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Reviews Written by
C. Howarth (Cheltenham, UK)
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Cherry G80 High Quality Click Action Keyboard G80-3000LSCGB-2
Cherry G80 High Quality Click Action Keyboard G80-3000LSCGB-2
Price: £60.56

4.0 out of 5 stars Terrible build quality offset by the brilliance of the tactile experience, 8 July 2012
I have been through several of these. No matter how much I look after them, keys always start to cease functioning after several years ago. Like a mug, however, I keep buying them, because the the keyboard is an utter joy to type on - the tactile experience is brilliant. If you can afford circa £15 every few months, it's worth it.


Philips SHE9700/00 In-Ear Headphones
Philips SHE9700/00 In-Ear Headphones
Offered by A to Z
Price: £11.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Break Very Easily, 28 July 2009
The sound quality and bass is good, and they feel good in the ear...

...however, all this is irrelevant as you will have so little time to appreciate these qualities, it's not worth it. I've had 3 Philips in-ear headphones (2 of this model, 1 of another) and all have inexplicably broken after a few months. Stay away as I now shall be doing.


Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (PC DVD)
Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (PC DVD)

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Game Badly Converted to PC, 14 Jan. 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
There is no doubt that PES6 is a superb step forward in the franchise. Play is more realistic than before, with players moving into space intelligently and no absurd long-range goals that could never happen in real life. Perhaps most rewarding in terms of replayability is that there is no longer one main way to score. In PES3 once you got the ball out to the wing you could score pretty much every time. PES5 was better on this front, but again wing play combined with low crosses had a disproportionate rate of success.

PE6 is much less predictable, and requires more thought into how you're going to unprise the opposition defence.

But while it's all well and good, Konami have again given us an embarrasing half-hearted conversion to PC. Like in previous editions, there's no attempt made to utilise the better functionality of PCs. We still get key-mapping based on console controllers.

But worst of all is the completely botched job in terms of making the game compatiable with PC graphics cards, particularly ATI chipsets. It seems the more modern your graphics cards is, the worse it will play. Apparently, Konami are working on a patch, but I'm not holding out much hope. In the meantime apparently they are recommending unofficially using a (dubious) no CD crack, which seems completely mad. However, it did seem to improve things for me so I could play it on one computer, albeit on the lowest graphics setting.


Stratification: Social Division and Inequality
Stratification: Social Division and Inequality
by Wendy Bottero
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Text, 22 Oct. 2006
An excellent, well-written book. It covers a huge area of Sociology but is written so concisely that you never feel as if something has been considered too briefly or glossed over. Some of the differing accounts of stratification are undoubtedly complex, but it is written so well (unlike many academic texts) that it is relatively easy to understand them.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 22, 2007 6:26 PM GMT


Long Days Black Nights
Long Days Black Nights
Price: £14.23

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent band, 15 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Long Days Black Nights (Audio CD)
First, I must admit that this compilation is really my first experience of Magnum's varied output but my impression of them has been very positive. Included on the discs are several truly exceptional songs, "How Far Jerusalem", "The Spirit" and naturally "Kingdom of Madness" being among them.
But listening to the three CDs you may be able to guess at one possible reason why Magnum never achieved huge commercial success. It seems to be difficult to identify one particular sound running through all the songs: their material is extremely varied and consequently lacks identity. The songs which are, in my opinion, the best are the heavy metal type ones. But a lot of the songs, particularly on CD 3, are much more like 70s pop. Some do not even have electric guitars in them. None of these is weak, they are just not as good as the heavier ones.
This Schizophrenia detracts from a superbly talented band and is the reason why I would give this anthology 4, and not 5, stars. But even in the stuff which I view as weaker, you can see incredible talent behind the music.


D-Link DSL-200 ADSL USB Modem
D-Link DSL-200 ADSL USB Modem
Offered by Wiredwireless
Price: £2.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, cheap modem, 6 Sept. 2004
I certainly don't claim to be an expert on modems, but from my experience this one seems to be a well-made, good value-for-money product. No doubt it has long been superseded by faster, more modern modems, but I have had no problems with the speed of it - it is as fast as the Alcatel Speedtouch modem I had before it broke.
One minor complaint I have is that, although installation was generally easy and straightforward, it required me to specify some settings which I had to contact my ISP to get. My previous modem did not need these settings.
But overall a solid, good value-for-money product.


A Fish Called Wanda (Special Edition) [DVD] [1988]
A Fish Called Wanda (Special Edition) [DVD] [1988]
Dvd ~ John Cleese
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.94

9 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Average film, but certainly no classic, 6 Sept. 2004
After watching this, I am at a loss to explain why it has been so critically acclaimed. It's a decent enough film, but is certainly not on a par with "This is Spinal Tap" and "Airplane", with which it has been compared.
The main problem with it is that the humour is simply not funny. It seems to revolve around dreadful slapstick and characters with eccentries that are devoid of comical value. Take for example Michael Palin's character. He has a wildly over-the-top stutter. How hilarious. This particular joke is made even worse by repeating it to the point of complete tedium. Another dreadful joke that again involves Palin's character involves him trying to murder an old lady but instead managing to kill her dogs every time. Similarly side-slitting. The film has been touted as British comedy at its best. This is a country renowned for having a good sense of humour, but this is certainly not a good example of it. It seems more like poor American humour - it's certainly not typical British humour.
The poorness of the humour exposes a weak plot that is only saved by decent performances from the actors playing the main parts. John Cleese is the best of them, but not because he brings his brand of Monty Python-esque humour to it, but because he is convinving in his role and has considerable screen presence.
Perhaps part of the problem for me is that it is not my type of comedy. I can see that other people might find it funny - I am just not one of them. Perhaps then this review is a bit unfair. However, fundamentally the absurd humour on which it relies, which is so well conveyed in the likes of "Airplane" and the Monty Python films, falls flat on its face. This film is overrated.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2015 7:26 PM GMT


Coupling: Complete Series 4 [DVD]
Coupling: Complete Series 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Davenport
Offered by A1-Media
Price: £9.50

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as previous series, but still brilliant, 11 Aug. 2004
A lot of the criticism levelled at this fourth series is unfair. Although perhaps not quite as good as the previous series, series 4 is nevertheless extremely funny - far more so than the vast majority of the other sitcoms made today.
The main reason why this series is not as good as the previous ones is the absence of Geoff, who was the best character in series 1-3. The character of Oliver, who could never fully replace Geoff, nevertheless fills the vacuum reasonably well.
We have to do without the surreal analogies of Geoff that previous series relied heavily on. Instead, the writers have fleshed out the characters of Sally and Patrick, who, particularly in the case of Patrick, had more minor roles before. Although Sally becomes annoying at times, this largely works. And despite the absence of Geoff, there are still plenty of surreal scenes that represent Coupling at its best.
To give this series one or two stars simply because it is not quite as good as previous series is ridiculous. It is still brilliant comedy fully deserving of five stars.


Toca 2 Touring Car
Toca 2 Touring Car

5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Driving Sim, 10 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Toca 2 Touring Car (Video Game)
TOCA 2 is a highly addictive, challenging game that, despite its age, remains as fun as any racing game today.
Saying it is difficult is an understatement. The slightest mistake and you are sent spinning back to last position. But in its difficulty is its addictiveness. You always feel that you can win so long as you don't make any mistakes - but that's something that is easier said than done.
There are a few drawbacks that, although by the standards of 2004 might be considered serious, I don't think particularly detract from the enjoyment. First, the ability of the opposition is highly variable. On some tracks it is possible to win on expert mode by 25 seconds despite the race being only 5 laps. On others, the opposition pose much more of a challenge. Secondly, the game is sometimes frustratingly hard. Although the fact that it punishes you for the slightest mistake is a strength, sometimes it seems you spin out for no particular reason. The first corner of the Brands Hatch Circuit has often caught me out and I have so failed to work out what I am doing wrong.
However, these faults do little to seriously hinder the enjoyment. Although it is clearly an old game, it is nevertheless huge fun.


Championship Manager: Season 03-04 (PC CD)
Championship Manager: Season 03-04 (PC CD)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Improvement, 24 July 2004
This latest addition to the Championship Manager series refines CM4, but the new features and improvements do not add up to a complete overhaul.
However, as always, this version is superb. The attention to detail and the care put into making this are mind-boggling.
The CM series aims at a wide range of players, and it would be difficult for the creators to please everyone. Like CM4 before it, this version is still perhaps too easy. If you micromanage everything and spend hours in search of transfer targets, you can turn a Division 3 or Conference side into a team of stars. With Lincoln City, I managed to win the League Cup in my first season even with unknown players' attrirbutes hidden (a feature you can turn on to make the game harder), beating Man Utd 6-2 in the final. This was not because I am good, it was because the game rewards micromanagement. If you are a player who likes to micromanage, you will likely find the game too easy. But more casual players will find it much more of a challenge. Trying to accommodate for the two types of player inevitably leads to a trade-off.
If you play the game for a long time, you begin to notice many of the faults of the game. Another one I found in CM4 that has not been changed in CM 03/04 is that, if you win a few competitions, the prize money won means that you buy players which your competitors cannot. So if, relative to the other teams in your league, you are good, you can quickly become a team far above their level. Success does not bring with it a set of new challenges. After the first season of squad-building, the game can become too easy. You can turn a Division 3 or Conference side with pitiful attendances into the richest and most successful club in the world after a few seasons.
All these criticisms may be nit-picking, but they begin to become frustrating if you play for several seasons. Nonetheless, casual players will find this an absolutely superb simulation of football management - its competitors do not come close in terms of quality and realism.
If you already own CM4, however, there is little need for you to buy this. The new features such as the goal of the month competition and improved media interaction are nice, but in no way change the core of the game. What is welcome is the dramatic reduction in the number of bugs that plagued the previous game, although from time to time the game still crashes.
It's still as slow as ever when you click to forward time, but you can do others things while you wait like Alt-Tab out of the game and look on the Internet or play Solitaire.
None of the criticisms discussed is supposed to detract from the fact that this is a brilliant game that no-one with even the slightest interest in football management should be without.


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