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Zakalwe

Zakalwe
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Member since: 12.03.2013

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      10.04.2013 20:51
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      Ideal way to pass a weekend.

      I first played Tomb Raider 1 on the Playstation many years ago, but it managed to keep me engrossed for hours, and I have been a fan ever since, through good and bad releases. When I first saw the video's and screenshots of the new game I was a bit wary, thinking it looked too cinematic and wondered if there would be a trade-off with game-play. Despite that, it was immediately added to my Amazon wishlist and sat there for many months awaiting release. Finally I got around to buying it last week.

      Obviously the first thing you notice is the remodeled and younger Lara - not as top-heavy as previous incarnations, but a lot more believable as a character now. And the graphics, not just of Lara but of the environment, are stunning (Lara has been ship-wrecked on an island off the coast of Japan). For a closed-ended environment it is very immersive. The designer must have just discovered fire effects though, as everything is on fire (or that's how it felt) - it looks impressive but really started to bug my eyes after a few hours (maybe that's just me though).

      Game-play is very fluid, and some movements are now automatic - like crouching down, or getting into cover. It was annoying to begin with but you quickly get used to it. For me, Tomb Raider was always about solving puzzles, but this game is more just about killing. There are a few puzzle sections, but seriously, it's a gore-fest. Some of the most amusing parts are the ways in which you yourself get killed - fall off a ledge and get your head impaled on a bamboo stake, repeatedly, again and again, because you can't quite believe you saw what you just saw, so end up committing suicide just to see it again.

      An RPG system has been introduced, allowing you to upgrade your weapons and kit - to be honest I rarely used it, which is unusual as I like RPG's, but it just seemed pointless in this game. Most of the enemies are basic cannon-fodder anyway and don't need any specialized weapons to kill, just lots and lots of ammo.

      So the story isn't brilliant, and the RPG thing seems a waste, but if you just want to switch off, escape reality, and kill a lot of mobs, Tomb Raider is up for the challenge. It took me about 20ish hours to complete, and I'll be going back to some levels just for the fun of it. What lets this game down, compared to previous TR releases is the limited puzzle solving opportunities.

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      • svp.co.uk / Online Shop / 41 Readings / 41 Ratings
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        03.04.2013 19:51
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        Good enough service, but could be (and has been) better. Watch out for delivery costs!

        I've been using SVP for years, and have ordered thousands of blank dvd's and cd's, cases, sleeves, and occasional gadgets and techy stuff. They originally started out dedicated to pc consumables (discs, paper, ink, cases), with limited tech gear like laptops and components (I got a 4-bay dvd duplicator a few years ago from them), but they expended a few years ago to stock a weird range of surplus stock they got their hands on, things like lamps, light bulbs, and vacuum cleaners. Over the last year they seem to have reduced the amount of these items somewhat, but unfortunately they also seem to have a smaller range of the usual consumables that originally made them worthwhile.

        If you are just looking for blank disks, cases, etc, without particular brands in mind, then SVP have an adequate range, but some of the brands they stock I have never heard of, so wouldn't touch. I tend to stick to Maxell, TDK, and other known brands. Their prices generally are comparable to other retailers - I may be able to find cheaper prices elsewhere, but not by enough to make it worth my while searching about.

        If you are ordering before 3pm, you will usually get your order the next business day. Recently they have started texting the delivery details, and their current courier (ShipIt) will text with a 1 hour delivery window - So far they have always delivered on time to me, and everything has been well packed.

        I have never had to contact them with an issue, so cannot comment personally on their customer service. My only real criticism with SVP is the delivery costs. There is not a free delivery option - the cheapest (and default) is about £7.50 (at least for 200 blank dvd's) and is, I think, calculated on weight. The really fast delivery is great, but I'm never in such a hurry, and would prefer to wait a week and get free delivery.

        I'm giving them 3/5 because apart from the delivery costs I have never had a problem with SVP, but read other reviews and use your own judgement before using them.

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          03.04.2013 19:09
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          Worth finishing if you've started, but skip the middle books if you want to stay awake.

          I started the Wheel Of Time saga 20 years ago when I discovered The Eye Of The World, and have been reading the series on and off ever since. I got A Memory Of Light on release day in January, but have only just got around to reading it, and therefore completing the series.

          The complete series spans 15 books, 14 in the main series and a prequel, and all 14 books of the main series are weighty volumes, typically between 800 and 1000 pages, so definitely not a light read. Robert Jordan died in 2007 following the release of the 11th book, but left extensive notes for concluding his epic, and the mantle was passed to Brandon Sanderson to write the final 3 books. (I would highly recommend Sanderson's own books, especially the Mistborn trilogy and Elantris).

          Jordan created a fantasy world (similar in vein to Tolkien or Clemens) that cycles through repeated ages - any time epoch has both occurred already in the past, and will repeat again in the future. Fundamentally the Wheel Of Time is a story of the battle between good and evil; previously, "good" won, but failed to successfully banish the evil from the world completely, and it is now beginning to re-surface in the guise of the Dark One and his lieutenants. As the wheel of time turns towards the final battle again, the challenge is to win without making the same mistakes as the last time.

          Jordan's style of writing is very detailed, often overly detailed, where sometimes pages could have been effectively condensed into a couple of sentences without losing anything from the story. I developed a very love/hate relationship with this, as at times of plot progression and action Jordan painted a very detailed picture that was a pleasure to read; however, it becomes frustrating to real page after page of nothing happening during the slower periods. This was seen with whole books too - the first couple of books read at a good pace as characters were introduced and the premise of the story was explained, but the middle books (5-10) largely felt like filler, where nothing of real interest happened until the final 100 pages, and the plot stagnated until the end of individual books. Although I liked Jordan's story and writing, I felt that Sanderson re-energized the series (books 12-14), and compared to the previous 11 books, he managed to fit a lot into the final 3 books, and successfully closed the majority of plot holes.

          There are many, many characters in this series, and I guess everyone will find a few that they enjoy, and one or two that really are memorable. Or maybe that's just me, as they have been constant companions for 20 years. Jordan's characters are very gender biased though - there are some strong female characters, but they become typically stereotyped and not explored enough. It took Sanderson to strengthen them and address the divide, but he was limited by page-counts for publishers and the damage already done. Maybe that is one of the problems with a series that took 23 years - social opinions changed faster than the characters could be adapted.

          My biggest criticism of the WoT series is the scope of it - it is too vast. It feels at times like Jordan started with grand idea's, introduced dozens of main characters, wrote countless tangent plot lines, and then ran out of steam and struggled to rein it all in again. The overall story could have been just as compelling if whole side plots were omitted and less characters were introduced. Although Sanderson claims he worked closely from Jordan's notes to finish the series, I wonder if Jordan himself could have completed it so successfully. Usually when I have been asked about the series, I have told people to read the first 5 books, then skip to book 11, and read the summaries for the middle books from Wikipedia.

          If you have already started the series, then it is well worth completing it, as the final books really are as good as the first ones. If you are contemplating starting it, personally I would advise against it (or at least skip the middle books). If you are looking to get stuck into a long saga, go for A Song Of Fire And Ice (George RR Martin), or The Sword Of Truth (Terry Goodkind). Or even The Stormlight Archive (Brandon Sanderson), though that is in early days (only 2 books published so far).

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          25.03.2013 08:09
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          A really enjoyable, fun, and intense game, without taking itself too seriously.

          I never played the first Borderlands, so I can't really compare to that, and usually prefer playing RPG's, but now and again just get the urge to shoot things. I kept hovering over the purchase button on Xbox live (£49.99) and ended up getting it second hand from Ebay for £18.

          You play a vault-hunter (kind of like a tomb raider - you end up with the loot) on the planet Pandora, which is under the draconian oppression of Handsome Jack of the Hyperion Corporation, and he too is looking for the last vault. Your long term goal is to prevent Jack getting to the vault, and reach it yourself, by means of accepting missions from NPC's (some story-led, others optional), leveling up, and assigning your preferred upgrades. The story is very good, being layered from various sources in the game, and there is plenty of comic humor to keep it light hearted.

          There are four classes to choose your character from, Siren, Assassin, Gunzerker, and Commando. Each has their own set of skills, so there is a class type to suite everybody's preferred play-style. You can also play co-op (4 players in a single game) and the different classes really compliment each others abilities. So far I have only played Siren and Assassin. As you complete missions and kill mobs you gain XP points, allowing you to level up, and choose your abilities from your characters skill tree; you also receive badass points that can be spent to benefit your character, like increasing maximum health, increasing melee damage, etc.

          For killing mobs there is a vast array of weapons that you find through looting, or purchasing. From 6-shooter pistils that fire all 6 rounds at once then explode like a grenade, to sniper-rifles that set the target on fire. A lot of the weapons do elemental damage - fire, corrosive, etc - and some of the mobs will be resistant to different elemental attacks; fortunately you can carry 4 firearms that you can swap between (starts with 2, the other 2 spaces being unlocked as you play), and more can be carried in your inventory, along with grenades of various types and shields. When you are killed, you do not lose XP points, and the mobs will respawn after about 30 minutes, so early in the game I had to start farming kills just for XP to level up to be able to kill the area boss. The mob respawn rate can be a blessing and a curse - you can farm XP, but when you get to the end of some area's, you have to backtrack the way you came to get out again, and have to kill the same mobs again, which can be a pain if you just want to turn in your completed mission so you can go to sleep/work/whatever.

          The graphics of Borderlands 2 are stunning. Instead of the common attempt at photo-realism, a lot of Borderlands 2 is like a cartoon, with exaggerated features and bold colours. It might sound garish, but it works really well, and really adds greatly to the enjoyment of playing. The environment is best described as post-apocalyptic redneck America meets Firefly, but this varies from desert area's to desert environments.

          I can't fault Borderlands 2. Usually there will be something in a game that bugs me, but the only thing here is the mob respawn rate, and that can be good or bad depending on your situation. So 5/5 from me. If you like to control your characters development, kill shedloads of mobs, and not take it all too seriously (honestly, the humor is good) then I highly recommend Borderlands 2.

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            23.03.2013 16:59
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            Great case for serious rigs.

            I was planning to review the Cooler Master Storm Trooper case as that is the most recent one I've purchased, but it isn't available for review, so I'll review the CM HAF 932 case instead, although I bought that a while before the Storm Trooper and isn't quite as good.

            The HAF (High Air Flow) 932 is a full tower case, and it is seriously big enough for anything you want to put in it - from micro-ATX to e-ATX boards, full water cooling, 4 SLI's video cards, whatever you want. It's 9" (w) x 21.5" (h) x 22.7" (d). It also weight 30lb when you take it out of the box, so you won't want to be carrying it about when you have your rig installed.

            Externally the case is painted black steel, and a lot of mesh. It has a very military look to it, and is very well constructed. All the front bay covers are black metal mesh as well, and are very easy to remove and replace. At the top is the front I/O panel with 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 e-Sata port, 1 fire-wire port, and the headset/mic sockets.

            The case comes with 4 internal fans by default - there are 3 230mm fans on the left side panel, the front, and the top, and a 140mm fan on the rear beside the I/O panel. The front fan is a red LED, which looks ok - I'd like to have seen the side fan lighted as well, but the remaining 3 fans are standard ones. The left panel has multiple predrilled holes so you can remove the 230mm fan and replace it with 4 x 120mm fans - it would increase the airflow, but would also increase the noise. The top fan can be removed and there are mounting holes for a reservoir if you go the water cooling route.

            There are 5 internal 3.5" bays, and these are oriented to face out the side of the case making it easier to access your drives. The case comes with tool-less trays that clip onto the bottom of 3.5" HDD's and just slide into the bays. There isn't and included solution for 2.5" SSD's though - the Storm Trooper case trays have holes on the bottom of them to line up with 2.5" mounting holes, so 2.5" mounting trays may be available separately from Cooler Master. Above the 3.5" bays are 6 x 5.25" bays; again these are all tool-less and mounting an optical drives take seconds.

            At the rear, the power supply is mounted at the bottom of the case (this can be mounted at the top if you prefer, but would mean removing the top fan), and there are 7 expansion slots, again tool-less. The back panel (onto which your motherboard site) is pre-drilled for the 3 sizes of ATX motherboards, and has a large hole that sits beneath the cpu to allow easy replacement of Pentium heat-sink's without having to remove the motherboard from the case. There are also a number of holes cut below, above, and beside where the motherboard will sit, to allow easy cable management. There is also an 8-pin extension cable included in case your power supply cannot reach (the 8-pin socket is usually top-left on the motherboard).

            Overall this is a really well made, well designed case. It gives plenty of room for expansion and the cable management keeps all the cables to the rear of the motherboard, so improving the air flow. It's pricey for what a lot of people think is just a box, but if like me, you like to mess about with your hardware, upgrade frequently, and game a lot, this type of case is ideal. Unlike the basic beige boxes, this case is a work of art.

            I would have called it 9/10 because of the lack of 2.5" mounting trays, and no grommets around the cable management holes, so I'll round it up to call it 5/5.

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              23.03.2013 08:27
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              Well worth the cost for giving the peace of mind for backups and storage.

              If you find you are storing more and more documents, photo's, video's, or any digital files, and are running out of drive space, then one of the better options you can choose is network storage. As most people with a broadband connection will have a router from their ISP, this can be as simple as plugging a Cat5 cable into the router. I previously had a couple of 2003 windows servers up my loft (out of the way but accessible via VNC) that I used to backup drive images from the rest of my machines, and also backup important documents. When the motherboard fried in one of them I looked into other options and went for a 1TB linkstation.

              In the box I got the storage unit itself, the power cable/adapter, cat5 cable, and software cd. The unit is small - about 6" (h) x 1.5" (w) x 5" (d), and has a solid weight to it. It has a cooling fan built in to keep it cool, and I haven't noticed it becoming more than slightly warm to the touch so far.

              Installing it on the network only took a few minutes, but here is my only criticism of the device - you must have the software running on a machine on your LAN to be able to access the drive. I have multiple pc's that are on 24/7 so that wasn't a problem, but if you don't want to have the software running 24/7 on your main pc, then it means making sure it is always available on another pc. When installed, you can configure the drive via the software directly, or via your web browser. The default settings work fine right out the box, and the only thing you need to change is the default login to make it secure.

              Once installed, it appears as a device on your network, and you login with the credentials you created during the install process. I initially used it to replace the 2003 server, and directed all my backups to it with no problems. Since the first one, I have since bought two more - one mirrors the first (so I took down my other 2003 server too), and the other sits behind my TV and stores movies and TV series, which I stream via my Xbox360.

              So far, all three drives have been reliable and given no problems at all. I can overlook having to have the software running to access it as I have pc's on 24/7 anyway. Definitely a 5/5.

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              22.03.2013 12:01
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              A great all-round tablet, at a very competative price.

              I spend all day in front of computers (and most of the night as well), and these days I rarely go anywhere, so I really didn't need a tablet, but I can't resist gadgets and toys. I previously had an iPad 2 (still got it somewhere in a cupboard, or under my bed) but really hated the way Apple insist on locking everything to them, and soon got fed up of jailbreaking it all the time. So I opted for the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 to have something to play with. I had thought I would do my usual and play with it for a month and then it would get buried under paperwork and junk, but I'm still using it 6 months on.

              It is wifi enabled, allowing me to use it wherever I can find free wifi, though I've never had the need to take it out with me to be honest - my phone covers all my mobile needs. It doesn't have 3G, so it's restricted to wifi, but there are plenty of tablets out there that are cellular enabled if that it what you really need.

              Internally, it's running 1Gb of RAM and a dual-core 1GHz CPU, so it operates at a good speed. It is limited to 16Gb internal memory, which is a bit limiting, but does have a MicroSD slot capable of taking up to 32Gb cards for expandion, and also has a micro-USB slot so you can plug in additional external storage - you will need a USB to micro-USB adapter for most flash drives and external HDD's though, but they only cost a couple of pounds on Ebay if you don't already have one. It's also running Android Ice Cream Sandwich - maybe not the most current version of the OS, but still recent enough that there should be no problems running all the current apps. (I have about 70 apps on mine - again, just playing with them - and have never encountered a problem with any).

              Externally, my one is white, but there are black versions available. It has a solid feel to it, and moderate weight, just under 600g, so less than the weight of a hardback book. I know some people prefer a really lightweight tablet, but I prefer to feel I'm holding something solid with a bit of substance to it. At 10.1 inches and less than 10mm thick, it really is a convenient size for transporting.

              The camera's aren't great to be honest, but are you really going to be taking many photo's with a tablet when all phones have camera's on them these days? The front camera, really just useful for video calling, is only VGA quality, and the rear-facing camera is 3MP - ok for the occasional snap, but don't expect exceptional quality. The screen however is crystal clear, and is perfect for video playback, with no lag or stuttering. There are also stereo speakers on the sides, sound slightly tinny, but overall good sound from such small and restrictive speakers; or you can plug your headphones in.

              The real winner for this tablet is Android. If you are used to Apple, then Android does feel extremely liberating by letting you take control of your tablet, and customize it to the way you want to use it. I personally am not a fan of Apple so apologies if this appears biased - I have tried both OS's and just prefer the freedom of Android, though that may not be to everyone's tastes. The Google Play app store (as well as a few other sources online) provide a vast wealth of apps for every situation, a lot of them free, and the paid apps usually costing only a few pounds (many paid apps do have free trial versions, either time-limited or feature limited, that allow you to explore and experiment before committing to purchasing them).

              I'm giving the Galaxy Tab 2 a 5/5 rating, because honestly I cannot fault it personally. Others may give a lower rating because of the camera quality, but for me that is not an issue - I am not a serious user

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                17.03.2013 15:25
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                Ideal for passing a few hours if you can ignore, or like, the self-help feel to the book.

                This book has been sitting on one of my shelves "to be read" for a few months now, and I finally got round to picking it up. According to the blurb on the cover it has been translated into 60+ languages, has sold millions of copies worldwide, and has been endorsed by a variety of people from all walks of life (having an endorsement by Madonna on the back cover may not have been a great idea though). I picked it because it was short (only 160 pages) and I just wanted to kill time for an afternoon.

                The story follows a Spanish shepherd boy, Santiago, as he travels from Andalusia to the Egyptian pyramids, meeting a number of characters along the way. The message of the story is to follow your dreams, and surmount all obstacles whilst doing so.

                I guess different people will take different things from reading The Alchemist. Personally I disliked it as it read almost as a self-help book, and there was a clear religious/spiritual tone of preaching throughout. The writing style was very simple, much like traditional fables, and was very straight-forward to read. The story itself isn't that remarkable or outstanding, and I felt that the story and characters came second to the authors desire to write of his philosophy of destiny and achieving it.

                On the whole, it's a simple story, simply written, and if you read is just as a story to pass an afternoon, without trying to delve into the authors deeper meaning, The Alchemist is fine. What lets it down is the preachy, self-help messages running through it.

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                  13.03.2013 19:44
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                  A must for gaming, or just to have a keyboard that does a lot more than the standard.

                  I used to be a big WoW gamer (not so much these days) and figured I wanted a keyboard that would give me a few more options than the standard. Looking around the G19 immediately caught my eye with its LCD screen and backlit keys.

                  This isn't a small keyboard, and considering the LCD screen it sits about 2.5 inches tall, so if you are planning to put it onto a slide-out keyboard drawer on a desk, make sure you have the clearance. With its black finish, and backlit keys, you really wouldn't want to hide it away though. The LCD can be tilted to suit you, and Logitech learned from the weaknesses of previous hinged for the screens, and the G19's is attached to a solid metal bar making it strong and resilient.

                  Naturally the G19 has all the standard alphanumeric keys, but also a number of additional ones. There are 12 G-Keys on the left which are all programmable, 3 keys that change profiles and backlighting colour (also programmable), the LCD control keys, and the multimedia keys (play, mute, volume, etc.). The programming of the G-Keys is done via the Logitech software provided and allows you to assign computer functions, keystrokes, or macro's to each key. You also change the backlight colours here. The M-Keys on the top left are basically your profile keys - I had a different colour backlight set for each profile (there are 3 M-Keys) and had different sets of macro's set per profile: M1 for standard PC use, M2 for playing WoW, M3 for playing SW:TOR. The backlight also makes gaming in the dark perfect as you can still see the keys. When gaming there is a gaming switch that toggles the windows key on and off, so no more minimizing the game to the desktop accidentally.

                  There are two powered USB 2.0 ports at the back of the keyboard, just to the right of the LCD. The LCD is 320 x 240 pixels, and again is controlled by the Logitech software included. By default this can be used to play youtube video's, check RSS feeds and email, display a clock, calendar, picture viewer, or system stats. There are also 3rd party apps that will run on it, like EGVA Precision for monitoring GPU temps. Some games will also display on the LCD - my WoW character stats are displayed when I play WoW. You can set which apps you want running on the LCD, and also how they are controlled. I have mine set to always display my GPU temps, but I can use the keys on the keyboard to scroll through the other functions I have running. You can also set it to run through the sequence of apps you are using automatically, so the display changes every 2 minutes.

                  There are only two downsides to the G19. First, it needs power - it will work as a basic keyboard just by plugging the USB into your PC, but to get the fun stuff it needs to be plugged into a power socket. Secondly, the price: I paid £150 for it a couple of years ago, and you would be hard pushed to find it new for under £100 now.

                  Overall, a great keyboard, especially for gaming, and I love being able to program the keys and backlight, but considering the cost I wouldn't rate it as very good value, hence 4/5.

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                    13.03.2013 10:32
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                    Overall, one of the best mice I've used, and definitely the most comfortable.

                    I've been using Logitech mice for years and due to the wheel sensor dying on the last one I opted for the MX Revolution (previous one was a MX Performance). Ergonomically this is one of the best mice I've used - it is moulder so that your hand fits round it naturally, with a groove for your thumb; relax your hand and it fits the contours of the mouse perfectly.

                    It comes with a charging dock, USB radio dongle, and the Logitech Setpoint software. Personally I think the charging dock looks ugly, but it does the job well. My only complaint would be missing a cable to plug into the mouse to charge it. I think this would rarely be used, but as it is, if your mouse runs out of charge, you have to put it back into the dock and wait for it to charge before you use it again. I usually put mine on to charge every couple of nights when I go to bed.

                    The mouse has the standard left and right mouse buttons, and the scroll wheel which can also be clicked as a third button. This wheel scrolls up and down as standard, but can also be nudges left and right to scroll in those directions. There is a small button just below the wheel that lets you change it from staged scrolling to free scrolling. To the left, by your thumb, you have two more buttons for forwards and backwards (in your browser or file explorer) and a thumb wheel, by default set for flipping documents you are working on. The thumb wheel feels a little odd to begin with but after an hour it just feels as natural as the rest of the mouse.

                    The real advantage of Logitech (apart from the awesome hardware) is the Setpoint software. Setting the mouse up takes no time at all - plug in the USB dongle, turn the mouse on (small slide button on the bottom) and it connects. Windows and most Linux distros find it and install default drivers automatically. Installing the Setpoint software lets you really customise how the mouse works for you. Apart from the usual settings like track speed, you can also assign your own functions for all the buttons. I don't need the document flip function, so have the thumb wheel set to forward and backwards (browser and file explorer), and the two thumb buttons set to copy and paste. The middle button (wheel button) brings up my start menu. You can assign pretty much any function you like to suit your own use.

                    The tracking is fast, with no detectable lag, and uses a Performance laser engine (whatever that is).

                    This isn't the cheapest mouse on the market (nor is it the most expensive) but it is well worth the cost for the comfort and customisability.

                    My only real criticisms are the look of the charging dock, but I have it hidden behind a monitor, and not having the option of wired charging, hence giving it 4/5.

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                      12.03.2013 20:03
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                      Get very drunk and watch My Little Pony - that's probably more rewarding.

                      I've always been of the opinion "don't knock something 'till you've tried it", and a friend kept nagging me to read these books about 3 years ago. Until then I was aware of them, but had successfully managed to avoid them, but I took the plunge and read it - unfortunately I'm the sort of person that if I read a book that is part of a series I need to complete the series, no matter how bad they may be, and I really cursed myself with these.

                      I know they are written for a young adult audience, and it has been a long time since I could be included in that demographic, but these read as if they had been written by a 12 year old; You know how the tabloid newspapers try to avoid words of more than three syllables in case it confuses their readers? Twilight is written like that, and I would have thought any "young adult" would have found the style somewhat patronising. I read and liked harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Ender's Game, but Twilight seems aimed at the brain-dead illiterates.

                      I have been a vampire fan all my life - I love the lore surrounding vampires. Real vampires don't sparkle - Edward Cullen is a big fairy, and I mean no offence to big fairies - I've known a few and they were lovely people. Vampires not killing humans is nothing new, and has been done countless times in books and TV/Movies, but this seems to be the entirity of this characters being - everything is about him wanting to kill his girlfriend and struggling not to; it gets monotonous very fast, there being nothing else to relate. It's a two dimensional character. The girlfriend, Bella, is worse. I know the teenage years are a nightmare, and every little thing seems like the end of the world, but I was really rooting for her to kill herself by the end of the third chapter.

                      Unless you are a 13 year old girl with no aspirations in life and have difficulty understanding multi-syllable words, then the only way to survive this is to make a drinking game out of it: Bella sigh's, have a shot, Jacob glares, have a shot, Edward "smoulders", have a shot. If Edward transforms into the Big Gay Fairy just down the bottle and hope it erases your memory.

                      If you want to read good vampire fiction, have a look at Anne Rice. If you want teenage "YA" vampire stuff, have a look at Buffy. The best use I found for this book was to use it to hit the friend that suggested I read it. And if you get the paperback, the paper is a bit more absorbant - ideal if you run out of toilet-roll.

                      Just to update what the story is about, this is taken from the Amazon synopsis:

                      "When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town.

                      But in spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella.

                      Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away - until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car.

                      Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward's coldness. He, and his family, are vampires - and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close."

                      As regards the language I have used, I make no apologies. I'm not going to use flowery language to try to make this out to be something it isn't. I don't like Twilight. I think it is a travesty. But considering I bought and read all the books I think I have the right to express my opinion of them. If that offends you, then remember that it is just my opinion, not a peer-reviewed scholarly paper. I do acknowledge your comments though, positive and negative.

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                      • Iceland / Highstreet Shopping / 25 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                        12.03.2013 13:59
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                        Awesome food shopping (in my opinion), and really good prices and customer service.

                        I was a dedicated Asda customer for years, as initially it was the closest supermarket to me, and they delivered. I have MS and live on the 3rd floor, so managing the stairs was getting impossible.

                        In January my Mother insisted that I try Iceland. The nearest one to me is 6 miles away, and I cannot drive anymore, so she drove me there. I hadn't shopped in a real shop for a few years so completely ran amock. Literally grabbed one of everything, then realised I could only fit half into my freezer. My mother took half with her and dropped it off periodically. The best thing, for me, was the free delivery - an hour after I got home and the van pulled up and the poor driver lugged everything up the stairs for me. Since then I bought a small chest freezer, so I only need to shop once a month.

                        I really can't criticize the Iceland own brand stuff - I'm not a gourmet foodie, so I'm easily pleased, but everything I tried tasted really good, and the prices were a lot better than I was used to at Asda. Their variety was really impressive too - maybe not too much luxury stuff, but I would rarely buy that anyway; just a really good range of every-day food. I missed ordering online initially, but walking (or stumbling and using the trolley as a zimmer-frame) around the store I see a lot of things I wouldn't have thought of. I still go over the top a bit, and spend a couple of days eating whatever I can't fit in the freezer.

                        They even bag everything up for me at the checkout - I can't describe how much of a help this is to me.

                        My only criticism is there only ever seems to be one till working, but it's a small price to pay for the savings I'm making, and the convenience that they offer in bagging and delivering everything.

                        I haven't shopped at Asda since discovering Iceland.

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                        • Philips 244E1SB / LCD Monitor / 14 Readings / 14 Ratings
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                          12.03.2013 12:52
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                          Well worth the money, and a clear bright display.

                          My main pc uses 4 monitors - previously 2 x 24" widescreens one on top of the other, and 2 x 19" standard, 1 at either side. I like having the extended desktop acreage so I can spread out everything I do. A month ago the backlight packed in on one of the 19" monitors, so I bought one of these to replace it. I have 2 x geforce GTX 650ti cards which have 3 digital outputs (2 x DVI-D and 1 x HDMI) and a single VGA output. The monitor came with a standard VGA cable, so I had to buy a separate DVI-D cable, but that was only £5 from Ebay.

                          For the sake of playing with it I tried out the VGA and HDMI (borrowed the cable from my xbox) before using the DVI-D cable. All gave a really clear and bright image at the native resolution of 1920 x 1080 with no detectable lag or shadowing.

                          Although this monitor does have build in speakers, I haven't used them, though for a basic work/net pc these would definately be adequate and reduce the footprint on the desk (by doing away with separate speakers).

                          My other 19" looked a but small in comparison to the other 3 x 24" monitors, so I bought another of these the same day the first one arrived. For £115 I really couldn't knock it.

                          The only cons, and they are trivial, is that the power cable that came in the box was european, but I have a few spare UK cables lying about. It takes a standard 3 pin power cable. Look's wise, the monitor looks fantastic, but the base does look like cheap shiny plastic (probably because it is cheap, shiny plastic), but the bases have since been covered with excess post-it notes and accumulated desk junk.

                          Techy stuff:

                          Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution

                          16:9 widescreen - really good for gaming and movies

                          5ms response - I haven't detected any lag or shadowing in video's or games.

                          SmartContrast 25,000:1 for incredible rich black details - well, the black looks really black, so I guess that's ok.

                          HDMI-ready for top quality, multimedia experience - apparently you can plug more into the monitor, like your PC via DVI-D and a games condole via HDMI, though I haven't tried it yet.

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