Category Archives: #Review

Review: Beaum Vape

imageOne word: AWESOME.

It’s not often that I’m inspired to go out and write a positive review for a retail store, however in this case, I’m not only inspired but actually compelled to do so. I’m new to vaping, this is only my fourth week in to my vaping journey, and a week ago, thanks to Beaum Vape, it changed massively for the better.

I’ve been in a few Vape Shops, but they’ve been staffed by kids, lax kids who couldn’t give a shit, sat behind a counter, wearing shell suits and backwards baseball caps, not paying attention, and generally not giving a shit – I was really put off going into the stores; however Beaum Vape was recommended to me by a few people, so I decided to give it a try. Completely the right choice, and something I’m so glad I did!

Beaum Vape will make you feel welcome. The retail environment is perfect for the subject and products. Beaum Vape will go out of their way to ensure you get the best possible products and service, and are passionate about it. It’s not often when you can walk into a place and be guided by people who actually know what they’re talking about, but this is one of those places. If you’re new or experienced, Beaum Vape will make you feel welcome, and enhance your vaping experience.

You can try a mind blowing range of different e-liquids, and get an amazing experience. The prices are awesome, often beating the online retailers for the same products. What is amazing is the personal service provided, nothing is too much trouble for the staff who go out of their way to ensure you’re taken care of to the best possible standards.

They also don’t let kids into their shop – this is important, and one of the many points which distinguish them, and put Beaum Vape, head and shoulders above others in the same retail environment.

They recommended a combo of the Asmodus – Ohmsmium mod with the Aspire Cleito tank, which has upped the vaping game for me, and I honestly think at this point in time, it’s to a standard which will be extremely hard to beat. The e-liquids on offer are all vetted by the staff, and smoothness isn’t even a consideration – you just know that anything in store is going to be silk dynamite.

In summary – if you’re in the South Wales area, or anywhere within travel distance, and you want to improve your vaping experience, go visit Beaum Vape. Go visit their website, they also trade online. In the physical world, you can find them in Ivor House, Bridge Street, Cardiff, CF10 2TH. I’ve added a perma-link to their website on Spabbit 🙂

Facebook Photo Syncing – the end!

0.1 FB Moments Article HeaderOr not! Facebook is moving the photo syncing feature which we all love, to an independent app called “Moments“.

0.2 FB Moments Article FeatureThe app replaces the in-built photo syncing feature of the Facebook App, moving it outside, and greatly enhancing the functionality, including undeniably creepy facial recognition features…

The blurb from the app store (With minor translation)…

Here’s the magic (Read: Creepy shit): The app groups your photos based on who’s in them, and when they were taken, which is ideal for the average stalker. In one tap, you can sync your photos to victims you choose. Then, the victims can add their photos to the creepy online virtual gathering. Now, all the stalkers and “authorities” have all the photos you took together, this will aid greatly in online-stalking and investigations.

  • Keep all your photos organised in one private place (My Precious!)
  • Sync multiple photos at once – no need to text or e-mail individual photos (Speed Victimisation!)
  • Easy stalking feature search to find photos of yourself and your victims
  • Save photos other victims sync to you on your phone’s stalking roll
  • Share victims directly on Facebook or Instagram, and send in Messenger if you want

OK… So I may have been a little harsh, but face it (No pun intended), this is the ideal tool for a bunch of stalkers (Not that Facebook isn’t already this!).

The app in itself isn’t bad – once you get past the initial setup, where you’re asked to identify some victims for the facial recognition, it’s very smooth. I’ve never really been a fan of the “moments” function, even when Apple introduced it, I stuck to the normal camera roll, or “All-Photos” as it’s currently know. If I want to group some photos together, I’ll use an album and do it manually. One tip, for when trying to install the app – if you click on the notification in the Facebook app, and get the spinning circle of doom, then go update your Facebook app first, then try again.

Not saying that the auto-stalking features aren’t good, but just not for me. It’s great that Facebook still provide the facility to auto-backup your photos (Read: Visual Memory) – after all, you can’t have too many backups, even if they aren’t the original quality you took (The iCloud can backup original quality photos, so can the Google Photos app, if that’s what you’re after).

So you know what to expect – here’s a gallery with some shots of the whole process, and using it to share a photo on Facebook:

TalkTalk: The Fibre Saga

TTFOfferWell… We recently decided to believe the advertising (Silly, I know), and upgrade our TalkTalk Broadband package to include the new ‘Fibre’ package, which claims to be 5x faster than the standard ADSL2 which we had.

Well… Fibre isn’t fibre, in this case it’s VDSL2, and whist there may be a fibre somewhere along the route, probably to a green box at the end of the street, there is no fibre to our house. Kind of misleading there, TalkTalk. To add insult to this, there is a £50 upgrade fee, now I’m not sure what this is covering… An Openreach engineer visiting the box at the end of the street and changing a cable over, or some other operation, OR the new ‘Super-Router’, either way the “Free” bit of the offer isn’t.

HG533So the upgrade went smoothly enough, the line speed is excellent, the VDSL2 speed is excellent and works as advertised (You can tell there’s a ‘but’ coming, right?)… BUT their ‘SuperRouter” isn’t super, well, apart from super-crap. Plugged this in ahead of the VDSL2 upgrade (Can’t really call it Fibre!), as it also functions fine on ADSL2… Problems:

To start with, it didn’t play with the rest of the network here, the rest of the network being 2 unmanaged gigabit switches, a wifi access point, and the usual devices. It wouldn’t connect using the existing cabling to the ‘core’ switch on the network, this being 30ft away along cat5e cable, the previous Netgear router connected just fine at 1gig. I actually had to go buy another unmanaged switch to sit next to this thing.

Secondly it has only 100mbs ports, not gigabit ports… Really I know, as this device sits on the periphery of the network, and isn’t in this case a core component, that it wouldn’t be too much of an issue – however it was a disappointment, especially when I knew the previous model given out by TalkTalk was a HG635 model, with gigabit ports. I really feel for those who use it as a network core without knowing how much it will knock their speed and capacity. Still, I tried to make it play nicely.

Daily reboots as it managed to kill the network, and I didn’t even give it any work to do, the work of the DHCP server and the Wifi access point already being handled flawlessly by the other devices on the network, ALL it had to do was provide an interweb connection via NAT. Somehow it managed to kill the network daily, and had to be rebooted before anything else would work.

It took me a week of the super-shit performance, and settling for a second (?) best device, plus reading countless horror stories of this device before getting to the point of spending money on another router. I didn’t even bother to contact TalkTalk, as most, if not all, of the horror stories make it perfectly clear that the only thing it would do is raise my blood-pressure.

D7000Enter the Netgear Nighthawk D7000 – I paid £130 for this router, and I have to say worth every single penny, and a lot more (In fact, upon checking, it’s now £170!). The D7000 is an amazing device, boot it up, connect with the details on a small sticker, and run through a connection wizard which asks what ISP you have, and it just works, perfectly.

There are ample configuration options, and of course the usual ones need to be changed from their defaults, including the wifi access point ssids, passwords etc. There are options to lock down the network with MAC filtering, the various encryption options etc. The router has gigabit ports and a USB3 socket if you wish to share a storage device with your network. Also, unlike the ‘SuperRouter’, it communicated just fine with the rest of the network, at gigabit speeds, and doesn’t need a switch of it’s own lol… The uptime is awesome, not a single reboot has been required in a month, and the rest of the network is rock steady.

The D7000 also boasts Quality Of Service features, both for ports, and devices. With the ports option, you can chose from a large list of predefined services, or input your own; the device options will allow you to set one of four priorities for the traffic – importantly both sets of rules can be live and functional at the same time.

The Wifi is excellent delivering on 2.4 and 5ghz, with separate IDs and passwords per network, both for a ‘core’ network and a ‘guest’ network. The device has three aerials, and it is capable of ‘beam forming’ where by it just doesn’t transmit blindly in a dome, but is able to focus the signals to the devices physical locations, which seems to work very well, for me at least. AND it looks like a space-ship 😉

Overall the TalkTalk ISP is great, IF all you want is a broadband wire – it is truly unlimited, the speed is excellent, we’re getting what we pay for. Don’t believe the hype of their ‘SuperRouter’, it’s anything but super. Do go buy a Netgear D7000, it’s worth every penny.

// EDIT

TalkTalk came back to me on Twitter today, no offer of an apology, no offer of a refund for supplying a piss poor device, only an offer to tell the team LMAO! This is the reason I didn’t contact them in the first place, would’ve been bashing my head against a wall by now!

Love the bit where they call the device ‘free’, bet you one way or another, we end up paying for it!

Don’t let me put you off TalkTalk as an ISP, they have a brilliant wire service, just supply shockingly bad devices, and don’t really do customer services, in my opinion…

#fail

image

Logitech Z533 2.1 Speaker System – Sleep problem solved!

Z533-1These Logitech Z533 Speakers are fantasic, got them on offer for £60 from PC world… One of the shop-peons kindly allowed me to plug in and have a demo, and from a minute of killing all conversation in the shop with some tastful music at volume, I was hooked and had to have ’em.

Installed and at home in their native environment, they’re even better, the sound from these 2.1 is crystal clear over the frequency range, and I can now take full advantage of the highest quality DSP I own at the moment, built into my PC Soundcard. However, there is a commonly reported issue / problem with these speakers, which is largly made up, from lack of understanding…

Sleep. These speakers, like cats, like to sleep; see, they’re smart, not just regular speakers, but smart speakers. When they don’t detect enough signal on input, they turn off. This is a good thing.

The way people tend to use PC speakers is to set the volume knob on the speakers at a standard level, and then use the PC volume control to vary the actual sound produced, with dumb speakers it works fine. These speakers need a minimum level of signal coming into them to realise they’re needed and stay awake, without this, like cats, they sleep.

The trick is to turn up the PC volume level (After all, in most instances, the PC-Out is designed for headphones, it’s not a line-out), and turn down the speaker’s control knob a little; it won’t hurt the amp on the sound-card to do a little extra work… Only increase the actual volume knob if you want loud, which the Z533 handles with the ease of a jet fighter thundering through the sound-barrier. 🙂

End of the line statement about these speakers: Super-Awesome, but don’t be an idiot when using ’em.

IKEA, a piss poor experience – no fucks given…

IKEAIKEA… It’s like Marmite, either love it or hate it, there is no middle of the road here – but either way IKEA is a necessary evil of the world, like Argos, and sometimes there’s no other way.

We’ve used IKEA (The Cardiff Store) many times over the years, and had varying degrees of service from the staff, but this latest visit has been the worst yet, and I sincerely hope that IKEA will not be a part of my future for as long as I can foresee. Normally when visiting IKEA, you can actually get away without interacting with the staff, completely if you use the self-service tills, but sometimes there is no avoiding the ordeal…

Counting the problems (Circles of Hell)…

First problem: Lack of staff – they’re like rocking-horse-shit, and when you do find one, they’re either in the wrong department, or some fucking idiot is taking up their time with pointless questions.

Second problem: When you do find an IKEA Peon, and they’re busy with an idiot asking idiot questions, there is no way they can call another peon over to save half hour of your life. No way at all, no fucks given.

Third problem: Some products, seemingly at random, don’t have an isle location, but have to be ordered via the IKEA Peons – no way to avoid them. Why?!

Fourth problem: They don’t give a fuck. That’s right, no fucks given in IKEA. How do I register for IKEA Family to get a discount – use that orange machine over there, no other help, no fucks given

Fifth problem: Orange machine is broken, not printing out… go find the peon, tell them, they reply “Go use another one”… Not the slightest sign of the peon moving to put a an “Out Of Order” sign on the machine, no fuck all. Roll on all the other poor bastards wasting their time. No fucks given.

Sixth problem: Broken discount system at the tills. Have to call a senior peon who can’t do anything, passing to yet another more senior peon – the senior peon takes an age to get the order processed.

Seventh problem (Read: “Gate of Hell”, but slightly less pleasant): After half hour waiting for my order to be picked, I’m still waiting.

Eighth problem (Read: “Wonder of IKEA-HELL”): After a half hour wait for the products to be picked, and a complaint to the senior-senior peon, they still can’t find my shit, the shit I’ve paid for, it’s mine, give it to me.

Ninth problem: (There are more circles of IKEA-HELL than any other hell): NO Offer of anything when complaining, no apology, no compensation for my wasted life-time they’d just used up being useless, NOTHING… IKEA: No Fucks Given.

… Just as a point, the above article details my own true-to-life experience, and my own opinions – don’t on any account be put off IKEA by the above review – google it for yourself 🙂

Movie Review: The Goonies

The Goonies - PosterThis review covers off The Goonies, from good old 1985, the year when everything was just shiny for my very much younger self. I know this movie has been reviewed thousands and thousands of times, but it is in my favourite movie collection, and still a movie I find enjoyable right into my 40s! Thank you, Richard Donner, Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus, you crazy bunch of geniuses!

The Goonies was something we all wanted to go through in childhood, back then when I was the same age as the main characters in the film, I would have given just about everything to have had their lives, their adventures; I also think I’m not alone in my feelings 🙂 I mean they had such cool stuff, cool friends and cool adventures – if their characters had been any cooler, they’d have frozen solid!

The whole movie is simply iconic for my generation, we all dreamed of having those lives and adventures, not just the once either – with every viewing of The Goonies, you wanted just a little more. Right from the opening scene where you see one of the bad guys escape from custody by faking hanging in a cell, it sets the pace for a glorious adventure of epic proportions for young teens, and as said, it does stay with you as a favoured memory for life 🙂

The plot of the movie is basically a bunch of childhood friends who embark on the adventure of their lifetimes, running away from, and sometimes getting captured by the bad guys, and chasing pirate treasure with the help of an “X Marks the spot” treasure map! The adventure takes them deep underground through a hidden entrance in the basement of a creepy diner, occupied by the bad guys. Aside from the adventure and action elements of the film, there is plenty of character depth and development, well from a adolescent point of view. We see the characters in the movie slowly realise through their adventures that there are things bigger than them, their friends are truly valuable, and that history can be really cool.

Apart from the actors in the movie, who are all amazing, the shooting locations are stunning – I’ve have given anything to have gown up in such awesome surroundings! I believe the majority of the coat line filming was done on location in Oregon, however apparently this was actually some distance from the “location” of Astoria. The final outdoor scene where the ship is launched was an exception to Oregon and was actually filmed in California.

And the set… Wow! To this day the set still blows my mind, from the creepy diner, to the subterranean caves and passages, to the final high point in the film – the pirate ship and the cavern where it was berthed – they were all awesome settings, completely believable at the time, for the target demographic. The highlights for me were the bone-organ chamber, the water slides, and of course, of course… the pirate ship!

Here’s a trailer for The Goonies I found lying around on Youtube… If you spent the best parts of your childhood in the 80s go watch this movie again, and relive those childhood memories and feelings. Don’t delve too deeply though, the next thing you know you’ll be wanting a Sony-Walkman, complete with Hits 85, Huey Lewis and the News, and maybe Cyndi Lauper, after all We all just wanna have fun

Movie Review: The Ambushers (1967)

ambushersThis time around, I’m reviewing The Ambushers from 1967… Now (Not giving away too much), I wasn’t even a twinkle in my father’s eye when this was made, however in around 1984, when I was just an ahem-early-tean, this became one of my favourite movies. Many years after that, I’d lost the video copy I’d hoarded over the years, and had to import the movie on DVD from the USA.

Again, not giving away my age too closely, I’ve watched this movie multiple times over the most recent 30+ years, and have to say it stands the test of time without breaking a sweat.

This movie is, in one line – Imagine a James Bond film from the 60’s, Americanised, on a lower budget, through the lens of a whiskey glass, with more realistic sexist attitudes of the times.

Dean Martin takes the title role of Secret Agent Matt Helm, and I swear throughout this movie he’s drunker than the entire cast of Dallas; but that was him, and he’s at his best putting a serious yet comical face to the secret agent role.

Playing opposite Dean is Janice Rule, in the role of Shilea Sommers, his co-agent, and pretend wife for the duration of the mission. In the opening scenes Shiela is abducted (But not as you’d expect, Jim), and makes her first appearance running to Matt’s arms after going ‘insane’ – this soon changes to a more sensible role. Makes me wish I was around at the time this was released!

Janice is best know for some of her other roles, such as in 3 Women (1977), The Swimmer (1968), Bell, Book and Candle (1958)… Years later, she even made an appearance in Murder She Wrote (1989).

Moving on from the principle cast, the movie itself is a wonderfully 60’s sideways glancing, sexist, sexy, version of a spy film. It was, and I supposed is, a spoof movie, however I sometimes think the plot line (Complete with holes) rivals many attempts at serious espionage drama.

Not forgetting the sound-track, the 60’s band plays quietly, almost unnoticed in the background throughout the movie, some would say the sound-track resembles low-grade porno or elevator music, but well, it does set the comedy element of the movie off very well.

I mean… What other movie has female secret agents with guns built in to their bras, a gadget which dissolves metal at a distance (Demonstrated on a man’s belt buckle!), flying saucers, and an Alien-Ripley-Power-Suit (Get away from her, You Bitch!) 12/13 whole years before Aliens was made in 1979! Poisoned lipstick… I mean Poisoned Lipstick – awesome! To boot, the tent Matt and Shiela use in the movie, whilst this doesn’t exist even today, would put hotels out of business in a blink.

One thing you can’t get away from in this movie is girls / women. Everywhere and sexy as well – it’s like a fashion shoot, there are more good looking women in this then the entire run of House MD!

The special effects are quite laughable, sometimes even by the standards of the time, but they do get the point across easily enough, I have to keep reminding myself that this is supposed to be a spoof! Talking of the times, the one-liners are fantastic, “And you said you were a 38″… “Where are you from? – The Bar…” Really love this movie so much! … This movie even has another spy wearing a Fez!

Anyhow, go find a copy of this and sit down with a massive amount of popcorn, and possibly some whiskey, then enjoy this movie for what it is. I’ll leave you with a trailer I found knocking around on Youtube 🙂

If you’re still reading at this point, it’s worthy of a mention that Dean played Matt in another few movies, for example The Wrecking Crew, you can find out more information from the Wikipedia page

OK… 635 words later, you can tell I love this genius movie 🙂

Movie Review – A Dog’s Breakfast

A Dogs Breakfast1This is the first in a series of movies reviews here @Spabbit. I’ll be going through my favourite movie collection over the next few weeks. At the top of the list, alphabetically, is A Dog’s Breakfast.

It was been written, directed by and stars David Hewlett. I first encountered David Hewlett in Stargate SG1, and later on Stargate Atlantis – he played the very annoying Rodney McKay, who’s principle occupation was being a genius level dork amongst the stars. Talking of Stargate – all the actors in this movie have been in one or another of the various Stargate incarnations.

The movie is simple, quirky and contains some classic scenes, a truly amazing, awesome creation. The comedy varies from simple jokes to classic slapstick – Hewlett makes it all come together with the same ease in which he projects into every role he’s thrown in to. One of the interesting things, is that his sister in the movie, Marilyn, is played by his real-life sister, Kate Hewlett – this adds a unique chemistry to the whole thing which can’t be beaten…

David’s character, Patrick, is uniquely pure Hewlett-grade awkward-dork-genius, and really has to seen been to be believed. Paul McGillion also shines here, without giving away too much of the plot, he plays two parts, and the second is very much unexpected 🙂

This movie will have you rolling around, gasping for breath – and you’ll always want more – go watch this today, you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s the IMDB link for more info.