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Where do you start with a game like this, it is almost impossible as there is so much to it! Ok, I will start of by saying that the game that I reviewing is called, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, I suppose it helps to actually tell you what the game is I am reviewing, unless you got it from the rest of the page, anyway back to the review! As you might guess this is the third game in the Elder Scrolls series, the previous two games being called Elder Scrolls: Arena and Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, I believe although I am not too sure as I have not played them. You might ask how I came across this game if I had never heard of it before? Well I was recommended it, this was both very good and a bit of a curse as it is hard to stop playing! Anyway that is enough of an introduction, now to the details of the review! ** Story Line ** You are an unknown orphan born on a specific day doomed to a life in prison, when suddenly the Emperor of your Kingdom has you released and sent to the distant island of Vanderfel! What you don?t know yet, but you soon will, is that you are entwined in an ancient prophecy that will unite the people of this island against the great evil that has been gathering. ** Morrowind: Overview (taken from www.morrowid.com) ** ?The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is an epic, open-ended single-player game where you create and play any kind of character you can imagine. Be the noble hero embarking on an epic quest, or an insidious thief rising to leadership of his guild. Be a malevolent sorcerer developing the ultimate spell of destruction, or a reverent healer searching for the cure to a plague. Your actions define your character, and your gameplay changes and evolves in response to your actions. Confront the assassins' guild, and they take out a contract on you. Impress them, and they try to recruit you instead. No two sagas are the same in the world of Morrowind. Players can choose to follow the intr
iguing main storyline, or set off to explore the huge province of Morrowind and the many interesting people and exotic locations it contains. Vast cities and remote villages dot the landscape, each with its own unique look and feel. Hundreds of quests and adventures await as you interact with characters and learn more. Regardless of whether you play a murdering assassin or a noble knight, the game holds endless possibilities and allows you to revisit the main storyline at any time. With Morrowind, the unparalleled Elder Scrolls character system is coupled with an exponential increase in the world's richness of detail and level of visual splendor. Utilizing the latest in 3D technology, Morrowind will feature hyper-realistic textures and polygon counts, real-time shadows, vast landscapes, skeletal based animation, and a complete weather system. Gameplay is further extended with the inclusion of The Elder Scrolls Construction Set, which will be included with the game. This powerful tool is being used to create the entire game, and will also allow players to modify and add to Morrowind in any way they see fit. Change character or creature attributes and skills, introduce new weapons or dungeons into the game, or create entire new worlds to explore. You'll be amazed how simple it is to use, and astounded by how much bigger it makes an already immense game universe. Players can easily swap files and add or delete them from their game with the click of a mouse, ensuring that no file can ever damage your game or change it permanently.? ** Gameplay ** This game is basically a First Person RPG. Ok so that might not make much sense, let me explain. First Person means that the view that you get in the game is that of from the persons eyes. RPG is an acronym for Role Play Game, which means that you play a character and the character develops as you play the game and interact with game characters. You can also play from a Third
Person view, this is when the view is an elevated view from behind the character, but for most of the game it makes it a lot harder to do what you want to do! Actually playing the game is a lot of fun, the game starts off easy and as you progress through the game it gradually gets harder and harder, which is good as it challenges you all the way through. You can set the hardness of the game higher if you want more of a challenge but the default level, which is about medium is okay for me! The controls are easy to learn as there are not many to use, but each has different functions in different modes, which take a while to get used to, but is quite easy after that. The basic point of the game is to gain experience through doing the different activities that you can do to gain levels, when this happens you get more life, magic and stamina, which in the end make?s you a better character. The higher the level you are the better you are going to be at doing things. An example is when you fight with a long sword you basically gain points and when you have enough you increase this skill to the next level. There are about twenty skills for you to train up, which can be done by practical use, training from other characters or from reading books! As you play the game you will start to discover things that the manual does not tell you about, if you have read the manual. This is a great bonus as suddenly you have discovered something completely new for you to do. This is especially true with the different types of magic that are available for you to use. When you play the game you can basically do what you want within the world, you can join guilds and perform jobs for them to get experience or just go around talking to people and get jobs off of them to gain experience. The other main thing is that you can follow the plot of the game, which is very good or just do what ever you want. However following the plot of the game gives you
the sense that you are achieving something! ** Characters ** When you start you have to define your character, this gives you the basics of how to start the game. There are seven different races that you can be, which all have their defining features (some are better at other things etc?) and about twenty different trades (each with different key skills) for you to choose from. This choice makes the game more interesting as you can have a couple of games going completely different ways as the character you chose does different things! To choose you trade you can either answer some questions, after which you will be told the trade you will have, this is quite fun as you have no idea what the trade will be and is probably a lot easier than choosing it from a list as you will start to look at the different trades and it may be hard to decide what to become! Believe me it is, however a good starting trade is Archer. ** Graphics and Sound ** Well there isn?t a lot that I can say about these, as they are superb. The graphics are in a wonderful 3D, what else would you have now? The graphics for the characters are as good as those for the scenery, which makes the game look really good and flow really well. The only draw back to this is that you will need a fairly powerful computer for them to flow nicely! The sound is just as good as the graphics and gives the game a real atmosphere! The sound is fully 3d, although you will need compatible hardware for this to work, so that if something is attacking you from behind then it really does sound like it is coming from behind! Also when you get down into caves and dark temples the small little sound to put you slightly on edge are superb and really get you jumpy! ** System Requirements - Minimum ** Windows ME/98 128MB RAM Windows XP/2000 256MB RAM 500 MHz Intel Pentium III, Celeron, or AMD Athlon processor 8 x CD/DVD-ROM Driv
e 1 GB free hard disk space Windows swapfile DirectX 8.1 (included) 32MB Direct3D compatible video card and DirectX 8.1 compatible driver DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card Keyboard, Mouse ** System Requirements - Recommended ** 800 MHz or faster Intel Pentium III or AMD Athlon processor 256 MB RAM NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS, or ATI Radeon 7500 or faster video card ** System Requirements ? Supported Video Cards abd Chipsets ** NVIDIA GeForce4 NVIDIA GeForce3 NVIDIA GeForce2 NVIDIA GeForce 256 NVIDIA TNT2 ATI Radeon 8500 ATI Radeon 7500 ATI Radeon 7200 ATI Radeon ATI Rage 128 Matrox G550 Matrox G450 Matrox G400 ** More Information ** For more information on the game, downloads etc? please visit the official Morrowind website located at: www.morrowind.com ** My Thoughts ** This is a brilliant game that will keep you going for ages and ages, which could be a curse if you have other stuff to do like University. But other than that I can?t fault the game, it is the first game that I have not lost interest in for a long time and it keep nagging me in my mind to go back to play some more! This is a must!
How do you write a review on a monitor without making it boring or full of computer jargon! A hard task, but hopefully this review won't be too boring or too full of jargon, any jargon I will do my nest to explain as best I can! Anyway on with the review! Okay so the monitor that I am reviewing, as you might already know is the Compaq P710, oh great jargon already! Umm as far as I know the P710 is just the model number, well duh, umm the P stands for... performance... as this monitor is part of the Performance range, the number well you guess I feel it may be something to do with the size?? ** Specification ** Hmmm, possibly the techiest part of the review coming up, hopefully I will explain myself as best I can! Here goes: Picture Tube (diagonal) - 17"/43cm Diamondtron NF CRT Viewable (diagonal) - 16"/41cm Pitch - 0.25mm Aperture Grill Pitch Graphic Preset Modes: 1600 x 1200 @ 76Hz/75Hz, 1280 x 1024 @ 85Hz/75Hz, 85Hz, 1024 x 768 @ 115Hz/75Hz, 85Hz, 800 x 600 @ 130Hz/75Hz, 85Hz, 640 x 480 @ 130Hz/60Hz, 85Hz, Text Mode: 720 x 400 @ 70Hz MPRII and TCO99 compliant, reflecting the latest environmental standards Plug and Play Capability Okay here goes explaining some of those big words, or small as most of them are! PITCH - this is the size of the dot that makes up each pixel on the monitor, which in the end creates the picture. The small the pitch the better as it is easier on the eyes as the picture is clearer! Plug and Play means that the monitor can be detected by the operating system and the software installed automatically, well that's the plan anyway! TCO99 is a set of standards for making computer and computer parts environmentally friendly. This not only means they use less power but they are easy to recycle, are built cleanly and much more. ** Installation ** Fitting the monitor to the computer was very easy, all that needed to
be done was to unplug the old monitor and plug the new one in! Instantly I could get a decent screen resolution, I was beginning to get tired of my 15" monitor only being able to display 800 x 600! Screams of joy, well almost anyway! After plugging it in the next thing to do was to install the software for it, this was also very easy, just put the CD into the computer and follow the instructions! Having installed this the software then gets you to set-up your monitor, using the OSD (On Screen Display). It has this nifty little set-up program, which confused the hell out of me, but I managed to get through it and the picture I get is super so I must have done something right! The CD also came with a bit of software called Ecolor, see www.ecolor.com, this is a bit of software that checks the images being loaded on a web page to see if they comply to their standards, if they do then the picture is displayed better! I don't know if this makes sense or not, but I have as yet to find a site that is like this! I am going to take this software off soon as it is just sitting there eating up my resources! Overall this was very easy to set-up, nice one Compaq or should I say HP I dunno, argh... I'm confused! ** Picture Quality ** One of the major selling points to this monitor is that fact that is has an almost flat screen, whilst still being a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), and I must say that it does have a very flat screen! The specifications say that the curve of the glass is 1mm, whilst on a normal CRT monitor this is 19mm! This feature is good in several ways, the first being that you get less reflection from light and other things, this I didn't really believe until I saw it, amazing! The next thing is that because the monitor screen is flatter than normal ones you don't get any picture distortion form the curve in the monitor, yay! Overall I have been very, very impressed with the quality of the pictu
re that I get from this monitor, although I haven't got much to compare it with as my last monitor was so, so terrible! ** My Thoughts ** Well I am very impressed with this monitor, as you previously read the only draw back to this is the price. At most stores this baby will set you back well over £200, but I was lucky enough to notice that Novatech had these monitors on offer for only £140, to I quickly snapped one up, I just checked back to the site now and it says call for availability, so they must be in short supply. If you are looking for a new monitor then this is a very good buy and if you can get it for a reasonable price then it is even better!
What is MyVoice.co.uk? This is a question that many people may ask. You might think that it is a website that lets you voice your opinions, well in a way you are correct. MyVoice.co.uk is a market research website that gathers it?s information, for whom ever it?s customers are, through the joyous poll (this is just another variation on the street poll, but on the internet, but then you probably already know this!). What My Voice does that other forms of market research may not do is pay you for your contribution to the survey they you take, this reward varies depending on who the poll is for and how long it is, I will get onto this later. First off I will evaluate the actual website, who easy it is to use, register and is it easy to navigate etc? I hope you will find this useful! ** The Website ** Well first off I will say that this is quite a speedy website, there are not too many unnecessary picture to slow down the page loading, so this is easily accessible from a home computer over a modem. The navigation of the site is very easy, that navigation bar to all the sections of the website is the say wherever you go, so it is very hard for anyone to get lost on this website. The navigation bar allows you to get to: the home page, take a poll, poll results, win prizes!, forums, about us and logout. * Home Page * The home page is good, it is not too cluttered, it doesn?t have too much self advertising on it saying were brilliant register with us, it does have register with us, but it is nice and subtle. The main feature of the home page is the current surveys that you can take are displayed on this, with a brief description of what they are about. You can also click to register with My Voice or login if you have already registered with the site. * Registering * Like any website like this one you need to provide them with details such as your name and address, your date of birth. In addition you get to take four
optional surveys about yourself, which you will get rewarded for. These surveys are about ?you in general?, ?your home life?, ?your work life? and ?your internet?. For this you will get about 40 reward points (I will explain these later), you also get an points just for opening an account. * Your Account * This section of the website allows you to view the details that you submitted to My Voice and allows you to edit them if they have changed. It also shows you how many points you have got, how many prize draw entries and how may Expedia prize draw entries you have got so far. It also allows you to view how you got the points that you did and the surveys that you took to get them. * Taking a Survey * This is very easy to do, all you have to do is to login to the website, you will then get the list of available surveys; the ones you have not done are highlighted in orange. You can get to the same list but with more information by clicking on the ?take a poll? item on the navigation bar. To take the survey either click the ?enter? link or click on the survey title. Once the survey has loaded you will be presented with some questions and some answers, as part of a radio group most of the time (so you can only select one answer). All you have to do is answer all of the questions that are presented to you and then click the ?I?m Finished? button. This will post your answers and give you your reward; you are also entered into the monthly £1000 prize draw and at the moment the Expedia holiday prize draw! Money for hardly nothing! * Forums * Discussion forums on topics of the day so discussions about items in the news, this is your chance to really get you say in. The different topic sections are: current affairs, entertainment, food and drink, general interest, health and beauty, love and sex, my voice and sport. By the look of it most of these forums are pretty active. * Other Surveys * Along with the
surveys that My Voice put on the website from time to time the send out invitations to take other surveys, which are too big to put on the website. These you will get more of a reward for, but are usually limited to the first lets say 1000 people for a reward, so you will want to get in quick to get the reward, I have got a lot from these types of survey. ** Rewards ** For each survey you take you get a reward, this can be a combination of the following types of reward: points, prize draw entry or Expedia prize draw. On average you will get about 10 points per survey, however some may be less or none at all and some may be more (especially the invitation surveys). These points will add up, but only slowly! To get anything form My Voice you need to have amassed 2000 points, no mean feet! This may take you a long time! The vouchers that you can get are from numerous high street and internet shops such as: HMV, Sainsburys, Debenhams, Amazon.co.uk, Tesco, BHS Boots, Dixons and many, many more? please visit the website to find out! You get a prize draw entry and Expedia prize draw entry for each survey you take part in. The prize draw for the £1000 takes place every month and the Expedia (you win £1000 of vouchers for an Expedia holiday) one I am not sure about, but it does take place. This is a nice added bonus and may make you come back again and again as it will take a long time to build up those points! ** My Thoughts ** Although it is going to take you a long time to get anything back from this site as a reward, unless you are lucky enough to win one of the prize draws, I find this site quite compulsive and find myself checking back to see if any more surveys have been put up on the site. It is nice to think that you have had your say! This is worth a try if you are into this sort of website, just keep your fingers crossed that you win the prize draw! ;o)
When I first discovered Interpunk.com I really couldn’t believe what I was looking at! Interpunk.com is a website, run in the USA, from which you can purchase the latest (and not so) punk music. It had such a large database of bands I had no idea who half (or more) of these bands were, fantastic! This place I thought was great as I could discover new bands that I wouldn’t stand a chance in hell in finding over here in the UK! Although I initially said that Interpunk.com sold CDs it is actually a lot more than that. This is a punk rock shop that is better than any I have seen anywhere else and the goods are reasonably priced (cheaper than the UK even with the postage added on!), all be it in dollars. I aim to review the site as a whole to give you, the reader a good idea of what the site is like, how easy it is to use and what you might find here (although hopefully you might have an idea about that?). My review of the site: ** The Homepage ** When the homepage loads you are blasted with their logo, which is nice honest! It sports the words “The Ultimate Punk Music Store”, which I have to agree with. The homepage also has a menu (with links to all of the sections on the site) this contains: music, stickers, clothing, buttons (pin badges), video/DVD, patches, zines (music news letters), patches, leather, key chains, misc stuff, contests, what’s new?, reviews, local music, top music, get help, free mp3’s and customer service. The homepage also contains the latest featured items from the sections such as CDs, video’s and t-shirts. It also has a list of the most popular bands and links through to the latest t-shirts and badges and also a link to purchase gift certificate for the website (great for a birthday present!). The final thing that you will see on the homepage is the shopping cart, this displays how many items you have in it and how much t will cost. From this you
will be able to view you cart, set some options (such as country) and complete your order. The cart and the top menu are visible throughout the site; this makes for very easy navigation, as it is the same throughout the site, yay! ** The Rest of the Site ** The site is very easy to use, if you want to browse through any of the sections all you have to do is to click on that section. You will be presented with a selection of sub-sections for example if you click on music you will be presented with: all music, CD, 5”, 7”, 8”, 10”, LP and cassette. The page also brings up featured items for that section and the most popular items for that section. When you select an item to view you will get all of the information held about that item. Ok there isn’t going to be much about a badge or a patch but if you view a CD then you will get a description of the band, the band name, the CD title, the release date of the CD, a track listing an image of the CD (if available), the track listing (with the track popularity next to them) and the reviews for that particular CD. This is much the same for DVDs and Videos. * Content * The site as far as I can tell is as up-to-date with all the latest items as it could possibly be. New items appear to be add as soon as they are got and these can be viewed in “What’s New?” section. Apart from being kept very up-to-date the information about the products in question is where necessary very complete! There is almost always a picture of the CD covers and there is always a track listing for each CD. Also the customer review adds a lot to the site as you can read what other people thought of the CD before you go and purchase it. * Search Facility * The search facility that is provided with the website is also very easy to use. It basically works by the user selecting the area in which they want to search; this can be any of the section
s mentioned earlier or you can search for a band, title or label. The user then input their search criteria and clicks on the “find it” button. The search will bring up all of the items that matched your results. If you selected “everything”, which is default, then everything related to that band, title or label will be listed in one list. But if you select say just music this will list all the items relating to the band, title or label from the music section. However if there are related items in the other sections a link is available for you to click on to go to a list of the items in that section. This is a very good search facility in my opinion! ** Purchasing ** Once you have selected the items that you want to buy you then click on the “Secure Checkout” link to the left hand side of the web page. This will show you your order and present you with the option to login (if you are a previous customer) or register (if you are a new customer). Once you have logged in or register you then need to select the destination for your items to go to and your payment details (which can be saved if wanted). All you have to do then is to click “Place Order” and hey presto you have placed your order, delivery to the UK takes about 4-10 days, in my experiences this has been sooner rather than later, which I thought was very good! * Registering * This is your basic registration page; you will need to provide information about yourself such as name, address, email, password and payment details (if you want them save don the website). This is all very easy and fast to do and wasn’t too much of a bother to me! You will be emailed your account number after you have done this, so you can log into your account! * Your Account * From your account you can do the following things: view the status of your order (a great feature if you are impatient!) and change your account deta
ils. You can also access information such as FAQs about the site and some general information on postage and international customers, which can be quite useful. * Delivery * As I said before the delivery was quite speedy, but there are a couple of options to choose from and unfortunately they are not free. But this doesn’t matter as it still works out cheaper than buying the goods in the UK. The delivery options are: Air Mail (4-10 days at $4.50) or Express Mail (2-4 days $26.00). I used the Air Mail, which was very good as the goods arrived within four days of them being posted. ** My Thoughts ** This is a brilliant website if you are into Punk, Hardcore, Emo or Ska music as it is jam packed full of goodies that you are very unlikely to find in the UK and even if you did they are most likely to be a lot cheaper. the only thing you have to watch out for is getting stung by import duties and VAT, but if you keep the order cost down you shouldn't have to pay these. Give this website a go it is brilliant!
The Nokia 8310 mobile phone is the new upgrade to the Nokia 8210. It is hard to believe all of the features that are packed into this small little phone. The phone is 97mm x 43mm x 17mm, which makes this phone just a little bit smaller than it's predecessor was, or still is. In reviewing this phone I will first tell you about what it looks like, how easy it is to use and them some technical specifications from Nokia. ** Looks ** Well the 8310 defiantly has defiantly been designed to look good as well as perform. This is the major difference between the 8310 and the 8210 is that the 8310 looks so much better. It has a sleek and slightly rounded look, the keypad is laid out in a nicer way, which makes it look less square. So basically the 8310 looks a lot better than the blocky 8210! The choice of colours that you can get as well also makes this phone look very impressive. It is not just one colour there are two colours the main body then the keypad colour, which on my phone is the standard silver and dark blue. The keypad when the phone is active lights up, which is very cool. Another thing that you will notice when you look and the phone when it is being used is the backlight colour and the light in general is not the standard colour. It is a nice glowing light blue colour, much the same as those Timex Glow watches (if you know what I mean?). This has one major advantage as far as I can see, apart from being nicer to look at, it is a very bright light so if you need a torch but don't have one you wont need one! You can use your phone! ** Ease of Use ** Like any of the Nokia phones this also has an easy to use interface to it, which makes the phone very easy to use. The phone book is easily access by pressing up or down on the main button in the middle of the phone. The select someone to phone you select the name then select which number to phone, home, mobile, work etc... Also to call people you can s
et up speed dialling and voice dialling, so you say something and it will call the number that what you said is associated to! Text messaging is also very easy; with the dictionary activated the phone allows predictive texting. This basically means you press the button for the letter that is in the word and the phone works out which word you might want. If this is not right you simple scroll through the other possibilities and if the word is not there then you simply add it to the dictionary on the phone for next time! Easy peasy! Other features of the phone are also accessible by the voice commands, which makes this phone very easy to use! ** Other Features ** This phone as I said before is packed full of features, which you might not expect from a phone so small. The features that this phone has are: voice recorder, radio, WAP, games, calendar, to-do-list, infra-red, profiles and much more like calculator, alarm clock etc... * Voice Recorder * This voice recorder can be used to record messages up 3 minutes in total, so you could have one long message that lasts the whole three minutes or numerous short messages. I like this feature, as it can be both fun as well as very useful for remembering things. * Radio * This is a feature that is increasingly being put into mobile phones for some reason, this reason I have no idea but what the hey it's pretty neat! To use this feature you will need to plug the headphones into the phone that you got with the phone! Then go to the Radio menu and tune it in, this can be done by selecting a present that you can save or by manually or automatically tuning the radio. Once tuned in you can then go about using the phone as normal but listening to the radio, so you might go on the Internet or play a game. * WAP * I've personally never used this, as it is pretty much useless, WAP it has to be said was the most over-hyped mobile phone development ever
and I can't see myself ever using it. For this reason it is probably that the WAP services are free on the contract that I have got with this phone. This operates either the normal way or through the new GPRS system, which I have yet to see working! * Games * This phone like most Nokia phones has games, this model has the following game on it: Snake 2, Snowboarding, Bumper and Pairs 2. I don't really use these much but they must be fun for if your waiting for someone or just that bored that you want to play on your phone. Everyone knows Snake you go around eating stuff to get points, but Snake 2 you can change the game boards to mazes, boxes and even download more from the internet (see www.nokiagame.com). The Snowboarding game is as it sounds a snowboarding game with three versions, downhill, half pipe and big jump. This sounds good but the game in my opinion is pretty rubbish! Bumper on the other hand is quite good, it is a pinball game with two different boards. But you can also download new boards from the Internet (see www.nokiagame.com). Pairs 2 is the next version of the pairs games where you have to match up cards as pairs, there are two versions of the games puzzle and time trial. * Calendar * This has the potential to be very useful, you can input notes into the calendar, such as birthdays, meetings, call reminder. Then on the day that you set the note you will get a reminder that you have to do this and that etc... * To Do List * Another feature that might be useful to you if you need to organise yourself is the to-do-list. You can organise things to do into a three level priority list. These can also be add to the calendar or sent as a text message to someone else with this facility on his or her phone. This is quite a nice idea! * Infra-red * Umm, the only things that I think or at least that I know you can do with this is you can send a business card to another phone with infra-re
d and also play a two-player game of Snake 2 with someone else. A neat idea but not everyone has one of these phones, but useful if your mate does! * Profiles * Now a standard feature on Nokia phones you can set up the sounds and alerts and vibrations to how you want them in different situations, like meetings (silent), outdoors (louder), etc... You can also put a timer on them so that they will activate in a number of minutes or hours, I can't quite work this one out, but I'm sure someone might have a use for it! ** Specification ** Availability: Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific Weight: 84 g Dimensions: 97 x 43 x 17 ... 19 mm Talktime: 2 h 15 min - 4 h Standby time: 100 - 350 h (up to 20 h radio on) Key features: Latest look and feel, WAP over GPRS, integrated FM radio, user changeable front and back covers, voice features Operating frequency: EGSM 900/1800 networks in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific Colours: Nine Xpress-on covers available, six of them are sold also as accessories For more information please visit: www.nokia.com/phones/8310/index.html ** Accessories ** This phone has a lot of accessories available for it, things such as: covers (change the colour of your phones!), keypads (change the colour of your keypad!), desktop stands (charger), data cables, full car kits, part car kits. To find out more have a look at the Nokia website address I mentioned previously and click on the accessories link. When I bought the phone, along with it I got a phone charger (this is stabdard), a car phone charger, a leather case, the ear phones (for the radio) and a voucher to get me some new ringtones, logo's or voicenail messages! This was with Genie, I'm not sure if the same deal is available now as Genie is now O2. ** My Thoughts ** This is a brilliant new phone that has a lot going for it! It looks good
, is easy to use and is becoming more and more available. The only problem at the moment is the price, if you are lucky you will get it free with your contract or you might have to pay up to £130 or if you buy it without a sim card it becomes very expensive at £300! Ouch! A very good phone with a lot of features, I would recommend this phone to anyone looking to buy a new one!
Wipeout Fusion is the latest game in the Wipeout series, as you might have noticed I am reviewing the version for the PlayStation 2. I must say that this latest version is a far cry from the first version that was released. If you have never seen or heard of this game it is quite similar to other games such as F-Zero for the Super Nes (a previous favourite of mine), but obviously a whole world away as the game has so much more to it. The basic game is that you are in a racing league called ''Wipeout Fusion'' and the year is 2160. You are taking part in the ultimate racing competition where you are in ''anti-gravity'' craft racing at enormous speeds, of up to 1000 mph! Apart from racing, during the game you pick up different weapons that you can use to hinder the progress of your opponents and even destroy them! This is the ultimate combination of a racing game with a shoot-em-up game and it is brilliant! ** Game Options ** Before you can play this game you must make sure that your console has the following, some of which are optional. However in most cases it would be very unlikely that, you the budding gamer that you obviously are wouldn't be able to play this game. Here are the options: 1 or 2 players Memory Card (8MB) (for PlayStation 2): 170KB minimum Analog Control Compatible: all buttons Vibration Function Compatible Optional Controller(s): SLEH-0003 ** Game Versions ** There are several types of games that you can play in Wipeout Fusion these are: AQ League, Arcade, Challenge, Zone, Time Trial and Multiplayer. I will now explain how each of these games work and the basic idea behind them. AQ League - This is the league version of the game, in this version you race against 16 other competitors and you get the normal weapons that you should get. To progress to the next league you must come first in the league. Yo
u get more points for the higher finishing positions, obviously, but you also get points for putting opponents out of the race for good. So you get a choice, if the course is hard you might choose to kill people or you might choose to do both and get lots of points. Also in the league you get to upgrade your ship to make it go faster, steer better, shoot better and have a better shield. You get points for finishing, more for higher positions, you also get points for killing people (a lot) and for the time you took to complete the race and your skill (so the less times you hit the side the better!). As you progress through the game you unlock new teams with better craft and new weapons, which are then available on the easier courses. You can also unlock new drivers by upgrading the craft that you are using, these new drivers are usually better, but it will mean you will have to start upgrading your ships again! Arcade - This is basically the same os the league, except it's not in a league and when you complete the course in first position then you progress to the next course. You get the same types of weapons also in this game and again you will race against 16 opponents. This is a good way of getting some practise in for racing in the league! Challenge - In the challenge mode there is no one set type of race, it is as the name might suggest ''a challenge''. In one challenge you might have to come first out of five opponents in the race to progress to the next challenge. Then the next challenge might put you up against 16 in which you have to kill five opponents. Each of the team that you have unlocked each have different challenges available for you to do and as you complete them then new teams are unlocked for you to use! Zone - This mode is initially locked and is only unlocked when you have progressed enough through the game, I haven't unlocked this yet! So I don't know what this is all about! The manual s
ays that this game is all about points and the better you are the more you get, but I really have no idea what this is about! Time Trials - This mode is also initially locked, I have also not unlocked this section of the game yet! This section will allow you to race all of the tracks and let you race to get the best lap times etc... This is something that is a lot of fun to do with a load of mates, try and beat each others lap times etc... Multiplayer - Well as you might expect this is where you get to race against your best mate, but in this version you will automatically get all of the weapons that are available in the game, plus a few more that are specific to the multiplayer version. This is a good game, but you must play against someone who knows the game as well as you do otherwise it will get boring for you as well as it will get boring for your mate! This is one to play while your drunk, endless hours of fun! Also in multiplayer mode you can race in the AQ League (as above) and Arcade (as above), brilliant! ** Gameplay ** This is a very enjoyable game! It starts you off quite easy and progressively gets harder and harder, but this is good as it keeps you hooked, just like any good game should! Even though you are basically just racing the shooting of the opponents adds another element to the game, which makes it different each time! One game you may win hands down with no problems, the next game you have been ganged up on and the next thing you know you are out of the game as your craft blew up! This is a very fast game and at times it can loose you a bit and then suddenly you have crashed, this to me is a very good and enjoyable game, which anyone can pick up and play as the game starts off lightly so you can find your feet! Also with so many different version of the game, with the AQ League, Arcade etc.. this is a game that you are not going to get tired of very easily. I would say that this is one of the most p
layable racing games that I have ever played! ** Graphics and Sound ** The graphics for this game are brilliant as is the sound, as you might expect! You can't fault the grapahics they are superb, each craft look brilliant along with the courses, weapons, explosions and different types of weather that the game throws at you! The courses are very detailed and there are a load of different effects for each of the weapons as you shoot them! The tracks are also very detailed, with secret places that you can blow up to reveal short cuts or traps where craft fall off the track! The sounds for this game also add to the feel of it along with the superb graphics. Along with the game sounds there is also quite a good soundtrack that comes with the game, maybe not quite my cup of tea! But the music goes very well with the game and add to the effect that you are going really fast! Some of the acts that have music contributed to this game are: Future Sound of London, BT, Timo Maas, Orbital, Luke Slater and many more! ** My Thoughts ** This is a very good game which is very playable and very enjoyable. The only thing that might put people off is the price, but them most of the games are quite expensive anyway! The main thing that saves this game from it's price is the fact that there is so much to do and explore, there are so many different things to discover like new craft, new weapons and even whole new ways of playing the game! My advice would be that if you like racing games then you should have this, it is a very, very good game!
Most people will recognise the Cannon brand and will associate it with photography and with good reason, as they produce very good cameras. Over the past few years Cannon has also got into producing other imaging products such as Digital Cameras, Printers and Scanners. All of these products I would say are among the best in the world. This review is going to be about one of their latest scanners, the model name is N670U. This wont mean much to anyone, well except probably those who work for Cannon... or possibly those people who sell Cannon products... but any way it's just another number to the average person! Hopefully this review of the Cannon N670U Scanner will not be too boring or techy... ** Software/Installation ** Well as you would expect with most computer peripherals these days it is extremely easy to install! The scanner itself connects to the computer via a USB port (this is the only way, there is no parallel connection). This is good because it means that the power for the device is provided via the USB connection, so there are less cables trailing about your desk, yay! Well that just about covers the hardware side of the installation! Now onto the software side, which is just as easy... With your computer on, you have just plugged the USB lead from the scanner into the computer. The device will be automatically detected as a plug a play device and you will be prompted for the drivers for the scanner. Insert the CD provided with the scanner and then select the directory that the drivers for your operating system. All you have to do then is to go through the installation process; there are no major decisions to be made, so all you really have to do is click next! Wow, the scanner is now installed, this should have taken no time at all, well at least it was very quick for me! ** What the Scanner Looks Like ** He he he... this scanner is a treat, like most devices over the last few years such as modems an
d printers scanner have also been getting make overs to make them look better. This scanner is no exception, it is small and sleek looking and also very thin, in fact it is about 3 cm in height! This scanner also has another neat feature that you can add to it, it has a stand so that you can stand it on its side, while still scanning. This, surprisingly works very well, the only thing you have to do is clip the stand to the scanner, very easy, and attach a bit of Velcro to the scanner and its lid, to keep the lid shut! The scanner also has a very nice blue and grey coloured theme, which is better than the standard colour scheme for computer items! ** Operation ** There are two ways in which this scanner can be used; one way is to use one of the three buttons on the front of the scanner. These buttons are the "Scan" buttons, which performs a scan and outputs the image into the ArcSoft Photobase program (provided with the scanner), the next button is the "Copy" buttons, this scans the image and then outputs the image direct to the printer and the final button is the "Email" button, this buttons will scan the image and insert it into an email as an attachment. The other way of using the scanner is through the TWAIN system. What TWAIN does is provide a standard interface between a scanner and the application that it is going to be output to. This means that the scanner that you have just installed will work with just about every drawing package out on the market at the moment. This is a very simple system to use, first you have to select the TWAIN source, basically select your scanner, and then select acquire image. This will load the scanning interface from which you can preview the image in the scanner, select the area to scan, select the document type and the quality of the scan that you are going to perform. This is all very easy to use and once you are ready to scan the program will take you back to what
ever drawing package you were using and you will have your image ready for editing. ** Scan Quality/Speed ** Although the specification, see below, says that this is quite a fast scanner you don't always want to believe what the manufacturers say about it. I have been using this scanner for quite a while now and I would say that it is a very fast scanner. Of course some things are going to take longer like high quality scans of photographs, but overall this is a very fast scanner. Along with the speed, the scanner also gives you a very good quality image, okay the image depth might not be the best that you can get, but for me this is just fine. Any more I feel would be overkill and I would probably never need that sort of quality any way! ** Specification ** Scanner Type: Flatbed Scanner Element: CIS (Contact Image Sensor) Light Source: 3-colour (RGB) LED Optical Resolution: 600 x 1200 dpi Scanning Bit Depth: Colour - 16 bit input/8 bit output for each colour (RGB) Scanning Bit Depth: Greyscale - 16 bit input/8 bit output Scanning Speed: Colour - 16 msec/line (600 dpi) Scanning Speed: Greyscale - 5.3 msec/line Scanning Speed: B&W - 5.3 msec/line (600 dpi) Preview Speed: 15 sec (approx) ** System Requirements - Windows ** Operating System - Windows 98, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition Computer - IBM PC/AT Compatible, USB Port CPU - Pentium 150 MHz or higher RAM - 64 MB or more Display - High Colour (16 bit) and 800 x 600 or more pixels ** System Requirements - Macintosh ** MacOS 8.6 - OX X (Classic mode only) Computer - Macintosh with USB Port RAM 64 MB or more Display - 32,000 or more colours ** My Thoughts ** This is a very go
od scanner and at £70 I thought was very good value for money. It is easy to install and use, I would say once you have unpacked it you should be using within ten minutes. All credit to the people at Cannon for creating a very easy to use, high quality scanner. This is defiantly worth the money, if you are looking for a good scanner for the home, then this I feel has to be IT!
When you think of it and it related news you might think that this going to make for a very boring read. In most cases you would be correct and the news would be dull and un-interesting, especially to the non-it professional! So then if I told you that there was a website that gave you all of the latest it and it related news, with a twist would you believe me? Well you should! If you visit www.theregister.co.uk you will find a website with all the latest it news, but the crucial thing is that on the whole this news is dealt with in an amusing (sometimes sceptical) way, if possible. Yay... is what I say! **The Site ** The website is split into several sections, so you could go and read news about: Software, Enterprise Systems, Personal Hardware, Semiconductors, Internet, Net Security, Anti-Virus News, Business, Networks and Bootnotes. Each of these sections is easily accessible form the side of the main page and will load a page full of the latest articles for that particular section. Bootnotes is a section full of the wackier articles that the Register team comes across. The main page displays the latest articles from all of the sections. Apart from the main sections that I mentioned above there are some other less prominent sections available for you to browse through. These sections are: Broadband, e-business, The Mac Channel, Channel Flannel, BOFH: Whole Shebang, The Vulture Central Mailbag. Some of these sections might need a little more explaining to do as they don't mean much to those who have not used the website! Channel Flannel - this is a section that deals with articles to do with bad sales, job losses, fallings out etc... happening within the sector. BOFH: Whole Shebang - this one might take a little longer to explain! Basically BOFH stands for Bastard Operator From Hell! This section is full of stories written for The Register with a mythical bad operators, which are dubbed BOFH. This mak
es for very entertaining reading as a lot of these stories are too close to reality than you might think! This has been so successful that you can even buy books with these articles in, at a very reasonable price, although I would just browse through the articles on the website! **The Articles** On the whole most of the articles that are published on the website are not written by The Register, but by other organisations. But the credit is given to the organisation where it is due with a link to their website, if they have one. The articles are always very easy to read, some might need a bit of technical knowledge as they might be a bit techky, but on the whole they tend not to be. Also something that I found quite useful is that if there are any other related articles then there is a link to those articles, so you can read that, if you wanted to get more of a background to the current article. Also if there are some useful places that you can find out more information there us usually always a link to that place from the article. **General** The Register is a very easy website to use and is very easy to navigate around. It is also quite a speedy site and always loads quickly; well at least it does for me! The content is updated at regular intervals, this is usually several times a day and the site even gives you a date and time when it was last updated, which is usually never that long ago! **Other Stuff** Other stuff that The Register offers is merchandise, things such as t-shirts of their logo (which I think look quite good). You can also buy books, caps, mugs and all other sorts of merchandise. The Register team have also made deals for users of their website with the it book website, www.it-minds.com. This offers the users of The Register a discounted price on selected books. The Register also has a jobs section, form which you can look through jobs that are advertised on their website.I
have not used this so I can't say anything about the quality of the jobs that are being offered. This I'm sure must be quite useful... **My Thoughts** A very good website, which I have found I keep going back to as they have the news that I am interested in, presented in a good way. Everyone that I know who has been to this website goes back at least once a week to catch up on everything that has happened. In an industry that is constantly changing this is a good place to get the latest information.
It's no secret that rock music isn't as popular as it used to be, but for those who are into rock have never had it better. Over the past few years rock in general has had a bit of a revival with the likes of Marilyn Manson and Limp Bizkit giving the style some much needed media coverage (even if they are not the best examples of the music form, in my opinion). This new rock, labelled "nu-metal", why I have no idea, maybe the journalist who came up with it made a typo and it just stuck or something as it is stupid, any way no side tracking? This opinion is not about Marilyn Manson or Limp Bizkit? it is about System of a Down. Okay, if you are not really into rock music then you won't know them; they are not very likely to get into the charts as their music wont appeal to the masses. However their music is nothing short of brilliant, they haven't really done anything new or ground breaking for rock music, but they just write and play fantastic music. That is all that can be said, well not quite! Here is a review of their latest album, Toxicity? ** The Band ** Daron Malakian - Guitars, Vocals Serj Tankian - Vocals, Keyboards Shavo Doadjian - Bass John Dolmayan - Drums Okay this won't really mean much to anyone but their biggest fans, but it seemed a necessary evil to get the band introduced to the audience! A quick work about the band, if you ever get the pleasure to see System of a Down live you won't be disappointed, their live shows are fantastic, they are so full of energy. You can see that when they are playing, they're not just doing half arsed, they are putting their all into it. System of a Down are as you might say a politically motivated band. If you listen to the lyrics of their songs they have a strong message, unlike some music about (like Limp Bizkit), which some might find a bit controversial. System of a Down are not the biggest fans of the policies of
the US Government or the World Trade Organisation, as many bands in this genre of music appear not to be. Any way to the review of the album? ** Toxicity - Track Listing ** Prison Song (3:21) Needles (3:13) Deer Dance (2:54) Jet Pilot (2:06) X (1:58) Chop Suey! (3:30) Bounce (1:54) Forest (4:00) Atwa (2:56) Science (2:42) Shimmy (1:50) Toxicity (3:38) Physco (3:45) Aerials (6:11) Arto (Hidden Track, well kind of!) * Prison Song * Well the first song on the album, which some might see as the most important. It is a sign of things to come you might say? Well if taken like this then this album would seem to be in good shape, as this is a brilliant song! The song is their personal dig at the American Justice System and Foreign Policy. An example of the lyrics: "minor drugs offenders fill you prisons, you don't even flinch, all our taxes paying for your wars, against the new non-rich" * Deer Dance * This song is another politically motivated song and you can see where the inspiration for it came from. The song is basically about the police handling of riot, most probably that of the handling of the riot outside the World Trade Organisation Conference (but riot as well). An example of the lyrics: "...pushing little children, with their fully automatics, they like to push the weak around..." * Chop Suey! * Well this is most probably the song that a lot of people are going to recognise as for one thing it has had heavy air play of MTV 2 and on Kerrang! TV. This song also won "Best Single" and "Best Video" at the Kerrang! Music awards. This I don't have a problem with as it is a very, very good song and I have to say I go this song stuck in my head and I had to buy the album to relieve m
yself, which I am glad I did as the album is a masterpiece! This is a song, which I feel is about someone who is being abused but he or she is hiding it and they are on the edge, ready to kill themselves. An example of the lyrics: "...hide the scars to hideaway the shakeup, you wanted to..." * Bounce * This is a cool little song, which will appear to most rock fans, it will remind them of moshing! The song appears to be about a party, to which someone brought a pogo stick to bounce on! Well I don?t really know! An example of the lyrics: "...it was so exotic, but just one pogo stick, jump pogo..." * Aerials * This is one of my favourite songs on the album, a little slower than the rest of the song, but this doesn't make it bad! It is a good song for the album to finish on it leaves you thinking! It is basically a song about life in general and how it flows, much like a waterfall. At the end of this song is the hidden track, although not hidden like some; the track plays only after about 20 seconds of silence, which is good (no waiting!). This is a strange little song with no lyrics as such; it is quite funky with bongos or something like that! An example of the lyrics for "Aerials": "...life is a waterfall, we're one in the river, and one again after the fall, swimming through the void..." ** My Thoughts ** This is one of my favourite albums on 2001 and is constantly in the CD Player. So far I haven't tired of it, every time I play it, it is like I am hearing it for the first time again! An excellent example of rock music, sorry correction of "Metal". I wish I actually knew how music was classified; it would make things so much easier. Any way a great album, if you are into this sort of music, this is a must to have!
I wont admit to being a big Disney fan, as for my taste most Disney cartoons are just a bit too "nice" if you know what I mean. There is usually a love story and the good always win, that sort of stuff. Also most Disney cartoons have too many songs in for my liking. But The Emperor's New Groove is not like an ordinary Disney cartoon, it is more of a comedy, which I have become a little obsessed with I have to admit! I'm back! For those of you who want to see the film skip reading the next section as I will reveal a little about the plot of the film, which may spoil your viewing pleasure. ** The Story ** Basically this film is about an Emperor of a South American country, his name Kuzco, he is young and living his live to his own groove! The only problem with Kuzco is that he is completely obsessed with himself and everyone in the country doesn't mind apart from one villager. His name is Pacha; his gripe with Kuzco is that he wants to build Kuzcotopia (a birthday present for himself, "complete with water slide!") on the hill that his village is located. Pacha meets with Kuzco and finds this out, this isn't good news but there is nothing that he can do apart from try and figure out how to tell the village. Meanwhile a plot to kill Kuzco is taking place, but the only problem is that Kuzco isn't killed, but turned into a Llama! In the process of trying to kill Kuzco, Yzma and Kronk (the would be murderers) fail to do so! Kronk is ordered to kill him but he has an attack from his conscience and Kuzco ends up with Pacha. When Pacha gets back to his village he discovers Kuzco. Kuzco wants Pacha to take him back so that he can be changed back by Yzma, he doesn't know she wants him dead. Pacha agrees to on one condition, that Kuzcotopia is built elsewhere! What follows is a hilarious and outrageous adventure to get Kuzco turned back into himself again! ** The Humour
** This is one of those film, which not only will make kids laugh but will also make adults laugh for an entirely different reason. I love films like this, it is almost too stupid in places, but that makes it funny! They even end up making fun out of themselves during the film. An example of the humour is when Kronk is taking Kuzco (the Llama) to kill him. He is sneaking along (humming his own theme tune!) when people come along. He stands the theme tune has stopped but the humming continues, the camera then pans away to see a wall with two hands pointing at Kronk! This film will make you laugh the whole way through and if you watch it enough times you will have lots of one line sayings stuck in your head, just like I did! For example? "Yeah I'm a Llama again" and "Stinky Llama Face" and "Bad Llama", well basically all to do with Llama's but there you go! ** Cast Information ** The following people leant their voice talents to The Emperor?s New Groove, oh yeah? David Spade - Kuzco John Goodman - Pacha Eartha Kitt - Yzma Patrick Warburton - Kronk Tom Jones - numerous characters ** DVD Information ** Running time: 75 minutes (approx) Wide screen format: 1:66:1 Dual Layer DVD (meaning when changing from one layer to the next there may be a slight pause, usually cleverly placed so you don?t see it) ** Special Features ** With The Emperor?s New Groove 2-Disc Collector?s Edition you are graced with a whole load of added extras. For s start there is a whole separate DVD dedicated to extra features, which is the difference between this and the normal edition of the DVD. Disc One contains: The Film Audio Commentary with the Filmmakers Rascal Flatts Music Video featuring the song ?Walk the Llama Llama? Action-Adventure Set-Top Game (featuring the voice talents of Yzma and Kronk) Disc Two contains: A fast-paced behind-the-scenes tour of how a modern Disney animated film is made! The Development Process Story and Editorial Layouts and Backgrounds The Animation Process Putting it all together Music and Sound Make your own tracks Sting's Making the music video featuring the Academy Award nominated song ?My Funny Friend and Me? * The Game * The set-top game is quite amusing; if only the first time you try it out! Basically you have to answer questions about the film in order to move Kuzco (who is now strangely a Llama again!) back to the city to find the secret lab to change him back again! As I said this is quite funny the first time as you have the voices of Yzma and Kronk, but this is only a small game. * The Tour * This is one of the best features about the DVD, is a well thought out tour of basically how The Emperor's New Groove was made. This tour is not dull as the people who take you on the tour, the producer Randy Fullmer and director Mark Dindal, are both very funny! This tour takes you through the whole creative process of making the cartoon from the first rough sketches to choosing songs and even the editing process. You can even view some of the scenes which were cut form the film! Some of these had even started to be drawn out and coloured before they were cut, but most are storyboards, which were cut. * The Interface * The interface to the DVD is very easily laid out and very simple to use, even a child could use it, which is good as this is a kid's film, well sort of? Anyway back to the interface. As you might expect from this cartoon it is quite a funny interface, with Kuzco doing his little dance that he does in the film. Also a few scenes from the actual film have been cut with it to make the process of choosing a section a lot more fun, if that is possible? Well I thi
nk so anyway! ** My Thoughts ** This is by far the best Disney cartoon that I have seen for a while and just proves that you don't need computer animation to make a cartoon good. All you need is a good, funny story with not too much singing in it! It's not too much to ask is it, for more Disney cartoon's like this is it? Any way if you haven't seen this cartoon then why not? In my opinion this is the funniest cartoon that I have ever seen, it shows a "hip" side to Disney that I hope we see more of.
With the advent of the Internet the whole world suddenly became connected to everywhere. A little after and before (most probably) media formats were developed for computers. These allowed things such as short movies and music to be viewed at home over the Internet with ease. Probably the most famous of these formats has been mp3, which has caused the music industry to re-think how it does business. Also mpeg (a format that allows video as well as sound) has become quire popular and you now get movie trailers over the Internet, this has also been used with the DVD Video format. Anyway enough of the brief introduction, I am going to talk about the Windows Media Player (version 7 or so?). With all of media content available to you on the Internet which media player do you choose? This is a good question, there are loads that you can choose from such as Winamp, QuickTime and other players, which may just specialize in one format. It is hard to say this, but the Windows Media Player is actually quite a good bit of software. Arrgghhhh! There I've done it, I have praised a Microsoft program! But with good reason, please read on? ** How to get it? ** Just like Internet Explorer this is a free bit of software, just what we like to hear! The windows media player does come bundled with all versions of Windows from as far back as Windows 3.1 if I remember correctly! Over those years as you can imagine it has changed a lot, both in the formats it plays and how it looks. Any way back to how to get it? If you want the latest version of Windows Media Player you can download this off of the Microsoft Website. This can be done from the Windows Update Website located at: windowsupdate.microsft.com. Or the Windows Media Player can be downloaded from the Windows Media Player Website located at: www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia. The latest version is Windows Media Player version 7.1, this is for Windows 98, Windows 98 SE,
Windows Me, and Windows 2000. There is a different version for Windows XP, but I will not be going into that. The only problem with downloading the Windows Media player is that it is about 10 MB in size, which takes a long time to download if you have a slow modem (in fact Microsoft estimate that at 28.8 kb it will take 49 minutes to download). I didn't have this problem, as I use Windows Media Player at work it downloaded in about 2 minutes, tee hee! ** System Requirements ** Minimum Microsoft Windows® 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows Millennium Edition Pentium 166 megahertz (MHz) processor 32 MB RAM 28.8-kilobits per second (Kbps) modem 16-bit sound card 256-color video card Recommended Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows Millennium Edition Pentium or AMD Athlon K6 266 MHz processor or faster 64 MB RAM 56-Kbps modem 24-bit true colour video card ** What can it play? ** So you have the Windows Media Player or may be you don't? So what you want to know is what formats does this media player actually handle? Well if you read on a little you will be informed, here I go? the formats that the Windows Media Player can handle are: Windows Media File Windows Media Audio File Windows Media Audio/Video File Video File Audio File Movie File (MPEG) MIDI File Indeo Video File AIFF Format Sound AU Format Sound CD Audio Track (it can play CD's) Along with being able to play these formats the Windows Media Player can also be tuned into Internet radio. This is very easy to tune in as Microsoft nice as they are provide you with a website to search for radio stations over the Internet. Once you have found one all you h
ave to do is to double click on it and it will install into your media player, this makes it easy to get to the next time you want to listen! ** Ease of Use ** This is a very easy bit of software to use, if you want to listen to a CD when the CD is inserted then the Windows Media Player will automatically load and start to play the CD. If you are browsing the Internet and you start to download an mp3 or an mpeg then the Windows Media Player will automatically take over the download of the file and start to play it when it gets a big enough buffer for it to do so. It is easily customisable and the program even checks for it own updates on the Internet for you, although this can be quite annoying if it actually finds an update (this can be disabled though). This is as easy a media player as you will find to use, everything is clearly labelled and you can't get lost using this? hopefully! ** Other Features ** Well apart from playing all of these formats the Windows Media Player can also be customised quite a lot. You can choose a new skin for the program, this idea most probably stolen from the Winamp program (which I don't use as it crashes my work PC), which is highly customisable and came up with skins a long time before the Windows Media Player. Any way back to skins? giving the Windows Media Player a new skin changes the interface to the player. You can make the player look different, you could give it the classic Media Player look or you could make the Media Player an anime look, if you wanted. My self I have chosen the most compact skin that I can find, which sits nicely in the corner of the screen causing no harm to anyone! The ability to change the appearance of the Windows Media Player although completely useless is quite nifty, I think at least! Another thing that you can do to customize the Windows Media player is the visualizations (probably also stolen from Winamp) that it displays. A visualization is di
splayed when playing music be it mp3 or from a CD, it is an electronic representation of the music that is playing. There are numerous different visualisations available all of which are very cool. I find them quite relaxing if taking a short break from doing work as they appear differently depending of the song that is being played. The different types of visualisations that you can have are: Ambience, Bars and Waves, Particle, Plenoptic and Spikes. Within these groups there are numerous different effects that you can have displayed. You can also download new visualisations for the media player to use. ** My Thoughts ** The Windows Media Player is just as good as any player that you can use to play music or videos on your computer. Perhaps the download is a little too large at 10 MB it is quite big, where as the full Winamp is only 1.6 MB. The Windows Media player does what it is meant to do very well and if you are not fussed that you can customise Winamp more than the Windows Media Player then you might as well use this. At home I wouldn't use the Windows Media Player only because the download is just too big, I couldn't be bothered to wait an hour for the download.
So here I am in the middle of my Sandwich, Industrial Placement (or what ever else it is called!) year. I think that I can now give a little insight into the benefits of doing this, as there are many! First of all I will try and explain what it actually is and how they apply to University course, I say hopefully! ** What is a Placement Year? ** In its basic form a Placement Year is a gap from University that is taken in your third year, between your second and fourth years, believe it or not! They offer you the opportunity to apply the skills that you have learnt while at University in a work-based environment. This, to many students, may sound like hard work! Well it is and it isn't, which I will explain a little further on in this essay thingy that you are reading! This is a good opportunity for you to get some experience, which is invaluable when you try to get a job after University, as a lot of firm value experience as highly if not more so than a degree! You might have got a first class degree, but be completely useless in the work place, well let's hope not but you never know! Not all courses offer you the chance to do a Placement Year, in fact there are usually a number of different course one in which you do take a Year in Industry and one where you don't. At the University that I am going to, which shall remain nameless, the course that I am on... cough, splutter... Computer Science... a Placement Year is compulsory. ** How to get a Job? ** At the University that I went to this was made a lot easier by my Department as they had an "Placement Officer" who would contact companies or make the University known that their students were going on placement years. All this hard work by the Placement Officer, paid off in that there were a lot of jobs available for you to apply for through him! This is a very useful service and I should think that all Universities do this, however I don't
actually know if they do? Other things that were also arranged by the University were company visits to the University to give a quick lecture to potential students about the company. These were conveniently placed by our Placement Officer at a time when we had lectures, well done on his part, but I am sure they would have been useful! The other way to get a job is to apply direct to the place that you want to work. I know several people who have done this and they are perfectly happy, but there is always a risk with this that you might not end up doing what you wanted! Having applied for the job that you want you then have to go to interviews! Arrggghhh, the dreaded interview! If you are like me and you despise interviews, you might have to go on a few! This in the end is all good practice for you, as in the end when you finish University you will have to go on more interviews anyway! ** What to Expect ** This I can only tell you from my experience of my Placement Year, which I have to say has been really good. I am sure that other people could give you horror stories of placements gone wrong where they don't actually get to do anything! I can't tell you about that, I can tell you about a job where the work I was doing was important to the company, and was what I wanted to be doing? yay! It took me a few interviews to finally get the job that I would be doing in my Placement Year. The company where I ended up wasn't my first choice, but basically my only option as it was the only job that I was offered! The interview for this job was more like a chat, there was a little talk about the work that would be done then the person interviewing me started to talk about aeroplanes! I'm sure the interview was the gauge what you were like as a person and not how "good" I was, which was good as I am better at this sort of interview. My first day was quite amusing, some people knew th
at I, and the other Placement Student were starting, but unfortunately they were out of the office, so we turned up out of the blue, as it were! My first month was basically spent learning the skills, programming languages that I would be using etc... I then went on holiday for a month, they were nice enough to give me the time off to go on a holiday that I had, had book for ages to Canada (which by the way was fantastic, please read my opinion on Canada for more information!). Any way having had about enough as I could of reading, doing examples etc? I finally got some work. This started off with small things to see how I would cope with them and then they gradually got to bigger tasks until I was given projects to do. Any help that I needed was always available from someone in the office as everyone working there were really nice and would always lend a hand if I were stuck with something. Other things that you may have the pleasure of doing are department outing, whether at the company Christmas party, department Christmas party or a department outing to play paintball. I suppose I have been very fortunate in that I was able to take part in all of these activities and have them all paid for! The paintball was great as we basically had unlimited "paint balls" so we could be as trigger happy as we liked, much to the annoyance of the other teams, tee hee! The Christmas parties were also a lot of fun, especially with the free alcohol, of which I drank far too much! But come on I am a student, what student would pass at a free drink if they were given the opportunity? ** What have I gained? ** I have actually gained a lot from my Placement Year, form working with people in an office environment, which takes some getting used to if you are not familiar with it. I now have a clearer idea of the sort of things that I will be doing when I eventually get a job after finishing University. I have gained a lot of programming experienc
e, which basically is what I wanted to get out of this year. What I have learnt this year I will be able to apply to the project that I have to do in my final year at University, I may even get a project out of the company (which would be a great relief to me as I wouldn't have to think one up!). ** My Thoughts ** This have so far been a great year and I have learnt a lot, I have managed to get out of my overdraft and save up some money for next year. The money alone makes this placement year worth it, if you are careful you can work away a fair bit of your debt! The year will also give you a better chance of doing a better final year project/dissertation or what ever it is, other course have to do? I would recommend that if you get the chance to do a Placement Year that you take up the opportunity to do so, they are well worth it!
I`ve been meaning to write this opinion for ages, but every time a get around to it I start to think about how boring the subject actually is! I am writing this opinion about the Epson Stylus C60 printer (now I`ve bored you with the name I will try and give you an interesting and informative review!). This, hopefully!, is it? For as long as I can remember I have always used an Epson printer at home, from when my Dad first bought a computer. Since then technology has advanced at an outstanding rate (here I am now!) and printers have not escaped this, they too have advanced a long way. You can now get a photo quality printout from you £80 printer, not bad eh? ** Product Brief ** Firstly before I tell you about the printer I will give you the product brief of the Epson Stylus C60. Prepare yourself for some jargon, which I will explain (hopefully) after the product brief. This can be viewed at http://www.epson.co.uk/sohoprod/printers/inkjet/styc60/index.htm, if you want some more information! # Designed for simple operation, ideal for home use. # Print speeds up to 12ppm black and 12ppm colour. # Up to 2880dpi for high quality black and colour printing. # 4 colour printing for a wide range of applications. # Improved ink cartridge information and flexibility. # EPSON Variable-Sized Droplet Technology and Ultra MicroDot for enhanced smoothness and detail. # Parallel and USB connectivity for Windows®and Macintosh G3/G4/iMac?. # Advanced driver functionality. # EPSON PhotoEnhance 4 for automatic image optimisation. # Sleek, modern "lifestyle" design for the home environment. After all that there wasn`t too much jargon, which is good! PPM means `Pages Per Minute`, which is the number of pages printed per minute! DPI means `Dots Per Inch`, basically the more dots per inch you get the better quality the printout! Parallel is a way of connecti
ng the printer to your computer. USB means `Universal Serial Bus` and is another way of connecting your printer to your computer, this is faster than a parallel connection. ** Installation ** This is very, very easy! All you need to do is connect the printer to your computer via the parallel port or USB port and plug the computer into the power. Having done this turn the computer on and place the in cartridges into their places in the printer, these can only go in one place! Now insert the driver CD, this will auto run and start the installation of the software that Windows will use to output its printing to the printer. This is all very easy to and takes at the most five minutes to do. When you print a document a pop-up window will appear, don`t worry this is normal, showing the progress of your printing and some other stuff like ink levels, time left etc? ** Using ** Well you use this in much the same way as you would any printer! Just make sure the printer has ink cartridges installed and paper in the tray so that the printer has something to print to! If either of these are missing then the printer will not work and an error message will appear for you! To get the best quality out of your printer the paper makes all the difference! If you are printing out a photo onto normal paper this will look really, well poo, as the paper can`t take the amount of being placed on it and the paper may look a but soggy! So if you are printing a photo off or a very big image you will want to get better paper. Although photo paper is expensive it is good at what it does, if you don`t believe me do a test on a normal bit of paper and a photo quality bit of paper, the difference you will find is quite amazing! ** Looks ** Since the first printers appeared they have increasingly been getting cosmetic changes! Although the basic design is still the same, in that it has a paper feeder and a paper catcher and somewhere to place y
our ink cartridges, this printer is all nice a rounded off! It does look all sleek and modern and look quite at home on your desktop! The only thing that I will say is that it is still that boring colour that everything computery has! Oh well! ** Cartridges ** This is the main draw back to this printer, the cartridges are chipped. This means that you have to buy genuine Epson replacements otherwise they will not work! Just another way of making sure that you spend more money with then for certain! This is annoying as you can buy cheaper replica cartridges for other printers, but I am sure that this will be got around eventually! ** My Thoughts ** Overall this is a very good printer and is excellent value for money, so much so that I have at least four of these printer go through my house in the last month (as gifts at Christmas etc...). If you are looking for a cheap, high quality printer then this is the one for you!
Return to Castle Wolfentein is probably one of the most awaited games of the last year and wow is it good. It combines a great story, which really gets you into the game with excellent game play and very good graphics and sound, which give the game a fantastic atmosphere! ** The Story ** World War 2 is raging and the SS head Himmler has got full backing from Hitler to twist science and the occult into a force of invincible super soldiers or ?uber soldat?. You play US Army Ranger B.J. Blazkowiz, you work for the Office of Secret Actions and your new missions is to infiltrate the Third Reich and investigate the strange rumours of occult activity and genetic engineering. ** The Game ** This has to be one of the best games that I have played for ages, it uses id Software?s Quake 3 engine, which makes the graphics superb and the handling of the character in game very easy (although there are a lot of extra keys that you need to learn!). The graphics as I said before were superb and very crisp, when up close the animation on the face is very detailed for a game such as this (well more detailed than I have ever seen in a game, please correct me if I am wrong). Not only has the game got excellent graphics but also the sound is also very, very good and to fully appreciate it you need to play this game with surround sound. However it is still just as good without the surround sound capability. The atmosphere music sets you for the level very well, with other sounds such as people talking and gun fire in the distance all sounding as you think they should sound (faint, then getting louder as you get closer!). So this game has got good graphics and sound, but what does make this game a touch above the rest is the computer AI (artificial intelligence). This is also very good, and you will often find yourself being shot at from somewhere and you can?t see where until it is too late! Another thing that I have noticed is that if you
play a level and then play it again because you have died or just started it again, then the characters that are up against you do not appear in the same place that often. This is superb, but very annoying as you can't pre-plan what you are going to do as you don?t know where the people are! The game play is also very addictive with each mission you gain different baddies, that behave in different way for you to shoot or not as it may be. You also will not get tired of each mission, as you will find that each mission requires that you play the game in a different manner. One time you may be sneaking around silently while the next time you may be running around gun blazing while the next level you might be a sniper! Another really cool thing is that when say a tank blows up a building, yes this happens, the ground shakes and it is very hard to aim, nice! Also the actual environments that you are going abut in are also very well done, with splashes and puffs of snow appearing with gunshots! The cut scenes that will appear in the game also add to the game and add to the atmosphere that is created by the game. ** Multiplayer ** I have not played this version of the game yet, although I am told that this is also very addictive! The multiplayer version takes a different slant to the actual game itself. This was developed by another company especially for online play. The basic that I know is that you play in teams of up to 16 and you fight another team of up to 16! There are a number of roles that need to be filled in a team: soldier (the standard character), engineer (these guys can repair broken guns and blow things up!), medic (these guys can heal you!) and lieutenant (this guy can hand out more ammo and call in air strikes!). This all makes for a frenzied online game! I will update this section of my review as soon as I have had a chance to try out this multiplayer version of the game. ** The Con
trols ** As I said before the game is very easy to play and the main controls are all at your fingertip! You control the direction, firing and jumping with the mouse otherwise you wont stand a chance as controlling this on the keyboard will be just too slow! If you have a rolling thing in the middle of your mouse this will scroll through your weapons, very handy. Other things such as using the special features of some weapons like using a sniper scope, silencer or holding two guns requires you to press special keys. This might sound a bit confusing, well it is to start with, but luckily the game comes with a keyboard command card and you quickly learn all of the important keys. ** System Requirements ** 3D Hardware Accelerator (with 16MB VRAM) with full Open GL support Pentium 2 400MHz CPU or AMD Athlon CPU English Version of Windows 95 OSR2/98/MT/NT 4.0 (SP 6.0)/2000/XP with 30-bit drivers for CD-ROM drive, video card, sound card and input devices 128MB RAM 16-bit high colour video mode 800MB uncompressed hard disk space plus 300MB for Windows swap file DirectX 8.0a (this is included with the game) 100% DirectX 3.0 compatible sound card and drivers 100% Windows compatible mouse and keyboard drivers Quad-speed CD-ROM drive ** Multiplayer Requirements ** Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP and IPX) play supported Internet play requires 100% Windows 95 OSR2/98/MT/NT 4.0 (SP 6.0)/2000/XP compatible 56.6 Kbps modem ** More Information ** For more information about the game, for updates and the latest news please visit the following websites: Nerve - www.nervesoftware.com Activision - www.activision.com Id Software - www.idsoftware.com Game Website - www.castlewolfenstein.com ** My Thoughts ** This is a very, very good game, which sets up a very good atmosphere from the f
irst time you play the game. There will be times when you are playing this game and something unexpected happening and you will find yourself jumping out of your skin! This is my favourite game at the moment and anyone who is into first person shooters will love this game. This is a must and if you haven't got this game? why haven't you!
Computer viruses have always been a threat to the safety of your computer and more importantly the data that is stored upon it. Since the Internet has become ever more popular the threat has increased as the people writing the virus' have become a lot sneakier in the way their virus' work. They are not only getting ever more complex but they also are starting to come in such forms that the user will activate the virus without even knowing it. You will never be safe from viruses because as soon as the companies producing the anti-virus software have just updated their software a new virus appears. But you can at least guard yourself from the known viruses. I can't say that I would recommend any one bit of anti-virus software, as I would say that all the major ones are just as good as each other. But this opinion is going to be about Norton Anti Virus, as it happens to be the one that I use. However there are other such as McAfee, which I have used before and was very good. Anyway on with the opinion? ** System Requirements ** Windows® 95 B, Windows 98 or Windows Millennium Edition Windows NT® v4.0 Workstation operating system with service pack 4 or higher Windows 2000 Professional Intel® Pentium® 150MHz or higher processor 32 MB of RAM (64MB for Windows 2000 Professional) 70 MB of available hard disk space CD-ROM drive Supported E-mail Clients Microsoft® Outlook® Express 4.0/5.X Microsoft Outlook 97/98/2000 Netscape® Messenger 4.0 Netscape Mail 6.0 Eudora® 5.0, Light 3.0, Pro 4.0 Pegasus Mail 3.0 Becky! Internet Mail 1.26 AL-Mail32 1.11 ** Installation ** This is very easy to do, all you have to do is insert the CD into your CD-ROM drive and the CD should auto-play. All you have to do then is to agree to the installation path and other such
things. I would recommend that you let the installer install the default options, as this is everything that you will need to protect your computer. Having done this you will need to update the virus definition files, this I will explain about later on, but it is very easy to do! ** Updating the Program ** The virus definition files that Norton AV uses to check for viruses are updated weekly and can be downloaded and installed very easily. All you have to do is connect to the Internet and then start the "LiveUpdate". All you have to do then is click next and if there is an update available the program will download it and install it for you. This is very easy and quite fast, although I could not tell you what the speed is like on a modem, as I have only ever done this at work. I should think that it would take quite a while as the updates can be quite large, up to 3 MB. ** Real-time Scan ** This is a program that runs in the background on your computer checking executable files accessed and e-mails. This is very easy to use and configure as once you have installed Norton AV it is set-up automatically and will start working at once. This does work very well and unless you are doing a lot of work which requires a lot of disk access then you will not notice any speed difference in your computer. However if you want to play a computer game, it is recommended by most of the manufacturers to disables this as it can affect gameplay. ** Other Scans ** Norton AV also gives you the option to run scans of the whole system and disks etc? This can be run manually if you want to check a CD or floppy disk or if you want to check your hard drive you can schedules a full system scan for whenever you want! If you are going to do a full scan of your hard drive I recommend that you stop doing any other work on your computer as this does tie up your computer quite badly and if you try to do stuff you may end up making the comp
uter hang! ** Useful Links ** Symantec - www.symantec.com Symantec Virus Information - securityresponse.symantec.com McAfee AV - www.mcafee.com F-Secure AV - www.europe.f-secure.com Sophos AV - www.sophos.com ** My Thoughts ** This is as good as any anti-virus software that I have used it is easy to use and update, which is a bonus as some anti-virus products are a bit fiddly. All I can say is that you should have some sort of protection on your computer system. I hope that this opinion has been informative and useful for all those concerned.