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The Band
The Band
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Innocence, Menace And Redemption, 14 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Band (Kindle Edition)
This deceptively simple story touches on complex themes. Like a modern fairy tale there is love, friendship, loss, humour, and more than a hint of menace provided by the mysticism that has always surrounded the Jazz scene. The main character is presented as a creature of habit, a precision instrument of clockwork regularity, constrained by the agenda he has created and which he compels himself to follow. His freedom comes at a cost, not only for himself but also for those he finally connects with as he steps out of his world of order. A great start from a new author.

Nokia WH-205 3.5 Intra
Nokia WH-205 3.5 Intra

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nokia WH-205 - The inexpensive way to go wired hands-free, 1 May 2011
I was after a quick, cheap replacement for my Nokia E-75 wired phones and these fitted the bill. Here's what I think you'd find useful to know if you are doing the same.

I have owned two pairs of these and they seem to last around six months before beginning to fail. In both instances it was the right ear-phone that stopped working first. Not an issue if you are using them to make and receive calls as you can just "go mono", but is obviously a consideration if you intend to listen to music while you work.

In terms of sound quality, they are quite poor, but not awful. That's when compared to other headsets I have owned which, to be fair, were a lot more expensive to buy. I quickly became used to the sound quality though, particularly as they are quite good at isolating outside noises.

The headphones come with three different sizes of ear-buds which are simple to change. Once they are on the headphones they are fairly robustly held in place, but I have had the odd occaision when I've taken them out of my pocket to discover that one of the buds is missing (and there's no carrying pouch provided, so you have to provide your own or just bundle them in your pocket). I found the buds to be comfortable to wear, surprisingly so.

The only issue (and please remember just how cheap this headset is) is that people do seem to find it hard to hear me unless I am careful to position the microphone (which is attached to a tie-clip style fastening) close to my mouth. When it is close though it seems to do a good job of being clear. As you might expect, it is absolutely no-use outside - the slightest amount of wind noise makes it impossible for those on the other end of your telephone call to hear you. Because they are good at isolating environmental sound, you won't know that it's too windy and will hear their complaints with great clarity!

The phones themselves have the ability to start and end calls from the tie-clip microphone section, and that has always worked well.

It's hard to be too judgemental given the incredibly low price that this head-set can be purchased for, but do be aware that I've found that they do seem to have a short life-span and it will be difficult if you are using them make calls out on the street and there is any wind whatsoever. Other than that, a good, basic, headset.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2011 1:06 PM BST

Microsoft Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade, Home Premium to Ultimate (Licence only)
Microsoft Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade, Home Premium to Ultimate (Licence only)

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Windows Anytime Upgrade - Windows 7 Ultimate, 1 May 2011
I somehow managed to miss the advertising that this upgrade path existed, so when I saw the "Licence Only" product offered on Amazon I wasn't sure what it was or whether I could use it. However, I completed the upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate using this method on my Dell XPS laptop and it is working perfectly. Here's what I think it would be helpful for you to know if, like me, you are feeling unsure.

It seems that many versions of Windows 7 (and mine was pre-installed by Dell on my laptop in the factory) come with all of the versions of Windows already loaded. These can be "activated" by paying the right fee and entering the right code. To find out whether you can use this upgrade path you simply:

1. Click on the Windows "Start" menu
2. Type "Windows Anytime Upgrade" in the "Search programs & files" box
3. Select "Windows Anytime Upgrade" if you have it

I believe that if you are not able to upgrade using this path (which could also be because you are already using the highest version of Windows 7) then it will not appear in the search. One thing I also discovered is that the same "licence key only" upgrade path exists for MS Office too (search for "Office Anytime Upgrade.")

Once you select Windows Anytime Upgrade from the search results it will explain to you what it is, what your particular upgrade path is, what are the benefits and, if you are feeling flush, you can click right through to buying the upgrade licence through the MS on-line shop. Of course, I found that it was a lot cheaper to do this (nearly half the price) via the Amazon website.

I ordered the upgrade key from Amazon and it arrived in a similar container to the usual MS software, but instead of a disc there was a cardboard inset that contained the product key for my upgrade. Instrucitons come in the box that explain how to upgrade - here they are:

1. Back up your files and programs
2. Click the Windows START button
3. In the search box, type "Windows Anytime Upgrade" and choose the result (which should say "Windows Anytime Upgrade"
4. Click on the box that says "Enter upgrade key"
5. Enter the product key that came in the box when prompted
6. Follow the instructions that the upgrade program ask you to complete

It took about six minutes to complete the upgrade and, although I did back-up my files, after it re-booted and the Windows 7 Ultimate splashscreen appeared, everything was exactly it had been before (desktop, passwords, favouites, programs etc) but I was now running on a full feature Windows 7 Ultimate platform. I honestly could not have been easier.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2012 12:33 PM GMT

Philips GoGear MP4 player SA2MUS32S/02 Muse 32GB - Silver
Philips GoGear MP4 player SA2MUS32S/02 Muse 32GB - Silver

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An MP4 Player That Works, 29 Nov. 2010
I bought this player a few weeks ago and have been impressed, why? If, like me, you don't like being tied to a particular download site then the GoGear makes it easy to manage your music and video, you literally drag and drop. It's one of the quickest devices I've ever had when it comes to syncing too.

I've transferred home recorded videos, BBC iPlayer programmes (on the "For Windows Media Player" and "For Portable Device" setting - both work well) as the MWV versions of Blu-Ray "Triple Play" films. All transfer quickly and, amazingly, without error or mis-hap. One useful feature of the player is the ability (after purchasing an optional mini-HDMI to HDMI cable) to watch video up to 720p resolution on your screen. This works well (just remember to save with the right resolution in the first place), and one neat little feature is that, as soon as you press "Play" on the unit and the image appears on the Television, the screen on the Muse itself becomes a touch-screen remote control. This works well, and if Philips are sharp, some future firmware versions add some additional functionality too. The Muse screen is bright and clear with a good wide viewing angle.

The Music and Photo Viewer side of things have the usual features, including the obligatory "slide of the finger" feature on the touch-screen to leaf through album covers. I've never found this a useful way to find music, but there you go, you can't please everyone. I don't think the default way the library is organised is particularly effective, but there are a range of options for customising browsing and I found a good compromise for my needs - not hugely sophisticated though, which is a pity. However, if you are an Audible subscriber, like me, then you'll be pleased that the device is able to sync and play with your library in the highest quality codecs too. That's been really useful and, yes, it's quick to sync.

Finally, you can listen to FM radio (which has an effective tuner and user interface - really good quality while walking around town in my local area), and the ability to record from the radio any programmes you are listening to (and the facility to make voice memos etc) that you can listen to later or transfer to your PC collection.

Stylish, light, robustly well built
Great sound (including pseudo-surround for movies and a sound restorer option (FullSound) for audio files)
Great screen and resolution, and can output video (up to 720p) via an optional mini-HDMI to HDMI cable
Effective touchscreen (only the odd wait for a reaction - nothing annoying)
Loads of capacity and expandable memory with a micro-USB port
Easy and quick to transfer data, music and video
Great compatibility (haven't found anything so far that it won't play)

No in-built speaker
In-built Songbird library management software is not a step forward from simply using WMP (although set-up is easy as it's pre-loaded to install on the player when connected to a USB port on your PC)
Odd little "Text" feature that I can't make head-nor-tail of - nothing illuminating in the User Manual either
Does not come with a protective case of any kind - it's well built, but not invincible!

If you shop around you can get some good deals too, so if you're in the market for a great little versitile player then take at look at this Philips.

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