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Mr. R. M. Brown (Canterbury, England)

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Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 1000
Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 1000

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Wot It Says On The Tin' Mouse, 14 Feb. 2012
I suppose I could give you some preamble justifying my expertise in judging computer mice, but really, I think everyone has been using these things for decades now so that's all par for course.

The simple facts in my case are these: bought this mouse back in 2007 and it's still going strong with hours of daily use (easily over 2000 hours): no sticky keys, no loose or broken wheel (even the much maligned third wheel button is still working where it's supported), no dodgy laser pickup or USB malfunction, no problems whatsoever.

What you get: extremely comfortable ambidextrous mouse design, L&R buttons, a wheel, wheel button and Microsoft's reliability. I'm sure a lot of people would talk of it as an 'entry level' peripheral or some nonsense but it is absolutely up to standard for anything you want to throw at it, applications, games, and so on. Classic version of a classic product line.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2012 9:30 PM BST

UFO Extra terrestials
UFO Extra terrestials
Offered by PNA247
Price: £4.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy X-COM clone once heavily modded, 8 Mar. 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
The vanilla game represented a decent attempt at a clone of the much-loved original, albiet with some bizarre bugs/omissions which had a negative impact on the nostalgia factor. However, modders have been working almost tirelessly since release to build up on the game, to the point where as of writing it now plays like an enhanced modern remake of the original. Therefore, I would recommend you buy this game, but if you are looking for an X-COM remake in 2011, then I would also recommend you mod it.

review: 4 stars for good effort on original, 5 stars if modded.


More detail on the mods, update for 2011 for new players:

You can purchase either this version or the GOLD version which is available, and mod them to exactly the same final position. The GOLD version is an official release which incorporates the modding work of bman and Coasty, but strips some elements from the game for licensing reasons. This version is the original older release, but the current mods work the same way with either.

After bman/Coasty's work got the official release in the GOLD version, another user Grayfiend took up the job of building the mod, and it is his 'UNIMOD' which the majority of users now play with. You can find this mod very easily by searching the internet.

For total newcomers to X-COM, the original is still a great place to start. You'll need to run it through a free program called DOSBox. However, equally I'd recommend purchasing UFO:ET for a modern experience. It might be best to start only installing bman/Crafty's mod (you can find this by searching) since it is more simplified. If you purchase this version, mod it using bman/Crafty's 4.07 mod. If you purchase the GOLD then you wouldn't need to mod it further (but you would lose some content).

Grayfiend's UNIMOD is quite advanced for new users but is still highly recommended for numerous fixes and additions to the core game - and if you are a turn-based strategy veteran or simply brave (!) then you should give it a go! Buy this OR the GOLD version, it doesn't matter.

Hope this helps, please comment me if you like, keep the UFO:ET/X-COM spirit alive!

The West Wing - Complete Season 1-7 [DVD] [2006]
The West Wing - Complete Season 1-7 [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Martin Sheen
Price: £36.00

110 of 138 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great TV show, poor DVD box set, 18 Oct. 2009
When it comes to the quality of TV on offer, I have little complaints. The West Wing is solid television and up there with some of the best light drama series around. Even if it never quite matches the heady heights of shows on offer from HBO (like The Wire or Deadwood), the show is remarkably consistent and very rarely is there an episode which disappoints.

But let's talk about this box set. Simply a very poor effort all round.

Firstly, the two opening seasons are in 4:3 aspect ratio, when the widescreen versions exist and have been made available on DVD in other regions. The widescreen versions are superior in picture quality and broadcast much better. I believe they were even aired in this country in widescreen.

The third season onwards is widescreen, however the episodes are non-anamorphic, meaning a letterboxed fixed-sized widescreen image with black bars on the top and bottom. The picture quality is terrible, and the framing appears badly 'zoomed' (the credits for example appearing rather large, and the characters heads even being chopped off in some cases.

Simply not good enough, and not worth the money.

Any West Wing fans would be better off ordering the Region 1 set from American which contains fully anamorphic widescreen DVDs, with better picture quality. Most if not all DVD players these days support multi-region viewing (in fact I believe those DVDs are all-region anyway).
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2014 10:19 AM BST

Price: £15.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly five years worth of music., 4 July 2007
This review is from: Timecapsule (Audio CD)
Keeping it short and simple: FingaThing's albums are things that you should sit down and listen to in full, since they're electronic odysseys of the classic kind. Splitting the tracks up just doesn't work. They're still great, but you lose all the effect of, say, 'Music to Watch Aliens By' or 'Synergy', which come right at the end of an hours worth of stargazing on 'Big Red Nebula'.

Any FingaThing fans will likely have all these tracks anyway, so this is not even a purchase for the completists. Newcomers will do well to check out Superhero Music and Big Red Nebula separately.

Earth Defence Force 2017 (Xbox 360)
Earth Defence Force 2017 (Xbox 360)
Price: £30.06

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Giant ants + big explosions = FUN, 8 May 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If you have a Xbox 360 and a suitably inclined friend, then kick back with this and you'll easily see a few hours slip by every day as you fight back the invasion of the alien bug horde.

Probably the most bizarre release this year: a pseudo-budget title with dodgy 50s B-movie aspirations, or simply a development misfire? Either way you won't care, the camp voiceovers, ridiculously over the top action and thousands of alien invaders are a worthy foil for any of the latest blockbuster titles. This is pure arcade fun in the truest sense, hilarious challenging and addictive - 55 levels, 5 difficulty levels. Easy and Normal for solo play, Hard and Hardest are, well, HARD, but great for co-op. Inferno is a gaming Everest for completists! Each level takes roughly 10-15 minutes to complete, with a few longer exceptions, and on each difficulty level above you will receive better weapons, which keeps you fighting onwards.

As a solo experience it pales in comparison to playing with a friend, mainly because on Hard difficulty and above it is extremely difficult and it usually helps to have someone else drawing the insects their way! This was made for two players fighting side by side, killing bugs, accidentally killing each other, laughing at the stupid dialogue..

It might be a budget title but as long as you don't expect anything more complicated than thousands of bugs invading Earth story wise you won't be disappointed with the gameplay - pick a weapon, point and shoot, destroy buildings and obstacles, fight harder enemies (giant robots etc), repeat ad inFUNitum. The graphics are completely passable, not bad looking at all, sometimes beautiful, and it's the only game where you'll see literally hundreds of units all on screen plus massive explosions and buildings falling down. The framerate goes south sometimes but it just adds to the hilarity of it all.

4 stars for the lack of multiplayer options which would have catapulted it above and beyond, and for many small things which could have been added (even in a budget title) to make it a quirky masterpiece.

Trust SP-3600A 28W 2.1 Speaker System
Trust SP-3600A 28W 2.1 Speaker System

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trust SP-3600A Speakerset, 7 Oct. 2005
Like the reviewer above, I too bought these speakers to take with me to University as they are the ideal size to fit on or around a desk, and they are also stylishly designed. I've got no complaints.
For a relatively cheap set of speakers, they easily out-perform every other 2.1 set in this price range, so much so that they can't really be called entry-level models, but exist in a class of their own. They also credibly match upto expensive alternatives. The sound is sharp, rich and deep, the subwoofer gives a beefy undistorted bass and the dynamic use of three mini speakers on each tower creates a wider sound environment. Listening to some music it was easy to pick out instruments and effects I'd never heard before.
I use these speakers with Winamp on my computer for music, and they sound great with no Equalizer settings applied (although I nudge the bass down low for late-night music!). A slight issue on some types of songs is a little distortion/fuzz on some types of notes if the music is played loud - the speakers can be heard to fizzle a little at the points. However this occurs fairly rarely and is easily ignored. I wouldn't count it against buying this product, for example.
The speakers are at their best when watching films - either on a computer/laptop (I use the latter) or plugged into a TV as extra outputs. The stereo effect is awesome, the sound seems to fill the whole space in front of your seat, not just the left and right channels.
Another thing to mention is, like the previous reviewer said, the cables being fairly short - although I had no issues with the length when I set them up on my desk, the power cable probably limits use to that kind of environment, and you may well need a plug extension depending on your room layout.
Other than what I've mentioned I have no complaints, and for this kind of price you literally cannot go wrong with this quality set of speakers.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2012 9:54 PM BST

Blade Runner
Blade Runner
Price: £5.51

29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete., 5 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Blade Runner (Audio CD)
Well, this soundtrack is good for a quick listen, but for film fans who adore the film it's not going to whet your appetite. The themes are either cut short or present in an edited form, and the majority of the music from the 117 minutes runtime (which was almost constantly underscored) is not on this CD. I would recommend avoiding this purchase if you're looking for a musical experience to match that of the film.
The best solution at this current date is to hunt down the Esper Edition bootleg, released recently (either late 2004 or early 2005 depending on who you believe). This is not the first bootleg of the Blade Runner music - 20 such versions exist, thanks mostly to the untimely release of THIS soundtrack some 12 years post the release of the film itself. Vangelis himself has at points given support to such versions, even going so far as to release an extended 'private' soundtrack with around 200 copies (which of course was swiftly copied and distributed amongst the hardcore). However, the Esper Edition is somewhat definitive - it has excellent sound quality and takes almost all of the music used in the film.
Hopefully someday this will be released officially, but until then it would be a waste of money to purchase this rather limp stop-gap.

Doom 3 (Xbox)
Doom 3 (Xbox)
Price: £9.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Hated the PC version.. love this!, 30 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Doom 3 (Xbox) (Video Game)
On the PC, the single player was lacklustre in comparison to Half-Life 2, despite the fact that it was - and is - technically the most advanced game on the market. I sold that game within a week of Christmas because I found it clunky and plagued with stop-start gameplay. I was very disppointed.
Yesterday I rented this and have spent countless hours since playing the online co-op play over Xbox Live with a friend. It is quite simply one of the greatest gaming experiences I've ever had. Not only has the gameplay been superbly ported to the Xbox (this is a 700MHZ CPU with a GeForce 3, let's not forget - an equivalent PC would struggle) but it's also been significantly adapted. In the online coop, there are no cutscenes and there are no side missions, and there is no intro sequence - what is left is a killer run-and-gun storyline which never lets off the tension, with harder and more numerous enemies to dispatch with your partner.
Xbox Live has been the making of this game for me. If you're able to play it over Live then it's an experience not to miss out on - hearing the tortured screams of your friend alongside your own is a unique pleasure!

The Abyss (One-Disc Edition) [DVD] [1989]
The Abyss (One-Disc Edition) [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ Ed Harris
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £3.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Abyss, 24 May 2005
James Cameron's third film proper is a suitably grandiose action adventure about human exploration and development. Where his two previous films (The Terminator, Aliens) had used emotion mainly as a counterpoint to the action scenes that followed, here Cameron manages to sustain an engaging level of emotional content throughout the runtime, drawing a vivid cast of characters (helped by two stand out performances from Ed Harris and Mary E. Mastrantonio) and then pitching them into the deep end. So to speak.
In fact, what makes The Abyss so interesting is the ways in which it differs from the films that he'd already made. If Aliens was all about the idea of species colliding, and Terminator was a unstoppable violence-fest, then Abyss is the total antithesis; it's underlying subtext speaks of fear over unmitigated aggression and all the destructive tendencies of mankind are unashamedly condemned. Where in Aliens Michael Biehn's Cpt. Hicks is totally cool under pressure, severed from his chain of command, and forced to endure a situation beyond his training, Lt. Coffey is forever simmering just below boiling point.
Cameron's other films also talked about machines, and The Abyss is no exception. The other two pitched humans in direct conflict with two forms of mechanical beasts - The Terminator, famously "living tissue over metal endoskeleton", and the horrific xenomorphs of his action sequel which are undeniably mechanistic. In The Abyss, though, all the machines are passive and/or ameliorative forces. Plotwise it would be sinful to give away any more, but as a counterpoint to his previews works The Abyss makes an interesting study.
The Abyss is oft-overlooked. It is overlong, and there is sometimes a mis-balance between the tense buildup periods and the action sequences that follow - both sometimes seem either too long or too short. However, for the most part few audiences will take issue when Cameron's vision is so frequently awe-inspiring, and the polished production provides as many exciting moments as it does. The underwater photography is consistantly stunning, and the director never fails to involve the water when it should be part of the filmic environment - lesser helmers would have worked out numerous work-arounds for tricky sequences, like Ed Harris swimming around bubble-less under the belly of the rig (although the actor has since famously prickled over the making of the film). Because of this, the water maintains a brooding and threatening presence even when off-screen, the sense of the action being many, many metres below sea-level is never lost and adds a terrific subconscious element to the emotional fireworks. The finale is star-gazing film fantasy at its best, (and was later echoed in a similar sequence in Contact).

The Matrix (BFI Film Classics)
The Matrix (BFI Film Classics)
by Joshua Clover
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Matrix - BFI Modern Classics, 29 Mar. 2005
Contrary to expectations, Joshua Clover's analysis of this modern masterpiece is rather excellent. Where other authors have fallen into the trap of focussing on the (pop) philosophy mumblings within the films design (a trap posed by the Wachowskis themselves), Clover rightly sidesteps this and takes it as merely a feature of a clever film concerned with much more than being pointlessly verbose.
By taking this tack, Clover risks offending those who see the Matrix as little more than a philosophical sideshow (a brilliant sideshow in their eyes), which is a brave stance to take and is the reason why this book is worth buying - it offers a reasoned, intellectual analysis of The Matrix as a film about the real world, a modern metaphor, rather than pandering to the fans. Whilst certain philosophical references are focussed on (like the digital disc inside 'Simulacra & Simulation'), the point of these is not only to unravel what they might say about the story, but what they say about the film itself relevant to its 1999 context.
The result is a text that offers up some interesting new angles on a film that has been covered by many, many people already. I personally liked the dissection of Keanu Reaves/Neo as something of a Baudrillardian cipher, or the chapter focussing on the film as a spectacle. Whilst this is an intellectual work, Clover maintains a light, entertaining writing style throughout. The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is that in some areas I would have loved to have read more, and would have liked perhaps closer more detailed reference to certain shots, or more background information - something, for comparison, that Dana Polan's guide to Pulp Fiction did.
But if the only complaint is that I wanted more, I guess that's no bad thing!

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