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declanh

declanh
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Member since: 01.10.2001

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    • Seinfeld / TV Programme / 1 Reading / 3 Ratings
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      07.10.2001 00:54
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      Seinfeld is an acquired taste I'll give you that. However it's a taste that once acquired its difficult not to become addicted to. To truly appreciate Seinfeld you need to understand the characters and sub-plots. Often there are references to things that occurred in previous episodes so there is a degree of continuity in the episodes. However that does not mean you have to watch every episode to enjoy it. Character Run-down -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Elaine is an ex-girlfield of Jerrys - but they are still the best of friends - they are constantly seeking advice on each others love life. Kramer is the eccentric (mad?) neighbour of Jerry's. He constantly barges into Jerry's life - both in a literal and a metaphorical sense. He never seems to work and is always coming up with madcap ideas and schemes. George is the 'best friend' of Jerry (or so he thinks). He too is always looking for love - and then looking for ways to dump the new found girlfriend. Jerry is (naturally) the glue that holds the whole group together. Everyone is friends with Jerry but not necessarily with each other (Elaine does not like George but tolerates him) Newman is a character on the outskirts - he is the mailman friend of George but he hates Gerry and does whatever he can to land Jerry in it. Georges grouchy Dad (also in King of Queens) also deserves a mention. A typical Seinfeld episode is a beautifully woven tapestry of plots and sub-plots. Typically each character has at least one thing going on per episode and sometimes (often?) the subplots will collide. Jerry always has a stack of amusing one-liners in each episode (eg pinched from http://tomsquotes.amhosting.net/sitcom/seinfeld/jerry/jerry2.htm ) (Answering a telemarketer's phone call) JERRY: I'm sorry, I'm a little tied up now. Give me your home number and I'll call you back later... Oh, you don
      9;t like being called at home? Well, now you know how I feel. (hangs up) He always has amusing observations on life and highlights the annoying things that people do ... that you never realised were that annoying. But the others have their fair share of the limelight too. I guess one of the best things about Seinfeld is that the whole cast are excellent the whole show knits together so perfectly and the characters seem to be excellent foils for each other. Currently my two favourite episodes are 'Soup Nazi' and 'The Boy In The Bubble' Definitely worth a watch.

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    • Sony STR-DB 840 QS / Receiver / 0 Readings / 13 Ratings
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      06.10.2001 05:48
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      This is in fact the second Sony AV amp I have purchased - the first being the STR-DE445. That particular machine did not stay in my home for long due to the "python effect" (see my review of this machine for full explanation). I'm glad I took the gamble and got this machine ? I had considered giving up after the disaster of the STR-DE445 but I took my heart in my hand - along with another 100 notes and upgraded to the STR-DB840. Never mind the quality - feel the weight -=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---= When you first get your STR-DB840 out of the box you will be struck by the size and weight of this animal. I have not looked inside but I get the feeling there's a block of lead inside this for added value. Its quite hard to believe that this is towards the "budget" end of the Sony Range of AV amps. Connecting this AMP is straightforward and I found I did not need to refer to the manual at all. The controls on the front were fairly intuitive (to me at any rate) and I was able to go through the set up process in about 30 mins. You need to tell the amp what kind of speakers you have connected (Large or Small) and their locations relative to the amp and the listener (e.g. High or Low on the wall and the distance in m from front to rear speakers). At this point you can now play around with the test signal - this plays a standard "white noise" through each speaker in turn so that you can get them all evenly balanced. Start Me Up -=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-= As with the STR-ES445 when a digital source is playing through this bit of gear the AMP exudes a blue strip of light reminiscent of the lights from Kitt in Night Rider. A nice novelty but it soon fades and sometimes I wish I could switch this gimmick off. My first audio test of this was Jurassic Park - a film with lots of excellent surround effects. I have to say I was well impressed - the separation was exce
      llent and the effects so convincing. It completely blows away pro-logic sound. The difference is like night and day - I urge you to check it out if you have not done so already. Having had bad times with this amp's little brother I was more critical than usual (and I'm usually a right picky sod). I tested with every source I could find - TV films, Music, Documentaries etc as well as Dolby Digital and DTS. The amp performed flawlessly with loads of power to boot. It never felt strained or overworked. All in all a top piece of kit Spec : Dolby Digital, DTS, RDS Tuner, 5* 100watts, Loads of DSP effects (Hall Arena etc), 5.1 Inputs Optical and Coax Digital inputs

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        05.10.2001 05:40
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        Have you ever felt like getting closer to nature ? feeling the power of mother earth ? but just were too much of a chicken for hang-gliding/parachuting etc and preferred to keep both feet on the ground (mostly). If this is the case then power kiting is just the job for you. Serious Power kiting however is not something you should jump into (literally) if you have no experience of kiting. You need to be sure how to control a kite before you go for something towards the serious pulling end of the spectrum. That's not to say that you can't start with a smallish power kite to get you started. Power kites are not cheap the entry-level kite is typically around the £100 mark and the skies the limit (literally) for the upper level ? well over £500. A newer range of kites has superceded the Quadrifoil 3sqm quad line kite but the design is similar (Q2000) and the comments should still stand. When you first unpack the kite you will notice that it has four control lines two upper and two lower. The lower lines control the angle of attack to the wind and are brake lines (this is rather fortunate as quite often you will be needing the brakes). The control lines must be attached to four (sleeved at the end to protect the line) lines to the control handles. Each control handle has an upper and lower point to attach the line two. Care must be taken to ensure that the lines are pre-stretched and of exactly equal length. Power kites are always flown on the 'full line' so if the lines are not the same length you will not be able to control it. To the Skies -=-=-=-=-=-= The Kite itself is very easy to launch - especially if you have some wind. Stand with your back to the wind and the kite directly in front of you (typically 150ft away - on 150ft lines). Ensure that the kite is on its back with the bridles running towards you and the open cells furthest away from you. Take a step back and pull on t
        he uppe r lines. If all went well the kite should soar directly upwards. The kite will then probably veer to the left or right - correct this by gently pulling the right handle back if its going to the left or vice versa if its going to the right. Four lines -=-=-=-=-= Four lines does not make the kite harder to fly - it makes it easier. If the kite is pulling too hard point the handles horizontal and this will put more stress on the brakes lines and cause the kite to collapse in the sky. Onward and Upward -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Once you have mastered the basics of steering you can progress to more challenging situation. By more challenging I mean higher wind conditions. If you feel like a bit of a thrill try flying on a wide-open beach in a 15-20 mph wind. The pull you will get is quite shocking at first so make sure you've mastered the brakes before you try this. I have gouged a four inch track two hundred yards down a beach in Donegal (Ireland) and boy was it exhilarating. Quadrifoil make kites up to 9sqm - God knows how you are supposed to tame that sort of power even on a calm wind. Stuff it in your suitcase -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The great thing about power kites is that they are very portable. The quadrifoil packs neatly into a bag the size of a small cushion - perfect for travelling. Built to Last -=-=-=-=-=-= I've had my quadrifoil for six years now and its still going fine. Keep it dry and clean is all that required for years of enjoyment.

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        • Sony STR-DE 445 / Receiver / 0 Readings / 10 Ratings
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          04.10.2001 02:02
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          On this face of it this AV reciever is the deal of the decade. I bought one in January from Richer Sounds. For 179 notes it certainly is feature laden Spec snipped from www.home-entertainment.co.uk Dolby Digital; dts; claimed 5x 60Watts; 9x DSP modes; sleep timer; RDS tuner; remote control; 3x audio/composite video inputs; 1x audio/composite video output; 1x coaxial digital input; 1x optical digital input; 3x stereo audio inputs; 1x stereo audio output; 1x composite video output; 1x subwoofer output; 5.1-channel input; 1x set speaker spring-clip terminals; AM/FM antenna inputs Got the beast home and lifted it out of the box. So far so good - the receiver is everything this sort of gear should be - black with well laid out buttons and reassuringly heavy. Connecting it up was a doddle - I was using speakers (good ones) from my old pro-logic setup and I simply connected them to the terminals at the back. I hooked up the digital out from my Samsung 709 DVD player and was set for first power-on. Lights, Action ============== I always like to test sound setups with a good action movie and I lifted my well used copy of the Matrix (r1) from the shelf. When a digital source is playing through this bit of gear the AMP exudes a blue strip of light reminiscent of the lights from Kitt in Night Rider. A nice novelty but it soon fades and sometimes I wish I could switch this gimmick off. Playing this DVD through the amp was a rewarding experience however I was a little concerned at how far I had to turn the dial before it became 'too loud' - on my old amp this was at about 4 on a 10 scale - on this amp it was closer to 8. Enter the Snake =============== Next thing to evaluate was other source (eg tv). I tried whizzing few of the cable channels and tried a few old Videos also. Things seemed fine until I gradually became aware of a hissing sound (mostly from rear s
          peakers)- especially in the quiet bits from things the news or anything where there were momentary moments of silence. At first I thought I was being over-picky and tried to ignore this. The more I tried to ignore it the more I seemed to notice it. The hiss was there at all volumes. 3 Cheers for Google =================== Were would I be without google groups. http://groups.google.com/ has the answer to most questions you might ever want to ask. Anyway a hunt through google indicated that I was not alone in this predicament. 3 Cheers for Richer sounds =========================== Next day I was on the phone to Richer Sounds. The manager was helpful and explained that they had sold quite a few of these amps and there were 'one or two' which came back with this problem. He offered me two solutions - try another amp of the same model or upgrade to a more expensive amp. I opted for the latter and changed it for the STR-DB840 (another 100 notes !). Thats the model I have and I'll save the details of it for a different review.

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        • Dyson DC07 Allergy / Vacuum Cleaner / 0 Readings / 9 Ratings
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          02.10.2001 20:51
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          I had been toying with getting a dyson for acouple of years now and was about to buy one 6 months ago when I heard there was a new range imminent. The model I had been considering was the DC04 Absolute. However I decided to wait till the DC07 was available as I was expecting it to be better and not much dearer. It turned out that I had a longer wait than I was expecting but I got the shiny new machine last week and proceeded to unpack it. The model I opted for was the DC07 hepa+ brush control bedecked in a radiant blue and turquoise plumage. It certainly looks the part and I can't help wondering how much of the design is cosmetic rather than functional. The vacuum I had been using until now was a Numatic NV250 (the metal induatrial version of the Henry). This machine is fairly indestructable and I purchased the Dyson because of its extra filtration and performance (my wife is asthmatic). Anyway I set myself to vacuum the entire house once I had unpacked and plugged it it. The noise level was about average - although I had been expecting it to be quieter than most. The machine itself is very manoeuvrable but its clear that it really does have powerful suction - the carpet was nearly lifting in places! Having vacuumed the living room, hall, stairs and bedrooms the clear plastic bin was full and needed emptied. This was impressive given that the house had been fully vacuumed only two days previously with the Numatic machine. I put part of this down to the fact that the Dyson has brushes which 'beat' the dirt out of the carpet. Accessorize ..... The accessories included with the machine are adequate and functional a stair tool a brush tool and a crevice tool All performed the job well when plugged into the quickly detachable hose which is built into the handle. Almost perfect... The design of the machine is hard to fault - what it does it does
          extremely well. However if I had to pick holes I would home in on the hose. I find it a little too short for my stairs and I also find the 'recoil' a little to severe. Perhaps this is down to the newness of the machine and it will ease off with use. The machine does what it says on the box and I do feel it offers something over the average vacuum cleaner - over all I'm chuffed with it if the reliability hold out - too soon to comment on that though...

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          • Panasonic TX-32PK20 / CRT TV / 2 Readings / 10 Ratings
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            02.10.2001 05:01
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            You either like 100hz TVs or hate them. If you are in the latter you can stop reading now.... If you're still here then you probably see the advantages of 100hz TVs. The larger the screen size the more apparent the screen flicker. I believe that 32" is the crossover point where most people can detect the 50Hz flicker. Anyway the TX32PK20 has been around a while now and has I belive been superceded by the TX32PK25 which I belive is similar if not identical on the inside. One appeal for me of this TV is the cabinet size. When agreeing a purchase of this size (both in volume and monetary terms) its best to keep the 'other half' happy. Panasonic have done a good job of shoe-horning a 32" set into a very small cabinet - smaller than most. The speakers are also quite unobtrusive which adds to the effect. Compare with a Toshiba set and you will see what I mean. Get in the Picture -=- The picture from this set is amazing - particularly if you use it with a good source (DVD, or Digital Cable/Sky). If you are planning on using it with a weak analogue signal you may find that this set will amplify the signals weakness. From an RGB DVD source I just could not fault it. The set is nicam only - which is fine if are adding an AV amp (like me). But if you want an all in one solution you should look elsewhere (perhaps at the Panasonic PG series) One year on I'm still very happy with the set which must be a good sign.

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            • Philips SBC RU880 / Archive Electronic / 0 Readings / 8 Ratings
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              02.10.2001 04:46
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              • "Can't label keys a la PRONTO remote"

              The Philips SBRU880 remote control is ideal for people like me (People who want a sophisticated remote control but just cant justify the expense of a Philips Pronto remote). The remote is nicely weighted and fits well in the hand and the buttons have a nice tactile feel when pressed. The backlight illuminates the keypad well - but does emit a little hum. I currently use the remote with a Pansonic TV , NTL digital cable box, Panasonic video and a Sony AV amp. It performs the job well both at learning codes (for the cable box) and using its own library (for the TV etc). The remote has an LCD display which shows which of the 8 pieces of kit you are controlling - along with a clock. It's possible to record timed events, and even use it with the Philips power control system. (I have even set an event to switch my subwoofer off at 1am - in case I forget). An excellent feature is the Theatre mode. To program theater mode you go through each piece of gear and say which buttons for that piece are to be used in this mode. For example - In my theatre mode I have the Volume Controls from the AMP and the Channel controls from the Cable Box - The play and rewind buttons are for the VCR. When in Theatre mode (by pressing the big green theatre button) I can control all these functions without having to repeatedly switch mode. My one gripe is that you cant add a button to the theatre mode. If you forget one you have to teach it again from scratch. All in all I find this an excellent remote (and I have tried a few of the cheaper models). I find it well worth the price

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