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Crystal Acoustics Blu-DAC-UK Bluetooth Receiver with optical out and NFC. Connect wirelessly your Bluetooth devices to your speakers or your amplifier
Crystal Acoustics Blu-DAC-UK Bluetooth Receiver with optical out and NFC. Connect wirelessly your Bluetooth devices to your speakers or your amplifier

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Performs well; clear & bright sounding audio coupled with a strong bluetooth reach, 7 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This Bluetooth DAC scored well in a recent What Hi-Fi comparison test, and that's why I selected and bought it.

I recently got the opportunity to test it against the QED uPlay Plus and was surprised to find how much better this unit is. This DAC sounded clearer and brighter than the uPlay unit. It is also much smaller, about one quarter of the physical size. And yet, it's Bluetooth reach is better than the uPlay unit.

We have streamed from tablets, phones and chromebooks so far and it has performed well with all of them :)

We've only used the analogue headphone socket output.

We did find that the NFC pairing option ("tap your phone on the NFC logo on the top") failed to work the one time we tried it - with an LG G2 phone, but to be honest as the DAC is in a cupboard it's simpler to scan and find it via a Bluetooth search anyway. Incidentally, we are able to find it downstairs when we search from upstairs.

Offered by FiltreoUK
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Used with an Abode Aquifier tap, and better than the manufacturer's original cartridge, 7 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As part of a recent kitchen refurb we had an Abode Aquifier filtered water selector installed (you use your normal kitchen tap, but when you want filtered drinking water you twist a knob alongside your tap to route the water flow via a filter). We were disappointed from day one, the filtered water was never as good as we used to get from our old Brita water filter jug. We tried severely restricting the flow through the filter, so that just a dribble of filtered water came out (slower flow/better filtration was suggested by the Abode instructions). We tried flushing for 20-30 seconds each time before actually taking water to make drinks. All to no avail. We wondered whether we might need Abode's high-resin for the hardest water areas filter (£50 each!).

Bought one of these, instantly fixed!
Great tasting tea again :)
No need to rinse/flush first.
No need to restrict the flow.
AND half the price of the original filter!
Happy with that - it now performs as we had hoped.

Offered by AudioVisual Online
Price: £74.95

2.0 out of 5 stars There's better out there for less money, 7 May 2014
This review is from: QED Uplay PLUS (Accessory)
Poor value compared to the Crystal Audio Bluetooth DAC for £60. That DAC sounds clearer and brighter, and even has a better bluetooth reach than this bigger, dearer unit. This unit's bluetooth breaks-up if I take my tablet to the corner of the same room, no such problems with the Crystal Audio unit tested from the same position.

The difference was clear and immediate when streaming music from Spotify via my tablet. However, I was really surprised to find that when I used BBC iPlayer and a talk radio programme the presenters sounded as if they were in the back of a cave - awful! Mine is going back.

I only tested via the analogue RCA outputs, as that was what I needed to use for input to my Systemline system.

What Hi-Fi recently reported similarly to my findings in a Bluetooth DAC test comparison. I thought that the differences might be fine and only revealed by their higher-end test set-ups, but I actually found the difference to be quite obvious.

Uniross Battery Tester
Uniross Battery Tester

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really a very useful battery tester ..., 31 Dec 2008
This review is from: Uniross Battery Tester (Accessory)
Batteries which are virtually flat, and certainly no use for your camera or any other device still tend to produce a result in the green area of the scale on this tester.

Once flat they then edge into the yellow part of the indicator scale.

Hence, battteries in the full range from fully charged to nearly flat tend to return a result somewhere within the green part of the scale - which is about 5mm wide. It's just not useful in helping you to assess which of your batteries are charged and which need charging.

I am now looking for something better to replace this tester ...

Logitech MX1000 Wireless Laser Mouse
Logitech MX1000 Wireless Laser Mouse
Offered by IsaacTronics
Price: £279.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A mouse that you can rely upon and work hard and long, 4 July 2008
We've all dabbled with wireless devices, and no doubt we've all experienced a few flops! I can remember buying cheap mouse & keyboard combinations from the Aldi supermarket for just £14.99 - novel on day one, but after experiencing poor battery life, and frequent dropped letters when typing, and erratic cursor movement, these cheap versions usually end up in the loft after just a few weeks.

I don't bother with wireless keyboards any more, nobody really sits in a bean bag 4 feet away from their monitor typing letters and emails! Keep your keyboard wired to your PC, and never drop another letter.

Then, just get yourself this mouse. I have bought many for colleagues over the last few years. All have been delighted with it.

It is very ergonomic and fits perfectly into my right hand grip, but also - if I want to rest my right hand, I can use it perfectly well with my left.

It has every button you could ever need; I feel lost nowadays when I encounter a mouse without a scroll wheel and back & forward buttons. The bezel around the scroll wheel can be rocked up & down to page up and down on screen, and the scroll wheel itself can be rocked left & right to move across the screen (ideal on broad web pages or wide spreadsheets). In the new Firefox 3 browser you can hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out to make everything on screen bigger or smaller - you can use this just as a temporary zoom, or if you want bigger fonts etc you can leave it set and Firefox will remember your preference - very handy for older users or people with vision problems, and so easy to adjust if you're sharing a PC.

Much has been written about the laser sensor, I would just say that it does all that I need it to do, and does it well - the cursor reliably goes where I point. I use whatever mouse mat has most recently been gifted to me.

The real winning point for this mouse over so many others available on the market is the battery life and recharging. It seems to me that there are still relatively few mice available with a wired charging pod/base where you can place it for recharging when not in use. Replacing AA batteries in the base of your mouse seems positively primitive to me now - it is never convenient, you always suffer for a period of time before you finally resolve that you must now change the batteries, and worst of all it's avoidable - pick the right product and it's a problem you don't need to deal with!!

I work my mouse hard and long, I spend far too many hours on the PC, and it gets relatively little chance to recover - when the PC goes off an energy saving auto-switch takes all the peripheral power off too. I guess that for 8-10 hours a day of work, this mouse is surviving on just 1-2 hours of charging.

The power indicator is very useful, it indicates three full green bars when fully charged, dropping to a single red bar as it becomes exhausted, but even then it'll keep working for an hour or more in the red.

It's a great tool, use it well and you'll actually become more efficient.

If you've tried the rest, I recommend you buy this - it seems to be the best!

Get to the Top on Google: Tips and Techniques to Get Your Site to the Top of Google and Stay There
Get to the Top on Google: Tips and Techniques to Get Your Site to the Top of Google and Stay There
by David Viney
Edition: Paperback

36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Magic Circle, 21 Jun 2008
Search Engine Optimisation has acquired a status which might be regarded similar to that of the magic circle:
It's secretive - only those in the circle really know the tricks
There's an element of magic - SEOs do things we don't understand
It's competitive - we all want to get to the top
It's closed - those within the circle do not disclose all the tricks
They even categorise their tricks as good and bad with the terms "white hat" and "black hat"

Well, in this excellent new book David Viney has let us all into the circle, and what we learn is that it's not magic!

However, I should like to follow that statement by immediately saying that it is plainly not easy either. Also, by the very nature of the fierce competition for the top spots, it will always be competitive, and you will always have to work at it.

What this particular magician sets out for us all here is a structure and a method which we might follow to improve our own success.

The author uses the analogy of cookery; there are ingredients, recipes to follow - and I would add, a great deal of time needed to be spent in the kitchen!!

You will be surprised to learn the breadth of things that you will need to do to be in with a competitive chance. The book covers the many factors that contribute to your ultimate success. I was surprised at just how many areas contribute to a site becoming successful, in 240 pages David Viney covers a lot of ground.

The title is so clever; Step 1 in David's plan focuses on finding the "phrases that pay", and sure enough, the title of his book is of course just one such example - nicely wraps-up in a phrase what the book is all about AND is what we are all searching for!

As other reviewers have written here, the book strikes an excellent balance in readability, suitable for reading and use by other professional SEOs and equally works very well for the novice.

The seven step procedure does categorise the areas of focus well, and does give a guide to chronology, but it's not his intention that you should remain in a step until you have done everything you possibly can, more that you need to do a wide number of things, and that over the longer period you will need to track back and forth through the steps and re-visit activities.

The book does a great job of illustrating the size of the market, the strength and importance of Google in that market, and the potential prizes available to the top of page one winners.

"Having your site in the top 10 is like having your store right on Main Street or near the entrance of the largest shopping mall in human history. Being outside the top 20 is like having a corner store on the very outskirts of town."

You should buy and read this book before building your website, probably even before naming you business. The tips within it on subjects such as targetting a niche, phrases that pay, finding and targeting keywords, domain names, hosting locations, etc. are all key considerations in the choices you should make in the very early days.

But there's no need to worry if you are already well into the life of your business and your website, there is plenty within this book for all to heed and follow.

I would strongly recommend the book to anybody interested in getting their website "to the top on Google", you will learn a great deal, and will be able to take action based upon the guidance within the book.

However, go into this exercise with the awareness that it is a long game. You may read the book in just a few hours, but you will need to work persistently at your website's optimisation continuously to reach the top and stay there .........The prizes are Great. It is fiercely competitive. The web is continuously evolving. Your competitors will read this book too.

This is probably the best book on this subject that you can buy.
Take the first step, buy and read the book.
Then keep it next to your computer, keep dipping into it, follow its recommendations.
Then, be prepared to buy an updated version or follow-up next year, with more and new recommendations for you to implement!

How To Make Big Money In Your Own Small Business: Unexpected Rules Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know
How To Make Big Money In Your Own Small Business: Unexpected Rules Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know
by Jeffrey J. Fox
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Punchy and positive, 19 Jun 2008
It's a small book of just 150 pages which won't waste any of your time, but will present you with some new ideas to consider.

Equally readable for someone considering starting their own business, or someone looking for some fresh ideas after many years in business.

The book takes the form of mini chapters, of just 3 or 4 pages each, focused on a single idea or issue. There are 49 chapters in all.

I'll list a few of the chapter titles to give you an idea of the coverage and the tone of the book:

There Is A Lot New Under The Sun
Sources Of New Business Ideas
Do What Comes Easy For You But Is Hard For Others
It's Okay To Pick Fleas Off A Dog
First: Have A Customer
The Small Business Owner, aka "The Rainmaker"
Selling Is Job 1
Hire A Salesperson First
Hire Ex-Paperboys
Pay Steak and Eat Hot Dogs
Have a Penny Saver
No Home Office!
Sell Money, Not Products
Always Take the Business
Get a Personal Driver
Never Run Out of Cash
The Business Owner Is Not The Boss
Never Let Anyone Outwork You
Strike Out Often
Stay Off Boards and Committees
Calculate the Size of Your Market
The Big Money

Just those titles should give a fair indication of what the book's about. Sound concepts, well grounded. No magic bullets!

Plenty of turned corners. A book I think I will re-visit many times in future years .....

Small Giants: Companies That Choose to be Great Instead of Big
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to be Great Instead of Big
by Bo Burlingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NB USA Small does not equal UK small, 10 Jun 2008
It's a great title, I finally got around to reading it ...

I guess everything is just bigger in the US. In the UK, when we use the term small business we are generally talking of companies with let's say less than 50 employees and probably less than £5M turnover. Some of these companies run to nearly 2,000 employees and $200M turnover!!

The fourteen companies discussed are:
Anchor Brewing
Clif Bar & Co
Hammerhead Productions
OC Tanner Co.
Reell Precision Manufacturing
Rhythm & Hues Studios
Righteous Babe Records
Selima Inc
The Goltz Group
Union Square Hospitality Group
WL Butler Construction Inc
Zingerman's Community of Businesses

There are only eight chapters in 215 pages, requiring fairly lengthy sittings:
1 - Free to Choose
2 - Who's in Charge Here?
3 - The Mona Lisa Principle
4 - Ties That Bind
5 - A Culture of Intimacy
6 - Galt's Gulch
7 - Pass It On
8 - The Art of Business
(plus; 5 pages of acknowledgement, 18 pages of intro, 6 pages of reflections, 4 recommending further reading)

On the whole the author discusses what makes these businesses remarkable. The premise is that they have each faced a choice and made a decision to choose to be great at what they do rather than to follow a fast growth option. I would not say that this moment of choice was obvious for all of the businesses.

The book dips in and out of the businesses fairly randomly i.e. you might expect a book of this type to dedicate a chapter to each business. The coverage of the businesses varies widely, some are mentioned a great deal and explored deeply, others are not mentioned very much.

Plainly, these businesses are successful and would be profitable. Some actually only break even because of the remarkable schemes that their owners operate to reward their staff and give back to their communities.

All of the businesses remain privately owned.

Some of the essences of their remarkable ethos are; hire nice people, treat them well, involve them intimately in the business, play a significant role in the local community, source locally, treat your suppliers well ......

In a UK setting I am not sure who would glean what from this book. If you are a small business boss who is committed to being good to his staff, then you may be inspired, and may pick up some further ideas - but frankly, in the current climate I cannot see many UK businesses having sufficient margins to be so 'giving'.

If you have the numbers to pull it off, then you will probably be a PLC, and then your shareholders are going to have a big say in what you do with their funds.

So, I guess there will only be a remarkable few private UK businesses with sufficient margins, and altruistic bosses, who are able to make comparisons with the companies studied in this book?

These will be the companies that make the 'Top 100 Best Places to Work' lists ...

It's probably not worthwhile reading for the entrepreneurial millions running UK small businesses.

Offered by rootsrecords
Price: £5.66

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The voice of an angel, 2 Jun 2008
This review is from: Megson (Audio CD)
Fabulously talented duet from Middlesborough, I believe that they are now based in London and working hard to get famous. Their talent deserves to be better known. I am sure that it will come in time.

We first heard them in Margate when they were backing Show of Hands.

Stuart is a wizard on the mandolin, and Debs really does sing like an angel - close your eyes and enjoy!

Only four tracks on this EP, but still my family argue over which is best; I like Grace Darling best, they like Smoke of Home.

All good, highly recommended.

Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert At The Royal Albert Hall (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert At The Royal Albert Hall (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Ball
Price: £9.20

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic spectacle, 2 Jun 2008
We have watched this so many times now!

We've shown it to grandparents, who reckoned it was one of the best nights in they have ever had.

My teenage son has ripped it to his video Ipod!

I would recommend that you watch it with the subtitles on, to ensure that you don't miss a word.

Incredible characters, performers, vocal range and talent.

Also, for the additional audio enjoyment of this DVD alone, bolt some cinema surrond speakers onto that flat screen telly - it's awesome family entertainment.

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