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Brian Reginald Martin (UK)

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Logitech USB Marble Mouse
Logitech USB Marble Mouse
Price: £24.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best pointing device I've used, 30 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Standard mice give me RSI because you have to use the fore and middle fingers to do left and right clicks (for a right hand). This puts a lot of strain on the tendons in the hand and feels awkward plus you have to shove the thing around the desktop to move the pointer. With this you do left click with thumb and right click with the middle or maybe ring finger which means you're using the wrist rather than fingers. The ball is operated with the forefinger and the dimensions of the device fit my hand perfectly and the buttons are nice and light, making clicking a dream. Other trackballs I've tried have been the wrong dimensions for the human hand, or have had heavy buttons that wear your fingers out and the thumb design is just too hideous to contemplate.

Although I've given it 5 stars, there's a small gripe. I tried a Kensington Orbit Trackball that had a scroll ring which now I've gone back to the Logitech I miss for easy scrolling through pages; I keep trying to operate a non-existent scroll ring. Apparently there's auto-scroll or something for the trackman but haven't got it to work yet but despite this it's the best for actually moving the pointer and clicking things. Plus, because of its symmetrical design you can swap the buttons in Setpoint if you're a lefty. To sum up:

Not to big, not too small.
Nice light buttons.
Position of buttons means less RSI.
All round comfort.
Being a trackball, no need to move it around the desk.

No dedicated scroll button or wheel.

Windows Vista, Ultimate Edition with Service Pack 1 (32-bit and 64-bit DVD) (PC)
Windows Vista, Ultimate Edition with Service Pack 1 (32-bit and 64-bit DVD) (PC)

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't know what all the moaning is about, 14 Oct. 2008
First off, I'm not a Microsoft worshipper, but I'm not into bashing them just for the sake if it either.

Initially I listened to the negative comments on Amazon and the net and decided not to upgrade. But when I first encountered it on a laptop at work, I found myself thinking Vista wasn't so bad after all. So in the end I decided to upgrade my home PC and am glad I did and wouldn't consider going back to XP. So let's look at the usual complaints.

You DO need a powerful and compatible PC. If in doubt you can download a utility from Microsoft to check your current hardware. I would recommend this. I suspect that a lot of people are moaning because they didn't check first.

Backwards compatibility is not as bad as they say although it has some surprises in that old software I expected to fail actually works better under Vista (games) and stuff I expected to work has "known Compatibility Issues" (such as, can you believe it, Microsoft's own Visual Studio 2005). There are ways of overcoming these issues, however.

It's at least as reliable as XP. I have not experienced any crashes yet. A recommendation here is to make sure you have the latest drivers for sound and video cards etc.

The User Account Control (UAC) features have narked a lot of people but I don't find them annoying at all. You only tend to get nagged when attempting to do things that are considered a risk. During normal program use you're allowed to just get on with it.

I don't recall the installation taking all day long either as some people have claimed.

There are numerous new things that make using the PC much easier, such as better searching, a links facility in explorer and the open/save dialogs to frequently used folders and many more. Installation of software when running as a restricted user is now better; you get a dialog prompting for an administrator password unlike XP where it just fails.

Of course, it looks real pretty too.

There are some gripes though.

Forget using the built in backup and restore centre. I won't go into why it's crap but do yourself a real favour by buying a third party solution like I did and get something that actually does what a backup program should do. Oh, by the way, the Vista backup utility is incompatible with those you did under XP so you'll have to download a utility from MS that will enable you to retrieve an old backup if you need to.

The locations of certain folders (such as pictures, documents etc.) have changed. This is probably something else that is annoying everyone, but I hardly think it warrants damning the whole OS. Will confuse those less IT savvy than some, however.

So to sum up, Vista is good, but not perfect. Thing is, its detractors can't cling to XP for ever: MS are trying to phase it out so there will come a point in the when a switch will have to be made in order to receive support in the form of service packs and drivers.

Anyway four stars not five, due to minor gripes.

Kaspersky Internet Security 7 (1 PC, 1 Year subscriptions) (PC)
Kaspersky Internet Security 7 (1 PC, 1 Year subscriptions) (PC)
Price: £14.05

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best, 12 Jan. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When my version 6 license ran out I upgraded to version 7 and have so far found the new version to be at least as good as the previous one. This software has a good reputation for providing good security but not hogging PC resources which as far as I'm concerned is paramount. Protection systems that bring a PC to its knees are almost as bad as the viruses they're supposedly protecting you from. I've had little problems with Kaspersky so I can't understand the negative reviews especially the one about the old fashioned UI. Just try AVG for a dated, ugly and confusing interface, for instance. A good thing about Kaspersky is that the virus databases are updated usually once an hour.

The software has something called "pro-active defence" which can be used to monitor application integrity. If malicious software tries to insert dlls, key loggers and other hooks into applications and the OS, Kaspersky will catch this and warn you so you can make a decision whether or not to allow the activity or not. This can be annoying at first with dialog boxes popping up all the time but it's easy (even without looking at the on line help) to tell the system to allow such things when you know that they are safe.

All in all it's one that I would recommend without reservation.

Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000 - UK Layout
Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000 - UK Layout
Offered by Ballicom International
Price: £40.73

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best I've owned so far, 27 Dec. 2006
I've been trying out various keyboards in search of the perfect input device. I've tried two Logitech models; the MX5000 and the LX300, both wireless. The 5000 has Bluetooth connectivity problems and the 300 is okay in that department but has started to give me RSI problems so I've decided to widen my horizons by re-considering wired keyboards and looking at ergonomic models.

But let's get back to the Ergonomic 4000. First of all, it looks great with sliver and grey trim and buttons and the ergonomic design means it has an attractive curved shape.

Functionally, the keyboard is no slacker either. There are keyboard status LEDs in the middle which give the num lock, caps lock, function key and scroll lock status. The function keys double as program task shortcuts such as "Help", "Undo", "Redo", "New" etc as well as acting as normal F1 to F12 function keys - which you get depends on the status of the F Lock key - if it is pressed then the you get normal function keys. The row of silver buttons (not keys!) near the back edge can do things like open the web browser, email client etc. as well as providing 5 programmable buttons. The two buttons labelled "Back" and "Forward" under the space bar allow you to go to previous and next pages in your web browser - I use Firefox and these worked first time and didn't have to be re-programmed as with the Logitech keyboards. As for localisation there has been a problem with one or two Microsoft models which are not really UK keyboards, even though they are advertised as such and so initially I was wary about buying this keyboard so I did some research on the Web and found some close up pictures which showed the Ergonomic 4000 to have a real UK layout. So there IS a £ sign and a symbol and the others are in the usual place for a UK keyboard.

The keyboard is USB only. This caused a slight hickup during installation. I plugged it in and it worked during boot up but then didn't work when I reached the XP login screen. A system reset solved the problem, for some reason. Some hardware profile issue I guess.

I'm experimenting with the reverse tilt attachment. This is a plastic skirt that clips to the front of the keyboard. With the feet at the back folded away, this arrangement gives you somewhere to rest the wrists (on the padded wrist rest) which seems quite comfortable. I think the idea here is to reduce RSI due to excessive wrist bending since the keyboard tilts away making less of an angle between hand and arm. I think it's going to take a few days or so to fully get used to it, however.

Ok, now for a few minor gripes. Some reviewers have said the keys are heavy. Well, I don't think they are, apart from the space bar which is a bit small and stiff. Sometimes I don't get a space character when I hit it. I think this is because I'm hitting it off centre - it seems more reliable when hit in the middle. This suggests that they're using a single key switch in the middle instead of one at either end which would be better. Then there's those function keys. The alternative functions (for program control) are on the top, whereas the F1-F12 legends are on the front side. Might have preferred it the other way around.

So, I think Microsoft have come up with a really nice keyboard, one that comes very very close to my idea of perfection and which has eliminated the RSI in my wrists and hands, so it looks as if my search is over.

Logitech Wireless TrackMan Optical
Logitech Wireless TrackMan Optical

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Trackball but with a few issues, 22 Aug. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I can't get on with mice because I find they cause RSI in my wrist and so have always used trackballs instead. I am currently trying to go wireless on most of my devices and so was drawn to this pointing device. I've only had it a day but am already at home with it but would agree with other reviewers concerning the left button. It is a bit heavy and I think this could be due to its size and shape. On other Logitech trackballs I've owned this button was bigger and lighter.

The other buttons on the trackball are a scroll wheel with two fast scroll buttons, a lock button which is really useful in drag select operations and two browser navigation buttons above the pesky left button. All these are proving to be really useful.

The only other issue is installation. I have a Logitech cordless keyboard (the LX300) but don't use the mouse because of the RSI. The LX300 has an rf pod which plugs into USB or PS/2. The TrackMan doesn't work with this so I still had to plug in its own pod so now I have two of the things on my desk. In addition, I couldn't install the TrackMan's MouseWare - it thought the LX300's SetPoint software was a latter version. So it was necessary to remove SetPoint, install the MouseWare then re-install SetPoint. This cured the problem and now both SetPoint and MouseWare are co-existing. So a less than perfect 4 stars. However, don't let these niggles put you off a great device.

Borland C++ Builder 6.0 Professional Full System
Borland C++ Builder 6.0 Professional Full System

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, RAD is possible with C++!, 15 Oct. 2003
Basically, this is Delphi, but with the Object Pascal compiler replaced with an ISO compliant C++ one. Actually, the OP compiler is still there, but it can only be used for writing/compiling VCL components - you can't use it for projects as far as I know. Anyway, you get full on RAD and C++. Visual C++? Bill's boys should take a look at Builder to see how it should really be done. As is the case with Delphi, it's even BETTER (yes that IS better) than VB for doing GUI front ends.
Inheriting the VCL and other goodies from Delphi means putting together GUI apps is really easy. You basically drop a component onto a form, go to the object inspector, change properties of the component and then go to the inspector's events page and double click the appropriate event for which you want to write code and voila! C++ Code is generated as appropriate - you're just left to fill in the body of the event handler. By the way all this is "two way" - what's on the form is kept in synch with what's in the editor and vice-versa. Much better than VC++'s confusing message maps, class wizards, manually connecting member variables with the components they represent and God knows what else. The professional version is the one I have and is intended for building "client" applications. It's main advantage over the Personal edition is that you have database components to play with as well, along with access to the open tools API (for configuring the IDE with plug ins etc), various web components plus a host of other stuff too numerous to mention. If you need to write server side apps, however, you'll need the enterprise version.
What about the negatives? Well, there are some. The world's gone mad and is using Visual C++ (sigh). Proper .NET support is, well, coming. The IDE's still got some bugs from the earliest versions. C++ can't do separate compilation properly (there's no "module" or "unit" construct) so it's hacked using included headers which have to be preprocessed and then compiled meaning cripplingly slow build times. But there are pre-compiled headers. Which don't work if you have "data" (really inline non-member, non-template functions or objects that have local linkage) in the header. Also, the VCL is written in Object Pascal which has necessitated some, to my eye, awkward tricks and language extentions to allow the OP object model to be accessible from within C++, although to Borland's credit this is done so well as to be almost transparent to the C++ programmer.
To sum up, as far as I'm concerned, it's the tool of choice for building windows apps. The only reason for not buying C++ Builder is if you need Microsoft on the side of the box for some reason that defies rationality.

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