Profile for Barry Marshall > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Barry Marshall
Top Reviewer Ranking: 65,300
Helpful Votes: 391

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Barry Marshall

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
pixel
Helly Hansen Men's Seven J Jacket
Helly Hansen Men's Seven J Jacket
Price: £50.00 - £160.33

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for, 25 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're looking for a lightweight, waterproof jacket for spring/summer then this item is an ideal purchase. The lines of the jacket are minimalist, without many of the fussy elements - too many pockets, etc. - that come with many of today's outdoor wear. The Helly Hansen logo on the chest and a detail on the left arm are all that is visible and it means that the jacket can be worn dressed up or down, so it wouldn't look amiss if you wore it on a night out around town with friends. In fact, almost everyone comments on how nice the jacket looks.

The jacket is not lined, so on colder days you'd definitely have to wear a sweater or hoodie underneath. This isn't a drawback as such as, inevitably, you'd have to do that with any jacket of this type. When it comes to rain, you haven't got chance of getting wet and the built-in hood gives full protection to your head too.

Overall, excellent value, stylish and practical. Would recommend to everyone.


The Rough Guide to Cult Sport
The Rough Guide to Cult Sport
by Lloyd Bradley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not what it seems, 23 Jan 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although the book is billed as a rough guide to cult sports, what you actually get is about a fifth of the book dedicated to weird games from around the world, the rest of it is dedicated to sporting scandals such as the black power salute at the Mexico City games and sporting celebrities such as Dennis Rodman and Shane Warne. It's a pity because there is a good compendium to be written about hurling and kabbadi. This volume feels rushed and cobbled together.


Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic Progress
Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic Progress
by Daniel Ben-Ami
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what would economic progress mean?, 23 Jan 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ben-Ami fittingly concludes the Preface to this work with a quotation from Sylvia Pankhurst, whom everyone remembers as a radical feminist but whom most don't realise was also a revolutionary libertarian socialist:

"Socialism means plenty for all. We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance.
"Our desire is not to make poor those who to-day are rich, in order to put the poor in the place where the rich now are. Our desire is not to pull down the present rulers to put other rulers in their places.
"We wish to abolish poverty and to provide abundance for all.
"We do not call for limitation of births, for penurious thrift, and self-denial. We call for a great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume."

It is with this in mind that I read this book. Though some take the ideas in it to mean that Ben-Ami is advocating a free market free-for-all, he is actually critical of modern capitalism's caution and risk-aversion. Marx, as Ben-Ami correctly notes, saw that capitalism was capable of tremendous economic growth, but the price for this was crisis, uneven development and the misery of workers. It's hard to say that capitalism has been an engine of economic progress since the 1970s. The relentless extension of credit has enabled huge bubbles to form, while the radical impulse of capital towards creative destruction has been severely dampened by governments eager to avoid the social crises this could cause.

Ferraris for All lays out the case of economic growth and popular prosperity, what used to be the rallying cries of socialists. Today's Occupy movement, although promising in its opposition to capital, is bogged down with radical-sounding but ultimately conservative solutions. Although it is not explicitly Marxist, this book stands as a necessary counterweight.


Acer Aspire 5742 15.6 inch Notebook (Intel Core i5-480M Processor, 5 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, DVD-Super Multi DL Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit)
Acer Aspire 5742 15.6 inch Notebook (Intel Core i5-480M Processor, 5 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, DVD-Super Multi DL Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit)

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent value for money, 22 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With Acer machines, you certainly get plenty of power and storage for your money. But at this price-point, you aren't going to get everything features-wise you'd expect in a £600+ machine.

Pros:

On the plus-side, the Acer 5742 comes powered by a fast 64-bit i5 core processor able to handle multiple tasks effortlessly. I usually only have a couple of programs open at a time, typically internet and music and/or word processing, and the CPU hovers around the 2% mark. Even opening six or seven programs at once makes seemingly little difference to the engine inside.

The processor is assisted by a hefty 5GB of RAM, which is upgradeable to 8GB if needed. Again, the machine easily copes with my multitasking needs and never seems to slow down or pause at all. (Hardcore gamers will need something else entriely of course, but then again they won't be looking in this corner of the market.) The 500GB hard drive is equally quick. Although my music and movies are stored on an external drive, it's nice to have all that extra storage should I need it.

I spend hours surfing the net so the Acer's long battery life is another plus. Just surfing on the net with a fully charged battery, you can get around three hours and about two and a half watching movies. It doesn't take long to recharge the unit, either.

And speaking of movies, the sharp hi-def screen displays good contrasts and deep blacks. One word of caution, though, is that it is a glossy screen. This is not a minus for me as I actually prefer them. Matt screens diffuse light and never seem as vibrant or sharp as glossy screens, though, obviously, glossy screens can be a nuisance outside. I can't say I will ever be using my computer outside, but carrying it around from place to place is no problem as it is fairly lightweight. It stays reaonably cool too. Long gone are the days of a laptop burning your thighs.

Cons:

On the downside, the build quality could be more solid. In maxing out the specifications, Acer have had to make compromises with materials. Again, at this price point it's not a minus as such. It would be if you were paying a hundred quid extra. That said, the cliclet keys are light to touch and don't feel either flimsy or spongy, striking the right balance. They aren't too noisy either. The laptop itself isn't going to win any design awards but it looks slimline and has some nice electric blue and orange LED power, WiFi and battery lights.

The real let-down, which everyone mentions, is the pathetic mono speaker - poor by even laptop standards. No-one expects Bose quality sounds on their notebook, but this one is terrible. Whilst the internal speaker is fine for Skype, etc., you'll have to use headphones or external speakers for watching movies and listening to music. Still, when plugged into a hi-fi, the unit delivers a meaty, solid sound.

On the practical side, the positioning of USB ports could be better. As it stands, the three ports are placed on the sides at the front rather than towards the back, where they could for instance trail more easily down the back of your desk. Another negative for some will be the lack of Bluetooth built-in. Doubtless this was to keep the price of the unit down and you can get cheap adapters to compensate. It's not a big deal for me at all, but something some users would want to bear in mind.

Overall, the unit gets five stars as, the speaker aside, the cons aren't really cons at this end of the market. I am more than happy with this computer and would recommend it.


Creative Zen Style M300 8GB Bluetooth Touch MP3 Player - White
Creative Zen Style M300 8GB Bluetooth Touch MP3 Player - White

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pleasant enough to use, but limited, 20 Jan 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nice little gadget best suited for occasional use. Heavy MP3 addicts will want to look elsewhere, namely at the iPod or similar high-end device, but this is fine for taking with you once or twice a week. Everyday use would highlight too many of the devices drawbacks (it's slowness and lack of adaptability) and odd quirks, such as returning you to the main menu when you switch it back on and not putting tracks in the right order. Having said that, for such a small device it has remarkable sound quality and its 4GB capacity, upgradeable to 32GB, is enough for me.

One big plus over and above the overpriced and fiddly iPod touch nano is the lack of interface with iTunes and other such bloatware. You just drag and drop files onto the device. It's a pity there's no support for FLAC files, but lossless audio can be had with WAV.


Why Marx Was Right
Why Marx Was Right
by Terry Eagleton
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, 15 Aug 2011
This review is from: Why Marx Was Right (Hardcover)
Perhaps Terry Eagleton was not the right person to write a book arguing why Marx was right in the midst of arguably capitalism's biggest crisis since the 1930s. Instead of focusing on Marx's pioneering insights into financial instability, combined and uneven development, the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, the accumulation of debt as the accumulation of capital, and so on, Eagleton takes a series of well-worn accusations about Marx and Marxism and offers his own defence. Nothing much wrong there, really, and much of Eagleton's analysis, as far as it goes, I agree with, though I think he is too soft on the question of "actually existing socialism" in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

The main problem is that Eagleton takes a broadly "cultural studies" approach to the whole issue and, as other reviewers have commented, he sidelines the "political economy" approach. Thus he offers nothing, for example, to answer the accusation of Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk that Marx's economic theory is internally inconsistent. That is to say, Bohm-Bawerk believed Marx's labour theory of value and his theory of market price formation contradicted each other. Nor is there any discussion of why Marx was right, contra the neo-Ricardians, to assert that the rate of profit falls as the organic composition of capital rises. After all, if a theory were internally inconsistent then one would have to reject it. If Marx was right, as Eagleton asserts, these issues need to be dealt with. Luckily, we have the work of Marxist economists such as Andrew Kliman and Guglielmo Carchedi to provide what seem to me to be plausible answers, based on evidence from Marx's texts, to these more serious accusations.

In any case, it's not a question simply of Marx being correct, but rather a case of how useful the theoretical tools and concepts he developed are to us today. Still, to give Eagleton his due, he does make an amusing aside that those Marxists who would submit everything to "ruthless criticism" struggle to come up with more than a few things to criticize about Marx himself!

Anyone looking for an easy to read and largely jargon-free account of the current crisis of capitalism, but still using Marx's theoretical approach, would do better reading Paul Mattick Jnr's Business as Usual.


The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers
The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers
by Vicky Ward
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.57

3.0 out of 5 stars Inside the casino, 4 Sep 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ward's book is a surprisingly good and quick account of the sad story behind Lehman Brothers' rise to world banking powerhouse in the 1990s. Like many stories of power and greed there's a tale of human tragedy behind it too. Unfortunately, Ward does not dwell too much on the nitty gritty financial details that led to the world's biggest bankruptcy, and near collapse of the world's banking system, in 2008


SuperCycles: The New Economic Force Transforming Global Markets and Investment Strategy
SuperCycles: The New Economic Force Transforming Global Markets and Investment Strategy
by Arun Motianey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.51

2.0 out of 5 stars contradictory, 31 Mar 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I would not recommend this book to the lay reader. Someone looking for a useful backgrounder on the Great Financial Crash would do better to look at Paul Mason's Meltdown or Wolfgang Munchau's The Meltdown Years.

First, super cycles are presented as something new. Well, yes, but only a new concept invented by Motianey. We fall here into the old problem that a new definition of something, ie new terms invented to talk about something, reveals something new about the subject matter in hand, rather than merely changing the way in which we talk about it. Not really. Before I picked up the book I thought of Kondratiev (incidentally someone whom Paul Mason discusses more intelligently and accessibly in his book) and his famous thesis of the "long waves" of capitalism.

Although Motianey's construct is somewhat different, it boils down to the same thing: capitalism equals boom and bust, something we are not going to escape from. Indeed, ever since Karl Marx and the Austrian School there have been theories of economic cycles, so it is difficult to see, apart what new ideas the book is putting across.

Indeed, the explanation seems to be insubstantial: the super-cycle has a life all its own. It is not rooted in the movement of capital itself. The actual reasons for asset bubbles are when the forced expansion of capital overshoots the underlying growth of new value in the economy because of the tendency of the rate of profit to decline over an economic cycle.

And what is also most odd is the author's policy conclusion: that we should inflate away the present crisis and revert to the gold standard. This is a huge contradiction. Under the gold standard, economies were subject to much more intense volatility than they are now. In other words, a gold standard would increase the amplitude of a crisis, rather than fiat currencies, which are more adaptable.


Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics)
Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Geoff Wilkes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing re-telling of courageous resistance., 31 Mar 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Alone in Berlin, Hans Fallada's masterpiece, finally translated into English after 60 years of waiting, is a magisterial triumph of storytelling. Based on true events, the books has a cast of some of the most degenerate and backstabbing characters in modern literature, set amongst the brutal Nazi regime.

This book is set in Berlin in the 1940s. Germany is at war, having just conquered France. A working class couple, Otto and Anna Quangel, have just received news that their son has fallen in the war. While a family of dedicated Nazis who live in the flat beneath them celebrate the victory of the Third Reich, the Quangels do the best they can to console themselves.

The death of the son propels the Quangels to act. As a quiet couple, almost bland in their everyday lives, they decide to take a stand against the Hitler regime. Unlike many others, they do not fall into line, into blind acceptance, nor do they join the Nazi Party - the only way at that time to advance up the social ladder. Instead, they write impassioned little postcards denouncing Hitler and his band of plutocrat robber-barons and warmongers.

Amidst a terrifying climate of paranoia - which Fallada captures brilliantly - Otto begins to deposit the cards in apartment blocks, confident that his actions will embolden others to take a stand against the National Socialists. Over the course of two years, hundreds are deposited.

But while the book portrays the Quangels as decent working class people - in contrast to "Hitler's willing executioners", working class young men who joined the SS and police squads - it throws their actions into question. Have the Quangels added to the paranoid atmosphere by what they have done. If you found a card like this, what would you do? Is it a trick? Is the regime testing my loyalty? The book is a succession of cliff-hangers and dramatic about-turns.

Fallada adopts the viewpoint of the all-knowing author and does it to great effect - we see inside the minds of all the major and minor protagonists. The most sinister characters, of course, are the committed Nazis and members of the Gestapo, all greasy, backstabbing and conniving.

The language of the book is urgent, but never sensational. Fallada knows when to hone in and when to pull back. The book draws you in and for a few days of your life (you will read it very quickly) and will remain with you for long after that. Highly recommended.


Lexar 4GB JumpDrive Firefly - White
Lexar 4GB JumpDrive Firefly - White

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good value, better elsewhere, 26 Mar 2010
I needed a small capacity USB for playing media files through my home cinema system.

The Firefly copes well. It is small and compact and feels robust. The capacity is enough to hold two good quality films at a time (more than sufficient for my purposes).

The only trouble is that it is quite slow when it comes to loading stuff onto it. It takes about 5 minutes to copy 1GB of data.

By all means, buy this product if like me you aren't a heavy user, but don't buy it if you need something fast.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4