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Solaris
Solaris

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First English unabridged edition, 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: Solaris (Kindle Edition)
After 50 years, an unabridged English edition of Solaris has been long overdue. The inferior version otherwise available, an abridged Polish to French to English edition can finally be put aside.

While neither Amazon nor Premier Digital Publishing have publicised the fact, this is the new full direct translation by Bill Johnston, previously only available as an audiobook. I just downloaded a sample chapter to confirm that this indeed that version.

I'm still looking forward to putting a paper version on my shelf next to the remainder of my Lem editions, and await others of his works that have not made it to English.


The Capital Ring (Recreational Path Guides)
The Capital Ring (Recreational Path Guides)
by Colin Saunders
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awkward guide to an interesting walk, 6 July 2007
I finished walking the Capital Ring today, desperately wishing that I'd had a better laid-out guide. My chief criticisms are
1. the text is a stream-of-consciousness narrative of walking directions and history. These need to be separated for clarity
2. The ordnance survey maps are too small to read street names, so if you miss a turn because a sign is missing/vandalised then it's harder to find your way back to the path.

This sort of route would be better served with clearer maps, with callout boxes to handle the historical detail and some little photos of landmarks. If doing it again, I would make sure I always had another map guide and/or GPS with me. Someone I met along the route said they printed off maps each night because the ones in the book were so useless.


Canon PowerShot G7 Digital Camera - Black (10.0MP, 6x Optical Zoom) 2.5" LCD (discontinued by manufacturer)
Canon PowerShot G7 Digital Camera - Black (10.0MP, 6x Optical Zoom) 2.5" LCD (discontinued by manufacturer)

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating at times, 22 Mar 2007
This is the second Canon digital camera I've bought in the last year that was defective out of the box. With this one, the microphone doesn't work at all, so all my video is silent, which is very sad because the 1024x768 quality is fantastic.

The other little gripe I have is that it doesn't remember flash settings, so if you are walking around a flash-prohibited venue, then you have to remember to disable the flash every time the camera turns on.

Otherwise I am very happy with the camera, especially with the smart stitch-assist feature which helps to overlay multiple images in the viewfinder for better panoramic scenes or matrix effects.


Music From The Film The Illusionist
Music From The Film The Illusionist
Price: £15.75

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not value for money, 16 Mar 2007
Great opening theme, but the remaining tracks are not up for re-listening unless you're a diehard Glass fan. If you want a complete Glass soundtrack album that can be listened to, then go for The Hours or Anima Mundi.


Philips 1.3MP USB Webcam 90fps
Philips 1.3MP USB Webcam 90fps

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't do what it claims, 8 Jan 2007
The packaging for this item claims that it will mount on any Notebook. Well I have an Acer Travelmate C204 that this camera simply will not mount to stably - it just will not balance over the top of the screen.

I'm also marking it down for bundling a bunch of third-party software without any warning or documentation - not even an indication as to the function of that software. Make sure you only install the minimal set of drivers. I should also warn that this device appears to be incompatible with Windows Vista.


Nokia N80 SIM Free Mobile Phone
Nokia N80 SIM Free Mobile Phone
Offered by Fone-Central
Price: £99.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for use in an emergency, 27 Dec 2006
This is my 4th or 5th Nokia phone, and I had high expectations for it, although it was something of an impulse purchase at a duty-free store.

It's certainly very useful for the advanced features such as being able to read/send email (especially with the downloadable GMAIL application) and to check web pages, but basic services are definitely wanting.

Some gotchas:
1. Battery life is poor, even with wifi services off. I find it will suddenly go from appearing to be almost fully charged to flat overnight without any use.
2. It takes about a minute to boot it!! So no good in an emergency if the phone is off.
3. The operating software hangs quite frequently, requiring powerdown - often by removing battery - and then waiting ages for it to reboot. The latest firmware (2007) is even worse.
4. Changing between functions is VERY slow, on the order of 10 seconds. There are also problems with screen refresh so a text message may take over 5 seconds to display.
5. You lock the keyboard by closing the slider. However... the slider only has to open a couple of mm for it to unlock, which happens very easily in the pocket.
6. Basic functions such as finding recent calls are harder to locate than on more "traditional" Nokia phones.
7. Setting up access to a home LAN is much harder than you'd expect, and you really need to look for online documentation other than that provided by Nokia.
8. Finally, if you have largish fingers, then using the principle non-numeric button is a real trial. The buttons are probably slightly larger than my previous phone, but the main rocker button is very frustrating to use.
[Postscripts]
9. The included web browser cannot cope with many eBay pages, so you cannot (for example) click through from your My Ebay page to a particular auction. It also won't maintain cookies properly so retyping user-names and passwords becomes an ongoing chore.
10. You cannot correct errors in predictive text in form fields (used in emails and other contexts) because the "Spell" option does not appear when you toggle through available strings.

If I could, I would probably reduce the star rating to 2 based on further experience. A few dealers I have spoken to now refuse to stock this model because of ongoing problems.


Garmin Nuvi 360 Touch Screen Navigation System With European Mapping
Garmin Nuvi 360 Touch Screen Navigation System With European Mapping

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice tool but some glaring issues, 27 Dec 2006
I've been using my nuvi360 for 2 months now, over quite a range of driving conditions all over England, with a side-trip to Dublin.

1. A number of cities I've visited have pedestrianised streets (that are not new) which my device keeps trying to lead me down (e.g. Bath, Newcastle-upon-Tyne). Newcastle also has "no-car" lanes which prevent right-hand turns in many situations in the city. The 2005 maps on my device do not cater for these limitations. Also, when I go to British Airways HQ at Waterside near Heathrow (opened 1998), the device thinks I'm out in the middle of a field....
2. I hate having to spell out the name of the desired country nearly every time I start the device. What a waste of time!
3. I wish it properly supported full UK postcodes, not just the first 4 characters.
4. You need a function to avoid particular routes. The UK M1 is having some major roadwork done and while trying to avoid it to get over to the M40, the device just kept trying to find detours leading right back to the M1.
4. While driving down the M1 between Newcastle and London, the nuvi decided I had to go drive around some backstreets near the M62 junction before rejoining the M1! Most peculiar. (It's on the fastest route setting, not shortest). This has happened on 3 journeys between these cities.
5. When visiting a new town, I'd like to be able to instruct the unit to take me to the town centre (e.g. the main post office) without having to supply a street name.
6. The Garmin website is awful. A mapping company with a hard-to-navigate website! It frequently drops you into the US website, thus supplying inappropriate information.
--------------------------------------------------------
An update after driving through 20 countries around Europe. Mostly good but in some places the maps were horribly wrong (Sicily, Italy around Naples, Norway) or extremely sketchy (Hungary, Lithuania, in other places complete highway systems are missing). After further driving in the UK and a map update in April, I still found that it was very very wrong in a number of places like Glasgow (entire downtown one-way streets are wrong, and they are missing a bridge over the Clyde!).

Detour function continues to frustrate as I can't tell it to avoid a particular area or road. Usually it just calculates a spot further along my route to do a U-turn back to the original route.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2009 5:13 PM BST


Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir of Aspergers and an Extraordinary Mind
Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir of Aspergers and an Extraordinary Mind
by Daniel Tammet
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but something lacking, 19 July 2006
I recently read Temple Grandin's "Animals in Translation", which offers a perspective on the unique gifts of a high-functioning autistic person. Grandin's co-author Catherine Johnson adds greatly to that story.

Daniel's book misses the counterpoint offered by someone like Johnson who can help to explain and contextualise his gifts (as someone with Asperger's and savant qualities).

Born on a Blue Day is a quick read, and with some judicious editing could have been brought down to a longish magazine story. I'm sure there is more of value to hear from and about Daniel, but this is only a taster.


The Islandman (Oxford Paperbacks)
The Islandman (Oxford Paperbacks)
by Tomás Ó Criomhthain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...for the like of us will never be again.", 1 July 2006
Intense, vigorous depiction of life in the Blasket Islands off the Dingle "Ryan's Daughter" Peninsula on the West Coast of Ireland.

A recommended follow-up is Flann O'Brien's parody "The Poor Mouth".


The Poor Mouth (Paladin Books)
The Poor Mouth (Paladin Books)
by Flann O'Brien
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic genius: why out of print?, 1 July 2006
While travelling around Ireland recently I encountered Tomas O'Crohan's autobiographical work "The Islandman" and was very drawn in by its lively depiction of life in the Blasket Islands during the latter half of the 19th century into the early 20th.

I told a bookseller about this, and she suggested I read "The Poor Mouth" as it is a direct parody of "The Islandman". Although both books were originally written in Gaelic, the latter (1941) follows within a few years of the O'Crohan book's translation into English. It was over 30 years before "The Poor Mouth" was translated into English for the benefit of a much wider audience.

Greatly benefiting from reading the two books in succession, I was laughing out loud within a few pages, with some chapters reading like Tom Sharpe.

I had a lot of trouble finding a copy of this book in Ireland, even though there was a city-wide promotion of O'Brien's first book in Dublin. His books seem to be rarity in second-hand shops.

I'm not sure if this Paladin edition contains Ralph Steadman's pictures as do the original hardback and Picador editions. Do try to get a copy that has them, as Steadman is the perfect complement to O'Brien's prose.


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