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Reviews Written by
Duncan "dmtooke"

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Roberts R986  Personal Stereo
Roberts R986 Personal Stereo

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent radio, and a better purchase than an expensive digital, 21 Oct 2011
I bought this to replace an aging Sony SRF-59 which had given years of faithful service. The clincher was that this is about half the size and that the Sony seemed prone to niggling faults despite being of chunkier construction.

I'm very happy with my purchase. It's amazingly convenient, the build quality is fine, and the sound is excellent. I completely disagree with the reviewer who complained about the reception, which is better than my old Sony (though that is now a bit knackered), which was itself often better than my Pure One in FM mode in the house (even with that massive whip aerial).

With any portable radio like this you must remember that the signal strength is mostly dependent on a) your location and b) your headphone lead, which is used as the aerial. In fairness, I'm not using the included earbuds as they're not very good, but if you have rubbish reception then do try some other ones and move the lead around a bit.

I'd also steer away from "Digital Synthesized" FM radios, which cost more and do nothing to improve reception. In fact, they make it worse, as when you're traveling you may occasionally need to re-tune as you move between masts - a piece of cake with a dial, a right pain if you've saved all the stations as presets.

As for DAB? I'd wait until DAB+ when the quality should be somewhere near FM and you may have a chance of getting reception more than a stone's throw from a mast.

Recommended for anyone wanting to listen to the radio when on the move.


Necronomicon: The Best Weird Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Necronomicon: The Best Weird Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Price: £10.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Review: Superb - all e-books should be like this, 11 Jun 2011
I've been looking for a better Lovecraft anthology ever since purchasing the slightly disappointing "The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft: 67 Tales of Horror in One Volume" (you can read my review). This is it.

I'll get the only downside out of the way first: it is nearly as much as the hardback, which I also purchased, and is thus not cheap. However, if you are willing to look past this you will find what I consider to be the best collection of Lovecraft stories I've ever found, and one of the best e-books I've ever purchased.

Many people have already reviewed the book, so suffice to say that unless you are a complete Lovecraft addict, you will not need anything else. The Kindle version is superb. It is as close to being an exact copy of the hardback that I'm convinced the two were prepared from the same digital manuscript. It has the same excellent illustrations, and mercifully few typos so far as I have read (each of which is also in the hardback, so it's not the result of lazy OCR scanning).

It has the full e-book treatment. You can navigate to the TOC, cover, beginning, end, location and even page corresponding to the hardback book. You can navigate between stories with the 5-way, fantastic when you just want to skip a story you know you're not keen on. It has all of the correct formatting, including headings, quotes and italicization of the book. It effectively is the hardback, except it isn't the size of a dictionary and doesn't weigh over a kilogram (nearly 3 pounds).

I have returned my copy of "The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft", citing the problems I raised in my review, for a full refund. I said there that "I'd pay three times this for a copy that's at least been proof read and given a proper e-book treatment." Well, I ended up paying nearly eight times as much, and I think it was worth it.

Other e-book publishers take note: this is how books should be done. Make them like this, and make sure they are no more expensive than the physical copy, and I will buy them.

Excellent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2011 7:07 PM BST


Celestron NexStar 8 SE Computerised Telescope
Celestron NexStar 8 SE Computerised Telescope
Price: £1,199.00

83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About as close to a dream telescope as most people are likely to get, 29 Dec 2010
I've been an amateur astronomer for about 18 months and owned this scope for the last year, and I'm absolutely delighted with it. The major factors in this scope's favor are:

- Excellent light gathering for deep sky observations (less than 8 inch aperture is generally considered too small)
- Superb resolution on the moon and planets (0.58 arc seconds, which will get you to 400x magnification but needs outstandingly clear, still skies)
- Easy to use, respectably accurate computer control (you do need to know some stars, and should read the instructions though)
- Exceptional portability (I can carry the entire scope downstairs and into the garden fully assembled)

Things to be aware of when buying are:

- It only comes with one eyepiece, which gives 80x magnification and seems good quality. I strongly recommend using this for at least a month and reading up before buying any more (they are at least as difficult to choose between as telescopes), and advise against the frequently advertised eyepiece sets.
- A power tank is an absolute necessity, unless you intend to buy 8xAA batteries every other week. Search for "7Ah 12V Power tank" on your favorite search engine (Amazon really should sell these as well!)

I'd also recommend you get a copy of "Turn Left at Orion", to give you an idea of what you point it at, and that you join an astronomy society. Other than that, you're ready to go.

Clear skies.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King
Price: £9.15

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition review, 17 Oct 2010
For me, this book is reason to own a Kindle. Big and heavy enough to be used as a doorstop even in paperback editions, being able to carry it (along with everything else I have) in electronic format is a massive improvement and gives yet another reason to enjoy it all over again.

The quality of the presentation is extremely high, with maps and illustrations reproduced well, and a generally high standard of editing. It's not perfect - the maps need to be higher resolution when they're so important to the enjoyment of the story, and there are some annoying occasional lapses in the quality of proofing like characters suddenly being called by only their first initial and not their name (this is my number 1 pet hate in e-books, but it's rare enough here not to spoil things).

Completely recommended.


The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft: 67 Tales of Horror in One Volume (Halcyon Classics)
The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft: 67 Tales of Horror in One Volume (Halcyon Classics)
Price: £0.77

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb stories, great value, terrible presentation - updated, 4 Oct 2010
Update: I've since returned this and purchased the Kindle version of "Necronomicon: The Best Weird Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (GollanczF.)" I would recommend this instead, and have reviewed it as well.

--------------

I really like H. P. Lovecraft, and jumped at the chance to have all of this stories in one volume for my Kindle. To be fair, at this price, it really is a bargain. All of my favourites are here - Call of Cthulhu, Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Colour out of Space - as well as a whole host of less known works to savour.

What's not excusable is the poor quality of the presentation. None of the normal e-books things are present: the table of contents is just a set of links on the first few pages, and can't be navigated to in the normal way; none of the stories have proper headings and none of the sub-sections is properly labeled, so you can't use the standard navigation with the 5-way to jump around; there is no proper formatting at all, with all of the text left aligned and all of the italics removed; the overall standard of the editing is poor, with numerous misprints, misformatting, and the occasional snippet of non-english like the HTML for an ampersand instead of the symbol itself.

So, is it worth the price? Undoubtably. Is it worth buying? Without question. But come on - I'd pay three times this for a copy that's at least been proof read and given a proper e-book treatment.

Shame on you.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2011 9:42 AM GMT


The Hobbit
The Hobbit
Price: £3.32

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Kindle edition, 3 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Hobbit (Kindle Edition)
No point in reviewing the book, which has been done plenty of times already, but rather the Kindle version. Overall I'm very happy indeed - this is very faithful to the original, including all of the maps, runes, and the illustrations from the new edition. It's mercifully low on typographical and formatting errors as well, which are always a pain in e-books. If I had one criticism it would be that the maps could do with being higher resolution, but then I didn't use them so much for it to be a nuicance. A must have for any Kindle owner.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2010 12:48 PM BST


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