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Showing posts from 2007

Roasting your own coffee beans - WOW!

I used Sweet Maria'soven roasting method - Gas mark 9 (500 degrees) to roast the green beans for about 10 minutes - the roasted beans and grounded coffee came out looking roughly the same colour as store bought beans / ground coffee, but the taste! WOW! Soo smooth and divine, with LOTS of crema, when compared to store bought beans that tasted SO bitter. (Admittedly the store beans were a couple of weeks old).

Definitely a must try if you are setup with your own bean grinder and coffee maker then you absolutlely HAVE to try roasting your own coffee beans! You can view the original photos here.

My new Car, a VW Scirocco Scala 1.8i

Wifi woes...

I've never really had many wifi problems before, apart from a cheap brandless wifi router that packed in after 5 months a couple of years ago... but just this last week my laptop wifi stopped working, my Linksys wireless router stopped doing the wireless, and a £10 edimax PCI wifi card I bought also wouldn't work properly...

so I bought a new Linksys router - but the PCI wifi card was running dog slow, so I suspected the router had poor range - and then bought a Netgear 108mbps wireless router with 108mpbs USB dongle... only to find the PCI wifi card was faulty as the new router and dongle walked flawlessly, however, the PCI wifi card was still as slow as snails.

So everything was running fine (with the new netgear router and dongle), until the PC with the USB dongle was knocked over, and the dongle was damaged, and now that wifi connection seems dodgy! grrr.

I now have:
1 faulty Linksys router (wifi doesn't work)
1 spare working NEW Linksys router
1 faulty built in wifi in th…

Canon Pixma ip2500 A4 Photo Printer (Mini Review Updated)

Looking for a new photo quality printer? I was, and decided the Canon Pixma ip2500 seemed like a good choice, from £32 (£45 in PC World). Print quality and features appear to be very good for the price, offering "Photo lab quality". Black is very black. Colours seem overly saturated on default settings. Installation on Windows XP is very easy - on Vista I had much less luck, ie it didn't work. If you want cheaper running costs then the Epson D92 may be a better choice due to cheaper replacement cartridges (£6 for the Epsons, vs £12 for the Canon).

+ Price - around £30 online, amazon, ebuyer
+ 30 Matte photo sheets included free
+ Very quick printing (22ppm black, 16ppm colour)
+ Borderless photo quality printing
+ 100 sheet doc feeder
+ Fairly quiet (night quiet mode also available)
+ Colour and image quality good on basic paper

- No USB cable included (annoyingly the standard for printers)
- Doesn't want to install with Vista (XP fine)
- Colours appear overly saturated on de…

Home 2 Rome

We're off to home 2 rome! The car we are taking (a Mazda 626 1.8 LX) has made it to 140,000 miles on the clock! If you feel like giving some money to charity, then you can do that here. More details on Facebook!

KIA Cee'd Test Drive Weekend User Review

The usual "new car" syndromes are apparent* - you can't see the front of the car, the ride height is high (and the seat can't be lowered very well), the visibility through the back window is poor (perhaps the estate version will be better), quite a firm ride (although it doesn't seem as overly firm as the Golf), the seats aren't especially comfy (overly firm)...

BUT they are very supportive and there's a lot of nice things too: USB socket for ipod / pen-drive full of mp3s, spare power point up front, good grip even in the wet, copes well with speed bumps even though the ride is quite firm.

Performance: the 1.6 litre petrol engine manages to produce 120bhp, which is quite impressive (for a 1.6 litre engine - compare that to the 115bhp produced by the Golf's 1.6 litre petrol engine), the gearing seems quite high / long (?), with 30mph reachable in 1st, 60mph in 2nd! And the engine revs up to 6500rpm quite happily and quickly with a fairly decent sound. Ho…

Skoda Favorit GXLi for Home2Rome!

We should be picking up this 1.3 litre Skoda Favorit GXLi bad boy tomorrow on Tuesday, it even comes with it's own Haynes manual, alloy wheels and radio cassette!

Update: This fell through in the end. You can follow progress on our Facebook Group (registration / logon required).

We're moving...

We're moving house, so until our internet connection is sorted out, (and images) will be down, although you should still be able to browse the blog, until the site's back, please feel free to visit DigiCamReview!

KIA Ceed Test Drive Weekend Photos

The Kia Ceed comes with a 7 year warranty, perhaps it should be renamed the KIA Seven, as it's the only car available in the UK with such a long manufacturers warranty! I took one for a long weekend test drive, and while I'm still writing up the "review", you can have a look at the photo gallery here. Previously: KIA Ceed 7 year warranty.

Red Audi R8....

... taken with the Casio Exilim EX-Z1050

It's only taken me 7 years of hoarding...

But I've finally found a use for the broken 486 IBM Thinkpad 755c Laptop I've had lying around all these years... taking the speaker out and putting it into a Furby with a broken speaker! I followed the guide on and just need to solder on the replacement speaker. The original having died from being placed directly behind the front "rub tummy" switch.

Unforunately the internet doesn't go back far enough to provide any interesting information on the 755c, in fact, the only thing you'll find nowadays is about running lunix on the 755c, yawn! Unfortunately the same goes when you're trying to track down Windows drivers for random modems, you're more likely to find Linux drivers! Grr!

Creative Zen Stone Plus in Black 2Gb MP3 Player Review

The screen showing the date and time (screensaver view). The stylish new Creative Zen Stone Plus is an upgrade to the 1Gb Creative Zen Stone. The Plus features 2Gb of memory, an FM Radio, a small screen, a stopwatch, built in microphone etc. It's available in the same six colours.

Creative Zen Stone next to the Creative Zen Stone Plus (roughly actual size) - the Plus is slighter bigger (in length), and is much more feature packed, although it has a shorter play time of 9.5hours compared to the 10hours on the Stone.

Microphone, top controls (right is quick / shortcut menu, middle is on/off, and left is play/pause), blue LED, headphone jack.

Box contents, the headphones look better, and look like the ipod earphones, but sound worse than the ones that come with the Creative Zen Stone, and I find the Stone's earphones more comfortable. You get an ultra-short USB cable, the MP3 player, earphones, and a quick start guide. For software or documentation you have to go to…

MD.45 The Craving Dave Mustaine Vocals 2004 Remastered

1996 - Dave Mustaine got together with Lee Ving (Voice, Harmonica, Lyrics), Kelly Lemieux (Bass), Jimmy DeGrasso (Drums) and played Guitar and wrote lyrics to record the album called MD.45 - The Craving, creating a "punk metal record". It was at a time when Dave was unhappy with what Megadeth were doing (Cryptic Writings, Risk). Musically great, however, fans of Megadeth / Dave Mustaine, were somewhat disappointed with the vocals.

Fast forward to 2004 - Dave Mustaine is remixing and remastering all his albums, one of them is MD.45 - The Craving. Unfortunately half the recording (Vocals, Harmonica) was recorded in a different studio, which had since shut. Unable to remix / remaster from the original recordings, Dave Mustaine decided to re-record the vocals and harmonica by singing himself and simulating the harmonica parts on guitar.

MD.45 The Craving - Dave Mustaine Vocals (2004 Remastered) - Fans of Megadeth will enjoy this album. I listened to the original '96 version, …

30gb Video Ipod after 9 months in it's case...

The front managed to stay scratch free as I left the plastic cover on at all times (only removing it for this photo). The back, however, wasn't so lucky, even though it was kept inside the free case all it's life. You can click the picture below to view a much bigger version.

So with that, it's time to say goodbye, I like you, Ipod, but I don't love you. I like itunes (on the PC) a lot, it does pretty much everything the ipod does, like letting you rate all your favourite songs, and create playlists, but I simply don't use the ipod enough to justify keeping it. Instead I think I'll stick to my Creative Zen Stone and simply use iTunes to organise my music.

We like the moon

Pixel Fly Surfing the Internet

Bad monkey

Liverpool is great...

Liverpool is great, where else do you get random giant Red Bull statues, or derelict houses covered head to toe in red doors? More photos here.

Megadeth: United Abominations

The album is an un-apologetic, non-stop onslaught and a definite return to form. Have Megadeth been watching Tenacious D, the pick of Destiny? (or vice versa) Because this album non-stop ROCKS!

There are a number of melodic / harmonic parts where the singing, and music, come together very nicely, and "The Whole Equals Much More than The Sum of Its Parts". Track 4, United Abonimation’s beginning has hints of Extreme, and Kings X and like track 10 is one of the more melodic tunes on the CD, in fact

Track 3 rocks with some great deep bass rock. A toute Le Monde has always been a great song - I would have to relisten to the original - but I'm not sure whether this new version (Track 8) improves on the old one, or whether it's just another version (that's equally as good as the original). Comparing the two, the new version is quicker, but still very similar.

Some parts of some of the tracks sound almost identical to earlier Megadeth. The album as a whole, with quick &…

Creative Zen Stone in Black 1GB MP3 Player Review

What is it? Ultra small and simple 1GB MP3 player available in multiple (6) colours for a very cheap / reasonable price of £28. This compares well to Apple's Shuffle at around £47. You can also buy numerous accessories for it allowing you to use it as a keyring, armband, or clip-on mp3 player.

It comes with a very short USB cable - this is used for charging and used for transferring music (and files if you so wish). The player doesn't come with any drivers or CD, it simply shows up in Windows as a removable device, like a USB pen drive. It comes with a starter guide, warranty information, earphones, the USB lead, and the player.

So far it doesn't seem great in the car (using a jack to tape adapter). Lacking bass. (although a CD vs mp3/mp3 player/tape adapter isn't exactly a fair comparison)

But using the earphones so far with limited listening seems good - better than my mobile phone anyway. The earphones provided are obviously just cheap ones - the ones I've got fro…

Magicians, Final Destination 2

Magicians - staring the chaps from Peep show, it's a good "fix" if you're disappointed that Peep Show has finished. Funny with a good twist in there - the trailer makes you think you know what happens in the film. Daisy (from Spaced) features quite promenantly in the film. Worth seeing, although don't worry too much if you wait till it's out on DVD, as it's doesn't really need the big screen in the way that big action films do.

Final Destination 2 - much better than the third, and has great suspense in the build ups to people's deaths. Has a good, unexpected?, twist. It doesn't make you empathise with the characters in the same was as Prison Break, and the deaths are rather gruesome. Definitely worth watching if you liked the first.

Prison Break... it's a bit grim...

I know that it's about convicts on the run from numerous people who want them all dead, but surely it doesn't have to be so grim? I suppose I'm mainly talking about Prison Break Season 2. Even some of the bad guys you start feeling for (Mahone, Bellick, the guy working for the female president), because they end up way over their head and they just want to go home and have a nice cuppa tea. I mean obviously there are people (Kim, T-Bag) who should have been killed / incarcerated years ago. When will there ever be a happy ending though?

And then it was gone...

Well, we sold the car, it sold quite quickly, thanks to AutoTrader, which was nice.

Spiderman 3 - It came from Outer Space

Well, that's the name it should have, for no reason what-so-ever some black goo comes from outer space to destroy spiderman and the world. But is unfortunately destroyed by something ludicrous (as per War of the worlds). Not that I'm spoiling the ending at all, I mean, it's Hollywood, there's always a happy ending for the heroes in movies.

I found myself getting quite bored with all the stop start action of the film and the boring long waffles in the middle. Get on with already. Towards the end it gets somewhat tedious, and then the final battle scene (which you can see coming a mile off) is rather dissappointing compared to the great battle scenes seen in other films. Add to that the awful "Live news" of the event, the awful british news reporter, and spiderman coming to save the day with an american flag waving behind him...

The two new characters, the main bad guys in the film, don't make much sense, intent on killing spiderman for no apparent reason, …

Inky Blue VW Passat Estate 1.9 TDI Sport

Just last night I was thinking: Wouldn't it be great to find a VW Passat 1.9 TDI with the following features: 130bhp (AVF engine with more torque), 6 speed gearbox, Traction Control (ASR), Sport model with sport suspension, as an Estate. And lo and behold, the metallic inky blue estate you see above is the car I've found. It even features several "Brucey bonuses" - a 6 CD changer, sports / lumbar support seats, 16" VW Sports alloy wheels, front armrest, auto-dipping rear-view mirror, rain sensing wipers, and leather steering wheel. It's got a full service history and I should be able to collect on Monday!

Gallery pictures added here
Update: Car added to the Cars Page.

Buying a car is the easy part...

A friend of mine had their car written off, so their insurance company gave them a wodge of cash to go buy a new car, we looked at 3 cars in total (via Autotrader), the first 2 had fairly serious problems (ie brakes almost non-existent on one car, and excessive rust on another car), then we spotted what appeared to be a gem of a car: The Suzuki Swift 1.3 GLS, as pictured above, reduced for a quick sale, with surprisingly low mileage, and the car was in very good condition with all things functioning as they should, even the brakes! The car has all the mod cons such as power steering, and electric windows, which the old written off car didn't have!

Which made me think, if it's so easy to buy a car, why don't I buy a newer, better version of my VW Passat 1.9 TDI 100PD Saloon? I mean, theoretically I should be able to get the same car, but with the better 130bhp engine, and I might even be able to get it with the better "Sports" suspension, 6 speed gearbox, traction…

Roewe W2 Concept (Roewe Rover 45?)

Previously Auto Express guessed what the Rover 45 / Roewe Rover 45 replacement would look like. Now it looks like Autoblog have got pictures of the "real" concept designed by Roewe, as pictured above. In other developments, the real MG "Rover" (Nanjing) are planning a new MG Sports car. Images from Autoblog.

Update: Real pictures of the Roewe W2 Concept here.

MG7 and MG-TF Roll off the Production Lines...

Even though all the old Rovers still haven't sold meaning you can get a bargain british built "new" car, Nanjing's MG Rover's have started rolling off the production line in China using the same equipement from Birmingham. Cars they are making are the MG7 (Rover 75) shown above, and the MG-TF sports coupe. (Nanjing bought MG Rover, but not the Rover name).

Link (austin-rover), Link (bbc news), Link (autoblog with comments)

All about cars...

Well, I've refurbished two alloy wheels, and had the second one fitted today, so thought it would be best to get the car cleaned, so here are some photos.

If you think this Dodge Ram is somewhat on the large size for British roads, then wait till you see the next picture...

They're turned a GMC Topkick into a stretched limo! It's about 1.5x wider than your average UK car, has 6 wheels, and the standard engine appears to be an 8.1 litre v8!!