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Andrew Kerr (Scotland)

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Webroot Spy Sweeper 2010 (PC CD)
Webroot Spy Sweeper 2010 (PC CD)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Spyware From Webroots, 11 Jan. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The word "spyware" along with "virus" and "hacker" are examples of buzz words that get thrown around so much that it makes all of us paranoid, to the extent that we end up buying all natures of software to try and save guard against the threat. While I agree that the problem does exist, I disagree with the notion that it is an everyday problem with one popular website claiming that one in three people will be a victim of identity thief at "some point in their life" believing instead that the problem has been (if only slightly) blown out of proportion. Having tried a number of anti-spyware programs in the past and been pretty unimpressed with them and the problems they can sometimes cause (i.e. system resources, longer start-up and shut-down times, errors, etc) I wasn't holding out much hope for "Spy Sweeper 2010," however as things go it is pretty impressive and efficient software.

Installing Spy Sweeper was quick, easy, and problem free and the software updated after I registered. Using the software continued to be easy as the user interface is well laid out. Scanning my computer didn't take as long as I expected only consuming around thirty minutes. System performance did suffer during the scan, but the impact wasn't as severe as other software and it still permits you to minimize the software and runs a second task.

While the software didn't find anything to worry about on my computer (apart from some pretty harmless tracking cookies) it does offer an extra safe guard against spyware. Presuming you are already running an Internet Security Suite it adds another layer of protection making sure that you truly are safe.

However one disadvantage and one I feel is pretty cheeky, is the fact that the software forcefully installs a search engine toolbar in Internet Explorer (I say forcefully because if you uncheck the box it will still install it). I thought that was one of the things the Spy Sweeper is meant to prevent, and I had to spend time removing it.

The packaging that Spy Sweeper arrived in is over the top and not very environmentally friendly as it contains ONLY the installation CD which has a huge box to move around within. It would have been more suited to a DVD jewel case instead. It also would have meant that it would have fitted through my letterbox instead of me having to pick it up from the sorting office.

The `shield' to give you active protection against web treats works perfectly with Internet Explorer but it doesn't work with at all with Firefox, which seems a rather strange omission considering the growing popularity of non-Microsoft explorers.

Spy Sweeper 2010 is fully compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 7, while at the same time working happy alongside with any existing anti-virus and Internet Security Software.

At the end of the day the software does exactly what it is designed to do, and does do for little cost and minimum fuss. While I question the need for it no doubt it will be useful for a those very security concerned users. Just remember that no software will help if you're not careful online.

Kidde KSF1GM 1.0kg Easi Action Home Fire Extinguisher
Kidde KSF1GM 1.0kg Easi Action Home Fire Extinguisher
Price: £25.96

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Have A Smoke Alarm But Then What Do You Do?, 28 Dec. 2009
I'm sure that most people (or I would hope everyone) has the necessary number of functional smoke alarms to protect them by offering an early warning against fire. However I doubt that many people have a fire extinguisher which often surprises me. Most fires will start small and quickly grow feeding on oxygen and being fuelled by everything around them, but if you can stop them when they are small they you save not only property but possibly your life.

I would always recommend that every household has at least one fire extinguisher to offer an additional safe guard as this "Kidde Easy Action Home Fire Extinguisher" is a great place to start.

This extinguisher contains dry powder as opposed to water or foam. This is the ideal fire fighting agent not only for the kitchen but to give you good protection for the home as it can be used on class A, B, and C fires. In other words it's suitable for burning solids such as wood or normal combustibles, flammable liquids and gases, as well as electrical equipment.

This extinguisher is NOT suitable for deep fat fryer or chip pan fires, which requires either a specialist wet chemical extinguisher or fire blanket.

Its small size and light weight make it easy to wall mount, inspect, and most importantly use when needed. The design of the extinguisher also allows for single hand operation with a simple squeezing action which releases the powder (after you have aimed at the base of the fire).

It comes with a five year guarantee and the extinguisher should be replaced after that time. It does recommend that you carry out periodic inspections (usually once a week) just to ensure that it's not been tampered with, the nozzle is clear, and the status indication is still in the green.

I have this fire extinguisher in my kitchen which is the best place as it's the most likely the place where a fire is going to start. Remember that this extinguisher can only be used on small fires, and you should always ensure that you have a clear escape route.

If in doubt get out!

F-Secure Online Backup 2010 (PC/MAC)
F-Secure Online Backup 2010 (PC/MAC)
Offered by PNA247
Price: £42.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Back-Up Solution You May Have Never Considered, 21 Dec. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The jury is still out when it comes to the question of which media is the most suitable for backing-up your data, the question of what is the most reliable and safest method of backing up data. Some prefer external hard drives, others CD/DVD media, others flash, JAZ, or Tape drives, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. With a wealth of options available one method I had never considered before now was using software such as this "F-Secure Online Backup 2010" but as I was about to find out it is a real contender in the epic battle of keeping our data safe from all that can harm it.

Featuring limitless amounts of storage space online, the software allows you to back-up and restore data of any nature online. Your data is encrypted at your end for privacy before being transferred over a secure connection to data centres. The biggest advantage to using F-Secure is the fact that your data will be backed-up to a series of redundant servers meaning that there is very, very little chance that everything could ever go wrong with it, compared to external hard drives failing, DVD discs breaking, and the expensive Tape drives.

Another advantage to using the software is the fact that it runs automatically in the background creating frequent backups of your selected documents, meaning you don't have to manually spend time and effort doing it yourself. All of your data is viewable via a `web portal' over the internet and the contents (such as videos) can be played back using a media player included with F-Secure (in my case Firefox was able to do the same.)

Installing and configuring F-Secure was quick and easy, you can configure exactly what you want to back-up and when, and thanks to a simple and streamlined user interface actually using the software is very straightforward.

The only drawback I can comment on is the fact that should you need to back-up a large amount of data (well into gigabytes) then you should ensure that you have a suitably fast internet connection as while the background runs automatically in the background you would be waiting a longer time for the upload to complete.

When it comes to backing up data F-Secure Online Backup 2010 is well worth considering especially if you are on the move a lot and don't want to be carrying removable media with you wherever you go.

Acronis True Image Home 2010: Backup and Recovery (PC)
Acronis True Image Home 2010: Backup and Recovery (PC)

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back Up Software From Acronis, 14 Dec. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With almost inestimable masses of photographs, documents, music, video files, and whatever else on my computer accumulated over the years it would be suitable to say that my life is on my hard drive. I doubt that I'm the only person in that situation, so needless to say that a back-up solution is essential for all. Acronis True Image Home 2010: Backup and Recovery attempts to make backing up quick, easy, and problem free, but does it succeed?

Acronis True Image Home 2010 is feature packed allowing it to be fully utilized by all regardless of requirements. You can back-up to any form of media from DVD-R to Blue-Ray, and external USB & firewire hard drives as well as everything in between.

Installing the software was very difficult. For some obscure reason you are required to type in a huge 64 digit serial code while installing the software. From what I can gather, you should be able to install the software using only the included 16 digits, then the software is meant to connect to the server. However this did not work for me, not has it worked for anyone else that I've been able to find online. After several restarts and the complete installation of Acronis, the software wanted to update which took around half an hour and yet another restart.

The software can save a lot of time in the long run as it can also back up programs, settings, or applications meaning should the worst come to the worst you don't have to sit at your computer reinstalling every single thing.

Thankfully the software seems to be fully compatible with Windows 7, unlike similar software such as Norton Ghost as well as Acronis own True Image 2009.

However I doubt how useful it is backing up all of your program settings and windows configurations, after all if your system has crashed to the point when the only option is to `start-again' and restore everything, then would you really want to restore all the errors, conflicts, missing shortcuts and everything else that may have caused the problems in the first place.

Everyone has their own preferred methods and opinions when it comes to backing up data. Personally I'll be sticking to my tried and tested method of simply dragging and dropping my personal data over to my external hard drive.

Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth Headset
Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth Headset

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluetooth Of The Gods, 11 Dec. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Claiming to be "one of the most advanced noise cancelling Bluetooth headsets available" the Plantronics Voyager PRO has great expectations to fill. On paper things look very promising as features included a triple layer shield comprising of a stainless steel screen, an electronic filter, and sound absorbing fabrics the purpose of all is to reduce background noise and wind to the minimum possible level. The headset is designed for prolonged wearing and is constructed of flexible rubber that feels "virtually weightless." It is designed and developed also to be both easy to setup and pair with devices, and for everyday use. However as I said that's on paper, so does this Bluetooth head set deliver on what it promises and live up to expectations?

First of all the Voyager PRO is a bit on the large side and it will come down to personal preferences whether or not this turns out to be an advantage or disadvantage. Personally I feel that it's a good size as it's going to remain securely in place and it's not something you're going to have to be constantly adjusting. At the same time you're less likely to lose it should you be the kind of person that tends to lose things. Either way the headset is perfectly comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time, after a few minutes I genuinely forget that I was wearing it as it's very un-obstructive. However at the same time due to its physical size, I suspect that it would more than likely pose a problem if you wear glasses.

I personally feel that the device is very stylish in design making it visually appealing and a pleasure to show off. Again it's down to personal preference and some may find the shape, size, and or colour off putting. The build quality is excellent while also being light weight, the Voyager Pro strikes me as something that's durable enough to withstand repetitive use by even the heaviest handed person and is backed up by a two year warranty.

Setting up the device was quick, easy, and problem free on my Sony Ericsson mobile phone, and I was also able to connect to my laptop (after I had worked out how to switch my blue-tooth on.) Actually using the headset to make and receive calls was straightforward requiring only the tapping of a button on the side and volume can be controlled to two small but easy to press buttons on the top of the device.

Charging the headset can be done using the enclosed AC power adaptor, USB cable or car adaptor meaning it can practically be recharged anywhere at anytime. Thankfully while the battery life of the adaptor is long, charging doesn't actually take that long and an LED will switch off when the battery is full.

Naturally the most important factor when buying a Bluetooth head set is the sound quality. Needless to say the Voyager Pro provided truly excellent sound, and this alone is enough to recommend the headset to you. Both transmitting and reception of sound is crystal clear and distortion free, and it also succeeds in reducing a lot of unwanted background noise such as traffic.

If you're looking for a problem free Bluetooth headset that does exactly what it says on the tin, then look no further as I can find no real reason not to recommend this to you.

Family Guy - Season 8 [DVD]
Family Guy - Season 8 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Seth MacFarlane
Offered by Gameline GmbH.
Price: £4.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't You Know About The Bird? Well Peters Going To Tell You.", 9 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Family Guy - Season 8 [DVD] (DVD)
Thanks to a constantly high standard and several brilliant episodes throughout I thoroughly enjoyed Season 8. Especially note worthy are "Road To Germany" where Mort Goldman mistakes Stewie's time machine for a bathroom and finds himself back in Poland just to be caught up in the German Invasion of 1939. "Baby Not On Board" is an enjoyable and humorous Family Guy take on the Home Alone formula with Stewie left behind. Not to forget "I Dream of Jesus" which see's Peter become obsessed with Surfin' Bird. While those are my personal favourites I should point out that all other episodes in the season are very good and all worthy of the Family Guy title.

The characters that we have known and loved (or hated) since the first season continue to develop and astound. They are all very realistic and three dimensional and are enjoyable to watch on screen. The episode plots and dialogue are nothing less than genius and I can only imagine the time and effort that goes into every episode.

The random cutaway gags are more frequent and more long winded than what they've been in previous seasons. While I've always enjoyed the shows trade mark flashbacks I feel that they need to be toned down as they seem over the top, for example the Conway Twitty video which runs for the full duration in the middle of a episode.

The only thing I dislike is that Stewie (who has been my favourite character since the first season) seems to be becoming increasing camp as the episodes and seasons progress. I personally don't think it suits his character who began as an evil baby bent on world domination with a mean streak to rival a bargain hunter in the January sales.

I'm glad that Family Guy has survived into its eighth season and I hope that it continues far into the future. If your new to the show I would personally recommend that you start from season one and work up to this point as (while not essential) will allow you to develop a understanding, history, and appreciation of what has to be one of the best animated shows on television.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince [DVD]
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £3.86

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has Harry Potter Failed The Fans?, 30 Nov. 2009
The Half Blood Prince is the sixth film in the series and is darker than those before it. Harry is now in his sixth year at Hogwarts and is still upset at the death of his godfather in the previous film, but hardly gets a chance to settle down as the Death Eaters have begun attacking both the Wizard and Muggle worlds. Lord Voldemort has given Draco Malfoy an assignment which in turn forces Professor Snape into making an unbreakable agreement which will result in tragedy. A series of 'accidents' suggest that things are not what they seem in Hogwarts, and then there's the mystery of a classroom textbook market 'the property of the half blood prince' which is packed with hand written notes which helps Harry excel at potions.

There is a great deal of action throughout the film, all of which I felt had been successfully done to a high and impressive standard (the bridge scene at the beginning of the film comes to mind). There were a few romantic subplots present at many points, which act as a contrast and combined with a few good comical moments prevents the film from becoming too dark.

The acting is generally excellent and is to the standard we have come to expect. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson continue to shine in their roles of Harry, Ron, and Emma respectively. Alan Rickman who plays Snape is also worth a mention thanks to his very mysterious persona and the long running question of his true intensions. Michael Gambon is now fully integrated into his role as Dumbledore and delivers perfectly. Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy manages to surpass himself and comes across as desperate, scared and angry on the screen. However I feel that more time could have been given to Maggie Smith, Mark Williams and Julie Walters, and not to forget Robbie Coltrane all of who get little screen times.

Thanks to good use (but not over use) of special effects and sets, the filmmakers have managed to produce various dark, ominous, and even depressing atmosphere and moods that match the dark undertones necessary in the film.

The story behind The Half Blood Prince is great and pretty flawless, thanks to a good script and genuine dialogue the films manages to capitalise on this to produce something (for me at least) entertaining and enjoyable. The various scenes between Harry and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) were touching to behold and enjoyable to watch.

The biggest annoyance for most and the most common reason for complaints is the fact that a lot is either different or missed from the book. I felt after watching the Half Blood Prince that the various gaps in the plot were to 'encourage' people who haven't done so already to read the book. A friend who I was watching the film with asked "why is it called the Half Blood Prince" which you don't know from the film, and have to find out from the book. Saying all of that I understand and agree that it is neither practical nor actually a good idea to make the film page by page, scene by scene the same as the book. What is actually in the film is very good and should viewers shouldn't be focusing on what's missing.

But, there are a number of plot holes especially if you don't have the backing of the book to automatically fill in the gaps as you go. I've already mentioned question of the half blood prince, but additionally questions about Dumbledore and his injured hand, the complete lack of Bill Weasley and others from the film, to name a few.

The lack of Voldemorts past was disappointing as I was looking forward to watching Tom Riddle as a boy and get a real insight into what made him the dark lord as well as information on his parents. Not having this information may present a problem for the next film, unless of course they add it in to the next film instead. The ending to The Half Blood Prince was satisfactory and tear junking, but at the same time seemed slightly rushed and not fully explained. I was slightly disappointed the film didn't have much to do with the half blood prince, but it does succeed in laying the foundations for the next instalment "The Deathly Hallows"

I would recommend that if you haven't seen the previous films or haven't read the previous books (when have you been?) then you should start at the beginning and work up to this point. The story of Harry Potter is deeply complex and unlikely to make much sense unless you have the back-story and history of the characters.

Despite a few problems I actually enjoyed The Half Blood Prince more than The Order Of The Phoenix. So at the end of the day I don't think Harry Potter has failed the fans - it's well worth watching and is without a doubt one of the best films of 2009.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 9, 2009 7:58 PM GMT

Toshiba PA4215E-1HB5 250GB 1.8-inch External Silver Steel Hard Drive
Toshiba PA4215E-1HB5 250GB 1.8-inch External Silver Steel Hard Drive

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Put's Other 'Portable' Hard Drives To Shame, 22 Nov. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When it comes to buying an external hard drive there's no denying that there is more choice on the market than fish in the sea. So needless to say a portable hard drive has to do something special if it wants to stand out and be elevated above all others - and this Toshiba PA4215E-1HB5 (while not the most imaginative nor memorable name) manages to do just that.

First things first the hard drive is tiny in physical size continuing the technological trend of devices getting smaller. It puts other portable (and I used that word loosely) hard drives to shame, as the Toshiba measures an infinitesimal 3.5" by 2.5" in size (approximately), and combined with the fact that it doesn't require a AC power adaptor (only the enclosed USB cable) makes it undeniably portable. The drive's enclosure is constructed of stainless steel which not only aids the ascetic appeal but also owing to the scratch-proof nature ensures that the hard drive continues to look like new and adds to the durability guaranteeing the safety of the data within. Also included in the packaging is a neat carrying pouch.

Of course everything I've just said won't be of much use if the hard drive falls short in the performance department. Needless to say the Toshiba drive proves that it has more than good looks as it delivers high speed data transfer rates regardless if you're dealing with tiny JPEGS or a colossal AVI. While some may feel that the enclosed USB cable is a bit short (and it is at some eight centimetres) it is designed with portability in mind, and can easily be extended by using

While the hard drive is somewhat more expensive that similarly priced capacity drives its well worth the extra cost, especially if portability, design, durability, and performance are important to you.

My Life As A Dog [1985] [DVD]
My Life As A Dog [1985] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anton Glanzelius
Price: £7.99

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Wonderful Piece Of Swedish Cinema, 18 Nov. 2009
My Life As A Dog is based around the life of Ingemar (played by Anton Glanzelius) a 12 year old boy, who along with his older brother have a tendency to cause or to get in trouble. When they become too much for their seriously ill mother to handle (who has been advised by the doctor to get some peace and quiet) Ingemar is sent to live with his relatives. Separated from his mother, his brother, his dog, and everything he has ever known, he thinks of himself similar to the first Dog in space who had no say in where he went. However he soon finds himself surrounded by caring relatives and welcoming classmates. Ingemar joins the boy's football team, starts to play boxing, and quickly makes friends. He also quickly develops a mutual friendship with a similarly aged girl called Sage (who is actually pretending to be boy so she can hang out with the boys and continue to play football.) She entrusts him with the knowledge of her true sex and seeks his help in keeping the fact hidden. All of which results in a heart warming, beautiful and unique picture.

While the film has varying themes and subplots throughout, careful editing and good directing has ensured that things neither become boring nor confusing. While there is a clear cut contrast between the darker moments and the more light hearted moments "My Life As A Dog" effectively manages to maintain the viewers interest at all times, and I personally couldn't turn away from the screen.

The acting from all is second to none and cannot be faulted in anyway possible. Most note worthy however are the two child actors Ingemar and Sage (Anton Glanzelius and Melinda Kinnaman respectively) who both manage to deliver exceptional performances. Taking into account the difficulty of a number of scenes throughout the film, and the complex range of emotions and situations demanded from them, they really are to be applauded. The characters have been brilliantly created and are all magnificent to encounter. Each one comes across on the screen as three dimensional and so realistic, at times it's like they've been plucked out of real life.

My Life As A Dog also has its fair share of humour that's been successfully integrated seamlessly into the film. One scene that comes to mind is during a football penalty. Some of the boys and Saga are lined up, and the boys are doing what comes naturally by protecting their groins with their hands, but Sage (who is still pretending to be a boy) is wrongly protecting her chest. It takes a nudge and a quick glace downwards from Ingemar to remind her. Not to forget several scenes where an old bedridden man calls upon Ingemar to read him catalogue descriptions of woman's underwear.

Regardless of how bad things get Ingemar tends to always compare himself to someone worse than himself, such as a man who was killed by a javelin while taking a shortcut. It's an interesting control method and helps the character cope with much heartache and abandonment.

My Life As A Dog is a film that I've been avoiding reviewing for some time now; simply because it is such a beautiful and flawless film I doubted that I could do it justice in writing. However I hope that I have successfully conveyed this to you and that you will now seriously consider both watching and buying a truly wonderful piece of cinema. I cannot over emphasize how good the film is.

On a final note I should point out that the film does contain a degree of nudity, both full frontal female used in an artistic setting, and several scenes involving Sage used in a coming of age and sexual awakening setting. As well as some crude discussion at the beginning of the film regarding what girls have "inside of them" and what boys 'should' do. I mention all of this owing to the films PG rating which some viewers and or parents may consider unsuitable so viewer caution is advised in that respect.

Jason X [DVD] [2002]
Jason X [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Kane Hodder
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £3.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Weakest Link In The Series, 15 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Jason X [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Released in 2002 and directed by James Isaac, "Jason X" stars Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Chuck Campbell, Jonathan Potts, and Peter Mensah. The tenth film in the saga that is "Friday the 13th" is based mainly in the middle of the twenty fifth century at a time where planet Earth is suffering a polluted related death. Jason who has been in cryogenic suspension for centuries (after a number of unsuccessful attempts to kill him) has been discovered by Professor Lowe and some students who are on a field trip from man-kinds new planet "Earth II". Initially presumed to be dead he is taken aboard for an autopsy when he awakes and once again start to kill all.

I don't think any of the previous Friday The 13th films can boast a successful or even respectable plot, and Jason X continues the trend of over the top-unbelievable stories, rubbish plot developments, and poor dialogue. While I enjoyed the futuristic aspect to the film, believing that more horror films should be based in the future instead of the very over used present, in this case nothing really worked for me, and at the end of the day I was left unimpressed and rather disappointed.

One of the death sequences is interesting (if that's the correct word) and at least the writers have displayed some creativity in trying to give us something we haven't seen before (it's a liquid Nitrogen death if you're wondering) instead of recycling the same old death scenes again and again. But otherwise all the deaths are uninspired and pretty textbook, being based in the future I had been looking out for the use of high-tech, drop dropping, or unusual weapons - sadly Jason seems stuck in the past in more ways than one.

While the body count is high the film itself is not that scary lacking in both suspense and horror. It doesn't manage to come close to achieving the impact delivered by the previous films failing where the others thrived.

Thanks to the less than impressive acting from all and again poor script, none of the characters are note-worthy and come across as two dimensional and boring. You either don't care when someone is killed, or in fact you are looking forward to it simply because they are more annoying than anything else.

At the end of the day Jason X lacks the shine and attention to detail that would have possibly made the film considerably better. Earth II even in name holds no awe-inspiring effect, nor does the outer space element which comes across as unimaginative and unoriginal.

Sadly while I did hold some hope for the film, the rapidly decreasing plausibility of the plot combined with everything else above makes Jason X one to avoid. Most likely the weakest link in the series to date, and you won't be missing anything.

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