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will_he_wont_he

will_he_wont_he
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Member since: 03.12.2011

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      08.12.2011 23:38
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      Good fun.

      The Simpsons games franchise marked the pinnacle of the Simpsons brand as a whole, when everything was covered in Bart and Homer. This was the culmination of the video game branch of this merchandising, and in fairness, wasn't a bad game.

      --- Summary ---

      The plot consists of you driving around Springfield trying to solve the unravelling mystery that is emerging - something is going on involving Buzz Cola, Aliens and memory loss. The game has a large number of cars that you can drive, as well as several characters you can play as - Bart, Homer, Lisa, Marge and Apu. You can travel on foot, or by highjacking a car. The game follows loosely on some of the ideas developed in Grand Theft Auto, except toned down in terms of violence, chaos, drug use, prostitution and the like.

      --- Review ---

      This is a great game - it has much of the comedy which the Simpsons is renowned for, helped on by the use of the original voice overs. This makes it hugely enjoyable to play. The missions are fairly well varied, and the ability to unlock new cars and the strong storyline make you want to continue to play on to see if you can finish it. What's more, there is plenty to do in free mode, such as collecting Itchy and Scratchy cards, or simply seeing all the places you've seen on the TV show. The map is huge, with plenty of nice little hidden parts. There are cheats available which can add some funny options. The game has a few glitches, but they don't effect on anything. It is at a relatively good difficulty, meaning that it gives you significant play time. It can get a little repetitive over time, however, but that is one of the few criticisms I can think of.

      --- Summary ---

      A great laugh of a game, which doesn't take itself too seriously, but provides a lot of fun.

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    • Ribena Blackcurrant / Soft Drink / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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      08.12.2011 23:20
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      A good alternative to the usual.

      Remember the good ol' days of being a child and drinking Ribena at every meal? Well apparently it still exists, joyfully packaged in the same old colours, and this carton/ bottle comes diluted perfectly - no need for fussing around trying to get just the right amount of water-Ribena.

      This drink is superb when served cold, it has a nice crispness to it, and goes well with most sandwiches. It is not so overpowering as to distract you from whatever you are eating, instead it provides a good accompaniment to a lunchtime snack.

      What's more, the flavour of Blackcurrent isn't something you get with most drinks, so it makes a nice change from something like Coke, Fanta or Lemonade, because it's, well, fruity! It also isn't fizzy, which is a nice change if you drink a lot of carbonated drinks because it seems to sit better on the stomach.

      What's more, the bottle is nicely designed, relatively ergonomic. It can be refilled; always handy if you're going to the gym. All in all, this has a nice nostalgic feel, and it tastes as good as it always did.

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    • Monster Energy Drink / Soft Drink / 5 Readings / 4 Ratings
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      08.12.2011 16:19
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      Good if you need a wake up.

      The first thing that can be said about monster is that it's probably not something that you'd drink for pleasure. It has quite a distinctive flavour whatever flavour you have, that's not a bad thing, but I would imagine that most people drink this to wake up.

      It has a very sugary taste to it; you can almost feel the enamel being taken off your teeth. That's not a criticism however, I think for a drink of this nature, you want something powerful. It isn't too fizzy either, which is a benefit, because drinking this quantity of fizzy liquid cannot be good for you. By comparison to other energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Kick, I think it has a better taste.

      Now, for the effects. I drink Monster when I'm really tired, but need to stay awake, and it certainly provides a big caffeine hit. The cans are very large, which is good, because it means that you can get a lot of caffeine in you relatively quickly, keeping you perky and awake.

      The cost of them isn't dreadful either. I often buy them as a part of a Boots Meal Deal, because it means that they are significantly lower in price, than if you simply bought them alone. As far as I am aware, they don't come in multipacks, which is probably a good thing, because ingesting that much caffeine cannot be good. I would recommend only drinking one per day (I think the can tells you the same thing).

      Finally, I think some people mix them with spirits - having sampled this, it works quite well as a alcoholic beverage, taste wise at least, but I wouldn't recommend mixing alcohol and caffeine. In the words of a drugs and alcohol awareness consultant; 'alcohol gives you the idea of doing stupid things; caffeine gives you the energy to do them.'

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      08.12.2011 10:45
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      Pretty good.

      From an all-in-one printer, you expect certain things - that it'll actually print; primarily this is the main reason for buying a printer (one would presume), to scan accurately to a good resolution and to copy. This printer does this pretty well.

      --- Specifications ---

      Size (approximate) 45x34x18 - it's reasonably sized; not impractical to have under a desk or on a surface, not so small that you feel constrained as to what you can scan. The board onto which pages come out can be folded away, which is useful, meaning that it can be condensed when not being used.

      Copying size - the specification says A4, but it can do a little larger, which is useful if you're photocopying pages from books, because it allows you to do a double page spread from some.

      Nozzle configuration - 90 (black) 29 (colour).

      --- Review ---

      Firstly, as a printer, it's pretty good. I print quite a lot of documents, and it does a pretty good job most of the time. It prints simple word processed documents (without pictures or colour) fairly rapidly, which is good if you're printing a lot - saves time. As for colour, well it's not always great. It can be VERY slow, taking a good few minutes to do one sheet, which isn't always perfect. With both colour and monochrome, occasionally you get lines across the page, which can cut out bits of the text, or ruin a photo. This can be resolved with cleaning the nozzle heads; which is a fairly easy process, but it can be a bit frustrating, because as it ages, this seems to be need to be done more and more.

      As for a scanner, I think this is probably it's strong point. I scan a fair amount of documents because I like to digitalise my work, and this it handles nicely. Although it's not the quickest scanner in the world, it is accurate, and I am able to scan documents to a resolution better than I can see in reality. This is very good. I've had scanners before (separate from printers), which have been equally as good as this, so in this regard, it does well.

      For a photocopier, it can be a tad annoying. It is once again very slow, and quite ink hungry I think. It's a cool and useful feature to have, but I can't say that I use it very much, because it does seem slow. If I want to photocopy something, I try to use a designated photocopier rather than this, but for running a few copies of something off, it's not dire.

      As for ink, well it can last for quite a while; it would be nice to go a little longer, but it is useful that the ink cartridges are separate, because it saves you having to replace it constantly, instead you just buy the ones you need. This can be handy, and replacing them isn't too difficult, although I have struggled a few times to get the cartridge loader to stop in the right place, but I think this is more down to my ignorance, rather than a fault of the machine.

      The screen on the printer isn't great - the resolution is quite low and it's quite small. It's not a huge issue because I print most often from computers, so it doesn't really matter.

      --- Summary ---

      If you want a fairly well priced printer, which is pretty good at performing multiple tasks, then this is the thing for you. It's not the most high end device in the world, but it does the job well enough, and is pretty practical.

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    • Panasonic NN-E222M / Microwave / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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      08.12.2011 10:25
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      Not worth getting.

      When I first got this microwave, it seemed to be fine, adequate at least. I'm not a big microwave cooker; I try to prepare meals from scratch, but for reheating, or for the odd ready meal, it can be useful. This microwave is not however useful.

      ---Review---

      The microwave, when it works, does its job well. There are numerous features, such as auto-reheat, defrost, and cook, and a variety of power levels ranging from high down to low. This is good, but fairly standard to what you might expect for a microwave. It's not the prettiest thing in the world - mine's in silver, so it looks like a fairly standard microwave. It is quite big, which is good, means you can get a good sized plate inside it. It seems pretty sturdy, and I often rest stuff on the top of it, so as a shelf it's not bad.

      However, after a few months, the ability to press the buttons seemed to go. The buttons aren't protruding from the device, they've quite an odd feel to them. After a while, it became impossible to get the microwave to perform certain functions, because those buttons didn't work. Even then, the buttons which did work required frequent attempts to press, goading them into working. This makes things very annoying indeed. For example, the timer buttons don't seem to work any more, where before they did. This means I have to use the auto-reheat because it has a built in time for almost everything; frustrating to say the least.

      What's more, the microwave can be extremely noisy. I've not used many microwaves, so this may be a standard thing, but it did seem exceptionally loud. In terms of its other features, it seems alright - there is a light which comes on when something is cooking; a clock feature, although I rarely use this. The food normally comes out okay - haven't got food poisoning yet at least.

      ---Addition---
      The interior is painted, but I've never really had any problems cleaning it - put a bowl of water with a lemon in and stick the microwave on for a bit, take the bowl out and wipe down the sides; easy! In terms of pricing, I was unable to find any current prices for this, so I presume that it's no longer stocked, nor could I find it on eBay. In terms of its bulkiness, it's a pretty big thing, doesn't feel compact at all. It does fit relatively well in my kitchen, so it's not a massive issue, and stuff can be put on top of it. There are also auto-cook facilities, but rendered largely impossible to use, because some of the buttons you need to use to enter values don't work.


      ---Summary---

      When the microwave does work, it works fine. It's just getting it to work which is the main difficulty; so I'd recommend that you avoided this; get one which has working buttons.

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      • More +
        07.12.2011 18:18
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        An excellent memory stick.

        For what looks like a tiny, flimsy, slither of a USB Stick, this certainly works far more effectively than I thought it would've done. I originally bought it off Amazon for a little over £4 - an absolute bargain. I'm always loosing USB sticks, and so it might surprise you as to why I got one of the smallest ones I could find. This however is precisely the reason why - it fits neatly in my wallet.

        --Information--

        4GB of memory
        Tiny: ............................................. Putting it up to the screen, it measured this far across, to give you some perspective of it, rather than simply figures. It's very very light, barely noticeable in the palm of your hand.
        Fast - average speeds are around 10 MB/s; so a word document for example will take around 1 second to transfer - a 1GB movie a little longer, but unless you have the patience of a goldfish it's not an issue.
        Works on Macs and PCs (Macs above OSX v.10.5 and PCs after Windows XP)

        --Review--

        I bought this after seeing a friend using it, and he recommended I get one after I told him I needed a new USB. My one concern was that it was too flimsy and that there was no protecting part for the port. However, having purchased it, my fears have been dismissed - despite often carrying it around in pockets filled with crumbs and the like, it never seems to get dirt or dust in, nor has it taken any damage. It is surprisingly sturdy for something made simply out of plastic, so if you're like me and a bit clumsy, worry not; it'll cope.

        It also comes in 8GB and 16GB models, but unless you're transferring a lot of videos, I don't really think this is necessary - why not just get a small HD? 4GB easily allows me to take around all the files I have on my computer, meaning that if I ever need something and haven't got my laptop with me, I can easily access it. It allows for plenty of photo storage as well.

        Some USB sticks I have noticed tend to lose memory over time, because when you delete things, either they are corrupted or some temporary files remain. So far I've not had a problem with this, I've owned it for around 6 months, and it still retains all its original memory.

        There is one additional feature which I've not touched on - that's online memory. According to Sandisk's website, you can back up 2GB on their website. I've tried this out, and it seemed to work, although it's hardly the most user friendly. There is also a secure 'vault' which you can store sensitive files, which I've tried to use, but is likewise, not hugely friendly. Nonetheless, I'm not all that fussed about these features anyway; they're a nice bonus which doesn't really add much.

        --Summary--

        For someone who wants something ultraportable and quite quick, this does the job. Can't knock it; it relatively 'does-what-it-says-on-the-tin', so I have few complaints.

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        07.12.2011 18:15
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        A pretty good effort.

        Since I take a lot of photos, as well as having a fair few digital films, I figured it'd be best to get a HD rather than clogging up my computer. This was the first HD I've owned; I've since bought two more, not because this one is especially poor, but they have different purposes. I'd say that this HD is good for keeping at home as a back up to your computer(s). This is because it is relatively weighty, and quite big - not a massive issue, but I'd recommend getting a far smaller HD for carrying things about with you, such as a WD Passport, or a Lacie Rugged HD.

        --Specifications--

        The device has a USB 2.0 connection which isn't too slow. It also has a Firewire Port, which is good, but only if you have a Firewire Port on your computer; they're going out of fashion it appears, which is a tad annoying. It has 250GB, and there is also a 500GB model. From the USB Port (which I'll presume you're using) it can transfer at around 100MB/s - not shabby, but a little slow if you're doing a lot of photos.

        --Review--

        The first thing I'd like to say about this is that it is solid and sturdy. Although I keep it in its box for safe keeps, it could easily be kept out without fear of it getting damaged because of its strong, metallic casing, which is certainly to its credit. I've not had to worry about it, despite knocking it over once or twice (be it not from a great height). This is why I say that it's best for keeping at home though; it is relatively hefty by comparison to what's on the market nowadays which isn't a criticism, it's just at better use at home. It's not the most portable thing in the world, partly because it is big, but it also requires a USB cable and a power supply, meaning that there are a lot of wires to carry around. Some USB devices are powered through their USB connection, which I find to be far more effective. It stores things effectively and is easy to organise when plugged in, which is good.

        As for the performance, it whirrs rather affectionately when plugged in; best to put it on a desk or other hard surface rather than a carpeted floor I've found. It can also get a little hot if it's been plugged in for a long while, but it's never had any issues that I'm aware of regarding overheating, which is definitely to be avoided. The one thing I would say is that 250GB, whilst being a lot, could be a slight limit on some - I bought a bigger HD to supplement it, so if you're looking at just having one HD, I'd recommend going to a higher capacity for a slight price hike.

        --Final Word--

        It's a good HD to keep at home with backed up 'stuff' on; not hugely portable, but that doesn't matter in my eyes. My one bugbear is the amount of wires which need to be connected (okay, two isn't much, but they're long and get tangled.) If in need of a fairly standard HD, you can do no wrong with this.

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      • Princess Mononoke (DVD) / DVD / 14 Readings / 12 Ratings
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        04.12.2011 17:49
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        Well worth watching.

        Hayao Miyazaki is one of the stalwarts of Japanese cinema, hugely popular out east, and enjoys relatively wide popularity in the West. It was this film that first began to attract attention for him in the West, along with Nausicaa, Valley of the Wind, another superb animated film, before his reputation was secured by Spirited Away. This film was released in 1997, but doesn't feel old at all. It is fairly widely available, definitely so on Amazon etc.

        ---Plot---

        Ashitaka, a prince from a dying people is the 'hero' if it can truly be said that there is a hero in such a piece. He defends his isolated village from a raging boar, corrupted by hatred, suffering a curse in the process. He then must advance on an adventure to rid himself of this curse, rise to meet his destiny, and find out where this boar came from.

        After a superbly well done fight against some rampaging samurai, perhaps a little gruesome for some (although in an animated film, blood and gore are either toned up or toned down: in this case, they're toned down.), he meets a sinister monk who directs him towards Iron Town. On the way, he saves some men from Iron Town, left behind by Lady Eboshi, a powerful, ambiguous soul who runs Iron Town. After helping them home, through the forest; an unprecedented journey, he is met at the town with some cynicism, but eventually welcomed in by Lady Eboshi.

        As the plot unravels, Ashitaka meets San, a mysterious wolf-girl, who lives in the forest, with whom he forms a difficult, unrequited bond. The coming together of forces in Iron Town with the enraged demons of the forest, with the backdrop of the supernatural culminates in a touching and beautiful ending.

        --Thoughts--

        The film has some beautiful environmental sentiments; somewhat a recurring theme in Miyazaki's work, which is certainly something that I believe should be watched by young children. It is harmonious and beautiful; scenes such as the metamorphosis of the Nightwalker are stunning. There is a magic in the film, captured by the imaginative drawings, which are truly beautiful to watch, and the soundtrack certainly contributes to these, adding a peaceful but almost melancholic tone.

        I also believe that there are some challenging discourses at work in the film. The idea of an industrial polluter, corrupting Japanese society from the West certainly ring out, and I think Miyazaki is skilful and sensitive in his slight social commentary. Given that this is set in a very traditional, Medieval Japanese era, the invasion of industrialisation, profit and greed echo some of the concerns that a Japanese audience may share at the loss of some of their cultural heritage. For someone who doesn't know a huge amount about Japanese culture, this was very eye opening and challenged some of the perceptions I had about Western consumerism and globalisation; something well worth watching in such an entertaining facility.

        Like some of Miyazaki's other films, there is an ambiguity about the protagonist and of the virtues of those who might be perceived of as 'good' or 'bad'. Lady Eboshi for example is both an industrialist, bent on destroying much of the forest in order to access more ore, but also a kindhearted employer, who employs girls from surrounding brothels, taking them out of hardship into a fairer, safer environment. There is some degree to which the audience roots for her because of this, but at the same time, the demons, the Gods of the forest are also deserving of some sympathy, after all, they are having their home, their sacred lands torn up. Yet they are aggressive, blinded by hatred, driven mad by rage, hardly something we want to root for. That is why the ending is so spectacular, be it a tad corny.

        --Last Word--

        This is a wonderful film, and a superb place to learn a little about Japan, as well as a greatly entertaining venture. It is not overly moralising, but challenges some of our perceptions of what is right, what is good, how we act as a society and how are actions affect others. I am glad that the film has been awarded an PG so that it can be viewed by children, however I implore adults not to reject it because it is animated.

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      • Tesco Value Vodka / Spirits / 11 Readings / 8 Ratings
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        04.12.2011 17:14
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        Not horrendous, but worth avoiding if possible.

        Let's be clear: vodka of any kind is far from a pleasant drink - it's not something you drink for the flavour, and even when mixed, it's not hugely better. But, at a social occasion, it's a cheap way of drinking a little bit. Frankly, that's the greatest advantage of this particular vodka; it's dirt cheap, and it's not hard to see why.

        Drinking it neat firstly is pretty unpleasant. At least vodkas like Smirnoff are relatively smooth, and, taste aside, manageable. This, however should not be drunk neat; I'd actively discourage it. That is because it gives a nasty sensation in your throat, far more than you'd expect from drinking shots.

        As for as a mixer, well, it's not dreadful. If you mix it with enough coke, it can make a relatively pleasant drink, and with lemonade it's not bad either. I suppose that's a paradigm for any vodka, but honestly, it's poor. If you can afford to buy something more expensive like Smirnoff, it's worth those few pounds extra so that you don't feel as if you've been drinking something you'd clean the loo with.

        Finally, the packaging and bottle are unattractive; it's hardly an incentive, but the only reason anyone in their right mind would buy and drink this, was because it's cheap.

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        04.12.2011 13:34
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        Perfect for offline content, less so for the modern software.

        The iPod Touch, along with the iPhone revolutionised the way we access content online, because of the "App Store". I've had this version of the iPod for a few years now, and I can have few faults with the product itself; however there is an issue I have with the way that Apple bring out new products to supersede the old. So first I'll run through the benefits of this product, before settling on the issues I have.

        ==All round media player==

        I like to use a fair variety of content - games, music, films, tv series, ebooks and apps are all on my iPod, and it handles them very well. The screen is vibrant and clear, and there is often very little delay or lag when playing games and listening to music. Undoubtedly, the design is superb, something one would expect from Apple, with audacious 4 buttons (the addition of the two volume buttons on the side is a nice addition from the 1G version, because you can increase the volume without having to unlock the device, which was a bit of a hassle.) The device is slimmer than an iPhone, which I prefer, good for keeping tucked into a small pocket in a bag. Frankly, I can have no faults with its performance here - not only does it fulfil all the demands I have of it, it has revolutionised the way we approach them.

        ==Battery Life==

        If you're someone like me who is forgetful and never charges things, then you won't suffer to much with this. The battery life is good, I've managed to get a good few days out of it if using less draining content, like ebooks and music. If you're planning on watching films, then this does drain the battery life, and games do so even more, but if you're in a car, you can get good car chargers relatively cheaply, and the prevalence of iPods means that you can normally find a lead somewhere if you need one. The one thing that annoys me about the battery life is Push Updates. This is an 'app' which checks sites like Facebook, News Apps and Mail to see if anything has happened, and if it has, 'pushes' it to your iPod. This is great, because you know when stuff comes up, BUT it is a massive drain on your battery life, because it is almost constantly running. So much so, that unless you've got it docked or on charge, it, to me, is a little pointless and frustrating because you're always low on juice. In the end, I turned it off; if I want to know something, I just check the app rather than having the app come to me.

        ==IOS 5==

        Apple recently released their new software for iPods, iPhones and iPads; IOS 5, which looks wonderful. Embedded in that is iCloud; new cloud computing which lets you store things in the ether to access later or remotely. This is brilliant. It would be even more brilliant if you were able to get it on the 2G version! I only bought this product a few years ago, at significant cost, and already it is out of date because I cannot use cloud computing, I cannot enjoy all the new software that Apple have rolled out. I see this as a ploy to get you to have to go out and buy ANOTHER iPod to replace this one which is now out of date. They've done this before; wheeled out new software to engulf the oldest model, condemning it to an early death, or a cheap eBay sale.

        ==Final Word==

        If you only want to use the iPod for music, movies etc; content which doesn't require new apps, then this iPod is for you, but if you want to take advantage of the newest software, which IS excellent, don't think you'll be able to do so on this. It's a shame, because up until a few months ago, I couldn't fault this at all: it's only now that it's outdated before it's time, that I have grievances.

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      • Dell Inspiron 1300 / Laptop / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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        04.12.2011 12:42
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        Not bad; if all your doing is typing and browsing, it's all you need.

        This was the first laptop I ever owned, so to some extent, I have a sentimental attachment to it. Nonetheless, from what I've experienced from it, it's a fairly good laptop for people to start off with, and I'd like to outline a few of the reasons why, and perhaps why it's less good.

        ==Cost==

        Even when I bought the laptop a number of years ago, it was relatively cheap at a few hundred pounds. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a high level laptop, but for someone who simply wanted to browse the internet, write Word docs and listen to music, it provided all I needed. Some more technically minded might point out that the specs aren't hugely exciting - 1GB of RAM isn't the greatest thing in the world, but for someone who's not putting it through its paces, it works just fine. Given that I believe it's been discontinued, anyone buying this laptop second hand would be able to get it cheap, so it would be a pretty good deal for someone else's first laptop.

        ==Durability==

        I bought this laptop in 2005 and used it through until early 2011, with minimal hassle with it. There are some weaknesses with the casing and the way that the screen attaches to the keyboard, which I suppose are to be somewhat expected for such a cheap laptop, but they were only an annoyance rather than a problem - the screen had a slight wobble, but it wasn't noticeable unless moving the screen around. The other issue I had was with the battery life - the original battery life of 2 hours or so wasn't great - it did mean that you had to take the rather hefty charger about with you. The battery life also fairly rapidly declined, so for much of the time I owned it, I had to keep it plugged into the mains, which was annoying, especially when I wanted to print or go somewhere. After deciding to splash out on a new battery, which was far from cheap, it was able to run for another 6 months or so before the battery declined again. This is annoying, especially when you just want to pop downstairs to run something off the printer and you have to shut it down, unplug it, restart it - it takes time.

        == Speed ==

        Instead of boring you with facts about the CPU and the RAM, I'll simply tell you how it works in real time. This laptop is for simple tasks; writing, powerpoint, music (although this is slow) etc. For a kid who has homework and wants to surf the net, this is a good laptop; for someone who wants to take photos and edit them, watch films or the like, then it's less good.

        ==Final Word==

        For a starting level computer, for a kid's first laptop, it's a no frills but useful device. It's relatively well built, although not hugely portable. It's not going to do complex tasks, but I'd recommend it as a place to start.

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      • Orangina / Soft Drink / 11 Readings / 10 Ratings
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        04.12.2011 01:57
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        Great drink for a lunchtime.

        Whenever my family went to France, it was Orangina that was my drink of choice. For many years I wanted to be able to drink it at home, but alas, in the olden days it seemed far less frequently available than it is now. Oragina is largely similar to Fanta, spare the fact that it has 'bits' in. This is the making of the drink; without them it is like tea without milk, toast without butter - simply not quite right.

        The bits make the drink, even when it's a little past it. For the large litre bottles, if left in the fridge, it can loose some of its fizz, like any carbonated beverage, but the bits make it comparable to some juices, and provided it's chilled, it can get away with being flat; a triumph for any drink.

        I would say it's more of a summer drink than a winter one, simply because of the vibrancy of its flavour. Unlike some other carbonated drinks, it isn't so fizzy that you feel as if someone is tickling the inside of your nose; it reaches a nice middle ground.

        Finally, the packaging is nice and distinctive. Probably the second best sparkling fruit drink out there (after San Pelegrino orange.), but this is a close contender.

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        • Apple MacBook Pro MC700B/A / Laptop / 9 Readings / 7 Ratings
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          03.12.2011 18:26
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          The ultimate laptop.

          With my old Dell "brick" coming to the end of its life, I decided to invest in a new laptop. And invest it certainly was; it's certainly true to say that these things don't come cheap. Everyone's biggest grievance against Macs is that they are so pricey, and I can understand that; spending between £850-1150 on a device seems extortionate. That said, since buying it, I can honestly say it has been the single greatest product I've ever owned. Straight from arrival it's been easy to use, quicker than any computer I've ever used, well built, stylish, useful, the adjectives could go on. So let me focus my review a little and tell you specifically what I think are the best features, before pointing out the few slight weaknesses.

          Firstly, it's superbly made. Unlike almost any other laptop, it's made of metal and this makes it feel significantly more sturdy. I carry it around with me all day in a bag, and I have no worries that such an expensive item will get ruined. That's not to say, don't get a case - do, but it's fallen off my bed before to absolutely no damage. It also looks far nicer than any other laptop; I know some people may be put off by this slightly vain outlook, but don't worry, it's not just style over substance.

          The screen is superb; for someone who takes a lot of photos it's brilliant because they come up in brilliant resolution; it's clear, fresh and big. Some people may be tempted to go for a 15 inch version, which I have also used, but frankly, I think it's better to choose this one, at least in terms of screen size, because it's not so significant as to hinder your viewing capacity, but it makes it more portable - it's not much bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. The keys are backlit, which is a lovely feature; great if you're working late or want to browse in the car at night time. But of course, is this really worth a significant amount more than other laptops with similar specs?

          The joy of Apple (and something their legal team has worked hard to protect) is that you run Apple software, and you can only do so on a Mac. This software alone is worth the price tag - it's superb. I'm using OS Lion, which, in my eyes isn't as good an improvement as others have been, but it's still the best yet.

          My only slightly concern with it is that the battery life seems to have been slightly reduced when running OS Lion rather than Snow Leopard as I was on before. It's not horrendous by any means: I used to be able to get between 8-10 hours, depending on how bright me screen was, and now I can get between 7-9: still pretty damn good, and I suppose the reason I'm ever so slightly disappointed is because I had this high standard before, only so see it ever so slightly reduced. Frankly, had I not pointed it out to people, they'd probably not have noticed; it's only because I use it all day without a charger that I'm so conscious of how much time I have left.

          The only other slight weakness with this 13 inch version is the speakers. They're built in between where the screen joins the keyboard, rather than being in the sidebar next to the keyboard. This means that they don't really seem to be facing you, and so the sound isn't brilliant. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but by comparison to everything else, it's not perfect.

          Nonetheless, this is a superb piece of kit: if you are considering buying it, do so, I'd recommend it over the white Macbook if you take photos, like to watch films and do stuff at the same time, or if you're lazy and never close programs because it is just that little bit faster and seems sturdier. In terms of ports it has two USBs; perhaps could do with one more, but not a massive issue for me because there is also an SD Card reader which is great. The Thunderbolt port I am yet to try out, because there aren't many products which use it out there yet, but on paper it's very fast, so could be useful if you're a professional importing a lot of data.

          All in all, another brilliant product by Apple; this is the laptop you should aspire to having; this review has only highlighted what I consider the best features; there are many other good things about it; inbuilt camera, fast start up times, great gestures on the scroll pad, something very few laptops have, making it work almost like a tablet or iPhone... I could go on. Anyway, SUPERB!

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        • More +
          03.12.2011 17:53

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          Worth it if buying as part of a deal, taste great, just wish for more!

          As with any product from M&S, you pay a little bit more and the quality of what you buy is notably higher. I've bought a similar item from Sainsbury's for less, and whilst they were fine, they weren't up to these ones; the best, crispy, chocolatey, which, I suppose is exactly what you would expect.

          Now, perhaps I may be greedy (in fact, that's more of a definite...) however I didn't find there to be as many "bites" as I'd hoped for. After all, looking at the size of the tub from the outside, you'd expect it to be pretty filled up, but it only tends to be around half full (or half empty, depending on your perspective). So maybe either they could reduce the packaging size; a great environmental incentive in itself, because it seems ever so slightly disappointing when you open it up.

          Nonetheless, the quality of the food is great; can't knock it, although they are pricy, so unless buying in one of the M&S deals, I wouldn't recommend it that highly.

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        • Private Eye / Magazine / Newspaper / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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          03.12.2011 17:12

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          Brilliant; the epitome of satire.

          It's tempting to read Private Eye as your sole source of news. Such is the quality of reporting, but most importantly, the entertainment factor of this magazine. To me, there is an odd paradox with Private Eye; it brings joy and laughter by pointing out all that is wrong with society, but regardless as to whether satire can change this society to me is superfluous. At the core of the magazine is humour, provided by many a great column and cartoonist, but also small mini-columns, containing witticisms, quotes and 'brown nosing'. Personal favourites include HP Sauce and Weird and Dumb Britain.

          It's now been running for over 50 years, and in no way is it getting old, I still wait expectantly and hopeful for when it comes through the letterbox (I'd recommend getting a subscription!). It can be read by almost any age, so with Christmas coming up, could make a good present for "gobby" teenagers to miserable misanthropic grandparents.

          For £1.50 (even less with a subscription), you pay for superb entertainment and a few scandals. My only negative is that it seems to be printed on the cheapest paper ever made; but you can't have everything, and the quality of the written word is far superior to this minor issue.

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