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soup-a-man
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Member since: 26.02.2010

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    • BBC Sport & Media / Discussion / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      26.03.2010 16:20
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      A brilliant website.

      In all honestly, I'm not the biggest sports fan, but I do like to keep up to date with what's happening in the world and for this I use BBC Sports website.

      Usability.
      When you first open the main page, the latest headlines are shown in the centre and down the right hand side of the page and there is also the main headlines scrolling across the top, this makes it easy to read the latest news. Down the left hand side there is a list of sports covered, with links to the sports respective homepage, ranging from football, tennis, formula 1 through to snooker, hockey, basketball etc. This makes it very easy to navigate to the sport that you wish to look at. Usability 5/5

      Content.
      I've already mentioned that there are a vast amount of sports covered by the website, there is a lot of depth of content as well. Often many websites cover most of the sports that the BBC Sports website does, however they just aren't as detailed as the BBC. There are very often links to videos of interviews relating to the news articles that your reading and then there is 606 which means that you can your own say on a an article. Content 5/5

      Feel.
      As it's the BBC, you don't have any adverts, which makes the website a lot more clutter free. Given them a lot more space in which to put news and they have made very good use of it. The website feels clean, it doesn't mess around trying to advertise a holiday to the sun, it just gives you what you want when you want and for me that's the sign of a good website. Feel 5/5

      Overall.
      Overall I think that the BBC Sports website is probably the best sports website out there, its less cluttered than other sites, it has more content than other sites and it is very easy to navigate. Overall 5/5

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    • HTC Touch HD / Smartphone / 10 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      11.03.2010 14:46
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      Let down by Windows and a few little flaws, but other than that, a very good phone

      When my contract was due an upgrade last year, I spent ages looking around for the best touchscreen phone. I had never had a touchscreen phone before, so had spend a considerable amount of time, to find the best phone I could get at the time. It was a toss up between the HTC Touch HD and the iPhone, however, back then, the iPhone was only available on O2 and I cant stand O2, (Orange all the way) so I plumped for the Touch HD.

      The Design and layout of the phone. 4/5

      The Touch HD is made of black plastic, which results in it not looking or feeling as smart and sophisticated as the iPhone, which lets face it is the phone to beat these days. It has four buttons on the bottom which are, make a call, home, back and end call. These allow you to make calls, go back and go to the home screen quickly. There is a stylus hidden away in the left side of the phone, it's held there by a little magnet and it really needs a good pull to get it out. Which means that it's harder to lose, though the phone does come with a spare. There is a little button at the top left of the phone, which allows you to turn the screen off and there is a 3.5mm headphone jack, which means you can plug any headphones in, unlike other phones where you have to use their rubbish own headphones. There is also a volume button on the right side of the phone, which allows you to adjust the ringer and call volume. The only criticism I have about the layout of the phone is the volume button. When the phone is locked you can still adjust the volume, so when you get your phone out of your pocket, naturally you hold it by the sides, which can turn the ringer volume up or down!

      The screen. 3/5

      The screen is a large at 3.8 inch wide and has 480 X 800 pixels. Which really does look brilliant! I don't think it's quite as crisp and colourful as the iPhone screen, however the difference is so tiny that you can't really notice! The HTC Touch uses a pressure sensitive screen, which means that it detects where the majority of the pressure is and presumes that this is where you are clicking. This means that the Touch does not support two finger clicking, like the iPhone, although it doesn't make that much difference in all honesty, as to zoom you just double tap.
      However this does affect the sensitivity of the screen. The overall sensitivity is good, you can use a tap of your finger for the vast majority of the time, but if you need to do some fiddle little taps, such as highlight text to copy, you will need the stylus. Comparing the screen's, between the HTC touch and the iPhone, the iPhone wins hands down every time.

      The camera 4/5

      The camera is a 5mp with auto focus and while it's not the best camera on the market, it's by no means the worst! The pictures look very good while on the screen, however does suffer a bit when put onto a computer and enlarged. The zoom works ok, but as you zoom more and more the picture quality does decrease. There is also no flash, which means that the picture suffers if there isn't enough light. And, if like me, you used to use the flash to light the stairs up on a Saturday night, as you crawl back from the pub, you will really miss it. I also couldn't find a zoom option when viewing pictures that I'd taken or pictures that I had put onto my phone, not sure if it's just me not being able to find it thought.

      Usability 3/5

      The HTC Touch operates on Windows 6.1 and HTC have installed their own interface called TouchFLO. While it's not the easiest phone in the world to use, due to it using Windows, it does offer you the option to change almost everything and that's something I like about this phone! Most of the day to day operations are within a tap or two and if you uses something more often than something else you can move it so it's easier to access. Typing on the screen is very easy, maybe not quite as easy as the iPhone, but not far off at all. The load time when turning it on is horrific, it takes well over minute in order to be ready to go, however loading pictures or contacts is fairly quick, as quick if not faster than the iPhone 3g. The battery life is ok, I have to charge it every other day, which beats the iPhone, however playing music and using the GPS does seriously drain the battery! The Touch is charged via a USB2 connector socket at the bottom of the phone, which means that as long as you have a cable, and most cameras uses USB2 cables I found, you could charge it almost anywhere. Which is brilliant as it means that you don't have just the one charger and if you loose that then you're in serious trouble as you can't charge the phone.

      Sound quality. 4/5

      Overall the sound quality when on a call is very good, there is very little background noise and the signal holds well. The speaker on the phone is fairly rubbish for playing music out loud, but when listening using headphones it was very good.

      Overall. 3.5/5

      Ok, it was never going to be an iPhone killer, Windows just isn't on the same level of user friendliness as the iPhone. But other than that and a few little bugs, this is a very good phone. I like the size of the screen, even though it's sensitivity let's it down it's still a good screen. The ability to change almost every aspect of windows for me is a big plus, however it's not enough to beat the brilliance of the iPhone. Don't get me wrong the iPhone has its flaws, like being unable to run multiple programs, which the Touch does brilliantly. However the iPhone is just on the next level and while the Touch isn't a bad phone it's not on the same level, if they can improve the screens sensitivity, lock the volume button when the phone is locked and improve the usability of windows, then this would be the much sort after iPhone killer.

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    • gmail.google.com / Internet Site / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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      10.03.2010 16:48
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      For me this beats all other email providers hands down!!

      I've been using Google mail, or Gmail for almost a year now. I used to use hotmail, but got so fed up of all the junk mail that came through. No matter how many times you marked an email as spam, you could guarantee that next day there would be a virtually identical email sitting in your inbox trying to selling you something useless. I choose Gmail as I had heard good things and thought that I'd see what all the fuss was about. Firstly, the spam filters are brilliant, if and I do mean if, a spam email does get through and finds its way into your inbox, you can simple click on it and press report as spam and it really does stop them coming through.
      The user interface is clean and crisp, yet simple and this really works. It makes it very convenient and, I don't know about you, but that's what I want from an email account. There are plenty of shortcuts meaning that you can get to the services you require quickly and easily. There is a very efficient search facility integrated into Gmail that allows you to search the internet or your emails for a specific word. I've used the search facility several times and find it leaps and bounds better than the search facility that hotmail has.
      There is 7431mb of space that I can use as of 10/03/10, and despite using Gmail virtually everyday for almost a year, I am using a grand total of 3% of my capacity. BRILLIANT! And the space available is expanding all the time.
      Gmail shows emails as a conversion history, rather than as individual emails. At the start, I must admit I found it awkward, but I have grown used to it and I now actually find it awkward to use the individual email system. The only criticism I would say is that it can be annoying if you send an email to someone, they reply to it, you read the reply but leave the message open and then they send another reply to you. (if you follow all of that?) As Gmail shows it in the same conversation history and its not that easy to spot that there is a second email in the conversation.
      A brilliant bit about Gmail is the experimental labs that Google have developed for it. If you haven't discovered this yet, click on settings, in the top right hand corner and then click on labs and it will bring you too it. Basically Google as asked users to suggest little improvements to the service that they provide and this list shows you all the little ideas they have come up with that aren't quite ready for mainstream role out. My favourite one of these is the Google calendar, which I have synced to my iPhone, meaning that I can put an appointment into the Google calendar and it will show up on my phone.
      Gmail also lets you Instant Message your contacts and also has access to Google's social network site Buzz.

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      • Hockey - General / Discussion / 11 Readings / 10 Ratings
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        08.03.2010 11:46
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        Playing hockey is about having fun and enjoying yourself, which is what sport should be about!

        When someone asks you, so what sport do you play and you reply 'hockey', peoples comments are generally either one of two, they either say, isn't that a girls sport? Or, oh ice hockey? Typically the most exposure people get to the game of hockey is a few lessons at school with pre war boomerang sticks on a grass field and the game is seriously disjointed. However 'field hockey' to give it is correct name, is a very different game altogether, it's a fast flowing game and is the second most played field sport behind football.

        The rules of hockey.

        In the past hockey was played on a grass pitch, with dimensions of 91.40 m × 55 m (100 yd × 60 yd) however these days, hockey is played on all weather pitches or astro pitches. The main features of the pitch are; at each end is there is a goal which is 2.14 m (7 feet) high and 3.66 m (12 ft) around which there is a semi-circular area which is 14.63 m (16 yd) from the goal known as the shooting circle or D. The D area is shown by a solid line and you must be in the D in order to score. If the ball is not touched by an attacker in the D then it can not be a goal. There is a dotted line 5 m (5 yd 6 in) from the solid line of the D and there is also a solid line across the field at 22.90 m (25 yd) from each end and across the center of the field. There is a spot 0.15m in diameter, which is called the penalty spot or stroke mark, in the centre of each goal and it is 6.40 m (7 yd) out.

        A hockey match is officiated by two umpires. Each umpire controls half of the field, divided diagonally into a triangle. Just prior to the start of a game, a coin is tossed by the umpires and the winning captain can choose a starting end or to start with the ball. Hockey is played in two equal halves of 35 minutes each, with five minutes given for half time. To start each half and as well as after a goal has been scored, play is started with a pushback from the centre of the field. All players must start in their defensive half of the field, however the ball may be played in any direction along the floor.

        Hockey is played between two teams, each team is made up of ten outfield players, one goalkeeper and up to a maximum of five substitutes. The substituted maybe rolled on and off in any combination, an unlimited number of times during the course of a game. Substitutions are allowed at any point in the game, apart from when a short corner or penalty corner has been awarded. The only exception to this rule is for injury or suspension of the defending team's goalkeeper.

        When a team is in possession of the ball, all players on that team are classed as being the attackers and those on the team that is without the ball are classes as being the defenders.

        In hockey you are only allowed to play the ball with the flat or the 'face side' of your stick. This means that the generally accepted way to hold a stick is, having your left hand at the top and your right hand half way down. However you do very rarely see 'kaki' hander players, who have there right hand at the top and left hand half way down. It is illegal to play the ball with your feet, or any part of your body, however if the ball accidentally hits the feet, and the player gains no benefit from the contact, then the contact will not be penalised. You may also not use the reverse side of your stick or play the ball while you are on the floor.

        Hockey is a non contact sport, tackling is allowed however the defender may not make contact with the attacker or his stick before playing the ball. Equally the attacker is not allowed to obstruct a defender.
        Obstruction occurs:
        - When the player with the ball deliberately use his body to push a defender out of the way or to prevent them tackling.
        - When another attacker blocks the opposition's attempt to tackle a teammate with the ball, this is called third party.
        When the ball passes over the sidelines it is returned to play with a sideline hit. It is taken by a member of the team who was not the last to touch the ball before it crossed the sideline. The ball must be placed on the sideline and must be taken from as near the place the ball went out of play as possible. If the ball crosses the backline after last being touched by an attacker, a 15 m (16 yd) hit is awarded to the defending team.
        When an offence is committed outside of the D, a free hit is awarded. The ball may be hit or pushed in any direction by the team that was offended against. The ball must not be intentionally raised from the initial hit or push and all defending players must move 5 m (5.5 yd) from the ball. The free hit must be taken from where the offence was committed and the ball must be stationary when the free-hit is taken.
        New to the 2009 season is the introduction of a self pass. This allows an attacking player to tap the ball to himself, instead of having to pass the ball to a teammate. It is important to note that this is not a 'continue to play', the ball must be stationery and there must be two clear touches of the ball. This applies to all free hit situations, including sideline and corner hits
        When an attacking free hit or sideline hit is awarded within the attacking quarter, from the goal line to the 23 m (25yrd) line, all players must be 5 m (5.5 yd) from the ball. The ball may not be played directly into the D and must be played at least 5 m before this is allowed. If an attacking free hit is awarded within 5 m of the D, then the ball must be moved back onto the dotted 5 m line that surrounds the D.
        There are two different types of corners in hockey. If the ball passes over the backline after last being touched by a defender, provided the defender does not deliberately put the ball out, a long corner is awarded. A long corner is played by the attacking team and essentially the same as a sideline hit, however the long corner is taken 5 m from the corner closest to where the ball went out of play. The other type of corner is a short corner, sometimes called a penalty corner. A short corner can be awarded for a number of reasons.
        - For an offence by a defender inside the D which does not prevent a goal scoring chance, for example the ball hitting a defenders foot.
        - For an intentional offence in the D by a defender against an attacker who does not have possession of the ball at the time.
        - For an intentional offence by a defender outside the D but within the 23 m (25yrd) area they are defending.
        - For a defender intentionally putting the ball out
        - Or when the ball becomes lodged in a player's equipment, such as the goalkeepers pads.
        A short corner is injected by a player off the attacking team from a mark 10 m either side of the goal. (Typically taken from the right side mark) The rest of the attackers arrange themselves around the top of the D. The ball must pass outside of the D and then be put back into the D in order to score a goal. If the first shot of a short corner is a hit, the ball must not exceed the backboard of the goal, which is 460 mm, at the point it crosses the goal line. However, should the first hit shot is deflected and a second shot is taken, the backboard rule does not apply. Likewise, if the ball is pushed or flicked then it may go anywhere in the goal and the backboard rule does not apply. The defending team is permitted to have five players (including the keeper) positioned behind the backline and at least 5 m from the injector of the ball. All other players in the defending team must be beyond the centre line, until the ball is in play.
        A penalty stroke, sometimes referred to as a flick, can be awarded for a number of reasons.
        - When defenders commit a deliberate foul in the D
        - When any breach of the rules prevents a probable goal. For example the ball hitting a foot on the line.
        - Or if a defender repeatedly "breaks" or starts to run from the backline before a short corner has started.
        The penalty stroke is taken by a single attacker in the circle and is defended by the goalkeeper. All other players must be beyond the 23 m (25yrd) line. The ball is placed on the penalty spot or stroke mark. The goalkeeper must stand with their feet on or behind the goal line, and can not move until the ball has been played. The attacker must start behind the ball, but importantly must be within playing distance of it. Upon the umpire's whistle, the attacker may push or flick the ball; they may not hit or drag the ball and are only allowed to play the ball once. If the shot is saved, play is restarted with a 15 m hit to the defenders. When a goal is scored, play is restarted in the normal way.
        In hockey there are three different types of cards:
        - A green card, normally a green triangle, is an official warning. (Similar to a yellow card in football)
        - A yellow card, normally a yellow rectangle, is a temporary suspension, which must be for a minimum of 5 minutes. This time can be increased by the umpires to emphasise the seriousness of the offense. For example a yellow for dangerous play might be longer than for dissent to the umpire.
        - A red card, normally a red circle, is a permanent exclusion from the rest of the game and results in the player being banned for a certain period of time or number of matches.
        In hockey a player may receive more than one green or yellow card in a game. However they cannot receive the same card for the same offence, for example two green cards for dissent to the umpire. The second card must always be a more serious card.

        Equipment used in hockey.

        Traditionally hockey sticks were made of wood but now, it's common for most to be made of fibreglass, or carbon fibre composites. Metal is forbidden from being used in hockey sticks.
        The hooked head at the bottom of the stick was only relatively recently the tight curve that we have now days. Older sticks had a longer bend, however this made it very hard to use the stick on the reverse, and because of this reason all stick now have a tight curve.
        The bow of the stick is subject to a 25mm limit as it was discovered that increasing the depth of the face bow made it easier to get high speeds from drag flicks, making short corners extremely dangerous for the defenders.

        It is strongly advised that players should wear shin pads, some leagues have made it a rule. Hockey shin pads tend to differ from football shin pads as they are typically a lot bigger, protecting more of the leg from balls and sticks. Many players also wear mouth guards to protect teeth and gums from impacts from the ball or stick and again, some leagues have made this a rule as well. Players may also wear astro gloves, typically a padded glove designed to protect hands from contact with the ground, a ball or a stick. Defenders may sometimes use a short corner mask, these are designed to reduce the impact of a drag flick, should the ball strike them in the face.

        The essential equipment required to be a goalkeeper is a helmet, leg guards, kickers and a different coloured shirt. However they usually wear extensive additional protection, including chest guards, padded shorts, heavily padded hand protectors, groin protectors, neck guards, arm guards. Like all outfield players they must carry a stick.


        Cost of playing hockey.

        Typically the cost of playing hockey is relatively low for an outfield player, a typical good quality carbon fiber stick is roughly £100, though it is possible to buy a wooden stick for much cheaper. Typically shin pads are around £20 and mouth guards are around £20 also. Astro turf boots, are generally around £40-£50 however it's possible to use football astro turf boots. (It is advisable to use hockey astro turf boots, as they generally have a lot more padding and protection than football astro turf boots, which is why they are more expensive.)
        For a goalkeeper the cost of playing hockey maybe considerably more. A full goalkeeping kit can cost in excess of £1,000 however if you are a member of a hockey club, the club will typically help to subsidies the cost of the kit.
        If you join a hockey club, a members subscription will be due, this is generally around the £100 mark, with some clubs being slightly more and some being slightly less. A match fee will also be due per match that you play, this is generally to cover the cost of the astro turf pitch that is used.

        Social side of hockey.

        Hockey is a very social game, it is traditional that at the end of a match both sides shake hands and congratulate each other. Typically after the game, food is provided by the home side for the opposition and the home team.

        Hockey clubs.

        Hockey is the second most played field sport in the world, second only to football, so there are literally thousands of clubs out there. Typically a hockey club will be associated with a cricket club, as the hockey season generally starts and finishes, when the cricket season finishes and starts. Most towns and villages have a local team, which some cities having several.

        Dangers of hockey.

        As with any sport there are dangers. With hockey, the biggest dangers come from hockey sticks and the hockey ball. While the Hockey Rules Board has tried to slow the game and therefore decrease the risk, for example, by introducing rules on the bow of sticks, the ball does generally travel at speeds in excess of 70mph, meaning that avoiding a ball travelling at such a velocity can be near on impossible. Consequently injuries in hockey is a fairly common occurrence, however the vast majority of injuries are just cuts and bruises. I myself have been playing hockey for nearly 10 years now and have only been injured a couple of time, one being a broken thumb and the other a dislodged kneecap.

        Why play hockey.

        Hockey, when played properly, is very fast fluid game and is very enjoyable. It is considerably quicker than football and most other sports and while this does present some danger, the challenge of playing vastly outweighs the risks. However, hockey isn't just about playing at a super high level, it's a game for everyone, even if you haven't played for years, you will still enjoy it. Playing hockey is about having fun and enjoying yourself, what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch and once the final whistle has blown, it's about socializing with the guys who you've just been playing against.

        Why I play hockey.

        I started playing hockey because of my uncle. He played in goal for Kings Heath hockey club and so took me along to a training session on a Sunday morning when I was about 8. And that was it really, I joined Bromsgrove hockey club as I live in Bromsgrove and I've been playing this amazing game ever since. I'm now 24 and have been playing in the men's teams for virtually 10 years (that really makes me feel old) I play centre midfield for the 1st team and am head of the junior section of the club. The greatest reward for me is training the juniors to play this brilliant game, seeing them go from a swarm of players around the ball, sticks flying in an attempt to get the ball for them self. To a flowing team game of pass and move.

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          04.03.2010 15:44
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          One of the most amazing places on earth

          The first thing you have to do when you go to the Temple of Karnak is get your mind around two simple facts; first, it was built from the 11th to 19th Dynasties (about 2134 BC till 1190 BC) so it is incredibly old and the second is the sheer scale of the place. You can't help but marvel at the sheer size of this splendid complex. It is the largest religious temple EVER built ANYWHERE in the world. The whole complex is divided into four sections, covering several hundred acres, sadly only the largest section, known as the Precinct of Amon-Re is open to the public. The other three sections are known as the Precinct of Montu, the Precinct of Mut, and the Temple of Amenhotep IV. Unfortunately the Amenhotep IV no longer exists.

          The temple was started by Sesostris I, it is located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city today known as Luxor, but in ancient times it was known as Thebes. After the death of Sesostris, the following pharaoh down to the Ptolemaic period tried to stamp his or her authority by outdoing the previous pharaoh's contribution, a total of around 30 pharaohs contributed to the building of Karnak.

          By far and away the jewel in the crown of Karnak is the Great Hypostyle Hall, you have to see this for yourself, its just mind blowing! The hall covers an area of 50,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) and consists of 134 columns in 16 rows and they are 33 feet (10 m) in circumference and 80 feet (24 m) high. The columns once supported a roof, but sadly this has since fallen down. On the columns there are a vast amount of Hieroglyphs, which are wonderful to marvel at, they dipicte the great achievements of several of the pharaoh's, including Seti I and Ramesses II.

          We went to Karnak at midday in June, BIG mistake, it was unbearably hot! Talking to the guide most people tend to come during their winter, so October till March, when it is much cooler, but still warm, however you then have to deal with huge crowds of people, so its swings and rounderbouts.

          Overall, forget the pyramids, Karnak is by far and away more interesting. When you first see the Great Hypostyle Hall, you will be blown away. How could anyone built something so jaw dropping, without the technology that we have today, I mean each column weighs several tones at least and they all have a huge amounts of Hieroglyphs, right the way to the top almost 80ft in the air, and each column must be exactly perfect so that it doesn't fall and knock the rest of them over. Ancient Egyptians, I take my hat off to your engineering prowess!

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          • Nintendo Wii / Games Console / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            04.03.2010 11:57
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            Good console, but could be better

            The Wii along with the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, are the new generation of games consoles. However Nintendo has taken a different view, than Microsoft and Sony. Instead of moving the graphics and the sheer power of the console forwards, (Alothough they claim that the Wii is three times more powerful than their previous console the Gamecube) they have tried a different playing process altogether. Instead of just pressing buttons madly, as you do on the Xbox and Playstation, the Wii uses your movements of the wand style remote to show movement on the screen.
            Of the three new generation consoles, the Wii is the cheapest. For your money you get the system itself, a sensor bar to read the controller and a bonus game Wii Sports. The system lets you customize your Mii's (a nice little play on the words me and wii) and the menus. You can get the latest downloads in the shop and there is even the option to check the weather if you want.
            However there is a reason why the Wii console is cheaper then the competition. Although the graphics do look better then the Gamecube, the Wii just isn't as powerful technically as the Xbox 360 and Playstation3. Unlike the Xbox and Playstation, the Wii doesn't support Hi-Definition televisions and this results in you seeing less detail in some textures and there is also some smaller frame rate issues on some games. There is also no DVD or Blu-ray disc support something that I think really lets the console down.
            The new wand like controller may look like a TV remote at first but however wait until you have a go with one; the way it responds to every movement is fantastic. It uses special motion sensitive functions built into it, so by moving the controller around in the air will effect what happens on the screen. The controllers let you store data about your Mii's on it so you can use it at a friend's house and it also has it own speaker too. There is an extra analog hook up, called a 'nunchuck', that not only has more buttons but it is also motion sensitive so it's possible to have both your hands moving like crazy while playing.
            The console is also backward compatible with the Gamecube, something that the Playstation really lacks, if you lift up the system's top panel, you'll see the four controller and two memory card ports for Gamecube accessories, which being a Gamecube owner is very handy. It is also possible to play older games from the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64 eras viva Internet download.
            The Nintendo Wii looks and plays amazing, however there are a few down points. It doesn't have the strength of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and I really don't like how the console doesn't support online or even LAN multi-player games, nor how it can't play DVD's or Blu-ray's. But to compare it to those consoles is cruel, for it's a different type of console, the best way I can describe it is, imagine the three consoles were guys who go to the gym, the Xbox and Playstaion are those big muscley guys who spend hours and hours doing weights in order to have the biggest muscles that they can possible can. The Wii however is a little skinny guy who knows he can never get muscles anything like the other two, so he doesn't try, he goes to the gym for a bit of fun. The Wii doesn't take itself too seriously, its there to have fun on for the whole family and isn't really for serious hard core gaming.

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            • Fujifilm Finepix J32 / Digital Camera / 11 Readings / 9 Ratings
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              03.03.2010 17:36
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              Good camera for the price

              The Fujifilm Finepix J32 is a good little camera, it has a plastic body, making it extremely lightweight, weighing just 140g. It is a 12mp camera, which is about the average at the moment for a decent camera. The Finepix range meant to have very good picture quality and this little camera doesn't let the side down, the pictures look very crisp and clean, even when blown up. It has a 3 times zoom Fujinon lens and a 5.6 times digital zoom, while that sounds a lot to most people, its not really that great in all honesty, when you are trying to take pictures further away, it can look a bit dark and crackly. The camera has 20Mb of internal memory, with an expandable SD and SDHC memory card slot, meaning that once you have filled one memory card you can swap to another without having to delete any pictures. The camera has a big clear 3 inch LCD screen, which makes previewing the pictures you take very easy. It has digital anti blur, which is very handy if you are trying to take a picture while not able to stand perfectly still, however this does make taking pictures slow, meaning that if you want to capture a moment it will take a couple of seconds, which is fine if it's something that is standing still, however if its an event then you might miss it. It also has face detection of up to 6 faces, which is very handy for taking group pictures. It also has movie capture option, which includes sound, which is very handy. The flash is very bright, which is very useful when in a dark environment. I has a rechargeable Li-ion battery, which actually lasts for a very decent amount of time, even with a lot of use.

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            • Citizen Eco Drive Solar Watch / Watch / 9 Readings / 8 Ratings
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              02.03.2010 17:58
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              Very good watch, definitley recommend if your in the marked for a new watch

              Citizen Eco Drive watch, harness the power of light, being any form of light, to charge its battery, which in theory, means that you will never have to replace the battery. There are 27 different men's styles and 9 different women's styles. Out of those styles, there are 9 men's/women's matched sets.
              My watch is the Citizen Eco Drive Stiletto, it has a lithium-ion battery, that should run the watch forever. It is designed to run on full charge for 180days and takes roughly 3.5hours to charge fully in sunlight or one minute to charge for one days worth of power consumption.
              Although I'm not the biggest fan of bracelet watches, this watch, is made mostly of titanium, making it extremely lightweight and very durable. It feels very comfortable on and sometimes you don't even notice that you have it on. The bracelet design means that you have to not only press the clasps together in order to undo it, you then have to slide it over your hand, which means that its very difficult, if not impossible for the watch to accidently fall off.
              The hands and tick marks are very shinny, making them easy to see, even in the dark and the glass has a scratch resistant coating, which works very well.
              The only downside I would say it has is that if you want the strap adjusting you have to have it done professionally as most people don't have the correct tools for this.
              I wear this watch 99.9% of the time and have done for the past 3years, it has never let me down, it doesn't have any marks on it and I am very pleased with it and would highly recommend to everyone.

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            • Funhouse - P!nk / Music Album / 4 Readings / 3 Ratings
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              01.03.2010 22:32

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              Thoroughly recommend, really good listen!

              I'd never been into Pink, I 'liked' one or two of her songs, but that was about the sum of it. So when my Fiancée came back with her latest album 'Funhouse' I was a bit pessimistic to say the least about listening to it, however, after the first few plays, I started to see what she meant. The album just works, that's all that can be said about it really, it flows, from one song to the next, however no two songs sound the same. Its funky, its fun, its loud it's quiet, its quick and then its slow, and it really works, the vocals are amazing! Its one of the few albums that you can take any song from and it would be a No 1 Hit, and best of all you don't get fed up of it, the album has been on repeat in the car for months now and every so often we change it, but within a few days its back on again. Thoroughly recommend, really good listen!

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            • More +
              01.03.2010 22:29

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              Must see film!

              This film has to be up there as one of the best films that has ever been made. It actually does have everything, one minute it will have you hooting with laughter and the next it will have you sobbing.

              It is directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks. The story tells of Forrest Gump, a low IQ man. He struggles through childhood being bullied by fellow children, his only friend is Jenny. Forrest joins the army when Jenny leaves town and serves during Vietnam, meeting his new friends Lieutenant Dan and Bubba, he completes a whole string of achievements, ranging from, winning the Medal of Honour, representing USA at table tennis in china, creating a famous shrimp fishing fleet, runs the length of the country, creates the smiley and writes bumper stickers. He meets the president on several occasions and becomes a millionaire. However none of this matters to Forrest, who longs to be with his childhood sweetheart Jenny.

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            • Toyota MR2 (2000 on) / Car / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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              01.03.2010 22:25
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              Apart from the Pre Cat and the lack of storage, its a great little car!! But is it worth it?

              If I'm honest, I had never heard of a Toyota Mr2 until I was looking around at small convertible sports cars. It was the start of the summer and I had always wanted a convertible to drive around in in the summer. I researched every single possible car you can think of, Lotus Elise, to much for my budget unfortunately and in any case everyone knows what Lotus stands for Lots Of Trouble Usual Serious, and I was after a trouble free bit of motoring. Mazda Mx5, everyone has one and they really aren't that fun to drive by all accounts, I had even looked at the Fiat Barchetta, but they only come in left hand drive. I test drove an Mr2 and I immediately knew that I wanted one, the handling is Phenomenal, its as if its on tracks the way it goes around the corners, the 1.8 vvti engine propelled it from 0-60 in 7seconds and it was so much fun when the vvti kicks in, its another surge of power.

              Needless to say, I shopped around and finally bought one, a silver 2001 Mr2 thinking that this was the start of a trouble free summer of happy motoring in the sun, I couldn't have been more wrong!!

              It is a little known fact, however I really REALLY wish that I had known before I bought, as I might have had second thoughts.

              Basically there is a fault in the engine that they use in the Mr2 and its older sister the Celica, (however only on the standard Celica) which causes the engine to burn oil, which on its own isn't that serious, however as it does this, hot oil goes through the engine and hits the pre cat. Now for all of you who are thinking, what on earth is a pre cat, basically to comply with Californian state law on emission, they had to install a pre catalytic converter to reduce the emission that the engine produced, however they are made of a very brital material, which is easily eroded. So when tiny partials of hot oil hit it, it damages it causing tiny bits of the pre cat to break off and when you use the vvti, these tiny bits get sucked back into the engine, which damages the piston ceils, causing more oil to be burnt, which causes more damage to the pre cat and so on and so on. So in the end, the engine is drinking oil and when it runs out it ceases up!

              Unfortunately, on the way home, from buying the car, just as I pulled up onto the drive, the engine coughed, spluttered and died!

              Toyota recognise there is a problem with the engine and have increased their standard warranty for this problem to 7years, however unfortunately my car missed it out by 2months, so I had to have a whole new engine. So if you are thinking about buying an Mr2 privately GET THE AA TO CHECK IT!!!!

              It is true that there isn't a whole lot of space in the car, the only boot you actually have a two boxes behind either seat, you will be surprised at how much you can actually fit into them and if you have the hood up, then there is a fair bit of space on the parcel shelf behind you.

              All in all, my experience was soured extremely by the whole pre cat incident, the car on the whole is a very enjoyable drive, the hood is very easy and quick to put down and its not too dark in there when the hood is up. I would recommend buying one, but please get the AA to check it out before you buy and constantly check the pre cat and the oil!!!

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            • Toyota MR2 Roadster / Car / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
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              01.03.2010 22:24
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              Great little car!

              Good little car, however make sure you check the Pre Cats and the oil regularly!! (for full information on the Pre Cat problem with these cars see my main review on this car)
              Other than the Pre Cat problem and the lack of space, this is a great little car, very fun to drive and brilliant to just cruise around with the hood down. Its also very quick, going from 0-60 in just 7 seconds!
              The hood is very easy and quick to put up and down, so have it down as much as you, as its just a 20 second job to put it back up should it start to rain or something! The heating makes it very warm even when the hood is down on a freezing cold day and after all whats the point in buying a convertible to have the hood up all the time?! overall this is a great little car!

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            • Ford Fiesta 1.4 Zetec 3dr / Car / 4 Readings / 2 Ratings
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              01.03.2010 22:19
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              Definitely recommend to anyone!

              We bought our Ford Fiesta 1.4 Zetec in July 2009 having previously had Fiesta 1.25 Zetec, so we knew that we would be buying a good little car. There are 6 models of the Fiesta and the Zetec is the middle one.

              The first thing that strikes you when you get in is the dashboard, designed to be like a mobile phone apparently. All the controls are laid out a very orderly manor, unlike some dashboards which just look like the designers have just thrown them together. The lines are very clear and work really well, the seats are very comfy and very supportive, making long journeys a pleasure. In the front there is very little road noise at all, even when on the motorway, the only noise of any note is the little sporty grunt of the engine when you rev it, however in the back there is a little more, especially in the wet when the water comes up from the tyres and hits the wheel arch.

              The overall driving experience is very good, the little 1.4 engine is punchy and is perfect for city driving and cruising along the motorway. The handling is BRILLIANT, very responsive and you can feel a lot through the wheels. It does tend to struggle a bit when you have a full car, but that is the same with all small engined cars. The average mpg is 44.5mpg, which is very good.

              The overall build quality is good, however we have developed a few rattles in the windscreen pillars. The doors feel good and heavy, which makes it have a feel of being expensive, rather than having cheap flimsy light doors.

              As of yet, being 9months and almost 9,000 miles, down the road, we have had no problems what so ever (touch wood) Overall, we are very pleased with the car and would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a reliable, well built, fun, but cheap little car.

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            • The Proposal (DVD) / DVD / 7 Readings / 5 Ratings
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              27.02.2010 00:21
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              Worth seeing at least once!

              I recently purchased 'The Proposal' as a valentines day gift for my fiancee and was pleasantly surprised with it.
              It's directed by Anne Fletcher, who does a marvelous job in coordinating the on screen action, keeping you attention throughout the film and making it easy to follow. The film is your standard rom-com with original funny making it have that original feeling throughout. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds have a brilliant partnership on screen and really make the film. They both show plenty of emotion and really keep you captivated with laughter and you really feel sorry for them at the end.
              The plot tells the story of a high powered pushy Canadian book editor (Bullock) about to be deported from the USA, who blackmails her PA (Reynolds) to marry her. A skeptical INS agent doubts the true nature of the marriage and threatens to expose the sham, making them take a test to show how much they know about each other. Reynolds reluctantly proceeds with the marriage, despite warnings from the INS agent that he could be sent to prison and takes her back to meet his family in Alaska, so that she can get to know him, as he already knows almost everything about her and this is where the fun begins. As with all rom coms, the truth comes out about the sham marriage however, the boy gets the girl, or should that be the girl gets the boy?!
              All in all an enjoyable, if not predictable film, would thoroughly recommend to anyone and everyone!

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            • LG M227WD / LCD TV / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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              26.02.2010 23:18
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              Excellent value for money, thoroughly recommend!

              Reading the reviews of this TV when we were looking around made us a bit worried about the sound, as almost every review slates the sound quality; however we have had no problems with it! It's not going to win awards for greatest sound quality in the world, but for the price you can't really expect cinema quality sound can you?!

              Its a very versatile TV, with just about every connector you can think of on the back, it has HDMI, SCART, component, composite and more, including VGA for connecting to a PC, so it can be used as a monitor instead of just a TV if required.

              The screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 making it true HD and not just HD ready, which was one of the main reasons why we bought this TV and it was really very simple to set up and tune. The contrast ratio is 10000:1 and the response time is 5ms.

              The picture quality is fantastic, very clear and crisp and when you have the playstation hooked up playing a blue ray, the TV really does come into its own; the 1080p really does look amazing!

              The only downside I would say is, that the freeview menu does tend to take a while to load up the program details, but like I said earlier for the price you can't expect the world!

              If your looking for a cheap TV, with an excellent quality picture and don't mind the sound being a bit tinny sometimes then this is definitely the TV for you!

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