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Mon 29th September 2008

LG KF700 Review

Filed under: Personal

It's been a while since I updated my blog, so I've decided to write a little review of my new phone.

Regular readers will know all about my o2 Cocoon disaster, after which I ended up with the Samsung U600 (o2 didn't have anything else half decent at the time and I needed a phone quick.)

Now, the Samsung U600 started out OK but after a while it kept losing its signal.  Which in turn drained the battery.  I spent about 3 hours in a pub once with no signal and by the time I left the phone had turned off because it had used so much of the battery.

Anyway, stare in wonderment and amazement at my latest purchase - the LG KF700.

This little beauty is an excellent bit of kit, and the first thing you'll notice is its full touch-screen display.  But that's not all, it also has a slide-out keyboard and a scroller dial - that's 3 different types of navigation available to you!

In the box you get:

1 x LG KF700
1 x Battery
1 x Screen Protector
1 x USB Cable
1 x Mains Charger
1 x Headphones
1 x Software CD-ROM

The touchscreen is very simple to use (no stylus needed) and the optional vibrating feedback confirms that the touchscreen has accepted your input which is quite a nice feature (you can change this to a tone response, both vibrate and tone or turn it off completely if you wish).  For dialling you can use the touchscreen or the keypad, but for texting you must use the keypad - there is no on-screen qwerty keyboard.  I would recommend you make use of the included screen protector however.

General navigation through the phone's menus are simple and have been designed for use with the touchscreen in mind, making a call or writing a text is literally a simply few presses on the screen, reading a text or taking a picture is literally just one click away.  The scroll dial on the side I haven't used to be honest, the touchscreen is so logical and effective I've found no use for it (although I did use it to turn up the in-call volume once).  I particularly like the lock/unlock button on the side also - it instantly locks the phone or with two presses unlock the phone - meaning you can't accidentally ring your best mate in Timbuktu for a silent 4 hour chat.

The camera is only 3 Megapixels but does take very good pictures, it includes a flash and a handy auto-focus feature.  Getting into camera mode is as simple as pressing the camera button on the side of the phone and the application is very quick to load.  Once loaded, the phone automatically rotates the screen to landscapre mode which is a nice feature.  All the camera options and features are then easily accessible via the touch-screen interface.  So far I've managed to take a picture of a dog and a piece of road.  Quality.

I haven't used the phone for music or the built-in FM radio but I'm sure it will be just as easy to use.  The phone has an SD Card expansion slot at the top so has plenty of scope for playing a large library of songs if required.

When reading reviews before buying the phone, several people mentioned the battery life being a problem - now I'm sure it's going to be quite a drain on the battery if you use it for music but with moderate use (without using the phone for music) I've only charged it once in two weeks.

All in all I'm very pleased with the phone, and for 99 brand new from o2 you just can't argue with the fact that it's a bargain and a half.  If (like me) you wanted an iPhone but just couldn't afford it, you could do a lot worse than the LG KF700.
Tue 5th August 2008

Golf Clipper Cabrio for sale

Filed under: Personal

My brother has his Golf Clipper up for sale so I said I'd stick it on here to try and generate some interest.  Read on for more details.

1993 K Reg MK1 golf, 1800 clipper, powerhood, electric windows, remote central locking, category 2 immobiliser, 83,000 miles.

Lowered 60mm, 15 Ronal Turbo alloy wheels, VR6 front splitter, M3 style rear lights, crystal crosshair headlights, crystal indicators, de-locked, german metal pressed numberplates and surrounds, stainless steel fuel neck pipe, K&N air filter, de-badged grille, grille spoiler, all original paintwork.

Wolfsburg gear knob, door pins, mirror adjusters and rear window handles, trimsport handbrake lever, alloy heater controls, wolfsburg steering wheel.

13cm infinity component set, infinity 6x4, infinity 12 sub in box and 4 channel pioneer amp. Some Service History, 12 months MOT and remainder of tax.

2700 OVNO - if interested please contact me and I will pass on contact details for my brother.  The car is located in Norfolk.
Mon 28th July 2008


Filed under: Personal

For Christmas last year I received the complete series 1 and 2 boxset of Spaced on DVD.  Series 1 was released back in 1999 so I never got to watch it as I was normally out of an evening drinking my body weight in Alcopops and generally having a right ol' laugh.  However I had heard of it but never got round to watching the repeats.

Anyway, the boxset has sat in my DVD cupboard until this weekend when I decided to remove the selophane wrapper and stick Disc 1 into the DVD player.

All I can say is.....brilliant!  What a show.  Spaced stars the brilliant Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jessica Hynes (formely Stevenson) and is essentially the story of Simon's character Tim and Jessica's character Daisy living together as flat mates.  Tim is a comic artist and works part time in a comic store, while Daisy is a writer.  Unfortunately, neither of them can ever seem to get their desired careers off the ground so Tim stays stuck in the comic shop and Daisy eventually tries a series of different jobs to get some cash (after a failed attept at benefit fraud).

Along with Tim and Daisy, we have Mike who is a guns and all things military obsessed wannabe soldier who got thrown out of the TA for stealing a tank and trying to single handedly invade Paris while on weekend manoeuvres in France.  Brian, who is a rather dark and angry artist, desperate to get recognition but at the same time desperate to stay hidden away from society.  Twist, Daisy's best friend and a slave to fashion and all things Prada, and finally Marsha, the permananetly drunk land lady having turbulent times with her teenage daughter.

The other characters and the constant references to popular cult films make Spaced excellent viewing - if you're a fan of Pegg's films you'll know exactly what to expect ;)  If you haven't got it, get it - definitely worth a watch.
Fri 27th June 2008

VXR Track Day

Filed under: Personal

What a day!  Yesterday saw me head on up to Rockingham for the final Vauxhall VXR Track Day experience of this year - and it was ruddy brilliant!

The first part was lunch - lovely jubbly - you can't go racing on an empty stomach.  After lunch, we all sat round and watched a short DVD explaining the days activities and then we were let loose.  Our group had the Paul Swift precision driving experience first.  This included a slalom course, a timed run through a coned circuit and finally Paul took us all out on two wheels!

This is me on my two-wheel experience.  Once we had all done our driving, Paul and his team then did some precision parking and he finished off by "dancing" the car around parked cars to Queen's Don't stop me now.

Now it was time for some track time.  We had a quick safety briefing and then we were let loose on the entire Vauxhall VXR range around RockinghamVauxhall had laid on 28 cars from the VXR range, including 4 of the monstrous VXR8.  We had an excellent time, just razzing the cars around for three laps each with an instructor and then jumping into another car.  There was also a high-speed passenger ride with Paul O'Neill - he was ruddy fast, and an extremely talented driver (I reckon I could beat him in a race though :P).

Best car for me had to be the Astra, the VXR8 was quick but the power delivery was so smooth it didn't feel like it had the instant power of the Astra.  It has to be said, however, that the entire VXR range is ruddy good though - I just can't believe the power of those things.

So, thanks to Vauxhall for an excellent day out, everyone was friendly and helpful and the activites were excellent.  Where do I sign up for next year....?
Sun 8th June 2008

Panasonic 3DO

Filed under: Personal

'Tis a sad day indeed.  My Panasonic 3DO has given up the ghost.

This morning I thought I would have a quick blast on Samurai Showdown and after about 15 minutes the machine turned itself off.

It then wouldn't turn back on.  I decided to change the fuse but to no avail.  I even took the machine to bits in the hope I would see something obvious but that proved fruitless too.  The machine will now turn on for a bout 5 secodns and then it is almost as though the power is being cut, it keeps turning off for a split second and coming back on again.

It took me ages to find a boxed Panasonic 3DO FZ-1 so I'm pretty annoyed that mine has gone down the swanny.  It has done well to be fair - it is about 14 years old!

For those that don't know, the Panasonic 3DO is one of the greatest consoles ever released.  It was also the platform for the greatest racing game ever released - the 3DO version of The Need for Speed.

If there are any electrical geniuses' out there and you have any idea of what is wrong with my 3DO, please let me know.  Likewise if you were a 3DO service engineer!  Otherwise, I'll have to trawl eBay for another one :(
Sun 30th March 2008


Filed under: Personal

Just got back from an excellent week in Bude, Cornwall.

A great time was had by all, did some surfing and some laugh a minute laser questing.  Thanks to Scott at BSX Surfing Centre for the surfing lessons and thanks to Brian and Jim at Survival Paintball for a great day out.

Oh, and we also visited Padstow where we had some Rick Stein nosh at his bistro, lovely jubbly.  (I also got a parking ticket in Padstow - nice eh?)

Can definitely recommend Bude as place to stay, very nice seaside town with excellent bays and beaches.
Thu 20th March 2008

o2 Cocoon's have been returned

Filed under: Personal

Ok, in an earlier post I raved about the o2 Cocoon, but this post tells a different story.  Please read on should you be considering purchasing one.

Now, while I still maintain the styling is brilliant, as are the music capabilities, the phone itself has a few problems which cannot be ignored.

1.  Battery Life - It has been said on numerous other sites that the battery life was poor, and this is indeed true.  I still maintain that the battery low indictaor comes on too early, but even so you can expect 4 days max out of it with little or no use.

2.  Call Quality - When making a call, the sound is muffled and very hard to hear.  It sounds as though the caller is just mumbling at the other end of the line - I was constantly saying "Pardon?" and "What?" when talking to someone using the Cocoon.

3.  Reliability - This is what finally clinched it for me in the end.  My phone stopped making calls all together.  If I rang someone, I would get "Call Failed" on the screen yet their phone would keep ringing.  Likewise, if they rang me and I answered the call, the phone would drop the call and display "Call Failed" on the screen yet the caller would hear the ringing sound down their earpiece.  Weird eh?

I had actually purchased two of these phones, one for me and one for my wife, both died with the same fault within a day of each other!  31 days after the purchase date!

My wife now has the brilliant little Moto U9 in purple, and I opted for the Samsung SGH-U600.

While the o2 Cocoon may be a joy to look at, I'm afraid I lost all my faith in it as a phone - it was just too unreliable.
Mon 18th February 2008

o2 Cocoon

Filed under: Personal

Finally I have managed to get myself an o2 Cocoon!  My lovely wife bought one for me as a (very) early birthday present (It's 3rd April by the way, make a note in your diaries - cash, cheques and family heirlooms greatly accepted)

Anyhoo, I thought I would give a brief review of the phone as I have found it so far.

The o2 Cocoon, for those of you that don't know is an exclusive o2 handset commisioned by o2 themselves.  It's design is striking, its a bit like a Stormtrooper's head and an iPod all in one.  It's real party piece however is the front screen, which is a series of blue LED's, lighting up for numerous reasons, including receiving a call, receiving a text, or playing a music track.

That brings me on to it's next area of expertise, the o2 Cocoon is also an extremely capable music player, with a massive 2GB of on-board memory upgradable via SD Card.  If you run out of music, theres always the RDS FM radio too!

I also like the way it is so customisable, you can choose different MP3 tracks for phone calls, video calls and SMS.  You can also tell it your name, and when it wakes you up in morning with the alarm clock it says "Good Morning NAME".  Obviously replace NAME with your actual name, unless you are infact called NAME, which would be odd.  Additionally, you can set something called "Daily Wallpapers" - with this option the phone chooses a different picture from your pictures folder every day and sets it as your wallpaper.

The camera is pretty cool too and at 2 megapixels takes quite good photos.  Also, the phone has a flash which many phones don't have at present.  The flash function also allows you to use the "Lantern" feature.  This enables you to use the phone as a torch.  Handy!

I read a load of reviews on the web about this phone and the majority of complaints were:

1.  Battery Life
Not too sure on this yet so can't report accurately.  I fully charged mine up yesterday morning and as of now it's still showing a full charge.  This is after me messing about with it for most of yesterday.

2.  Ringtone Volume
Can't see the problem with mine.  It's really loud.  I'm using an MP3 track as a ringtone but it is just as loud as my old phone.

I think that maybe o2 have upgraded the firmware but I don't know anyone else who has an o2 Cocoon so I cannot confirm or deny this.  The software version my phone is running 7.1.2.  If you're reading this and have an '07 02 Cocoon, maybe you could post your firmware version in this articles comments section?  To get your software version, type *#300# into your phone and press the round navigation button.

Only downside so far is the alarm.  You have to create a new alarm every time.  So for me who gets up at the same time every day, it would be easy for me to have a daily alarm which automatically rolls over to the next day but it's only a minor niggle.

If I have anymore to report on my phone, I'll update this post ;)

Wed 13th February 2008

New Sky+ Box (again)

Filed under: Personal

OK so today was the day of our 5th Sky+ box installation in less than a year.  Alas, the engineer did not have a Pace box on his van (he said he hadn't seen one for 3 months!) so instead we got a brand new Thomson box.

Fingers crossed for some trouble free viewing, which would make a change.

I'm going to email Sky and ask for some compo though.
Sun 10th February 2008

First grass cut of the year

Filed under: Personal

Celebrate good times, come on!

Yes, the sun is out and I donned my knackered old trainers, rolled up my denims and dragged the Mower out of the shed today.

Short back and sides for the front and back lawns, and the first cuts of 2008.