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I downloaded and installed IE8 Beta 2 last week and I must say that overall I'm rather disappointed in this latest version of Internet Explorer. I'm fully aware that this is only a Beta but in my opinion it's not got enough for a Beta as testers like me will struggle to test this version. There are so many bugs that it's not even funny. I've found that adobe flash doesn't work with IE8 and when I attempt to click hyperlinks they don't work on the first attempt and just move my cursor further down the page. I have also found a struggle with logging in to certain websites as it just sits their and hangs for ages. Taking into consideration that this is only at Beta 2, I think the ideas they have included are not bad and I like the nice clean (bulk free) interface but some of the features like web slices are a bit gimmicky in my opinion and not really necessary. The favourites Bar is probably one of the few additions that I appreciate as this is great for ease of use when trying to access favourites that I require 'on demand'. Unfortunately I haven't been a great Beta tester for this product as most the sites I visit use hyperlinks and flash which pretty much exempts me from using this version until they iron out the bugs and provide me with an update via windows update. I haven't rolled back to IE7 and I'm currently using Firefox but I hope they fix the bugs soon as I would like to learn more about their new browser and hopefully benefit from some of the new features they are incorporating. Overall I can see they have some interesting ideas but in the future I wouldn't recommend that Microsoft release a Beta that is almost rendered useless as it doesn't really enable people to test the product and will more than likely annoy people and get them using different browsers like Firefox. I would like to say Good attempt Microsoft but unfortunately I can't. I've now been waiting about a week for an update and hope they release one soon to fix the bugs.
I quit smoking about 4 weeks ago now and used the Nicolette Inhaler to help me quit. I have found this device to work very well and I haven't had a cigarette since, even during the testing times of Christmas and New Year due to being out and about and drinking more often, which tends to increase the amount I smoke. I went to an NHS stop smoking meeting and they recommended I use this because it not only provides a dose of nicotine but also makes you feel more like you have a cigarette in your month due to the way the device is used. I wasn't very successful with the patches or gum and felt this was my last chance to actually give up the bad habit; therefore I'm glad it's actually working for me. The cost to use this inhaler is quite expensive but when you think about the long term saving of quitting smoking you realise that this investment will save you a lot of money as long as you don't start again. I'm a firm believer that this device is not the ONLY answer to quitting as you also have to WANT to quit to really benefit from the additional aid of the inhaler. But I'm certain that my frame of mind in wanting to quit and using this device has helped me with the hard task of quitting and now I feel that I will never go back to smoking again. The only downside with the inhaler is that you are not breaking away from having something in your hand and in some respects this makes you feel that you still have a cigarette in your hand. I think gum and patches are better if they work for you as it takes you away from the feeling of handling a cigarette, but so far I don't want to smoke so lets hope it continues to work. I won't go into depth about the benefits of quitting here as I'm purely reviewing the inhaler device, but I must say that my health has dramatically improved and I no longer get out of breath and I feel much more energetic. Goodluck everyone
I got given GTA4 as a present from my other half as a Christmas present and I have mixed feelings about the game. The story mode is great and throughout the game you control Niko who has moved to the country to work for his cousin with the promise of great things. As the story progresses you get more involved with criminals and complete missions for them, as well as making friends with normal people including girlfriends. The graphics are stunning (not as good as call of Duty 4 graphics though) and really immerse you in the action. I really like the amount of detail they have included from the little details like rubbish bins and bags to the realism that's portrayed by the citizens on the streets. The map that you can travel around is large (just like all other GTA titles) and the game includes a map in paper format and digital which is an essential to help you get through the game. I've only had a short play with the online play and found the experience quite enjoyment. Don't feel comfortable enough yet to have much success though as many people have been playing this game for months and really have a feel for the controls and seem to kill me very quickly haha. Once again the maps on online play are also big which makes for a very fun experience. I managed to obtain the game on eBay for about £20 which is a bargain considering it will provide many months worth of enjoyment due to the online mode that I'm sure many people will use after completing the story mode. I do have some negative things to mention about the game in the following text below but in no way do I want to put people off buying the game because I still believe GTA is the greatest game for any console at the present time and they are leaders in their field. I'm a big GTA fan and just always want more and more from their titles which always enable me to question certain aspects and feel hungry for improvements. On the other hand I was a little disappointed to find that certain objects that where present in the previous title are not included in this latest GTA. These items include bicycles, tanks, certain helicopters and weapons etc. I was also a little bit upset by the limited options for fighting. I have struggled to throw anything other than a punch when face to face with an enemy. I would have liked the option to be able to kick people when they are on the ground and pick people up and move them out of the way. I think the problem with the GTA titles is you always want them to include more. But for some reason in this version they have enhanced the graphics and included an online mode but taken a step back in other departments. I just wish they could have incorporated everything from the previous title and built on this rather than taking away some of the fun aspects that where present in the previous title. I wonder what the next version of this game will bring to the table?.
This has got to be one of the best televisions I have ever owned. I brought this just after Christmas in the Boxing Day sale at Curry's. I've never considered buying a large LCD TV before as the prices have been so high but I've noticed lately that these televisions are becoming more affordable (especially as of late due to respectable price drops from most retailers due to the aim of getting people to buy from them), hence the reason for the purchase. I conducted research on the internet before my purchase and was informed that this television would be the ideal choice for my needs, including Full HD 1080p and 1000 MHz specification for crisper and sharp pictures when connecting the television up to high definition equipment. I was very happy when connecting up the TV as the sales advisor was correct in the mention of the sharp picture quality and I've really noticed a difference in comparison to my old 30" CRT, even with analogue signals which surprises me. I've currently got this television hooked up to my XBOX 360 via HDMI gold plated cable which seems to improve the quality even further. I've also made use of the HDMI to connect to my PC so that I can use it as a large computer monitor which produces excellent quality, primarily in my opinion this is due to the possibility of many high resolutions on the television via my graphics card. Overall I'm very happy with the purchase, even though the television was more expensive than some offer models. Like they say though, "You pay for what you get" which is something to consider before purchasing any new television, and I'm sure many people will be doing at this time of year now that the televisions are more affordable. The television is situated in my bedroom and provides plenty of size to really enjoy the viewing of your favourite films and playing games. The sound is also pretty good and quite crisp which makes audio hearing excellent. The only downsides of this television include: 1 - The remote control which looks like something from the 80's, but then again LG isn't exactly renowned for designing great remote controllers. 2 - The television is quite shiny which seems to be a magnet for dust and I've had to get the cloth out on a number of occasions already to clean up my beautiful television Overall this is a brilliant television and the best quality model on offer at Curry's in my opinion. The only television that's better in all honesty is probably the Samsung 8 series but this would cost a fair amount more in valuable money during these testing times, so I would recommend saving some cash and opt for this gorgeous television.
I purchased Call of Duty 5 (COD 5) a few days ago for the XBOX 360 and must say that it's a fantastic game with stunning graphics, but I'm debating over whether it's better than COD4 at the moment. It seems as if the game consists of COD2, COD3 elements with the graphics from COD4. I think world war games are a thing of the past as there has been so many of them, but this game does a good job of reviving this and brings a new level of realism and enjoyment to the representation. The only downside is the weapons available in this release as world war weaponry is not exactly the most exciting, apart from the flame thrower. I wouldn't recommend this game for younger children as there is some very graphical elements that could be quite disturbing, for instance the start of the game involves someone getting a cigarette burnt into their head and then their neck sliced. I think they have tried to achieve a very realistic representation of the world war and I don't feel that this is out of place if you want to truly feel immersed in how it may have been to be involved in the war, but just warning parents before buying this for their children at Christmas. I haven't got around to playing this game online as of yet but I've heard a mixture of opinions about it. I wasn't keen on the online play with COD4 as I felt the maps where too small and you hardly had time to think before performing actions. On the other hand the online play in COD5 where you can play multiplayer through the story mode sounds excellent and I'm sure I will play this with friends at some point, when they get around to buying the game ;-) Overall my experience so far with the game has been great but I'm scared to complete it as I want it to last forever, the game is griping, action packed and well worth every penny I paid for it.
I have several accounts with Nationwide and have never used any other bank or building society to look after my money since the day I was born. My experience with their customer support in my local town is not great as the building they operate within is tiny and they are always under resourced, however this doesn't bother me as their online banking service is fantastic and enables me to perform all my transactions at the comfort of my PC at home. I have first hand experience with other online banking systems as my friends and family have let me look at theirs (which include Natwest and Virgin) and this comparison confirms to me that the Nationwide provide a far superior online banking experience. I currently use their flex account (0% interest as of today) and the discontinued Bonus Saver account (2.40% interest as of today) which gives an indication of how much they pay out in interest. I agree with the flex account interest as it's not a place I keep my money but the Bonus Saver is a little disappointing as it stores my house deposit funds and I was hoping to gain more interest than this.Some accounts they have do offer about 4% but i'm sure there are better accounts out there for the savers amongst us. Maybe I should look elsewhere but I seem to feel content to stay put, silly me. I know the interest they pay on their accounts is pretty dreadful but I'm so used to them now that I just feel scared to move and feel like it's too much hassle, also in my opinion with the current financial climate I feel they provide one of the safest places to store money as they don't seem to have any problems with their finance, so for this reason alone I have a lot of confidence in their operations and will gladly stay with them. On the positive side they are willing to offer me about another 10k for a mortgage than other providers so this could prove to be useful when I want to move out of the parents home in a year, and their financial advisor is top class and has really given me and my girlfriend a sense of direction for the future. The only other thing I can think of is the bank charges which really irritates me. They once charged me £30 for going overdrawn which really shocked me as it was only for about 24 hours. I contacted them and they refunded my money very promptly, within another 24 hours or so, but I just don't feel this is right and I was feeling a little upset by this. I'm sure over the next few months we will see who the winners and losers are but as it stands I will keep my money in the safe house known as Nationwide.
I'm currently a student with the Open University (OU) and studying for a BSc (Open) degree in the IT and Business study field. I think the OU provides exceptional distance learning and I have really enjoyed studying with them so far. The lecturers, the material, the forums (online and offline) provide excellent resources to ensure you can achieve your aspirations. The course modules within IT and Business are very enjoyable, but they are not a walk in the park and at times can become quite intense if you study more than 60 points per year. I'm also provided with funding as I earn under a certain amount per year, therefore I get all my study paid for and they even provided me with a laptop. This is excellent for people that don't earn a lot of money as it provides a way of gaining qualifications without the cost associated with some other institutes. I know several people that didn't realise the OU will provide funding so my advice to others is to check their website and see if you can gain funding as it could enable you to reach your dreams and save a fair amount of money in the process. The only problem with the OU is that you have to be more determined and are responsible for completing your assignments, which can be hard if you work full time. This is not a problem to me but some people may find the 'bricks and mortar' establishments more beneficial if they struggle to get motivated and manage their time effectively. I know several people that dropped out in the early stages but you just have to stick at it because you will reap the rewards one day. I highly recommend the OU if you want to further your career and don't want to go to a 'bricks and mortar' university. I also feel that working and studying is a better option because you can save some money whilst you study and gain essential experience in a working environment along the way to obtaining qualifications. Good luck with your future, I know that the OU will secure mine and put me in a good position :-)
I joined quidco via a referral on the moneysavingexpert.com about 3 weeks ago now and so far my experience has been positive. I've managed to earn about £20 cash back for various free signups and an insurance purchase. I find the site to be really useful as you can buy things from all your favourite company's and earn a percentage of cash back from each purchase. An example is signing up to o2 Broadband and you receive £60 cash back. Unfortunately I joined betfair a few days ago and didn't use quidco, which is a shame as I would have got £10 cash back, hence my advice is to join and always remember to use the site for getting some cash back. The only problem I find with Quidco is that it seems to take a week for most transactions to be tracked and then can take a couple of weeks to see the money in your account. This is a little disappointing as I find myself manually writing down all the transactions I complete in the event that I forgot and they don't pay up. I haven't had any problems yet but on various forums it has been reported that some transactions are not always tracked and you need to contact quidco in this case. Overall my experience so far has been good and the cash back is very generous.
In my opinion Play.com is one of the best online retailers, specifically for books, games and CD/DVDs. I have made several purchases with them in the last few weeks for Christmas presents and actually found their deals to be better than Amazon, which surprises me. Overall I can't fault them and feel they are leading the way in e-commerce. I had to give them a call a few days ago regarding a transaction and their customer support was fantastic, I really felt that they cared about me as a customer and made every effort to resolve my issue. All the items I've ordered have been well packaged but the delivery can take up to a week, however at the end of the day they offer free postage and packaging on everything so what do you expect. I'm quite happy to save a few quid and wait a few more days. They also sale various other items but I have no experience in purchasing these products. I'm sure in the future I will consider purchasing electrical items from them though as I have trust in their service and feel that I could easily return faulty items without any hassle. If your looking at buying presents for friends and family this christmas then don't forget to compare other online prices with play.com as you may find you can get a better deal on this site, not always but in most cases I have found this to be the case. Highly recommended online retailer, check it out today :-)
Office 2007 is a great package for all your word processing, spreadsheets, databases etc, but does cost a fair amount to purchase. Lucky I brought this through an education provider at a discounted rate or it would have set me back a small fortune. I have been using this for all my study as I don't have the 2003 due to the disc breaking, therefore I have had to learn how to use the package but Google is your friend and very useful for finding the different functions within the package. I'm still trying to make the transition from Office 2003 though as 2007 is slightly complicated to understand as they have not kept to the standard menus and now you have all sorts of things all over the place and much emphasis is placed on the ribbon up the top which is an array of tabs an options in place of the standard menus in Office 2003, so if you don't have the time to learn this just yet then I wouldn't recommend upgrading as you could get pretty confused. Just simple things like finding options are very difficult which really annoys me in all honesty. But overall the package is very clean and sleek and works like a charm, plus there is less bugs than there was in Office 2003.
This burner is cheap, cheerful and is capable of performing the job you set it (which is to burn and scribe disks). Various discs can be used with this burner, ranging from CDR/W, DVDR +/-, DVDRW etc but the main focus is on the lightscribe technology. The lightscribe technology built into the device allows the user to insert a blank disc into the burner and burn an image directly onto the disc, providing the media is compatible. I believe this technology is quite cool but rather limited in many respects as you can only print in black and white and the image looks very dull and plain compared to a CD Label. The burner itself is very reliable and burns QUICKLY and SUCCESSFULLY on every disc I have ever thrown at it, therefore I haven't had any coasters as of yet and every burn has come out perfectly well. It's nice to have hardware that doesn't fail on you and you know it will be reliable and actually complete the intended job without fail, which is exactly what this product does. Nero was provided within the box when I purchased this item which is probably the best burning software out there. The version of Nero provided is only basic but includes everything the average user would require for burning disks. If you don't want to use Nero then the built in Windows burning is sufficient to burn data disks, and windows media player can burn your audio. This burner works perfect with Windows XP and Vista and I know this for sure as I have used the product on both operating systems without any problems. I think the main positive with this device is that it's around about the same price as a normal burner so you might as well buy this specific burner to gain the lightscribe technology (even though it's only really in the early stages of development and rather limited) as it's still nice to at least scribe a few letters on your disc. Just remember to buy your lightscribe discs if you want to scribe your labels. Another quality product by Asus, A+++
Very nice case that currently houses my Quad CPU, 800GTX graphics, 4 GB RAM and water cooling system etc. Lovely little door on the front provides a nice clean front with all the hardware bits hidden away (e.g. CD-ROM and floppy drive). There is a couple of front USBs that are situated on the top of the case and can be accessed by lifting a flap, just standard stuff with regards to this but the flap on the top does seem to be quite good for protecting them little lovely USB slots. I've had this case for roughly 8 months now and never had a problem in this time. The case is great for air circulation and doesn't seem to build up a huge deal of dust (which is nice). The provided fans are quite rubbish though and made of cheap plastic so I would recommend replacing them for cooler and quieter fans. One problem is that the exterior plastic does seems to be a magnet for dust and I have to clean it every few days or it does start to look rather dirty, not pleasant. The other problem is that my water cooling system does not fit within the case so I have had to cut holes in the back and place the pump and water tank behind the case. The case is quite large and will fit a huge deal within but not very useful if you are designing the ultimate water cooling machine. The third problem is that on occasions I have been burning a disc and close the front door, which is not a good idea as the disc doesn't eject on completion of the burn and can cause the disc to get damaged. Nice blue lights on the front, but some people would disagree and think it's a bit cheesy. Just don't put the case in your bedroom as it's like a disco at night with blue beams. This review is negative and positive but I would still recommend buying the case (if not designing a water cooled machine) as the overall build quality, air circulation, space within the case etc are perfect for most custom build PCs, and the case is reasonably priced.
The belkin N1 Router is a fantastic piece of kit and I'm currently using this to network my whole house via wireless. Wireless N draft is an upgrade to Wireless G and offers a more clear and crisp wireless connection with a larger range, which definitely works as my old standard G router couldn't reach the garden from my room but this router can reach past the garden into the next door neighbours garden, therefore it definitely does what it says on the tin. I've had this router for a year now and it's working flawlessly, which is unusual for me as my routers tend to break after a year (touch wood). Only issues I have is when I reboot as on the odd occasion it resets all the data on the router and I have to manually enter the details myself, probably my fault though due to pulling the power from the mains, rather than rebooting the device via the interface page. The other issue is the fact that the devices you want to connect wirelessly require N draft capability or the router will fail to connect them unless you actually set it as G in the router interface page, therefore if you have 1 G device on your network and then rest are N draft then to connect all the devices you have to downgrade to G in the router interface page or the G device wont connect. I would highly recommend this router to everyone, but the price tag is a fair amount compared to standard G routers, but then again if you want larger range, better quality and speed (up to 300mbps) then its worth the spend.
I have used hotmal.com for about 8 years now and have no plans of changing my e-mail to a different provider. This is the best free e-mail provider on the internet and continues to provide an excellent service for users, which is reliable and secure. Hotmail are leading experts at fighting SPAM and most of my SPAM always ends up in the Junk folder which is great as I HATE SPAM. Their algorithm seems to do a very good job at catching and filtering out the rubbish. I would recommend the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector for anyone that does wish to use their FREE membership hotmail accounts in Outlook, without calendar features. Hotmail is ideal for use with Windows Live messenger (a chat messenger program) as it links in very nicely with all the features of messenger, including the contacts and e-mail support. Users of hotmail can also pay a membership to upgrade their account from 5Gb to 10Gb, plus POP3 and calendar support in Outlook, plus removal of banners on web based access. Not really sure if it's worth paying something like £29.99 a year for though as I did pay to upgrade my account the previous year and don't really feel that I could justify the cost. Can't ever remember a time that my e-mail with hotmail has not worked, I think the worst thing that ever happened was downtime for an hour due to an overload of users, but they have upgraded since then and I NEVER have problems with the service anymore. I really like the new WEB 2.0 style web based mail as the WebPages now feel like an application in which you can right click stuff and drag e-mail around the screen. This has also been incorporated onto the login screen in which displays all your e-mail addresses in a similar fashion to the Microsoft Welcome screen displayed within Windows XP and Vista. One thing I do get confused about is the branding of this product. Is it now Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, Windows Live Hotmail or just Hotmail? It seems to keep changing. The only competition out there is Gmail, and they may be winning the Gb ( aka the mailbox space) war but can never be a serious rival to hotmail in my opinion.
I've been a member of Pogo.com for about 6 years now and must say it's a very entertaining website and packed full of games. I really enjoy playing poker and hammerhead pool on this website and I'm a member of a Pogo hammerhead pool league, which tends to be run by a company called myleague. I think the leagues that are associated with pogo are great to join and are always advertised in Rooms (rooms are the locations that host the games and tournaments). The leagues provide a great reason for taking part in the games, but EA also now offer a club membership in which you can earn badges for participating in different objectives which is nice, but the leagues are better as you are competing with REAL people and feel a great sense of achievement when you win tournaments. Remember to research leagues before joining as its advisable to participate in larger leagues which are very active to ensure that tournament are readily available when you fancy joining in. Once upon a time I even run my own hammerhead pool league named WCPool and it was one of the biggest pogo pool leagues with myleague at the time, with almost 2,000 members from all over the world. It's very easy to setup your own league with myleague but you must be very careful as most rooms are already in use by other leagues and in recent times it could prove to be VERY difficult to get a room for your league. The chat facilities within the game rooms enable you to make great conversation with your components, just don't be racist, abusive or harass other players as this will definitely get you banned very quickly. I have met some very interesting characters on the site from all over the world and have learnt alot about different religions and cultures along the way. Another good thing about pogo is it's very easy to login with your friends and start playing games, you don't require a console, and you don't require any paid membership and can cure your boredom with the vast amount of games to choose from. Pogo is very addictive and can take up a huge amount of time, so be warned.