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Etymotic HF3 Earphones with Mic Compatible with iPod / iPhone / iPad - Black
Etymotic HF3 Earphones with Mic Compatible with iPod / iPhone / iPad - Black

3.0 out of 5 stars They sound great, but didn't last as long as I'd hoped, 15 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The main purpose of this review is to give people an idea of the long term robustness of these headphones. Mine have just gone past the two year mark (purchased 5th Jan 2011 through Amazon) and have reached the end of their life.

The headphones have failed on two counts: firstly, the wire has split in three places, and secondly, the right earbud now makes a rattling sound pretty much permanently. The two things may be related, but it's obviously the rattling sound that has lead to the 'phones now being unusable.

If I had abused these headphones, I wouldn't be posting a three-star review, but I have been *extremely* careful with them at all times (>100 is a lot of money for headphones). I have always kept them in their pouch when not in use, and have never tugged or twisted the wires; never wound them round my phone and chucked it in a bag, etc. In fact, it's because I've been so extra careful with these things that I felt compelled to write a review. For the wire to split even with such careful use I think is an indication that it's too fragile. Whether or not this 'splitting' has anything to do with the degradation in the sound quality, I'm not 100% sure, but it's likely.

I don't know, maybe I'm being overly harsh. Is two years a reasonable life expectancy for a product of this type at this price point? I wouldn't have thought so, and as such I'm slightly disappointed.

When they worked, I found the sound quality to be absolutely superb. 5 stars there, no doubt. In ear headphones are a very personal thing, but I found that these fitted very comfortable also.

But I do think that a life of just two years with careful use means they're not well built enough.

(To be fair to Etymotic, they offer a two year warranty, which is reasonable. I'm just outside it, and I have not investigated whether Etymotic would honour it. They may well do. I know other companies that have in cases where things have failed so close to the end of the warranty period.)

Samsung M3 1TB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black
Samsung M3 1TB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black
Price: 47.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazed by how small this is, 25 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My Samsung M3 only arrived yesterday (I bought it to pair up with a new PC that has USB 3.0), so I haven't tested its medium to long term reliability at all.

However, first impressions make this a 5 star product. For a start, I couldn't believe how small it was when it arrived. Things have certainly moved on since the last time I bought a portable HDD! It feels well made although it weighs practically nothing, and - if you care about aesthetics - it looks rather nice too.

I used it last night to transfer about 120GB of photos from the old PC to the new one and the USB 3.0 transfer speed was impressive. It took ages to transfer the photos from the old machine over USB 2.0, but the transfer to the new machine over USB 3.0 was done in under 20 minutes.

Very happy with this so far. When I can, I'll buy several more I think - for backups. At under 60, it's great.

TP-Link TL-WN821N 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter
TP-Link TL-WN821N 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter
Price: 8.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Value!, 16 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've only had this product for a couple of hours, so I can't comment on its robustness or its reliability long term.

But considering the fact that it cost 9.50 - and comes with a USB extension cable in the box as well - it looks like pretty spectacular value at the moment.

I bought this specifically to share an internet connection wirelessly using a software router, rather than to attach something to an existing network. What I mean is, there's no WiFi in my new office at work, so I can't connect my iPad to anything. By connecting this adapter to my work PC and using a free piece of software, I can create my very own personal WiFi network in my office.

I got the TP-Link out of the box, stuck it in the USB port, the drivers installed straight away, and within seconds my iPad was connected to it and sharing my internet connection.

A brilliant solution for under a tenner. Very happy.

It looks well built enough, but to be honest, at this price I reckon I'll still be happy if it dies in six months.

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers
by Scott Kelby
Edition: Paperback
Price: 26.02

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I still don't like it and it's still the best., 8 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Scott Kelby writes books utterly rammed with irrelevant (smug, self satisfied) crap that still somehow manage to `cut the crap' when it comes to the job in hand. This series of books gets results where other books fail. It's just a question of whether you can handle the particular style.

Kelby is arrogant, but his arrogance works in his favour because his bullish style gets you places fast. It's like he's saying: "I know what you want to do, this is why you bought Lightroom, so here's how to do it: step 1, step2, step 3...." And then he follows that up with "I'm the best at Lightroom, this is how I do things and it's the best way, so ignore all the nuances and just look and learn: step 1, step 2, step 3..."

And it really works because despite the fact that the humour and style are grating, he's mostly right. I do - at this stage - want a book that says "do this, it'll work".

When I upgraded from Photoshop CS3 to CS5 I ditched the Kelby Photoshop book for the Martin Evening book.

When I've got my Lightroom project up and running and got all my photos imported, backed up, catalogued, key-worded and sorted in their shiny new system - which will take me no time at all because I'll be following Scott Kelby's recipes - I'll no doubt turn to Martin Evening again for a solid, well written, comprehensive, professional look at the development and outputting stages.

Ultimately, I do actually believe you'll need more than one book, but if you're a beginner then the sheer `get-things-done' practical usefulness of this book wins out over its ropey style.

This is the second Kelby book I've bought and despite my incessant need to moan about his style on the Amazon reviews section, I don't regret either purchase.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2012 1:03 PM GMT

Logitech Harmony 650
Logitech Harmony 650
Offered by Fuzzy Peaches UK
Price: 65.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny, 4 Jun 2011
This review is from: Logitech Harmony 650 (Accessory)
This remote control is second to none.

Before, I needed three separate remotes to watch TV: the one for the TV, the one for the digibox and the one for the sound system. I had to turn the TV on, turn the stereo on and set it at the right volume, then turn the digibox on and use that control for channel hopping, avoiding adverts, pretending to be above reality TV while watching it anyway, that kind of thing.

All that took upwards of, I dunno, 27 seconds.

Now, I have just the one remote, and all I have to do is press one button that says "Watch TV", then press another button labelled "Help", and hay presto, after completing a short questionnaire, I'm ready to go.

Not only does it turn on all three devices (eventually), but it exercises the little grey cells too, as it hits you with some quick-fire questions:

The first question is always: "Did that fix the problem?", to which the answer is always: "No"

But then it goes on:

- Is the TV on?
- Is the Digibox on?
- Is the TV set to the right input?
- Now is the TV set to the right input?
- Now is the TV set to the right input?
- Now is the TV set to the right input?
Yes! (wooop!)
- Did that fix the problem?
- Is the stereo on?
- Now is the stereo on?
- Did that fix the problem?
- Is the stereo set to the right input?
- Now is the stereo set to the right input?
- Did that fix the problem?

BAM! Thank you Harmony! We're in. Except I've missed the first half of Top Gear taking your little quiz, you cheeky scamp.

And it varies the questions too, just to keep you on your toes. Sometimes the quiz is short, sometimes it's quite long. On the odd occasion, it'll just switch the TV to the wrong input - that's like a quick one-question job. But sometimes it'll switch everything off instead of on. Or it'll switch everything to the wrong input, then off, then change the language setting before switching it back on again with the menus in Spanish. Then you know you're in for a good 20 questions before you can watch fat people being made to cry on BBC 3.

The Harmony 650 is a laugh. It's a bit like having a puppy. Get one.

I swear I saw mine trying to hide my car keys once while I was fiddling with the stereo trying to get some volume on Britain's Got Talent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2011 8:51 PM BST

WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy
WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy
by Luke Harding
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight, but interesting background information, 3 Feb 2011
I don't agree that this book reads like sleazy tabloid journalism; it's better written than that and it has more integrity, just.

Sure, it's a shameless cash-in on the part of the Guardian, and it's dramatised to such an extent that it reads like a bad novel in places.


It's an easy, entertaining read and if you tackle it with your eyes firmly open to its partisan position, some interesting background information can be teased out.

The Wikileaks `drama' raises some big questions which don't have easy answers. If you're interested in those questions and want your opinion to be as informed as possible, then this is worth picking up. You just have to take it with a healthy dose of cynicism.

Logitech MX Air - Rechargeable Wireless Air Mouse
Logitech MX Air - Rechargeable Wireless Air Mouse

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I was expecting, 29 Sep 2010
Having just set up a media centre PC in my living room, I was excited by the prospect of this mouse. It didn't live up to expectations, and has been returned for a refund.

The concept is great, but like another reviewer here, I experienced some major reliability problems. Personally, I think it's to do with the range, which doesn't appear to be anywhere near what's advertised.

The PC is in the corner of a fairly large living room and if you're sitting cross legged on the floor in front of it, the Air Mouse cursor moves around the screen reasonably well, but move back to the sofa (around 3 meters away) and the cursor begins to stick, jump around or disappear altogether. It's almost impossible to control the cursor properly from the sofa (the advertised operating range is 30 feet (4.57 meters)).

There were also several issues with the gesture volume control. Again, this is a good concept, but in practice it was too frustrating to use. Firstly, the SetPoint software stopped it from working because it fails to recognise the default sound device (see the Logitech forums). The simple workaround for this is to disable all the other sound devices bar the default one, which is fine for most people, but isn't really satisfactory for such an expensive mouse. Even when it was up and running, however, it was still too erratic to use. The idea is that you hold the volume key down while moving your hand left or right to turn the volume up or down. On some occasions the volume would move from max to min in one small flick of the wrist, on others it would only move in tiny fractions even with great big swings of the arm, which makes changing the volume look like you're losing a tough game of Wii tennis.

It's not unusable, but for the price, it's nowhere near good enough.

Anyway, in researching alternatives (the gyration mouse seems to solve the range issues, but is even more expensive), I found an iphone app that controls the cursor absolutely flawlessly and provides tonnes of added functionality that practically removes the need for a keyboard and mouse altogether. And because it connects to the WiFi network, there are no range issues.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2012 12:56 PM GMT

White Lunar
White Lunar

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful introduction, 14 Oct 2009
This review is from: White Lunar (Audio CD)
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis make beautiful, wonderfully haunting music and this double album is a perfect introduction to it.

It has a slightly limited appeal to die-hard fans, because they'll end up with a pretty much redundant disc 1 when the full soundtrack to The Road is released. For completists it's a must for the previously unreleased material, but as is often the case, you'll end up paying full whack for only a few tracks you haven't heard.

For me it's worth it because the music that Cave & Ellis create is so beautiful, and their output so lamentably small, that anything new is automatically a must-have.

In fact, I'd say to anyone less familiar with their work who buys this and falls in love with it, that the soundtracks to The Proposition, The Assassination of Jesse James (and no doubt The Road) are worth owning in their entirity. And while you're at it, you may as well get hold of everything by Dirty Three (Ellis with two others, but without Cave), which is very similar in style.

Personally, I'd also recommend everything by The Birthday Party, Cave & The Bad Seeds, Grinderman and the 'Death of Bunny Munro' audiobook soundtracked by Cave & Ellis as well, but maybe that's going to far. I'm reviewing one album and telling people to go out and buy dozens more. But in my opinion Cave is an awesome talent (he wrote the screenplay to The Proposition too), and Ellis is a wonderful composer and musician (and the main musical impetus for these soundtracks).

So yeah, musically five stars as always. Four simply for the fact that, as a fan, you always end up having to buy the same song twice. There's always iTunes I suppose...

Thomson Top Up TV - 160GB Freeview Digital TV Recorder
Thomson Top Up TV - 160GB Freeview Digital TV Recorder

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mine's rubbish too, 25 Oct 2008
Like so many other people here, my unit is unfit for purpose. It misses recordings with alarming regularity. I currently have 52 "recording missed" or "corrupted recording deleted" messages in my 'inbox', and I clear it out regularly. On top of this, the unit frequently freezes and has to be unplugged. It doesn't fast forward and rewind properly either - if you're fast forwarding through adverts and you go too far, and then try to rewind a bit, the unit invariably 'jumps' right back to a much earlier point in the program, often the very beginning, meaning you have to forward wind all the way through back to where you were. And if you do this too much, it freezes, often deleting the `corrupted' program you were in the middle of watching when it re-boots. Series that you have set to record will suddenly disappear from the planned recordings list without explanation - no failed recording messages - you just go to watch the latest episode of something and it's not there - then when you check the list, you find that the series is no longer set to record.

On top of this, all the above problems (though they existed from the very start) are getting worse. Freezing is more frequent, as are missed/deleted recordings. The machine cannot now be relied upon to successfully record more than 20% of what you set for it. In fact, the unit is sitting downstairs now, frozen, having failed to record my program yet again, waiting to be unplugged. This time it's not getting plugged back in again. Pity it's out of warranty - I should have got rid of it the first day it failed. I have to say that it seems as if many people are having the same issues with this machine from the reviews I've read on this site and others (see Comet as another example).

I'll replace mine, but with what I'm not sure. There doesn't seem to be a single model out there that's universally liked. The new Humax is too noisy, it seems, and that's definitely something which would annoy me. And the Topfileds seem to be over-priced and over-complicated.

I wonder why there are so few of these things available from premium brands, like Sony, for example? Is it that the technology itself is fundamentally flawed? Surely it can't be that the market is too small?

Anyway, whatever you do choose, make sure it isn't this one.

Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere Speaker Dock - Black
Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere Speaker Dock - Black

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Does not work with iPod Classic, 3 Aug 2008
I agonised for ages over buying this.

Mainly, I was put off by reviews criticising the build quality. Having used other Logitech products (mice, keyboards and webcams), I am aware that they can sometimes feel a bit flimsy.

In the end I was swayed by the fact that there really doesn't seem to be anything to rival this on the market. The closest thing I found was the Altec Lansing InMotion iM600, but that doesn't come with a travel case, is much bulkier, and has an FM radio and alarm clock which I don't need.
So for a truly portable speaker set, with a Li-on rechargeable battery and a travel case into which it all neatly packs (adapter included), the PureFi Anywhere seemed the only choice. So I went for it.

Out of the box, the first thing that struck me was the size. The travel case is quite long - you'll need a decent sized bag if you're taking it with you on a trip. But it's still a lot more portable, and practical, than any other solutions I've seen.

As I suspected, the build quality isn't excellent. The unit feels quite cheaply made and the remote feels especially flimsy - mine was already scratched in the box and it rattles too.

The sound quality, however, is excellent. Listening to it made the minor build issues seem irrelevant. Overall, I was very pleased. It doesn't sound quite as fantastic as a full hi-fi system. And nor does is sound quite as fantastic as the Bose SoundDock. But comparisons with the SoundDock are completely pointless: a Ferrari is better than a Ford, but they're not reviewed on the same page because they do different things.

Unfortunately though, my unit seems to be faulty. It switches on by itself if you touch it or handle it while it's connected to the mains.

Worse still, it appears that it doesn't actually work properly with my 160gig iPod Classic, despite advertisements to the contrary. I cannot use the shuffle and repeat functions via the remote control, or the speaker unit itself. And due to the way the iPod sits in the dock adapter, it's hard to operate the controls from the iPod itself without putting undue pressure on the connector (it feels like it could snap off), so you pretty much have to use the remote.

It works fine with my wife's nano, so I suspect this is a problem specific to the classic. If this is the case, I'll be sorely disappointed because Logitech explicitly state that this set of speakers works with the iPod Classic.

My unit is being exchanged because of the power fault. But it'll be going back permanently if the compatibility issue isn't also resolved.

At this stage, it's hard for me to recommend this to anyone. It's a pity really, because yet again Logitech have come up with some really fresh, innovative design features to make their product stand head and shoulders above the competition, and then failed to follow through when it comes to production. Maybe they're setting their price point too low - I'd have been happy to pay 150 for this if the build quality and reliability were there. As it is I'm probably going to end up with a better quality, but less well designed product from someone else.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2010 1:20 PM GMT

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