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I recently flew to New Zealand from the UK with United. After choosing simply because they were by far the cheapest option, and after reading the reviews on Dooyoo, I was expecting the worst, but was pleasantly surprised. United were great, right from check-in the service was first class. I flew on a new Boeing 777 to Chicago, then on a internal flight to LA and finally on to Auckland. The only real problem I encountered was a huge thunderstorm in Chicago which led to a 2 hour delay, but they made sure I caught my connection and were great. I was due to return on september the 15th, so in light of the terrible events in the USA United rang and asked if I still wanted to travel. I said I would like to wait a while and they said this was fine, they then called me on my mobile every day to update me on the situation. When I did finally decide to leave I was straight on the flight of my choice to LA. At LA, the staff were great and managed to get me on a extra flight that had been laid on that day to London via San Fransisco. I was also given an upgrade to economy plus all the way from Auckland to London. The service on board was excellent, the staff friendly, the food great and even the usually poor films were good. This was equally true of the internal flight as of the international sectors. The Milage Plus scheme is also excellent value in just my one trip I earned more than enough miles for a flight from New Zealand to Australia on my next visit (worth £200+ alone). In the immediate aftermath of the terrible atrocities in New York and Washington which directly affected United, they were courteous, polite and friendly. I highly commend them to any potential traveller to the USA or beyond-Truly the friendly skies.
As a poor student(!) I am always looking for a bargain (or two). Our local supermarket at universityn is Sainsburies, and for two years I have been willingly falling into their free return bus trap! Though the food is good and the price OK, its not great value. I recently started going to ASDA, by accident really and it is so much better. There is more choice, much cheaper food and it is of comparable quality. Smartprice is excellent for students, great value quality food. ASDA also have many more smartprice products than Sainsburys Economy brand. This means that you can afford to 'spoil yourself' with products like peanut butter and biscuits without breaking the bank. I have also purchased a TV from ASDA and it has been excellent for the cost. I think it is only a matter of time, especially since the Wal-mart take-over, before ASDA catches TESCO and Sainsburys and becomes market leader - its certainly the students champion!!!
I recently travelled to Dublin with Irish ferries on the new Ulysses superferry, and the service was great. The claim that Ulysses is the biggest ship in the world seems a bit unlikely when you are on the passenger decks, but I think that much of the space is taken up by the vast car decks, as the ferry carries many lorries. The service is great, especially when compared with the competition - Stena Line's HSS service, which although a little faster is not very smooth (no good for those with no sea legs!), only one deck and lacks anything to keep the traveller entertained or interested. Irish ferries also have the upper hand in that they have access to Dublin Port - right in the heart of the city, whereas Stena have to use Dun Laoghaire in the suburbs of the city. This is especially inconvenient when doing short breaks, as much time is spent getting from port to city. They also load cars very efficiently and early onto the car decks, allowing time for you to settle down in a comfy seat on the excellent top-deck observation lounge with a huge full-width window. The ships are generally quiet, with far too much capacity, so you can catch up on a bit of sleep if you like without mcuh disturbance. If you are in a real hurry, then they also have a lynx service - the Jonathon Swift which also uses Dublin port, and so again has the upper hand over Stena Line's high speed HSS.
Studentswapshop is an excellent site for students, it provides everything that you could want - a decent email sevice where you can get whatever address you like, a good selection of classic games (anyone for pacman!!) and of course an excellent swapping/selling interface. It provides a good, reliable service for students (of which I am one!) to safely buy, sell and swap all of the stuff that you build up whilst at uni! The email server thingy is quite a recent addition so you can avoid hotmail type firstname.lastname@example.org addresses! My advice- Get swapping!!
Out of time takes the biscuit as the best ever REM album in my opinion. It typifies REM's original, ever changing music style. With all of the hype surrounding Reveal's release I think people may be forgetting some of the earlier and best REM albums (Out of time and Automatic for the People particularly). If anyone is a perspective REM fan and can only choose one album to begin with, go out and get Out of Time instead of Reveal, it is much deeper and more typical of REM's timeless style. Out of Time is happy in a satirical way - best captured by Shiny Happy people - what an excellent song! My advice - BUY IT TODAY!!!!
I am a keen REM fan and eagerly rushed out to but this new album upon release. Although it is a very good album, it is not in my opinion their best yet, as many critics have said. If you don't have any REM, this is not the best album to buy as an introduction, and is not necesarily typical of the bands music. It just doesn't have the depth of sound and the individuality of other REM classics such as Out of Time and Automatic for the People. REM have a good tradition of each album being a well rounded and totally unique sound, and Reveal somehow lacks this. I would recommend Out of Time over Reveal to any perspective REM fans, however Reveal is still a good addition to any REM collection.
The V2288 has an excellent look, and having a good WAP browser and an FM radio makes it quite a good phone. The Call quality is the best I've ever seen - on BTCellnet, the calls never break up and are as good as a landline. This phone is not as good as it sounds however. It is quite large (admittedly partly due to the big WAP screen), and it has an appauling battery life. I have only had mine a couple of months and the battery life is down to just over a day - not much good when one of its selling points is the long 135 standby minutes battery life. The phone also has a serious lack of minor but useful features such as; clock/alarm clock, predictive text messaging, vibrating alert, ringtone composer/uploading capability (there are only about 12 tones, one of which is a screeching siren!), and of course games! The other gripe I have is the mymotorola WAP and internet service which has been 'coming soon' for several months, by the time it is released I think the phones will be obsolete! This really is designed as a basic phone, at a basic price (I got mine free, so I shouldn't moan!!!) and at that it excells, but do not expect any frills or extra features.
I did not excpect much of this film being an old comic-strip revamp, but I was pleasantly surprised. The effects are excellent - not cheesy or over the top, but cleverly and pretty seamlessly built in to the storyline. The plot is of the usual goody versus baddy style, with the X-men struggling to stop an evil mutant from mutuating all of the worlds leaders at a UN conference. Of course they succeed, but despite the predictability, it manages to keep you on the edge of you seat throughout. The acting and direction are superb and the casting inspired. I have now seen this film 3 times - twice at the cinema and once at my local film club, it that good. The only gripe I would have is the several blatant attempts to lead into the sequel which, surprise, surprise is now on its way! I really recommend this film - great entertainment value and brilliant effects.
I am quite a big TV general knowledge quiz fan, but who want to be a millionaire has now started to really bug me! It has become a boring and tedious programme as Chris Tarrant desperately tries to generate some tension in the air, when everyone knows that they are not going to win a million, because they would have announced it first! The "final answer" and "we'll find out after the break" really doesn't excite me any more. I think that the standard format of the game show has become boring - something new is needed - perhaps just starting at £1000 might help - the sub-£1000 questions are pointlessly pathetic!
Smile are an excellent student bank. Not many people realise that they offer student banking, but they should! Its really easy to set up and use, you get a generous, interest free overdraft and a LINK card which is free to use in any cash machine. You can do banking online VERY easily, over the counter at CO-OP branches and best of all at any post office or by post. This many options is great when you are a student! The Online banking is great as a student, as much time is spent online nowadays. The other great feature is the linked ISA - the ISA is the best I can find at 7.25% and its great for students - you can link the student and ISA accounts, so you can put your loan cheque in to the ISA, then gradually transfer it back to the student account as you need it. In this way, you can keep to a budget, and get a surprisingly large amount of interest in April (enough for several great nights out!!). Smile really do make me Smile!!!!!
Having read all of the bad reviews of Borrow or Rob, I'd like to stick up for them a bit - despite the fact that I think they have now gone bust! I bought four or five CD's from them and found it a cheap, fast, quite good, service. The CD's were all less than £8 each and some of them I got for a mere £4 pounds through various special offers. The CD's all arrived a couple of days after the order and everything was in order. The only problem I had was when I ordered 2 of the same CD and they mistakenly sent only 1 copy. I emailed them and they apologise, immediately sending out the other copy. Although they were clearly not the most organised company in the world - the website was testament to that, they were not all bad!
I recently started purchasing CD's from a company in New Zealand in order to exploit the current weakness of the New Zealand $ and the strength of the pound. Its a great company - easy to use website, they have no qualms about shipping overseas and the customer service is excellent. You can get any CD for around £7 and then airmail shipping adds on about £1.50. The more CD's you buy, the lower the shipping cost per item, however. Its a great way to buy CD's, they come buy Parcel Force courier, so its all signed for and traceable and it only takes less than a week! If you have a credit card, I really recommend that you give them a go - its really bizzarre to get CD's from the other side of the world, much cheaper than they are in my local HMV! The other thing is that the release dates are more like the US dates, so you can sometimes get US and Australian music before its released in the UK.
I recently made an excellent discovery. You can get a CD from CD-WOW, who already offer great value at £8.99 for any to 75 CD, for just a fiver including delivery! I only found this out by chance surfing around on the virgin website. All you have to do is go to Virgin.net and go into the music section, then the special offers section and then click the 'music for a fiver' link. You then have to join Virgin.net (just give and email and a password). Then you are refferred through to CD-WOW on a special page that allows you to buy any of the CDs for just £5! Unfortunately you can only buy one per person, but you can always "send" them to your relatives and retrieve them later!(my granny is a great fan of Dapne and Celeste, Honest!!). Its definitely worth a go at a fiver! What a bargain!
Having been showered with information concerning how amazingly comfortable the seats were I was secretly looking forward to the flight, but I am sad to say I was dissappointed. There is nowhere near enough legroom, especially for anyone over six foot. The worst point about the trip from London Heathrow to Apia, Samoa was the videos. I was unlucky enough to travel in pacific (economy to you or I)class and on my return trip, two months later, there were the same collection of bland films as was on the way there. The patience and friendly smiles of the staff run thin very quickly and the woman next to me was shouted at by the ratty flight attendant. The food was very heavy and did not digest easily, and the puddings were all inedible. The radio channels, on a one hour repeat were not good to start with, but were appaling by the time you are over the atlantic. They ripped the wrong part of my ticket in Honolulu and this resulted in long delays in LA, as they suspected I had cheated a free trip. It was not all bad however, there were plentiful supplies of drinks all the way there and back and the whole operation has a good feeling of high quality. The best thing about the flight was the logistics. They dealt very effectively with my bag, and although we were two hours late from Apia they delayed the plane in Los Angeles to wait for us.
I have several online accounts, with several different online banks, but I have not yet found a bank that can beat Smile. Smile offers a completely different outlook on banking, both online and offline. The website is bright, clear and easy to use, and they have recieved the only high level security commendation in the world from British Standards, so your account is safe. They offer many excellent services including very high interest rate current accounts, good value credit cards, Excellent ISA's and saving and much more! The student account they offer is great - you get a £1000 overdraft, a debit card that can be used in any machine for free and banking services are available by post or over any post office counter. That makes it really convenient for us lazy students. The ISA offers the best rate I can find at 7.25% with easy access and management. The service is really the novel thing though - they seem to answer every message almost immediately and they are polite! (a first amongst online banks!) I really recommend them to anyone who wants great online and offline service and great interest rates!