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M. Appleton

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SCART Splitter - 2 Way, Non-Switched, RGB Support
SCART Splitter - 2 Way, Non-Switched, RGB Support
Offered by i.Lifeuk
Price: £3.48

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both inputs carry RGB and no getting up to change sources - all for less than £3, 11 Jan. 2009
I wasn't expecting much from something this cheap, having been stung by similarly priced multitaps before, so I asked the seller about it before committing. I had to have RGB capability on both inputs and this item delivers - some multitaps that cost three times as much won't do it!

Source switching only requires one input to be on standby, and there's no real need for a very long male-ended cable as it can be left alone once installed.

Can't recommend this, or its seller, highly enough.

Sennheiser HD202 Headphones
Sennheiser HD202 Headphones

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sennheisers don't have to be expensive, 11 Jan. 2009
Got these to replace some (dearer) Panasonics and the difference is incredible. The 202s have excellent range, with the bass being a particular highlight. These give probably the best quality sound per £ than anything else. The lead length is quite generous as well.

My only minor gripe is with the design - the cups are mounted on sliding ball and socket joints rather than the axle-style found on most other headphone. As such, they don't conform to one's head quite as well and can become a bit uncomfortable after extended use. The ear holes themselves could also be a bit bigger, IMO.

All in all, though, very good indeed.

Microsoft Word 2007 Home and Student Edition (PC)
Microsoft Word 2007 Home and Student Edition (PC)

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion, a real revolution - try it and see, 5 Jan. 2009
Word '07 seems to have polarised the computing world, with users either loving it or hating it based on comparisons with previous versions ('03 especially). In my opinion you should at least try it, and not be swayed by popular opinion: if you hate it, no harm done - switch back to '03!

The new ribbon interface is particularly contentious, but I really like it. Being a casual home user I'm not word processing for eight hours a day, so I find the ribbon makes all the most important (to me) features far more accessible. The "styles" area, for example, is a particular highlight, allowing me to add headings, references, emphasis etc without having to manually chop and change between fonts, italics and underlining - when a heading goes in, the text after the line break automatically reverts to the normal style - I would have killed for this facility when I used to write my degree courseworks!

If you are an ingrained user of earlier versions of Word then the adaptation does take some effort but I believe it's worth it (besides, the ribbon looks to be sticking around for along time now, so get used to it now!). The overall presentation of the typing envirnoment is beautiful, being heavily influenced by Vista, and is more warm and welcoming than that found in earlier versions. In addition, no functionality I used to use in '03 has been lost - Microsoft aren't that daft - it's all there if you look. My various mathematical add-ins actually work even better now than they did before.

I should stress that I rarely use fancy layout options (I mainly write technical reports and letters), so I can't comment on anything beyond straight typing and general tarting up, but if you're in a similar position to me Word 2007 makes life a lot easier.

Logitech MX518 Optical Gaming Mouse
Logitech MX518 Optical Gaming Mouse
Offered by Doll-Computer
Price: £145.00

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best corded mice (for rightys only, though!), 5 Jan. 2009
I got one of these from a friend who had upgraded to a wireless, having used cheapo generic wired opticals up to that point. The MX518 is supremely comfortable, being the corded precursor to the MX1000. It has a shallower thumb contour and is smaller overall so if, like me, you have large hands, you'll find the MX1000 and its siblings (G5 and G7) more comfortable.

I rarely played mouse-based games before getting the 518 but it made such a difference that I became a born-again FPS addict. Being corded there is absolutely NO lag (which there is, no matter how small, with ANY wireless alternative), and it glides around with minimal effort on a reasonably clean and smooth surface. I do clean the feet regularly, though. The variable resolution is also excellent, with the very precise levels only being of use in games but having a very real benefit.

At this price it's an incredible investment if you play games semi-regularly.

Logitech OEM Ultra X Premium Keyboard USB UK Layout - Silver
Logitech OEM Ultra X Premium Keyboard USB UK Layout - Silver

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, and great value for money, 5 Jan. 2009
Laptop-style keys with very short travel, excellent response and great feel/sound. The sensitivity genuinely speeds up typing with respect to "normal" keyboards and it's easier to clean thanks to the short keys - I give mine a blast with compressed air once in a while. The keys are also easy to remove in case you really need to get into the nuts and bolts, as I do occasionally, and are just as easy to reattach.

The hotkeys are also a welcome sight, but can't (as far as I can see) be reassigned. The browser and e-mail keys do open your default browser and e-mail apps, though, and don't favour MS products.

Looks good, too, and is light and thin overall. At this price it's simply a bargain. If you don't need four billion hotkeys and an LCD display (for games or whatever) and do a lot of typing, it's perfect.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2009 11:03 PM GMT

Yonex Armortec 700 - Badminton Racket
Yonex Armortec 700 - Badminton Racket

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hammer time - a raging beast of a racket, 30 Dec. 2008
The AT700 is unashamedly aggressive. Balanced like a golf club with probably the stiffest shaft in the Yonex line-up, it loves to clear and smash (or anything with a big wind-up such as lifts). As such, it is one of the most demanding rackets as play wears on, so a strong wrist is essential.

The 700 is probably unmatched when it comes to sustained attack, but the balance and stiffness do cause it to suffer when play goes flat - it's very difficult to get used to how it moves when defending shots that switch from side to side.

I would class the 700 as an out and out singles racket, but I have used it in doubles with minimal adjustment (from a 900P). If you get one for use in solid attack knowing its demanding nature you won't be disappointed.

Yonex Armortec 900 Power - Badminton Racket
Yonex Armortec 900 Power - Badminton Racket

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aggressive, but surprisingly controllable, 28 Dec. 2008
The most powerful racket available in the 4U weight class. Balance towards the nose, with a very stiff shaft that kicks very low down, makes for huge head momentum with big swings. The head cross section is in the "box" configuration, giving excellent stability.

The 900P is not as head heavy as a 700, though, so it is better when it comes to defending and reaction drives. In my opinion it is the better doubles racket, especially for mens level doubles, and I have used it for my singles matches very successfully. I play at 29lbs, and the racket copes fine (it's nice that it has the new single-pass grommets as well). Looks good, too, being based on the mark I AT700.

If you lean in favour of attack and have a strong wrist action the 900P is an outstanding racket.

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation - absolutely astonishingly funny even after all this time, 24 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Ricky Gervais (Audio CD)
If you haven't heard of Karl Pilkington, he's a Mancunian radio producer who worked with Ricky and Steve on XFM and was discovered by them to have the most extraordinary opinions ever held by man. This is a selection of material from the podcasts which basically consist of Ricky and Steve metaphorically poking Karl with a stick to see what comes out of his mouth.

I have every minute of Karl's material on my computer and I put them on automatically whenever I use it. I used to listen to it in the car until I was once seized by a laughter attack of such severity that I had to pull in before I crashed - seriously. Some of his musings are truly astonishing and make one wonder how they have been formed, the most famous example being "you never see and old man eating a Twix".

As if KP's opinions weren't funny enough, Ricky's reactions are beyond hilarious - he actually falls out of his chair at some of Karl's utterances, accompanied by his inhumanly manic laughter.

I really can't get across how funny this man is, but if you have seen the Politics special features you will get a small taste. Unlike most trade comedians, though, this never STOPS being funny.

One that just came up as I was listening: "if humans weren't around when there were dinosaurs, how did the dinsoaurs get their names?". Incredible.

Far Cry (PC DVD)
Far Cry (PC DVD)
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £4.20

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent - I still play it compulsively, 23 Dec. 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Far Cry (PC DVD) (CD-ROM)
My PC currently consists of an Athlon XP 3200+ CPU, a Radeon 9800 Pro and 1 GB of DDR (let the laughter commence), but this rig plays Far Cry with absolutely no problems, and boy am I grateful: this is one of the finest FPS ever released. Yes, it pales compared to current games demanding 2 grand's worth of kit, but then so does Resident Evil!

The graphics are excellent, with the jungle stages, in particular, standing out, and the environment is remarkably free-ranging (as opposed to the on-rails style of, say, Doom 3). Objectives can be approached with varying tactics, and enemies behave with uncanny intelligence (for example, summoning help rather than steaming in guns blazing). Weaponry is variegated, there are numerous vehicles that can be commandeered, and baddies include the human and the sub/super human.

I have only a minor criticism in that the SP mode is slightly too easy (even on the "realistic" difficulty setting), so FPS addicts will feel a bit short-changed. Not being one, though, I can play this game through any number of times without getting bored, so it represents the best tenner I've ever spent on games.

YONEX Arcsaber 10 Badminton Racket
YONEX Arcsaber 10 Badminton Racket

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demands a very high level of skill, but pays dividends, 23 Dec. 2008
The previous reviewer is right - it does take some getting used to if you have made your way up using Armortecs and/or Nanospeeds. The outstanding power of the Arc 10 can only be accessed by a very sharply accelerating swing, so beginnners and intermediates might find it frustrating and overly expensive. The balance is even, feeling slightly more head heavy than a Nanospeed 9k, but still moves well at the net. The frame cuts through the air MUCH faster than any other racket, though, so timing will need adjustment, especially on overheads (you'l have to swing later).

It is an EXTREMELY substantial racket, with a very reassuring weight even in 3U. I string mine at 31 lbs and I have supreme confidence it its ability to cope with this tension. The fit and finish are of outstanding quality all round - even the fitted grip is good!

Hard to describe the benefits of the Arc 10, as it isn't as stiff as the stiffest rackets but somehow manages to be just as powerful, while being just as good on the defensive as the top-end Nanospeeds. It's also one of the few rackets that I would feel comfortable using in both doubles and singles, but I would lean very slightly in favour of doubles unless you have a very strong and durable wrist. My backhand smashes improved in almost no time at all - you just have to unload all your power as quickly as possible.

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