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J. S. Hardman "Consultant software developer (contractor)" (Near London, UK)
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Draper 33855 2,900 mm Telescopic Tree Pruner with 32 mm Cutting Capacity
Draper 33855 2,900 mm Telescopic Tree Pruner with 32 mm Cutting Capacity
Price: £24.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Lock" comes undone far too easily, 17 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I ordered this Draper33855 Telescopic Tree Pruner after my older Draper tree pruner had a part fail. The old one when extended was locked in place using a part that the user tightened manually. This new 33855 model simply "locks" by giving the extending pole a twist. I put "locks" in quotes, because this is not a great way of doing things. If you are doing some really easy pruning it might be fine (although possibly not when using the saw), but if you are having to extend the pole through vegetation to get to the bit that you want to prune, then it is not so fine. Inevitably, when in slightly trickier situations it is necessary to twist and turn the whole pruner to get to exactly the bit that wants cutting, or alternatively twisting and turning the pruner when trying to get it out of the vegetation again. The inevitable happens in those situations - the locking of the different parts of the pole comes undone, and the whole thing collapses just when you really don't want it to. That's not good at the best of times, but especially so when the saw blade is attached.

Whilst this pruner isn't terrible, it is really only suitable for the easiest of tree pruning jobs. I'll be off to the hardware store to see if I can buy something to get my older Draper pruner working again for situations when not using the saw attachment. When using a saw, I use a product from a different manufacturer. This one will be living in the garage for use only as a last resort when my other tools fail in some way. Definitely not recommended.


CSS3 Pushing the Limits
CSS3 Pushing the Limits
by Stephen Greig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Good content, busy presentation., 11 Jan. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a very experienced developer, but one with limited experience of the latest web technologies, I am in a position where I am about to start on a new project involving HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. I thought this book would be useful to get me up to date on CSS3. The problem I found immediately is that this book requires existing CSS3 knowledge. To be fair, it does say that in the introduction, but buying online, it didn't say that in the product description. Anyway, having gone away and worked through another book before this one, I felt more comfortable reading this one. Whilst I wouldn't say that web design is my top skill, this book definitely gives me knowledge of what is possible with CSS3, and to allow me to ask those on the project who specialise more in design the "Have you thought about..." questions that are useful for making others think something is their own idea. This isn't a book on the reading list that most of the team are using, but it is a book that will help me bring further ideas to the project, hopefully improving the end result.

The book itself is presented slightly strangely. It uses very clear fonts, on nice white paper, so no problem reading it even in poor light. Some of the presentation does feel busy. If you just focus on the immediate area that you are reading, it isn't too bad. However, if you are skimming through looking for something, the "busyness" does make it harder.

Recommended, but only for those already reasonably au fait with CSS3. This is not a tutorial for beginners.


Happy Graffiti: Street Art with Heart
Happy Graffiti: Street Art with Heart
by Jenny Foulds
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Far too safe to be interesting, 4 Jan. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For me, this book fails to capture the real feel of graffiti. It contains a collection of photographs, make that unimaginatively taken snapshots, of street art and text written on walls. It is all very safe, not pushing at boundaries anywhere, not stimulating the viewer (I would normally say reader, but there is almost no additional text). You could leave this on a coffee table, and nobody looking at it would take offence at it. But it's "happy graffiti" you might say. It's really not. Yes, graffiti can contain slogans, philosophy in words or visuals, creative expressions of what is going on in the creator's head. It can be incredibly artistic, or pretty basic. It doesn't have to be unpleasant, but if you don't get an emotive feel for what the creator is going through, what is the point? It may just be teenage angst, it may be something much more complicated, but from this book you really don't feel that. It really does not generate much response.

I've seen graffiti on walls outside London railway stations, in subways, on parapets, all down the sides of trains etc, as well as street art painted with permission on a large scale, much of which has made me think and some of which has made me smile. I even know somebody who runs graffiti classes (if that isn't a contradiction) in the Netherlands, who gets many people producing more interesting material than this in the space of a day. As much of a pain as it can be to train operators and others, I'd rather see a creatively done tag on a train, than the majority of the content of this book. With very few exceptions, the images and text here don't even make me stop before turning the page. The image on the cover is one of the few exceptions. What is inside is mostly much less interesting.

Sadly, I cannot recommend this book.


uni-ball Jetstream Retractable SXN-210 Rollerball - Black, Pack of 3
uni-ball Jetstream Retractable SXN-210 Rollerball - Black, Pack of 3
Price: £6.07

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy flowing ink, comfortable to hold, great value., 4 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these Jetstream pens after them being recommended by a chiropractor who told me they are the only pens she uses as they continue to work even on surfaces that are smeared with the E45 cream that she uses during treatment.

For me, these pens fill the gap between Bic Biros and much more expensive, classy pens. If I lose a Bic Biro, it's not the end of the world. If I lose one of my really good pens, I would be rather annoyed about the cost of replacing them. On the other hand, these Jetstream pens write as well as the expensive pens, but are cheap enough that if I lose them, I would not fuss too much. As a result, I usually have one of these on me, and others on my desk. They normally write really well, with far less pressure than a Bic Biro requires. They're great value for money, and they look far better than a Bic Biro.

These pens are retractable, with a nice click. I do also have non-retractable Jetstream pens that have lids instead. I far prefer the retractable ones - the lids are actually quite hard to get off of the non-retractable ones. So, for me, these retractable pens are my preferred ones. Beware, that if you give them to somebody with the nervous habit of clicking pens, they will not stop with these pens, as the click is so satisfying!

[Note added Feb 2014] Whilst doing a landscaping course, where various students needed to mark pieces of wood and metal whilst preparing to lay foundations and concrete for a path, nobody had anything suitable to make the marks. I pulled one of these Jetstream pens from my pocket, and it wrote on both wood and grubby metal, no problem at all.

Recommended.


Original Safepore® translucent Anti-slip Stickers (81 Pieces of 1.10 Inches in Diameter) for Your Safety in the Bathroom - No More Sliding in Bathtub or Shower Tray
Original Safepore® translucent Anti-slip Stickers (81 Pieces of 1.10 Inches in Diameter) for Your Safety in the Bathroom - No More Sliding in Bathtub or Shower Tray
Offered by Safepore
Price: £18.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, effective, and barely visible., 4 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We bought a pack of these shower stickers for the shower tray in our newly refurbished guest room bathroom. They were easy to apply. Our guests have been very impressed by them, to the extent that we have ordered more so that guests can put them in their own bathrooms.

Note that having put down all 81 stickers, we have had feedback that more are actually required. We still have the remains of the original pieces that the 81 were detached from, so cut some more smaller ones from the remaining material. That seems to have sufficed, but if you have a large shower tray, you may want to order more than one pack.

We haven’t had any stickers come loose yet. Will update this review if any do start peeling etc.

Recommended.


1000 Ultimate Adventures (Lonely Planet Travel Reference)
1000 Ultimate Adventures (Lonely Planet Travel Reference)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas generator for those with an adventurous spirit, 15 Dec. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having been lucky enough to have travelled widely during my twenties and thirties, and to have tried many "action" and "adventure" activities, as well as working on (mostly marine) conservation projects overseas, the real must-see or must-do things on my bucket list have already been done. Or so it seemed. Reading "1000 Ultimate Adventures (Lonely Planet Travel Reference)" reminded me that actually there were other places and other things that were already at the back of my mind, but which had been obscured behind the noise of daily life. This book has sparked my interest in travel again, motivating me to start planning my next trip, even if I am more selective than I used to be.

This excellent book contains a wide range of ideas and places, some of which I have done or been to, and some that I had intended to do but which had slipped from my consciousness. Even things that are not in this book but which I had intended to do at some point came back to me. Travelling through Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, are on my list. So are diving with hammerhead sharks overhead, and possibly diving to see pillow lava being formed on the seabed. Whilst I doubt I will do further marine conservation projects (although I wouldn't rule it out completely), if the right environmental project came up, I might get involved. Some of these things are in this book, but not all, but the joy of such a book is to generate ideas in the reader and inspire people to go and do such things. For some of the things in the book, details are included of who runs such trips or how to follow up, but not for all. Glossy enough to use as a coffee table book, with plenty of pictures, this is a great ideas generator, but one that may require some Googling to follow-up on.

There are ideas in this book to suit pretty much anybody into more adventurous travel or activities. There are plenty of things in there that I wouldn't do now, and some that I probably wouldn't even have done in my early twenties. However, I have friends who do some of those things, and they would love this book too. I know what to get them for Christmas!

Highly recommended to those with an adventurous spirit.


New Physioroom Thumb Stabiliser Support Splint for Protection and Prevention-Ski,Sport,Gym, Medical-All Sizes Medium Left
New Physioroom Thumb Stabiliser Support Splint for Protection and Prevention-Ski,Sport,Gym, Medical-All Sizes Medium Left
Offered by PhysioRoom
Price: £15.57

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Problems with size and design, but it does work, 15 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When at a dance event recently, whilst my normal partner was elsewhere for an hour or so, I ended up dancing with somebody I hadn't met before. From a distance, she had looked like she knew what she was doing. Unfortunately, in hold she had the bad habit of not releasing her right hand from my left when turning under the arm. The result of that is that every time she turned, she twisted my left thumb. The ache from that continued for quite some time, probably not helped by my habit of holding my smartphone in my left hand and operating it using my left thumb. To speed up recovery, I purchased one of these Physioroom Thumb Stabiliser Support Splints.

Based on comments in other people's reviews, I ordered a larger size than I would normally have done. Even so, it only just closes around my wrist, and the velcro tape digs into the skin between my thumb and first finger. It really feels like a product that got to prototype stage but was then not refined to production standard. However, wearing the splint for a couple of days relieved the ache, at the expense of sore skin where the velcro strap rubbed. Even after I stopped wearing it, the thought of wearing it still prevents me from operating my smartphone one-handed. As for dancing, I carry the splint in the bag with my dance shoes, so if I see the lady who triggered the problem in the first place heading my way, and if I cannot disappear quickly enough, then I reach into my bag and put the splint on. That stops my thumb from being twisted!

Recommended, with caveats about design and size. Based on my experience so far, I would go for two sizes larger than I would have expected to need, and still half-expect to need Compeed to prevent rubbing.


Mouth Kote Oral Moisturizer Spray, Dry Mouth and Throat - 8 Oz
Mouth Kote Oral Moisturizer Spray, Dry Mouth and Throat - 8 Oz
Offered by We Ship Supplies
Price: £27.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully less calories than mints, but not pocket-sized, 15 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whilst on some medication recently that has dry mouth as a common side-effect, I tried various remedies to overcome that. Carrying things like Smint mints or Tic Tacs was no use - I'd just eat the entire quantity in no time at all. As that wasn't working, I thought I'd try a mouth spray, starting with Mouth Kote.

On the plus side, Mouth Kote does not show any added sugar in the ingredients. On the down side, the taste is most unappealing (it's not horrible, it's just not great), and the bottle is huge. I cannot picture what 8oz looks like. Let's just say, I don't carry this in my pocket (which was the original intention). Instead, I have it on my desk, which means it only gets used when I am at my desk. Not ideal. The price is horrendous too - over £20 for 8oz, although that did seem to include delivery from overseas.

Recommended with the caveat that this is not a discrete product to put in your pocket. If that is what you are after, you may end up transferring some from this product into a clean atomiser.


Philips HD4671/20 Energy Efficient Kettle, 3000 Watt, 1.7 Litre - Brushed Metal
Philips HD4671/20 Energy Efficient Kettle, 3000 Watt, 1.7 Litre - Brushed Metal
Price: £39.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quiet and functional, but a bit heavy., 15 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When my parents' kettle failed recently, I did some research online. It surprised me how many people buy new kettles and then find that they quickly develop a leak. Based on the number of people saying that about kettles recommended through sources such as Which? magazine, I eventually plumped for one of these Philips HD4671/20 Brushed Metal Energy Efficient Kettles. It met the criteria that my parents specified, so this is what they ended up with. Within a week of that, my own old kettle (not a Philips) sprang a leak, so I purchased a second one of these to replace it.

So far (see added note below), both my parents and myself have found the Philips HD4671/20 Brushed Metal Energy Efficient Kettle does the job, without problem. The only negative that we have found (and we both said the same thing), is that it is heavy. Even with very little water in it, it feels heavy. On the plus side, it hasn't leaked so far, it is far quieter than our old kettle, it's easy to fill and has clear markings to allow only putting in enough water for the number of cups wanted. Whether it uses less electricity than our old kettle, I do not know.

[Note added Feb 2014] After less than 3 months use, this kettle failed. I think that the boil-dry sensor mechanism failed. If it just switched off, that would be annoying but safe. That it switches off and then on and then off and then on (and keeps repeating), makes me wary. Thankfully, Amazon replaced it immediately. I'm hoping the replacement lasts longer.

So, ok for those with reasonable strength in their hands, wrists and arms. For others, it would be wise to go for something lighter. But a question mark over reliability.


Sumex 2808031 Jumbo Boot Organiser Bag
Sumex 2808031 Jumbo Boot Organiser Bag
Price: £15.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Very practical and good value. Recommended., 15 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having just down-sized from a 4x4 (that had lots of storage pockets, cup holders, hatches, and a big load area at the back) to an electric car (Vauxhall Ampera) with far fewer storage spaces and far less overall load capacity, I needed to get more organised about what I carry in the car, both because there is less space, but also to reduce the energy consumption. After looking at various options, I purchased two of these Sumex 2808031 Boot Organiser Jumbo Bags. They fit comfortably side by side in the rear or the Ampera, prevent things moving around, keep things both organised and visible, so that I can find what I want instantly. Having two allows me to put car/safety related things in one (fire extinguishers, first aid kit, pump, torch, visibility vest etc) and non-essentials in the other (waterproofs, snacks, drinks etc). Typically I leave both in the car, but if I am going to a store to collect lots of shopping or sacks of animal feed etc, then I simply lift out the non-essentials and have enough space to load whatever I am getting. Having everything organised also makes it far easier to be disciplined about not carrying unnecessary stuff around.

Very useful. Does the job without costing too much. Recommended.


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