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Reviews Written by
Mrs K. A. R. W. "Ha Tikvah" (N. Ireland U.K.)

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Appsmaker Appsbooster Pro 2.0 (PC)
Appsmaker Appsbooster Pro 2.0 (PC)
Price: £2.45

2.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't recommend :(, 23 Jun. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This program would invariably appeal to all those out there who've got an older system perhaps & who now feel it's so sluggish they need to figure out a way of boosting its performance or else it's going in the bin. And let's face it - who hasn't been in that position at one time or another. And don't we all turn to software to do the job for us, especially if it states it can and will do so but is safe & easy to use, & will have your PC as good as new! But be careful of believing everything you read.

The list of attributes it can manage automatically for you sounds so good - it can automatically launch booster profiles, start up booster applications, boost your internet, give you instant power for all your memory hungry apps - however, saying something & doing it can be 9 miles apart & that's what it feels like with this software.

I'm usually very generous where software claims are made appreciating the need for a company to push its product to the forefront of a swamped market but sometimes, I feel as if they think we're all bowled over by such claims as "instant power for your apps & games with just 1 click!".

While the product was certainly easy to install, setup, and use with everything relatively self-explanatory for all but the real newbie to computing (& even they for the most part would probably figure things out fairly quickly), once you have it installed there's little of value to be gained from keeping it so!!

I installed it on a 2.8 GHz dual core Win 7 machine with 2 Gb RAM & 3 Hard drives - I don't do any gaming but do run my machine quite intensively and Firefox in particular almost kills it at times, so I'd high hopes of seeing some performance improvement when using this product. But unfortunately I found nothing changed. Regardless of what settings I used it seemed to make no difference in the least to the slowness of the system when I activated the Booster settings - if anything I felt it perhaps worsened things marginally. However, more importantly, for thsoe of you thinking of buying it - you can gain a lot of similar functions & perhaps better outcomes from free software available already out on the internet - just ask around on some of the PC forums for suggestions.

Save your money as I think otherwise you'll be very disappointed. (On a pedantic note - I would rarely trust any software whose packaging has as many spelling/grammar mistakes as this has but I'm very fussy on such things personally & perhaps their printers just had a bad day.)

AVG Internet Security 2011, 4 User, 2 Year Subscription (PC)
AVG Internet Security 2011, 4 User, 2 Year Subscription (PC)

5.0 out of 5 stars Always a good buy, 16 Jun. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've long used AVG as my antivirus product and happily so. This particular offering has proven to be another excellent one providing a lot of extensive options and facilities. Every possible requirement for internet security is met with this package from scanning emails through to ensuring sites you visit are safe. It also now comes with Social Networking protection which is a bonus given how many problems there are on that particular front currently.

However, aside from the obvious internet help it provides, the program also deals with some other closer to home issues, such as the performance of your PC. It has a range of system tools through the PC TuneUP package which make keeping your PC in line a doddle. Unless you start messing about in advanced options when you've no idea what you're doing, you're unlikely to do any major harm but even then, AVG will enable you to recover from most "mistakes".

I installed mine on an XP installation so can't verify whether the experiences regarding Win 7 are an actual bug of the program or not. All I would suggest is that if you DO have Win 7 don't let such experiences put you off trying the package - instead, ensure you have plenty of backups of really vital data made (always a sensible option anyway) and use your System Restore to ensure you can easily recover should you need to. If you're an Intermediate user of Windows, then why not try running the program in a sandbox first to see how your version of Win 7 does handle it?

Overall, given the excellent value, excellent product and equally excellent support (free automatic updates, version upgrades & email support), I'd absolutely have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone looking for a solid AV program.

ICaps Lutein and Zeaxanthin Formula Tablets (Pack of 30)
ICaps Lutein and Zeaxanthin Formula Tablets (Pack of 30)
Price: £9.48

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only good product for the purpose, 7 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've long had issues with being able to see clearly in even twilight for some years, having to stop driving in the early evenings for that reason, as I had a near accident once through not being able to see traffic at a distance clearly enough. However, as I suffer with a raft of chronic autoimmune/rheumatic conditions and some others were similarly affected I always thought it was just a minor irritation of their effects.

However, last year things changed when one night I walked from my lit landing into my dim bathroom and found myself with split vision - I could see quite well with my right eye but blackness in the left. Panic ensued as I worried I was suffering something major, but my optician reassured me this could be simply remedied as it was primarily due to a deficiency in some vital retinal pigments and I could obtain supplements which would reverse the problem.

He recommended these I-Caps as being the best ones he knew of, so I duly bought my first bottle at that time, and was utterly amazed at the results - within 24 hours the situation had improved and so I have stayed on these on and off ever since. I've had some occasions when, for one reason or another, I've not taken any for 3-4 days, and immediately notice the difference with the problem once again being highly obvious. And my optician confirmed that once you get the problem, it's highly likely you're going to need to stay on the supplements for an extended period, particularly for those over 40.

I'm on benefit-only income and have to confess even a tenner a month is a lot to spend out so I went off and bought another product elsewhere that stated it had 3 times as much of the 2 primary pigments and would do the job at £3 cheaper. I'd high hopes, but after taking them for a week, very easily recognised they weren't doing anything in the least, so have just had to accept the regular cost of buying I-Caps instead as they can't be got on prescription in the UK.

One important thing to note is that they will turn your first urine of the day a bright yellow - but that goes away through the daytime and isn't anything in the least to worry about - if anything it's another comforting fact that the tablets are working properly (my cheaper brand didn't do that!).

So if you find yourself strugging with being able to see in dim/dark light stock up on these - definitely worth a try even if you have no other known eye issues or are well under 40!!

Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 5 (PC)
Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 5 (PC)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £34.63

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product for the dedicated crafter..., 7 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having read some of the other reviews I have to say I was debating whether to bother with this product or not, but am now so glad I did so.

I found this to be a superb product for the price. It is SO packed with elements it's hard to know where to begin reviewing any particular portion of it. So I'll start where we all start - opening the box and like others before me, was shocked at the wanton waste - absolutely NO need for a box - all the info could easily have been provided in a good DVD case. Installation, as others mentioned, is really easy and I doubt anyone will have problems with this side of things. However, I have to admit everything gets a bit "cluggy" after that point, primarily because there's so much to look at and play about with, it's almost overwhelming. And while I normally rarely look at manuals, I found myself constantly having to do so with this program just to find out some of the most basic info sometimes. I loved the fact that it features an "Office" style ribbon menu system right down to the big button in the top left that allows you to access all the other menu items (Print, Save as, etc).

Amazon have already provided a superb list above, of most of the things you can undertake with the program so I won't waste time going into all of those. As I wanted to use the program for card making purposes, I started off with the templates and ran into my first problem. I make almost all my cards nowadays in 5 x 5" square size and was surprised to find the program didn't have *any* square sizes amongst any of its templates for any purpose - quite odd in these days where many are even taking the humble square card up to crazy 10 x 10"++ sizes. So I opted instead for the more standard A5 size.

It takes time to figure out where to click to find what you want as you have 2 menu options for this purpose - on each side of the screen. One will provide you the means of pulling in elements (digital ribbons, brads, stickers, etc), changing fonts & colours, and has a gallery of some of the most extensive WordArt features available anywhere (beats Office by a long chalk!!). The other provides the means to let you add much more into the project - from CDs, scanner, or your own folder locations, and this is how you have to access the Bonus Cd which I also found irritating - there are indeed NO instructions on what to do with this, so here's the gen: While in the program, put the CD in, then go to the left menu, click on Add items, select Add Graphic from Library - this opens up a new window which will most likely start off in the default SB5 folder. Look up in the very top left and you'll see a "Browse from..." Click on that, select your DVD drive, and wait a few moments for it to access the drive - you should then see the 2 folders; select the Bonus graphics one and away you go. One bone of contention is that, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to access the fonts as well. Even when I had text highlighted in the project, I just couldn't find anything that talked about how to access them off the CD, and nothing in the Help either :(

Some others here have commented on how you can't save images as JPEGs or otherwise have them to use in other programs etc - actually you can, it's just that SB5 don't make it easy for you to do so. You first have to import them into your project, then right click, select Export Image to.... and then you can save it as a JPEG, BMP etc and choose the Save location also. Thus you could basically save the entire disk that way but you'd be a few years in doing so, given the inordinate wealth of graphics they're providing you. Some elements though won't have that facility but a tremendous volume do.

Again, the quality of the graphics comes down to personal choice - yes, there are some rather poor quality ones in there, but some may find them nice for all that. On the flip side there are many, MANY more superb ones, many totally original, and lots of photos as well. Everything that you import is resizable - a huge bonus as oftentimes in other programs you'll find certain images pixelate if you attempt to increase their size, but not these.

To be honest, if I really tried to fully review this product here, it would take about 3-4 A4 pages which I doubt anyone wants to wade through. There's just SO much in this product it's absolutely worth every penny if you're a newbie to paper crafting of any kind and want to build up a library, & even more so if you're a scrapper (any level). Read through all the info and reviews on this page which will give you a good picture of all the aspects, but the best thing is to buy it and try it - I can promise you won't be disappointed!!

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Relaxing Body Lotion 250 ml
Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Relaxing Body Lotion 250 ml
Price: £13.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the purpose.., 3 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having never used C&E products before I figured this might be a good one to try as I'm always using lotions these days being of a somewhat tender age (LOL - over 50!).

And what a joy it's been to use. Unlike some others I've tried of late, this one has a wonderful light scent which holds for hours despite washing. It's not greasy in any sense and is quickly and readily absorbed without any annoying stickiness afterwards. Being in a pump action container helps me tremendously as my days of being able to cope with bottles & tubes are long gone already sadly with the onset of early arthritis. I also have very dry skin due to two of my conditions (Lupus & Sjogren's syndrome) and again, other moisturisers have sometimes not lasted very long requiring very frequent reapplications, but this has lasted again for at least 5-6 hours or more before I need to worry about putting any more on. And it does truly leave your skin really smooth. Just so glad I found it!

My experiences with this product at least have me now looking to buy more to see how they fare and I suspect I might well be buying a LOT more of C&E in the future. Highly Recommended.

CraftArtist Platinum Edition (PC)
CraftArtist Platinum Edition (PC)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product for digital scrapbookers, 23 Mar. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Digital scrapbooking has taken off incredibly over the past few years and this program certainly would help anyone wanting to start the craft. While it's not specifically aimed at that target audience alone no doubt, I would suspect they are the primary crafters who will find it easier to use and get more out of it than say card makers.

As one of the latter rather than the former I struggled to really get into it to any degree. While I could appreciate the ease of use it didn't provide any great means of enabling me to achieve results I'd be happy to post to any of my friends. While flat cards are fast becoming a necessity in these days of rising postage, I wouldn't be rushing to use this program to create mine I'm afraid. But that's only because I tend to make 3D cards anyway, not a detraction from what is a very good product overall, so if you're a card maker don't stop reading yet!

Plus points were ease of installation especially if you stick with the default folders - otherwise it won't recognise it's already installed on say K and each disk will want to install instead into C so something to watch for if you use partitions. 5 whole CDs jammed full of dozens of images, scrapbook layouts, concepts etc, make it a comprehensive purchase again, especially for a digital crafter. And to get the best results you do need to install all 5 disks.

You can then choose whether to use the templates provided or start up your own project - either will let you browse through the installed packages of digikits pulling out those images you want to use in your design into a personal workspace from where you can drag them onto your card or layout or whatever. This, for me, was the most enjoyable. You can really let your imagination flow and play about moving things in all directions and layering one over another to create the effect you want. The one thing I really did like was the ability to take an image "over the edge" so that it looked a little more professional. Another bonus is that you can add any of your own images in easily too which is a great thing as there are websites galore that offer free "scraps" and you can download to your heart's content, so you're not locked into Serif's own content alone. It can be used with a "Tablet" too which is a bonus.

Negatives for me were not being able to figure it out as easily or quickly as I would hope without resorting to instructions - I'm very much a load it up and play person but this had me stymied multiple times as I tried to figure how to do some tasks e.g.change from one size of card to another, or from card to scrapbook etc.

However, having said that, there's an incredible wealth of options and choices to make on many levels - I've only now discovered something called a Rule of Thirds tool which I've never heard of before and have yet to figure out what it is but the fact the program has it, says something!! It would take longer than I have here to go through all of them, but suffice to say it's like joining PhotoShop to Word in certain respects and as such a very solid program.

Breville VTP130 Traditional Crêpe Maker
Breville VTP130 Traditional Crêpe Maker
Price: £22.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a gimmick, 23 Mar. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Maybe I'm being a bit picky with this but given the size of it, plus the cost, I'm struggling to figure out how it's better than a good quality frying or pancake pan. As another reviewer has said - you need a LOT of worktop space, not just because of the size of it, but because of the high temp it reaches you need plenty of room around it too so as not to end up burning anything, least of all your hands! And therein lies my first concern - it gets VERY hot on the higher temps and takes a reasonable time to cool down so it would be very easy for someone to accidentally burn themselves were they not aware it had recently been switched off. Plus you can't really move it anywhere easily when it's that hot either. So that was a definite downer for me.

The second problem I had was in trying to get the cooking temp right - I started off too high and was too slow (despite doing it immediately) in my "paddling" the mix around which ended up clumping onto the stick leaving me with a thicker pancake than I was after. Even on the lower temp it would still take you some practice to get it right but at least you can get it done enough to make a fairly thin crepe which is the only attraction I can see in having such a device.

Thirdly, the instructions said you should use kitchen roll loaded with butter to oil it up in between pancakes - easier said than done and rather messy into the bargain - I ended up just putting dabs of butter on but that ended up spitting all over the place well outside the rim of the cooker.

However, on the plus side, yes, the surface is excellent to clean but again I wonder how long that would last with regular use. I didn't figure the resulting crepes any better in taste than what I've made on the pan, although perhaps they were at least a shade thinner which was nice. Overall it took a little less time for cooking possibly and with not using lots of oil, it wasn't quite so messy a surface to cook on.

But it's not something I'd look to want to repeat the experience of again too soon and trust me, being disabled, I LOVE kitchen gadgets, but this one just hasn't excited me enough to make me want to lose 18" of kitchen worktop to it!

WinZip 15 Pro Single User (PC)
WinZip 15 Pro Single User (PC)

5.0 out of 5 stars Best product around for compression, 8 Mar. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
WinZip has been around for as long as I've been computing which feels like forever - it's the industry standard when it comes to file compression and this version fairly changes how it handles files. No longer purely compression software, WZ has expanded its range of options to include a LOT more including the ability to share files easier, encrypt your files while zipping them, and archiving them offline if required which is a huge improvement.

I've used a lot of other programs over the years but keep coming back to WZ because it always provides the nicest interface, and easiest methods of undertaking file zipping. I love the options this version has for undertaking the usual tasks much faster - 1-click unzip which is great if you want to just unzip to the same folder - saves all that hoking about to find your desired destination folder. The interface has tabs for Home, Backup, Tools, Settings, Layout & Help. Each of those then provides an "Office" style ribbon of further most used options that make almost every task available within 2 clicks maximum. Those who've used the older versions will find the more familiar Options still available through the Settings tab. Operations are way faster than I remember with previous versions and options and settings much plainer to understand.

Overall a very slick and comprehensive product and a good improvement on previous versions - highly recommended!!

Pampers Baby-Dry Size 3 Midi Nappies - 2 x Economy Packs of 64 (128 Nappies)
Pampers Baby-Dry Size 3 Midi Nappies - 2 x Economy Packs of 64 (128 Nappies)

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality brand with quality value, 8 Mar. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These must be about the most famous name for nappies and no wonder. They are a durable brand that people know they can trust for quality as well as value for money. These particular ones are really good and fitted my 8 month old undersized baby perfectly. She doesn't always manage to fit comfortably into some other brands size 3, so it was great to see them fasten snuggly around her legs yet still have plenty of comfortable give in them. Putting them on was a doddle and they did the job wonderfully, especially when we got caught out one day & I couldn't get her changed immediately. An hour later they'd still not leaked and the extra dry layer had obviously done its job well as her skin wasn't overly damp which was quite amazing. By comparison the nappy was fairly well soaked, so I was really pleased about that.

The waistband fits comfortably and the whole nappy gives me confidence that I'm not going to have nappy rash problems using them. All in all I'd certainly recommend them to any mums who've not tried the brand before perhaps.

Simply Photoshop Elements 8
Simply Photoshop Elements 8
by Mike Wooldridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for novices to Photoshop, 8 Mar. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this book as a total novice & newbie to Photoshop normally preferring to use PSP. Ok, so this is only the Elements version of PS but it's a worthwhile option nonetheless. I duly went off and got a trial copy of PSE to try and see whether I could make sense of any of it.

The book is laid out very attractively with colour pictures on every page which really help enormously in trying to get to grips with some of the more complex elements (pardon the pun) of the program. I decided to start off with something fairly simple and basic - importing photographs and organising them into an album. Working through the steps provided took me about 10-15 minutes as the book images were so clear and obvious as to where everything was located so unlike many other similar manuals it really took no time at all.

I easily worked through most of the examples provided and by day 3 of using the book was much more able to find and do things for myself.

Sections covered include photo organising/editing etc, layers, retouching, colour enhancements, filters, styles, text and some creation elements e.g. greeting card, flipbook etc.

I'd highly recommend this for anyone wanting to use PSE for their photo work particularly if you've no experience of DTP programs and need a lot of input on how to achieve tasks. I only dropped a star off it as I would have loved it to be even bigger as I'm sure there's a lot more yet to learn with this program which the books not covered. Me, I'm off to learn how to create a Vintage Photo, add a fancy background to it and then upload it to my website!!

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