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G. E. Hearn "grahamh1965" (UK)
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FiiO E06 Portable Headphone Amplifier
FiiO E06 Portable Headphone Amplifier
Offered by EA Audio
Price: 20.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A very worthwhile improvement for personal audio., 29 Dec 2013
Well, I'm writing this review a little by accident really.
I ordered an E05 (With the metal case) However, Amazon sent me one of these, with a paper label stuck on the box that read "E05" when it's clearly an 06.
Anyway, overcoming my initial temptation to return it, I figured I may as well at least give it a try.

First impressions are not exactly favourable. The plastic body and ill-fitting sliding switches impart an air of general cheapness. It looks like something that's fallen out of a Christmas cracker. Hard, shiny plastic with rough edges where both halves of the body meet indicate that no-one's even thought of de-burring the mouldings. Okay, it's only twenty quid, but even so. Not looking good so far...

Upon plugging it in, however, it redeems itself in no uncertain terms.
My hearing is not terribly good thanks to a past that featured lots of motorbikes, concerts and electric guitars. On most MP3 players I have to crank the things up as loud as they'll go just to get a reasonable listening volume. The trouble with this of course is that it then runs into huge distortion, so I have to back off and get as loud as I can without too much loss of sound quality.

A decent pair of earbuds help here. I've been using the outstandingly good Creative EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones - Black for years. So much so that I "Bulk buy" three pairs or so whenever the price drops below a tenner. When I kill a pair, I bin them, then take a new set out of the drawer and carry on.
(Tip of the day: Only buy EP630's that are "Sold by Amazon". There are so many Amazon Partners out there selling fakes).

This device won't turn your player into some sort of output monster, but what it does do is to provide a very worthwhile jump in available grunt. Consequently, you need a far lower volume setting on your player, with the resultant improvement in sound quality that this brings.
Well, technically it's not an improvement, is it? It's just a lack of degradation caused by excessively working the inbuilt amp. If you run at a lower power setting then you don't have so much compression and distortion.
Turn the player down a bit, crank the E06 up and you will notice an enormous improvement in the quality of your music. As I write this I'm listening to Propaganda's "P-Machinery (Beta mix)" from here: Noise And Girls Come Out To Play:A Compact Introduction To Propaganda and I can hear elements of the track that I have never heard before on a portable player. Things like Claudia Brucken breathing between singing lines, for instance. Amazing.

What using this device has taught me is that the Creative EP630's (And, by extension, most likely many other earbuds) can handle far higher volumes than most personal MP3 players can produce. My feeling is that I've wrecked several pairs simply by under-driving them into distortion and forcing them to handle square-wave signals.
I honestly believe that a headphone amplifier such as this (or any similar model) and a decent set of earbuds is probably the biggest improvement you can make to the sound of your MP3 player.

So yes, after an unfavourable start, I'm pleased I bought it. Would I buy another if this one was lost? Quite possibly. I've no complaints with how it works or the outstanding audible results, but I would most likely be tempted to find a model from higher up the range with a bit more metal in the construction. But that's just my personal feeling.

If you want something that just does the job that it was designed for very well, if you're not bothered about the plastic casing and if you don't want to invest a larger outlay then yes, I'd recommend this unreservedly.


PERSOL - PERSOL PO3020S 24/31/57
PERSOL - PERSOL PO3020S 24/31/57
Offered by sunglasses4us
Price: 96.25

5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic. You can't go wrong., 16 Nov 2013
If you've never owned a pair of Persols before, you're in for a treat.

Nothing is as well made or as comfortable. For the same price as some silly Tupperware shades with an "O" on the frame (No names, no pack drill!) you can own a design classic.
I've always been a RayBan man since the 80's but these days there are so many clowns wearing fakes that I've decided to put away my many pairs of various Wayfarers and break out the Persols again.

I have several pairs going back many years, but I thought I would treat myself to the 3020s this time (The last pair I bought were the "James Bond" edition 2720S back in around 2006).
The 3020 is a little different. It has the general vibe of the original RayBan Wayfarer, but built to a superior standard and with the trademark Broad Arrow hinge on the frame and the "Meflecto" system on the arms which means that they mould to the contours of your head.

Having some "Wayfarers" made by Persol (Like these frames) is a little like having Aston Martin make you a mountain bike, or having Raymond Blanc make you cheese on toast. You're getting a design classic shape, but made by the World's best.
Persols have been worn by everyone from Presidents, through several James Bonds, Pierce Brosnan in various other roles, Steve McQueen to Jack Nicholson and Don Johnson amongst many, many others.
They're not instantly recognizable as a "Look At Me!!!" brand, like some. But amongst those that know, they are the best. If you don't need logos but you like subtle displays of ultimate quality, then these are for you.

Plus, if you look after these, you can sell them in ten or twenty years for damn near what you paid for them if not more. Just search some auction sites for "Vintage Persol" if you need evidence to justify your purchases to the missus with a little "Man Maths"

My biggest regret is that I didn't buy the 1988 Persol 69218 (As worn in "Miami Vice" by both Sonny Crockett and Bianca Jagger) when I had the chance. They sell for the very high hundreds up into four figures now. I kid you not.

If you've read this far, do yourself a favour and just buy them! You know you want to, and you won't ever find better than Persol.

IMPORTANT: Note that Persol models come in different sizes. In this case, the 54mm is for people with smaller faces and if you have a large head (like me) then you need the 57mm variety. See? Shades tailor made to fit your own head size. How cool is that?
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Persol Men's 3020 Tortoise Frame/Grey / Green Lens Plastic Sunglasses, 57mm
Persol Men's 3020 Tortoise Frame/Grey / Green Lens Plastic Sunglasses, 57mm
Offered by United Shades
Price: 95.05

5.0 out of 5 stars Persol - The finest you can buy., 16 Nov 2013
If you've never owned a pair of Persols before, you're in for a treat.

Nothing is as well made or as comfortable. For the same price as some silly Tupperware shades with an "O" on the frame (No names, no pack drill!) you can own a design classic.
I've always been a RayBan man since the 80's but these days there are so many clowns wearing fakes that I've decided to put away my many pairs of various Wayfarers and break out the Persols again.

I have several pairs going back many years, but I thought I would treat myself to the 3020s this time (The last pair I bought were the "James Bond" edition 2720S back in around 2006).
The 3020 is a little different. It has the general vibe of the original RayBan Wayfarer, but built to a superior standard and with the trademark Broad Arrow hinge on the frame and the "Meflecto" system on the arms which means that they mould to the contours of your head.

Having some "Wayfarers" made by Persol (Like these frames) is a little like having Aston Martin make you a mountain bike, or having Raymond Blanc make you cheese on toast. You're getting a design classic shape, but made by the World's best.
Persols have been worn by everyone from Presidents, through several James Bonds, Pierce Brosnan in various other roles, Steve McQueen to Jack Nicholson and Don Johnson amongst many, many others.
They're not instantly recognizable as a "Look At Me!!!" brand, like some. But amongst those that know, they are the best. If you don't need logos but you like subtle displays of ultimate quality, then these are for you.

Plus, if you look after these, you can sell them in ten or twenty years for damn near what you paid for them if not more. Just search some auction sites for "Vintage Persol" if you need evidence to justify your purchases to the missus with a little "Man Maths"

My biggest regret is that I didn't buy the 1988 Persol 69218 (As worn in "Miami Vice" by both Sonny Crockett and Bianca Jagger) when I had the chance. They sell for the very high hundreds up into four figures now. I kid you not.

If you've read this far, do yourself a favour and just buy them! You know you want to, and you won't ever find better than Persol.

IMPORTANT: Note that Persol models come in different sizes. In this case, the 54mm is for people with smaller faces and if you have a large head (like me) then you need the 57mm variety. See? Shades tailor made to fit your own head size. How cool is that?


Prometheus (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]
Prometheus (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace

7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mings Mercilessly, 25 Oct 2012
Save your money.
It was a disappointment at the cinema on the big screen in 3D. Why would you want to pay to be able to remind yourself, in the comfort of your own home, how badly it sucked donkey balls?

I can't even be bothered to write any more. It's been said before by reviewers far more eloquent than I.

Think "Scooby Doo In Space" and you won't be far off the mark. I half expected Noomi Rapace at the end to peel off the rubber mask of the Engineer and say "Why! It's old Mr Johnson from the amusement arcade!"
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2012 11:47 AM GMT


Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X10 (Black and White Edition)
Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X10 (Black and White Edition)
by Alexander S. White
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the manual it comes with., 28 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Fujifilm X10 is a fairly unique breed of camera. A compact that behaves like a film camera. Should be every photographer's dream, right?

Well... It could have been, except that rather than just giving us aperture, speed and ISO controls, Fuji saw fit to cram so many additional electronic options into their lovely little retro-styled product.
Not only that, but the system design and menu architecture of the X10 sometimes confounds us with illogical and poorly thought-out options that sometimes seem to defy all reasoning and sense.

Fortunately, this book helps considerably in the owner's quest to discover a route through the maze of menus and options. It's been written by someone who obviously knows the X10 through experience, rather than a techie from Fuji's factory.
The book in my opinion could have been about half the size it is had the author dispensed with a lot of the more basic photographic theory. However, to someone for whom the X10 is their first step up from traditional "point'n'squirt" cameras or even cellphones, it will provide an abundance of knowledge in an easy-to-understand manner.

I would have liked to have seen included a laminated pocket-sized "Cheat sheet" with menu functions and settings on (Like Nikon used to give you with their professional SLRs back in the day) But other than that, no real complaints.
Maybe a little pricey for what it is, but it's no worse in this regard than the "Magic Lantern" series of guide books, so not unreasonable in terms of value for money.

Not a substitute for hands-on time with the camera, but a useful step along the road to mastery of the X10. Recommended.


Tamrac 5693 Digital 3 Black
Tamrac 5693 Digital 3 Black

4.0 out of 5 stars Just the job for Fuji's X10 - and others too., 22 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Being an existing user of several Tamrac bags I know all about the build quality and exceptional durability of these products.
That being the case, it was a foregone conclusion that I'd be knocking on their door again for something in which to house my new Fujifilm X10 compact.

I wanted a compact case that could house the camera, a cleaning cloth, a spare battery (or two) and the memory cards. If it could be mounted on a trouser belt then so much the better.
I didn't really want to be shelling out for the extortionately priced original Fujifilm "Never Ready" leather two-part case as it doesn't hold the vital extras and anyway I wanted it to use rather than to look at. Not only that, but with the Fuji case you have to remove the lower portion to change the memory card or the battery. And changing the battery is something you tend to do a lot of with the X10! This Tamrac case does the job very well indeed.

The fact that the neck strap can be unclipped is a major plus as it means that it can be belt mounted very easily. The method of securing to a belt is via a loop at the back which is sewn at the top and secured by two press studs and some velcro at the bottom.
My preference would be for the belt loop to be stitched at both ends, but this would require the removal of the belt to fit and remove it, which is not always practical if you're going to sit down to dinner in a cafe, etc.
The fixings have proved very secure thus far and I have no worries about it coming off.

Any downsides? Well, only the usual Tamrac one. Namely, they will persist in using their own brand of clip rather than fitting something from LadderLock or similar. When you're fastening the bag you have to feed the top part of the clip into the buckle whilst keeping it all straight. If you push at an angle then the catch will 'jam' requiring you to try again.
It's not a major deal, just a tiny annoyance that keeps any Tamrac bag from earning 5 stars in my opinion.

It can also take a small manual 35mm SLR instead of a digital compact (Just!) so it's quite a versatile bit of kit really.

Can't go wrong for the price. Recommended.


FordEx Group Waterproof Super Bright LED Flashlight Aluminum Cree Flashlight LED Torch 5 Modes C8 Cree Xml-t6
FordEx Group Waterproof Super Bright LED Flashlight Aluminum Cree Flashlight LED Torch 5 Modes C8 Cree Xml-t6

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally a Brilliant torch!, 23 Jun 2012
A while back, I bought a 200 Lumen LED torch from LED lenser, mainly for my sailing weekends away, where you need one more often than you think.
Anyway, it's very, very good and with a beam that projects many metres over water at night, even in bad weather. Plus it fits the pocket of my sailing jacket.
But: It's also worth the best part of thirty quid, so I'm a little reluctant to put it down in case it goes over the side.

With that in mind, I came across this UltraFire model whilst idly looking for LED conversion kits for my old mini Maglites.
Anyway, I ordered one, thinking that if it's rubbish then all I've wasted is a few quid.
While waiting for it to arrive I also ordered two of the special Li-Ion batteries and a mains charger.

So, the batteries arrived yesterday and I charged them up. Then today the torch arrived.

Is it any good? No - it's absolutely AMAZING! The LED Lenser one that I first bought is the one that many UK Police guys use, yet this UltraFire absolutely blows it away. You can completely drown out the beam from the LED Lenser unit. It's very well machined considering its price too, with O-ring seals to keep the weather out and has a glass lens instead of the plastic of the other one. Screw threads all fit together smoothly and edges are well finished.
The selectable modes are extremely useful, especially the way you can cycle between full power / mid power / low power if you don't need all the brightness but want to conserve your batteries.

This feature is the only downside though: The selections have to be toggled through each time you want to turn it off, otherwise when you switch on again you'll be on the next function in sequence.
ie: If you use "High" then switch off, next time you power it up it'll be on "Medium". Repeat the process and it'll be on "Low". Try it again it'll be on "Strobe" etc.
This is a bit of a drag, but I simply gently depress the switch four times to cycle through the other modes before switching off, thus ensuring that when I power up again it will be with "Continuous High".

If you find yourself in need of a good torch for your travels (and you can live with the weird 'mode select' switching) then I can recommend one of these 200%!!

Obviously I'm only a humble civvy, and doubtless the Surefires are better. But for the less-than-fifteen quid that I paid for the lot I can see no downsides to it whatsoever.


FordEx Group Ultrafire C8 Cree Q5 5m LED 18650 Torch Flashlight
FordEx Group Ultrafire C8 Cree Q5 5m LED 18650 Torch Flashlight
Offered by TB3C(shipping 15-23 days)
Price: 6.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Incredible performance and value for the money., 22 Jun 2012
A while back, I bought a 200 Lumen LED torch from LED lenser, mainly for my sailing weekends away, where you need one more often than you think.
Anyway, it's very, very good and with a beam that projects many metres over water at night, even in bad weather. Plus it fits the pocket of my sailing jacket.
But: It's also worth the best part of thirty quid, so I'm a little reluctant to put it down in case it goes over the side.

With that in mind, I came across this UltraFire model whilst idly looking for LED conversion kits for my old mini Maglites.
Anyway, I ordered one, thinking that if it's rubbish then all I've wasted is a few quid.
While waiting for it to arrive I also ordered two of the special Li-Ion batteries and a mains charger.

So, the batteries arrived yesterday and I charged them up. Then today the torch arrived.

Is it any good? No - it's absolutely AMAZING! The LED Lenser one that I first bought is the one that many UK Police guys use, yet this UltraFire absolutely blows it away. You can completely drown out the beam from the LED Lenser unit. It's very well machined considering its price too, with O-ring seals to keep the weather out and has a glass lens instead of the plastic of the other one. Screw threads all fit together smoothly and edges are well finished.
The selectable modes are extremely useful, especially the way you can cycle between full power / mid power / low power if you don't need all the brightness but want to conserve your batteries.

This feature is the only downside though: The selections have to be toggled through each time you want to turn it off, otherwise when you switch on again you'll be on the next function in sequence.
ie: If you use "High" then switch off, next time you power it up it'll be on "Medium". Repeat the process and it'll be on "Low". Try it again it'll be on "Strobe" etc.
This is a bit of a drag, but I simply gently depress the switch four times to cycle through the other modes before switching off, thus ensuring that when I power up again it will be with "Continuous High".

If you find yourself in need of a good torch for your travels (and you can live with the weird 'mode select' switching) then I can recommend one of these 200%!!

Obviously I'm only a humble civvy, and doubtless the Surefires are better. But for the less-than-fifteen quid that I paid for the lot I can see no downsides to it whatsoever.


Ayrton Senna's Principles of Race Driving
Ayrton Senna's Principles of Race Driving
by Ayrton Senna
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into Senna, not so good as a learning tool., 26 Mar 2012
I have this book, bought new when it was released.

I bought it to learn some better driving techniques, and it does a reasonable job of explaining the basics of car control in an easy-to-understand manner. It's clearly illustrated throughout and has some great pictures of Ayrton, probably the greatest racing driver who ever lived.
There are sections on general fitness as well as diet and mental attitude. Certainly shows you just what sort of dedication Ayrton possessed and what made him such a formidable opponent on the track.

BUT: (And it's a big but)... This book is not so good as an instruction manual to really get your teeth into if you want to improve your driving. It covers an awful lot of ground, but not too much in any detail, sadly. I get the feeling that this book was written more for Senna's fans rather than for the instruction of new racing drivers.

If you want a book that will change the way you drive and that will give you results you can see in your lap times then you need this:

Drive to Win: The Essential Guide to Race Driving

Written by an American, granted. But it does cover right hand turns as well as left. In fact, this is without a doubt the best manual on driving technique that I've ever read.

If you want an entertaining and comprehensive driver autobiography from a far more personable and likeable guy then I would reach for this:

Derek Bell: My Racing Life

Which, if you shop around, can be found autographed and new for 25. Like my copy. :-)

I still love "Principles of Race Driving" of course, but I love it as a reminder of a great driver. Probably the greatest ever. But if I want to understand a finer point of race driving then "Drive To Win" is the volume I would reach for every time.


Kodak Professional Ektar 100 - 135-36 - Colour Negative Print Film - 3 PACK!
Kodak Professional Ektar 100 - 135-36 - Colour Negative Print Film - 3 PACK!
Offered by JSP online
Price: 16.56

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful stuff! Let's hope it sticks around., 1 Mar 2012
Great film! I used to be a big fan of Fuji's PRO160S as it would render great colours and fine grain. But then, Fuji decided to discontinue it.
Luckily, I discovered this great film from Kodak. It has the best colour rendition of anything I've used. I'd say it's every bit as good as Fuji PRO160S but has the advantage of being still available.

Hopefully, being as this film was first produced in 2008 (ie: well into the digital age) Kodak will keep it in their product range for some time to come.
I'm especially impressed with how well the colours look even in all sorts of artificial light. The above snaps were just crops and rejects that i took at a boat show, yet they look very natural.

One thing I've noticed with Ektar is that the colours get richer with longer exposure times. In the product pics I posted, the picture of the busker on the bridge was shot at about F2.8 while the one of St Paul's was at F11. Both on the same kit, both within 10 minutes and 100 yards of each other.
Obviously the smaller apertured longer exposure has helped make the colours better. The indoor shots have more vivid colours because of this too, whereas the shop window one was F/2.8 on a bright day and quite a fast exposure. It still has very lifelike colours, but not as saturated as the ones shot at the boat show.

Good stuff! Thanks Kodak. I now have plenty of this in the 'fridge and will continue to use it as my default film choice wherever possible.


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