Swoopo.co.uk Online Auctions – An Innovative eBay Alternative?

swoopo-logoSwoopo is on the face of it, a great place for a bargain, they advertise sales such as Nintendo Wii’s for only £20-50. Sound’s great. However, as always, there’s a catch, but perhaps not one that will deter you from joining in.

Basically, Swoopo is an auction site where you buy an amount of bids before you are entitled to place any. Quite different to the likes of eBay. Bids bought directly from the site cost 50p each and can only be bought in great numbers. So that is how they make their money. So it appears a win-win situation.

However, some users have reported spending more than £70 on bids before they were successful on any items. Some claim it is impossible to win just one auction, but users are advised to monitor some auctions to see just how the site works before jumping in placing bid after bid, literally throwing money away.
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Eurogamer Expo 2009 (London) – Games Review: Part 2

eurogamer-expo-2009-logoAs I’m sure you are aware that some of us at Zath have recently visited the Euogamer Expo’s at both Leeds and London, and this is the second of a few posts having a look at some of the games I got to have a go on at the latter event and picking out some of the best ones just in time for Christmas – in the Eurogamer Expo Games Review: Part 1 we’ve already seen what ‘Avatar’ and ‘Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box’ had to offer and now here’s a couple more of the ‘most wanted’ games out there.

To cheer you up on what has been, for the most part, a fairly drab and wet week as winter descends upon us I thought it would be good to look at two of the games that gave me the biggest surprises at the Expo: “Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time” and “Lost Planet 2”.
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MusicSkins Review (Personalise Hi-Tech Gadgets With Skins)

musicskins-logoYou’ve got your iPod, you’ve got your laptop, and now you can proudly walk around showing them off just like everybody else. But we humans seem to have an inherent need to be different, so somehow stand out, and thus the idea of adding skins to your prized electronic possessions arose and a company called MusicSkins are at the forefront of this market and so we thought we’d have a look.

The first thing you’ve got to do if you want to make your device unique is have the right device, but fortunately this is a pretty easy step as there is a fairly wide range available: the Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and PSP slim, iPhones, iPods, Zunes, SanDisks, a whole variety of popular phones (10) , five different size of laptops (12, 13, 14, 15 and 17 inches), Seagate Hard Drives and most importantly four types of Guitar Hero controllers.

But, alas, despite saying it was easy I found I in fact had none of them which fortunately is more of an exception (especially considering how much I love new tech) than the rule. Mostly this is due to the fact that MusicSkins do not currently offer netbook skins (hint hint!), or at least skins for those less than 12” – so borrowing a sibling’s Nintendo DS was then next step…
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Eurogamer Expo 2009 (Leeds) – Games Review

eurogamer-expo-2009-logoSo as you know, we here on Zath have recently attended the Eurogamer Expo’s in Leeds and London and we’ve played a few games that were there on show and I thought I’d share with you a few of the games that we managed to get our hands on this year.

Uncharted 2 (PS3)

uncharted-2-among-thieves-ps3-cover-150First up is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. After playing the first Uncharted I was expecting this to be just as good if not better and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I had played on the Uncharted 2 multiplayer BETA version before the expo, but the demos on show were the single player versions and it was brilliant.
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Google Wave: How To Add Extensions (Gadgets & Robots)

google-wave-logoGoogle Wave works well as standalone system for chat, file sharing and so on. However, it also gives you the option to add extensions which enhance your experience and the range of functions it can perform. Extensions can be thought of as similar to Facebook applications; just as you can install apps to customise the way you use Facebook, you can add extensions to personalise the way you use Google Wave.

Extensions come in two varieties: gadgets and robots. Gadgets are the most similar to Facebook apps, you install them and they run as part of a wave (thread). To give an example: you can install the Sudoku gadget, and use it to play against a group of friends. Robots are more similar to the bots you see on Twitter, but far more sophisticated because they behave as kind of artificially intelligent participant in a wave. The best example is the Twitter robot, Tweety, which can be used to update your Twitter status and also to follow tweets from other users.
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Ninite Review (Automated Batch Software Installer)

ninite-automated-batch-software-installer-screenshotNinite is a free web service which brings all your favourite free windows applications (including most of our Top 5 Open Source Apps) into one single installer. Which could be very useful for anyone who is resisting the upgrade to Windows 7 because they can’t be bothered with the hassle. With over 60 apps to choose from it provides a great service that is useful after a long winded upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Windows. However, it is also compatible with XP and Vista if you fancy a downgrade or just a fresh install.

The site itself is very basic. Consisting of just a single page listing all the different applications. The layout is neat and extremely easy to use. Each application is coupled with a checkbox which allows you to select multiple applications from the lists easily. The apps are divided into groups based upon their main functions. For example file sharing or web browsers.
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Eurogamer Expo 2009 (London) – Games Review: Part 1

eurogamer-expo-2009-logoAs I’m sure you are aware that some of us at Zath have recently visited the Euogamer Expo’s at both Leeds and London, and this is the first of a few posts having a look at some of the games I got to have a go on at the latter and picking out some of the best ones just in time for Christmas (now less than two months away for those of you not counting!).

So on with the games, and today I’ll be starting with two fairly dissimilar ones in the form of ‘Avatar’ and ‘Professor Layton & Pandora’s Box’ which were played on the PS3 and Nintendo DS respectively!
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Moonpig.com Review (Personalised Greetings Cards)

moonpig-logo-personalised-greeting-cardsPerhaps the best, quickest and easiest way of buying personalised greetings cards! Moonpig.com allows you to choose from thousands of card designs and alter them to add the personal touch. You can upload photos and fit them into the design or add your own personal message, for example you can have your message hanging on a colourful banner from Big Ben or your photo hanging, gold framed in an art gallery.

The home page is split up into 3 sections. The left hand side is purely for navigation. There is a list of all the different categories of cards from anniversaries right down to weddings. Those with sub–categories are indicated with a small arrow. Overall it is very simple to find your way, as well as being neat and tidy.
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Best Buy Coming To The UK! – A Cheaper Electronics Retailer Option?

best-buy-logoElectronics retailer Best Buy is coming to the UK in 2010. They will be opening physical stores and also bestbuy.co.uk will be delivering the online service that has provided so popular across the pond in the US. They are currently the largest electronics retailer in the world. Raking in US$ 45 billion per year with over 150,000 employees.

Best Buy deal in most, if not all areas of electronics from music and video to GPS systems, as well as PCs, laptops, games consoles, TV and home theatre systems as well as home appliances being included.

The first two UK stores will be opened in locations around Southampton and Thurrock, Essex. However, they do intend on opening more than 200 stores nationwide with reports suggesting that they plan to take over two of the biggest current UK electronics retailers, Comet and Curry’s. It is yet unknown whether or not they will rebrand those brands they already own 50% of the mobile phone company The Carphone Warehouse.
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TuneUp Review (Album Art Downloader & MP3 Tagging Software)

tuneup-logoUpon downloading the Vuze bittorrent client for our 5 Top Open Source Applications feature, I was offered to download and install a free application called TuneUp. Normally, I despise this sort of sly advertising that relies on you unwittingly pressing agree in a hasty attempt to finish installing the initial program. But this time, I looked into it a little more after being impressed by the sound of the program.

TuneUp is a simple, lightweight application, however, if you’re like me and hate seeing your iTunes library a mess with missing artwork and incorrect track names. Then this is perfect. It performs simple functions such as adding the correct artwork and fixing misspelled titles and artists such as Led Zeppelin which is commonly misspelled. It also fixes the most annoying of all. An endless list of ‘Track 1, Track 2…’ after importing tracks from a CD.
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