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M. C. Cresswell
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State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974
State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974
by Dominic Sandbrook
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in-depth analysis of a turbulent time, 12 Oct 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Dominic Sandbrook has pulled off an entertaining, shocking and at times quite horrifying account of early 70s Britain. I was born in 73 and something to this day makes me feel uneasy when I think back to that time. Something of a Eureka moment for me then, when the author suggested that a combination of dreadful fashions, lack of basic power supply and the constant threat of terrorist attacks have engrained themselves in the national psyche and refused to budge. This is an entertaining read, concentrating on the wealth of domestic political incompetence that exacerbated the already bleak times we found ourselves in. Nicely chronicling the rise of societal and cultural changes we now take for granted - gay rights, racial equality, women's liberation - against the backdrop of such turmoil, this is a book that captures the time's downbeat yet gaudy persona and takes you on an entertaining and historically significant ride. Nice pics too. Highly recommended.


Jabra BT2070 Bluetooth Headset
Jabra BT2070 Bluetooth Headset

4.0 out of 5 stars Great little Bluetooth headset - good with iPhone, 23 Sep 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This works a treat. Unfeasibly small, neat and unobtrusive. It charges in a couple of hours and set-up is a breeze. I was amazed at the sound quality from such a small headset. When you receive a call you get the option of either taking it on the headset or with the phone itself. You can also use the headset to accept or reject an incoming call, and to adjust the volume. Surprisingly good quality in a small package.


Philips Reading Light (discontinued by manufacturer)
Philips Reading Light (discontinued by manufacturer)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, fairly effective reading light., 13 Sep 2010
This is quite an interesting concept and fairly well executed. It's a paperback-sized reading light which you place under the page you're reading. The benefit of using the light is that you get a very comfortable glow over your page, useful I suppose if you don't want to wake a dormant partner. You have to keep moving it though because it only covers one page at a time, therefore it's a bit on the fiddly side. For some reason you can only charge it up via USB on your computer, so charging on the go isn't an option. Fairly useful product if you're into reading on the quiet. Usual Philips muted design makes it a pleasure to look at too.


Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade (Penguin Modern Classics)
Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Patrick Dennis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had one!, 22 July 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Auntie Mame is the kind of aunt everyone wishes they had, and I absolutely loved this book. A ten year-old Chicago boy is orphaned and packaged off to live and be raised by his socialite party-going Auntie Mame, and so the adventure begins. There's something quite childlike in the simplicity of the writing, and the humour is beautifully done, as Mame takes Paddy on a rollercoaster ride around 1920s New York City and her extravagant, elegant life. Not only that, it's written with genuine warmth and heart as the two unlikely companions grow together and get to learn a little from each other. A tonic of a book in an otherwise gloomy world.


Intego VirusBarrier X6 - 2 Machines (Mac)
Intego VirusBarrier X6 - 2 Machines (Mac)

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy upgrade to X5, 12 July 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Just as with the previous version, this package fills that difficult niche - a virus guard that is both easy on the eye and relatively entertaining. X6 updates the excellent X5 with some useful additions: the main thing you notice is an update to the graphic interface - I do rather miss the car dashboard mock of the previous version, but X6 combines much of the eyecandy with a much more intuitive layout, so you have easier access to all areas such as settings, schedules, logs and quarantine. For the first time you can virus scan your iPhone and also items connected to your mac via Bluetooth. Essentially a makeover of an update, but having had a few viruses on my Mac I can vouch for the need for this software. It should serve you well.


Transparent Irish Premium
Transparent Irish Premium

4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle introduction to the Irish language, 27 May 2010
This review is from: Transparent Irish Premium (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Learning Irish has always been something of an obsession of mine, but having the chance to actually do it has been the problem. So I was thrilled to get the chance of trying this out. Basically the system used by Transparent is much better suited to a language like Irish than the other language package of theirs that I have tried, Arabic.

Even though the spelling is difficult, the vocabulary is presented in a user-friendly way, and you can repeat the electronic flash cards as many times as you want, self-testing as you go, until you feel confident enough. There are more advanced exercises for conversational phrases, and which test oral amd written comprehension.

I feel I'm making fairly good progress for the time I'm putting into it.

My gripes about the inconsistency of the look and feel are still valid (see my review for Arabic) but the whole package seems to work a bit better with this language, hence they seem less important.

Nice effort for a tough language!


Transparent Arabic Premium
Transparent Arabic Premium

3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but disjointed, 22 April 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is quite an impressive set of learning tools - an introduction to the Arabic language which lets you choose your own path through what is, let's face it, not the easiest of languages to pick up as a beginner on your own. You can choose whether you want to dive in to the alphabet, or learn sets of words phonetically, or learn a number of key survival phrases built around various scenarios like telling the time, ordering food in restaurants and general chit chat. There are, for the more advanced, reading and oral tests to check your ability to comprehend written and spoken language. There is a nice multimedia learning tool which plays you virtual flashcards which you repeat until you have learned them; you can also refresh "stale" vocab (ie that you've not used in a while). Crucially you can listen to native speakers as you learn the words phonetically and alphabetically, and record your own versions, comparing the two via a graphical display of the sound files of each.

I am a linguist, though within European Romance and Germanic languages, and for a more "straightforward" language (and one where an additional script is not needed) this approach might give you a feeling of greater flexibility, but for a language like Arabic I felt like I needed to be guided more firmly about the best route into the language. But then I suppose a self-access course for something like Arabic is always going to be a tricky one.

One thing that is quite distracting is the way you constantly flit from one platform to another. The main program is contained with the Transparent Language System platform, which has a slight feel of a half-baked prototype; the vocabulary is delivered by a separate program, Byki; plain dialogue boxes appear for certain questions and comments, and for others it's back to one of the other programs; some options take you out of the programs all together and onto the Transparent website; it's all rather confusing and erratic.

So all in all, a wealth of material that's looking for a methodology (and a consistent look and feel). Get that sorted and they might be on to a winner. But I'm definitely going to keep plugging away.


AmazonBasics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable 6 Feet / 1.8 m
AmazonBasics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable 6 Feet / 1.8 m
Price: £5.45

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Basics, 13 April 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good quality digital audio lead from Amazon Basics, although I did actually find the packaging quite frustrating - there was too much of it, and it could definitely have been paired down more than that. But the lead itself won't let you down.


Freud- The Key Ideas: Teach Yourself
Freud- The Key Ideas: Teach Yourself
by Ruth Snowden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and engaging presentation of Freud's concepts, 13 April 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an immediately accessible book - the opener summarises the contents into three differently sized digests: Only got a minute / Only got 5 minutes / Only got 10 minutes? This is actually quite an engaging way of laying out the information as it gives a quick burst of overview and readies you for what comes later. Each subsequent section deals with a hefty chunk of Freud's work and concepts, from psychoanalysis to dream interpretation to identity. Each chapter draws on a very interesting range of case studies, and these are then summarised back to the concepts and finished off with a Points to Remember section. In addition you get a good insight into the man and his life, and the link with how this led to his development of what became psychoanalysis. One that I'll be dipping into rather than taking cover to cover, but an excellent reference for anyone who's interested in finding out more.


Office 2008 for Mac, Home and Student Edition (3 User Edition) (Mac)
Office 2008 for Mac, Home and Student Edition (3 User Edition) (Mac)
Offered by Perks
Price: £104.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Office to home transferability in one easy package, 9 Mar 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Mac = fun, pretty, Radio 4 on in the background and all things nice.
PC and Windows = grey corporate suit, rainy Monday mornings and internal audit.

Office for Mac fuses the two together for those unavoidable times where you have, or want, to be working on a spreadsheet, Word doc or Powerpoint from home. This suite of software works perfectly for anyone interested in taking MS Office files home, working on them at home and subsequently using them again back at work. As far as I'm concerned, very much a means to an end rather than something to get excited about, but it has made my life a whole lot easier through instant and complete compatibility between my office drudgery and my nice shiny iMac at home.

A fine home-working tool, and recommended.


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