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screedsean

screedsean
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Member since: 29.12.2011

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    • More +
      27.12.2012 17:48
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      great for a weekend get away

      My girlfriend and I went for a weekend's trip to London for Christmas. The visit was just for some sightseeing and to have a break from work etc. We booked our hotel online through laterooms.com after looking at a few reviews of hotels in/near the centre of London so we were near what we wanted to see while there.
      The stay was for two nights, in a double room and I had asked kindly if we could have a quiet room if possible as I am a fairly light sleeper. This was easy to do on the online booking process which I would highly recommend.
      Arriving at about 6:30pm on the Saturday, we checked into the hotel with no hassle, and had our room key cards in under a minute, as we had already paid for the room during the booking process with a credit card. The reception was clean and tidy with a few racks of information booklets for the local area as usual, first impressions looked good. Our room was located on the lower ground floor (-1) so we made our way down the elevator, as directed by the reception staff.
      As we opened to door to our room, we were greeted by a small but clean and welcoming double room with an en-suite bathroom. The room was nothing special but for the money we paid it was perfectly acceptable and had everything that we needed for the two nights that we were there; having a hairdryer, TV with sky, kettle with tea coffee etc., biscuits, trouser press, heater and all the other normal things there are.
      The bed was very comfortable, not being too hard a mattress and being located out the back of the hotel it was nice and quiet, only the occasional noise from the room above but I slept fine so it must have been quiet.
      The bathroom was very impressive, with no sign of mould even starting, the shower was a very powerful power shower that really invigorated me in the morning and woke me up. Tiled floor to ceiling, this sparkling bathroom had a sink, toilet and shower, great for me but I suppose not if you wanted a bath.
      In the morning we went for the breakfast that we paid for when we booked, the 'restaurant' for breakfast was located on our floor so we pooped round the corner to find a great continental breakfast. (Choice of orange or cranberry juice, cereals, yoghurt, croissants, fruit, tea coffee, toast, jam etc...) You chose your breakfast yourself but after sitting down the waitresses poured your choice of tea of coffee if you wanted it and brought your toast to your table. I could not complain, even the décor was great with stylish leather chairs and a bright interior with old fashioned photos in modern frames around the room and a few Christmas decorations keeping the festive spirit alive.

      The second night was just as pleasant as the first, returning to the room to find that it had been cleaned and the bed made, it was very welcoming and it showed that the cleaners didn't just rush round, they did a proper job.

      Overall the hotel made our weekend trip to London very pleasant and hassle free. All the paperwork was done online beforehand so there was nothing to worry about when there. No view and not the biggest room but it had everything that we needed and for the price it was excellent! Cannot complain and would definitely recommend it to anyone going to London.

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    • Beko CFD6914X / Fridge / 30 Readings / 28 Ratings
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      27.07.2012 23:16
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      Great if you want a decent sized unit for a reasonable price

      About a month ago now we moved house and had to leave our build in fridge/freezer where we were moving from so had to buy a new one. After a short trip to comet we decided to buy a very nice LG unit, however it was not in stock so after a quick re-think we ended up buying this Beko. We were at first unsure about the Beko make, but decided that for the money we would risk it, and so far it has been fine. (Fingers crossed still of course).


      --- WHY THIS UNIT ---
      We chose this fridge/freezer as it was not only fairly cheap but it fitted neatly into the space we had available. Also the door does not protrude to the side of the unit too far when the door is opened which allowed it to fit between a cupboard and a wall without being too far from either side. With free delivery on a Sunday also, we could not argue for the price of around £350 when we traded in the old knackered fridge that was left for us for free at our new house. This actually saved even more money as they took the old fridge away for free when it would have cost £10 to have it taken away to be binned.


      --- UPON ARRIVAL ---

      As stated it was delivered on a Sunday, the afternoon in fact by a courier named 'on call' who were actually very good and put it exactly where we wanted it, after negotiating some awkward doors/corners and they didn't mark a thing. Anyway, back to the unit itself, it was completely unscratched upon arrival so the large amounts of cardboard and polystyrene seemed to do their job. After leaving the unit to stand for a few hours we turned it on and it started its dull hum.
      The noise of this unit is actually quite quiet compared to some units that I have used in the past and when at temperature it is even quieter, ideal for the home environment.


      ---FEATURES ---

      Unlike some fancy fridge/freezers there is no LED display, alarms, crushed ice or other frills but then for the price you cannot expect them. It does what it says and what it needs to do and it does it well. In fact this unit is rated at an A for its energy efficiency, so it will prove to be cheaper, quieter and more reliable than your current old unit.
      One of the main features of this fridge is the fact that the fridge on top is frost free so it never needs to be defrosted which is always a nightmare. This fridge is a large 166L in capacity, and boasts four glass shelves, an egg tray, a chrome wire wine rack and a bottle fed, 2.2L water dispenser on the inside of the door.
      Beneath this fridge is a 94L freezer section that has four normal freezer drawers and an ice tray in the top. These drawers are actually very smooth running, which is great for a cheap freezer as on some models the drawers tend to stick to one side or fall out easily when pulled too far, this freezer understands and counters these problems.
      Supposedly this product can also operate down to -15 degrees centigrade, so would be perfectly suitable for a garage or cold environment, however like the longevity of this product I have been unable to test this yet so cannot comment on its validity.


      --- BUILD QUALITY ---

      With some cheaper models of fridges or freezers you can sometimes sacrifice the build quality. With this particular model however the whole thing feels really sturdy and well made. In particular the handle is not flimsy and has no 'bend' in it. Also the whole door doesn't open back too far and closes securely every time, making it difficult to leave it open, wasting energy and wrecking your food. The feet are also easily adjustable so that it sits firmly on almost any flooring. Overall i would say the build quality is really good, not a metal finish but suitably sturdy plastic.


      --- AESTHETICS ---

      We bought our fridge in a silver colour scheme which personally I prefer to either white or black as it fits in nicer with our style of kitchen that has a stainless steel sink, dishwasher, coffee maker etc. Also the finish doesn't show small scratches too easily which is nice.
      Inside there is a small light at the top of each of the units what provides plenty of light for the whole compartments, and inside the finish is a clean wipe easy surface that is white.
      The glass shelves are a nice stylish addition that allow you to see easily if something has spilled or behind some products on other shelves.


      --- OVERALL---

      Personally for the money I think this fridge/freezer offers a lot of space and with an interchangeable door so it can be opened from either side you cannot really go wrong. If you're worried about it breaking the extra warranty to three years is only around fifty pounds more. If you're looking for a new fridge/freezer and don't want to break the bank then look no further.

      Dimensions: 190.6cm high, 59.5cm wide, 60cm deep.

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      • More +
        27.07.2012 17:24
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        A decent light for a beginner

        For many years my uncle has been a qualified diving instructor and often goes off to very exotic places and comes back with quite amazing photographs and stories. Until a few years ago I had only been snorkelling a few times, but had always been keen to try diving as it's the next kind of level. After spending quite a while learning to dive in tanks/shallow water etc. I finally was ready to go into the actual sea so I bought this light, along with other equipment as it was a cheap solution for my needs. I thought that it would be good to have a wide angle of light for looking at things easier, and some quick advice from my Uncle I purchased this torch.


        --- OPENING THE BOX ---
        Things these days often have too much packaging, most of which is plastic and hard to recycle. This was unfortunately no exception with a lot of excess cardboard that isn't really necessary and vacuum packed plastic. However the packaging did do its job of protecting the product well despite some signs of rough handling while in transit. The torch comes with batteries so you can see it working straight away which is nice. On top of the torch is the push on/off switch which feels quite solid and waterproof with its rubber seal. The whole torch feels quite solid actually and being made from anodized aluminium (harder finish) it can withstand a few knocks and scrapes easily.


        --- FIRST USE ---

        When I first used this product under the water it was actually in my bath tub to just check that it was watertight before getting out into the ocean and finding that it didn't work, however do not worry as it certainly has no problems being submersed and produces a clean bright white beam of light that has quite a wide angle as expected. When first In the ocean I was surprised by how far the torch shone into the dark abyss. It produces light many metres into the distance which is very useful for seeing rocks and round objects. Being quite light it is also not dark to lug around and feels quite comfortable in your hand due to its ergonomic shape. I can see this fitting most sized hands easily as you can adjust where you hold it, ad with different circumferences any sized hand will be in comfort.


        --- PERFORMANCE ---

        Offered are a few options for full power light, 30% or strobe. Personally I find that strobe is a pretty useless function underwater so I just leave it on full or off, though for long time periods underwater you may want to switch it to 30% power, especially if the batteries had been used on a dive before, I have found that the advertised 10 hour burn time is slightly optimistic as I have got around 7 hours on mine between battery changes. Personally for its small size I find that it produces an impressive amount of light. Due to this small size it is very easy to carry around and fit on yourself, even with a lot of other gear.


        --- IMPROVEMENTS ---

        The only improvement I can think of is an easy way to attach it to yourself via a strap or something as it can be tied onto the side of your head easily or something but if you want it hanging from a strap it is quite difficult to do this.


        --- OVERALL ---

        I think that this torch looks quite stylish and for the money it offers quite a lot of light and is really easy to use. It is by no means the perfect torch as it has a few small flaws and I am sure more expensive torches will be brighter and last longer, however I am thoroughly impressed with it.


        --- TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION ---

        Boxed weight: 998g
        ASIN: B005QK6D4Q
        Burn Time: 10 hours
        Depth: 120m or 400ft
        Dimensions: 12.6cm long x 3.3cm wide (at widest point)
        Batteries: 2 x CR 123A (included)
        Variable power: full/30%/strobe
        Material: aluminium (anodized)
        Part no: IMINI
        LED: 1 CREE 4.7 watts (220 lumens)

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      • Dunlop Wellington Boots / Shoes / 31 Readings / 30 Ratings
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        08.07.2012 16:49
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        You can't argue at this price, go get some

        So as we live in England we experience quite a bit of rain. More than our fair amount sometimes, but to brave the outdoors we must always have a pair of wellies in the shed or garage to get out when needed. I also have a pair of wellies in France for DIY work, however I am jet to find a pair that will stand up to the heat experienced some days.


        --- WHY THESE WELLIES? ---
        A few months ago I was looking for a pair of wellies to use here in England after my current pair developing a hole in them from a garden fork falling on them in the shed. I went down to my local cheap shoe shop (stead and Simpson if I can remember correctly) and I found a decent pair or Dunlop Wellington boots for £10. I was only looking for a cheap pair here, for the occasional dirty job in the garden or a messy weekend away camping for a festival or event. I will admit that the sizes were up the creek and I had to buy a size seven rather than my normal size 9, though they seemed to fit very well in the shop and I bought them there for a total of £9 after my student discount.


        --- AESTHETICS/ERGONOMICS ---
        The wellies themselves are the standard green colour, and have the Dunlop symbol embossed on the outside of each of the boots. The bottom of the wellies are a yellower colour and have quite deep grooves for grip on the underside of them, which is why I liked them originally as I thought that they might give you more grip in very muddy situations. As I first slipped my foot inside the boot, I realised that the bottom of the boot is quite solid and sturdy, but not too hard. This gives the boot, over a period of time a slight moulding into your foot shape which makes the boots very comfortable indeed. I would suggest however, that you wear some thick socks with these, or any wellington boots if you are going to be walking in them for a prolonged period of time. The top of the boots are also quite wide which makes it easy to get them on and also easy to tuck your trousers into the top comfortably.


        ---PERFORMANCE---
        So in the slippery, muddy and wet conditions that these will be used in, the boots actually perform quite well. They offer quite a bit of grip and give your foot a decent amount of rigidity in the soles so that hard rocks or uneven ground underneath you will not hurt your foot or put you off balance. After about 6 months of use now these wellington boots are still waterproof and have only a couple of scuffs on the side of them, which is to be expected. They are easy to clean and do not seem to have degraded in any way yet. You can pay up to a hundred pounds or so now for wellington boots that may certainly be better than these boots, however I feel that unless you need a steel toe cap in your boot there is very little point In spending that much.


        ---OVERALL---
        So to sum up, these wellington boots seem to have served very well in some quite hard conditions so far. They offer good grip and a comfortable and easy to wear boot for very little price. I am yet to test these boots in very hot or cold weather (i.e. south of France sun or harsh snow and ice) though I feel that these boots perform exceptionally well for their price. At ten pounds you cannot fault these wellies as they perform well and look quite stylish also. No frills but a decent pair of wellington boots.

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        30.06.2012 18:54
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        It's definitely worth buying one of these products, extremely versatile.

        So my dad bought this a few years ago now to add to his vast collection of DIY tools before embarking on the daunting task of constructing a whole house in France. This hammer tacker is basically just a heavy duty stapler, which Will feed and drive two full strips of arrow T50 staples in four sizes: 1/4, 5/16, 3/8 & 1/2 inches.

        ---REASON FOR BUYING---

        The main reason why this was bought was to quickly and easily attach a plastic barrier to the inside of walls, after the insulation was put between the studwork. This hammer tacker drives staples very easily into the wood with a quick slight of hand movement, so allows for easy attachment of many things with just one had, so that you can hold it in place with the other. This tool has proved to have many uses however, for quick attachment of various items. My dad and I have found that it really only pierces into wood or plastic as a substrate but it will pierce through paper, cardboard, thin plastic or wood or even some fabrics.


        ---CONSTRUCTION/ERGONOMICS---

        The tool itself is made mainly from steel which has a very shiny and aesthetically pleasing chrome finish. The handle is then wrapped with a non-slip rubber grip that is actually very comfortable to hold. The handle is slightly ripped so that it doesn't slip out of your hand when in use, and is brightly coloured orange so that you can spot it, even at the bottom of your toolbox.


        ---EASE OF USE---

        The only reason why someone may be hesitant to buy this product would be that they may think that it takes too much force to operate. However, this is not the case as the tacker itself builds up momentum easily, so that after about five practices of using the product you will be able to staple things effectively every time as you gauge how much pressure it takes to staple things into various materials. Using the product is actually very easy therefore, unless you're at an awkward angle (i.e. stapling onto a ceiling) or are in a tight corner; as it is sometimes hard to get the stapler to go exactly where you want. (With practice you can get it to about half centimetre accuracy).

        When the time comes to insert new staples into the product these are readily available at most DIY stores, which makes things nice and simple. The product also takes a variety of different sized staples for different applications which is a handy feature. For inserting new staples, the back of the handle is unclipped by hand (it is held in place with a spring), and then the guide/feed rail is slid out of the handle and staples are placed in, in much a similar way to a normal office stapler. The procedure is then reversed to secure the staples in place for use.

        During my time using the tacker, I have never had a staple jam inside the product, and that is quite something considering that it has now seen hundreds, if not thousands of staples pass through it.



        ---OVERALL---

        Despite the slightly high purchase price of this product, it is an exceptional device that certainly does speed up many DIY projects. It not only saves time but this product also makes many projects much easier as a staple is often much easier, and cheaper, to put in place than a screw or nail. Plus they can be removed if they have to, unlike nails which can be tricky to take out.

        If you're doing a project therefore where you think that this could benefit you in any way, I would say get it as it will make your life so much easier. A great product that is actually really easy to use and saves you lots of hassle.

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      • WarCraft 2 (PC) / PC Game / 33 Readings / 32 Ratings
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        16.06.2012 17:01
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        an old, cheap game that everyone should play.

        Okay so this game probably hasn't been played in quite a while but it was a very iconic game which many other games have been subsequently based around. Some may argue that is it so old the graphics are painful to see now and that the game isn't very evolved and you can get bored of it. But in fact a lot of thought has gone into the game to make the races very evenly balanced indeed which leads to an exciting game that isn't too easy.

        Warcraft 2 is blizzards sequel to Warcraft: orca and Humans. Basically this sequel adds more depth and features to the game and brings the best aspects of many favourite strategy games together - dune II, Populus and SimCity to name a few. This real-time war game makes you have to manage resources, construct buildings, raise an army and research new technologies. In this instalment there are now also flying vessels, and seafaring crafts to improve upon the landlocked combat of warcraft. Resource management has been expanded, and now includes oil, in addition to gold and lumber, as a necessary ingredient for successful construction and destruction.
        In addition to noticeably improved artificial intelligence, the most obvious change to combat is the "fog of war," a shroud of semi-darkness which allows your minions to see only what is in their direct line of sight. This decimates any fool-proof strategies that were available in the original; for instance, you can no longer send a kamikaze scout into enemy territory, then watch the goings-on for the rest of the game. In this instalment you can now command up to nine units at once, which makes large battles easier and more enjoyable.

        One of the most noticeable changes though will be the added humour that you find out in mid gameplay. When you hear one of your minions say, in a faux Shakespearean tenor, "Why do you keep touching me?" in the heat of battle you have to credit the game designers for making such a game. You know that they have had fun making it and there is no way that you won't have fun playing it.


        Okay so nowadays there are better games out there, be it command and conquer, newer warcraft games, or a different strategy game altogether. However, although the graphics of this game aren't up to scratch the gameplay itself is very highly addictive. The main storyline isn't all that long but you can create many different games on different maps to suit the mood that you're in.

        Seeing as you can now grab this game really cheaply off eBay and it will easily run smoothly on your computer there is no reason why you shouldn't buy it and relive all those happy memories of it. Or try it if you have never had the joy of playing it. It is compatible with all versions of windows as I have played it on all versions without fault. Like StarCraft this game was iconic and lasted for much longer than other games that people soon moved on from. A great game that everyone should have played at some stage.

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        • Cymex Cream / Lip Care / 39 Readings / 37 Ratings
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          18.05.2012 17:41
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          Brilliant cream that has many uses

          I have been using cymex cream now for many years and have seen it change designs slightly but it has always been a buttercup yellow colour so you cannot miss it on the shelf. If you look on the packet it will tell you that it is a cream for cold sores and dry cracked lips. But it does so much more.

          See I first tried this cream after going to my doctor a few years ago with what I thought was a lumpy/dry rash on my face. It seemed to be round my nose/upper lip and things I had tried had had little effect. My doctor gave me some of this Cymex cream and within a week it was gone! Since then I have used this cream for cracked painful lips, cold sores and dry skin anywhere on my body. I don't know why but it seems to work better than other creams or Vaseline. This could be down to its active ingredients (Urea BP (1.0% w/w), dimeticone 350 BPc (9.0% w/w), cetrimide BP (0.1% w/w)) but I am no chemistry expert so am not sure for certain.

          Upon application the white cream feels quite greasy but actually rubs into your skin very easily and quickly. Please follow the label when it says that you should apply sparingly however! It is in a small tube and that is because you do not need very much. Also at around £3.50 for a 5g tube you do not really want to be wasting this.

          As I ride my bike frequently all year round I tend to get dry cracked lips quite often so always have a tube of this cream at the ready to tackle anything before things get too painful and if anyone else suffers from similar problems I would recommend this cream very highly to them indeed. This cream also seems to be partly antiseptic as it does not provoke any infections starting up on cracked lips like I have had Vaseline do in the past. To put it short, thank you to whoever invented this cream.

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          • B&W DM 602 S2 / Speaker / 35 Readings / 34 Ratings
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            16.05.2012 22:53
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            Old speakers but they still impress you now.

            After many years of listening to my dad's Hi-Fi speakers and having to put up with small inexpensive active speakers, I decided to treat myself to a pair of decent passive Hi-Fi speakers to really get the most out of my music. Therefore these speakers were bought about a year ago now from eBay as I had a limited budget being a student. It took quite a lot of searching to find a pair of speakers that I could visit to hear them working and see that they were in near perfect condition as I am a bit of a perfectionist with my items, but the wait paid off as I found these beauties.




            ---REASON FOR BUYING---

            Apart from my budget as I already mentioned, and seeing these that were within my range and in excellent condition I was actually on the lookout for a decent brand of speaker. In fact my father's speakers were Bowers and Wilkins and they are over 20 years old now with not a scratch to their name.

            B&W are known for making good quality products, and products of this age were made in the UK which is always a plus. (I am not sure about products nowadays but they might still be manufactured in the UK).
            I was also particularly on the lookout for a bookshelf speaker that had a decent sized bass, as I could not sacrifice the room for a floor standing speaker but wanted at least the same sized bass (7inches) as my father's speakers.




            ---LOOKS---

            Well they look impressive to put it short. Being larger than most bookshelf speakers, more onto a monitor kind of size, they really stand out in your room for all the right reasons. My speakers were finished in a dark Black ash and they have a black grill over the entire front of the speakers. At the edges the grill tapers back to reveal the curved surround of the plastic front panel before smoothing out to the wooden sides of the speakers. The front grill also has B&W on the top of it. A small little plastic addition to remind you that these are a quality brand.

            When you take the front grill off though is when you see the real beauty. The top of the speakers houses the 1inch metal domed tweeter, which is gold on the series 1's but silver on the series 2 and 3. This is taken straight off the top of the line nautilus line-up and is in fact still available to buy now if you need a replacement, handy to know. Below this is the beautiful 7 inch yellow Kevlar bass/midrange. With a black rubber centre this is really something to look at and quite mesmerising to watch sometimes as the speakers play, and this vibrates. Below this is the bass reflex port which frankly looks huge and very impressive.

            It's safe to say that anyone who walks into a room with these in it will notice them immediately and be dumbfounded by their gorgeous looks, and this is even before they hear them.




            ---SIZE/WEIGHT/PLACEMENT---

            Okay so I thought it would be important to mention this here and not in a footnote as with speakers this is quite an important factor. Each speaker is 49cm high, 23.6cm wide and 30.6cm deep. This makes finding suitable stands a little more complicated than usual as apparently each speaker is also 10Kg or 22lbs in weight. In the end I have ended up buying smaller stands and making them larger and sturdier myself as suitable stands were too expensive for me.

            Though please do not spend lots of money on a decent pair of speakers and try to save money elsewhere as I promise you that you will hear the difference with poor stands, thin wire, or a bad amp. If you don't believe me just hear how different/bad they sound when you place them on carpet.

            When placing your speakers I would avoid placing them too close to a wall behind them or too close into a corner as the bass tends to become slightly too woolly and is tighter when out in the open. Apart from that though, put them on some stands so they are at roughly the right height for when you are listening to them and enjoy.




            ---QUALITY---

            Not only are these speakers made well and they are robust but they sound great too. Yes I have finally got to the sound quality of these speakers which I can only describe as amazing considering their price. The bass is really tight when placed on decent spiked stands, and the speakers are particularly clear with voice tones. When watching films the bass can give very deep rumbles and you would certainly need an expensive subwoofer to compliment these as otherwise you would hinder these speakers rather than aid them. For the size of speaker and price there really is little complaint that can be made. Of course more expensive speakers will sound better but I would hazard a guess that you would need to spend close to £800-£1000 for a pair of new speakers that you could really hear the difference with.

            These speakers also have separate inputs on the rear of them for the High frequencies and the low frequencies. So on the rear of the speakers you see four lovely gold connectors. The speakers come supplied with jumper plates between these terminals but if you are going to bi-wire or bi-amp these speakers you have to remove these plates. And even if you are not planning on this is would recommend changing these plates for thick 4mm speaker cable to increase sound quality.

            One word of advice would be that I have heard that the tweeters are a bit delicate and have the tendency to break. A nuisance, well yes, but they are very simple to take out and fit a new one, (20 minutes each) and replacement tweeters are still available from B&W for around £40 each I believe.

            As with all speakers the sound will also be dependent on the rest of the equipment that you are using these with but even with the cost of the other items you can get a set up here for under £500 if you buy them second hand. And that is a set up that I personally will not change for many years to come and love listening to.




            ---OVERALL---

            To finish with I am very pleased with my purchase and I would say that if you see these for safe that you should buy them without a doubt. They are excellent value for money and paired with the right equipment sound very impressive indeed. Decent well-made speakers at an affordable price.




            ---TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS---

            Description - 2 way vented-box system
            Drive units - 1x25mm metal dome high frequency
            1x180mm woven Kevlar cone bass/midrange
            Frequency response - 52Hz-20 KHz +/- 3dB on reference axis
            Sensitivity - 90dB spl (2.83v, 1m)
            Nominal impedance - 8 ohm (min 4.3)
            Power handling - 25-120W into 8 ohm on unclipped programme
            Dimensions - 490mm high, 236mm wide, 306mm deep
            Finishes - Cherry or black ash vinyl with black cloth grill

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            • More +
              15.05.2012 17:12
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              Spend extra on wire or you will hear the difference and regret it.

              ---REASONS FOR BUYING---
              Okay so there is a big dispute about whether to even bother to bi-wire speakers or not which I won't go into, but if you do intend to bi-wire you speakers you don't really want masses of wires all around your room. To solve this I bought some bi-wire speaker cable that neatly keeps all the wires to your speakers joined together to keep your room tidier.
              Why I chose this bi-wire speaker cable over other bi-wire cable available was partly down to the fact that it is flat in profile. This makes the cable very easy to fit under carpets and allows greater flexibility past objects. I also chose this cable due to the brand. Cambridge Audio are a well-known brand as they produce high quality audio products, so why scrimp a little money on some wire and sacrifice sound quality after spending hundreds of pounds on some speakers and an amp?


              ---EASE OF USE---
              As I have said, this cable is really simple to fit around your room due to its shape, and seeing as it can be bought by the metre it can really suit any size room or need that you have.
              Like most speaker wire, the set up and preparation of it is the same. It is a solid cable which you can split into four to fit into your amp and speakers. The plastic ends are cut back so that the copper is showing and then you twist the copper strands. Personally then I like to solder the ends to get rid of any loose strands before plugging/screwing or soldering them into place on your speakers and amp. Each wire is marked (HF L, LF L, HF R, LF R) so you don't get them mixed up which is a nice touch.


              ---PRICE---
              This cable retails at around £2.99 from amazon per metre which isn't that bad considering its quality and that there are four cables. You may be able to get it cheaper in a deal off of your local audio retailer as I did though when I bought my amp at the same time. Worth a try at least.


              ---OVERALL---
              My set up includes a pair of B&W DM602's this wire and a Denon PMA-510 amplifier. With CD quality music the sound is really great, deep and vibrant. Obviously results will vary depending on your equipment that you use this wire with but this wire will not be letting your system down. Added to the fact that it is so easy to hide around a room and you can oversee the price. If you are still not convinced, ask your local audio store what they recommend and it will probably be this.

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                13.05.2012 22:39
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                A great amplifier for this budget range

                Okay so about a year ago now I bought my first decent set of speakers. A pair of old but good B&W 602's from eBay. I therefore bought cables and then an amplifier to go with them. After looking around on the internet and really wanting something that wasn't scratched or second hand, I took a trip to my local richer sounds after looking about on the internet to buy this beautiful amplifier - the Denon PMA-510AE. (Yes I know the dooyoo title is wrong, they must have misspelt it after I suggested this product).


                ---REASON FOR CHOOSING THIS AMP---
                So why choose this amp over another? Well my price range firstly limited me to under £200 as I am a student and really only wanted something to drive my speakers with a decent sound quality. I liked the fact that this amplifier has around 45W rms power for 8 ohms, which my speakers are. Though it has up to 70W if you only have 4 ohm speakers to drive.
                This amplifier was also chosen for the fact that it has 4 sets of positive and negative outputs at the back of it so I can connect my bi-wired speakers up easily to different terminals. The Instruction booklet also easily tells anyone how to connect up your speakers to this amp, whatever your speakers are, which was helpful though online help is still available if needed.
                This amplifier also comes with a very nice remote that can not only control the volume (as the volume knob has a motor in it), change the input, and has on/off button for standby. But this remote control also has other features that sync to the other denon products in the range, such as the CD player for instance. Okay it kind of gets you to buy denon products but if you do you will also have them matching in looks which is what I'd personally go for anyway, so it's a bonus for me. I can't see a downside to buying other denon products in the future; they are a great quality brand.
                Lastly this amp has many inputs to the rear, which I liked and the overall look of the product was appealing to me, so after looking at a few good reviews online I went to buy one.


                ---OPENING THE BOX---
                So when I came home I unpacked my new amp and started to set it up. The packaging the amplifier comes in is just a simple box, with some decent, and strong polystyrene moulds to hold it in place, there is certainly no way this is going to get damaged in transport unless it is dropped from a significant height, so rest assured. The box has everything in it, including batteries for the remote, and an excellent user manual to get you going.

                Out of the box I also noticed the weight of the product, which is basically down to the power supply being a proper old school transformer, and nothing electrical like a switch mode power supply, which can often fail.


                ---FIRST USE---
                So I connected my speakers up with some decent wire, and plugged it in. I noticed that as you turn on the product a loud clicking is heard and after a few seconds another click is heard and it is ready. Okay it takes a few seconds to charge the capacitors but it's no worries really. Starting with the volume low, as I recommend! I slowly raised the volume and heard beautiful music coming from my speakers. Okay now, the sound quality will not just depend on the amp, but the input source and also the speakers but I have played lots of music now and it is easy to tell the difference between mp3's at 320Kbps, something at CD quality and a high definition FLAC file at around 4500Kbps.

                I also noticed that if you switch inputs on this amplifier mid song the amplifier actually turns off and back on to protect the circuits and speakers, which is a handy feature. Also the LED illumination of the input selection is very nice to look at.

                Upon first use I also noticed that as you look into the grills at the top of the amp, there is quite a bit of 'white stuff' around the bottom of the capacitors, so in case you are wondering what it is, it is just glue, nothing is leaking, do not fear.

                Also you will probably know this but I just advise you to always place your amp on top of things and not to put anything on top of it as it will be the product that gets the hottest, especially when driving many speakers at loud volumes for a while. Something every amp does though, so not a downfall of this product.


                ---BUILD QUALITY---
                Well I can't fault this product at that. I did purchase a 5 year warranty with this product but I fully expect to be returning after 5 years to claim back my money after not using the warranty service. The unit is a little heavy but you can tell it is a really solid build with no points of flex or movement. The finish is superb, and while I have my unit in black to match other items in the room, I am sure the white looks just as impressive, it really stands out as a decent piece of kit for the money.


                ---OVERALL---
                Just as other reviews say, this product can't really be faulted for the money, yes okay a more expensive amplifier would sound better, as my dad's does, it is less airy in places, but this amplifier is in control at all times and on my speakers the sound doesn't become too distorted until you get to about 80% volume, by which time the music is too loud to be in the same room as anyway, no matter how big your room is. The amplifier has some great features, as listed below, and particularly useful is the headphone jack for myself. A great piece of kit, and I expect to buy more denon products to match in the future.



                ---TECHINCAL SPECIFICATION---
                * High quality sound
                * High Current (HC) Single-Push-Pull Circuit for musical detail and power
                * Wide dynamic range, supporting high-grade audio sources
                * Main transformer with separate power supplies for analogue and digital circuits
                * Micro-processor stop mode, for higher sound quality
                * Vibration-resistant design with Direct Mechanical Ground Construction
                * European sound-tuned
                * Useful Functions
                * Newly-designed system remote control
                * Phono Equalizer Amp (MM), for connecting an analogue record player
                * Headphone jack
                * Others
                * Less than 0.3 W in standby
                * Aluminium front panel, befitting of the elegance of a high-end audio product
                * Design matches the new DCD-510AE CD player
                * Color variations
                * Premium silver
                * Black

                Rated Output Power
                (4 ohms, 1 kHz, THD 0.7%)
                70 W + 70 W
                Rated Output Power
                (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, THD 0.07%)
                45 W + 45 W
                Power amp construction - discrete
                HC (High-Current) Transistors
                Single Push-Pull Circuit
                100 kHz Frequency Response

                Power supply
                High Speed rectifier circuit
                Independent Power Transformer for Micro-Processor

                Construction
                High Quality-built Chassis
                Aluminium Front Panel

                Features
                Remote Control
                Controllable DENON Components - Tuner, CD-Player, Cassette deck
                Signal Level Divided Construction (S.L.D.C.)
                Source-Direct Switch
                Loudness button
                Tone and Balance Controls
                Speaker A/B Switching

                Connections
                Analogue Audio inputs - 6 incl. Phono
                Analogue Audio-Outputs (Tape) - 2
                PHONO-input (MM)
                High grade loudspeaker terminal
                4mm compatible speaker terminals
                Headphone output
                AC outlets (switched) - 1

                General
                Dimensions (WxHxD mm) - 434x121x337
                Weight - 6,5 kg
                Standby Power Consumption - < 0,3 W

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                04.04.2012 17:42
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                good value for money

                Well what can I say? I was in need of some batteries for my new bike light so as I always buy rechargeable batteries nowadays I looked online to find some decent ones. Through my searching I found a lot of reviews that commented on how good these Duracell batteries were so for under £6 for a pack of four I immediately bought two packs.

                Upon arrival the batteries had quite a lot of unnecessary packaging but despite this they were easy to get out of the packaging and I was soon charging them up for their first use. After charging I put them to use and also tried them in my canon camera. From these batteries I can get around 2 hours more light from my lights than they say they will last for and around 500 photos from my camera, therefore I am thoroughly impressed with them as they easily do the job I wanted them to do.

                These NiMh batteries can be fast charged or trickle charged which is good and seem to be very reliable as I have had them for over a year now and have charged them many times and they don't seem to be degenerating at all. I think as long as you look after them and discharge them from time to time to equalise the cells they should be fine and you will be more than pleased with your purchase.

                Duracell batteries have always been made with quality in mind and these batteries certainly live up to the brand name. If you're looking for some batteries then look no further. Rechargeable batteries save you a lot of money in the long run, and they help the environment and well these are the batteries to choose! Also available in a range of Milli amp hours so suit any need yo may have.

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                02.04.2012 20:39
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                Great enthusiasts shoe for the money!

                So after buying a road bike and joining my local club I soon saw the need for some clip in shoes. I took a trip to my local bike store and they actually let me try on a few shoes to see what sort of fit I wanted. After about an hour I walked away with these shimano road shoes and since then I have never looked back!

                Now it is two years down the line and I am still using these shoes all the time. Okay I have had the plastic cleat on the bottom break once (my own fault of standing awkwardly on them). But nothing has actually gone wrong with the shoe. Apart from a few scratches and general wear they are like new and still actually surprisingly comfortable for their age.

                As other reviews will say, shimano shoes are often rated for their combination of performance and value. These shoes originally retailed at over £100 but I got mine in a sale for around £60. For that price you cannot really argue as I find them comfortable on even the longest of rides. The carbon sole of the shoe is extremely rigid for power transfer and stability yet the synthetic uppers are soft and much more yielding than many other cycling shoes on the market.

                For the final part of this excellent fitting shoe you then look at the simple but effective ratchet buckle plus two offset hook and loop Velcro straps. (It is said that the slight offset angle of the straps is designed to help avoid creating pressure points on your foot, but hey they work and feel good so I don't mind this technical geometry). With this system I find that you can get a good snug fit around your foot, yet the shoes are quick and easy to take off. Once you have set the two front straps you can leave them and don't have to keep messing about to get them to the right position. This effective fit also aids power transfer, yet you can adjust the shoes easily if your feel swell up mid-ride.

                Once your feet are inside these shoes and the straps are up your looking at the cleats. These shoes will fit Shimano SPD-SLs and also Look cleats so that's fine for me and suits my pedals and the pedals at my local velodrome too.

                In regards to cooling or heating. These shoes have vent holes in the front bottom of the sole and also a part mesh upper which work in conjunction to provide airflow around your foot, keeping it cool. This works very well I find, though in cold weather I am looking for my overshoes straight away to ward off the rain or just that icy chill. They stand up pretty good though in most conditions, just don't get the cleat covered in mud or they won't fit into your pedal.

                Walking wise, well, they weren't designed for walking so avoid it if possible. You can walk in these but like all cycling shoes you won't want to for long.

                Overall I think these shoes look pretty good and actually perform very well for the money. They fit very well; though try before you buy to get the right size. A very rigid shoe with no noticeable flex that is still somehow extremely comfortable and well fitting. Well done shimano!

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                29.03.2012 20:32
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                Just get it!

                If you're doing any form of Maths, Physics or Engineering in your degree then I highly recommend that you purchase this book! Maths comes into so many things and covers a very wide range of topics but for the basic things and a wide range of what you will study in your first few years at university this book has it well covered.

                Unlike other books that I have looked at, this book does not assume that you have gained an A or A* at A-level Further mathematics or mathematics. Therefore the first half of the book is concerned with the so called 'foundation topics' which are great to help you brush up on your skills or even teach you these concepts if you haven't covered them already.

                Throughout the book the topics are laid out in chapters with multiple frames inside each chapter for you to work through frame by frame. This way it is very clear to jump to specific points in the book and it is very easy to follow examples through the frames. The layout of the book is also helped by these frames as it keeps everything enclosed, separate and tidy which makes me wonder why I have never seen this idea of frames being used anywhere else.

                At the start of each chapter there are quizzes for you to assess your knowledge on that chapter, before or after you complete it which is great to see if you have truly understood what the book is trying to get across to you. At the end of the chapter there are also 'self-check boxes' and more quizzes so that you can easily gauge how much you know and if you're ready for that dreaded exam.

                The second part of the book is where the main degree level mathematics comes into play. This takes the same layout which makes learning just a little bit easier. All of the topics are covered in depth and there are plenty of worked examples which I find particularly useful to relate to when you cannot grasp how to go about a certain question.


                Another great feature of this book and the real reason why I bought it and didn't rent it from my university library is that it comes with a CD in the front cover. On this CD there are all the topics covered in the book, so that you can learn in more depth about them, and if you are travelling you can just take the CD with you instead of a VERY heavy and bulky book indeed. On the Cd there are literally hundreds of extra questions on all the topics which you can answer and check on screen, with hints and tips available if you are having trouble. It even has the relevant working if you're getting really stuck. If this CD isn't enough though there are yet more questions available on their companion's website that you can work through and check.


                I am coming to the end of my first year now on a MEng course in Mechanical Engineering. The course has had a lot of mathematics involved and as I did not take Further mathematics to A2 level I have found this book extremely helpful and it has almost become a bible for some of my friends. Talking to some second and third years on similar courses the feeling of love towards this book is shared as it is still relevant to everything covered in lectures and it has been recommended to me now by many pupils and staff alike. I can honestly say that this book is one of the best purchases that I have ever made and without it I certainly wouldn't be on an 80% average for my Mathematics module so far. Make sure you purchase the sixth edition of this bool though as this is the best available apparently. At around £33 it is a steal if it helps you with your degree even in the slightest. Don't think about getting it, just get one!

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                  29.03.2012 14:33
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                  A very enticing read, well thought out on the most part.

                  I have never read a military science fiction before but I a few years ago I was looking for a new book to read and stumbled upon this 'classic' in my local Waterstones. After reading and liking other science fiction books I decided to buy this book after reading the back and a label on the shelf saying that it was highly recommended.

                  Published in 1975, The Forever War (the first book in this omnibus) feels like a throwback to the Golden Age of the 50's and 60's in terms of writing style but Haldeman's view of space warfare is definitely coloured by the more cynical approach of the 70's New Wave (not to mention his own experiences in Vietnam). The book really lets you vividly imagine the atmosphere, especially if you have watched many science fiction movies although some of the warfare is a bit questionable at times.

                  After reading this book twice now I can safely say that it was equally enjoyable the second time around as there is so much depth to the plot that you forget minor details and you pick up on different things the second time around. I can safely agree that this book is definitely worthy of being called a 'classic' and it is one of the only science fiction books that you can really relate to as it explains how everything happens clearly obeying all the laws of physics making the book much more realistic and enthralling. In my opinion The Forever War is the best of the three books in the volume but saying that the other two are certainly worth a read and I will read all three books many times over, I am sure.


                  Forever Free is the second book in this volume, and is the direct sequel to The Forever War, although it was in fact published around two years after the third book in the volume, Forever Peace in 1999. The style of writing in Forever Free is very similar to The Forever War, which makes it a very enjoyable read. Personally I, along with many others, suspect that Forever Free was actually started in the 70's and then finished off later as the ending seems slightly un-thought out and weak. Although I don't want to spoil the ending of this book, in the end the protagonist gets to meet God. This I find may have been something that just got thought up later on to finish off the book and personally a better ending could probably have been thought up. It's not that I don't like God or anything that I think this as Haldeman also makes a bit of a scientific gaffe towards the end that demonstrates he's not quite so 'down with the physicists' as he likes to make out. The book may have indeed been better if it had stopped halfway, and this is the only reason why it doesn't get the full five stars.


                  Onto the last book in this volume then, Forever Peace. This book is in my opinion slightly more correct than Forever Free. It's not so much a sequel to the Forever War as a successor. The surprising thing is that with Forever Peace, Haldeman has changed his spots and transformed into a 'Cyberpunk' kind of author. This book bears all the stylistic hallmarks of that genre - whilst still retaining an undercurrent of solid, plot-driven, big-science golden-age drama with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. It's not as innovative as The Forever War because these 'cyberpunk' elements are a bit derivative, but it's a good solid read and an interesting blend of older and newer styles of Science Fiction. The ending is also considerably better than Forever Free so the book doesn't leave you disappointed in any way when you have finished all three volumes.


                  One of the common threads running through all of these novels is Haldeman's idea that humanity will only cease to make war when we evolve into a singular entity with a shared consciousness. The interesting part is that, although Haldeman presents us with this idea, at the same time he's not comfortable with the surrender of individuality that this implies - his protagonists (with whom he clearly identifies on a personal level) don't join the collective consciousness, either because they are unwilling to do so, or rendered incapable of doing so. Personally I potentially see this as a way of showing that Haldeman himself may feel that he is indeed like this in relation to society.


                  Overall I would say that these three volumes by Haldeman present a very interesting read that will keep you coming back for more. At under £7 for the paperback you also cannot argue at the price and as it gives you a whole new perspective on how things could be, and engrosses you so well in the plot I think that book should not go a miss from anybody's bookshelf. Well done Haldeman.

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                    07.03.2012 21:54
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                    Buy some but just be careful using it

                    Being an engineering student I tend to try and fix most things that I own when they break and due to this and my various hobbies I get through quite a lot of glue. After using everything from Pritt stick to superglue to high shear strength permabond epoxy types of glue I can safely say that this Loctite superglue stands up very well to the competition.

                    For most uses superglue will be strong enough for everyday household tasks but still this doesn't mean that any brand of superglue will stand up to the task as lesser brands will fail to stick what you want but you'll still end up in a mess and stuck to things if you're not careful. It is safe to say then that superglue shouldn't be used light-heartedly as it sticks skin and clean organic material the best (as that is what it was originally designed for), and also is easily soaked up by many other items and certainly will not wash out!

                    This Loctite superglue is very good though and rightly so seeing as the brand has so much pedigree in making many different types of glues for many occasions. For everyday household tasks it will certainly do so on to a more in depth and focussed review:


                    ---PACKAGING---
                    Nowadays there are many different types of superglue that give you the option of applying it through various nozzles, with brushes, pens... and the list goes on and on. This product lets you apply the glue through a straight forward self-piercing cap which personally I prefer as when the glue inevitably glues the cap/nozzle shut at the end you can cut it back a bit and still use the product that you have just bought. Although I must admit that on this Loctite glue the cap releases with a simple half turn which makes life much simpler and easier. As with all these kinds of things there is lots of unnecessary moulded plastic and cardboard that had instructions on it. Sure be safe but spare the environment just a little before your glue goes into it and causes havoc.


                    ---PERFORMANCE/EASE OF USE---
                    Like all superglues the glue looks like it won't do much but then it starts to set and well it doesn't let go of what it's attached to without a fight. It does take some time to set/dry however but you can speed this up with a catalyst. Sometimes this will leave you with a white crusty coating though so beware if this bothers you!
                    With superglue it is important that you remember that a little goes a long way, and you certainly don't want this seeping out the edges and running everywhere, it's hard to clean off without leaving a mark.
                    As I have mentioned super glue works really well if the surfaces you're joining are clean and dry, otherwise give up. This superglue is very easy to squeeze out of the tube though I find that the last bit in the tube is always wasted and this is no different with this Loctite superglue.


                    ---POSSIBLE USES---
                    Over the years I have used superglue to glue many foams (just make sure it doesn't melt them), ceramics, skin (cuts on myself, the hospital even does this so don't be afraid), metals and plastics and quite a few other various things. It even glues some woods to a degree. If you are unsure of whether it will work I suggest trying it on a small inconspicuous spot first.

                    ---OVERALL---
                    Superglue is great and everyone should have some in the cupboard. This Loctite superglue stands up very well to competing products and for the money it works very well. Will provide ample strength for most general applications, and is easy to apply in this nozzle. Well worth the money, and more!


                    ---IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES---

                    If you do end up in a bit of a muddle however do not panic and try to peel the stuck surfaces away from each other slowly, with some rotation, rather than just pull them apart. And if all else fails your local A&E department will have seen the predicament a thousand times over.

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