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smcc
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Member since: 23.06.2000

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    • SplashDVD.com / Online Shop / 0 Readings / 5 Ratings
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      31.12.2003 07:46
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      On 12 December this year A friend asked for a particular DVD for Xmas, so I went on a search for the best value online DVD retailer. At about the same time I received an email offering £5/£10 voucher off purchases from SplashDVD. I had heard of them, but had never used them. I decided to order enough items to receive £10 discount. The total bill came to just over £30 for a DVD worth £28, a CD worth £5 & another worth £9, seemed excellent value. Upon receipt of order, money was immediately taken out of my bank account...hmmm, suspicious: most wait for despatch! On 17 December, I received an email stating DVD had been despatched, please allow 5-7 working days (just in the nick of time for Xmas Eve, I thought). A day later another email stated an error in despatch, re-sending today. 19 December: £5 CD not in stock, expect to deliver for next week (Xmas Day? Boxing Day?). 22 December: £9 CD despatched. 23 December: my wife rings up, no CDs delivered, DVD lost in post? Cancelled CDs and refunded payment. DVD cannot be cancelled until 28 days later!!! 30 December: no sign of DVD, wife rang again: same old excuses; will cancel DVD. Same day received email: CDs to be refunded (strange, was told this was carried out 23 December). Two days after placing order, and sending emails to everyone letting them know about this "wonderful voucher deal", received an email from a friend saying he had used SplashDVD last year and never received his items at all...AND had to pester them for several months before they refunded his order! I have used many online retail shops over the past few years and with very few hiccups (even then, the companies reimbursed, apologised, offered goodwill gestures), but never have I dealt with such an incompetent, unsympathetic company in my entire life. Even if it costs a little bit more, GO ELSEWHERE. As an interesting anecdote, there is a Canadian DVD retailer, www.dvdsoon.com, who
      are outstanding: an order placed arounf the same time for an item not in stock still managed to be received before Xmas!!! BTW I work in a customer service environment and like to receive the same level of service as I give.

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      • Italian Job (PC) / PC Game / 0 Readings / 9 Ratings
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        12.05.2002 08:19
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        What an opportunity... One of the most popular Britflix of all time. Starring Michael Caine and a bunch of Mini Coopers (Academy Award nominees for best supporting actors). Wait a minute...I've got an idea! Let's make a computer game out of it. It takes about thirty years and still its naff! Ok, so it's nostalgic, fun and it does follow the film plot extremely well. For those of you Rip Van Winkles out there, the film (and game) is about a group of jolly-cockney-banter-types planning a robbery in Milan, using a battered van, a big bus and four Mini Coopers...cue one of the greatest car chase sequences in movie history. Of course crime doesn't pay and our "chummies" end of weighing up the pros and cons of crime and going out on a ledge for their ill-gotten gains. Graphically, the game is reasonable but could have been so much better. Sound-wise it is spot on: some Michael Caine impersonator recreating the script with great gusto, as well as superb accompaying vehicle sounds and music ("...this is the self-preservation society..."). Where the game does fall totally flat, unfortunately, is how short and easy it is. Four hours maximum to complete! The other annoying little problems are the settings for keyboard/joystick are not customisable and the graphics cannot be fiddled with much. I would have to say that the best part of this game is the Mini chase through Milan. If they had made the whole game from this sequence and extended it, then a sure fire winner would have been on their hands. As it is, the game can only be classed as merely mediocre... But then at least they haven't used Mark Wahlberg instead of Michael Caine.

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        • Toshiba SD 210E / DVD Player / 0 Readings / 6 Ratings
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          26.01.2002 06:03
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          I decided, for Xmas, I would like a DVD player as top pressie. Everyone at work appeared to have one and I was not going to watch everything on my PC (although I HAVE watched a few films and my 17" Samtronic does them proud (as well as the surround sound speaker setup). My wife decided she would cough up the dough at Xmas. However, a pleasant surprise landed in my e-mail box: I won a compo with Orangina - a £200 gift voucher with lastminute.com. Always the doubting Thomas, I searched their website expecting the deal to be "Spend £3000 and get £200 off your next lastminute.com holiday" or something similar. But wait, they had more than holidays...they had TVs, Hi-fi's, VCRs and, and, and oooh DVD PLAYERS. Well, one DVD Player. So, I ordered a player only to be told that they were out of stock (here we go), but they have a similar spec machine by Toshiba for £2 extra. So Friday just before Christmas, I joined the rest of the World and owned my very own DVD Player. Ok, so you're all bored senseless now. What about the machine? It plays DVDs! Yippee, end of opinion... Seriously, very few flaws with machine. It has replaced the CD player on our hifi (broke down when we moved house, but still liked rest of system) and does have some excellent features. It is multi-regional, plays VCDs and even MP3 CDs. My only niggle is that you cannot disable Macrovision. Not a problem I hear you say? However, our TV is playing up (again, since we moved house) in that the scart socket has a fault somewhere: after a while it kind of overheats and send the picture through it all wobbly (sorry to get technical on everyone). Also, our video is not NTSC compatible. Therefore all my DVDs that have Macrovision and all the DVDs I have borrowed that are Region 1, I still have to watch on my PC! Either that or, by saving a bit on a DVD Player via a compo, I need to fork out more on a new TV and video!!! <br> It's still a great DVD Player. Favourite feature has to be the zoom option. My wife doesn't like widescreen mode (I do) so I can remove it with a few taps on the good old RC. Well worth the money (even if I had to buy it). Update on the Tosh - 16/03/02: Still an excellent choice in DVD, I have noticed the slight whirring of the motor (but only when I have to have the sound down to minimum). I have now invested in a video with NTSC playback and a "cable" to overcome the Macrovision. I now want to invest in a mega TV to enjoy my rapidly increasing DVD collection (got about 20 already).

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            30.11.2001 06:51
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            If there is one game that changed the general public's opinion of PCs, it was Wolfenstein 3D. Without this classic, would we have ever had Doom, Quake, Heretic, Half-life, Soldier of Fortune, Max Payne (am I boring anyone yet?), Serious Sam, Duke Nuk'em 3D and many others? Well, yes...probably. But, maybe they would not have been in the style that they were. Maybe they would all have been Gauntlet-types (yes, I am a wrinkly in gaming terms). Wolfenstien must rank alongside Pong, Space Invaders and Pac-man. I was waiting with total antipathy at the release of a sequel to this all-time great. How long a gap has there been? Seven or eight years? How many times have games spawned terrible sequels? How many times have we seen the industry turn its toes up at the "improved gameplay" remarks from so many publishers? Yes, RTCW looked to be joining the ranks of so many other turkey sequels, until... You actually play the game! This game is quality. Combining the best in graphics, sound and gameplay. Especially graphically speaking. Now, bear in mind the one major downer with this game: it ain't gonna work on a 386! Actually, you're gonna be lucky if it works on anything less than a P700 or equivalent. Highly recommended is a GeForce card for T&L effects and a good quality 4 speaker sound system. I am running it on a Duron 950, 512MB, 32MB GeForce2 MX and SoundBlaster Live! It plays just right at 1024x768 but I have seen similar spec machines struggle (mine's tweaked to the max). The lighting as well as the cobwebs (just wait and see) are as realistic as I have seen on anything. The characters are of the Half-life ilk but somehow improved. The game starts in typical Wolfenstien fashion: shoot Gerry and escape. End of story? Not quite. I thought it was going to be the usual laugh-a-minute, riddle the nasty Nazis with loadsa lead and pray you've got enough ammo to stay ali
            ve. Wrong! A little further into the game (bearing in mind the first few levels are still engrossing but not over-taxing), you suddenly find youself almost fighting alongside the enemy against all kinds of evil monsters - undead (your typical Westlife fans), sneaky skeleton guards with swords and shields (a la Jason & The Argonauts) and fire breathing devils (or something). This is where the fun hots up. The best tactic at this point in the game seems to be let the paratroopers fight to the death against all the scum of the underearth and then pick off the victors. I've only been playing for a few hours so far, but I thought I ought to pass on my comments as soon as possible and recommend a purchase by any fan of this genre.

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            • Hauppauge WinTV PCI / TV Card / 0 Readings / 12 Ratings
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              19.11.2001 03:35
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              • "I prefer my 20" TV for films"

              I purchased a PC with a WinTV card about 18 months ago. I fiddled with the card for a while and got bored. I tried recording from our camcorder onto a CD with reasonable (but not exciting) results) and that was that. When I gutted the system 6 months later, I removed the card and haven't touched it until now. My computer room is now being turned into a nursery (btw, this is the 2nd time I've lost a computer room to a baby). It was decided, due to space, that we ought to combine the TV, video and PC and make one complete audio/visual experience. My first idea (which I am experimenting with at present) was to refit the TV card and connect our video to the PC. Along with a DVD ROM drive and 4-speaker surround sound system with bass woofer, the plan was complete. Now we don't get a decent reception in our house from the ariel, so the quality is now totally necessary. Last night I laid in bed and watched TV via the PC and found it an unusual experience, to say the least. After a 20" TV, the 17" monitor is a little smaller, however it's "do-able". The sound quality is unbelievable and I can cope with the acceptable picture (satellite is better via the card, so when I get the video connected it should improve things). My only gripes at present are I have no remote device for the card (if my wife's happy with TV card, I'll buy a better one with stereo, remote and radio) and the noise of the fans keeping my PC cool. The novelty of the whole thing is interesting and I'm going to try recording programmes with it sonetime (though with a video recorder connected that doesn't make much sense anyway). As a combined unit, being able to watch TV, video, DVD and listen to CDs is a great idea. At present, I am on the net, downloading an mp3 AND watching TV!

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                18.11.2001 06:26
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                I have been interested in PC for over 11 years now. I am a technician for PC World and have been building PCs for over 5 years now. The first PC I purchased was a real waste of space. I spent about £00 on an IBM 286 with a "massive" 70MB hard drive and a tape backup unit. I expected (stupidly) that an IBM PC would be fully upgradeable...wrong! The upgrade slots were not ISA (Industry Standard Architecture). I soon ditched it for a Seimens 386 which for some reason would not install Windows 3.11. I swapped this for a Compaq 386 sx20 with 2MB RAM, 40MB hard drive etc. Not exactly cutting edge, but it did keep me going for about 6 months until I decided to splash out on a brand new 486. This purchase cost £1080 and was a custom built job with all standard seperate components. This PC, in effect, has stayed with me from 1995 to 2000. It didn't end up as the same specification, but was upgraded continually until I felt it could no longer be viable as a cutting-edge machine. By swapping parts constantly, it ended up with 128MB memory (from 4MB), a 16MB graphics cards (from 1MB), a 17GB hard drive (from 420MB) and a DVD Drive (from a 2x CD Drive). Selling on the components I upgraded, it has really cost me very little over the years. Last year I purchased an Advent from where I work - it was a repaired system and cost a fraction of its new value. My old system was sold for about £50 less. The Advent has already had a full upgrade (guess I need a life) and the only items left are the case and floppy drive. Besically, due to forethought, I have managed to keep upgrading for long stretches, mainly because I buy computers with industry-standard components. When youi purchase a computer, make sure that NOTHING is on-board. It's rather like purchasing a HI-FI: if you want a new component later on, you have to replace the whole unit. If you buy seperates then you just change an item at a
                time. If you are buying either a custom-built or a branded system, ensure that at least it has a seperate graphics card. It would be sensible to ask how many free memory slots it has, as well as up to what speed processor the motherboard can support. My best piece of advice for anyone planning to purchase from a PC World store is ask a technician for advice before you talk to a sales advisor.

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                • Samsung Digimax 800K / Digital Camera / 0 Readings / 2 Ratings
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                  17.11.2001 06:15
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                  • "No more being made!"

                  Let me just point out that I am no David Bailey. Ok, and neither is anyone else in my family. Why have I made such honest statements you ask (or maybe not)? Because I don't need a top of the range digital camera, because my piccies still would look crap no matter what piece of hi-tech equipment I used! So, I like looking at the budget end of cameras (ok, so I'm a meanie). The Samsung DigiMax being a perfect solution for this market I happen to find myself in. I first tried out this camera a couple of years ago when it was first released. I was in sales at PC World at the time and was surrounded by camera snobs. You know the sort...no lives. I found the quality of this camera amazing for the price. It comes in at the "under megapixel" range and yet still manages to produce quality pictures akin to cameras costing twice its price (at the time it was £149). The colours as well as the contrast quality were spot on. The only downside of the camera is the lack of viewing screen around the back (although who cares really). The upside is that is uses standard batteries as well as SmartMedia cards. The camera is now out of production and hard to find, however PC World was recently selling them for £59.99, which means they're an even better bargain than they were AND they still compare well against most budget cameras. BTW, I own a VGA (640x480) camera with poor quality compression and colour definition...I've just bought this one for the Mother-in-law (Xmas pressie)!!! Here is an interesting update to this review, I found another of these going really cheap @ PC World (£50) and it had no card so I got it for £40! It will also accept at least 32MB SmartMedia as I have tried one. February 2004 Update: Still using the old digital "brownie" (that's it, show your age). It has a couple of minor flaws that have cropped up over the last
                  year or so: Flash photography is poor quality (as is most in the budget range, even now); and most importantly, beware using 32MB SmartMedia cards - they can sometimes have problems in card readers after using in these cameras (you might have to connect using the camera's supplied cable to retrieve your pix). But still, for the price I paid I would not change my rating of it, nad feel it has aged well in comparison with the new fashion for min digital cameras that still don;t match the Samsung in picture quality.

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                  • Unbreakable (DVD) / DVD / 1 Reading / 6 Ratings
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                    14.11.2001 04:52
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                    Have you ever decided to watch a film and not really known what it's about? Have you ever had no preconceptions at all about a film? Have you also been so completely impressed with a film with regards to these previous statements? Is every sentence going to end with a question mark? Seriously, this movie has to be the most unpretentious, yet technically and content-wise way above the normal standards of a hollywood movie with stars such as Brucie and Sammy. I for one have a bad habit of choosing some films for their stars. Take Nic Cage, since Leaving Las Vegas he hasn't put a foot wrong(ish). Bearing that in mind, I do not choose a movie because Wincy decides to join the cast...no, I choose it because S L Jackson Esq decides to join the cast. Even when a film is bad (and he has been involved in his fair share of the Bernard Matthews-type movies in his career), he still brings a quality to his roles that makes up for the rest of the film. There, I'll stop waffling now. The movie is by the makers of The Sixth Sence and you can see the trademarks all over the place: direction, script, Bruce and the clever twisty ending. I did not know anything at all about this film apart from Bruce and the connections with Sixth Sense. Unfortunately, I was leaked the ending of Sixth Sense - it was still a worthy film to watch, even more so possibly because you could see how the Bruce Willis character's misconceptions create the whole plot. The same sort of situation lies within Unbreakable. A sort of slow realisation throughout the storyline eventually leads to a conclusion not thought of by anyone. Are you getting confused yet? I watched the film on video, and it was followed by the "making of" usual routine. Except, even this gave more insight into the movie and how even Sam "the man" Jackson had a lot of input into his character. Even the sound crew were gi
                    ven a mammoth task of creating sfx from scrath and not using stock library effects. Bruce's character, David Dunn, is going through a very traumatic time: his marriage is on the rocks and he's just escaped a horrific train crash where he was the only survivor. Trying to come to terms with the how and why, he meets Elijah who tries to convince him that he is someone very special. This film really comes across as Superman with amnesia, but that description does not do it justice at all. If Sixth Sense was your cup of tea, this will be your Earl Grey!

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                      11.11.2001 07:12
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                      Well, it's finally on the big screen. Even if you've never read the book (which I haven't, yet), you can't fail to be intrigued by this release. Could this be THE film of the decade? On Thursday, my wife booked tickets for the premiere of this eagerly awaited film. Our party was to comprise my wife (reading first book at present), myself (will read it after the wife), my mother-in-law (has read them all, is a teacher and more excited about this film than anyone in the whole wide world - I kid you not) and my daughter (five years old and never been to the cinema before...so we take her to see a two and a half hour film?). I had an entirely open opinion of this movie; I had heard about the books and how good they were, and had seen a few glimpses from trailers. The movie started off with the "adoption" of baby Harry and moved quickly to his life as an 11 year old. His aunt, uncle and cousin are a complete pain, treating him like a servant. Then, Hagrid eneters his life. Hagrid is played with supreme gusto by Robbie Coltrane. Although the movie is very long, even my daughter behaved herself and was totally engrossed in the film. My wife kept saying "this is exactly like I've been reading". The mother-in-law was so excited, I'm sure she was close to wetting herself (but don't pass that on to any of her pupils). For those that haven't read the books, the story is basically an introduction to Harry and all his friends, as well as his life at Hogwart's Wizard School. The excellent casting and the close links between the books and the film have created a timeless masterpiece. The special effects are well on par with Hollywood blockbusters and, like the Superman films of the 70s, you WILL believe a boy can fly (on a broomstick). Again, from both my wife and my mother-in-law, the actors all fulfil their roles well. In fact, my wife was readi
                      ng descriptions from the book afterwards to show how well cast this film has been. Danial Radcliffe shone, of course, as Harry and he was aided with such class Brit actors such as Dame Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, John Hurt, Alan Rickman and Mr Coltrane. I had been told that the film might be a little too scary for some small children, however, my daughter did not seem to be frightened at all (too busy asking for more cola and popcorn probably). At the end, I was surprised to see Chris Columbus' name as director. The man behind such typical American films as Home Alone and Christmas Vacation did a splendid job of keeping things British. My daughter's comments at the end: Can I watch it again? Can we have it on video? I'm hungry... Personally, I enjoyed every minute of it and can't wait to a) read all the books and b) await the next film.

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                      • Deep Rising (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 7 Ratings
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                        02.11.2001 18:41
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                        Having watched this film several times (via Sky), I finally went on a hunt for an original copy. I found it at Woolworths...for £2.99! This film, although not a classic by any means, is a great way to spend an hour and three quarters when there's nothing else on the box. It's not thought provoking and there is nothing at all new in the storyline. But what it lacks in originality and intelligence and makes up for well and truly in total action and black humour. The story begins in a boat heading for unknown waters carrying some dubious characters accompanied by very dubious cargo. The main lead, played by Treat Williams, has the type of humour normally seen in Bruce Willis/Mel Gibson movies. In fact, I would say this is probaly one of the best characters Mr Williams has ever portrayed. He has never been given the chance in the past to take on the lead hero role in any of his other films and it is obvious that he relishes the part totally. The other main star is Famke Janssen, whose only other claim to fame was killing her partners with her hips in Goldeneye. Again, it makes a change to see her in a fun, glamorous role. Basically, the plot revolves around a super cruiser being attacked by huge serpent-like creatures and the attempts by the cast to stay alive throughout. The action is almost no-stop, so no real chance of nodding off. The acting is surprisingly good for this type of film and the special effects are up to scratch also. I myself had never heard of this film when I spotted it in the Sky listings. Knowing what type of film is normally premierred on the Moviemaz channels, I expected some third rate rip-off of Alien/The Abyss etc. What I didn't expect was a story covering both these films with a bit of Titanic (without the sloppy love-story or the three and a quarter hours length) thorn in for good measure. It was bound never to win any awards, but it's the sort of film t
                        hat should become a cult classic. Indeed, I would quite look forward to a sequel of some sorts as long as the main leads reprise their roles in it.

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                        • Jeepers Creepers (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 6 Ratings
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                          30.10.2001 03:45
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                          • "Scooby Doo wasn't used near enough"

                          Jeepers Creepers billed as the scariest movie in years? I think not. I borrowed a non-official copy of this film from a friend a few days ago and decided to watch it last night. I have this night-time ritual of going to bed, all lights off, headphones on. Totally enveloped in any film that should interest me. The first scene was of a couple travelling along some deserted roads in a battered old 60s Americam muscle car. This could be the start of any horror flick to come out of America in the last 25 years, hardly original. They were heading home from college (yes, we know, same as in most films). A very tall, rusty and fast van suddenly comes out from nowhere and starts scaring them (Duel?). After the van overtakes, they spot it next to an old church, where the occupant is emptying the contents from the back of the van into some kind of sewer pipe. The typical horro scene ensues where the hero (or moron as we would normally call him) has to investigate and ends up falling into the basement of the church and finds a young man well and truly stitched up. The film continues with almost every cliche seen in the last three decades of horror movies. At least when Scream did this kind of thing, they just did it to poke fun at the genre; this film takes itself far too seriously. I feel the film was a cross between Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Scooby Doo! Had this film been made about 20 years ago, then yes, it would have been a classic. Now? I would say I've seen it all before too many times to be really scared. The main problem being that anyone in their right mind would have just kept on driving or at least talked to policemen with at least some brain activity. There really wasn't a suitable ending to the film either, let's just hope they're not planning a sequel... By the way, I am a big horror movie fan, so it's not that I don't like this type of film.

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                            28.10.2001 05:31
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                            How many times has one read a book or a watched a film with the same old plot? Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again...then in some cases, one or both of them die. The End! Anyone can write a love story, I'm fairly sure of that fact. Writing an original love story is different. Now, I know that Wuthering Heights is over 150 years old and that original plots were easier to find, but even now no-one has matched the passion and power of this story. Add to that fact that the young woman "what wrote this" (ah, E Wise Esq, I owe you that one) had little experience of such happenings, you'll soon realise, after reading this novel, what an amazing feat of story-telling it is. The opening scene, where we meet Heathcliff for the first time, gives you insight into the rest of the story. For those who have never read or seen Wuthering Heights, let me dispell some common misunderstandings: Heathcliffe was a man devoid of both compassion and passion, Catherine Earnshaw was a young selfish child (even into her late teens, one could never beleive she was mature enough to be called a young woman). The story revolves around their all-consuming love/hate relationship and how it ruins so many lives around them. In fact, I suppose from my description it doesn't sound much of a love story, more of a loathe story! This is probably true, but there is more to this novel than a simple boy-loves-girl routine. The whole story takes an about-turn half-way through when Catherine pops her clogs and we are left with a gap of about 10 years or more when in comes Catherine Mark II (sequels even then). This is where most screen adaptions fail miserably; they drop half the story and finish with a bit of the last chapter. But there is so much more to it. Believe me, once you have READ this novel, you will understand how compelling it is. I cannot count the number of times now that I have picked this book up. Sc
                            enes of particular note are the dreams of Catherine as a ghost and the reactions to her demise. Upon reaching the final paragraph of the final chapter, you feel as though an epic has been completed. That final paragraph fills you with such tranquility that no other book has done for me. This is my all-time favourite book, if you had not guessed. If you have read or decide to read this novel, please comment on my opinion.

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                            • Midtown Madness 2 (PC) / PC Game / 2 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                              24.10.2001 06:59
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                              • "Naff Birtish accents"

                              The above title just about sums up this game: It has the ideas of London Racer (formerly known as M25 Racer) and the flair of Driver. When I first demo'd Midtown Madness, I thought it was like the rest of Microsoft's attempts at gaming...bland with a short lifespan. I also thought, after trying out MM2 that it would be more of the same. However, I have to say that Microsoft might have finally got to grips with what the game-buying public actually wants these days. You have sooooo many different choices of what to do in this game: quick races, stunt driving, checkpoint racing etc and a variety of cars to choose from (more can be unlocked as you progress in different stages of the games). Imagine this scenario: London, on a foggy night full of traffic, pedestrians and police cars; you have a choice of vehicles at your disposal; you choose the big Yank 4x4 pickup truck; you set off on a high-speed non-guided tour of the sights of this fair city; the police think you're having such a fun time that they want to accompany you; flying along the streets at a good deal higher the the 30mph speed limit, you decide to try and lose you boys-in-blue buddies. Hmmm, how do you accomplish that in a garish monster 4x4? Simple, drive head-on across the Tower Bridge just as it raises the road above you; as you land you can almost feel the suspension throbbing with pain; slam the brakes on fast and watch as the cops fly right over your head; turn 180 degrees and head back up the ramp and leave them dazed and confused. This is really what Driver should have been: fun, fun, fun. Yes, Driver looked good and no-one could argue that the cars acted like the 70s muscle cars, flying around corners and watching your wheel trims overtake you. But, the ability to just have a quick drive in the selection of vehicles that MM2 has just beats Driver. Fire trucks, Greyhound buses, Double-decker buses, Ford Mustangs (including Police version),
                              Minis (including BMW Mini) and the new Beetle are just a selection. I don't know whether it has long-term value or not...at this moment it's light relief from the stress that was completing Max Payne!

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                              • Epson Stylus Photo 790 / Inkjet Printer / 0 Readings / 13 Ratings
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                                21.10.2001 06:14
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                                • "Doesn't look as sturdy as my old 400"

                                I have just recently been given an Epson 790 for my birthday. It was purchased over 4 weeks ago and when I finally tried it, it said the cartridges were empty. I tried alsorts of tricks (having had an Epson for over 5 years), but to no avail. I contact, via the web, their on-line tech support who just said, oh it's either the printer that is faulty or the cartridges (wow, clever), so take it back to where I bought it! Following day, I was at work. A technician at PC World for my sins. We have just had a shipment of Epson cartridge chip reprogrammer (Zap-It) which I though I might buy anyway...it worked!!! The cartridges are now running...now the head is acting like it's blocked though. Any advice out there? The idea behind the Intellidge (cartridge chip) system is good: if printer thinks you may run out of ink before end of page, it won't waste paper or ink. Hmmm, how much ink is left though? How much is wasted? Time for Zap-It!!! I have seen the print quality and I know it is excellent (when it works). When I get the head cleaned properly, I look forward to some astounding results. With the photo cartridges AND the extra two colours (light cyan & magenta) the skins tones have no "dotty" effect whatsoever. I hope this one lasts as long as my faithful Stylus 400 and look forward to a lasting, happy relationship.

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                                • Three Kings (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 8 Ratings
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                                  20.10.2001 07:24
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                                  This is a bit of a screwed up film here. The main theme is about a trio of dodgy soldiers trying to find Mr Hussain's hidden gold just after the end of the Gulf War. My main problem with this film is how did the ever-so-patriotic American film-makers decide to make such an anti-American film? This op is probably going to sound far too political, but in this present climate one wonders how close to the truth this film got to. In fact, America is shown in a very bad light all through the storyline: they were only in it for the oil reserves (well, that much we know); they left the innocent civilians to rot or die by the hands of Madass's men; and they wouldn't even allow innocent Iraqis to escape from their land. As always, America has no interest in peace, just money. Maybe there is a lesson to be learnt...right now. As I mentioned at the start, the plot of this film is regarding the search by several American soldiers for Saddam Hussain's hidden gold reserves. The Gulf War is over and these disillusioned armymen decide it's hightime they profitted from a war. The majority of troops have left the country, along with most of the population's hopes of overthrowing their leader and his extremist followers. The gold-digging group search several villages which does, in effect, give the viewer an insight into the harsh realities of the aftermath of a war such as this. The yanks had got what they wanted and left the innocents to their own devices. Even at the beginning, our (anti-) heroes had no time for the locals, but gradually they realise the hardships and fear that these were living under. They decide to do the honourable (as well as dishonourable) thing and assist these poor people to their promised land (or at least to border patrol). George Clooney and Mark "wooden" Wahlberg actually create very convincing roles. The most impressive part of this film lies in its un
                                  usual special effects - for example showing how a bullet travels inside a human being. The film as a whole does seem to lack something in its content and finale. The best way to describe it would be as a slight-second masterpiece. Maybe a different editor would have done the story more justice. Maybe a "Director's Cut" version is needed.

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