Mirror Magazine
26th August 2001
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Britney geared wrong

Britney Spears damaged a Ferrari gear box of a hired car last week. Britney hired the Ferrari 360 Modena in Beverly Hills and blew up the gear box while attempting to put the car into 2nd gear whilst driving at 85 mph. As the gear blew up the car swerved across two lanes of the road before it stopped. Britney who is not used to driving a car with a manual system, agreed to pay $25,000 for the repair of the vehicle.

It has been confirmed that 

Robbie Williams will release an album of big band cover versions. The highly-anticipated album will be titled 'Swing When You're Winning'.

Robbie currently the UK's most consistent male singer, recently completed a tour of his home country. He has moved over to the US and lives in Los Angeles, where work on the big band cover collection is being recorded. When he moved over to the US a few weeks ago there was speculation about him quitting the UK to seek greener pastures.

Swing When You're Winning', is to be released on November 19th. It will follow Williams' album from last year called 'Sing When You're Winning'. The new album is to feature several high profile collaborations along with a few new tracks.

The former Take That singer has already contributed a version of 'Have You Met Miss Jones', from the movie soundtrack "Bridget Jones Diary, recorded a version of 'Come Fly With Me' and 'My Way'.

The singles crown on the UK 

chart has shifted heads this week. The boy band Five take the crown with the song 'Let's Dance'. The song is the third chart topping hit for Five and second No:1 in a row following their rendition of the Queen classic - 'We Will Rock You', from July last year. 'Let's Dance' begins a new selection for Five from a new album. The track is pop with a retro feel which can also be described as Chic crashing into Kool & The Gang. The song's release and success has come at a time when there was speculation of the group's future.

Exactly a year ago to this 

week the song 'Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)' by Spiller became the No:1 song in the UK. The vocalist on that hit was Sophie Ellis Bexter. This week Sophie is back in the chart as a solo artiste at the No:2 position with 'Take Me Home'. She had to battle for the No:1 position in the market. In the end Five won with 'Let's Dance' while Sophie settled for the runner-up spot. There is a classy tone to Bexter's voice on 'Take Me Home'. It is an old Cher song which was a No:8 hit in the US in 1979. Sophie Ellis Bexter's version has the lyrics slightly re-written which has been described by Cher as "too raunchy". The 20 -year- old singer has a splendid video to support the single where she appears in some amazing classy dresses.

Gwen Stefani, the one time 

lead vocalist of the rock band No Doubt is the featured star on Eve's release called 'Let Me Blow Ya Mind'. The song entered the chart at No:4. The track is produced by Dr. Dre.

New Order, one of the UK's 

most influential bands is back in the chart with a track called 'Crystal' at No:8. The song has re-generated interest in the band fronted by Bernard Sumner. The band first began as Joy Division before a name change was made in 1980. 'Blue Monday' was New Order's most famous single. The track surfaced on the chart no less than 8 times. The band which specialised in indie music released a Greatest Hits album in 1994 and also recorded a No:1 song in 1990 called 'World In Motion' for the World Cup Football tournament. They recorded the track with the England team at the time. 'Crystal', is the lead off single to New Order's new album 'Get Ready' due shortly. New Order comprises Bernard Sumner, Peter Host, Steven Morris and Gillian Gilbert.

AJ of the Backstreet Boys is recovering well after being in rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety treatment. The Backstreet Boys called off a tour in the US following AJ's illness.
Techno Page

How to buy your PC 

One of the most frequently asked questions that gets repeated often in the Techno Page mail box is "what 'sort' of things should I look for when buying a personal computer?" So this week, Techno Page is dedicated to all those blokes out there who are aspiring to buy their first PC.

The first and most cru- cial aspect you need to consider when buying a PC is your budget. Your budget will determine what 'sort' of computer you can afford to buy. We will talk about the 'configuration' of the computer rather than its 'sort'. 

The configuration of the machine is basically the components it is made of, and a great deal about its performance depends on that. The next thing you should think about is what you need. That is what you hope to do with the machine, and we will leave this to be discussed in detail later. You also need to have at least a rough idea about the market prices of the hardware you are going to buy so that you will know what to get, where to get it and how much you should pay for that.

If money isn't a problem, you could buy the best machine available in the market, but as this isn't the case more often than not, it is important to know how much you can afford to spend and the best possible machine you could get for that price. On the other hand, a tight budget may push you into buying an out-dated machine that could turn out to be a total disaster. 

This is because the new software that comes into the market, require more powerful hardware than their older versions, and having out-dated hardware could mean that you will be stuck with old (and comparatively sluggish) software. Hardware upgradeability is also something you should look into, so that the machine you buy will not go out-of-date within just a couple of years. So even with a tight budget, make sure you have the resources to buy a decent machine, so that what you spend on the computer will not turn out to be a total waste.

In the market there are branded machines and assembled ones. All computers are in a sense 'assembled', but when I say assembled computers I am referring to the kind of machines that are sold by retailers who get each component separately and assemble them in their shops. Branded ones are those sold by companies like IBM, DELL, and COMPAQ who are specialized in the business. 

Both these options have their pros and cons, and it is hard to say which is better in a general sense.

The configuration of the computer you want depends mostly on what you want to do with the machine, and the price will be determined by the configuration. You will obviously want to buy a faster processor and plenty of hard disk space. For example, if you are planning to work on 3D graphics, it will be wise to get a powerful 3D graphics card (video card) and plenty of RAM (Random Access Memory). In fact the amount RAM has a great and direct impact on the speed of the computer in general. 

Then if you want your computer to be a 'sound station', or if you want to turn it into a home theatre system, you will need a powerful sound card that will give high quality surround sound that will blow your lungs out. 

You also have the option of choosing between a CD ROM and a DVD ROM. The advantage of a DVD ROM would be its capability of reading both DVDs and CDs. Floppy disk drives come as standard, but extra options such as ZIP or JAZZ drives are available which gives you the storage and speed of hard disks together with the versatility and mobility of floppies.

It would be wise to talk to knowledgeable friends about the configuration and prices because they are quite fluid and keep changing almost every day. When it comes to what you buy, it is equally important to think about where you buy it. It will be a far cheaper option to buy an assembled computer, but branded machines come with a unique set of advantages themselves; the reliable after-sales service and the longer warranty period being the prominent ones.

If you are getting a locally assembled machine, there are few things you need to look into. This, I emphasize because of two main reasons. One is the after-sales service and the other is the warranty. Make sure that the shop or company you are buying the computer from, has a good customer relations unit and a reliable after-sales service. Keep in mind that most components inside your computer come with at least one year manufacturer's warranty, but some components may have a warranty that could extend even to five years. When you are aware of this, you may ask your retailer to make that extended warranty available to you. Be aware of the components that go into your machine and their brands as well. Choose reliable brands that will be compatible with the rest of the hardware and the software you hope to use.

Be prepared to bargain and show the salesman that you know what you are talking about and what you want. 

Get quotations from a few shops for the configuration of the machine you want so that it will give you an idea about the prices. Identify the reliable places and eliminate the rest. It is no point having a three-year comprehensive warranty for your machine if the shop you bought it from, goes out of business in six months.

Find out more

As far as my experience stretches, most PC users aren't sure about the configuration of the machines they use. This could work out to your disadvantage. If you have a PC already, (and if you are running Windows 95 or higher) you can find out about the components of your computer by right-clicking the 'My Computer' icon and selecting 'properties'. 

Then under 'hardware profile' chose 'device manager'. Here you should be able to see what hardware you have and what you don't. 

Another way of finding out the system configuration of your machine if you are using MS Word is to go to 'Help' in the menu bar and click on 'About Microsoft Word'. Then choose 'System Info'.

Ezra to rock Colombo

'Ezra' is their rather unusual name. A prophet from Biblical times, Ezra was a priest and a leader whose name meant 'help'. And this teenage Gospel Rock group hope to 'help' popularise the Gospel through music in Sri Lanka. Ezra got together around four years ago and have been playing and singing since then. Their first solo concert will take place on Friday, August 31 at the Bible House Auditorium, 293, Galle Road, Colombo-3, at 7.00 pm. Tickets are priced at Rs. 50/- and will be sold at the gate. 

Anushka's winning smile

Writing books, lecturing at Harvard and modelling occasionally all come easy to this talented Lankan

Acomputer nerd,' is what she laughingly calls herself, but there's so much more to young Anushka Wirasinha than sheer academic brilliance. True, she lectures at Harvard University and has written ten books - these would be quite noteworthy achievements in anyone's lifetime - but for Anushka, they're all in a day's work.

The other side to Anushka and the one she is more reticent in talking about, is that of a beautiful young Lankan who could quite easily have had a promising career on the catwalk and even perhaps in the movies, if she so chose to. 

Back in 1997, Anushka did some modelling with the John Robert Powers agency. Appearing before a panel of judges, which included supermodel Cindy Crawford, in a contest organised by New York's prestigious International Modelling and Talent Association (IMTA). She was adjudged as having the 'Best Smile'. Modelling offers followed this accolade, but having her teaching job at Harvard as her first priority, Anushka refused to be swayed by the lure of the ramp.

She may have had second thoughts, she admits in hindsight, if she knew that the offer to appear in a film, which she turned down too, had a certain young actor by the name of Brad Pitt in the lead role. "For a long time I couldn't bring myself to watch 'Meet Joe Black'...in fact, I only watched it only a few months ago," she says ruefully. "At that time though, taking on the role which was a small speaking part in the film would have entailed my having to spend three months in Rhode Island - and I wasn't prepared to do that. But meeting Brad Pitt would have certainly made my day." However, if such an offer should come by now, she'd definitely give it more consideration, she says.

It seems a curious combination, modelling and teaching, but Anushka finds a significant common factor. "In teaching, you pamper the student, when you're a model, the others pamper you," she laughs.

Back in Sri Lanka now on vacation, Anushka is preparing to launch her ten books on September 1 at the Trans Asia Hotel before heading back to the U.S to her post as assisting lecturer in microcomputers and information technology at Harvard.

The books sit in an impressive pile on the table. Hefty tomes on computers, cyber law, science fiction, a students' examination guide interspersed with slimmer volumes of poetry and a guide to relationships, plus a children's book, all written in the space of one year.

She is, no doubt, a prolific writer but also essentially a practical one as the books reveal. Specialising in information technology, (she did her Master's in the subject at Harvard after a B.Sc Economics Honours degree at the Unversity of London), Anushka decided she wanted to share all her knowledge with others. She started writing and the result was 'Visually Learn PC', 'Spread the Word Around", "On Your Marks...Net...Set...Go! Surviving in an e-world, 'Computer Tutor' and 'Study Buddy' - the latter a guide for students, based on her experiences at the University of London course.

The books are practical and easy to digest, designed even to put a techno-phobe at ease. "Visually Learn PC' for instance was written after her parents, Armyne and Hemamali Wirasinha bought a PC and bombarded her with questions on how to use its various features. So the book takes the reader through the basics from learning Windows, to playing games, watching DVDs, instant messaging and videoconferencing among others.

While writing books on IT may seem logical for some one who spends most of her time teaching the subject, what of the books on poetry and relationships? The love of poetry, she explains, was a gift from her grandmother, who, when she was very young gave her poetry books and taught her to see the world differently. She also mentions a kind and encouraging elocution teacher, the legendary Wendy Whatmore who when faced with a keen youngster asking if she could become a writer one day, did not dampen her enthusiasm.

'Tinges', Anushka's slim but elegantly presented volume contains no erudite outpourings but random musings on themes as diverse as 'Pound Puppy','Graduation Ball', 'Monday Blues', 'E-Mail' and "Lunuganga'. Some are obviously close to her heart, as when she writes of 'Harvard's "Moonlit red bricked roads, Harvard Yard clothed with trees", or the search for peace, "Stop the anger, stop the hate, Find peace within the heart" .

Prolific writer she may be, but Anushka doesn't believe in sticking to a rigid timetable, preferring instead to write when inspiration strikes. She may, she explains switch from a book on computers, to write poetry for a while, if she feels so inspired. 

And for her, inspiration for Sri Lankan poetry, comes mostly from Galle, a place she loves so much that she goes there at least once a week when in the island, to unwind, relax and just watch the sea. 

Already launched in the U.S and on sale in Germany, France, Japan and the U.K as well, is "Heart Mended with Super Glue', Anushka's guide to relationship success. This book, she says, came about because quite often she was called upon to advise her friends on their love life and rocky relationships. She also did extensive surveys before writing it and the result is a simply worded but insightful little book. "The path to love exists...make an effort to find it, travel it carefully, read the signs along the way, don't give up if you make a wrong turn or two and come to a dead end. The path may have ruts, the journey may be tiring, you may even think of giving up at times, but the reward at the end of your journey is too great to throw away...it is worth the hardship, the struggle, the pain," she writes in her foreword. 

"Heart Mended...', contains Anushka's own philosophy that to succeed, a relationship needs space. " It's all about understanding and respecting your partner's boundaries," says Anushka. "Understanding, respect, tolerance, discipline and love are the five ingredients for the recipe of a healthy relationship. Understanding your partner's boundaries, goals, dreams, ideas, values and beliefs, respecting them, even if you do not understand some of them and tolerating them, even if you disapprove and disciplining yourself not to overlap those boundaries are the key, she says. 

Wise words indeed, but given her practical streak and spiritual beliefs not all that surprising. So what's in store for this hardworking and talented young writer? More books, some modelling perhaps and certainly more success, if these twenty-something years are anything to go by.

-Renuka Sadanandan 

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