Tag Archives: play

Are wireless headphones just over-hyped or are they worth the extra money?

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I was recently browsing through the Amazon store for a new pair of headphones. I have countless pairs of earphones – some of which have great sound quality – but they tend to break so easily and are only goody for light use.

However, whilst browsing, it crossed my mind to have a look at some wireless headphones. I’ve previously known them to be very expensive and many of them seem to have poor build and sound quality.

However, I stumbled across a £24 pair on Amazon that had good reviews and thought I didn’t have much to lose – so I bought a pair.

It’s fair to say – considering the price tag – they’re brilliant. They aren’t branded (so those of you who like to show off their brands – these aren’t for you!), but that never seems to bother me!

The sound quality is relatively good and I was pleasantly surprised. The headphones have decent bass and don’t seem to sound “tinny” in the slightest.

They will happily connect to any Bluetooth audio device in stereo and/or mono (eg PC, iPod touch 2G or above, iPhone, any smartphone, etc) and it’s really simple to get them going. Simply hold down the multifunction key for 7 seconds (when the blue and red LEDs flash) and connect to them as normal.

I was also really impressed by the battery life. I’ve had these headphones for several days now and have used them for hours on end – and they’ve still only been charged once! They usually outrun the battery life of my iPod by miles!!

My only minor complaint is the LEDs on the device. When you’re using the headphones, a blue LED flashes occasionally. Whilst this is fine in a well lit room or outside, it can be irritating if you’re trying to use them in the dark or at night.

Other than that, they’re a fantastic pair of budget wireless headphones and seem to outsmart many of their more expensive competitors. At £24 a pair, you really don’t have much to lose.

Control RailWorks with an Xbox 360 controller (Windows)

If you own the popular rail simulator RailWorks, you might be interested in this guide which shows you how to run the controls from an Xbox 360 controller.

By default, you play RailWorks with a keyboard and mouse. Whilst this is relatively playable, it does seem to get boring and tiresome after a while – so I investigated using other methods to control the game. I happen to own an Xbox 360 controller for Windows (as I use it for Test Drive Unlimited 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV) and thought it would be good to get it going with RailWorks.

To do this, I got hold of a handy piece of software called Xpadder. Newer versions seem to require a small purchase to pay for the product (bizarrely older versions are free and there are plenty of downloads for those on the internet – but you may need to run the program in compatibility mode as Windows XP if you’re using Windows 7). Nevertheless, it’s a small price to pay!

When you’ve downloaded and installed Xmapper, you can download the profile that I’ve created for RailWorks (see below). If you haven’t previously set up an Xbox 360 controller with Xpadder, you may want to import the controller files too (see below). Simply import the profile into Xpadder and you’re done.

Once it’s up and running, start up RailWorks. You should be able control the game using the controls below:


  • Left analogue stick and D pad both control acceleration of train (up for increase acceleration, down for decrease acceleration). Tap the left analogue stick to raise/lower pantograph (electric trains only).
  • Right analogue stick controls brakes.
  • A – train door release
  • B – windscreen wiper switch
  • X – horn
  • Y – emergency brakes
  • LT – Increase reverser (for forward)
  • RT – Decrease reverser (for backward)
  • START button – pause game
  • SELECT/BACK button – start/stop engine
  • LB – Alerter reset
  • RB – Request permission to pass signal at danger

Known issues:

  • If you request permission to pass red signal, you are forced to close a dialog box with the mouse (not much can be done about this).

> Download the Xbox 360 controller configuration for Xpadder

> Download the RailWorks profile

Obviously, this is a work in progress. In future, I’ll update the profile to provide new functions.

Important: When you’ve finished playing RailWorks, you’ll need to disable Xpadder from the notification area – otherwise your controller will conflict with other programs and games and you’ll start getting unwanted keystrokes!

Enjoy – leave a comment and let me know how you get on!