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Lighting for Portraiture
Lighting for Portraiture
by Walter Nurnberg
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and concisely written book with lots of diagrams, 6 Jun. 2015
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This is so much better than any of the nine books I had previously bought from US publishers Amphoto and Amherst. Sadly, the american authors have a verbose style and there are seldom enough diagrams to show where to position the lights. Walter Nurnberg has a much more concise style of writing and, best of all, provides pairs of diagrams to show both where to position the lights in relation to the model and also the height of the lights above the floor.

This book, published by Focal Press, is no longer in print, but you should be able to get hold of a second hand copy. My copy is the 7th Edition from 1969, but its age is not really relevant. After all, the light emitted from the continuous photoflood bulbs used then still follows the same laws of physics today when flash heads are used instead.

Highly recommended.

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro Pack
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro Pack
Offered by Southwall

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No CD-ROM as advertised, 25 Sept. 2014
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Despite the web page stating:
"Game Information
Platform: Windows 8
Media: CD-ROM
Item Quantity: 1"
what arrived was a small box with only a product key, but no CD-ROM. As long as you don't need a CD then this is fine. I will not review this as there are already lots of good reviews.

I would only add that Windows 8.1 is much, much better than the original Windows 8 and you will only need this Pro version if, for example, you previously upgraded from one of the more advanced versions of Windows 7 and still need extra features like BitLocker or Windows Media Centre.

Windows 8.1 Inside Out (Inside Out (Microsoft))
Windows 8.1 Inside Out (Inside Out (Microsoft))
by Tony Northrup
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Where have all the pages gone?, 24 Sept. 2014
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This is probably the best available reference book for Windows 8.1 BUT be careful if you think it compares well with earlier versions. My "Windows 7 Inside Out" book has 1323 pages compared with just 718 in the 8.1 edition; that's almost 46% fewer pages here. With over 600 pages removed, obviously a lot of technical detail has been left out.

Despite this new edition being much shorter, I would cautiously recommend this as the standard Microsoft reference. Just be prepared to search the internet if you want to do some of the things that have been left out.

Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book (2014 release)
Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book (2014 release)
Price: £19.55

17 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Upgrading from the earlier Photoshop CC, 18 Sept. 2014
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Having used last year's version of the Classroom in a Book (CIB), I have recently bought the Kindle edition of this new 2014 version.

Let me deal with the bad points first. Yet again, there are errors that should have been removed during proof-reading and checking. The other serious annoyance (to me as a photographer rather than a graphics artist) is that the instructions to load all images are given in terms of using Adobe Bridge; whereas, as a photographer, I use Adobe Lightroom. Also, if you're only dealing with a small number of images (as in these exercises), it is quicker to use Windows Explorer. Although this CIB is for the new CC (2014) version, there is no single chapter on the new features which is what a competent user of the previous version would need in order to get up to speed with the new features. The audience here is clearly a beginner starting Photoshop for the first time with the CC (2014) version.

Now the good points - well actually there aren't many. The book's audience is unclear. As a beginner, you will need perhaps double the time suggested for each lesson as you will hit uncorrected errors in the CIB and will have to work out why you are not getting what the author sees on his computer. Yes, the content is fairly comprehensive and by the time you have completed this CIB, you will have a basic knowledge of Photoshop CC (2014). However, this is not a reference book and the index is far from comprehensive; so you will need other books or tutorials. One excellent feature for beginners (and experienced but infrequent users), is the Appendix on the Tools Panel, which shows the complete panel and then provides small illustrations of what each tool is used for.

I am finding these Adobe CIBs less useful than they could be, if thay had been better structured to work as a reference source and to quickly present the new (2014) features. Instead, I am making increasing use of subscription tutorials at which has the advantage that the tutorials can quickly be supplemented with short tutorials on new features or some specific use of Photoshop. There are also excellent free tutorials on Adobe's web site.

Overall, this CIB is not a waste of money, but I am disappointed that it could have been so much better.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 5, 2015 9:00 AM BST

Take Control of 1Password
Take Control of 1Password
Price: £6.38

2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to date with the software., 18 Aug. 2014
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1Password had a major update just after I bought this. Going to the author's website, we are told that there will not be updates to this book any time soon. My advice would be to wait until the new version of the book comes out as this old version is substantially out of date. Alternatively, I also tested the LastPass program and have found it better than 1Password which I no longer use.

Rollei DVR 110 Sports Car Camera - Black
Rollei DVR 110 Sports Car Camera - Black
Price: £84.50

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor product and software., 18 Aug. 2014
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This is not designed for the UK market as the speeds (on the video and on the SuperCar program) are shown as km/h. Although the device itself seemed to work tollerably well, it does not turn off automatically in my Land Rover and it is very, very difficult to remove the camera from the car mount. The PDF manual on the CD is too brief and does not always give clear enough instructions particularly where the SuperCar program is concerned. This program also fails to display the video. All in all, this is NOT a good product and certainly not one to go for if your driving is mainly within the UK.

I have sent a message to Rollei and if they answer these points, I will certainly update this review. In the meantime, I would not recommend this device. Have a look instead at the Which? recommendation (repeated in the Institute of Advanced Motorists' Magazine) for the Nextbase InCarCam 402G Professional Car DVR Video Recorder.

Updated 12 September 2014 - I received an email reply from Rollei in August which was written in German. My long ago, O-level German could barely cope, but the bit that I could understand suggested that I needed to install a codec on my bog-standard Windows 7 PC if I wanted to use the SuperCar program (which begs the question why was this codec not included with the software on the program CD). I wrote back asking for clarification on 20th August, but as of 3rd October have not had a response. So my advice remains to avoid this for use mainly within the UK.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2015 11:26 PM GMT

Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I cannot pretend that this is like any other music that I like, 20 July 2014
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This review is from: Rarities (MP3 Download)
I discovered this singer as a result of the track "The Opening" being used with the closing credits of the final "Wallander" TV series on BBC4 in early summer 2014. Not being a musicologist, I cannot pretend that this is like any other music that I like. All I can say is that it is a joy to listen to the whole album; it's very musical and it certainly bears repeating many times. This is a singer that I will keep on my wish list.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60 USB Turntable
Audio-Technica AT-LP60 USB Turntable
Price: £117.00

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works well and is acceptable for the price, 20 April 2014
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If you want an easy to use turntable to convert vinyl records (LPs and EPs) to mp3 files, then this works well.

My reason for only four stars is perhaps "picky" as all I wanted to do was convert a few LPs to mp3 files and, for that purpose, I really can't complain about this product or the price. However, I am slightly biased by the memory that almost two decades ago, I had a Thorens TD160C deck with an Ortofon cartridge; the cartridge alone cost more than this whole USB Turntable.

There are a few negative points:
1. The AT-LP60 looks cheap and although the base is a grey, metallic colour, it is made of plastic.
2. The power cable and the stereo audio cable are both fixed inside the unit; only the USB cable is removable for transportation.
3. The pickup arm seems rather fragile but, provided you handle it with respect, it should last.
4. There is no clip for the pickup arm which is needed when you transport the Turntable. However, the instructions tell you to use the cable tie that it was supplied with.
5. Although the software supplied on the CD is the latest version of Audacity (which I use anyway), the instructions are for a very old version of Audacity whose menus are not the same as you will see on your computer screen. A certain amount of trial and error may be needed to get it working correctly.

As long as you don't expect this to produce ultra high quality sound, it will enable you to convert your vinyl discs to mp3 files.

Photoshop CC: Visual QuickStart Guide (Visual Quickstart Guides)
Photoshop CC: Visual QuickStart Guide (Visual Quickstart Guides)
by Elaine Weinmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.74

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not much help without the supporting images, 27 Mar. 2014
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This should be a great book; the pictures are of high quality and the layout of the text is clear. However, although there are some images available from the Peachpit web site grouped in seven collections (Photos Part 1-7), they do not relate directly to the 25 chapters in the book and appear in an order unrelated to the page numbers. Just one example: on page 348 there are two images of a sports car on a country road, the idea being to cut out the car, enlarge it slightly and replace it on the road. Two pictures (before and after) are shown in the book but these are not included in the downloadable "Bonus Content". The associated instructions, which start "On the layers panel, click a layer ...", are not much help without an equivalent image to work on. So, as a way of learning Photoshop, it does not work well without enough images.

As a 500 page reference book, it is incomplete and the index frequently fails to identify relevant material. The reader would do much better with the free Adobe downloadable PDF "Adobe Photoshop Help and Tutorials", a 1054 page manual.

In conclusion, this is a disappointment; neither a good learning tool nor a good reference tool.

Casio Funk LCW-M100DSE-2AER Gents Watch
Casio Funk LCW-M100DSE-2AER Gents Watch
Price: £127.22

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good watch may have problematic wrist band, 2 Mar. 2014
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This watch replaces my old Casio solar, Wave Ceptor watch which was showing its age. This is a superior model that looks elegant with its sapphire window. All the functions work well and setting it up took just one step: selecting LON from a list of world time zones. After that the watch correctly set the time and date.

My big problem is that the wrist band could not be adjusted. I tried one city jeweller who failed, but sent me to another, nearby jeweller who was a major stockist for Casio. Neither jeweller was able to get any pins out of the wrist band (in order to remove a couple of links as my wrist is smaller than the supplied size). The second jeweller has now sent the watch off to Casio. I will update this review when the watch comes back if there is any explanation from Casio. Whereas my older watch was made in Thailand, this newer model is made in China; perhaps the Chinese factory is making the pin holes too tight. With my older watch, I was able to remove the pins myself with the aid of a very thin metal nail and a pair of fine nosed pliers, since Casio marks some of the links with an arrow showing the direction the pin must be pushed in. It is possible that the Chinese factory inserted the pins in the wrong direction.

So with a wrist band far too large, I could not wear this watch; hence the two stars which I will amend if Casio provides a solution and an explanation.

[Added 31 March 2014 - Casio managed to remove two links where the jewellers failed. However, the Casio response to my email was unhelpful and did not suggest why there was a problem]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2014 7:32 PM BST

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