Tuesday, February 28, 2006

We Humans....

Well, this is another interesting e-mail I received from the person that sent me the batman & robin joke. Have a read at it and enjoy.

Hope this makes you smile...

EVER WONDER where we are headed...

Why the sun lightens our hair but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why you don't ever see the headline: "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Why "abbreviated" is such a long word?

Why Doctors call what they do "practice"?

Why you have to click on "Start" to stop Windows 98?

Why lemon juice is made with artificial flavour, while dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?

Why the man who invests all your money is called a "Broker"?

Why there isn't mouse flavoured cat food?

Who tastes dog food when it has a "new & improved" flavour?

Why Noah didn't swat those two mosquitoes?

Why they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

Why they don't make the whole plane out of the material used for the indestructible black box?

Why sheep don't shrink when it rains?

Why they are called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

Why they call the airport "the terminal" if flying is so safe?

AND...

In case you need further proof that the human race is doomed because of stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods.

On a Myer hairdryer:

"Do not use while sleeping". (Darn, and that's the only time I have to work on my hair).

On a bag of Chips:

You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside. (The shoplifter special?)

On a bar of Palmolive soap:

"Directions: Use like regular soap". (And that would be how???)

On some frozen dinners:

"Serving suggestion: Defrost". (But, it's just a suggestion).

On Nanna's Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom):

"Do not turn upside down". (Well...duh, a bit late, huh)!

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:

"Product will be hot after heating". (And you thought????...)

On packaging for a K-Mart iron:

"Do not iron clothes on body". (But wouldn't this save me more time?)

On Boot's Children Cough Medicine:

"Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication". (We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5 year olds with head colds off those forklifts.)

On Nytol Sleep Aid:

"Warning: May cause drowsiness". (And...I'm taking this because???)

On most brands of Christmas lights:

"For indoor or outdoor use only". (As opposed to...what?)

On a Japanese food processor:

"Not to be used for the other use". (Now, somebody out there, help me on this. I'm a bit curious.)

On Nobby's peanuts:

"Warning: contains nuts". (Talk about a news flash!)

On an American Airlines packet of nuts:

"Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts". (Step 3: maybe, uh...fly Delta?)

I don't blame the company, I blame the parents for this one,
On a child's superman costume:

"Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly".

On a Swedish chainsaw:

"Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals". (Was there a lot of this happening somewhere?)

Now that you've smiled at least once, it's your turn to spread the stupidity and send this to someone you want to bring a smile to (maybe even a chuckle)... in other words send it to everyone. We all need to smile every once in a while.

Benny XXX

Batman & Robin Joke

I am stress at the moment and this put a smile in my face.

Batman and Robin are camping in the desert, set up their tent and are
asleep. Some hours later, Batman wakes his faithful friend. "Robin,
look up at the sky and tell me what you see".

Robin replies, "I see millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?" asks Batman.

Robin ponders for a minute. Astronomically speaking, it tells me that
there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, it
tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Chronologically, it appears to be
approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it's evident the
Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.

What does it tell you, Batman?"

Batman is silent for a moment, then speaks: "Robin, you f*king idiot,
someone has stolen our tent"

If you need more jokes, visit http://www.velocityspark.net/jokes.asp.

Have fun and it is true that laughter is the best medicine.

Benny XXX

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Better Simpson

She might already have her second album out but this is one of the review I just dug out from my archive. Enjoy reading.

Ashlee Simpson

Introduction:

Mention Ashlee Simpson and you might be unfamiliar with her. Well, she is the younger sister of the platinum recording artist Jessica Simpson. Yup, the girl from MTV’s reality show Newlyweds. Well, Ashlee Simpson has follow the footsteps of her sister and started a reality show of her own produced by her father for MTV called the Ashlee Simpson Show. Well, I am unsure whether it is being aired here but it is in the US. However, Ashlee has had a successful acting career in some US TV series before deciding to go into music.

Her album debut at No 1 in 2004 on the billboard charts, thanks to her successful reality TV series along with getting massive airplay of her video on MTV. This shows how influential MTV is. Well, MTV can’t be given credit for all her success, besides having great looks, she has talent and a great debut single and not to mention a great album to follow.

The great thing about this album is that you may follow the making of it if you follow the series. It shows the work that goes into starting a career in music from the vocal training to getting a recording contract and the promotions and photo shoots involved.

One may assume that Ashlee Simpson has the same exact image with her sister, well, this is different. She has her own style and qualities. To be honest, I prefer her than Jessica but Jessica is better looking though. Well, Ashlee portrays a stronger character and tries very hard to not to be compared to her sister. The difference can be seen in her songs and the genre she has chosen. Her songs are more rock than pop in comparison with her sister.

The Album:

Autobiography was chosen as the title of her debut album because according to Ashlee it is an autobiography of her life. This has some significance because she co-wrote most of the songs in the album and has given it a little bit of personal touch into it by inserting her life experiences into it.

The album cover features a picture of Ashlee with a blue and greenish background which I believe is a blackboard with some scribble of chalk writings on it. If you watch the series, you may see the photo shoot session and the time she chooses the picture for her album cover. The thing I like best about the cover is the eyes of Ashlee which are so blue.

The album has 14 tracks and a total running time of 52 minutes and released by Polydor on August 30 2004.

Track List and Track By Track Review:

1. Autobiography
This is a great starter track for the album. This song is talking about her ex claiming that he does not know her like he think he does and tells him that she has prepared to move on as she won’t be single for long. It has a strong beat and Ashlee is practically raising her voice throughout the song. It rates 4 out of 5.

2. Pieces Of Me
This is what I call the Ashlee Anthem. If you do not know who Ashlee is, this song should remind you who she is. It is her debut single and was quite popular at the time of release. It has a great video accompanying it too. It rates a 5 out of 5 for bringing Ashlee into the scene and showcasing her amazing vocal talents.

3. Shadow
This is Ashlee’s second single in the US and a more personal track. It talks about her family splitting up at a young age and she was always over shadowed by her sister’s success. It has an amazing video as well with Ashlee dressing up as two persons living two separate lives. One of the highlights of the video is the scene when Ashlee smashes the mirror with her fist. This song rates a 4 out of 5 for not being as good as the debut single.

4. La La
This is officially her third single in the US and second release in the UK. It starts with heavy electronic drum sound and continues with a nice beat and you can easily sing or hum to it. It makes you want to get up and jump. This is totally unlike any other Ashlee tracks and is my personal favorite. Ashlee is screaming throughout the song. It has a cool video too of teenagers hanging around and doing stuff. It rates a well deserving 5 out of 5.

5. Love Makes The World Go Round
Finally, a much softer song after the previous hard tempo tracks. It takes a slow start but resumes to heavy background music like other Ashlee tracks. It talks about love and how we learn from it. It rates a 3 out of 5.

6. Better Off
This track starts of with a guitar solo and follows with vocal from Ashlee. It has a strong chorus. She talks about her relationship and how she is improving herself everyday. It rates 4 out of 5.

7. Love Me for Me
This is an average track that unfortunately does not showcase much vocal talents and is practically just raising voices. It rates 3 out of 5.

8. Surrender
A very electronically influence track. It is becoming a generic song from Ashlee with similar beats but it has a nice chorus. It rates a 2 out of 5.

9. Unreachable
This is a song that maintains a similar tone throughout the song without excessive loud chorus. It is not one of the best track though. It rates 2 out of 5.

10. Nothing New
This song has certain parts that remind me of Alisha’s Attic if you remember them but with much trademark of Ashlee Simpson interesting vocal. It seems that she should have added more types of different tracks that will showcase different vocal capability that I am sure Ashlee has. It rates a disappointing 1 out of 5.

11. Giving It All Away
Funny thing that this track sounds like Avril Lavigne. Maybe it was written for her in mind but was given to Ashlee instead? Who knows. It is finally about time Ashlee record something different in the album. I was almost getting bored of the similar generic music Ashlee was producing. This song is much low tempo than the rest. You can hear more of her voice than both having the same level of volume. It rates 3 out of 5 for being different than the rest tracks.


12. Undiscovered
This track is similar to the previous track with much low tempo than the rest. It finally showcases more of her voice but unfortunately it is not her best track. It might have been a perfect track to close the album as it is the last track in the original US release. It rates a 1 out of 5.

13. Harder Everyday (bonus track)
Another value-added song that has a good chorus. It is not included in the original US release. It is a nice track and rates 4 out of 5.

14. Sorry (UK bonus track)
A UK bonus track that is seriously not in the US released album and a cool track to close the album with. It rates an average 3 out of 5.

Conclusions:

Ashlee definitely has a bright future ahead of her in the entertainment world. Although the music world is overcrowded with rising teenage stars, she has her own image that is different from others and the best of it, she have received much praise from the critics. They assume that Ashlee will be a generic product from the Simpson family copying exactly what sister Jessica has done but it turns out otherwise. Well, the album is a definitely must have if you have followed the TV series or a big fan of pop/rock music by teenage stars. It is well worth your money with great arrangement of songs that do carry a meaning unlike most pop tracks that just have good beats. If you are not into the pop music scene, give this a miss.

Further Information:

You may wish to visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002QCBR2/qid=1104951462/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/202-6677267-2908646 for further details on this album.

Similar Artists:

If you like the sounds of Ashlee Simpsons, you should listen to Avril Lavigne, Hillary Duff, Jojo, Mandy Moore or Lindsay Lohan.

The Price?

The CD should cost about ₤9.99.

Where To Buy?

Well, the CD should be available in most music stores like Virgin Megastores and HMV. Enjoy additional 10% discount from stores if you have a student card. HMV gives 10% off all items including sales items with a valid NUS card. Virgin Megastores requires you to show a Virgin Student card that may be obtained free of charge from any Virgin Megastore by showing a valid student identity.


You can enjoy massive savings by buying it online too on Amazon or ebay. Some sites that may have the CDs are as follow:

1. Amazon.co.uk
2. Ebay.co.uk
3. VirginMega.co.uk
4. HMV.co.uk

I got mine from winning a competition. So, I can’t tell you the exact price or location I got it.

I hope this helps. I look forward in hearing constructive feedback on my reviews or any questions. Feel free to leave them on my guestbook or comments and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have A Nice Day!

XXX bennyong

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Guide To UK

This article was originally written by me for fellow students that were getting prepared to arrive in the UK. I have modified it for the general public. I thought that this article would be useful if it is published for everyone and I decided to share it on Ciao. I would also be publishing this on my website as well.


Upon Arrival

When your flight touches down on the UK airport, you would be required to hand in a filled landing card and show your VISA or also known as UK Entry Clearance to the immigration officer. You can request for a landing card from any of the air stewardess or stewards while flying and fill it up on board the plane. This will save you time or help you kill time while on board. You are required to fill in your personal and contact details while you are in the UK on the landing card. The immigration officer might ask you for further proof or ask you a few questions regarding your reasons of being in the UK. Proofs are like University acceptance letter, job offer letter or so on. If the immigration officer is satisfied, he will stamp your passport with your arrival date. You are now officially in the UK. *Please note that Entry Clearance requirements differ from one country to another. Please check with your local British High Commissions on accurate entry requirements.

British High Commission: http://www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk
Heathrow Airport: http://www.baa.com/main/airports/heathrow
Home Office: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk
UK Visas: http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk


Traveling From the Airport/General Transport Info

If you are arriving in Heathrow, you have many options on traveling to your destination. The cheapest I would have to say is the London Underground or better known as the TUBE. The Tube is also the best way of you getting around London.You can also travel on the Heathrow Express which will bring you straight to the Paddington station which is in Central London in just 15 minutes. If you have a lot to spend, taking a black cab is the most convenient way as it will bring you straight to your destination. Other options are Coaches run by the National Express and also the Hoppa Buses which will bring you to nearby hotels. If you are a student, do make use of the pick up service offered by the University International Office. Please note that the pick up dates may be offered by certain universities and on certain dates only.

Other regional airports do have a variety of transport options.

Heathrow Express: http://heathrowexpress.com
Transport For London: http://ww.tfl.gov.uk
London Underground: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tube
London Buses: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/bus
Coach: http://www.nationalexpress.com

Opening a Bank Account

Getting a bank account in the UK is not as easy as it used to be. It can be quite a hassle and a long procedure. I believe it is so because of the amount of fraud cases it has faced in previous years. What you will usually need for a bank account is proof of address (utility bills), your passport, other proof of id, letter of employment or University letter of acceptance for students. If you find it hard to get a proof of address, certain banks have made agreements with your University to accept University letters as proof of address. Do check with your local bank for details. After opening an account, you will most probably get a debit card which will allow you to make your purchases with it at selected stores without carrying any cash. The debit card is also like an ATM card where you can make redraws from any cash machines mostly free of charge. The major banks in the UK are HSBC, Barclays, Natwest and Llyods.

HSBC: http://www.hsbc.co.uk
Natwest: http://www.natwest.com
Barclays: http://www.barclays.co.uk

Working in the UK

If you are an international student not from a European Union country, you are allowed to work for 20 hours a week. You can work full time during term holidays. If you hold a different VISA, your permitted working hours may differ. A Working Holiday Maker Visa or Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme (SEGS) Visa will allow you to work unlimited hours. You will need an NI number while working. Most employers will help you with the initial procedure of getting a temporary NI number whereby you will have to make an arrangement for an appointment with a Job Centre to get a permanent one. Further information on applying for a permanent NI number will be covered under the topic National Insurance Number.

Working In The UK: http://www.workingintheuk.gov.uk


National Insurance

You will need to call a job centre and provide them with your postcode. They will be able to provide you with the details of which office to contact. You will then be required to call the respective offices to make an appointment for an interview. When attending an interview, do bring along your passport, other ID, proof of employment (company letter, payslips, contract) and two proof of addresses. Please be punctual for your appointments as it may take weeks for you to reschedule another appointment. After the interview, you will be receiving your NI number between 6-8 weeks whereby a NI card with your number should follow in 4 months time.

Inland Revenue: http://www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk


Getting a Job

The best way you can get a job is by registering with agencies. Just register online or visit one of their outlets or offices with your CV. Visiting a job centre would also be a plus. Do a search on Yahoo! for different recruitment agencies. You can also opt to apply directly to vacancies advertised on local papers and media. Do be patient afterwards because the job offers may take some time to come in. You can also opt to take a part time job for the mean time.

Reed: http://www.reed.co.uk
Monster: http://www.monster.co.uk


Calling Home

There are many options for one to call home. You may dial directly from payphones, landline or buy cheap calling cards. Do be aware of scam phone cards which actually make you pay more. Most of this phone cards are distributed for free and promises you free calls. For a safe service, I would personally recommend using Just Dial. It allows you to make international calls for the price of a national call which starts at just 2p/min depending on your service provider. Visit the site for further details:

Just Dial: http://www.justdial.tk
TopUp2Talk: http://www.topup2talk.uk.tt


Traveling

When you are in the UK, do take the time to travel around. You may wish to visit other European countries as well. There are many ads and travel agencies that can help you with your travel.

Budget Airlines
Easy jet: http://www.easyjet.co.uk
BMI: http://www.flybmi.co.uk
Ryan Air: http://www.ryanair.co.uk

Travel Sites
Last Minute: http://www.lastminute.com
Teletext Holidays: http://www.teletextholidays.co.uk
Statravel: http://www.statravel.co.uk


Useful Phone Numbers:

NHS Direct: 0845 4647
Directory: 118 118
International Directory Assistance: 153
Emergency: 999

Useful Websites:

Street Maps: http://www.streetmaps.co.uk
UK Guides: http://www.i-uk.com

I hope this helps, if you have any further questions, just post it on my guestbook and I would be more than please to try and help. You may also if you wish, suggest things that I should cover.

Have A Nice Day!

XXX Bennyong

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The New Spice Girls

This is another review of mine from the archive. I hope you enjoy reading it.

First of all, thank you for your interest in reading my review.

Girls Aloud - Sound Of The Underground

Artist Name: Girls Aloud

Album Title: Sound Of The Underground

Genre: Pop

Release Date: 2003

Track Listings:

1. Sound Of The Underground
2. No Good Advice [Clean Version]
3. Some Kind Of Miracle
4. All I Need (All I Don't)
5. Life Got Cold
6. Mars Attack
7. Stop
8. Girls Allowed
9. Forever & A Night
10. Love/Hate
11. Boogie Down Love
12. Don't Want You Back
13. White Lies
14. Love Bomb (UK Bonus Tracks)
15. Everything You Ever Wanted (UK Bonus Tracks)

Total Running Time: 53:50 Minutes

Official Website: http://www.girlsaloud.com

Mention Girls Aloud to me, I say the new Spice Girls. Well, come to think about it, I would call any new 5 member girl group Spice Girl wannabes.

The band Girls Aloud consists of 5 similar looking girls. I do not know the history of the girls but believe that they were formed from one of the reality TV talent shows or something like that. The members of Girls Aloud do not stand out with personal identity like what the Spice Girls were with Ginger, Posh, Sporty, Scary and Baby. However, they do manage to sell records.

I am reviewing the UK limited edition release version of the album. So, certain tracks might not apply to the original release.

The CD cover features five of the girl in matching modern silver outfits with microphones on stands in front of them. The back cover has a picture of the five earlier mentioned microphones without the girls as the background and has text of the track listings. The booklet has individual pictures of the girls but unfortunately, no lyrics. I hate it when there are no lyrics. It feels like that I have been ripped off somehow but with the internet these days, it is easy to find the lyrics. I have listed the websites below. There are also two separate inserts in the CD, one is for the Girls Aloud Fan club membership form and the other one is instructions on how to purchase Girls Aloud Ringtones. The ring tones are quite pricey with the monophonic tones being ₤1.50 each and polyphonic being ₤3.00 plus the cost of a text message. If you really fancy them and would like to have them on your mobile, visit their website.

Another amazing feature of the CD is the enhanced feature. I am always impress by new things. Pop the CD in your CD-Rom drive and the program called Revoice Studio will automatically launched. This will allow you to sing along Karaoke Style with the Girls. The program also records you singing and plays it back with the video covering their voices. So, you and your mates can make your own Girls Aloud Video. Amazing, ain’t it! (Attention: I do not use the program, I am just impress with it, I wished that Linkin Park would have done something similar with their CD)

Here is my review of each track of the album.

1. Sound Of The Underground (Running Time: 3:41)
My mate first introduced me to this song and to be honest, I quite like it very much due to its catchy tune and electronic drum and guitar sounds. The song title was also something different. If I am not wrong, the song was release for Christmas 2002 and was a hit. The album is named after this track. If you have the chance, surf to their website to watch the video. They won a Disney Award with this song. This track rates 10/10 for bringing them into the Music World.

2. No Good Advice [Clean Version] (Running Time: 3:48)
This is the song that you can sing along with the Revoice Studio program. The track is about the parents giving No Good Advice expressing that they are old enough to make their own decision. Here is the lyrics snippet “Daddy Told Me Look Into The Future, Sit in Your Computer and Be A Good Girl�. There is also a cool video accompanying this song. The video features the girls in the same outfit as what they were wearing for this album cover. Although there are similarity beats to the first single, Sound of the Underground, this track rates 10/10.

3. Some Kind of Miracle (Running Time: 3:09)
A little bit more showcase of vocal talent than the previous electronic sounds. It is an easy sing a long song. It is less noise than other songs and it still has the Girls Aloud trademark in it. This track rates a 8/10.

4. All I Need (All I Don't) (Running Time: 3:39)
This is just an average track from the girls. The tune is ok and the background music tends to compete with the girls singing. You will need to struggle a little bit to clearly hear what the girls are mumbling about. It rates a 6/10.

5. Life Got Cold (Running Time: 3:55)
This is one of their hits and happens to be another single from the girls. I like the beginning where a guitar is being use giving a little bit of acoustic feel to it. It is a more sentimental side of the girls. It should be an easy listening track but the trademark of Girls Aloud’s electronic song makes it a little bit loud for a soft track. However, it is a good song and rates a 9/10.

6. Mars Attack (Running Time: 3:24)
No, this is not the soundtrack to the Movie with the same title. This song is another electrically generated track which is a little bit more upbeat than the previous tracks. The loud electronic sound is balanced well with the vocals and you can easily dance to this track. It rates a 10/10.

7. Stop (Running Time: 3:37)
This is not a cover version of the Spice Girl’s single that did not make it to # 1. Instead it happens to be an announcement track by the girls to the society where Girls Aloud will always be on top. This song is very catchy and should be added to your play list if you have one. It should have been released as a single. This song rates a 9/10.

8. Girls Allowed (Running Time: 3:24)
A very interesting title but no so interesting track. It has the background music like many DJ use to remix their track. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a nice song to listen to and blends well with other track arrangements on the album. It rates a well deserve 8/10.

9. Forever & A Night (Running Time: 3:14)
Another soft song from girls aloud and a much softer one than Life Got Cold. This song is expressing the love of a girl to a guy of her dreams. A love song that all girls should dedicate to their loved ones. I would fall in love with a girl if she was singing this song to me. This song rates 10/10.

10. Love/Hate (Running Time: 4:38)
This song is not as good as other tracks. I am starting to get sick of the generic electric sound of Girls Aloud. I do think that this is a good song but shouldn’t have used that much electronic sound as the background music. It rates a 5/5.

11. Boogie Down Love (Running Time: 4:05)
This is possibly one of the worst tracks in the CD. I am really getting sick of the generic sound that Girls Aloud has been repeating in almost every track. It might work well for certain tracks but the girls should have decided to add more variety to the album. It rates a 4/5.

12. Don't Want You Back (Running Time: 3:20)
This song is another softer track that features less of the electric sound. It features more vocal talents and should be placed a little bit earlier in the track arrangements. It arrived in the perfect time as I was about to get really sick and go see the music doctor about the Generic Electric sound from the girls. It rates 8/10 for saving me from overdose of electronic sounds.

13. White Lies (Running Time: 4:02)
The final track if you own the non UK limited edition version. It is also a soft track from the girls. Remember when I mention soft in this review, it is soft in the Girls Aloud definition where it is not like 2 Become 1 from Spice Girls. It has more beats. It rates 7/10.

14. Love Bomb (UK Bonus Tracks) (Running Time: 2:55)
Bonus Track number 1 that is a fun track from the girls with virtually no singing. It is all only rhyming. However, it is a good tune and fun to listen to. You will have fun and is good song to play to kids. It rates 8/10.

15. Everything You Ever Wanted (UK Bonus Tracks) (Running Time: 2:55)
The final track which happens to be the 2nd Bonus Track is a good song but it doesn’t standout like Sound Of The Underground or Life Got Cold does. The good thing about this song, is that it warms you down from the excessive Girls Aloud song that is a great finale to a good debut album from a Girl band. It rates 7/10.

I bought the CD from HMV at Trocadero for an amazing low price of £2.99 during one of the sales. Well, it was worth every penny. Do make sure that you get your hands on the Limited Edition version as it costs the same as the regular one but has more value to it with two extra tracks and software. If you already have the earlier release, don’t waste on buying this one. It is just two more tracks extra and the software.

If you do not listen to Pop music and have never liked the Spice Girls, avoid this CD. It will spoil your CD collection. But if you are in denial that you were not a previous Spice Girls fan, give this CD a try.

Purchase This CD:
Well, the CD is available in all good music stores like HMV, Virgin Megastores and Tower Records and can also be purchase online from the following websites.
- http://www.amazon.co.uk
- http://www.virginmegastores.co.uk
- http://www.hmv.co.uk

Get it 2nd hand from
-http://www.amazon.co.uk (marketplace)
-http://www.ebay.co.uk

Try to get the CDs during sale period like Summer Sale or Christmas Sales. You will definitely grab a bargain. If you are a student, use your NUS card to get 10% off non sale items at HMV or use your virginstudent.com card to get 10% off at Virgin Megastores. NUS cards can be obtained at your University’s Student Union and the Virginstudent.com Card can be obtained at Virgin Megastores for free.

Other useful music related websites:

Lyrics Search
-http://www.lyricsearch.com – Lyrics Directory

Watch Music Videos
-http://www.launch.co.uk – Yahoo’s UK Music Directory (dotmusic.com)
-http://www.findvideos.com – Video Link Directory
-http://www.mtv.co.uk – MTV UK Official Website

I hope this helps. Well, feel free to leave me a message on my guestbook or comment on my review. I look forward to receive constructive feedback on all my reviews. If you post a question, I will try my best to reply it.

Have A Nice Day!

Thanks.

Benny Ong

Friday, February 24, 2006

Spice Girls - Goodbye Review

This is one of my many reviews I have posted over the years on various websites. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Spice Girls - Goodbye

To those of you who are unaware or have forgotten who they are, well, here is a quick recap. This was a 5 girl band which took the world by storm with the release of their first single Wannabe in 1996. It was an immediate hit and became no 1 in lots of countries. A no 1 album was soon to follow with further releases of hit singles such as 2 Become 1, Say you’ll Be There, Mama and Who Do You Think You Are?. I hope it is enough to recall your memory.

Back to the CD review. The single Goodbye was shortly released after the departure of one of the Fab 5 which was Geri Halliwell or better known as Ginger Spice by the fans. Many thought that this single was wishing Goodbye to the fans as it was rumored that the girls will break up. However, the girls said this single was a tribute to Geri and the band was actually saying Goodbye to her and wishing her well on her future undertakings.

There are many versions of this CD released throughout the world and with different features. Some has videos, different cover and includes 4 free plain postcards. There are two CDs release in the UK. CD 1 being the regular single and CD 2 being the Limited Edition.

Release Details:

Format: 2 CD Singles & 1 Cassette
Date: 14 December 1998
Label: Virgin

The Cover
There was two CDs that are released here for this single. CD 1 (See Attached Picture Below) has the picture of the 4 girls up to their shoulders with a white background. CD 2 features an artwork of a fan as the cover. It shows the 4 girls at the back of the car waving with snow falling down.

Listen To Samples
This samples are provided by Amazon and are working when this review is being posted. I am sorry if they are no longer working. You will need Real Player to pay the sample track. Visit http://www.real.com to download the free version. Each sample track lasts about 30 seconds. If you have problems streaming the tracks, visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/subst/help/real-audio.html/202-5666377-2340651 for audio help.

CD 1 (Includes 4 Free Non Christmas Related Postcards)

Track 1 – Goodbye (Radio Edit)
This is the original version of the song that is being played on the airwaves. It does have a deep meaning and is the perfect track to play on a farewell party. It rates 5/5.
Audio Sample:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000I2NN001001/202-5666377-2340651

Track 2 – Christmas Wrapping
A fun Christmas track that really gets you in the Christmas mood. It rates 5/5 and plus, Christmas is just a month++ away!
Audio Sample:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000I2NN001002/202-5666377-2340651

Track 3 – Goodbye (Orchestral Mix)
A classier version than track 1. More instrumental background music. It rates 3/5.
Audio Sample:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000I2NN001003/202-5666377-2340651


CD 2

Track 1 – Goodbye (Mixes)
Not much of a remix than the Radio Edit version. It rates 1/5 for lack of creativity and is clearly a rip off.
Audio Sample:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000I2NO001001/202-5666377-2340651

Track 2 – We Are Family (Live)
A cover song that is recorded live from their concert which to me is not worthy to be released with a limited edition single. It rates 1/5 for ripping off fans.
Audio Sample:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000I2NO001002/202-5666377-2340651

Track 3 – Christmas Wrapping
This track has been released in CD 1 and should not be in CD 2 unless it is the title track. It rates 1/5 for yet again ripping off fans.
Audio Sample:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000I2NN001002/202-5666377-2340651

Track 4 – Sister’s Are Doin It For Themselves (Live)
Another cover track from the girls recorded live from their concert. To me, as I have mentioned earlier, a rip off. They should have included a proper version one if they want to call this a limited edition release. It rates 1/5 for customer rip off.
Audio Sample:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000I2NO001004/202-5666377-2340651

The Lyrics
I have decided to include the lyrics of the song in this review. You will be able to read or even sing it if you like. I believe that this will reveal the in depth meaning of the track. This lyric is courtesy of http://www.lyricsdomain.com/19/spice_girls/goodbye.html.

No no no no, no no no no, no no no no

Listen little child there will come a day
when you will be able, able to say, nevermind the pain,
all the aggrevation, you know there's a better way
for you and me to be
Look for the rainbow in every storm,
Fly like an angel heaven sent to me
Goodbye my friend,
(I know your going searching although I can still feel ya here)
It's not the end,
(You gotta keep it strong before the pains turn into fears)
So glad we made it, time will never change it no no no
no no no no
Just a little love,
Big imagination,
Never let no one take it away,
Went into the world
(into the world)
What a revelation,
She found there's a better way for you and me to be
Look for the rainbow in every storm,
Find out for certain
love is gonna be there for you,
You'll always be someone's baby
Goodbye my friend,
(I know your going searching although I can still feel ya here)
It's not the end,
(You gotta keep it strong before the pain turns into fears)
So glad we made it, time will never change it no no no
No no no no
You know its time to say goodbye
No no no no
The times when we would play about,
The way we used to scream and shout,
We never dreamt you'd go your own sweet way
Look for the rainbow in every storm,
Find out for certain love is gonna be there for you,
You'll always be someone's baby
Goodbye my friend,
(I know your going searching although I can still feel ya here)
It's not the end,
(You gotta keep it strong before the pain turns into fears)
So glad we made it, time will never never ever change it
No no no no
You know it's time to say goodbye
No no no no
And don't forget you can rely
No no no no
You know it's to say goodbye,
And don't forget on me you can rely
No no no no
I will help you help you on your way
No no no no
I will help you everyday
No no no no

[Repeat to fade]


The Video

Like many singles, this song has a video to it. It starts with the girls arriving in a limousine to a mansion where everything in it is frozen (even the residents, however, the girls still manage to be at Body Temperature). Each girl will be singing out their parts of the songs in separate rooms. If you pay attention, you will get to see that Mel B was pregnant while shooting the video. The video rates 4 out of 5 for its artistic value and creative idea.

Conclusions

This single debut at no 11 in the Billboard Charts, the highest since the girls top charting days with their debut album, Spice.

The single was perhaps the best release before their last album ironically entitled “Forever� which wasn’t a reality for the girls. They all have released their own albums with Melanie C ranking the most successful out sales from the band.

Just stick to CD 1 and skip the so called limited edition one which to me is a clear rip off of the fans. Give this single a miss if you are not a big Pop music fan.

If you would like to get your hands on this single, try visiting auction sites like ebay.co.uk or ebid.co.uk. You can also try the Marketplace at Amazon.co.uk which do list used CDs for sale. You will always manage to grab a deal for used CDs. People do sell them out for as low 1pence + postage = less than 50p per CD single.

Well, I hope this review has helped and brought you some good memories of the 90’s pop music scene.

Take care and Have a Nice Day!

I look forward in receiving your feedback and comments on my reviews. If you have any questions, leave them on my guestbook and I will reply it as soon as possible.

Benny Ong

Monday, February 20, 2006

HP PhotoSmart 245 Review

Here is yet another review from my archive I wrote back in 2004. I will be posting selected reviews from my contribution to numerous sites over the past years on my blog. Happy reading.

HP Photosmart 245

Welcome to the first of hopefully many HP printer reviews that I am going to write. Let me introduce myself and how I got to get familiar with so much of HPs printer. I worked for HP on a part time basis and have the opportunity to mess around with tons of their products and the reviews that I will be writting will be totally from what I feel and not trying to promote the company for no apparent reason. I am not being paid any commissions ok! Well, since that is out of the way, let me get a kick start.

Since the end of 2003, HP has been trying to promote its range of digital photography products and its photosmart range was launched. It is a set of specially made for digital photography products which ranges from the digital camera, photo printers, scanners and all in ones.

"What HP Says"

The HP photosmart 245 compact photo printer is designed for families who own a digital camera and are looking to take advantage of the fastes and most convenient way of viewing, printing and sharing photos.

"What Benny Says"

HP photosmart 245 printer is a dedicated independent 10x15 photo printer. You do not need to connect it to a PC to do prints. Since it is small, it is portable and fits into ones luggage without taking much space. I can picture it in my bag somewhere comfortably between my clothes.

One of the best features of the printer is that it has a 4.6 cm colour displays. This allows you to preview the pictures before printing them. A minimal level of editing can also be done like adjusting the brightness and zooming in. You can have the option to print 1,2 or 4 pictures on one standard 10x15 photo paper. You can also set it to make multiple copies. An index page can also be done of all the pictures in the memory card.

After removing it from the box, you can plug it in directly and all the instructions will appear on the display for you to slot in the cartridge and select your preffered language. It is a piece of cake to set it up. There are no big manuals to read.

The printer also takes all the media cards (Sony Memory Stick, Multimedia Card, Secure Digital Card & others) that are available in the market. The card reader is in front of the printer. You can see multiple slots for the different cards available.This clearly means that no matter what digital camera you have, you can still use this printer just by removing the media card and slotting it into the printer. It is an added bonus if you have a HP digital camera as it can connect to printer directly via a cable and do the printing directly.

The downside to the printer is that it does not do anything bigger than the standard photo size. If you are looking for a portable printer to print your documents too or larger photo prints, I suggest you go for the HP Photosmart 7260 and above range.

Technical Specifications:
- HP photopret III Precision Technology
- Up to 4800 x 1200 optimised dpi
- Colour photo 10 x 15cm 140 sec
- Borderless printing on 10 x 15 cm photo papers with tab ( 10 x 16.5 cm)
- 1.8" Colour Display
- Photo Sizes: 10 x 15cm, collage (4 or 2 per sheet),index
- Photo Editing: Brightness, Colour, Zoom, Crop Image, Library of Frames
- Zoom and crop up to 5x
- Upload and cancel buttons
- USB for PC, Mac and direct print enabled HP Cameras.

Compatability:
-Windows: Windows 98 and above
-Macintosh: MAc OS v9.1 and above

Retail Price: £199-£250

Available at Comets, PCWorld, WHSmiths and other high street stores. I have seen a few being auctioned off at a very low price on ebay.co.uk.

Use cartridges: No. 57 and No. 59

My Conclusions
If you are into digital photography and is required to do lots of printing while travelling, this is the perfect printer for you. If you have the comfort of a home office to do your prints, then give this printer a miss and go for the Photosmart 7260 or higher range which allows you to do printing of up to A4 size.

Additional Information:
There is a website for all sales professionals to get information about their products which are www.hp.co.uk/infolab

I hope this helps.

Have A Nice Day!

xxx Benny Ong

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Kid Rock & Scott Stapp Sex Tape Download

Well, I just read about the sex tape of Kid Rock and Scott Stapp (Lead Singer of the band Creed that doesn't exist anymore). Nope, they are not having sex with each in the video. The video was reportedly shot during Kid Rock and Creed's 1999 tour. It has resurface and the current owner of it says it plans to release the full version shortly for sale. A price and date has yet to be announced.

Representatives of Kid Rock and Scott Stapp has failed to comment on this.

Various reports of this are available online, I read mine from yahoo.com. Here are other sites with similar reports.
AOL.com
CNN.com

Will this stir up their popularity like what it did to Paris Hilton and will they take a profit from selling the videos? Well, time will tell.

For those who are curious, here is the video preview:



Benny XXX

Friday, February 17, 2006

3 issues of Test Drive magazine for only ₤1.00

Greetings Guys!

There is a way for you to get 3 issues of Test Drive magazine for only ₤1.00. It includes free delivery and comes with a free gift.

Test Drive Magazine:

Every issue of Test Drive is packed full of information and entertaining features designed to make choosing your next car a pleasure, not a chore. Take 3 issues for £1 and see how Test Drive has got it all covered – without compromising on style.

Free Gift:

The free gift is The AA 2005 Route planner. The free gift itself is worth loads more than ₤1.00 with free delivery together with your first issue.

If you are just interested in the free gift, cancel your subscription after you received your third issue. You can cancel it online, so you never have to write in or phone in to speak to an operator. I have personally done it before.

After you have cancelled, all 3 issues and your free gifts are for yours to keep.

What Is The Catch?
Well, from time to time, publishers would make attractive offers or organize campaigns to get more subscribers and they usually have a huge sum of money to spend on advertising. Some of this money is given to the subscribers in the form of free gifts. Besides attracting customers, it also creates a good publicity for the company and higher brand awareness. So, the company is not losing money on this at all.

Go to http://www.soscili.com/testdrive for details on this offer. Not to sure on how long this offer will last though. Enjoy while it lasts.

Take advantage of this offer!

Benny XXX

How Thiefs Steal BANK ATM Details

Well, I just received this e-mail and I know it is true and worth sharing with others. There are several times when I was at the cash machine and can notice marks of double sided tape around the place where we slot our cards. There have been numerous cases reported and I have heard of many stories from victims themselves. My aim of posting this on my blog is to create awareness.

Here is the e-mail:

Bank ATM's Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers

A team of organized criminals are installing equipment on legitimate bank ATM's in at least 2 regions to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN. The team sits nearby in a car receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM (see photos). If you see an attachment like this, do not use the ATM and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone on the front of the ATM.
The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and PIN are cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A "skimmer" is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.
At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries.
The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.
ATM Thiefs
Equipment being installed on front of existing bank card slot.
ATM Thiefs
The equipment as it appears installed over the normal ATM bank slot.
ATM Thiefs
The PIN reading camera being installed on the ATM is housed in an innocent looking leaflet enclosure.
ATM Thiefs
The camera shown installed and ready to capture PIN's by looking down on the keypad as you enter your PIN .

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What To Know Before You Buy An E Product

Being an internet marketer or internet entrepreneur, you might have encounter countless self proclaimed Internet marketing experts, tons of e-products such as e-books and software that makes extraordinary claims. But how do you know which is the best deal and not a fraud or just a rip off? Well, here are my tips to help you consider yourself.

1) Never Buy On Impulse

One of my first purchases of information products was this massive bundled pack containing literally hundreds of products worth thousands of dollar, all with master resell rights. It was an offer that I could not refuse. I bought it on an auction site at the moment I first came across it. After making the purchase, I randomly did a quick browse and came across the same product offered by another seller at 90% lower the price I have already paid for. I was of course angry at myself as I have overpaid for a product that I can get at a far lower price. However, I learnt that a simple search either on the auction site or the internet can save me huge sums of money. Most of the sale pages constructed by the sellers are to attract potential buyers to buy on impulse. That is how they cash in. It is our own responsibility to be smart consumers. This tip works not just on e-products but literally anything that is being sold online. All you have to do is just copy the name of the product and just do a quick search on search engines. At times, you will be surprised with the results.

2) If In Doubt, Ask

While reading a sales letter or page, you might be a little confused or unsure of the terms used. For example, if the publisher offers Money Back Guarantee but did not specify the terms. Just contact the publisher with your question. If the publisher is a reliable source, you should receive your answer within 24 hours or less. If you do not receive a reply, just give the seller a miss as it shows that the seller does not maintain it’s sales page and how can you be guarantee a good customer support after purchasing the product when the publisher can’t even reply to your pre-sales e-mail.

3) Age of the Product

Try to verify the age of the product. Don’t just look at the phrases such as “Just Release� or “Brand New� and certainly don’t believe the date on the sales letter as it is generated by scripts that updates itself daily or synchronizes with the date on your computer. A few simple steps such as looking at the date of the copyright usually in the footer of the page can roughly tell you when the product is released. It will usually look something like this “© 2000 Super Marketer. All Rights Reserved�. This clearly indicates that the product was released in 2000. Some marketers do not update their sales pages once it has been released. Besides that, just send an e-mail enquiring about the date of release. The reason of avoiding buying old products as some of it might contain irrelevant information as you might know that the online world keeps on evolving and for a product release in 2000 to be relevant with this year, there is only a slight possibility. However, some products are released with latest updates making it just fine.

4) Be Careful with Master Resell Rights

Master Resell Rights is definitely an added bonus to any products. To those who are unfamiliar with this term, it is the rights given to you by the author or publisher to resell the products. Most e-products have this as an additional bonus as it adds value to the product. You can then resell as much of the product as you want at either an agreed price or a price that you decide. However, some publishers charge extra for the reseller rights. The only downside to products with Master Resell Rights is that it might not have any resell value as it has long been on the market and considered outdated or the competition of people selling it is too much. Besides that, just do a quick search on the item on a search engine because you might get it for a much lower price from another reseller.

5) Money Back Guarantee

Most people after making a purchase are just left disappointed with the poor quality of the product being nothing like what it is mentioned in the sales letter. However, most people forget about the Money Back Guarantee that is being offered. Use it and ask for a refund within the agreed time frame. For example, ask for a refund within the first 30 days of your of 30 Days Money Back Guarantee. Never wait until the last minute to ask for a refund. There might be delays on the communications and it could surpass your Money Guarantee Period. However, some products might not have Money Back Guarantee and hence you should choose your products wisely.

Well, that’s about it for now. Do keep on the look out for my other articles in the near future. I look forward in hearing from you. Do send me your constructive feedback or questions.

If you would like to republish this article, please contact me personally.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Thaipusam Festival

This is a short video I got from the event. I will be posting up a full review on the event shortly. Thanks.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Penang, Home Sweet Home

This was a review I wrote about Penang when I was studying in London back in March 2004. The information will still be relevant for most. Enjoy....!

Where Is Penang?
Oh...Penang! My sweet Penang. It has been about six months now since I left home. For those who are unaware about Penang, it is one of the 13 states in Malaysia. It is located in the north of Peninsular Malaysia between Perak and Kedah, two other states. Penang consists of one part Island and the other part Mainland connected by a 13.5KM long bridge that used to be the longest bridge in Asia 10 years ago.

The History
Penang was founded by Sir Francis Light. Sir Francis Light was also the person who founded Adelaide in Australia. He fooled the Sultan of Kedah, where Penang used to belong to in promising to provide Military aid against Thailand. He never kept his promise and further acquired the small part of the mainland opposite the island as security reasons to prevent attacks from the Sultan of Kedah. Penang later became one of the main ports for trading because of its convenient location between China and India routes. It also act as an Army base for the British.

Getting There
If you happened to drop by in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, Penang is just an hour away by Plane or 3-4hours drive or by coach. Cheap air tickets can be bought through Air Asia (http://www.airasia.com) that could range from as low as GBP2.00-GBP20.00. Travel by coach costs roughly the same. Avoid travelling by train that could take up to 10 hours due to the amount of station it stops at along the way. Malaysia Airlines fly to Penang directly from Heathrow twice a week.

Places To Stay
Penang have various 3-5 star hotels located in Batu Ferringhi such as Shangri-la, Novotel, Crown Jewel and Holiday Inn. There are also budget hostels that costs less than GBP5 a night.

Places To Visit
While in Penang, you must visit the beaches (quite dirty now), Kek Lok Si (a Pagoda), The Snake Temple, Penang Hill, Khoo Kongsi and Komtar. You can also choose to walk in Georgetown which have different types of shops with collonial architecture selling almost anything. If you like the outdoors, you can hike to Muka Head or Pantai Aceh which is the small forest reserve in Penang. Other famous hiking spots include Air Itam Dam, Bukit Jambul Hill, Penang Hill and Youth Park.

*NEW*
A new spa and resort have just been opened in Pulau Jerejak which is a small island beside Penang. You can see the island while from the Penang Bridge or on the East side on the island. It should be worth a visit since all the facilities are brand new.

The Culture
Penang boasts one of the most diverse culture. It consists of Chinese, Malay, Indian and others. Most of us can speak and understand English. So, it becomes a tourist friendly destination.

The Food
Indulge yourself to the various types of Hawker Food while in Penang. The food are virtually available everywhere. Famous dish include Char Kuey Tiao (Fried Flat Rice Noodles), Poh piah (Spring Rolls), Asam Laksa (Spicy Dish) and the list just goes on and on. The most famous location to have this is in Gurney Drive.

The Celebrations
We celebrate most of the events like Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Aidilfitri. Special occasions also include Thaipusam which is an Indian celebration with rituals and Kew Ong Yeah (Nine Emperor's Son), a Chinese Celebration that requires the people to fast on Vegetarion for 9 days. This are the major celebrations that you can experience in Penang. Every year there is also the Bon Odori held by the Japanese community with a massive fireworks display in the night.

Your Shopping Needs
You can do your shopping in Island Plaza, Prangin Mall, Super Komtar, Megamall Pinang, Gurney Plaza, One Stop Midlands Park and Bukit Jambul Complex. There are other small shopping centres mostly nearby to the hotels you are staying.

Famous Happenings
It has also been the spot of the filming of Anna And The King staring Chow Yun-Fatt, Bai Ling and Jodie Foster. Read about the movie at this site http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?id=1800020267&d=hv&cf=info

Additional stuff.
If have to make any calls from the UK to Malaysia for your hotel booking, other arrangements or for people to contact you while on holiday. Use Just Dial, to make your calls at national rate. Check http://www.justdial.tk for more info. It really works.

More Info:
You can visit the Malaysian Tourism centre in Trafalgar Square to get more information or any other enquiries regarding places to visit in Malaysia. Here are some websites that might be useful if you are travelling to Penang.

http://www.mas.com.my
http://www.allmalaysia.info
http://www.airasia.com

Notorious MSG

Here I present to you...... Let the video do the tokin.......

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Random Tuesday Post......

Greetings Everybody,

I can’t believe that it is Tuesday already. I will be attending my CCNA class later this evening. I am feeling very sleepy due to the hot weather but need to focus. I am working hard on the development of my company website but just decided to take some time off by making a random post up on my blog.

For the past week besides being busy visiting relatives, I am getting my hands involved in a bit of Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing. I will be releasing articles on that on my blog and it will also be distributed on a few websites.

I went to the bank today and expected a big crowd due to the bank being closed for almost the whole last week. Well, one should never assume.

As Chinese New Year isn’t over yet, let me share with you two of the best CNY Wishes text messages I have received throughout the festivities. I will be deleting it from my mobile, so the blog seems like a nice place to archive it.

“Dog Dog Chiang� “Dog Dog Chiang� “Dog Dog Chiang� “Dog Dog Chiang� May this year of the WOW brings u GOOD HEALTH, HAPPINESS n PROSPERITY

Ayam pegi, Anjing mali, ‘sueh’ pegi, ‘ONG’ mali, Untong-Untong hali-hali, Gembira mesti mali, kena 4 ekor tiap-tiap kali. GongXi GongXi 2 U & your Family.

For those who don’t understand some of the terms, it is because it is a mixed of languages and dialects.

Well, that’s it for now. Till next time, take care.

Benny Ong