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Reviews Written by
D. O'Brien "D.O'Brien" (Manchester, UK)

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Philips GC7635/30 PerfectCare Pure Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature, 240 g Pressurised Steam Boost
Philips GC7635/30 PerfectCare Pure Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature, 240 g Pressurised Steam Boost
Price: £119.95

3.0 out of 5 stars High tech, but too much tech?, 28 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great concept - although the reservoir type of irons have been around for quite some time, the point of this one I suspect is the technology that goes into it. It senses your fabric and adjusts its own temperature automatically. Great in theory, although not as fast as setting your own temperature (who among us varies their temperature that often while ironing anyway?), and with the obvious drawback that if you want to superheat something for whatever reason that's not going to be possible.
It also steams erratically, but probably in response to some algorithm held within its computer brain, but when it does decide to go for it it really does go for it. It would take some getting used to the quirks of this feature I think, though once done I can see the advantages.
The main disadvantage that I can see is the filter requirement. It takes replaceable water softening filters, and won't work without them no matter what hardness of water you have, so these are going to be an on-going cost of using this already pricey iron. I guess the length of time between changes would depend on your water, but at least this does mean ordinary tap water is useable.
The iron gives perfectly good results, but then that's no different from any other iron. It looses stars because of the price, and the filter issue, but gains them because of decent results.

Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Purchased on a whim, 1 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lexicon (Kindle Edition)
But despite being an impulse buy I'm glad I did. It turns out I've read one of this author's books before, 'Jennifer Government', and I think this is better, though I didn't know this when I read it. I feel the book is slightly derivative of Neal Stephenson's 'Snow Crash', and the intended readers age is perhaps younger than myself, both of which explain the missing star. That being said, the book is excellent and I'd recommend it.

HJ Hall Commando Socks HJ 3000 6-11 Black
HJ Hall Commando Socks HJ 3000 6-11 Black
Offered by Bali-Hai Nursery
Price: £6.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tough. Too tough., 18 July 2014
I was looking for a long and decently hard wearing sock, as I intended them for everyday use. I'd heard good things about these, so thought I'd give them a go. It turns out that they're far too tough, feeling like they're woven from some kind of plastic fibre. They're a specialist sock rather than a comfortable or everyday design, and far too engineered for my purpose.

Finish Power and Pure Quantum (Pack of one, Total 40 Tablets)
Finish Power and Pure Quantum (Pack of one, Total 40 Tablets)
Offered by Activecare Online
Price: £11.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Washes and smells great, 18 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wasn't put off from trying this product by Dave Gorman's comments on his TV show, and I'm glad of that. This is a fine dishwasher tablet, that cleans all types of dishes with all types of food residue, without having left residue once. It even has the nicest scent of any tablet I've ever used. The only reason it drops a star is that the instructions warn you not to use it free in the washer, but to put it in the tablet chamber. This may seem like logic but I have a slimline washer that usually has something in the way of the chamber, and can't always put the tablet in there. If you want to ignore their instruction, though, you take your chances.

Logitech Folio Protective Case for iPad Air 1 - Carbon Black
Logitech Folio Protective Case for iPad Air 1 - Carbon Black
Offered by Stuff-UK
Price: £30.79

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Smart, but flawed, 5 Mar. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
From the outside this case looks smart enough, being a black textured cover with the Logitech logo on a white (presumably fake) leather tab. This is positioned at the top right of the front cover, and helps the user know in which orientation the iPad is at a glance. Where the mute and volume controls are located on the iPad air (also top right side) there is a cut-out on the back part of the cover, which aims to allow access to these controls. Unfortunately, the angle that these controls are at on the iPad means that the cut-out doesn't recess quite far enough, and they are still slightly difficult to get to - particularly the mute / orientation lock switch.
On the rear cover there's a cut-out for the rear-facing camera, which is large enough to avoid obscuring the lens, and there's a slightly off-centre hinge line down the cover which is part of the folding action when it's being used as a stand - more on that later.
The overall look of the cover is a little like a thin bound hardback book, though the weave of the cover material is a little heavier than that on a book. It's heaviness does mean it's quite easy to grip, though. The downside of this material is that it's already started to fray slightly at the corners.

The inside of the covers are lined with a grey soft-touch material, though of a cheaper quality than that found in many cases. The case provides support for the iPad's 'wake-up' function, having a hidden magnetic element in the front cover that allows the iPad to detect when it's open or closed, and to activate or deactivate the tablet's screen accordingly. This is such a common feature that any self-respecting case manufacturer is going to include it in the design. The iPad itself is gripped on the right side at the top and bottom by hard grey plastic corners, the top one of which also incorporates a push button that lies over the iPad's on/off switch to allow operation of that when the case is being used. I get the impression that this was a bit of a compromise feature rather than a design choice, since when inserting the iPad into these corners the on/off switch gets a bit squashed until it gets settled under the push button.
The left side of the tablet is held by a grip in the same grey plastic as the corners, that attaches under the tablet to the hinge line mentioned earlier. This is what allows the landscape orientation stand feature of the case, but also causes problems when trying to hold the case with the front cover folded back, since when the tablet isn't attached to the left side the rear cover will fall away from it along that hinge line, making holding it one-handed more difficult. In this position the flexible 'spine' between the front and rear covers also presents a major problem, as it allows the folded back front cover to move around far too much to enable it to be held easily or comfortably.

The stand feature only works for landscape orientation, since the case extends about half a centimetre above and below the iPad, which makes it unable to balance in portrait orientation. The tablet is positionable at a variety of angles, since the left-side clip grips against the material on the inside of the front cover, and provides enough friction to hold the iPad in place (as per the product image). There is also a downside to this, as the hinge only allows for a limited range of angles to choose from, and for my liking sits too upright - it's not bad if it's at eye-level but if you have it on your lap then the angle won't be right.

So that's it. This is a fairly basic case, which has the smart-cover feature and which allows for the iPad to sit at a range of angles in landscape orientation, but which doesn't have much else going for it.

BiC Cristal Gel Pen - Assorted (Pack of 8, Plus 4 Free)
BiC Cristal Gel Pen - Assorted (Pack of 8, Plus 4 Free)
Offered by K Direct
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, 24 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These pens produce a decent and continuous flow of ink, which ultimately is what you want. The only reason they dropped a star in my opinion is that the line produced is quite thick, probably thicker than that of a ordinary biro, and I was looking for something thinner.

Veet Easy Wax Electrical Roll On Kit Legs and Arms 50 ml
Veet Easy Wax Electrical Roll On Kit Legs and Arms 50 ml

2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to expectations, 24 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Over to my other half for how this performed. It was compared to general waxing experiences, and directly against hair removal cream and shaving.
The pack contains enough to get started, but spare strips are available and would probably be useful fairly soon after purchase. Construction is fairly straightforward, and the wax is heating up soon after the unit is unboxed. This is where the first problem is encountered. The instructions give a time that ought to leave the wax with the correct temperature and consistency for use, but the time quoted is way too short. The wax barely flows after the allotted time, and only becomes useable once about twice the length of time has elapsed. However, all this time the unit is heating up, and although it doesn't get too hot to touch it does feel as if the wax inside must be heating beyond the temperature where it can be safely used. This perception was, fortunately, only that, and it wasn't too hot. In fact, it could possibly have done with a little longer heating.
As for the performance against cream and razor, the wax doesn't get quite all hairs, and several attempts were necessary to get a smooth finish. However, the end result, after several tries and lots of patience, was acceptably smooth compared to cream, and shaving. The results last longer than either, too. This is particularly true if the pulling technique is practiced, since this determines whether the hair will pull from the root properly. This is entirely down to the user, though Veet do give hints on how to do it.
In all, this can produce results, but the user has to guess the temperature to which the wax should be heated, and it really only produces consistently good results for someone who knows what they're doing. That doesn't really make it suitable for everyone to just pick up and use, and the star rating reflects that.

by Eoin Colfer
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Not Fowl, and better than 'And Another Thing', 15 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Plugged (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The title of this review sums it up really - those who go into this book on the strength of Colfer's 'Artemis Fowl' output and expect anything like more of the same are going to be sadly disappointed, as that's very much not what he's produced. Those, like me, who have only been exposed to his more grown-up writing, in the most recent addition to the H2G2 biblioverse 'And Another Thing', will know better what to expect, though in my opinion this is better. 'And Another Thing' seemed too much like Colfer was trying to emulate the late great Douglas Adams, which is only natural given the job he was given to do, and the parts where Colfer's own voice came through tended to be in slightly self-deprecating jokes about Irishmen, which weren't necessarily all that funny in context.
In 'Plugged' Colfer is allowed to find his own voice in the world of grown-up books, and has chosen a grown-up theme to express that through. I think this serves him much better than 'AAT' did, although as a bridge between his former literary sphere and this new one, 'AAT' perhaps served a purpose. Those who are fans of 'AAT' will probably appreciate the humour and zippy pace of 'Plugged', while those who are looking for more along 'Fowl' lines should keep looking.
I won't go on about the story, as other reviews and the product description do that already. It's an entertaining enough example of its genre - though more the Elliot Gould end of the noir scale than Orson Welles - and deserves a look. It won't take up too much of your time to read, and will keep you entertained if you go into for the right reasons. Give it a go. Also, you might learn something about hair plugs.

End of a Girl (Folio 55 Book 1)
End of a Girl (Folio 55 Book 1)
Price: £2.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars End of your search, 26 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
You've been looking for something new, haven't you? You've read everything by your usual favourite authors, you've had the secret pleasure of reading a book for kids with a grown up's cover, and now you've come to Amazon to find something for your Kindle reader or app that will satisfy this nagging desire for something new.
You've found it.

The best and worst thing about the e-book revolution is the exposure to untested and unedited authors. This is is writing in the raw, and we're privileged to be part of the avant-garde. In any such revolution there will always be dross, and there will be gems. Nia Sinjorina is easily such a gem. Her writing is fast, fun, and more inventive than one person has any right to be.

"End of a Girl" is the first book in an epic new sci-fi series, and skilfully mixes the ordinary lives and reactions of a group of typical British teenaged girls with inventive sci-fi elements that this review couldn't hope to accurately describe. Being rooted in the familiar makes it accessible, but the reader is then catapulted into the strangeness of the new experiences these girls go through, which takes you on a whirlwind journey outside your comfort zone. I guarantee it'll have been a long time since you read anything that used language as inventively as this.

Are there any downsides? Possibly the later section could have been shorter, but certainly not faster paced. The writing style can make your head spin, and the length and pace and uniqueness of this later section could leave you feeling a little disoriented. You'll see what I mean when you read it. Does that make it drop a star? Not even close!
I was stunned by this book, and had to force myself to wait until I finished it before writing this review, just to be sure it deserved the praise. It does, and I look forward to the next book eagerly, though sadly it's not due until 2013 by the author's own timescale. Hurry up Nia!

An Introduction to Fire Dynamics
An Introduction to Fire Dynamics
by Dougal Drysdale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £46.76

4.0 out of 5 stars Introduces you to fire dynamics..., 19 April 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a good all-round fire dynamics text, and given that I was told to write that by one of the world's leading experts in combustion engineering, you can take it as Gospel. And no, she's not the author.
The title of this review was slightly tongue-in-cheek, as in truth this book does go beyond just an introduction to the field, including much detail on relevant formulae, and a reader would do well to have a grounding in fire science to fully appreciate it. Authored by a respected academic and professional in the field (I'm not the author either), it would suit not just advanced student readers but also those who work in the field of combustion engineering and science.
It drops a star due to the high price, as this may benefit from also being aimed at the student reference market with a price-point to match, however as academic texts don't have the advantage of the economies of scale that ordinary books have, this is understandable.

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