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Reviews Written by
S. A. Richards "Pelusa MG" (Minneapolis, USA)

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ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 2007 (PC)
ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 2007 (PC)

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware, 31 May 2007
I appreciate that there are reviewers here who think this Zone Alarm (ZA) product is the best thing since sliced bread, and I would have agreed with them up to buying this version of the security suite...

I had been using the previous version of the ZA suite with no issues, and was fully satisifed that my PC was protected. The firewall allowed me to access what I wanted to access, and the virus scan picked up several unwanted guests prior to their arrival on my hard drive - all was good - Then I bought and installed this newer version, and that is when my troubles began.

Basically, this product paralysed my PC and stopped me doing anything. I use Windows Live Messenger to communicate with my family around the world, and had had no issue logging on and using this service prior to installing this version of the ZA security suite. However, once I had I could no longer access my messenger account other than by shutting down the ZA firewall (not a good idea) even though all my settings were allowing it to be accessed. Upon doing some research, I found that others had experienced the same problem. To address this ZA technical support (on their forum) suggests one should mannually manipulate and delete certain files on the hard drive - but this is not something I would be expecting to do with an expensive piece of security software! I also found that the ZA product was incompatible with other security software I had installed on my PC. As I trusted ZA more than these other companies, I uninstalled everything except the ZA suite. However, that caused my entire system to basically go-slow, to the point that each click and movement of the mouse took 30 seconds to register. My system was all but frozen, so I attempted to uninstall ZA. However, to do that took nearly 40 minutes.

In the end I finally got this product removed from my PC, downloaded the free ZA firewall from their website and a free virus scan from elsewhere, and my system is back to normal and running better than ever!

Postscript: Oh, I contacted ZA to tell them about this issue, and they said that as I had gone past the 30 day refund window I could not get my money back - fair enough, but that means I now have a copy of this product sitting on my bookcase doing nothing, because I am most certainly not going to sell it on (in good conscience) to anyone else!

The Nativity Story [DVD] (2006)
The Nativity Story [DVD] (2006)
Dvd ~ Keisha Castle-Hughes
Price: £6.52

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, entertaining and worthwhile version, 23 Mar. 2007
I enjoyed watching The Nativity Story, and felt it was an interesting, entertaining and worthwhile entry in what is a well-trodden path in the world of film-making. However, in order to see value in this film, one must keep in mind that it is not a blow-by-blow account of the events recorded in the Gospels, but an attempt to expand on and explain what has been written there. In fact, I would go so far as to the say that many times The Nativity Story is really about trying to read-between the lines of what we find in the Gospels. For example, the film picks up on the fact that Mary could have been stoned to death under Jewish religious law for becoming pregnant outside of wedlock, even though no mention of this is found in the Gospels. In fact, one thing the film does very well is to place the Nativity story into a definite social and religious historical context. These were different and difficult times, and by the end of the film one really has good sense of exactly what kind of commitment Joseph made to Mary by agreeing to marry her, even though she was pregnant.

However, saying that the purists amongst viewers of The Nativity Story will not like it, as it does tend to focus on elements which are not specifically recorded in the Gospels. For instance, a good 15-20 minutes of the film is spent tracing Joseph and Mary's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in order to show how they both grew closer to each other and how their relationship developed. Yet in the Gospels, this journey is merely noted by the comment, 'So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child' (Luke 2:4f). There is also the suggestion that Mary and Joseph might have influenced Jesus in some of his teachings, through things they experienced along their journey. For instance, in a conversation with a shepherd one can hear echoes of Jesus' parables about the Talents and the Good Samaritan. Saying that, there are also interesting moments such as when Joseph and Mary discuss how they will know Jesus is the Messiah, and whether this will be due to something he says or does. It is at times like these when I appreciated the film-maker's willingness to explore the depth of the Nativity story. If nothing else, the film brought a rather (too) familiar story alive again, even if along the way it plodded about in the desert, added it's own 'interpretation' of the tale, and even utilised the journey of the wise men for some comic down-time.

The Making of Star Wars : Revenge of the Sith
The Making of Star Wars : Revenge of the Sith
by J. W. Rinzler
Edition: Paperback

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now in awe of what is to come, 7 April 2005
As one who was quick to criticise Episodes I and II (mostly because Vader was not in them) I feel quite ashamed of doing so now having read this volume and seen the incredible amount of work and effort that has gone into Episode III. This book is excellent in the way it brings to life the entire creative process from pre to post production. Not only is it superbly written, particularly with regard to both its documentary and anecdotal aspects, but it is also lavishly illustrated with both orignal artworks and stills from both sides of the camera. It also records the process of developing script elements with the actors during production and describes some of the scenes left on the 'cutting room floor' as a result.
Having read this book, and in particular seen the pictures of the transformation of Anakin into Darth Vader (at last), I cannot wait to see the film. Based on what this book suggests this film will surely be regarded as the best of the rest (even better than Episode V - were that ever deemed possible!?). Having bought this volume I must now purchase The Art of Revenge of the Sith (also by the same author). I know I will not be disappointed. This book has renewed my faith in the prequals (well, maybe not totally when one considers Jar Jar Binks). However, this book sells the story and spectacle of Episode III well and I only hope that this is not the last of what has been a fantastic journey through galaxies far far away. I will be watching in awe as the credits roll and in particular be looking for the cameos by George Lucas (you know him) and Jeremy Bullock (the original Boba Fett). By the way, if you want to know more about these cameos then you will just have to buy... ahh, you know!.

Introducing Evolutionary Psychology
Introducing Evolutionary Psychology
by Dylan Evans
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative introduction which inspires further study, 19 Jun. 2000
Having read Richard Dawkin's Selfish Gene, and being interested in psychology, I was naturally inclined towards this book. It is a good introduction to what is obviously a progressive subject and one that has provoked further questions in my own mind. The author gives a highly interesting account and the illustrations are, as ever, brilliantly illuminating. I would recomend reading this book not only for its content but also for the thoughts it inspires.... Why have we evolved a sophisticated (and comlicating!) consciousness when Dawkins et al regard us to be nothing more than basic gene machines solely concerned with the propagation of ourselves? Why have humans emerged as cognitively superior to animals when the latter manage to propagate effectively without 'our' higher intelligence? These questions (and many others) are not answered in this book but I hope you can begin to see the range of thought it inspires.

No Other Gods: Christian Belief in Dialogue with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam
No Other Gods: Christian Belief in Dialogue with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam
by Hendrik Vroom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hit and miss affair, 26 Oct. 1999
Hendrick Vroom is what is called in Christian theological circles an inclusivist. This means that instead of seeing Christianity at the centre of religious faith (and all other religions as lies) he sees Jesus as the sun around which revolve (in ever decreasing circles) the religions of the world. Some orbit closer than others (E.g Christianity and Islam - his view). It is his intention to show this on the human level. The sad reality is that despite these intentions others have done it better (E.g Keith Ward). This book is by no means a laypersons entry into the subject and seems to flounder in its noticable admission of dealing with the problem of the divinity of Christ when considering the relationship between Christianity and other religions. A problem which yet again has been adequately dealt with eleswhere (E.g. John Hick and the Myth of God Incarnate and The Metaphor of God Incarnate). I find Vroom a hit-and-miss writer. He certainly has some good ideas and is theologically on-the-ball, but he seems to struggle to present these in a lucid way. I always feel he writes too much to say too little. However despite this, (and despite the fact that I disagree with Vroom's core thesis (I am a humanist by the way)) the book has some highpoints and his discussion concerning the nature of faith is one of them.

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