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Gary Coupe (Nottingham, England)

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Changeling: The Autobiography of Mike Oldfield
Changeling: The Autobiography of Mike Oldfield
by Mike Oldfield
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small insight into the mind of a musical genius, 13 Mar 2011
First of all, I have been a fan of Mike Oldfield for many years, so would have purchased this book without reading a single review. Other reviews have pretty much covered everything, and I don't think I can add to it in any great detail.

Mike is a self-confessed fan of Star Trek (as am I), and whilst there is no mention of this, I believe the book is named after a character from Deep Space 9 (Odo, whose race is known to some as Changelings). Fans of Deep Space 9 would understand why he chose this title for his autobiography, as one can see how Mike would relate to the story of this character. A Google search for 'Deep Space 9 Odo' will tell you about the character much better than I could here.

There is a lot of focus on his life just prior to Tubular Bells, and also to the period between it's release, and that of his second album; Hergest Ridge. The other periods of his life seem to take less priority, aside from some page space being taken by his 're-birth' and the development of his spiritual beliefs. I would liked to have seen more about the inspirations for his music, and perhaps his own musical tastes, and whilst there is an element of this, it is rather concise. The last few years seem to be a little rushed in terms of detail.

Having said all that, I still found the book fascinating, and read the whole thing in one go (as it happens, whilst listening to Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, and Ommadawn on my iPod whilst travelling on a train). I had intended to read a few pages, then settle into my journey with just the music, but found myself unable to put the book down.

For an Oldfield fan, this is essential reading. Those with a casual, or no interest in his music will probably find parts of Changeling interesting, but some of it will be irrelevant without knowing his music, at least partially.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin - for a good price., 13 Mar 2011
I purchased this adapter / charger some time ago, but never got around to writing a review.

I have an Acer TravelMate 2500, and brought this adapter to replace a universal unit given to me along with the laptop. This unit works perfectly, and is still working almost three years since I purchased it (perhaps such a late review is good - confirmation that the product will last well). There isn't a great deal else to say about the actual adapter, although I will comment on the seller.

Initially, the adapter I was sent didn't fit - the L-connector was too large, so I had been sent the wrong adapter. I contacted the seller by email, and received a reply within an hour, asking me to return the adapter in exchange for the correct replacement. I also received a follow-up phone call to make sure I'd read his e-mail reply, and to double-check the part number listed in the laptop manual. As it happens, the mistake was made by Acer in publishing the specs of said part number. The adapter I received met the published Acer specs exactly. It was the laptop which didn't conform to the specs, and thus I needed a slightly different adapter - something the seller was able to establish very quickly. I received the replacement the next morning - excellent service considering he had not received the original yet, and it must have been difficult to post the package in time for that days post collection - along with a refund of the postage costs. The replacement adapter, as I said, is still working perfectly three years later. Absolutely first class after sales service.

USB to MIDI Music Keyboard Adaptor Cable ~ Lead ~ Wire
USB to MIDI Music Keyboard Adaptor Cable ~ Lead ~ Wire
Offered by mtxtoys
Price: 14.81

2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap for a reason - it may work, it may not. It's your gamble!, 13 Mar 2011
I purchased this from a local, high street retailer, so my comments are solely about the product - not Amazon, or any of the sellers that stock this cable.

OK - it's cheap. A LOT CHEAPER than a Yamaha product. The USB port on my Yamaha PSR-2100 was killed off by a mischievous niece pulling on the cable several years ago, so a 10 cable (instead of 45 for a Yamaha version, or repair to my keyboard) seemed worth a chance. Windows XP Pro (32 bit) recognised, and installed drivers first time, and playback was fine. Then I tried to record a MIDI sequence into my studio software, and I hit a major problem. The first note is transmitted & received, then nothing. I tried a simple MIDI through monitor - exactly the same. Removing the device physically, and all traces of the driver / registry entries, then re-installing had no effect. I have tried the cable on three other systems, with Windows Vista, and Windows 7 (Win7 actually failed to recognise the cable at all).

After lots of searching the internet, I have found that many people have the same problem, and the common belief is that there is a hardware incomparability with this cable and Intel Core processors (which both my desktop and laptop computers have). Some have been able to install the cable on a non-Intel system, and copy a file over from that system to make the MIDI input work, but this has been hit and miss. There is no indication as to who actually makes the product on the packaging, nor the cable itself. I only discovered this through a lot of Google searching. Also, the manufacturer (LogiLink) provide no drivers for this cable on their website. The website looks like that of a typical low-grade manufacturer who export their products abroad, with extremely poor English, and little other than a few short paragraphs promoting their product. You may find that this product is often re-badged, and sold under a different brand.

So, I have ended up with a one-way, output / playback only USB-MIDI cable. I have given the product 2 stars, as the playback works well, and the cable is exceptionally cheap. However, I would only recommend it to someone willing to take a gamble on whether a cheap product will work as the buyer requires. As I said, there are many companies that make low-grade products like this; some of them are perfectly adequate for the task, and are actually reasonable value. This particular product, in my case, is certainly not adequate.

Sentinel (Single Restructure/Orb 7" Mix/Early Stages)
Sentinel (Single Restructure/Orb 7" Mix/Early Stages)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, especially for the 'Early Stages', 17 Aug 2010
If you are a fan of Mike Oldfield, then this CD (or the Vinyl version) is worth considering for the 'TBII - Early Stages' track alone. The Early Stages track is taken from the work-in-progress of the album, before Trevor Horn got involved, and is such a more moody, darker track. The Sentinel restructure is not that different from the one found on Tubular Bells II, although there are some phrases that have been shortened.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2011 2:36 PM GMT

Energizer Ultimate 4 Pack AA 626264 Lithium Batteries
Energizer Ultimate 4 Pack AA 626264 Lithium Batteries
Offered by Battery Warehouse
Price: 6.29

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best non-rechargeable batteries for heavy use, 17 Aug 2010
These batteries are, by some distance, the best non-rechargables I have used in a digital camera. The previous set lasted for well over 500 shots on a FinePix A80, including several months sat idle between uses. If you intend to use heavy-drain devices (digital camera, personal audio player, Xbox controller etc) on a frequent basis, you will probably get better value from a good set (at least 2500mAh) rechargeable batteries. If you are an occasional user, but require long lasting batteries when you do use your device, you can't go wrong with these, especially given some of the absolute bargain prices found on Amazon Marketplace.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2012 2:22 PM BST

Uniross 1 Hour Charger + 4 AA 2700mAh Batteries
Uniross 1 Hour Charger + 4 AA 2700mAh Batteries

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin (and does it well), 17 Aug 2010
The charger is compact, and includes a car adapter to power the charger from the cigarette lighter socket. The batteries reached full capacity after 4 cycles (charge and discharge), and hold thier charge very well when not used for a while. I use them in a Fuji FinePix S6500 digital camera, and after a full charge, they have so far lasted for around 200 photos and 5 minuites of video without needing to be charged.

Brighton to Portsmouth: Westcoastway Express (Add on for MS Train Simulator) (PC)
Brighton to Portsmouth: Westcoastway Express (Add on for MS Train Simulator) (PC)

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Add-On, 16 Feb 2005
As a fan of London-Brighton Express, I was eagerly awating the release of Brighton-Portsmouth, as I am familar with the route in real life.
As with LBE, the scenery is sparse as you move further from the trackside, but keeping in mind this is a train simulator, the detail has been kept in the right places.
The stock is fantastic (the best of its class I have seen), and also the first route to use UK shunt signalling.
I only give 4 stars instead of 5 because of a few minor errors with some station layoute.

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