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Erisia (UK)

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Morphy Richards Essentials 44165 2 Slice Toaster - White
Morphy Richards Essentials 44165 2 Slice Toaster - White
Offered by Topnotchsales
Price: £16.20

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for..., 31 Mar 2010
This is a very reasonably priced toaster, but one with several flaws:

(1) It takes a very long time to cook the bread as the elements clearly aren't very strong.
(2) When turned up to maximum (setting 8), the bread is never cooked as I like it (dark brown) by the time it comes to the end of its cycle; again, this suggests weak elements.
(3) The bread needs turning half-way through the cycle in order to get an even browning (hate to harp on about these elements, but they let it down!).
(4) The easy-lift function, which lifts items up in the trays for removal, doesn't lift any real distance - would have trouble getting a tea cake/crumpet out of this one!
(5) It's bulkier than the picture suggests, curving out quite a way with a large flat surface on the top, so not ideal for small kitchens (like mine).

But, it's not all bad! Toast comes out really crispy and tasty when it's done. It also has no power-wasting lights or frivolous extra settings on it; it's a simple-to-use basic toaster. So, as the review title says: you get what you pay for. It's not quick, but it makes nice toast. If you're in no hurry, this might be the one for you.

How to Write a Blockbuster (Writers' guides)
How to Write a Blockbuster (Writers' guides)
by Sarah Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.47

3.0 out of 5 stars How Ms Harrison wrote a blockbuster, 4 Sep 2009
Sarah Harrison offers a warning at the start of the book that it contains much opinion, some of which you may not agree with, which is a fair assessment of its contents. It is a very opinionated book, offering much anecdotal evidence about what blockbusters must contain but few hard facts. As such, is it a waste of time to read it? Well, not entirely...

This is less a 'How to write a blockbuster' but 'How I wrote a blockbuster', so it does offer one woman's insight and experience regarding the publishing process. While you may not of heard of the author (I hadn't), a few of her books have achieved some success and she explains some of the highlights (reader enthusiasm) and pitfalls (no one at signings) that may occur after you succeed in writing your blockbuster and enter the promo-circuit. She also encourages individuality, offers some general similarities between top-selling blockbusters and tells you to obey and assist the publishing industry experts as they push your book to market.

Where this book really falls down, I feel, is the lack of exercises for an aspiring writer. The style seems dated, as though Ms Harrison is an old-style school-ma'am patrolling the front of the class and expounding what blockbusters are, rather than a helpful tutor encouraging students to explore, invent and achieve their own good writing. As I said at the start, however, I don't think this is entirely a waste of your reading time.

Harrison has been through what a lot of aspiring writers want to put themselves through and this is very much her personal story regarding the process. This book is a genteel kick in the pants to just WRITE and to focus your efforts on creating the very best story you can as only you can tell it. It's an odd and old-fashioned book with a good heart, I think, but a reader coming to it really shouldn't expect it to demonstrate the 'how to' it boasts on the cover.

Hauppauge WinTV HVR 1100/Hybrid analogue and digital PCI card
Hauppauge WinTV HVR 1100/Hybrid analogue and digital PCI card

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not good, not bad, 25 July 2009
I bought my card as an alternative to owning a television and set-top box, after a component in my set-top box exploded. As I had a big, flat monitor, it seemed like madness to buy a separate television, so I thought I'd give this card a go.

Features I like: being able to record TV programmes, auto-recording using a TV guide, being able to watch DVDs or the BBC I-Player while it records, the clear picture and sound (my former TV being a huge, fuzzy CRT monster), built-in Freeview.

Features I don't like: the scanner for channels is terrible and it takes many sweeps to pick up everything available (even with a booster), the inability to record and watch things at the same time, the way it stops on a channel and refuses to move if that channel isn't broadcasting at that time, having to rescan all channels to find new ones.

As I said, I had to buy a booster for it to 'see' any channels at all, even though it is attached to a good roof-top aerial. The software it came with wasn't very good either and often crashed on my machine, which meant I had to search out more stable software to make it truly useful.

Do I regret buying this card? Yes, but it has converted me to using TV cards from now on. If I was buying again, I'd pay a bit more for a card with a few more functions, that was digital-only and that had far better software.

Cherry eVolution STREAM Corded MultiMedia Keyboard Black
Cherry eVolution STREAM Corded MultiMedia Keyboard Black
Offered by Saverstore
Price: £20.32

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sleek, quiet keyboard, 25 July 2009
I've got a very fast typing speed, which used to mean that when I was in full flow I sounded like a horse galloping on a cobbled street. No more! This is not an utterly silent keyboard, but the noise-reduction is a vast improvement on the Microsoft one I formerly used - just a very quiet tapping (like a goat wearing slippers trotting over a carpet, if you like). It has low-profile keys and an easy action, both of which I love, as it means my hands hardly ache at all after many hours of tapping away. It can also sit very flat against the desk or be tilted up on stable, non-slippy feet at the back of the keyboard, depending on which position you prefer.

Would I recommend this keyboard to others? Absolutely. Given its price and the fact that it has a cord (I hate cordless keyboards), if I broke this one, I would head straight back to Amazon to buy another. If you're not on a tight budget like me, well, there are probably more expensive boards out that are more silent than this one. Also, I never use any of the multi-media functions on this keyboard - if I could get another of equal quality but without all the bells and whistles, I'd buy that instead. Minor quibbles aside, it's a superb keyboard for the price.

The Arts Good Study Guide (Open University Set Book)
The Arts Good Study Guide (Open University Set Book)
by E. Chambers
Edition: Paperback

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfect oil for mental cogs, 24 Dec 2007
You can't really expect a book about good study to be a scintillating read, but this manages to offer a lot of good advice while staying on the right side of interesting.

It includes many exercises and helpful hints to help you produce work to the best of your ability. It helps refresh study skills that may be rusty or require improvement to achieve decent marks. It's also very clearly arranged, so you don't have to wade through the lot to find the help you're after.

If you are returning to study or simply hoping to improve your marks on a current course, I recommend this book. I honestly believe the price is worth it for 'Chapter 5: How to Write Essays' alone, which offers refreshingly sensible and practical assistance in completing those all-important Uni assignments.

Best of luck with your studies!

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