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Robin
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Why We Can't Afford the Rich
Why We Can't Afford the Rich
by Andrew Sayer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Capitalism for the poor, socialism for the rich or put another way: greed has no upper limit, 10 Feb. 2016
A thought provoking stroll through the world of the rich (and that includes companies, too) and how they manage to keep and increase their share of the pot. The only rich not here are lottery winners, they gain by chance, something that the wealthy are skilled at avoiding. It's a long read and I thought it could do with some serious editing, least in parts One and Two. Parts Three to Five about the actual mechanics of wealth creation and manipulation of society to create more for the few really came alive for me.

Throughout the book Sayer demolishes the usual arguments for the status quo, for example the trickle-down theory where Nick Hanauer (TED speaker) on hiring more workers 'is a course of last resort for the capitalist'. The pages on tax havens I found quite fascinating, no surprise that the City of London is one of the biggest.

Sayer spells it all out and nicely in chapter twenty-two gives some very reasonable suggestions about what can be done about the world wealth imbalance though all the previous pages suggest that vested interests will hardly relinquish their easy gains without a fight.


New York Through the Lens
New York Through the Lens
by Vivienne Gucwa
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

3.0 out of 5 stars How to shoot a city, 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Vivienne Gucwa says in the book's introduction that with no formal training she started photographing the city in 2009. Using an ordinary point-and-shoot camera while wandering the streets (just like Vivian Maier) and she has come with some stunning images.

The four chapters: Street narratives; Skylines; Seasons; History, have a bit of everything. Street narratives has some wonderful snow shots mostly taken at night, some more appear in Seasons with several taken in Central Park during the day and they look equally beautiful. The same chapter has several remarkable rustic shots of the Park with reds, yellows and orange of trees during the Fall.

Skylines delivers the predictable cityscape images with vibrant sunsets and silhouettes of tall buildings, the best images here are those in mono. One taken underneath the Queensboro Bridge (page 129) is magnificent.

It's unfortunate that the book, stuffed with probably over two hundred photos, can't really make up its mind what it's delivering. Ilex, the British publisher of how-to and technical books about photography regards Gucwa's photos as more exercises in shooting a city and presented as rather bland layouts in a square book. I think so many of these images, after some serious editing, are good enough to present in a large art photo book, one to a page with generous margins and printed on a good matt art paper.

Maybe Ms Gucwa's New York photos will shine from some future title. I'll certainly buy a copy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 8, 2016 10:24 AM GMT


Farewell Luggage Tags (2 Pack) - ULTRA DURABLE PVC Travel Tag for Suitcases - Bright Baggage Labels with Thick Steel Cable (Blue)
Farewell Luggage Tags (2 Pack) - ULTRA DURABLE PVC Travel Tag for Suitcases - Bright Baggage Labels with Thick Steel Cable (Blue)
Offered by Farewell Travel Accessories
Price: £11.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Make your luggage stand out in a crowd, 7 Feb. 2016
A clever and neat solution to luggage identification. It's the steel cable, metal eyelet and the thick (but bendable) rubber label shape that makes this product almost indestructible. Where this loses a star is not solving the actual identification part. Five white rubber strips can be written on but not erased to update any details though maybe not too much of a problem because these labels are so distinctive in shape and colour that you'll soon spot your luggage coming round the airport carousel or from the pile in a hotel's reception.

Another company, Sodial, has actually solved the identification aspect with a coloured plastic sleeve that has a clear window strip. Inside the sleeve is a card for your details but only your name is visible through the window. The card is held in place with the same steel cable and locking devise but as it's plastic it can break unlike the Farewell with its bendable shape.

Even if you don't write anything on the white strips these Farewell labels will get you to your luggage easily... and they should last and last.


Archeer 4 Pole Jack Plug to 3.5mm 4 Pole Jack Plug Cable 1.2m Male To Male Aux Auxiliary Audio Speaker Extension Cord For iPhone 6 iPod iPhone 5S 4S Mp3 Laptop PC HiFi HDTV
Archeer 4 Pole Jack Plug to 3.5mm 4 Pole Jack Plug Cable 1.2m Male To Male Aux Auxiliary Audio Speaker Extension Cord For iPhone 6 iPod iPhone 5S 4S Mp3 Laptop PC HiFi HDTV
Offered by Doeracil
Price: £26.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty sound connector, 7 Feb. 2016
What can one say about a connector cable...actually not too much and if you've bought pc and audio equipment you'll probably have at least one of these male to male cables (and probably a lot more male to USB ends).

This Archeer cable is as good as any other, actually maybe slightly better as this one has it's brand name acid etched on the silver casing at each end (gives the company a bit more credibilty in my view) the build quality seems fine for long usage and I like the 1.2 meter length oh yes, it works perfectly, too.


Noontec Hammo S Over Ear Headphone - Red
Noontec Hammo S Over Ear Headphone - Red
Price: £90.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Long on sound quality but short on cable, 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found this headset very comfortable to wear because of the quite soft earpads and using them recentlu for more than a couple of hours a day sometimes I'm not aware that I have them on. Very comparable to my favourites, the Sennheiser HD280 which I've been using for years (though on my second set of earpads, they always wear out first). These Hammo deliver a good sound but with a rather enhanced bass that is typical of contempoary audio equipment, this tends to overlap some of the treble. Easily corrected if you have access to an equaliser.

They come in a decorative egg shaped plastic box with a zip all round and a clip to hang them from your belt. Inside the headset is folded up and a cloth bag has two flat-sided cables, both around four feet long. Unfortunately these are not really long enough except for use with a nearby laptop, tablet or mobile, so four stars. The Sennheiser has a thick curly cable that stretches to over seven feet allowing me to listen to TV or an audio system not nearby. Were two cables supplied to be joined together with a female coupling to get round this?

Noontec is an Australian audio company (with their products made in China) that sells headphones at various price points, these Hammo ones are part of their quality line and I'm very pleased with the sound they deliver. A comment about the User Manual, it's a small sixteen page concertina fold-out with a language a page with the English is in tiny type. Whu is it that Chinese electronic products always come with unreadable instructions and tech specs?


Summer Days Staten Island
Summer Days Staten Island
by Christine Osinskis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The quiet life, 6 Feb. 2016
In an interview at the back of the book Christine Osinski says she took these photos in the summers of 1983 and 1984 as a way of familiarising herself about Staten Island where she had moved to, from Manhattan, in 1982. Though part of New York she had always regarded SI as a rather isolated where the residents (Italians are the largest group) relaxed in their own utopia (of course, more than thirty years later the landscape has dramatically changed).

The fifty-one photos are a mix of community life, kids playing, street scenes and people, usually looking at her camera. There is not a suggestion that the busy streets of Manhattan are a mere ferry ride away. The photos seemed to project a gentle quietness as I turned the pages.

The landscape format works well with a photo a page and I thought the sequencing was particularly good. Christine Osinski's pictures deliver an interesting slice of suburban life from a few years ago.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 7, 2016 4:11 AM GMT


Railroaders: Jack Delano's Homefront Photography
Railroaders: Jack Delano's Homefront Photography
by John Gruber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £41.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Photos on the right track, 1 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Jack Delano took more railroad photos than any other FSA/OWI photographer. The work in this interesting book was from a long assignment in the Chicago area from November 1942 through February 1943. More work followed in April and May when he travelled on the Santa Fe freights from Chicago to San Bernardino (over two hundred from that journey are featured in 'The iron horse at war' by James Vale). Just under half of his rail photos (2,500 mono and 250 color) are from Chicago.

John Gruber, the editor of 'The railroaders', found an ideal way of connecting Delano's photos from over seventy years ago to contemporary times by finding the decendents of the workers in the original pictures and photographing them, intriguingly by Delano's son Pablo. I think this idea has only been done once before with Bill Ganzel's 'Dust Bowl decent' published in 1984. His photo essay book took the original FSA work and he found the same locations and people to photograph in the seventies. This included Florence Thompson the Migrant mother from Dorothea Lange's famous 1936 photo and Darrel Coble the little boy in Arthur Rothstein's Dust storm in Cimarron County.

The strength of Delano's photos in the book are the semi-portraits of railroad folk. Rather than just have shots of freight and military transports out on the main how much better to show the men and women of this industry in their work environment all pulling together in wartime. The photos must have been reproduced extensively across the country in papers and magazines (they were free to print media). Chicago, as the center of railroad activity had it all as the Contents reveal: On the trains; At the station; Around the yards.

Throughout the pages the text provides plenty of detail about how the industry worked in wartime and what the forty-nine featured railroaders jobs involved but there is also extensive coverage of their domestic life. While some of this away from the job copy is interesting so much of it is very typical of the average worker's life whether they were making tanks, planes or ships but each industry has specific work practices and in the case of railroads it's this description I found much more informative than a typical worker's home life.

'Railroaders' is a fascinating look back to a tough time illustrated with powerful images and some of Pablo Delano's photos of the descendants have an extra bit of magic too, because it shows them proudly holding a copy of a photo taken by his father.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2016 1:17 PM GMT


Store Front 2 The Disappearing Face of New York
Store Front 2 The Disappearing Face of New York
by Karla L. Murray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £35.75

5.0 out of 5 stars The local store...almost gone, 30 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Murray's return with huge, wonderful second helping of Big Apple store fronts (actually this is the third book, the second was 'New York Nights', featuring the stores after dark) and like the first book so many of these will have stopped trading, usually because of rising yearly rents. The book's format repeats the elegant presentation of the first one: the five boroughs are divided into their districts and each starts with a map and essay about the area; the store front photos are one to a page (sometimes a spread) and a location caption; many have a brief history of the premises and interviews with the owners. I thought it's these comments that make the photos come alive with references to neighbourhoods and trading over the decades.

The only way to photo these stores was straight on because they are full of detail and colour, mostly because the lettering, window displays and frontage are so amateurish and frequently in need of a make over. What does the shabby front of the many meat markets here say about products they sell inside? Using a creative window display to pull in the customers is mostly absent from the mom and pop store world.

Like the first book this one is well printed on a matt stock using a 175 screen, the back pages Index lists all the stores. There is a little bit of design whimsy where a 0 is used with all the page number: 01 to 0343. As these stores are slowly disappearing you can spend a pleasant hour or so using the caption address to find the buildings (or their replacements) on Street View. I did this and found that there are still plenty of stores for the Murray's to photograph for Store Front III.
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iRULU 7",7.7",7.9",8" PU Leather Micro USB Keyboard Case With Buttons Stand Cover for Tablet (Black)
iRULU 7",7.7",7.9",8" PU Leather Micro USB Keyboard Case With Buttons Stand Cover for Tablet (Black)
Offered by iRULU-UK
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Just in case you need a keyboard, 28 Jan. 2016
I soon got tired of using my fingers and then a rubber tipped stylus with the on-screen keyboard on my tablet (and that applies to a mobile as well) it's a real turn off to get anything done onscreen except for the most basic command stuff like inputting a website URL. This Irulu case/keyboard solved these frustrations and it really is a plug and play product too.

Four plastic corner pieces hold my eight inch tablet securely in the case (it's designed for smaller tablets as well) and the mini USB cable from the keyboard plugs into the side of the tablet. I'm pleased that it's not Bluetooth operated, a vastly overrated bit of technology in my opinion. The keyboard obviously is more or less flat and measures 20.5 by 8cm with individual keys easily big enough to use efficiently. A minor point, the second function for some of the non-letter keys use red or blue type to indicate what they do, the red in particular isn't too visible unless you are near a light source and it would have been useful if Irulu included a printed sheet, keyboard size, to tell users what some of the keys do. Bottom line, third from the left has red ZZZ on mine, it pulls up the tiles for Windows 10 if you've switched that off and just have a desktop image (some Irulu tablets use Android OP so I don't know what the ZZZ does on those)

The case is pretty basic and functional but it'll easily protect your tablet. It's worth repeating one of the product details: make sure your tablet supports the OTG facility that comes with this keyboard, I've got a Samsung Galaxy Tab4 and it doesn't work with that.

For the price this is an obvious must-have case/keyboard.
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Victoria Sambunaris - Taxonomy of a Landscape
Victoria Sambunaris - Taxonomy of a Landscape
by Barry Lopez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £46.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Small man, large landscape, 27 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Look through the sixty-five, mostly landscape, photos here and you could get the impression that so much of the land hasn't been touched by man, least in the mid-west and west. Sambunaris has managed to show huge, wonderful panoramas of countryside and if you look carefully you'll spot some human activity: highways; trucks; railroads (several) mining; pipelines; crop circles and more but the human side of things in so many of these images seems quite insignificant.

There's a shot of the Bingham Copper Mine, one of the deepest open-pit mines anywhere (three miles across and well over half a mile deep) with the mining equipment hardly visible. Actually if you look at an aerial shot of the mine it looks a lot smaller in area than the nearby Utah Lake. Many of her photos are taken from a vantage point looking down on a rather barren landscape, either with a mountain range in the far distance but maybe basically flatland stretching to the ranges. Mixed in with these extremely long shots are several, almost close-ups, of shipping containers or freight cars. a rather odd mix you might think but that's what makes the book rather fascinating.

The folks at Radius Books like to go the extra mile for their book buyers and this title is a good example of this. The photos are one to a page with generous margins, printed with a 175 screen on a reasonable matt art paper. Inside the back cover is a pocket with three extras: a twelve page essay by Barry Lopez; a five page concertina fold-out with 125 thumbnails of photos Sambunaris took on her travels showing a lot more human activity than the images in the book; a large sixty-six page book, with photos of ephemera she has collected over the years, like rocks, books, journals.

'Taxonomy of a landscape' delivers an impressive photographic package into your hands.
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