Profile for Kevin O'Byrne > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Kevin O'Byrne
Top Reviewer Ranking: 131,992
Helpful Votes: 97

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Kevin O'Byrne "strummer" (Berkshire, England)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
The Dark Side Part 2 - Real Life Accounts of an NHS Paramedic - The Traumatic, the Tragic and the Tearful
The Dark Side Part 2 - Real Life Accounts of an NHS Paramedic - The Traumatic, the Tragic and the Tearful
Price: £2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stress, frustration, anguish but often relief and satisfaction - another compelling insight into life as a Paramedic, 9 July 2014
If you've read Andy Thompson's first book, The Dark Side, you will find this one written in the same style, putting you right there next to Andy in a variety of tense and stressful situations. I need to declare a connection, as I helped Andy editorially with both books, but hopefully that doesn't devalue my belief that both give a true-to-life insight of a UK paramedic's working life, the stresses, the anguish and the lighter moments. This one has a little more of Andy's observations on life as a paramedic in the NHS, and the frustrations he encounters while trying to save life, and so you get to know the author that little bit more. The accounts of each incident are diverse, sure to be of interest to anyone curious about medical matters thanks to the detail of his interventions, and at times very moving and with outcomes that may well make you change your own habits.


ELDERLY-SOS - Emergency Alarm for the Elderly
ELDERLY-SOS - Emergency Alarm for the Elderly

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well thought-out system for care of the elderly, 25 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't often write reviews even though I often rely on them myself, so I felt I ought to be the first to rate this product as I took a gamble on it. Having just set it up over the weekend, it is a nice piece of technology and so far works well - clearly I can't comment on reliability yet and it has only been running for 3 days. It can be set to automatically dial up to 5 phone numbers and send txt (SMS) messages to up to another 5 phones. On getting an alarm signal (either by pressing the big red button on the main unit or the button on the lanyard or wrist-mounted fob) an SMS is sent immediately to all numbers in memory, and the first phone number is rung. If the phone is engaged or remains unanswered, the unit will dial the next number, and so on. Note that if you have an answerfone, the unit will see that as a response and not ring the next number - but this is as expected. There is no verbal message (the SMS does say ALARM and tells you which sensor has triggered) - when you pick up the phone you tend to hear the alarm going off at the other end because it automatically engages a microphone for you to listen in. The beeper then goes off, so you can listen for other sounds. The unit can apparently be extended to be used for two-way communication but not as supplied. Naturally, you would tend to call the person on a normal landline to check they're ok. You can reset the alarm remotely if the person cannot get to the disarm button on the main unit.

The main unit takes a standard mobile phone SIM card, which should be setup (activated etc) inside a normal phone before fitting it into the device. There are none of the buttons you would find on a normal phone - all settings are made by calling the device from another phone and entering a password followed by a series of numbers and the hash key on your phone. This way you set the numbers to be called and several other settings. It can also be programmed using SMS messages - I simply phoned it from a landline and the setup was very easy following the supplied instructions.

The main unit is mains powered (comes with a typical 'wall wart' AC adaptor) and there is a backup battery to retain settings in the event of a power failure. Better still, if the power goes off (or it gets unplugged!) it will send a warning SMS, and then tell you when the power is connected again - very good thinking. You can also call the device, enter a secondary password and listen in to background noises from the built-in microphone. Again an nice feature for peace of mind if, like me, you are watching out for your elderly parent.

One word of advice. There is a reference in the user manual to a battery backup switch. This is OFF by default and you need to turn it on after fitting the SIM card and plugging the unit into the mains. If you don't, nothing powers up. The issue is that although mentioned, the diagram doesn't show where the switch is. I was about to call to say it was dead on arrival when I saw the tiny little black switch poking out from the side, bottom left, of the printed circuit board (i.e. not from the case of the unit but inside). The switch is actually mounted on the hidden side of the PCB, so it's far from obvious. Use a thin pen or screwdriver to carefully flick the switch across. Other than that, the manual is relatively thorough and quite well written for what I assume is a Chinese made product - certainly not the gobbledegook you sometimes get.

There is a status light which flashes once every three seconds to show the device is 'seeing' the GSM signal. There is also a permanently lit red power led (which can be remotely switched off if the unit is being mounted where it might be distracting), plus a green 'monitor' led (shows if the microphone is active/someone is listening in) and a red 'alarm triggered' led.

The unit can be extended for use with a separate fire/smoke detector. The supplied wireless fob is big enough to handle easily without being too cumbersome - it can held around the neck on the supplied lanyard, or held on the wrist like a watch - and the central button has a tactile feel (raised pimples in a circle). The range seems good - with the main unit upstairs at the front of our house, which is quite large, I was able to trigger it from the kitchen downstairs at the back of the house. As my mother lives in a bungalow I'm hoping, if carefully sited, it should track her throughout the house and when she goes outside to the greenhouse, as that is where she is prone to stumble.

So far I'm pleased with this - it's a cracking piece of technology on paper, seems well thought out and looks fairly well built, but the reliability is the big question mark and only time will tell. I would recommend it - the price, for what you're getting here, doesn't seem unreasonable, and if it proves to be reliable over time then it will have been a good buy.

Worth adding that the seller, while selling on Amazon, has built a nice dedicated website to support this product and the accessories you can add to it, which shows good commitment to it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2014 6:01 PM BST


The Dark Side - Real Life Accounts of an NHS Paramedic - The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly
The Dark Side - Real Life Accounts of an NHS Paramedic - The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly
Price: £2.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immerses you in the daily and nightly dramas of a paramedic, 14 Feb. 2013
I have to start by declaring a connection, as I helped Andy to professionally proofread his book, but I hope that doesn't devalue my review here because Andy deserves a lot of praise, I feel. I was impressed by his commitment to putting across accounts that were at the same time factual and entertainingly written, with good pace and tension. There's graphic detail but only to give an accurate picture of events, not to shock, coupled with a great sense of the emotion he and his patients felt; though the paramedic usually fights to hide it and he gives a great sense of that fight going on inside. There's a lot of dialogue, which helps to really give a sense of the tension in each of the different encounters. I found it a very absorbing read. I learned a lot about how our bodies react to situations I wouldn't have imagined could have been survived, and how a paramedic can buy us vital minutes when we most need it. Not only did Andy employ my services, he also had the book professionally formatted for Kindle, and hopefully this investment shines through in the final result. I'd be truly surprised if you don't find this a great read, and I'd challenge you not to shed a tear during one of the stories in particular - I did, incredibly moving.


PaperPro Long Reach Stapler
PaperPro Long Reach Stapler
Price: £44.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last a better stapling solution, 17 Sept. 2011
I have used long arm staplers for many years on and off on various small projects and have always been frustrated by them. Far too often the staples bend and crumple, and I've always suspected the problem is the amount of pressure you have to put on the end of the arm and the angle of the pressure. If you apply the pressure at exactly 90 degrees it's fine, but if the pressure is applied slightly more to one side of the plunger then the arm (or perhaps the sliding mechanism below the plunger, or both) will twist very slightly, causing the staple to go at a slight angle and thus buckle as it hits the paper and metal former below.

This was the only stapler I could find that tried a different approach, not relying on the brute force of the operator to create the downward pressure, which is more likely to get it off centre. With the job of having to put together a match day programme for my local football team every other week, I had to try to find a better way, and I am so far very pleased with this stapler. It is well made for one thing (I noted on the box it is made in Taiwan, not mainland China - having worked in both countries there's a big difference; the Taiwanese are more advanced in their quality control, more like the Japanese, and it pays off). The action is very nice, allowing you to push the arm gently and accurately into position against the paper first before applying continued pressure to trigger the automated downward force - so the arm is not travelling as it hits the paper. I just stapled 50 programmes, two staples in each, and only 1 staple buckled (so 99% success rate) and I reckon that was probably down to the staple.

The unit came with staples in it, which I wasn't expecting, so the next test will be what happens when I put some of the new staples in that I bought, and then to see how it fairs in terms of consistency over time. But in terms of the performance to date I really can't praise it highly enough and I am surprised at one of the very negative reviews I read of it, which nearly put me off buying it. I can only think the unit was defective or the staples were not good quality or not the correct size. Or perhaps the operator was not first lining the arm down against the paper before triggering the action.


5w 80LED Energy Saving GU10 bulb 380 Lumens 50w brightness
5w 80LED Energy Saving GU10 bulb 380 Lumens 50w brightness
Offered by Strictly Lamps
Price: £5.39

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive output and relatively warm colour, 7 Feb. 2011
I bought two of these and have been running them in the kitchen for about a week. Have to say I'm impressed. Having bought two different types of LED bulbs in the past, these are definitely the best I've tried. The light output is impressive, on a par with a 50W halogen (it quite surprised me), and the colour balance is a nice warm white - less clinical than the others I'd bought.

I rarely get around to posting reviews on here, but having been steered towards these bulbs by other reviewers I thought I owed it to 'the system' to add my support. Remains to be seen what the bulb life is like but I shall definitely be buying more of these.


Kindness to Elaine
Kindness to Elaine
by Jan Hastings
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A very touching account of real life love, joy and pain, 28 April 2010
This review is from: Kindness to Elaine (Paperback)
Kindness to Elaine is the kind of novel that seems at the same time cruel and uplifting, happy and sad, unlikely and yet true to life. The story of a character that is forced to find her own way in life, from her early years through her prime years. Emotional in places, shocking at times but not written to shock. Minimal sexual content - Elaine's various loves are treated in more of a romance style, without the need for bedroom detail, and the book is all the better for it. Jan Hastings takes the time to develop the characters well and each seems believable. A lovely, lovely book and a story that will probably stay with you, and one you'll want to read again, if you're like me.


Page: 1