Tuesday, 26 May 2009

King Of Sings

Singalonga Shaving

A couple of weeks ago, I got a bit caught up in a “ditty-off” (does that sound wrong) on Twitter, started by Will King – King Of Shaves himself.

I’ve blogged before about how much I like the guy’s Azor and the shaving oils he makes. He seems to be a man who simply did the right thing and is now reaping the rewards. I hate to summarise so glibly and I hope his lawyers won’t be after me, but I’m going glibly summarise anyway: some years ago, he noticed shaving creams and foams were rubbish, so he made his first oil, and lo, It Was Good.
Several years, major distribution deals and brand extensions later, we have the Azor for blokes and the Azure for ladies. I bought an Azor for two reasons:

1. It looks fab and has a lot less unnecessary packaging frippery than its competitors;
2. I’m hooked into the brand after using the oils for a while.

- well, those two reasons, plus my Gillette Mach 3 was looking very 2nd hand!

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago Mr King, seemingly from nowhere, posted a couple of little two-line ditties onto his twitter profile and I couldn’t help but keep track. I put a couple in myself, and a few of my favourites are here for your delight, delectation and discussion. I’m afraid they’re unattributed, so if you know who did one, add a comment and I’ll make sure I attach the necessary credit to this blog…

I tweeted ten ditties and liked the game, tomorrow I'll be back doing the same!

Dodgy expenses claims, expensive shaves. Don't be an MP, choose King of Shaves. (bit dodgy, that one!)

For a ladies cheek to be your haven, you better be using the King of Shaving

The shaving world's all a Twitter, cos in the face of Gillette Will has proved he ain't no Quitter

To keep my increasingly white beard at bay, I use King Of Shaves without pain every day.

From statistics that we gather, the swing is to shaving oil, no lather!

I itched and burned and was red raw, Now King Of Shaves helps my chin not be sore!

No pulling, at the stubble's base, our soothing oil protects your face!

Little Will King, modern soul, busted shaving's brush and bowl.

Gordon Brown lost the election, babies he kissed: had no protection!

If you still don’t know whether to try one, take it from me, they’re worth trying. No silly packaging, no insincere celebrity sportsmen - just a good, honest, durable, sharp, simple razor at a good price.

Tell them Phill sent you… Again ;o)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Hurricane's Over!

At Last!

Well, at last the Hurricane is completed, and not before time. I've come to realise that dragging out a small modelmaking project for so long can't really be a good thing.

For one thing, my partner's sick of the sight of it on our kitchen windowsill, and for another, you patient readers must be looking forward to seeing something else by now!

So, Here's The Completed Hurricane

I took advantage of an hour of "The Biggest Loser" on TV and set about finishing the decals the other night. Now the model's in pride of place on top of the lounge storage unit - that is, until this weekend, when it'll be moving to its permanent residence in my son's room!

Oh well, I can't totally boystyle the home, can I?

More ramblings soon... ;o)

Monday, 11 May 2009

Hurricane Update

You might have noticed that it’s been a while since I posted anything about my modelmaking exploits. (You might also notice that the above title might get me some inappropriate links from weather websites!)

You’ll be pleased and relived to know that the Hurricane MkIIC is almost complete. My son and I put a little time into a couple of models over the weekend and this is the result:

There’s just a little more painting to do, the glasswork to glue on then the decals (that’s stickers to us English) have to go on before the project’s finally finished.

Considering that this model has about the complexity-level of an 8 year-old, I think I’ve done a pretty good job! By my reckoning, the 3D thought, dexterity and eyesight needed to do these models right peak at about 13 years of age, then begin to atrophy until an average 30 year-old man can’t successfully complete one. Of course, that 30 year-old will mutter some justification along the lines of “…job to do … kids to sort out … boring … just for kids …” but you know as well as I do that it’s all lies, so as a 39 year-old man I'm quite chuffed. ;o)

I’ll post a separate, more organised entry about my son’s Ferrari F340 build another day, so until then just have a look at ModelZone’s online shop and let me know what YOU think I should make next.

I’m thinking Messerschmidtt Bf109, to give a balanced WW2 view!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

My New Bestest Friend - Western Digital My Passport Essential 250GB

I bought two big pieces of computer kit last weekend: a new Compaq laptop and a portable Hard Drive.

I have to confess, the laptop is excellent and was a bargain: 250GB drive, 3GB memory and it looks the business, all for £360 from Staples
. However, it’s the little portable drive that I’ve fallen in love with.
£60 of my hard-earned cash went over the counter at Comet for a Western Digital My Passport Essential 250GB
, in white.

1. How it looks.

I don’t own an iPod. I don’t own a MacBook. I don’t own an iPhone. But there’s no getting away from it: white, shiny, portable stuff is cool. It fits easily into a pocket or my quasi-gay manbag, and the little mini-usb cable supplied (also in white) is short enough to not get tangled into my sandwiches on the trip to work.

2. How it works.

This is where it gets interesting. I have only word of advice appertaining to the on-board synchronisation software: DON’T. Do not, I repeat do not, use the software. It’s confusing, it’s too clever for its own good and there’s simply no need for it.

The only useful part of the software is the “Lost and Found” information, where you can put your own contact details into a form, just in case an honest person accidentally ends up with your shiny new drive in his/her sticky little hands. Having said that, they would have to fire up the drive, find the right icon, open it then click the “Lost and Found” button – which isn’t highlighted in any way – and that’s just never gonna happen. If you’re bothered about making sure people know it’s yours, borrow a dymo machine and just stick your name and mobile number to the flippin’ thing.

Once you start using this as a drag-and-drop drive, things get so much easier. I moved 50GB of media files from our tired old desktop PC in about 40 minutes, then copied them simultaneously to the new laptop and a 1TB Freecom Media Player
in another hour and a half.

3. What should you do?

If you ask me, you should buy one of these little beauties. As I said, Comet are knocking them out for £59.99. You can pick them up online from about £52, or if you’re cute you can print off the best price and take it to Curry’s or PC world, where they’re asking the ridiculous price of £90, but they’ll pricematch!

Tell them Phill sent you. :o)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Boffer's Bit On The Side Going Live Soon!

The lovely people at Boffer are launching a new service, the Bit On The Side. To see a bit more, watch this video then go to http://www.boffer.co.uk/ and join in the fun!

Don't miss out on the BOTS Bargains!

Friday, 1 May 2009

INQ1 versus 3 Skypephone - A Review

I’ve been using two mobile phones for a few years now, a business phone for work and a personal one too. At the moment I’m using the Vodafone V1615 at work (aka HTC TyTN II/Kaiser 120 and MD Vario III) and I love it.

However, I like to have a smaller phone for my own use, and to keep my personal comms separate from the ones my bosses pay for! 18 months go I got a 3 Skypephone - mainly because Skype calls were unlimited and free, so my partner and I both got one.

Last weekend I walked into my local “3” store and upgraded the basic phone. I had plenty of choices available, but chose the INQ1 for two main reasons:

1. It’s small and simple, just like me. I don’t need a complex phone: I already have one.
2. The tariff offers by 3.

The Phone

The handset is a simple slider, available in black & silver or, wait for it, silver & silver. It’s packaged well, with a series of simple instruction cards to get you started. To be honest, my instructions are still wrapped and I’ve not needed to refer to them yet. After an overnight charge, you’re pretty much on your way with this little beauty. The charging is done via mini usb, which is nice and flexible.

The button feel is reassuring, so texting is much, much easier than the old Skypephone. This is because the slider design allows a bigger keyboard with a much more definite feel. My only disappointment with the slider is that there’s nowehere you can get a good purchase on the collapsed phone, so opening & closing is a little bit fiddlier than it should be. One little indentation near the logo would have sorted that out.

Screen size is great, again thanks to the slider design. It’s big, it’s bright and it’s easily customisable. I ditched the standard logos and chose my wallpaper and screensaver from my Mini-SD (taken straight out of the Skypepone – bonus!) and had my kids on the screen before I’d made my first call. Easy.

Understandable icons and menus drive the GUI, so you should never get yourself confused about where you are or where you’re going with usability.

So, my verdict on the INQ1 handset compared to the Skypephone is that it’s a big improvement.

The Tariffs

I mentioned that we had 2 Skypephones in the house, to take advantage of free Skype chats & calls. Of the two of us, there are 2 types of user:

Me: Few calls; Many skype chats; Many texts; Some messing about on internet & social media sites.
My better half: Many calls to many networks and landlines; Many skype chats; many texts; Almost no internet use.

We are also, importantly, as tight as ducks' bottoms. We don’t want to spend a fortune on fully-inclusive contract tariffs. Thankfully 3 have thought about this, to couple with this entry-level handset.

So, we chose the following tariffs:

Me: £15 a month. 75 call minutes in UK, unlimited texts, unlimited internet, unlimited Skype.
My better half: £18 a month, 500 minutes on calls or texts (1 minute or text = 1 unit of the 500), virtually unlimited Skype, internet charged per bandwidth.

This way we’re both happy that the tariffs suit our phones, and we have common handsets so there are no usability issues at home. We’ve chosen a black one for me, silver for my better half so we don’t leave home with each other’s stuff!

It’s only been one week so we’ll see how they perform over time, but to summarise I have to say it’s been a good choice so far, and not cost us a penny extra.

Can’t say fairer than that…