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I've used Photobox.co.uk a number of times, and judging by other reviews, it seems I've been unlucky. My 1st order was incomplete, my 2nd order had poor colour definition, and my 3rd was shipped late, despite my paying for next day delivery. Each time I communicated with Photobox, and each time all my issues were resolved, but I can't help but wonder whether it would all have been a lot simpler if they'd just gotten it right in the first place?
Making sure the whole of an order is present before shipping, and flicking through printouts to check they're all OK surely is less costly than fielding phone calls from unhappy customers, and sending replacements/refunds.
That said, the final quality is usually excellent. I've had a number of large collages printed and they've been excellent, as have the smaller 6x4 prints. Discounts and promotions are abundant, and prices are reasonable even when not discounted. I'd use them again, and hopefully my future luck will change!
The Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 was my first processor upgrade in sometime, and the first thing I noticed was the abolishment of pins on the chip, making installing the processor very easy, and reducing the risk of incurring damage. The instructions were poorly written, but by-in-large unless you already know what you're doing when it comes to fitting a processor, you shouldn't really be attempting it, so that didn't matter so much.
The E7400 is let down by a comparatively low 3mb of L2 cache, which causes PC Mark scores to suffer. The 64-bit compatibility and 1,066MHz front side bus make it plenty powerful enough to handle Windows 7 and basic word processing/e-mail usage, but at the high-end, it's cache let's it down, and you might be better going for the E8600.
In terms of bang-for-buck, though, the E7400 doesn't disappoint. Available on eBay for around £60 used, or £80 new, it will cope fine at the heart of all but the most demanding of users's PC's. Well worth purchasing.
If only I had enough time to stay well hydrated and healthy all year round without effort, I wouldn't have any need for Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. It's great for your lips, and those other parts of your body that have a tendency to dry and chap.
I've always stuck to the small metal tins in the past, purely because they're so convenient, but when you can get an extra 65g for an extra 60p, it seemed wise to buy a big pot; I don't really use vaseline on the move, because when I'm on the move, I tend to be too busy to think about applying it. The 100g tubs are great value for money.
So what does it do? Well, you dip your finger in it, rub some onto an area of dry skin, and it will instantly feel hydrated and refreshed. Vaseline moisturises the skin, giving it valuabel nutrients that enable it to stay healthy. For all the hundreds of lip balms and moisturisers I've tried over the years, there's none that are quite so simple and effective as Vaseline.
Vaseline is effectively unperfumed too, which is a nice touch in a world where scents are increasingly applied left, right, and centre.
Good value, great for relieving dry and chapped skin, and won't get in the way of any other scented products you happen to be wearing. A must for any household.
'Serve Over Ice' reads the label on the back of your Strongbow can. It's a shame that such advice is only given as an attempt to use low temperatures to mask what can only be described as a distinctly average cider. Indeed, the entire Strongbow advertising campaign, focussing on refreshment and a cold image, has been successful in ensuring Strongbow is never drunk warm enough for people to see what it really tastes like.
Distinctly average, though, does not mean bad, and when you can buy it in at around 50p a can when the supermarket deals are on, it suddenly seems like a much more attractive prospect. If you're a student, the return on £/unit is excellent, and though it doesn't compete with Magners on taste, it is still emminently drinkable.
If you want a great value pint that tastes nice enough when exceptionally well chilled, Strongbow isn't a bad option, but otherwise, head for Addlestones/Aspell's/Magners.
It was difficult to turn down a couple of bottles of Vaseline Intensive Care Deoderant for Men when they were offered at 2 for £1.89 in Superdrug. I play sport 6-7 times a week, and have (perhaps embarassingly) tended to go for women's anti-perspirant in the past because I've found them both more effective and more gently perfumed.
The former has been addressed with this excellent deoderant; sure, sitting in sweaty clothes for 3 hours after playing sport does mean you smell, but for day-to-day hustle and bustle, one application of Vaseline in the morning tends to sort you out until your shower in the evening.
It is, perhaps, a little strongly perfumed. Such strength tends to make me suspicious of the efficacy of the 'anti-perspirant' bit; why make it smell so strongly if you're going to be stopping the sweat anyway!?
It's a good deoderant with an attractive smell that will be effective throughout the day, even if it is perhaps overly perfumed.
The Philips 7FF2FPAS is a high quality, clear, and bright 720 x 480 resolution digital photo frame.
The frame is stylish and will suit most home environments. The length of the power cable is also good, something missing on many other models, which enables greater flexibility in positioning. The images are bright and clear, though the frame doesn't handle imperfectly fitting pictures as well as other frames (some, for example, adjust the background colour in line with the colours at the edge of the photograph).
Given how cheap small digital memory cards are, you can buy 512mb for under £2 in the shops, so presumably 1/4 of this is the cost price, it is disappointing that no card is bundled with the frame. Nobody realistically has one memory card that they share between camera and frame, so, like me, most will inevitably have to set forth and purchase an additional card.
A good quality, stylish, and practical digital photo frame firmly placed in the middle of the price-market. Disappointing, though, that you should expect to undergo the inconvenience and expense of buying a memory card.
Reviewing any sound card is particularly difficult; how can you judge it to be good or not when the output is dependent on many factors? How good your speakers are, how good your ears are, and how good the sound quality of the item being played is, as well as cabling and room dynamics, all have a profound influence on 'sound quality'.
I was buying a couple of other things on www.ebuyer.com and wanted my order total to be over £49.99 to qualify for free delivery, so I decided to spend £37.47 on this card; I'd heard that only suckers used the built in audio on their computer, so I took the plunge.
After installing it (pretty straightforward) and installing the software (somewhat more clumsy), the first thing I did was crack on some MP3s and brace myself for the musical bliss that was surely to greet my areas. Or not. Yes, it sounded good, but not earth shatteringly different, and I certainly didn't feel as though I had had my £40 worth. Perhaps listening to MP3s at 320kbps through analogue speakers (Creative I-Trigue 5600) wasn't the best way to test the capabilities of the card, so I decided to go for something I knew would test the card.
I put on Batman - The Dark Knight (Blu-Ray), cranked up the volume, and almost wet myself with excitement. My hair stood on end, my heart rate quickened, and I felt like the joker was breathing in my ear, not Batman's. At this point, I knew I'd got my money's worth and that I'd never go back to built-in audio. The audio was well balanced, there wasn't too much bass, and there was no evidence of the background noise that had previously plagued my audio set up.
I just can't wait to test this card with some true digital speakers; the card boasts 4 separate channels of analogue audio, as well as mic/line-in sockets, and both an optical out and an optical in.
In conclusion, this is clearly an excellent sound card. Whether it will make a difference in your life, on the other hand, is a different matter. If you're using built-in audio with the speakers that came bundled with your computer, and only listen to MP3s, chances are upgrading to the X-Fi Xtreme Audio won't make a whit of difference, but if you've got a decent pair of speakers, love to watch films, and want to hear what it REALLY sounds like to have Cristian Bale punch you in the back of the head, then this card is exactly what you need.
Tripdadvisor.com is a review website that specifically deals with all things to do with going on holiday; hotels, beaches, ski resorts, etc. The principle is that people who have visited these places log in on-line, and tell the rest of the world what they really think.
It is well established in business that if somebody has a bad experience, they will tell more people than if they had had a good experience. This, naturally, extends onto tripadvisor, with the result being that visitors can gain an overly negative perspective on a particular place. Many times I've been looking for somewhere to stay, seen 20 really good reviews, the seen one review telling of cockroaches and bedbugs, and instantly been put off what might otherwise have been an excellent place to stay; sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
Despite this, the advantages gained from having genuine user opinion is by no means displaced by some slight negativity. When a place has 150 5* reviews, and very few weaker reviews, you can be assured that it will genuinely be a great place to stay.
Tripadvisor also makes it very easy to contribute and comment on specific places, much in the same way that dooyoo is easy to get going with.
If you're going on holiday, and have somewhere in mind to stay/visit, being able to check-out what real people are saying about the place is immensely useful, and will undoubtedly help make any trip a better one.
The Aquafresh Fresh & Minty fluoride toothpaste is, regrettably, not particularly fresh, and not particularly minty. Not knowing this when I bought it, and seeing it at 91p on the supermarket shelf - a lot cheaper than other brands of a similar price - I decided to invest.
Normally, when I've finished cleaning my teeth, I like to be able to take a deep breath in and feel the mint-caused freshness in my mouth and on the back of my throat. Unfortunately, this isn't what I'm greeted with after cleaning with Aquafresh Fresh & Minty; the reception is more of a 'slightly fresh' nature.
This toothpaste allegedly uses 'triple protection' - healthy gums, strong teeth, and fresh breath - to lock in vital minerals and lock out plaque acid. Whether this has been the case can only be revealed at my next dentist appointment - expect an update to this review then!
As for contests, the Aquafresh contains 0.32% w/w (1450ppm) of fluoride, and is enough for an extra warning to be added to the packet; "in case of intake of fluoride from other sources consult a doctor a dentist". Whatever your feelings on fluoride, you should be aware that that concentration is higher than most.
In conclusion, while the Aquafresh is cheap (only 91 pence) and did the job of teeth cleaning, these seldom make up for a relatively poor product that leaves neither a 'fresh' nor a 'minty' taste in the mouth.
Uncle Ben's rice packets are currently on offer in Sainsbury's at £5 for 5. The Tomato & Basil variety presents a more interesting option that the more simple and bland Egg Fried variety.
The rice comes in 250 gram packets which can allegedly serve 1-2 people. These 2 people would have to have tiny appetites, because it's only just about enough rice for a single person. Don't buy Uncle Ben's 'Tomato & Basil Rice' expecting to get two servings out of it.
The Tomato & Basil flavour is, at least, very obvious, even if it is quite simple and not particularly rich. It tastes nice enough, if not a little bland. It is, on the plus side, more flavoursome than the Egg Fried rice.
An entire pack weighs in at 460 calories, with 10.4 grams of fat, 40.4 grams of carbohydrate, and 5 grams of protein. There's also 1.2 grams of salt. So, although it's not nutritionally excellent, it is, for what is effectively a whole meal, relatively good for you.
In conclusion, it tastes nice enough, it only takes 2 minutes to cook, and it's not bad nutritionally either.
Uncle Ben's Egg Fried Rice promises much, but for all but the most time-strapped customers, delivers considerably less.
Each packet contains 250g of rice, and this is allegedly enough to serve two people; it's not. So, that means when you consume an entire packet, you have to take the nutritional values on the front and double them; one bag ends up providing 40% of your daily salt intake, 16% of your daily fat intake, and 22% of your total daily calorie intake. These are not small figures given that you'll seldom be satisfied with Uncle Ben's Egg Fried Rice on its own. So, it's not particularly nutritional, is far too salty, and only serves 1 person, rather than 2. Does it have any good points?
Well, few. It tastes somewhat plain on its own, but I'm not sure that's what it's been designed for. Served as an accompaniement, this Egg Fried Rice would be more than tolerable. On its own, it's bland and tasteless. In fact, the only thing it does do is fill a hole in your stomach, even if it does turn out to be a temporary plugging.
If they're on offer and you often find yourself with only 5 minutes in which to have your dinner, then it's worth purchasing these Uncle Ben's pouches, otherwise they aren't particularly good for you and don't represent particularly good value for money.
Again, I'm in the position where I'm writing a review because of an offer in Sainsbury's; these Pringles were on offer at 65 pence for a 155 gram tube.
The best thing about Pringles is their taste and moreishness; they go well with most things and are a great party food. They taste somewhat artificial, but since they're less than 50% potato, that's quite understandable. On taste alone, they'd manage 4 stars, but it's also important to consider their nutritional value.
Now Pringles aren't pretending to be good for you, but there's a limit; one small portion (25g) is equivalent to 12.5% of your recommended fat intake. It is difficult to endorse a product that is comprised of 35% fat, and has a calories-from-fat figure of 59%. The Pringles also contain Monosodium glutomate and E471, which aren't particularly good for you.
Yes, these things taste very nice, and they're currently on offer, but I just found I couldn't enjoy them as much as I would like because they are simply very unhealthy.
I sat down and racked my brains to try and think what my top 10 websites were, and promptly realised that I only ever visit about 5 websites that are generally available;
News, sport, entertainment, weather, traffic - the BBC has it all. It's the first place I go in the morning to catch up with the latest news, check the markets, see what the weather is going to do, have a look on iPlayer for interesting programs, and see what the latest in the sporting world is. I've trialled other news websites, but no others have such an intuitive and customisable site which is as easy to navigate as the BBC.
Almost every student in the country must have this website in their top 10 most visited sites; it keeps you up to date with your friends, lets you see who's birthday it is (particularly useful for the hideously disorganised amongst us), and generally keeps you in touch with people.
I'm addicted, and you will probably be to when you visit. Sporcle is a trivia website testing everything from the states of America, to Ballon D'or winners, to 1980s Oscar winners. It works well as a drinking game too; work around the group, and if you can't think of an unique answer to put in, you drink. Simple, yet effective. Sporcle is an absolute gem for whiling hours and hours away.
Nobody does searches better than Google. It's my homepage, but on average I still use it less than BBC/Facebook/Sporcle. Google will find what you need very rapidly, and will present it in an intuitive manner. Google is strengthened by its other features, such as the excellent Google Scholar.
The Internet Movie Database; it normally features every time there's an argument between my partner and I over which film to watch; the one with the higher score on IMDB wins. See someone in a film and you can't work out what else they've been in? Go to IMDB. Want to know what Brad Pitt's first film was? Go to IMDB. Essentially, for anything at all to do with films, just go to IMDB.
The others include 'WebLearn', 'Oxford Uni Webmail', my web server, Coral, and Nectar, none of which are particularly interesting for the vast majority of the country, so I'll not bore you with the details!
Singapore Changi Airport is more like a hotel than an airport. Given that it's just an airport, it's quite difficult to explain how it can be so good, but it's on a different scale to other airports around the world, and certainly than any airport in Britain. Arriving and Departing was a pleasure, although there are somewhat different experiences depending on which terminal you use.
I arrived in Terminal 3, the newest of the terminals, and was speechless at how clean it was; fountains, greenery, sweets at immigration, fast and efficient baggage handling, and quick security checks helped the 17-hour journey I'd just embarked on finish on a good note.
Whilst in Singapore, I flitted to Thailand for a few days, and had a slightly different experience; we departed form Terminal 2, a slightly older version of the fantastic Terminal 3, but returned to the budget terminal. The budget terminal is, effectively, a warehouse with the necessary bits of an airport stuck in it. That said, it helped to keep the costs of the flight down, processing was still very quick, and there were no major reasons to complain.
For waiting, Changi really excels. Comfy armchairs with built in speakers are dotted around in front of various different flat-screen TV's showing different TV channels, there are internet terminals in abundance with comfy seating, a wide variety of not-extortionately priced eateries, and a generous selection of lounges and shops.
Perhaps the only negative part of my experience of Changi airport was an altercation with a shop worker, who forbade me from buying alcohol because I was transferring through Qatar (allegedly an alcohol-free state). I insisted that I wasn't entering the country, and the bag wouldn't be unsealed, so it was fine. She refused to serve me, and I had to go and complain to the information staff before she eventually conceded and sold the alcohol. Still, this isn't really a fault of the airport, more of the individual franchised shop.
All in all, if you're travelling to/from/through Changi, you can sleep easy knowing you'll have a pleasant experience filled with creature comforts.
An Inconvenient Truth is an emotive plea to the world to change their ways. Al Gore is a lecturer in this extended documentary that attempts to globalise the issue of global warming.
The documentary starts with a broad approach to the beauty of our planet, demonstrated through images such as 'EarthRise', and a simple explanation of the mechanics of global warming. Then come the statistics.
Statistics, as we know, can be used deceptively - "Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything - Gregg Easterbrook". Whilst the statistics and, particularly graphs, have been carefully selected for maximum emotive impact, they still make a valid point; anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are almost certainly going to cause wide-scale changes in the temperature of our atmosphere.
An Inconvenient Truth is lucky to have its greatest strengths in the form of wide-scale support from a body of scientific knowledge; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading authority on climate and climate change, and over the last 20 years has become increasingly convinced that we, humans, are causing changes to the temperature in our atmosphere.
The film is very emotive, and relies on emotion, photographs, and selective statistics to make an important point about global warming. It is, naturally, very educational and anyone with a casual interest in global warming would do well to see this DVD.