to say.
On arrival the A La Carte rep was a man in his fifties and one thing I noticed straight away that distinctly set this rep apart form all the others was the air of confidence this man showed when entering my kitchen. You could just tell that he knew his trade very well & took lead in areas where many just didn't want to know. After all, I expect the professional in an industry I know so little about to give me solid and constructive advice instead of letting me do all the talking. Many companies I dealt with either had difficulty using the design tool software when planning my kitchen (at times spending more than 15 minutes in showrooms sat down in front of the PC with rep while he/she was working out how to use the software) or just didn't have the knowledge and experience when asked certain questions.
On the other hand the A La Carte Rep had bundles of knowledge in all areas. He observed not only the plan itself but the floor, ceiling, walls, electrical sockets, he basically left no stone unturned. With a laptop by his side this rep came equipped & displayed my kitchen design quickly & efficiently showing no flaws when using the software. It was that very moment I had decided to terminate my interest with Rochester Interiors and switch to A La Carte Kitchens. On viewing the plans the A La Carte rep just chuckled with laughter as to say who the hell did these for you. When you have dealt with more than four to five kitchen companies you think you have seen it all & evidently I hadn't as I was on the verge of throwing away £23,000 on a kitchen that looked pretty on paper but was not possible in practice. It's a good thing I am not one to sign documents straight away no matter how satisfied I am with the outcome, its something I have adopted over the years.
So before putting pen to paper I like to think about it a while longer and so I guess this approach of mine paid off. The A La Carte rep displayed qualities that many of the others lacked, promptly installing confidence and peace of mind. Taking charge of the situation & reassuring me that he was able to match the design I put forward to him as well as all the Neff appliances I had chosen. This was exactly what I needed to hear at this stage as I was fed up with all the lies and empty promises. I was now hoping the overall price would be cheaper but the A La Carte rep was unable to give me an exact quote there & then until I picked out a unit design from their showroom. The kitchen units in the brochures which the rep had did not appeal and besides there are certain items I feel you just can't pick out of a brochure - and for me this applies mainly to kitchen units, taps & sinks - I'd rather prefer to see them visually in front of me before making my mind up.
[A La Carte Showroom]
When entering the showroom the first thing that drew my attention was how compact everything was - surprisingly small but very well displayed, having already visited larger showrooms it was quite welcoming to see something different. On show were five different kitchen styles and luckily enough I didn't need to see anymore as the one I wanted was staring me right in the face. The design & style was one I hadn't seen before - the range was made out of natural wood & it came under the Columbus range. I then found out that the range I had selected was manufactured here in the UK, which was also pleasing to know as I was getting quite fed up with all these German & Italian kitchen designs which started to look all the same to me.
This range was stunning looking but in a subtle way. (Will be submitting pictures on www.Ciao.co.uk). I then headed towards the sink & tap section but not before being approached by a friendly lady rep - I introduced myself and she automatically knew who I was , she had obviously been briefed by the rep that came to my home as she went straight to her desk and pulled out the paperwork. It turned out she was the wife of the gentleman that took my kitchen dimensions , and having established that, she also told me that A La Carte Kitchens is a family run business. Having gone down that road before I was more than willing to go down that road again - my experience with family run companies is all but positive and I feel they look after their customers far better than the larger plc/Ltd companies do. We spent time discussing different styles of taps and sinks to match the unit I had picked out and once we agreed on the design the ball was ready to roll - All I needed now was a copy of the plan, a contracted list of all works included as well as a list of all the appliances, worktops, accessories and more importantly the final quotation. All this information was going to be sent to me via post within the next couple of days & if I agreed to the terms and conditions then I was to sign and send it back to them - where in return they would give me a starting date to begin works on my fitted kitchen.
[A La Carte Kitchen Contract]
As promised the contract as well as the new kitchen plans arrived within two days - it was a detailed contract outlining all the specifics of what I was paying for along with the overall price. Bar the fitting of all the wall cabinets & glass units the final price also included the following:-
Remove existing kitchen units, wall tiles & stud wall
Take on all gas, electric & plumbing works
Plaster Kitchen ceiling
Supply & fit new kitchen tiles
Supply & fit marble flooring
Templating natural granite fittings.
Supply & fit all Neff kitchen appliances
Templating a small granite breakfast table
Fitting low voltage eyeball lights.
Final Quotation 10th October 2006 Plus a 10 year Guarantee
Net Price £15,200
VAT % £2,662
Total Price £17,862
Having received the above contract I was already £6,000 better off and that was without having to worry about the electrics, removing stud wall, tiling, flooring and ceiling. Other companies quoted me more than the above price if I wanted that extra work done and some companies just simply quoted more without even mentioning or taking into account the extra work So having weighed up the pros and cons I agreed to sign the contract on the 18th October 2006 and sent a cheque for £1,700 as a deposit.
[Lets roll our sleeves up & get dirty]
The first part of the kitten fitting was the removal of the old kitchen units as well as the stud wall , some brickwork and the removal of the old appliances - this was carried out by the kitchen fitter , his apprentice and one labourer and all the work was completed in one long day.
The second day consisted of all the preliminary works - the new wiring , the plumbing and marking out for all the new units to be installed - This took two days.
A week into the work the floor tiler came in to lay the marble floor - it was suggested by the rep that the units be placed on top of the marble tiles instead of cutting the tiles around the units. This took one long day but can take longer if they have to level your kitchen floor - In my case I had no problems there.
After two weeks all the new units as well as new kitchen appliances arrived and ready to be fitted - Due to the fact that my cabinets were manufactured in the UK was an added advantage as the waiting time was minimal - Normally can take up to 6 weeks if coming from abroad. Fitting the entire units and kitchen appliances took around a week - during which a specialised team of two took dimensions for the granite tops. The granite templates took ten days to complete & so the surface tops were fitted on the eleventh day. Once the granite tops were fitted then the kitchen fitter came back to plumb in the kitchen sink, taps, washing machine, dishwasher and also the gas hob. The final stage was the fitting of the new kitchen tiles which took two days to complete.
[How did they perform]
As workers & guests in my home they worked accordingly, politely, with ease and cleanliness. All work done and finished was at a very high standard - They had a work schedule that they met and this was expertly executed. You couldn`t help but notice they had a high level of skill simply because there never seemed to be a problem during the installation period and if there was one I was never made aware of it. Communication levels between the different groups of workers were excellent, one of the reasons why it all ran so smoothly. Therefore from quotation through to installation I found A La Carte Kitchens friendly, efficient and acted in a professional manner. My new fitted kitchen was now complete and ready to be used - it took approx five weeks from start to finish.
[The Finished Article]
Todays high-tech kitchens are truly mechanized and there's no getting away from that - Kitchens have evolved from basic stoves , iron pots and utensils into a technological era of appliances - Thanks to Percy L Spencer who invented the microwave, which was the start of many appliances flooding into our kitchens - creating a modern convenience world for us all. My new fitted kitchen is exactly that, a modern high-tech design to accommodate all my appliances furnished with high quality units. I have a kitchen that is stylish, beautiful, and imaginative and one that will last me for many years to come.
[Company Details/My Verdict]
A La Carte Kitchens are a family-run business offering the very best in design and customer service. Putting a price on a fitted kitchen is virtually impossible as there are so many parameters that one has to take into consideration ; such as size of kitchen , materials used , quality of units , appliances - but having said that A La Carte are flexible to discuss ideas and create individual kitchens to suit different lifestyles and budgets. I have no regrets in spending the money I did as the end result is amazing & it was worth every penny - and besides the money I spent is an investment in itself as ten even twenty years from now my kitchen will still have plenty of life in it. A La Carte Kitchens also own a factory here in the UK - contact details below:
21 Watling Street
Kent ME5 7EP
Tel Medway - 01634 856194
Shamel Business Park
Kent ME2 4EB
Tel 01634 290402
If I had to start all over then this is the approach I would use - A TIP from me.
Always think fitted first, disregard your budget for now. What you initially need to do is find yourself a good kitchen company that will do all the hard work for you - get them to design your kitchen plans as well as supply a written list of all materials used, basically have them believe you are going to go ahead, this way they will produce a copy of the all paperwork that will contain all the relevant information that you will need to pass on to the next company. So long as you don't sign an agreement you can take as long as you like to decide whether you want to go ahead or not - do not be cornered into signing anything until you are fully satisfied. By this time you already have a fitted kitchen quote from one company as well as all the important paperwork in your possession. This information is vital as you can now go from showroom to showroom with your dimensions already implemented into your kitchen design plan as well as a list of all the accessories you have picked out for your new kitchen. Once you make contact with another company just hand over the paperwork and tell then this is what you want done but do not reveal the price though. The only alteration you will be doing is picking out a unit, and more likely it will be one similar to the one you originally picked out. If they are able to better the price then you have saved money and you are onto a good thing - it's a good way of short listing companies as well as eliminating companies at a faster rate than having to start from scratch from company to company.
So sorry for the length if this review but this is one area of your home you cannot cut any corners, consumers should be well aware of the implications involved. So no matter how irrelevant this review may seem to some of you now, there is no doubt that a fitted kitchen is a home project that you will take on at some point in your lives.
If you are interested in what my kitchen looks like then an array of pictures can be found on Ciao.co.uk
Thanks © Strood 2007 @ 12.30 on 14/11/07
Why dont we all just squeeze into my imaginary Dr Who tardis and go back in time - at least 100 years back. Dont worry as my imaginary tardis is very reliable and will bring you all back to 2007 in one piece - safe & sound. I promise! - Any volunteers? Wow! - What a response - all aboard then. I figured if a company that has been around for more than a 100 years then a history lesson is deserved , not only will it show how it first came about but it will also demonstrate how it has managed to compete & move with the times - The AA (automobile association) in one such company - able to survive the two world wars , economic recession , new technology - you name it, the AA is a company that has already been tried & tested and that is why it still stands today.
[Let the history lesson begin]
1905 - A group of motoring fans met at a restaurant in London West End to form the Automobile Association - abbreviated as the AA. The organization initially intended to help motorists avoid speed traps - as cars became more popular so did the AA. The 100 members in 1905 grew to 83,000 by 1914.
1906 - The AA launched the countrys first successful danger & warning signs - committed to promoting road safety ever since. After 1930 the signs became a local authority responsibility.
1908 - The AA appointed agents & repairers throughout the UK - soon after the AA routes were introduced & by 1929 the AA had issued 239,000 routes a year.
1939 - Two million cars in the UK & nearly half of those two million motorists had joined the AA.
1949 - The introduction of two-way radio after the Second World War saw a new technology emerge & with that the AA launched a night-time breakdown service in London that gradually extended to cover most of Britain.
1950 - After the Second World War the AA led the protest against petrol rationing - it was finally lifted in 1950.
1967 - A huge turning point in the history of the AA - The year they established the AA Insurance broking service. A lot of companies crashed in the 1960`s and motorists wanted insurance cover from an organisation they could trust - people in their thousands turned to the AA - today its the UK`s largest home & car insurance broker.
1970 - AA Road watch, Europes biggest traffic broadcaster when into circulation - offering fast & accurate road & traffic information.
1973 - AA Relay was launched, guaranteeing to transport seriously broken down vehicles as well as driver, passengers, luggage, trailer or caravan to any destination in Britain.
1983 - The AA lead a number of major campaigns for the compulsory of wearing seat belts - It became law in 1983.
- Lets just stop time right there & get a bit nostalgic - Ok , everyone out of the tardis and go and explore London and be back in a couple of hours. I say London because this is where I was living in 1985 & that was the year I bought my first car - a second hand automatic Mini-Cooper that cost me £300.
Living in London meant that I was always eager to get out of the city to visit different places & the only way I was going to do that was in my little Mini Cooper. That was until I had experienced my first breakdown - Brighton 52miles away from home, my car just wouldnt start. I tried everything, even my friends who thought they were car mechanics at the time also tried but to no avail. Part of me just didnt want to leave my car behind and get on a train home & so I rang my parents and told them what had happened , they in return suggested the AA but neither I or any of my other relatives were AA members. I gave my exact location, they then phoned the AA and joined membership there & then - which automatically covered me for breakdown and recovery service for a year.- That was 20 odd years ago - my very first contact & experience with the AA company.
AA arrived two hours after the call was made and boy was I relieved when I saw the van approach with all its flashing yellow lights - hes a very nice man - a very very nice man ( some of you may understand the quote some may not - comes from the AA advert). He opened the bonnet, played around with the engine and then turned the ignition on - the next thing I hear was the purr of my engine. I was very impressed and so was my friends, the mechanic then briefed me on what needed doing but the news was not good. I then signed some paperwork and the AA man drove away.
My poor mini was on its last legs - From 1985 to 1992 I owned another 3 cars and continued my AA membership Breakdown Service. During my seven year membership I found the entire AA team very friendly & approachable - qualities that are not easy to display at all times when working in conditions like theirs - shift work , driving long hours , extreme weather climate , called out to odd destinations. How many of us have come across rude car mechanics? I have plenty of times but I have yet to come across a rude AA member of staff. Always courteous , professional and in fact joining the AA saved me time & money
Their highly qualified mechanics passing on invaluable information when my car needed fixing. How many dodgy mechanics are out there? - How many dodgy motor insurance companies out there? - LOADS!- The AA has a proven history , a reputable motor insurance company that has been in the forefront of all motoring issues - harnessing new ideas and technology thus ensuring high quality standards at all times. So even before I came along in 1985 the AA had more than eight decades of motoring experience behind them - My AA Breakdown & Recovery Service membership terminated in 1992 as I decided to stop driving for a while and resort to London transport - .. . Yuk!!
Tardis is all set & ready to go but waiting for on one person - Wheres that Sue(Skidd Dooyoo username)? - Sue, I said two hours not three. I bet you were having a quick smoke - Have you got a spare? , I will join you. The two chain smokers board the tardis and off they all go forward in time.
1986 - The AA computer system - command & control started to replace paper based operations. Advanced technology using global positioning satellites hence achieving speed to response at the roadside.
1990 - The AA expanded its publishing activities - producing a wide range of maps, atlases & travel guides to worldwide destinations. The AA is now the UK`s biggest travel publisher and in the top ten worldwide. Many AA books available in 28 languages.
1992 - The AA driving school was launched.
1994 - AA membership reached 8 million.
2002 - The AA Motoring Trust charity was created to carry on the interest and safety of Britains road users.
 - Lets just freeze time yet again , the turn of the millennium & the AA is fast approaching its 100 years in circulation - Ok , everyone out of the tardis and go and explore the Garden of Kent - Go do some strawberry picking or visit a few hop farms but be back in a couple of hours. I now live in Kent and this is one place you need a car, or two for that matter - lots of open space , transport not so good , night transport service virtually non-existent and so when looking for motor insurance & breakdown cover there was only going to be one company that was getting my money and that was the AA. Having dealt with them in the past
I had no hesitation in contacting them again, peace of mind is what I was after and the AA is one business that could deliver that on a platter. I own two cars, an old banger and a newish modern one.
Renault Clio 1.0 Litre Engine
Renault Megane Sports Hatchback
When looking for motor insurance there are many parameters that determine the overall price - Each individual has different circumstances & needs and its due to this that there are so many different motor insurance quotes. Factors that can influence the overall price when looking to take out motor insurance can be as follows:
Type of cover
No claims Bonus
Whether garaged @ night
Details that I am not prepared to keep disclosing from one company to another and more so to companies that I barely know. Instead I contacted the AA who efficiently took all my personal details and searched a wide spectrum of leading insurers to get the best deal for me. The Automobile Associations database is vast and there are not many motoring companies out there who have access or the know how like the AA do. Their prices are very competitive & easily one of the best for good value for money.
Renault Clio - Third Party Fire & Theft £242 per year
Renault Megane Sports Hatchback - Fully comp £490 per year.
AA Breakdown cover - £137.00 per year
The above prices are what I paid for the year of June 2007 to June 2008 - each year paying less due to my NO CLAIMS BONUS. For a total of £869 per year I have two cars insured as well as AA breakdown cover and all the other perks that come with it. That is excellent value for money of you ask me. All AA policy members also receive;
Up to 65% no claims discount.
24 Hour claim line - 365 days a year
Courtesy car while yours is being repaired
90 days car insurance cover in other EU countries.
Amending a policy is so hassle free - the staff are quick to please and resolve your queries in an instant. I had to add business insurance to my Renault Clio due to the fact that a lot of clients enter my car when out and about in the community & it was also company policy that I get that type of cover on my motor insurance when out working - yet again the AA team with no fuss amended accordingly. They are truly a good bunch of professionals, acting in the interest of the client and always looking to offer better or alternative deals. Renewing your motor insurance policy couldnt be simpler - You are promptly notified at least one month prior to renewal and AA does everything for you.
All paperwork that is sent is clearly displayed, showing all the relevant details of your current policy as well as the new policy quote for the coming year. Allowing you one month to look elsewhere if you decide you want to change insurance company or feel you can get a better quote - If you do decide to continue with the AA then its just a matter of arranging payment over the phone and they in return will forward you new motor insurance certificate within five days. Policy members as well as new members have a choice of paying the full amount or by monthly instalments.
This is now my fifth year I have renewed my policy with the AA motor Insurance and all the while I am behind the wheel driving, I will so continue to use this first-rate company. I have yet to encounter a problem & I doubt I ever will. AA`s reliability is second to none. - Ok, I can see the group boarding the tardis and so I must go join them & finish off the history tour. Tardis warps further into the future.
2004 -The AA`s online route planner went live - showing street level detail on all routes of Britain as well as the online AA Car Buyers Guide , designed to give people advice on how avoid risks when buying a new or second hand car.
2005 - AA roadside & breakdown service was voted as the fastest when arriving at the scene of a breakdown - compared to all the other competitors.
2007 - Today the AA has more than 15 million members.
[My Final Verdict]
The AA has sure come along way , a journey that first started in 1905 has now morphed into a leading force in the car insurance industry but they haven`t just stopped there - AA are evidently moving with the times offering a range of products and services that suit all kinds of people and meet all sorts of insurance needs such as;
Travel & Caravan Insurance
Life & Pet Insurance.
Van & Business Insurance
AA Legal Services
AA Motor Insurance - 0800 032 1490
AA Breakdown Cover - 0800 587 1260
AA Loans - 0800 234 6000
AA Motorcycle Insurance - 0800 197 5740
AA Van Insurance - 0800 107 1746
AA Business Insurance - 0800 107 0572
AA Pet Insurance - 0800 197 2975
AA Travel Insurance - 0800 197 2501
AA Home Insurance - 0800 107 0580
I hope you all enjoyed the AA history tour and have come away much the wiser on a company that is well worth considering & one that I highly recommend. Next time you need car insurance or breakdown cover think AA because they always make the grade.
Thanks © Strood 2007 @ 23.20 07/11/07
No matter how nice your home looks like from the inside and outside -One of the most important finishing touches that will compliment your homes décor when done properly is the furnishing of your windows. Only then will you appreciate the full effect of your interior and exterior design - giving the room & your dwelling another lease of life. This is one area that can so easily be overlooked - there is no doubt that a blank looking window in any household is off putting. But not as off putting when seeing badly fitted blinds or curtains installed. You know the ones - either too big or too small for the window, in the hope that the gathering pleats will cover the entire length of the curtain rail. Or the lack of curtain hooks that when opening & closing, the curtain just slides off. The most annoying one of them all is the length of the curtains touching the floor, layers of fabric just picking up dust - excess material that can easily furnish another window. The same theory can apply to blinds - a badly fitted blind or a ready made blind that doesnt quite fit your window frame will look amiss. So instead of enhancing your glass window with a fabulous image you will end up with an unfinished look - a look that will not be pleasing on the eye.
I am not one for curtains and never have been - I just dont like them, not into the tie backs, valances, pelmets, pinch pleats, pencil pleats, curtain hooks or lined fabrics. Have no time for all that fancy stuff - I much prefer simple yet very practical stylish blinds. So, my next port of call was to find myself a company that supplied and fitted a wide range of quality made to measure blinds - and that I did. The company I had the pleasure in dealing with is called Hillarys - they are the leading made-to measure blinds company in the UK and with more than 35 years of experience under their belt. Hillarys have no showrooms or outlets that you can visit. Instead they have a national network of consultants & advisors that visit you - all contacts and appointments are done via their website or by telephone. All my negotiations with this company were carried out either by phone or in person and so there was no need for me to use their website.
[A quick overview when making an appointment by phone]
Telephone - Initial Contact
Advice given/questions answered
Consultant arrives @ your home - Windows Measured.
Samples Shown - Different designs & colours
Price quote given there & then
If satisfied deposit paid and fitting date given
Hillarys provide a FREE home consultancy therefore if youre not happy with the price or samples shown you just simply walk away. You lose nothing financially but gain ideas and the experience can also be used as a good marker when comparing prices elsewhere. The advisor will take care of all the measuring and fitting as well as offer constructive and on the ball advice - all you have to do is pick out a blind that will suit your decor and all this is done in the comfort of your own home. The sales consultant sure doesnt come empty handed either as you are most definitely spoilt for choice - Equipped with a full range of designs, samples & fabrics all at the ready to be viewed and compared to your interior furnishings and surroundings. Finding the right colour/shade contrast to match your ambience is not easy when visiting department stores but when doing it at home it couldnt be simpler - You place the blind/sample strip against the wall , the sofa , the furniture , the tiles , the floor , the bedding or even your carpet - instantly giving you a colour match image. You can play around with so many colour combinations & styles in such a short period of time - a time consuming process when visiting outlets. Its so much easier on the eye and a much quicker approach used when making that final decision on the product selected. One does not have to imagine what it would look like because the end result is staring you right in the face. This has to be the best and safest way when picking out the perfect colour blind combination to suit your home - you just cant go wrong.
[I like what I have seen so tell me more]
Once you have selected the desired design, fabric and colour then the Hillarys consultant will issue you a printed invoice. This will show the type of blind, the name of the colour selected as well as the final price. The invoice is clearly displayed and also broken down into sections so you can easily distinguish one window from another or one room from another. At this point of the consultancy you have two options - you can either mull over the information and then contact Hillarys in your own time if you plan to pursue it further. Or you can finalise the deal by paying a deposit and giving the go ahead to place the order. All consultants carry a small computer device that gives them access to verify credit & debit cards. I opted for the latter and paid a deposit there & then - once payment is authorised you are given a fitting date which can take between 3 to 6 weeks.
[Blinds have names as well - Did you know that?]
Thats right folks the word blinds on its own doesnt really give you the full picture - you need to take that a little step further and be more specific when picking out a style. Having used blinds on my windows from my previous home I already knew all the terminology used in order to distinguish one style from another. So for all those people who are completely alien on this subject let me enlighten you. The following blinds are unique in their own way:
Venetian Blinds (aluminium or wood)
Vertical Blinds - Fabric
Roller Blinds - Fabric
Roman Blinds - Fabric
Pleated Blinds - Fabric
Woodweave Blinds - Natural Fibres E.g. Bamboo
The above come with a wide spectrum of colours as well as more than 200 hundred fabrics to pick from - Exclusive individual styles ranging from plains, naturals , patterns and if you really want to be different you can go as far as picking out a leather or suede fabric look - Not for me but there is always someone out there whos into leather lol - Dont worry to much though if the different blind names have confused you because the Hillarys consultant will soon bring the to your attention all the different styles available - showing you samples and explaining the different mechanisms involved. All done in a friendly and patient manner. - Outstanding service.
[Venetian - Vertical - Roller - Blinds]
Without going into too much description on what they look like - pictures on another site if interested(Ciao.co.uk), the above three blinds are the ones I selected to furnish my windows- The Venetian blinds were fitted in all of the 3 bedrooms, bathroom and shower room as well as the conservatory. The roller blind was fitted in the kitchen and the vertical blind was fitted in the living room. In total Hillarys fitted twelve blinds - the conservatory needed 5 blinds, hence sheer volume of glass. I opted for plain natural colours with a slat width of 25mm aluminium style Venetian - Venetian slat widths also come in 15/35/50 mm.
However, vertical blinds only come in two slat widths 89mm or 127mm. I opted for the 89mm as well as a natural light colour fabric. And finally the roller blind I chose was a plain dark green fabric with the traditional acorn plastic pull.
[I control the sunlight - The sunlight doesnt control me]
We all know how effective lined curtains are when blocking out the sunlight but how effective are they when trying to let in a measured amount of light into a room? Absolutely not effective at all - On the other hand the mechanism of the blind gives me full control of light exposure. You simply pull or turn the control chain allowing you to tilt the slat widths to any desired angle - you can combine light and privacy or pull open completely revealing a clear view and as much sunlight exposure as you want. The roller blind however, do not have any slat widths but the mechanism used in this kind of blind is just as effective when filtering a measured amount of sunlight into a room. Roller blinds can be pulled up & down and be positioned at any level of the window thus allowing you full control over the amount of daylight entering a room. Who was it that said you cant control nature? lol - The pull chains are safe, practical, easy to use, stylish, durable and more importantly blend in nicely within the window frame as well as youre blind - creating an elegant look.
[Maintaining & keeping your blinds clean]
When purchasing your blinds from Hillarys you are automatically informed that all of their blinds are thoroughly tested to meet British Standards - rigorous tests on light , humidity and temperature are a way of making sure they are made from the highest quality as well as extending the life expectancy for years to come. Special properties such as UV - light degradation, this ensures the blind will retain its colour throughout its working life. The fabrics have many assets such as flame retardant, light reflective, machine washable, water resistant, heat reflective and anti-static finish that helps prevent dust. However , the aluminium Venetian slats when collecting dust are very easy to clean and wipe down - making sure the slats are fully closed you work your way from top to bottom , this can be done with a simple duster or a damp cloth. All blinds come with a 12 month guarantee.
[How did Hillarys perform?]
As a worker & a guest in my home the Hillarys fitter worked accordingly, politely, with ease and cleanliness. All work done and finished was at a very high standard -The work schedule was met and this was expertly executed. You couldn`t help but notice the fitter had a high level of skill simply because there never seemed to be a problem during the installation period and if there was one I was never made aware of it. Communication levels between me the fitter & other members of staff at Hillarys were excellent, one of the reasons why it all ran so smoothly. Therefore from quotation through to installation I found this company to be friendly, efficient and acted in a professional manner. They are very flexible when it comes to fitting your blinds - If by any chance you cannot make the allocated date then you can re-schedule for a day that suits you. This can easily be done as you are a given the mobile number of the fitter and you can liaise with him whenever you like without having to speak to the office. I opted for a Saturday as that was the day that suited me best - the fitter arrived around 10.00am and all my 12 blinds were fitted and fully completed in about 4 hours. - Yet again an outstanding service provided.
[Price & value for money]
I could easily roll out the figures and tell you what I paid for my entire windows to be fully furnished with blinds but these price figures would realistically give you the readers a false reading. Pricing a blind for a window will be different for all individuals the simple reason being they are being made to measure - hence made especially for you. We all have different widow sizes as well as different tastes and needs - additional accessories such as an array of control options, choice of fabrics, trims, poles, different style blinds make it very difficult to point you towards an exact price. However, having dealt with this company I can assure their prices are value for money and whats more Hillarys have on-going promotions and brilliant deals that will suit all budgets & I mean ALL budgets. You will be impressed at the quality and the array of choices this company can offer. The remainder of my outstanding balance was paid directly to the head office via the phone and all paid up after the fitting was completed.
This company is well worth noting down if youre planning to furnish your windows with blinds - No need to look elsewhere as these people are the REAL deal.
Colwick Business Park
Private Road No 2
Nottingham NG4 2JR
Telephone: 0800 587 6418
[My closing lines]
Blinds are versatile, practical and very stylish and no matter how awkward your windows are blinds are a great solution. Whether your home has tricky small windows, bay windows, bow windows or even sloped windows blinds will accommodate all shapes and sizes - creating a modern and orderly effect in your home. To be able to customise your window furnishings to suit your décor is a nice feeling but the feeling is enhanced even more knowing you have full control over how much sunlight is filtered into a room - something curtains lack. They are excellent value for money, easy to maintain and well worth the long term investment. Hillarys have done a superb job in my home and wouldnt hesitate to use them again if ever I needed to.
Thanks - Written by .. © Strood 2007 @ 11.55 on 07/11/07
For the sake of the consumer I will run by the specific looks and features of the Morphy Richards kettle as well as the price. I will do this before I start my rant by high-lighting the numerous flaws this model has. This kettle doesn't deserve such a detail insight; instead I should really go straight for the throat and spill the beans on how poor this appliance is. However, all potential consumers need to be fully informed whether purchasing such a product is worthwhile - no matter how negative the review may come across. So lets just all take a closer look at the kettle that really does flatter to deceive.
- [Name] : Morphy Richards
- [Model] : Morphy Richards 43120 Kettle
- [Price] : £42.99
[Product - Looks & Features]
When reading about the many features this model has as well as the innovative and trendy design you will automatically be enticed to buy this kettle or even shortlist it as a possible purchase. I for one was one of those customers who just saw BLUE and so I just had to buy it. The Morphy Richards is equipped with a blue neon power light that illuminates the entire kettle when switched on. The blue light permanently stays on until the kettle is fully boiled, where by the automatic shut off will come into play. This specific light feature is most definitely the most attractive selling point and had it not been for this I would not have bought this kettle. A trendy looking characteristic that will appeal to many as well as compliment the different kitchen styles & décor - also a guarantee that this kettle will have no problems blending in with your kitchen worktops no matter what style you have.
The colour of the kettle is glass and chrome - basically when switched off its chrome looking yet at the same time the chrome is transparent. However, despite the see-through metal it's still very hard to see at which point the water level is at. On the other hand turn the kettle on and then it becomes glass looking - fully illuminated and transparent allowing you to see the water level as well as the boiling process. It's like looking at small aquarium all lit up by a blue neon light - whilst boiling, the initial water bubbles are a bit like oxygen bubbles in a tank. The Morphy cordless kettle sits on a 360 degree black connector base which is ideal for left and right handed use. With a capacity of 1.5 litres of water (pretty heavy if raised with weaker hand) this 360 degree connector will always accommodate your stronger hand/arm. So without having to detach the kettle from the base, you simply rotate it round to your preferred hand or posture before using - making it much safer & practical when lifting the kettle as well as pouring the boiling water.
The Morphy Richards also sports an easy fill spout as well as a hinged locking lid for safety. So when adding water to kettle you have two options - the spout or the lid. I on the other hand had no option but to use the lid as my tap doesn't quite fit into the kettle spout, have tried several times and the water just splashes everywhere. So keep this mind - not all kitchen taps will fit perfectly into the spout. Having said that, the spout is a minor problem (I just use the lid) compared to the bigger problems that begin to unfold. The water capacity litre markings are clearly displayed (1.5 maximum); easy to know where you stand when measuring the amount of water you would like to add before boiling. An easy push button release and equipped with 3.1kw rapid boil element this Morphy Richards model really does deliver fast boiling water.
Now for a closer look inside the kettle - No kettle can go without a removable lime scale filter and this is exactly what you will find inside this model, yes effective and very much needed. The element inside the kettle is also concealed and so the lime scale has no where to hide or even form without noticing - you lift the lid and you have a clear view of the kettle base and all the lime scale it contains. A brilliant feature for easy cleaning and descaling. There are still plenty of models that show the element inside the kettle dome - if you purchase a kettle that exposes the element, you will find that it's much harder to control & monitor the lime scale that forms. Last but not least the Morphy Richards 43120 has cord storage under the base.
[Bye Morphy - Hello Dualit ]
Impressive features this kettle has, don't you think? Well, that's what I thought until I put into practice. The bottom line here is how it performs when in use not when reading the many features and admiring the style & looks it has. A learning curve for me as I for one got suckered in by the blue neon light and bought the kettle without thinking So I go on record by saying my Morphy Richards 43120 kettle which I paid £42.99 only had a lifespan of 5 months , during which I had many problems. All those problems but ended when the kettle just wouldn't start one morning - I guess it basically had enough of me cursing at it. Morphy has now left the building and has been replaced by a Dualit kettle and so far this little beauty is running smoothly. And before you ask - NO, it has no blue lights. In fact no lights at all, only a little red power light. - Set me back £54 though.
So the question here is:
How did the Morphy Richards kettle perform when put into practice?
Quite frankly miserably & I will tell you why.
[Morphy 43120 Flatters To Deceive]
My Morphy Richards 43120 kettle may just have been an isolated case - you may get a next Dooyoo member who will write a positive review about this product and if so then lucky he or she. I can only go by my personal experience when using this appliance - So when taking the kettle features of this model into account they really do fail to meet the mark. I will clearly demonstrate the flaws this model has and the many problems you could face if you purchase this kettle. But before I do, I would also like to mention that my first Morphy Richards kettle (which I was so looking forward to seeing the blue neon light in action) was faulty and had to be returned. How bizarre is that? My first kettle had to be returned and my second despatched kettle had a lifespan of only five months - that's 2 faulty kettles of the same model. Sounds to me there's a bad batch of these going around - just high lighting what I think is pretty relevant. It's not to say it's not happened before, batches of products can be faulty unknowingly yet still be sold to consumers. Having go that of my chest lets just move on to the kettle features and see why they fail miserably.
A quick re-cap:
Removable lime scale filter
Push Button release
Blue neon power on light
Maximum capacity 1.7 litres
Hinged locking lid for safety
Easy fill spout
The above specifications are basic features to any kettle let alone the Morphy Richards and so the more reason they should pass the criteria and perform when using.
[Push Button release] One of the most annoying flaws this kettle has and one that didn't take too long to detect was the automatic shut down. You press the button and leave kettle to boil but once water is boiled the automatic shut-down doesn't respond or switch off straight away. This delay causes unnecessary over boiling as well as water over flow, especially if you have the kettle filled to its maximum capacity. Having learnt there was delay in the automatic shutdown I always had to be careful on how much water I added to the kettle. - Thumbs Down!
[Lime scale Filter] Removable lime scale filter, what ever you do don't remove as you will have problems fitting back into place. Catch 22 that, you need to remove to clean but once removed you wish you hadn't. This little bugger of a filter is annoying - you think you have mastered its technique when placing in position only to find out its fallen into the kettle dome. You know what I did - RUBBISHED it that's how much it annoyed me - Thumbs Down!
[Blue Neon Power Light] You wake up one morning and switch the kettle on, eyes half closed but no matter how closed your eyes are the blue light is one FEATURE that is always pleasing on the eye. But that was short lived - The neon light is also the power light - no light then the kettle is broken it's as simple as that. The first time it happened I got my neighbour to have a look at it, his son is an electrician. He managed to get it working and said it was something to do with the connector base. He gave it all the jargon but it never sunk in - I was just pleased I was able to make a cuppa lol - Let's not forget here that the main attractive selling point to this kettle is the blue neon light, you eliminate this feature and the kettle is your average dull looking £25.00 worth not £43.00. And that's exactly what happened here - the light failed for a second time and even a third time before the Morphy Richards was thrown in the bin. - Thumbs Down!
[Spout/Hinged Locking Lid] Initially I had no problem that my tap didn't quite fit into the kettle spout as I simply filled the kettle opening the lid. But as time went on, the opening & closing of the lid took its toll on the safety hinge. I don't think the lid was designed to be frequently opened and closed, expecting most people to use the spout when adding water to the kettle. Nonetheless, after three months of use the kettle lid was faulty and that is simply not good enough. If I want to have a big tap then so be it, I am not going to buy a compatible tap to fit the kettle spout. The safety hinge on the lid should be quality & durable and not one that falls to pieces after a few months of use. Thumbs Down!
[Maximum Capacity] What good is having a maximum capacity when you can't even use it - What with the delayed automatic shut down your guaranteed to cause an overflow as the water boils more than what it has to and at a rapid pace, not to mention the possibility of scalding. You want to overcome this you have to add less water or baby sit the kettle whilst boiling and then manually switch off. Thumbs Down!
A THUMBS UP to a mere three features:
Concealed element for easy cleaning and descaling
360 degree Base
3.1kw Rapid boil Corldless Kettle
I don't like being ripped off and that's exactly what's happened here - Morphy Richards won't be getting anymore of my money. I don't give brands a second chance, I just move on and look elsewhere and that's exactly what I have done. There was no way I was contemplating on buying another Morphy Richards kettle so instead I bought a Dualit. This model sure pulls in the punters with its flashy neon blue light but when you look deeper it really does flatter to deceive - It lacks quality , durability and more importantly THOUGHT in the practical use of the appliance no matter how innovative & stylish the kettle looks.
I started seeing Blue but ended up seeing RED
A complete thumbs down!!
Do Not Recommend!!
Thanks .. Strood© 2007 @ 17.00 06/11/07
The product being reviewed is one that is simple yet a very effective household gadget. An innovative idea that is so trouble-free when maintaining & installing as well as very easy to use. The plug in portable doorbell is a modernised household concept and one that is fast becoming more popular within our homes. One no longer has to opt for the old conventional doorbells - Instead they are now being replaced by wires-free, bell push & an easy to use plug-in device. A stylish chime box receiver unit that simply plugs into any household socket and uses mains electricity. A genius of an idea that if you haven`t yet cottoned on then what are you waiting for.
If your one of those people who likes the sound of someone knocking and banging on the door then look away. I on the other hand DON`T therefore I just had to invest in one these and more so since my existing bell was now showing signs of rust and the push button was starting to stick. Plug in portable doorbells are not household gadgets that can only be bought in one of those innovation magazines; you know the ones. The small magazine that slips out in between all that junk mail when reading the News of the World on a Sunday morning. They can be virtually found any where these days, your local Argos, web sites, B&Q, Home Base & whats more they come in array of styles, colours & features as well as a huge variation in price. The cheapest I have come across thus far is £8.00 and the most expensive I have seen is £65.
[I want to buy a portable doorbell not a mobile phone]
Thats right folks a simple thing as a doorbell can be quite daunting when confronted with so many on offer & as the sub title suggests , thats exactly what I told the sales assistant when enquiring about a few brand names. So when hunting for one of these beauties remember its not just about DING DONG .. DING DONG - the plug in portable doorbells are far more creative than that. A quick insight on what lies behind this fast becoming trend and ways in which you can narrow your search to suit your needs & lifestyle.
I know the product in question is a simple doorbell and so for the majority of people £65 is absurd money and I would tend to agree. Now picture a different scenario , you see another bell chime for say £48 & yet again the majority would say thats pretty expensive as well. This is exactly what the consumer will be confronted with when looking to buy a plug in portable doorbell - a wide spectrum of prices starting as low as £8.00 and easily as high as £65 plus.
So why is the price gap so wide?
[Customise your own plug in portable doorbell]
The answer to the above question is due to the different styles and array of features that some of these plug in portable doorbells come with. So if your looking to purchase one of these, believe it or not you should approach it the same way as if you would be buying some modern appliance no matter how basic the concept of a door chime may seem to you. You should be buying one that suits your needs, environment and more importantly your budget. Some of the more expensive styles on offer come equipped with fancy features such as:
Plug in & Portable
CD Quality Chimes
10 Plus Melodies
Decorative grey Fascia
Visual Icons / Alarms
Does one really need all these additional features for a simple doorbell?
Most defintely NOT - So heres a quick guide to narrow your search and hopefully this little bit of insight will save you money as well come away much the wiser on an inventive idea that is fast becoming the norm in peoples homes.
Lets take the range feature for example: One that needs mentioning first as this is a major price booster. Those with large homes and very big gardens would benefit from buying a plug in doorbell that has a 200m range than someone who lives in a small flat or apartment who may only need a 25m range. Always remember that the metre range will boost the price up therefore keep this in mind before purchasing as you may not need all that scope.
More expensive or better chime boxes are sold with plug sockets on them allowing you to use your main socket as normal. Normally with this type of plug in doorbell the receiver unit tends to be more bulky looking so it does stick out a bit from the wall. This style may not appeal to some and you may even find it more of an obstacle on the wall and so would rather opt for a slim line look receiver unit instead. On the other hand you may lack wall sockets around your home so a plug in doorbell with a socket attached to it would suit your needs more. Well worth considering as that one extra socket could make the difference.
You also have an assortment of chimes on offer - some styles offer as low as two and others as high as ten chimes. The more chimes the more expensive the doorbell its that simple. If you ask me ten melodies is far too many and besides no matter how many chimes your receiver unit has you can only hear one harmony at a time hence why pay more for a variety of tunes. - Not worth it.
You have chimes and you have CD quality chimes a big difference in audio output and a huge difference in price. The difference being £20 plus. You have to decide which suits your needs and budget but chimes without the CD quality do a perfect job if you ask me - giving out a clear audible sound chime and one that can easily be heard without any problems as all come equipped with a Hi/Low volume control on the receiver plug in unit. So taking into account the above as well the plug in portable doorbells are designed to allow you to move them in any area of your home, - simply no restrictions. The sound quality of the chime suddenly becomes irrelevant , as this household gadget can follow you everywhere - you will never miss out on a caller at your front door.
Some of these cool household gadgets come with flashing lights very useful for noisy environments, for the hard of hearing or the visually impaired. The flashing light they give off can be bought in various colours - bright red, to a rich blue or even a glowing white. A jazzy aluminous feature that will cost you extra - not only do they look nice but they also play a significant role within the home environment.
Some also come as a twin pack: Meaning you get two products in one - A single plug in doorbell as well as a portable chime. Slightly more expensive if you opt for one of these but they are value for money - giving you more alternatives on exact location and position in the home as well as being able to leave the other receiver unit in a fixed area of the home. This would suit large homes with huge gardens & noisy environments - no good for small dwellings as you will not use to its full potential and why pay more for one of these models when you have no use for the additional portable chime. - A single plug in doorbell will be just as effective to cover your entire home range.
[So which model did I end up buying?]
With all this knowledge at my fingertips and having looked closely at the array of portable doorbells on offer I ended up buying the Lindam Sight & Sound plug in door chime. The jazzy flashing strobe light just pulled me in, for me that particular feature was the main selling point - not only would it come in useful but I am also a sucker when it comes to colourful lights , especially in a dark ambiance room. Also if your like me who owns a dog that constantly barks and everything and everyone, whether it be a cat on the garden fence or some person/neighbour walking pass my home, even the sound of fireworks turns by dog into a little wild bundle. I own a small king Charles that has funny ways, he enjoys barking into the air when he hears the fireworks explode. - many would hide but not my dog. So many a times I have missed out on callers at my front door due to his barking antics. The light feature then was going to be useful - when taking on house chores such as vacuum cleaning, running a bath, doing it a bit of gardening, using a lawn mower, even a water feature in a garden can block other sounds off. Everyday household activities can now be taken on with confidence without having to worry about not hearing the doorbell.
So evidently the flashing blue strobe light feature was one then kept me interested & so I continued my curiosity to find out more - disregarding most of the non-flashing chime receivers on sale. Also equipped with the following features:
Flashing Strobe Light - On/Off Switch on device
One single chime receiver device that plugs directly into a 13 amp socket
Wires-free Bell Push Button (Battery Operated)
Hi/Low Volume Control
X4 Chimes but not CD quality.
slightly bulky looking chime receiver.
Having looked at the complete picture, not only the features involved but also the price and environmental benefits I opted to go ahead and buy the Lindham Sight & Sound Plug In Door Chime. So I pulled out my wallet and handed over my Visa card - Argos charged me £26.99 but you will find that some websites or other outlets will sell this model or one similar for around £35 plus. So hunt around as well checking out which features will suit your home before purchasing one of these.
[Trouble-Free in Installing & Maintaining]
Picture this You put the kettle on
You then open you Lindham Sight & Sound Plug In Door Chime box - You then head for the tool box and find yourself a screwdriver and then fit the bell push button to the door frame using two small screws as well as inserting the battery included ( Life span 1 year) - basic DIY skills than anybody can do. You then walk back inside your home and plug in the box chime receiver in any 13 amp household socket.
The kettle is still boiling by the way - Get those biscuits ready lol
This model comes with a self-learning push to chime communication for easy set-up.
You are now up and running & that only took five minutes - I can now enjoy my tea & biscuits for working so hard lol
And as for maintaining your chime device unit: please dont make me laugh - There is simply nothing to maintain bar the odd dust down. Wow that was really difficult!
[My Closing Lines]
These little stylish contraptions should have room for any home - the plug in portable doorbell is a brilliant yet simple idea that has more benefits than your old traditional ding dong. There are not many gadgets or household appliances that need minimal attention and I mean minimal - only needing to change the battery once a year and give the unit a dust down and all the while functioning just as good as the first day I bought it. A little small investment in itself I would say as you will get plenty of life out of this device.
Highly Recommend !!
Thanks © Strood 2007 @ 5.00am 05/11/07
Is the Mrs giving you a hard time when trying to watch football on Sky sports?
Are the kids taking over the TV when playing the X -Box?
Are you tired of paying £8.00 to see a live game on the box office?
Does live football clash with Eastenders?
The above are scenarios that I have been battling with for sometime now but these conflicts have all but ended due to this little gem of a site that I have stumbled across. Lads have I a got a site for you , if your like me who absolutely loves football , domestic as well as worldwide then www.livescore.com is the answer to your prays.
Livescore.com is not a betting or gambling site but a site that is truly in touch with world football by providing you scores and results as they happen 24/7. Want to know what the scores are in Singapore, Guatemala, and Peru? I have chosen these remote countries to give you the readers an idea on how dedicated this site is to this wonderful game.
In todays modern world live football is a lucrative market hence why companies such as Sky, Sentanta Sports, BBC, ITV CH5 all want a piece of the action as well as mobile companies with their costly text messaging are also in the thick of things - audeinces have soared and more so since the launch of the Premiership league back in 1992 as well as the new format of the UEFA & Champions League. However , keeping track of scores & results as they happen can be very difficult not to mention expensive.
Below is an example of a typical football schedule for a Saturday :-
12.30 live games showed either on Sky Sports or Prem Plus box office.
2.30 pm German Bundersliga Kicks off - Sentanta Sports will show a live game.
3.00 pm Premiership as well as lower leagues kick off/ Scottish league Kicks off.
5.00 pm La Liga Kicks off
5.15 pm Live Premiership game on Sky Sports or Prem Plus
7.00 pm Live game shown on Sentanta Sports - The French League
7.00 pm Live game shown on Sky Sports Extra from the Spanish League
9.00 pm Live game shown from Spanish league on Sky Sports.
As the above list reveals it is virtually impossible to keep track of all results & scores as they happen, Saturdays football agenda is hectic let alone the entire weeks programme & many games over lap as they kick off at the same time. So even if you have prescribed to Sentanta Sports an additional £15.00 per month or have the full Sky sports package this will not guarantee you quick access to scores & results that are going on elsewhere domestically or globally unlike livescore.com can.
[Is it a site ?]
If you want to call one page a website then so be it, Livescore.com is exactly that one page but one page of valuable football information that is up-dated every two minutes. Navigating is minimal , the odd click here and there & this would be once in a blue moon - You see , livescore.com displays all scores & results as they happen 24/7 on one entire page allowing you to scroll up or down to find the result you are looking for. The page itself is well presented; on the left is a list of all the countries/continents as well as all the different football tournaments available. On the centre of the page is a list of all live football games, monitoring the goals as they go in - you will know its a live game because you see a tiny green light flashing beside the teams, an indicator that the game is still on-going.
[How does Livescore.com compare to the big boys?]
Livescore.com can chew the big boys up and spit them out when it comes to football scores/results. First & foremost this site takes you straight to the source, quickly and efficiently unlike Ladbrokes, William Hill, and Paddy Power you have to search for the link but before you do that you have to fight off all these other sporting events which you simply have no interest in. Secondly, once you do find the link it is not easy on the eye as another window pops open, presentation is weak and not all games can be seen on one entire page.
Ladbrokes is the best out the three mentioned but is still miles behind Livescore.com an indicator showing how far ahead this site is. A simple refresh on Livescore.com puts everything back in order quickly; the other sites on the other hand are not so straight forward.
The so called big boys also lack scope when it comes to the amount of leagues they cover , if its not in their betting agenda you may not be able to find the desired country you are looking for. You will find that Livescore.com have no problems here - Do you want to know what the score is in Israel , Kazakhstan , Australia - you may answer a big NO but my point here is that Livescore.com covers a wide spectrum of leagues, offering that passionate football fan choices and thats what its all about to be able to meet peoples demands.
Livescore.com is also:-
No username needed / no personal details or credit cards needed
Not a betting or gambling site
Livescore.com also covers Ice Hockey & Tennis
Scores available 24/7
Some betting banners on site
Launched in 1998 and is now the forefront of live football scores.
Having weighed up some of the pros and cons this site really is number ONE in my opinion for all football fans out there who need to get access to quick results & scores - its not only goals that can be found on this site but you also have information on the goal scorers name, how many yellow/red cards/penalties have been awarded in any given game. It is also a very handy site when at work as most betting sites are not allowed when viewing on the net.
[What other options do I have ?]
Mobile text Messaging
Prescribe to Sky/Sentanta Package
None of the above sources can match let alone surpass Livescore.com when it comes to football results - And some of the above can be very expensive if you want to keep in touch with worldwide scores & results. So, lads add this to your favourites NOW & you can thank me later.
So like the great man once said some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much much more important than that
Need I say more - This is a WICKED football site.
Thanks . © Strood @12.45 04/11/07
Red Bull is one drink that never gets overlooked in my household, I load up my Tesco trolley with two packs of twelve cans and off I go. Red Bull has now become my main drink, whether it is for social purposes or for an energy boost it always hits the spot for me. So how did I first get introduced to this drink? I am a keen consumer when it comes to trying out unusual beverages, I am not your average person who goes for the normal drinks like Coca cola, Pepsi, Lemonade etc - So the name Red Bull when first spotted on the shelves was a drink I just had to try, so much so that once paid for I didnt even wait to get home. I cracked open the slim line can in Tesco`s car park and put it to my lips , for me it was an instant like despite the unusual smell & taste it initially had. I have been drinking Red Bull ever since, that was around 2003. Yet after four years of consuming this drink my palate has simply not had enough. - A tangy taste that I enjoy more and more. A few little interesting facts before I begin my review.
[Facts @ Your Fingertips]
Company Red Bull was founded in 1984
The idea of Red Bull also created in 1984
Austria was the 1st country to have Red Bull - 1987
1994 Red Bull was launched in Germany
1997 Red Bull truly goes global, targeting entire Europe/North & South America
2000 the Asian market being targeted - Japan being the first port of call
So it is clearly evident from the above information that the Red Bull drink is not a flash in the pan. This drink is here to stay, so much so that now on average there are more than 70 countries consuming this energy stimulation drink. Everybody seems to be jumping on the band wagon hence why Red Bull is often copied and at a fraction of a price: drinks like Red Rooster & Red Devil are trying to muscle into this lucrative market and yet from my experience they fail miserably. In the face of the monetary value of Red Bull, it still remains the number ONE energy stimulation drink - easily brushing aside its competitors. The often copied cheaper brands are simply not as good and I would rather pay for the real deal & enjoy the taste than all these imitation drinks that are hoarding the shelves of supermarkets and other outlets & taste foul.
So who would of thought a drink packaged in a small slim can and sold at a premium rate would ever stand a chance and more so a drink that was relatively unknown to the western world - methinks Coca Cola better look over its shoulder because this bull is rampant. Everybody has heard of this drink by now whether it be via the TV ads using its unique slogan Red Bull gives you wings or through sponsorships of numerous sporting events , so it appears that Red Bull has its finger in many pies. A beverage that can easily hold its own and one that is growing from strength to strength.
So what does this popular pint size of a can contain?
[Red Bull Goes All Science On Us]
We have already established that Red Bull is an energy drink but what properties does this drink claim to have in order to vitalize the body and mind. The unique combinations of ingredients you will find in this beverage are as follows:-
Taurine- a natural amino acid that helps to regulate the body temperature, taurine can also be found in other foods such as fish, meat and certain baby foods.
Glucuronolactone - a carbohydrate involved in detoxification, eliminating waste substances from body. This carbohydrate is also found in grain & red wine.
Caffeine - beneficial on mental & physical functions, improves speed & concentration as well as stimulating fat burning during endurance activities. One can of Red Bull is equivalent to drinking the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
Vitamin B - supports mental & physical performance as well as the build up & break-down of carbohydrates, fat & protein.
I am sure no scientific doctor, specialist or consultant but if I read the above I would have no real concerns when drinking Red Bull - One can go into any supermarket nowadays and pick up all kinds of different foods and drinks which are far worse for you health wise than Red Bull. How many foods are laden with salt? However, I would like to add that I recently saw a documentary on stimulant drinks and the conclusions from the so called experts suggest that all stimulate drinks can or will eventually lead to people suffering from sleep walking. That remains to be seen but for now I always wake up beside my woman in my cosy bed - not curled up in some corner of the house lol.
Another added incentive this drink promotes & claims to offer is that it contains no animal products or substances hence it is suitable for vegetarians as well. So before I go any further let me dispel this myth that everyone seems to talk about when drinking this beverage. The myth being that taurine is made from bulls testicles and semen - This to my knowledge is not true, according to Red Bull the taurine used in their drink is purely a synthetic substance produced by pharmaceutical companies and not taken from animals. In fact all ingredients found in the Red Bull drink are synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies. So next time somebody throws this myth at you impress them by putting them straight. I always do.
[Reds Bull Target Audience]
From all the information & literature one reads about this drink you get the impression that Red Bull is targeting a specific audience - the can itself clearly displays the effects of Red Bull and the type of people is trying to reach. This drink and I quote are appreciated by top athletes, busy professionals, active students & drivers on long journeys. So basically what its saying that people who lead busy lives, have pressurised jobs, people who need to use mental & physical exertion would ideally look to Red Bull as an energy booster. However, having said and even though you may not classify yourself into the above category Red Bull is still a beverage than can be enjoyed in virtually any situation & moment . You can drink Red Bull at work, at home whilst relaxing or during any slow tempo leisure activity - What I am basically trying to say here is that you dont have to be breaking sweat to enjoy a Red Bull.
[Why Isnt Red Bull Red?]
Despite the drink name the carbonated liquid that comes out of the can is not red but a yellowish colour, not that appealing but hey we judge a drink not by its appearance but what it does to our palate. The taste is extremely SWEET and tangy, I find comparing it to another flavour is virtually impossible and thats what sets Red Bull distinctly apart form all its competitors. You simply have to try it for yourself in order to know whether you will like it or not. There are many versions out there of what this drink taste like and I beg to differ so I will let you readers judge for yourself. One thing I can say though Red Bull has a very strong distinctive smell about it. You could blind fold me and place an open Red Bull can near my nose I will know that smell a mile away.
An odour that is not off putting, instead I find the smell enticing and very pleasant on the nose. When drinking Red Bull it does leave a sharp aftertaste in your mouth, an aftertaste that is not short lived; this is one reason why I like this drink. The taste buds and palate get a good working over when consuming this drink. This energy stimulation drink is lightly carbonated which I found surprising at first because when you open a can it sort of gives off an explosion sound like its really fizzy. When you start drinking it though, I soon realised that Red Bull was not as fizzy as I initially thought.
[How I Drink Mine]
This energy as well as trendy beverage is consumed in many ways but I have my own preference when drinking a Red Bull. I NEVER drink it in a glass only out of the can and the can has to be super chilled before I even contemplate drinking a Red Bull. Once the settings are precise only then can I drink & enjoy it. When out and about and I fancy a Red Bull I make sure its a pretty cold can before I buy it. I advice not to drink this beverage warm, for some reason it tastes disgusting - its like a complete and different mouthful altogether. Yuk!! - There are people that mix it with alcohol such as vodka & it has now become a very popular drink in the club and pub scene.
[Whats The Damage/Value]
Red Bull drink is pretty expensive and there is no getting away from that. In fact when compared to the countless drinks that parade the shelves of supermarkets and other outlets nowadays, this drink can be considered as somewhat of a luxury buy. A single, slim and pint size 250ml can will set you back around £1.00 to £1.30 and this can be consumed very quickly - leaving you a bit short changed as you may fancy another drink. So value for money I would have to say no - If a single Red Bull can were around £0.80 in price then I would consider that as fairness and better value for money when taking the size of the can into consideration.
So, to get around this expensive habit of mine I always buy my Red Bull in packs or in large crates. So if youre a Red Bull lover as I am then buy in packs or crate not a single individual can as you will be better off and save a lot more money in the long run.
Lets do the maths:
1 single Red Bull can is £1.15, so if you consume a can a day will set you back £8.05 a week.
1 crate of 24 Red Bull cans @ Costco`s will set you back £15.00
1 Pack 10 Red Bull @ Tescos will set you back £9.97 - Just under £10
Red Bull is also available in packs of: 4 - 8 - 12
So next time you want to buy a Red Bull in licensed premises or in any variety of shops that like to milk it by splashing a huge price tag of £1.40 - just think packs and crates.
You ain`t having my dosh Mr!
However, no matter how expensive this drink is I wont stop drinking Red Bull. The crate and pack buy approach saves me huge amounts of money. My only stipulation of this drink is the price of a single can - Not just the price but what annoys me the most is how a single individual Red Bull drink can vary in price from one shop to another.
Trawled many areas in the UK and stopped off in many places to buy stuff and these are the prices that I have come across for 1 single Red Bull can - diverse is not the word.
I surly dont drink Red Bull because of what it says on the can regards to improving performance either. I simply drink this beverage because I like it; I enjoy the taste, the smell and everything about it. A unique flavour beverage - a drink that is different on the palate. So if you haven`t tried this yet, then Red Bull is a good place to start if you are looking for that something that offers an unusual and different taste. A taste that you can savour and relish.
Thanks © Strood 2007 @ 4.00am 03/11/07
Remember when the National lottery first started, when it was only one draw a week, you knew then that every Saturday was lottery day. Today , this is not the case - the lottery no longer has a specific day as you can now play seven days a week in any of the following games:
Lotto Hot Picks
The more games that came out the more I disliked playing the lottery - I found it difficult to keep track on which day of the week each game was suppose to be played, I couldnt get to grips with all the new lottery slips, many a times ripping a slip up and starting all over and if that wasnt bad enough the rules and payouts were also different. To sum it all up it was annoying me, so much so I stopped playing altogether, if I recall that was back in 2002. My lottery playing days then re-surfaced in 2004 when I discovered their website www.national-lottery.co.uk. I browsed a bit got an insight of what was on offer & what was new, after all I had lost touch for two years and so I felt I should tread carefully before opening an account.
After close inspection of the site as well as reading the terms & conditions I was pretty much satisfied with what I saw but before I would go ahead and join I wanted to speak to someone in customer service as I still had a few questions that I needed to clarify. After speaking to customer service, I put the phoned down and instantly opened an account - I have been a member to www.national-lottery.co.uk ever since. Opening an account is very easy but you need to meet the following criteria and disclose some personal information:-
Aged 16 & above
Residential address in the UK or Isle of Man
Sterling bank account linked to a valid UK debit card
Give full name/gender/D.O.B/address/mothers maiden name.
Players aged 16-19 will be asked to provide additional details for authentication - once you provide all the relevant information you then create a username/password and then verify your membership by clicking on a link that is sent to your email address. - Account is now created and you are ready to go.
[Managing Your Lottery Account]
No matter how much you navigate & trawl through the many games on offer, one important factor that is always visible on all pages displayed is your account balance hence making it very easy to locate & manage - By clicking on this you will be taken to your account overview & it is here where all the important information is stored. As a lottery member you are in full control of your account therefore you have the flexibility to change and monitor all activities on your personal database without having to run it by a member of staff on the phone. Your account overview will include the following:
Your current/finished lottery tickets
Your personal details
Your bank details
So by allowing you all this scope when managing your account you can enjoy the site far more as well as being able to buy lottery tickets quickly & efficiently. But if by any chance you feel you need to contact a member of staff regarding your account or a problem you have encountered then you are only one phone call away 0845 278 8000 - staff a very professional and quick to please when trying to deal with an enquiry.
[Spread Of Games Available]
Games are abundant on this site - all lottery games that are available in any of the high street outlets are also offered on the website as well as an array of instant cash games. I seldom play the instant cash games but the games are identical to the typical scratch cards, they cost £1.00 or £2.00 and if you win its automatically deposited back into your lottery balance.
The site itself is very colourful & bright & sectioned into tabs - all self- explanatory and user friendly.Buying tickets online could not be simpler; you simply click on the desired game, in my case Thunderball & Lotto. You are then directed to a lottery slip allowing you enter your numbers and playing lines for any given draw, once selected you then click to verify to go ahead and buy. These tickets along with a transaction purchase number will then be stored into your account database until the draw has taken place.
[Distribution Of Winnings]
All Players who buy tickets online receive an email to their registered email address. This email will ask you to log into your account to find out more. For security reasons, the email will not mention how much you have won. Prizes/winnings up to £500 will be automatically credited into your National Lottery account, winnings over £500 & up to £5,000 the site will prompt you to withdraw the money back into your debit card (the maximum amount that one can deposit or hold in a lottery account balance is £500).
However, there are a few stipulations that the site has put in place when distributing larger amounts of money. Anything over £5,000 in winnings needs to be validated by contacting customer service and prizes over £50,000 or more need to be validated as well as having to visit a National Lottery Regional Centre to claim your prize.
[Security & Privacy]
www.national-lottery.co.uk is a safe a secure site, implementing a wide variety of security measures to protect all members. First & foremost all personal information is encrypted before it leaves your PC so that no one else can read it. When signing in & there is no activity after 10 minutes you will automatically be signed out. Membership on the site will be disabled if you make a number of incorrect attempts to sign in - to re-open account you will need to contact customer service. If by any chance you find yourself in this position as I have a few times then you will need to verify your identity by answering specific security questions such as the 4th & 6th letter of your password - security questions that only you will know the answers to , once validated your account is re-opened instantly allowing you quick access to all games.
E-mail notifications are as secure & safe as they come , winnings are never revealed nor is any personal information asked of you - the National Lottery adopts a similar if not the same security policies as online banking does, a good indicator on how safe & secure this site is. However, lottery scam/fraudulent emails are increasing at an alarming rate and because of this I never bother to open mine, I just simply go to www.national-lottery.co.uk and log in, and as all winnings are deposited into your account you really have no need for emails. Another important factor that needs mentioning , the site shuts down daily from 2.00am to 8.00am - you cant even sign in as it wont allow you to. There are several reasons for this; the site goes into maintenance mode as well as updating results and distributing winnings into members accounts. It also acts as another security measure.
[Lottery Online V Lottery In Shops]
The idea of playing the lottery online may not appeal to some but for those who play regularly, lead busy lives or participate in small/medium & large syndicates then this is the way forward. Your odds of winning will certainly not increase by playing online but what will improve in all areas in how little effort one has to put into playing the lottery yet still feel fully involved. You see at www.national-lottery.co.uk they do everything for you:
If your like me who always plays the same numbers week in & week out, then all you have to do is complete a lottery slip once & only once - numbers can be manually saved by you and left in your account until the following draw hence why it will only take a few minutes to buy your tickets. Unlike buying them in the shops, many a times you find yourself queuing up not to mention the lack of pens when trawling through the many lottery slips available.
www.national.lottery.co.uk do much more than just store your numbers - they also keep your tickets safe not having to worry about losing or miss placing them. There are millions in unclaimed prizes throughout the nation, I wonder how much of the unclaimed prize money is due to lost tickets - quite a bit methinks. The site can also be used as a good tracking source, all previous draws can be checked by clicking on the history link, an ideal tool for syndicates or for players that use mathematical plans and would like to see any patterns of numbers that unfold.
There is more , much more - the pros get better & better - I will never miss out on a prize when playing online, as results are checked for you and winnings deposited back into your account - How many of you have lottery tickets at home, in your bag, in the car, in your wallet, at work and have yet to check to see if you have won. We dont mean to overlook the results but sometimes we haven`t the time or forget to even check and before you know it a month has passed. By then another 8-10 draws have taken place, so finding the desired result on your ticket is not so easy.
How many of you have had to re-write numbers on lottery slips? We all know that paper wears and tears quickly and the lottery machines simply spits out the lottery slip if slightly damaged, so annoying that. You will not have this problem online as you will never have to fill out a lottery slip ever again that unless you plan to play different numbers. If that in itself isnt an added incentive to play online then what is lol.
So to sum it all up there is simply no comparison - buying tickets online is far beneficial to the individual than buying them in the shops.
Please note that peak times the site can be slow , avoid waiting to buy last minute
Thanks for reading . . . © Strood 2007 @ 20.30 01/11/07