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Xbox Live 12 Month Gold Membership Card
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Fairyqueen - your free 1 month trial will start the first time you log in to Xbox live. I didn't log in until a good year after I purchased my console but the free trial kicked in straight away.
On the review front - Xbox live is a must, as is Gold membership. £35 for a full year is great value...just be prepared to lose a lot of sleep and get seriously behind on the housework / DIY!
The Audacity of Hope
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I picked up a copy of this in the US a couple of months ago and was able to read it before the election took place. If you can forgive the Pseud's Corner-esque title it is certainly worth a read in order to familiarise yourself with the values and ideals of the president-in-waiting; Obama reveals himself to be profoundly inspired by the mechanisms, ideals and history of American Politics, firm in the conviction that the US must re-skill in order to meet the challenges of the internet era, and above all positive in his belief in the United States, it's people and it's power as a force for good in the world.
It is not however perfect. There are sections which feel as if they have been written rather self-consciously in order not to alienate sections of the voting public (a rather generic response to the hoary old issue of "pork-barrel" spending springs to mind as an example), but in the main there is a genuine sense of conviction and honesty and it is hard not to warm to the man behind the public image. A thoughtful, rather charming and thoroughly readable book.
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box
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I bought a copy of The Orange Box second hand (sorry, "pre-owned") about 6 weeks ago for £20 and I thought I'd had a bargain, but £11.99 brand new? If you have a 360 and don't have a copy, buy it NOW before Play realise they've made a mistake with the price!
Xbox 360 Elite Console
I've had my Elite for 9 months and I love the thing - there are better titles available than any other platform and the 360 wireless controller is the best design around in my book. However, all those of you proclaiming that RRoD is a thing of the past - don't count your chickens. My Elite ringed on me last week for no apparent reason.
It was kept well ventilated, away from other heat sources, and was only used for 2-3 hours each session.
Microsoft have agreed to fix it free of charge - for some reason they have a sale date that indicates that it is out of warranty, even though it should still be covered - but the estimated fix time is 2-3 weeks and it has been sent via UPS to Frankfurt!
Last week I would have awarded 5 stars, but my confidence has been shaken quite a bit - how can I be sure it won't break again when returned?
Official Xbox 360 Wireless Controller - Black
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For me, the best controller ever. Beautifully weighted and ergonomic, with all buttons and sticks falling under your fingers and thumbs so naturally it feels instantly comfortable and familiar. After a while you could almost forget it's there, but for the satisfying heft of the thing.
Next, the look of it - gorgeous. The off-white controller is great but this goes one stage further. It's all sleek lines and curves...the PS3's wireless effort looks archaic in comparison. I almost feel like buying more to use simply as ornaments! Yes, I am getting a bit carried away now. Sorry.
I have experienced no difference in performance at all between this and a wired controller, but would recommend buying the Play and Charge kit to avoid battery failure at the most inconvenient time!