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Profile for The Soft Machine Operator > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
The Soft Machine Operator (COVENTRY, WARWICKSHIRE United Kingdom)

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Vax Air Base U88-AM-Be Upright Vacuum
Vax Air Base U88-AM-Be Upright Vacuum
Price: £109.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on short pile carpets, quiet and light weight., 29 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)

Small - although this may be a problem if you are tall.
It's easy to manoeuvre especially on hard floors and short pile carpets.
Pretty good on carpets.
Quiet in use.


Putting on attachments is fiddly - both removing them and putting them together.
Cord is very low on vacuum, so have to bend right down to pick it up
Turbo brush gets stuck on my deep pile carpet - more difficult to move on this type of carpet too
Doesn't pick up as well as expected on hard floor e.g. breakfast cereal such as Cheerios, but it's fine for smaller bits

Location of one of the attachments is very awkward to remove and replace as it is near to the cord winder.

All That Matters Is Past [DVD]
All That Matters Is Past [DVD]
Dvd ~ Maria Bonnevie
Price: £15.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, and at time brutal, story of a doomed love triangle., 27 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A fascinating film concerning Janne and two brothers, told over various time periods, beginning with the ultimate act of the sibling rivalry that we see unfold through flashbacks. It begins when two brothers (William and Ruud) move to the same town as Janne, who seems to live in a makeshift den filled with junk. This gives the film an almost fairly-tale like feeling.

Janne initially falls for William, but for some reason has a brief fling some years later with Ruud, who turns out to be slightly unhinged (And at the same time quite touching, but in a disturbing manner) and doesn't appear to take rejection well.

Years later, when they are all middle aged, William turns up and disrupts Janne's settled life (She's a teacher with two step-children) and they retreat to the woodland where they spend their childhood, and it's a return to the carefree days of wandering around the woods and swimming naked in the river together. Ruud, however, still lives nearby.

The story is told by moving back and forth in time, narrated by the female officer investigating the violent act that we see in the beginning. This shifting back and forth is achieved smoothly, revealing more tragedies and fleshing out the characters and introducing more plot lines.

The film is beautifully shot, with a small number of locations, mainly in woodland and by rivers, and with an unflinching treatment of the brutality of the rivalry and death - and also tragedy, which is a running theme throughout the whole movie.

The storylines unravel throughout the movie as the timelines head towards the end, which we've seen at the start, but now we know why it happened. I found this approach worked well and kept the film interesting.

Concerto Grossi Per I [VINYL]
Concerto Grossi Per I [VINYL]
Price: £18.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, classic album, but poor vinyl version., 26 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a brilliant album, a classic of Italian Prog rock that was recored for the film 'The Designated Victim' Side A is symphonic prog rock with catchy melodies and dramatic instrumental passages with flute, which gives them a bit of a Jethro Tull sound at times. Side B is an instrumental with plenty of heavy organ and a slightly 'beat' sound mixed up with hints of jazz fusion. There is some fantastic playing, especially from Nico Di Palo on guitar. The heavy organ gives it a bit of a Deep Purple sound, and indeed, the New Trolls did split into two, with half going on to form a heavy rock group with progressive tendencies called 'Ibis'. For me, side A with its mix of classical orchestrations and songs, is the best.

This vinyl edition (Vinyl Magic, I believe, labelled as Fonit/Cetra) is absolutely dreadful. It's noisy and crackly and during the quiet passages very hard to listen to due to the amount of noise. If you're getting this album, stick with the CD.

Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful little box, 24 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Amazon Fire TV (Electronics)
Another small box to stick under the TV! The Amazon Fire TV is an exquisitely build black box with a small remote control containing a 'speech' button. It's basically an Android box that acts as a front end to Amazon's Instant Video, Cloud Player and Cloud storage, plus applications that can be installed from Amazon's app store. The box has Ethernet, USB and HDMI connections, plus WiFi.

The interface is pretty well designed, very responsive, with a menu down the side you can scroll through to access options such as your own film library, your music from Amazon and applications that are available for download from the store. Entering user names and passwords using the remote was hard work, so I plugged in a USB keyboard and used that to log onto Flixster and Netflix. I use both of these and was pleased to applications available for them, and also iPlayer. My TV has iPlayer built in but it's difficult to use.

The voice search feature was impressive: I tried a number of things and the result was always spot on, including finding something I didn't even know was available on Amazon Instant Video.

The only downside is the lack of playback of films from external USB devices and network playback. I'd like to see both features available without third party applications.


Support for non-Amazon streaming services.
Easy to use, responsive HMI.
Playback from Amazon music and film libraries.
Video playback was smooth and good quality.
Speech search function works well.


No playback from USB devices (Can be done by rooting.)
No network playback built in.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 1:32 PM BST

Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set
Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set
Price: £13.86

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Battling Robots, but will they have staying power?, 23 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is basically two robots and hand held remote controls that use gestures to communicate (Via infra red) with the robots. The remote controls have 3 sensors so they can still have a link to the robots when they are moved into different locations. Make sure you have a lot of AA batteries, as these require 4 each. The battery inside the robots is rechargeable, and in a rather nice piece of integration the robots clip onto the remote controls for recharging. There are a few bits of armour that connect onto the robots as well as weapons that slide into holes on hands. The remotes also have straps for attaching around wrists, which is a nice touch as they are quite hefty.

Into battle!

The kids didn't bother with any instructions, just ran straight into waving the remove controls madly and laughing at the robots as they just flailed around and knocked each other over. The arena looks a lot bigger than it actually is, with very little space to move around in.

Reading the instructions I tried the moves, but found them a bit difficult to control. Raising up turns the robot and causes the weapons to slice down (Or in the case of the robot with two weapons, one goes up, the other down.) Flicking furiously while raised causes the robot to just turn, whilst flicking down causes a right turn with a weapon flick. You get "Zing!" sound effects, but to be honest, with two people using this and the rattling the robots make, it all just sounds chaotic and uncontrolled. Waggling the control from side to side causes the robot to 'shuffle' forward.

To be honest, I found them difficult to control and quite sluggish in responding to commands. Trying to do the moves in the instruction was quite difficult, and I found that a kid just waving the thing frantically around seemed to have more success and was knocking me over.

One of the remotes stopped working after twenty minutes, and intermittently started working again (Leading to stroppy child who was unable to play with it). Not sure what was happening there, but I'm not convinced by the build quality.

Kids who are into weapons might enjoy this, but I'm not sure if it'll have staying power once the novelties worn off. And it's noisy as well, with no way of turning down the volume.

I'd get the kids to try before you buy.

Paper Charms - The Complete BBC Recordings 1974-1976
Paper Charms - The Complete BBC Recordings 1974-1976
Price: £16.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent set of live recordings taken from 1976 and 1975, 18 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An excellent set of live recordings taken from 1976 and 1975. The lineup is different with the 1976 sessions featuring the distinctive vocals of Bernardo Lanzetti. Their studio albums from this period are often quite mellow, but these live recordings are much heavier and rockier. On disc two the band appear to be heading towards jazz fusion sounds, with long instrumental passages that are vaguely reminiscent of Mahavishnu Orchestra due to the violin/guitar interplay. It shows how the band evolved - by the end of the 1970s they were playing Italian pop/rock music and almost completely ditched the 'progessive' structure.

If you haven't heard PFM, then you're in for a treat, as this is them at their progressive peak, with slow building songs, some hard rocking instrumental passages and some glorious, catchy melodies.

Boomco Whipblast
Boomco Whipblast
Price: £7.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars According to a gun-mad six year old, 'Awesome!', 17 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Boomco Whipblast (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well this arrived at work, so I got to test it out by 'busting a few caps' in my work colleagues, who didn't seem amused. Anyway, my first impressions as an adult were that maybe I'd keep it in the office and use it to ward off people asking questions or shoot it across the office to get attention. This is certainly possible, as the range is quite impressive and the bullet made an impressive thud when it hit some poor chap's monitor.

It's a Nerf-ish sort of thing, but the bullets are plastic cylinders with rubber tips. The gun has a weird swivelling handle to load, which you can do by flicking it down and then up again, which I found a bit a pain to use. I'd much prefer a pump action. You can aim, but it's not really worth it as the bullets don't really go in straight lines, just sometimes hurt straight down or spiral in a different direction.

Once I'd had my fun it was time to give it to a six year old to try out. After terrorising the cat, a visitor to the house and shooting his parents twice, the conclusion was, 'awesome!' The cat was unimpressed. It came with a meagre four bullets and a target which the bullets stick to.

Build quality is good, and it looks well made. The six year old was particularly impressed with the fold out shield!

AmazonBasics USB 3.0 A to B Cable (0.9 m / 3 Feet)
AmazonBasics USB 3.0 A to B Cable (0.9 m / 3 Feet)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Value and Good Quality., 13 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sturdy cable that looks like it will survive many rounds of being plugged and unplugged. The plastic moulding looks decent and tough, and the connectors fit well. I use it on a USB 3 hub without any problems. It's good for the price. Comes in a simple brown cardboard box (None of that horrendous blister packaging!).

Price: £11.29

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Fans of Calvert Era Hawkwind/Hawklords - Classy Space Rock, 7 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Censored (Audio CD)
The opening track pretty sums up what you're going to get: a spiky mix of a punk and space rock, with chugging guitars and plenty of spacey synths. It's not all like this, with a spoken word track (By Michael Moorcock) and acoustic songs like Forever adding variety - and there are plenty of progressive instrumental work outs. It's very close in sound and style to the seventies incarnation of Hawklords and the songs are lyrically gritty and urban, with the sort of repetition you used find on Bob Calvert-era Hawkwind albums in the choruses.

Thoroughly enjoyable, with spirited playing and singing, and great for the car.

AmazonBasics 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub with UK Plug
AmazonBasics 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub with UK Plug
Price: £13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for keyboards and powered external hard drives., 30 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A small, fairly unobtrusive USB 3 Hub that comes with a power supply and four ports. The build quality seems pretty decent, although there's no power LED when it's plugged in. Works fine with keyboards and mice, and will charge old iPods (Not sure if it's a full charge or trickle charge) but didn't work with an iPhone with lightning connector (The phone decided it wouldn't 'work with this accessory'). One of the ports on mine was faulty and didn't work at all, however.

It also worked with Seagate FLEX USB 3 external drives.

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