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David Allsopp (Worcestershire, UK)
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Cassandra: The Definitive Guide
Cassandra: The Definitive Guide
by Eben Hewitt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 30.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not the usual O'Reilly standard, 26 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This seems to be the only Cassandra book available at present, so is probably worth owning if you are interested in Cassaandra. However, it added little to the information available on the web in tutorials etc. The section on the internal architecture is confusing and a little disorganised, even when you already understand much of the material. There are quite a few detailed Java code snippets (for client code), but these are very verbose and not well-explained, so don't add as much value as you'd expect. The diagrams explaining the column-based databse structure are some of the best I've seen for Cassandra, although they aren't used as much as they could be within the book. The areas I was hoping for extra details on (load balancing, order-preserving partitioning) aren't covered in much detail. The sections on managing Cassandra in production are far too superficial - they describe many of the parameters one might set - but don't really discuss the tradeoffs or how to select the values. This is problem of style throughout much of the book - it goes into many implementation details, without discussing properly why they matter. Some of the worked examples similarly abandon the reader halfway through without enough explanation.


Littlelife Ultralight Convertible Child Carrier -
Littlelife Ultralight Convertible Child Carrier -

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not perfect, 8 Mar 2011
We've used both this Ultralight and the older Ultralight, which was a very minimal, skeletal carrier without storage.

This one has better storage when carrying a child, as there is a full-length back pocket. When not carrying a child, you can't actually fit much in the main compartment as it is full of straps etc.

However, it is not as comfortable as the older version, as there is no back-length adjustment - neither I nor my partner can ever get it _really_ comfortable, though it's not bad. The foam back has a logo embossed in it which can dig into your back a little, if you have thin summer clothes on. The harness does hug your back better than the older one, which tended to bob about as you walked and so took some getting used to.

The zips are very chunky and sturdy, and the child harness work fine, though you do have to delve deep into the carier to get them done up. Thereare clever, if slightly fiddly, magnetic flaps to cover teh main zip so it doesn't chafe the child's legs.


No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Beware - does not fit all stated models, 13 Jan 2011
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The case itself is OK for the price - reasonably stiff, though not a huge amount of padding - would protects against normal usage but not heavy falls.

But note that it does NOT fit the Garmin 1490TV (or 1490T) as stated - these have a 5" screen and are too big.


No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy and beautiful, 9 Sep 2010
Just used this oil, for the first time, to finish a small beech worktop. Very easy to use.

Just wipe it on, wait 10 minutes, wipe off the excess and leave it to dry (for 5 hours or more). Repeat a few times, rubbing down briefly with steel wool between coats. Result is a lovely silky finish. Can't comment on the durability yet, but the wood grain looks great.

I did need to re-sand the wood after the first application of the oil, because there were a lot of imperfections that weren't visible on the bare sanded wood.

I probably used about 125ml or less for a 30cm x 120cm (1 foot by 4 foot) worktop.


Cream Fridge Monkey - Fridge Tidy
Cream Fridge Monkey - Fridge Tidy
Offered by Gizoo - Gadgets & Gifts
Price: 6.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin, 13 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A great gadget for stopping all your bottles and cans from rolling around in the fridge, allowing them to be stacked several deep without crashing around every time you touch anything.

Slightly smaller than I expected - you might want several if you have a large fridge (or keep a lot of bottles!)


Ancient Chinese Weapons: A Martial Artist's Guide
Ancient Chinese Weapons: A Martial Artist's Guide
by Jwing-Ming Yang
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.09

4.0 out of 5 stars A broad but brief survey, 13 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book provides a brief overview of a large number of weapons from the familar (sword, sabre) to the rare and bizarre (Blocking Face Pipe, Palace Heaven Comb, Wolf Brush).

Each weapon has a simple line-drawing of each weapon, with brief notes (often only a few lines) on its history and purpose (if known).

Note that this is not a book for learning any chinese weapon - far too many are covered to include any detail on how they are used!


The Secrets of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu
The Secrets of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu
by Lai Hung
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Short, but to the point!, 27 April 2010
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A very clearly written and interesting (though rather brief) book, that starts with an introductory history of kung-fu in general, and Pek Sil Lum and Sifu Lai Hung in particular.

It then mentions the theory of ch'i, but gives it much less weight than most kung-fu books, saying that "Lai Hung believes that, at its most basic level, what martial artists call ch'i is really just a product of breath control and proper physical and mental technique".

The next part describes the basic stances, footwork, kicks, hand techniques and a basic exercise routine (all in 28 pages, although it packs a lot in due to the concise, clear style of writing).

The final part describes Tuan Ta (close-distance fighting) - the foundation form of this style. Importantly, the basic description of the form is followed up with specific martial applications.

The techniques and forms are illustrated with many small (but mostly quite clear) photos.


Chinese Single Broadsword: Primer of Basic Skills and Performance Routines for Practitioners
Chinese Single Broadsword: Primer of Basic Skills and Performance Routines for Practitioners
by Xie Zhikui
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Performance, not combat oriented, 27 April 2010
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This book focusses on wushu performance for competitions (rather than for combat as such) using the chinese single-edged broadsword (dao). It is not really a tutorial in sword techniques or sparring, although it does build up from basic isolated techniques through to complete routines.

After introducing the basic stances, techniques, jumps, rolls etc, it describes some groups of connected movements, then an 'elementary' single broadsword routine, and advanced (competition) single broadsword routine, and two dual routines (i.e. with two 'combatants'). These last two are perhaps the most interesting since the intended martial applications are clear, if rather flashy. They include disarming techniques and so conclude with unarmed movements.

The sets are described in detail with many diagrams showing the path of sword, empty hand and feet. They take up well over half of the 400 pages.


New Toddler Taming: The world's bestselling parenting guide fully revised and updated
New Toddler Taming: The world's bestselling parenting guide fully revised and updated
by Dr Christopher Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, balanced, sane and entertaining, 19 Dec 2009
Firstly, please don't be put off this book by the minority of negative reviews that focus on one or two things like "the rope trick" or sedation, taken somewhat out of context. On the latter point, remember that the author is writing as a consultant paediatrician, and note that he only discusses such techniques for very extreme cases, as a last resort, for a short period.

Don't be put off by the title either - Dr Green explicitly states that "taming is not what bringing up a toddler is all about".

Dr Green claims to be the originator of the "controlled crying" technique; some people seem to get very upset about this, whilst missing the point that the whole focus of the technique is on _not_ allowing the child to get unduly upset, whilst discouraging them from waking frequently. It is not the same thing as letting a child cry itself to sleep, which he describes as cruel and ineffective.

This book gives an excellent perspective on the full range of normal toddler behaviour (including a few tables of statistics) - often parents feel they are failures when in fact their toddler is completely normal. Dr Green therefore identifies some "non-problems" and areas where it is the parents' expectations that need to change, not the toddler.

He avoids the smug, glib attitudes common in know-it-all parenting books, and is realistic about problems that are truly very difficult or even insoluble.

Whilst he clearly states "I am firmly anti-smacking. It is a form of discipline that doesn't work", he also has a more pragmatic and less politically-correct approach to the topic than most recent parenting books, i.e. he states that the occasional smack is pretty harmless in the grand scheme of things, should not be mindlessly equated with frequent beatings, and might be justified in life-threatening sitations (e.g. child keeps removing seatbelt on the motorway).

The style of writing is clear and light-hearted, with plenty of stories and anecdotes to illustrate the main text.


Bureaucrats: How to Annoy Them
Bureaucrats: How to Annoy Them
by R. T. Fishall
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 6 Sep 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A classic work of sedition. "Make the Brutes Work" is the author's catchphrase as he explains how to battle jobsworths in satisfying and amusing ways.


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