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PWG Tennant "Peter Tennant" (England)

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Altec Lansing MX5020 Powered Audio Stereo Speakers - Black
Altec Lansing MX5020 Powered Audio Stereo Speakers - Black

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best 2.0 Computer Speaker Set, 14 Aug. 2006
Unlike most PC speakers, the Altec Lansing MX5020s are aimed at those with a discerning ear for quality sound. Rather than offering high volume and overpowering base, these speakers simply aim to produce the best sound for the money. And overall they do a very good job. Bass is surprisingly powerful (due to the MAXX Bass technology), but remains rich and defined throughout, a far cry from the random thumping that can plaque cheap 2.1 speaker sets. Meanwhile, the medium and upper ranges are reproduced crisply with detail throughout. Most impressively, the treble sounds clear and luxuriant, rather than sharp and abrasive, as is often the case for computer speakers.

Physically, the speakers are larger than you'd expect, but given the polished black finish the size is easily forgivable, as they look stylish alongside any computer, visual or audio equipment. Separate controls are provided for treble and bass, as well as the usual headphone socket, which prevents fiddling around at the back of a computer when you need to switch over. There's even a handy auxiliary input that allows you to plug in a second audio device (such as an MP3 player).

Overall, if you're looking for the best quality 2.0 computer speaker set then these are it. Only the relatively high asking price prevents them from achieving the full 5 stars.

The Movies (PC DVD)
The Movies (PC DVD)

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Opportunity, 23 Jun. 2006
This review is from: The Movies (PC DVD) (Video Game)
Once again, Peter Molyneux oversees another magnificently original gaming idea. Unfortunately, much like the original Black and White, the finished article fails to live up to the enormous potential.

The Movies is a simulation game set in Hollywood which (for the majority of the time) plays like a mix between The Sims and a classical tycoon game (such as theme park). Your duty is to control all the factors involved in movie making; hiring and caring for actors and directors (as well as other peripheral staff such as scriptwriters and janitors), building and maintaining sets, and generally making sure everything runs smoothly. Although this part of the game is reasonably entertaining (if you're into tycoon-like games), it quickly become repetitive and eventually painfully tedious. This is an enormous shame because it overshadows the most exciting and innovative feature of the game: the ability to write and direct your own script.

Using the Custom Script Office, gamers can choose from a large variety of scenes to build up a unique film of their choice. This is undoubtedly the most exciting part of The Movies game and it is definitely fun making the first few films. Unfortunately it is not quite the finished article is could (or should?) have been. For example, it can be quite a difficult task finding any two scenes that even fit coherently together, let alone the ones you wanted for your story. The add on pack Stunts and Effects improves on the situation by allowing freeform control of the camera, but there are still placement issues for the actors (in one scene you might want your actor to walk up to a ringing phone and pick it up, but then you find that all other available telephone scenes show the actor sitting down). Overall, The Movies is a truly brilliant idea, and can be real fun, but is also tedious and frustrating in equal portions.

Belkin F5D8630uk4A ADSL2+ Router with Modem * MIMO
Belkin F5D8630uk4A ADSL2+ Router with Modem * MIMO

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disaster, 24 April 2006
After suffering with a slow and unstable router for over a year, I decided to buy the Belkin Pre-N ADSL Router because it promised the best performance on the market, especially considering I already had a Pre-N notebook card. Unfortunataly, what I experienced was woefully short of the standard you'd expect for such a 'premium' product.

The first router I attempted to set up totally failed to beam out a wireless signal. When I had it replaced, the situation unfortunataly became more frustrating. This time, the router initially worked fine but as the hours passed by it would get slower and slower until it eventually stopped completely, requiring a complete hardware reset.

Searching though a few online forums has revealed this problem appears to be worryingly common. It may simply be due to early teething problems with Belkin's firmware, however given the price of the product I do not consider this acceptable.

My advice is that if you're considering buying a top of the range router then hold off for a few months until the full 802.11n protocol is adopted. Otherwise go for one of the cheap but reliable 802.11g routers on the market.

Half-Life 2 (DVD ROM)
Half-Life 2 (DVD ROM)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolved to a peak, 7 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Half-Life 2 (DVD ROM) (Video Game)
No-one quite knew exactly when Half-Life lost its "Best Game Ever!" crown... Somehow, despite the exceptionally fond memories, it just doesn't seem the same when played any more, the rough edges have become just slightly too raw... Perhaps the crown simply rusted away, or perhaps such crude generalisations just went out of fashion. Regardless, Half-Life 2 is Valve's attempt to produce another mighty piece of history. And they do pretty well...
When you first install Half-Life 2, you will unfortunately be hassled by a series of compulsory online registration procedures. Clearly it's all in the name of anti-piracy - but my opinion is such intrusiveness isn't necessary and provides for quite a frustrating wait - you should NOT have to wait an hour after putting in a disc before you can play a new game. At least after registration you can play in offline mode (useful for dial-up individuals who can't risk blocking their phone line all night)
This frustration is thankfully quickly forgotten by a game of such polish, that you'd be blinded, were you not so star-struck. Once again you play the mighty Gordon Freeman PhD. as he takes on the nasties (human or otherwise) of this world. This takes place in a stunningly rendered world, which although technically inferior to some games, is as REALISTIC as it comes. Not only is everywhere believable but the physics engine is totally astonishing, allowing a highly impressive level of object interaction.
The levels themselves, although not brilliantly scripted, are varied and stunningly crafted. Although quite linear, every map tells a story by itself, and valve has done a very good job introducing variation. Some levels you're racing by at pace in vehicles, other's you're trying to outfox some rather witty humans, and other's your just darn scared.
Yes Half-Life 2 takes on many other titles at their own game, and in most cases wins. It is a superbly crafted game that puts many to shame. I would recommend any fan of First Person Shooters to either buy it, or have a very good excuse, involving their gran being violently allergic to computer games or something. Enjoy...
P.S. Although fairly spec demanding, this game is not a killer to older PC's; it ran quite brilliantly on my two year old Athlon 2400 with Radeon 9700 - far FAR better than Doom 3 did (chug chug!)

Rome: Total War (PC)
Rome: Total War (PC)
Price: £3.49

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dangerously Addictive, 21 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Rome: Total War (PC) (Video Game)
The real time strategy was born into mainstream existance thanks to a pair of fairly well known brands going by the names of Command & Conquer and Warcraft. The genre which has since grown out of them has produced a myriad of classic games and the progeny that now exists, in many people's minds, have totally swept away the aging father of turn based games forever.
Although I personally have always prefered RTS's to turn based games, part of me thought it was a great shame that their untouchable detail and tactical scope had faded... Faded that is, until now!
Combining civilisation-like turn based management and diplomacy with astounding RTS battle sequences that obliterate anything seen before, Rome: Total War is a hybrid of terrifying brilliance!
I severely warn ANYONE who wants to buy this game to consider this, Do you have several hours a day free? Since once you've experienced thousands of men marching in awesome environmental sound, each graphically detailed in their own right, you'll find yourself saying "just ten more minutes" for many days to come.
This is a truely amazing game, that has relit the flames of computer games strategy to Olympic proportions. I recommend it to anyone who wants to feel strategy as it was meant to be...

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