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Gary Coupe (Nottingham, England)

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Heaven's open (1991) [VINYL]
Heaven's open (1991) [VINYL]

4.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly classic Mike Oldfield, but not bad at all., 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whilst I specifically wanted a vinyl copy of this album, I suspect many will also consider / prefer a CD version, so I'll try to give my opinion on the music.....

As the review title says, this is not the classic 70s type Mike Oldfield fayre. The first 5 tracks are vocal (with Mike himself doing the honours), with the 6th being a 15 minute instrumental.

The title track 'Heaven's Open' is an up-tempo rock track, with references to Meatloaf in style, a piano taking a prominent part (I understand former Formula1 champion Jaques Villeneuve was a big fan of this particular track, often listening to it whilst preparing for a race). Other tracks vary from pop/rock to reggae. I doubt any of them would ever have been hit singles, but the songs are OK, with Mike making a creditable attempt at the vocals.

The instrumental track, 'Music From The Balcony' uses a strange mix of samples in which to create music. Birdsong, insect noises, and what sounds like metallic railings / fencing being hit all make an appearance, along with several synthesized / MIDI type musical instruments. It may sound slightly familiar to Amarok at times.

This is a slightly strange one - probably not a great idea for a casual Oldfield fan, or as a first Oldfield purchase. Existing fans may also place this album toward the lower end of their favourites list, and certainly nothing at all like his earlier works, but it still requires a place in any collection of Mike Oldfield music that is slightly more than casual.

SanDisk SDCZ33-016G-B35 16 GB Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 Flash Drive
SanDisk SDCZ33-016G-B35 16 GB Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 Flash Drive
Price: 5.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable value, VERY small, but not quite perfect, 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I use this to provide storage space on my ADSL router. Space near the router being almost non-existent, the VERY small size is extremely useful. The drive protrudes only around 25mm from the surface of the router, and is in fact 'shorter' than the plastic trim around the top of said router. I've had this for almost a year now, and not had a single read or write failure, despite frequent use of the entire capacity (14.9Gb FAT32 formatted).

The one, slight criticism I have, is that write speeds can be a little slow, especially with large (500mb or larger) files. I often store .mp4 video files to stream them from my router to the TV, and whilst the read speed is more than adequate for 1080p video, a write-speed of around 5.5mb/sec (on my Win7 system) means saving / uploading the file can be a little tedious.

Sky HD Remote Control Made By Philips Rev 9
Sky HD Remote Control Made By Philips Rev 9
Offered by EliteInnovationsuk
Price: 9.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, and does it well - almost 5 stars., 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased this in April 2012, to replace the supplied SkyHD remote, which lasted just under a year.

It's just a standard silver / grey SkyHD remote - not a great deal to say about it, aside from the fact that it has far outlasted the supplied unit. The build quality just feels a little better than the remote that came with our box. The letters / numbers have remained intact too, whereas those on the supplied unit wore away after around 9 months. A pair of Duracell Ultra batteries that were installed when purchased are still going.

The only reason that I've gone for 4 stars, rather than 5 is price - the remote I purchased from Amazon Marketplace was around half the price usually seen in the high-street / charged by Sky themselves, but I still think near 20 for what is a fairly basic remote control is quite steep, though I accept this is almost certainly down to the price charged by the manufacturer, and not excessive mark-up on the part of the seller.

UNiROSS Compact Charger for AA & AAA Rechargeable Batteries
UNiROSS Compact Charger for AA & AAA Rechargeable Batteries
Offered by Fish-4-u
Price: 4.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, works fine, but rather slow., 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was purchased purely as a stop-gap until I could buy a better charger (as a side note, I highly recommend UNiROSS batteries & chargers in general).

The charger is fairly compact, plugs directly into the wall socket with no adapters or cables, and can charge 4 x AA or AAA batteries.

However, the charge time is really quite slow - 2 x 700mAh AAA (a very common type) batteries take around 12 hours, and 4 x 2700 mAh AA (the type you would need for a digital camera etc) can take anything up to 30 hours, so this charger is certainly not suitable if you need to charge / use your batteries at short notice.

For the price, this charger does what it is made for. There is nothing wrong with it, just a simple case of being slow. If planning ahead / charging overnight etc suits your needs, this charger will be fine. Otherwise, seriously consider purchasing a quicker charger - there are several available that will charge a set of 4 high capacity AAs in around an hour.

Canon PIXMA iP4950 Colour Printer 9600 x 2400 dpi (12.5 ipm Mono and 9.3 ipm Colour)
Canon PIXMA iP4950 Colour Printer 9600 x 2400 dpi (12.5 ipm Mono and 9.3 ipm Colour)

5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with my printer., 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I brought this to replace my venerable HP DeskJet 970CXi, after it finally failed following a good 6 years of reliable service. Having initially wanted to stay with HP, I went for a Canon product after a recommendation from a friend, mainly down to his opinion of Canon printers & inks being good value for money.

The printer is a little on the bulky side, but the solid build quality is more than worth it. I have installed the drivers on XP and Windows 7 without trouble, and the updates were easily downloaded from Canon when released.

Print quality is excellent, especially on premium papers, with no noticeable bleeding or smudging. I have printed several A4 sized photos onto both matte & glossy papers, which are on display in the house. Several people have asked at which shop we had them printed, and have been impressed when told that they were done with my own printer. Text is sharp and clear, especially in 'best' mode, even using standard paper. The economy mode is perfectly adequate, and quite fast, though the speed comes at the expense of noise level. There is a quiet mode available in the settings application, but I've not noticed much of a difference. The cleaning / self testing options are excellent, and work well.

Cartridges are easy to install (Magenta, Cyan, Yellow, Black and Page Black, a set of which were included). I've yet to purchase any replacements, but the included cartridges didn't last particularly well. However, it is common practise for included cartridges to be 'short filled'. Because of this, I have also never tried any compatible inks (though I much, much prefer to use genuine inks whenever possible).

There is an adapter / caddy included for printing directly onto suitable CD / DVD / BluRay discs, which once you have got used to, is very easy to use, with on-screen prompts to assist you along the way - just be sure to select the proper option from the 'print confirmation' box. I still use an old, but useful application from the Canon website for designing said labels, and the setting for the Pixma iP4900 works just fine, and the print quality on discs is very, very good.

This printer was selling for around 120 when I purchased it, and I at that time, I may have seriously considered just 4 stars. Now that the price has dropped below the 100 mark, it warrants the extra star. A good, mid-range everyday printer.

SanDisk SDSDQ-016G-FFP 16 GB MicroSDHC Memory Card - Frustration-Free Packaging (Label May Change)
SanDisk SDSDQ-016G-FFP 16 GB MicroSDHC Memory Card - Frustration-Free Packaging (Label May Change)

2.0 out of 5 stars Great - until it failed., 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whilst the price was reasonable, and it performed perfectly for around 6 months, the card failed without warning, almost damaging my Android phone in the process.

The card was about 50% full when it failed. I noticed that many of my apps were missing from my phone, then discovered that the card was not being recognised. I took the back cover off the phone, and actually burned my fingers on the card (which left a small blister). Once the phone was switched off, it didn't initially function due to the overheating of / caused by the card. Having read several reports on other websites, it seems that a certain type of SanDisk MicroSD card is rather prone to failing in this exact manner, with the common accepted theory being down to the manufacturing process / arrangement of the memory 'cells'.

I usually like SanDisk products, and a spare 8Gb SanDisk card that I used to replace this one is still functioning perfectly after at least 2 years, so it may be a 'bad batch', or simply a problem with this specific variant of card.

Personally, I'd recommend looking at an alternative 16Gb card - the options are vast.

Tietam Brown
Tietam Brown
by Mick Foley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but superb nontheless, 12 Feb 2014
This review is from: Tietam Brown (Paperback)
I'm not really much of a reader of fiction, and usually prefer autobiographical works, which is how I came upon the title of this book.

Having read all four autobiographical volumes by Mick Foley, I was curious enough about the references to 'Tietam Brown' to warrant my reading of a few reviews, and having spotted it for a reasonable price on the Kindle store, decided to give it a try.

Anyone who has read his 'wrestling books' will recognise the style immediately, especially the humour, and it is obvious that Foley has drawn on several references from his own life in terms the places mentioned in the story. Andy Browns character seems to reflect some of Foley's own growing pains through adolescence too. There is certainly enough that will be familiar for those wrestling fans who are interested in Foley's debut novel.

Whilst some have called the characters shallow, I think this is more to do with how quickly the story 'gets into its stride' - it is remarkably easy to understand why each character does what they do. The plot requires the use of your memory in parts, with the narrative switching from past to present, but doing this seems apt, and gives the feeling that you are listening to the memoirs of Andy, rather than simply being told about him and his life so far.

There are parts of the book which are shocking, and even quite dark in places, but there are also moments of humour and hope. The sexual 'scenes', whilst funny and somewhat disturbing in equal measure, are quite explicit though, and some tough themes are dealt with.

I read the book in the course of one night, over two reading sessions. Having read the first few chapters, I found myself wondering what was going to happen, sharing the hopes of Andy, and a growing impatience at having had to put down my Kindle to charge the battery.

I would recommend that anybody at least give this book a try - there is certainly no reason not to read the sample chapter. Be prepared for some parts that are difficult to read (in terms of the issues and situations dealt with, not because of poor writing) and the odd, unpleasant twist along the way. I expect the vast majority will not be disappointed when they have finished the book.

Sony MDR-V700DJ Professional DJ Headphones
Sony MDR-V700DJ Professional DJ Headphones

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb headphones, but a little delicate, 15 Dec 2011
I am now on my third (official) pair of these headphones. There are several fakes around, especially on another website, and I, unfortunately, purchased a fake pair. The pair I purchased from Amazon Marketplace were most defiantly the genuine article.

There are several technical reviews available, so I'll concentrate on how they sound - which is superb! I listen to, and write synth music. A combination of deep, rasping sawtooth bass sounds combined with high frequency square waves will give any speaker / headphone a serious workout, both in terms of sound reproduction and quality of components used. These headphones handle both with exceptional ease. Bass is powerful, yet crystal clear, yet the higher end of the audio spectrum comes through just as clearly. These headphones can cope with pounding beats and heavy bass, but still sound bright, and are still capable of picking out a great deal of detail.

They are also very comfortable to wear. The cup design offers almost total cancellation of external noise, and at the same time, there is very little sound leakage. They are fairly bulky, and won't fit into a tight pocket. However, unless you really crank up the volume, you are unlikely to annoy your fellow bus / tram / train passengers whilst listening to music on the go, so if you have room, they are worth taking with you.

The only reason I didn't give five stars - I am on my third pair because these headphones are a little fragile. The swivel cups are not difficult to break if you twist them too far, and the plastic attachment between the cups and headband can snap fairly easily. They are not likely to fall apart by themselves, but they don't stand up particularly well to rough handling.

They are not absolute top-of-the-range headphones, but for the price, I honestly think you will struggle to get better value for money. Until they stop making them, I will not switch to any other type of headphones, even if the current pair need replacing.

Li-ion,7.20V,6800mAh,Replacement DVD Player Battery for PANASONIC DVD-LA75, DVD-LA85, DVD-LA95, DVD-LV55, DVD-LV70, DVD-LV75, DVD-LX8, DVD-LX9, DVD-PA65, DVD-PV55, Compatible Part Numbers: CGP-H501, CGP-H501A/1B, CGP-H501E/1B, CGP-H502, CGP-H502A/1B, CGP-H602, CGR-H501, DY-DB75
Li-ion,7.20V,6800mAh,Replacement DVD Player Battery for PANASONIC DVD-LA75, DVD-LA85, DVD-LA95, DVD-LV55, DVD-LV70, DVD-LV75, DVD-LX8, DVD-LX9, DVD-PA65, DVD-PV55, Compatible Part Numbers: CGP-H501, CGP-H501A/1B, CGP-H501E/1B, CGP-H502, CGP-H502A/1B, CGP-H602, CGR-H501, DY-DB75

5.0 out of 5 stars Great battery, great value, great seller., 15 Dec 2011
Purchased for use with a Panasonic DVD-LX9. The battery fits very well, with a clip and 5 small hooks that secure it to corresponding recesses in the base of the DVD player, and the colour is a perfect match. The battery is removed by using a small release catch. The first charge took around 4 hours, and gave at least 4 hours playback (I checked again after 5 hours, and it had run out, so I'm not sure how long over 4 hours playback was achieved). As with any rechargeable battery, I expect the performance to take a few charge / discharge cycles before playback time reaches maximum. Even at 4 hours, this is by far the longest playback I've had from any portable DVD player using a battery, and is far superior to the battery supplied with the player (the included battery is rated for 3000mAh, the battery purchased here has a 6800mAh capacity. The higher the mAh, the bigger capacity the battery has, and thus can store more power).

I purchased this item from ukpowersmart. It was dispatched within 24hr of ordering by Royal Mail 1st Class (recorded), and received the morning after dispatch. The battery was very well packaged in a sturdy cardboard box, secured between two pieces of inch-thick packaging foam. The box was itself snugly placed inside another box, which was securely sealed with tape. Absolutely no chance of the battery being damaged in the post.

For under 20 delivered, I can wholeheartedly recommend this battery, and would have no hesitation is using the same seller again in the future.

Amarok [HDCD]
Amarok [HDCD]
Offered by RAREWAVES
Price: 4.74

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erm.....Brilliant?, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Amarok [HDCD] (Audio CD)
As many people will also find, Amarok is difficult. Difficult to listen to, and difficult to comment on.

Having said that, difficult doesn't necessarily mean bad - quite the opposite in this case. If you are expecting a harmonious, flowing, sculpture in sound, you will get quite a shock. This is raw, aggressive, 'throw a grenade into a bucket of paint' artwork.

I have to agree with other reviewers, that the first time I heard Amarok, I was quite simply baffled. I read the back of the CD, and thought the track listing must be mistaken - 'Amarok' (60:02). After each few minutes, I felt that I wanted to press stop, but I couldn't - I was curious as to what was coming next. The track listing was, of course, correct - this is a solid hour of sound. Each time I listen to it now, I find myself thinking 'this is so far out there - it's genius'. There is so much contrast in this album, initially, it seems completely disjointed, but you get swept along without realising it. It's no secret that Oldfield and Virgin (Richard Branson in particular) were not getting along at the time, and there is a common belief that Amarok was a very deliberate way of ensuring that Mike did not 'comply' with the usual commercial expectations to release a single, and having extracts played on the radio. He also seems to be making a statement that he would not compromise his creativity because a businessman wanted him to. Indeed, the 'secret message' is genuine (a web search will tell you about this, although it does involve a swear word - you have been warned!). Despite this, Amarok is probably the most extroverted hour of unchecked, unrestrained and 'I will do what I feel like doing' creativity Oldfield has ever recorded. It's like someone with a gut full of beer, giving it everything they've got on the karaoke, caring not one bit about what others may think or say. Yet, you can't help but think 'go for it mate!'.

Even trying to write a review is somewhat confusing - I love Amarok, but I really couldn't tell anyone exactly why. Oldfield fans (like myself) will probably always regard this as being Oldfield at his very best. One thing is easy enough to say though, the climax to the album is just great. There is an impersonation of Margaret Thatcher, performed by Janet Brown. I shan't quote the words here, as I'm unsure of the copyright implications, but I would advise you to look it up (again, a web search will reveal all). The said speech puts it as well as it will get!

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