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I am one of those people who loves giving presents, and I like those presents to seem well thought out and apt for the receiver (as well as being a bit different from the normal socks and chocolate route). This year for my wife of one year this proved to be a difficult task. I had already bought her jewellery for her birthday and lots of healthcare and beauty accessories (including an electrolysis wand) for Christmas last year. This year I wanted something special, as it was our first Christmas as a married couple. My normal procedure is to wander aimlessly around the shops looking at everything. Alas except for a very nice evening dress I could not find inspiration. Not until I went to boots to get some flu tablets. Whilst looking around I noticed they have increased their range of gifts and in particular they now sell various activity packages. The list includes driving a Ferrari, a days flying, a complete hair makeover, salsa dancing lessons (which my wife showed a interest to earlier in the year but forgot about) and various other very well chosen packs. They all seem very well priced (at least for what I’m willing to pay ;-) ), and after remembering my wife’s brief interest in Latin dancing I decided that £30 for a 2 hour lesson and a cd was a reasonable amount and if we enjoy it we can continue going. I could then get her that dress I saw as well. The pack contains a telephone number for booking and has a wide range of sites around the country, as well as a cd of the sort of music you will learn to dance to A lot of the gifts are things that make you think “OH xxxxxx would love that!!” and some are things that you would love to get somebody but wouldn’t know how to arrange it. If only I had gone to Boots first it would have saved me 2 hours of shopping! So I say go and have a look I think WHSmith do a few as well now, let somebody else do the research!
Are you tired of the same drab old windows interface? Do you long for more control over the way your window works other than the colour and size of fonts? Not interested in installing a different O/S? Then “Skinning” or “Shelling” is the thing for you. We all know that Microsoft spent forever researching the way the Windows interface is laid out, but easy to use doesn’t necessarily encompass pleasing to the eye. A few months back I decided that I was growing tired of the sight of windows, and after using programs such as Winamp and 3d-Ftp, which are both skinable. I decided it was time to look for ways of changing the appearance of windows to something a bit more suitable to me and that looked how I wanted. After a brief search on the net I discovered a whole wealth of programs and utilities that allow you to “Shell” or “Skin” windows. Allow me to explain these terms: --Shell-- The entire Windows interface is what is called in the business a Shell. Windows uses a shell called Explorer (not to be confused with the file browser or net browser). This Shell is what tells windows how the interface works and looks (e.g. the start button, taskbar and system tray are all controlled by the shell). Hence if you use a different shell you change the way Windows looks completely. However sometimes this can be a hard thing to do because it may involve dealing with important Windows files, however some programs deal with this automatically. --Skin-- All of you that use Winamp and various other skinable programs will be familiar with this term. Skinning is not as drastic as Shelling. Skinning is basically changing the way something looks (normally a window or control panel). A lot of programs being released now days are skinning compatible. This is normally done via an options menu from within the program to be skinned. Programs are ava
ilable that skin the Windows environment, in other words you don’t lose your old faithful Start button but you do give it a makeover which can give you a very pleasing change from the norm and add a touch of your own personality to your desktop. Some programs even help you design your own skin! The choice between the two of these options is down to yourself as to how much you want to change the look of Mister Gates infamous software. If you want something completely different and feel confident enough to mess with some of Windows .ini files then give shelling a try otherwise you would be best sticking to skinning. I have been trying various programs myself, and will be following this opinion up with a few reviews of the software I find. The first of which is Outdoors99. Which is a shell program. Novice or Expert I recommend you give it a try and add a touch of your own personality to the computer world. It can be quite simple and is very addictive. I have included below a list of helpful links on the subject http://skinz.org www.dtop.org www.dtop.org/outsider99 www.litestep.com Some other programs I have yet to look at are: Geoshell, ShellON, WindowBlinds, Chroma, Desktop Changer. I am still only a learner in this matter; I am just writing what I learn. If anything is wrong here please let me know. If you know any good programs please put them in the comments section.
The arguement over censorship has been going on for quite some time now. From amongst all the bickering comes two main questions: 1) What should be censored and what shouldn't? 2) Should censorship really exist at all. Should we have the right to choose exactly what we want? My opinion is this, most of us are sensible adults who I feel should be free to make our own minds up. Granted the classification of videos and films stops minors obtaining offensive material, and also gives us a guideline as to the content of the film but do the censors have a right to choose what is in the film and what isn't OR what is allowed in this country and what isn't. For example Bruce Lee's film Enter the Dragon has one particular scene involving nunchukas, which in the UK is banned due to the fact that nunchukas are an easily mimicked lethal weapon, yet horror films are allowed to show people being mutilated with common household objects such as knives which do not even need constructing!! It seems that we here in the UK are living by outdated rules that take away some of our freedom to express ourselves. I belive that films should still be classified into age groups but should also contain a warning as to the content of the film itself and we should be given the choice ourselves as to what we want to watch or want our children to see. The rule is simple if you do not like what you see turn it off (or leave whichever the case may be). I'm sure that I am a responsible enough parent to only allow my daughter to watch what is suitable and to keep anything unsuitable out of harms way. I don't think that a bunch of stiffs who are being paid our tax money, should have the right to choose for us, are we not capable of deciding what good and what is bad? Do they seriously think that watching certain scenes in films will make us go into realife and copy what we have seen? Be serious if this was true
why have there not been any "Scream" related stabbings or "Seven" related serial killings. Films seem to be used as a scapegoat. I think maybe they have watched "one too many films"!!!! - Extend film classification and abolish censorship. Give us the right to choose!!
I have recently enroled on an MCSE course and found myself in need of a computer. I currently have a Sony VAIO laptop which is an excellent laptop but found myself in need of a desktop computer. Reluctantly I shopped around the high street stores due to the fact I needed to buy a computer on finance. This eventually led me to Tiny. I gave the salesman a list of requirements of the PC I wanted and he suggested the Entertainment Studio Power which came with a FUJI Digital Camera. My first question being very wary after hearing rumours of high street stores using cheap parts was to enquire about the graphics card. I asked if it was integrated onto the motherboard or was it a separate unit as the integrated model would not be suitable for my needs. The salesman assured me it was a separate card and I purchased the system with a few upgrades (including a magnificent 19" monitor) which totaled £1900. It wasn't until about 3 weeks later that I discovered my unit contained an Intel 810E chipset which basically is a budget chipset intergrated onto the motherboard: bottom line the nice jolly salesman LIED. Unfortunately due to the fact the machine was purchased on finance I am now stuck with it.(I can not fault the machine except for the fact that it needed better manuals and is not what I wanted.) I called Customer services and after a 45 minute wait I finally spoke to a young lady who took all the details and said she would pass it onto a manager who would call me that afternoon. 1 week later still no call so I spent another half hour this morning waiting to get through to customer services to find out if the manager had been struck dead just before calling me (which was aboiut the only excuse I would accept!). The person at the other end apologised deeply and said somebody would call me tomorrow. I will ammend this opinion to let you know the results. I would not recommend Tiny Computers to anyone, the computers appear to be made using th
e cheapest components possible and to take the machine apart you have to remove the drive bays first! Their customer service is appaling and their salespeople are obviously on such low salaries they have to lie to customers to make sales. If anybody else has had a similar experience please post your views so we can let everybody know just how bad Tiny are.
I have worked for a couple of mobile phone companies and the main question when buying a phone seems to be Which Tariff? So I thought I would offer my advice! The first question you need to ask yourself is: What am I going to use the phone for? Is it an emergency phone or for everyday use? or maybe occasional use only. Then take a look at the tariffs and contracts available. There are two main types of phone contract out there: 1) Tied such as One2One's or Cellnets main tariffs, with these you have to sign a contract which ties you to the company for a certain amount of time and you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. In return for this your calls are normally cheaper and every operator offers a special incentive such as free phones, free local calls or a limited allowance of minutes per month. But if you want rid of the phone before the end of the contract you have to pay a penalty which can be very expensive. 2) Untied such as Pay as you go or More 2 say or Just Talk these phones allow you to pay what you want when you want, however the calls tend to cost slighlty more. You also pay more for the phone, and be careful because with 80% you still end up paying a monthly fee to keep the phone active which normally comes out of each card you buy (as Orange put it the "OUCH" in vOUCHer!). Some however now do not charge this fee but the call charges are slightly higher than those that do. You also have to pay a lot more from the phone. However with these phones you are not tied to a contract and can get rid of them whenever you want. Be sure to choose wisely between these two as otherwise it could cost you twice as much! Before you buy here are a few handy hints: - Give your postcode to the salesperson and ask them to check the signal in your area for which networks you are interested in.(Every network does this, try using a friends phone to call customer services). - Get your fri
ends opinions they cant all have the same phones! - Find out what it costs to retrive messages from your voicemail this is normally a hidden cost. - Make sure you haggle for accesories! If they wont budge tell them you'll go down the road! - Try ringing the networks customer services and ask what offers they have coming in the future. - If the phone has a contract find out what the cancelation period is I believe that by law in the UK you have 14 days (dont quote me). - Avoid mail order. They may offer good deals but if anything goes wrong you'll have twice as much work getting the problem fixed. - Call the Networks directly and see what offers they have for dealing direct. - Take your time! It could save you a fortune! I know this is long but I have a lot of friends who habe phones that are costing them way too much, so I had to write something.
I saw this title and had to write something. As a car driver I am disgusted by the price that petrol rises every year, this year takes the biscuit! Not only do I have to pay a huge amount in road tax but the price of insurance goes up every year, let alone the fact that I'm now going to have to pay for a parking permit to park outside my own house!! The government say that the increase is to try and discourage people using their cars as much, but I think the truth is they know that a lot of people cannot do this and in the end the only people who will benefit are the MP's themselves. I live in London and my daughter lives in Cornwall twice a month I drive to see her, I drive because the coach journey is 8 hours! and the trains are too unreliable. Instead of penalising those of us who need their cars by robbing us blind how about all the MP's taking a 10% paycut from their 80-90k per annum wage and the money going toward developing a cleaner form of travel and improving the current public transport which is in a very bad state of affairs. New Labour New taxes!!
The Verve are in my opinion one of the bands of the century. Their music was moving and inspirational. It was definately music to express the soul of emotions. It's just a shame that such a magnificant flame burned so brightly but burned out so quickly. Urban Hymns for me is part of my daily routine, and to think that there will not be any more melodical drugs for my addiction is horrible! As the title says The Verve may be gone but they will definately not be forgotten for a very very long time. I can only hope Richard Ashcroft decides that this vein of music is what he wants to stay in. Lets hope for a reunion one day!
This is a superb collection of music, its a shame that Tom only releases these sort of albums when his popularity is getting o the low side. I am not normally a Tom Jones fan but when I heard "Mamma told me not to come" I was impressed, I listened to the album at a friends house and decided to buy it. It's good to see that some of the old scholl can modernise their act and come out of the dark ages of 4:4 tempo! The album contains duets with artists such as: Van Morrison, Simply Red, Natalie Imbruglia and Robbie Williams. Old Tom - go home, New Tom - Come in make yourself welcome!
My wife twisted my arm for hours to put this up so here you are!: Potion 9 is a super concentrated treatment that will restore thickness and revitalise dry and damaged hair. I find it helps tremendously giving your hair body and shine. It contains nine different botanical oils (not dodgey chemicals like most of todays products). A 150ml tube will last me about 4 months (I have long hair)eliminating a good many visits to the hairdresser because of split ends. It is only available from hairdressers (I have not yet found any high street store that sells it), so you will have to do some searching, but it is worth it believe me!
This magazine comes in two editions - Dvd or 2 cd. The magazine is well laid out and each section is packed with info. The help sections cover a wide array of problems and they also have a free e-mail help address. It is not filled with too many adverts ( some of the thick magazines today are 50% adverts, where the content for my money!). The DvD always has some extra programs on, nevertheless the content of the cd's is normally quite good. 1 cd of games demo's and 1 cd off Apps and Programs. They try to include all levels of computing from beginners to junkies to gameguru's theres something in their for everyone. A worthwile magazine for the price(which these days is getting extortionate!!)
There are thousands of competition sites out there but some are really uniformative and hard to use, webwin for me stands out from the crowd. This is a well laid out site. It organizes all the competitions into categories and updates daily, keeping you abreast of all the latest comps. All the links open in a new window enabling maximum competition entry speed as well as being able to choose your prizes. Through Webwin I have won a digital camera, lots of playstation games and about £60 in cash! I would say it is definate homepage material. Its got my bookmark.
Rubbish at typing? This is the package for you. Voice recognition has come a long way from the days of spending nine hours reading various story boards and sentance cards to your computer in a vain attempt to get it to do the typing for you, only to end up retyping the entire letter anyway! Viavoice Pro millenium effortlessly blends into your system and is ready to use straight from the box. You can do a few training stories but without doing these i have an accuracy of about 90%. You no longer have to talk in a slow stupid manner either you can talk at a normal rate as long as you speak clearly. The program now learns the more you use it. The number of controls are unlimited as you can use macros to set your own commands, it even controls Windows and your mouse! The headset supplied with it is a bit cheap and nasty, but they are a cheap item these days anyway. A vast improvement on the older versions.
I've tried a few of the "pay as you surf" viewbars. Desktop Dollars being the one I favoured until AllAdvantage was recommended to me by a friend. All the other schemes were mainly american which meant either you couldn't join or you got paid in Dollars. Not only that only 1 in 3 were reliable for paying. AllAdvantage however is now in the UK, and I have been a member for about 6 months now and they have never missed a cheque (so far!). You have a choice of receiving ads for UK only or global ads. The software can be a bit tempermental sometimes but close it and re-open it and problem solved! The window is not of a bad size and with a little readjustment to Explorer (smaller icons and try to incorporate all on one bar) you dont really lose any viewspace on your browser window. All in all I would say that AllAdvantage comes tops in the paid to surf schemes, and its in the UK!