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Gadgeteer1066 (UK)

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LiteOn ETAU108-02 8x USB 2.0 Slim Top-Load External DVDRW - Black
LiteOn ETAU108-02 8x USB 2.0 Slim Top-Load External DVDRW - Black

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply works (and with a Mac), 14 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have an Apple Macbook Air, which is a great laptop, extremely thin and portable but does not have a built in CD/DVD drive. For the most part this has never been a problem, but every now and again, I missed the convenience of having an attached drive. Deciding to move a large stock of CDs onto iTunes spurred me on to buy one. Now, as much as I love Apple, there are occasions when it is frustrating to find your 'perfect' choice of accessory only works with Windows (I have just had this with a webcam).

However, I am pleased to report that this works just fine with my Mac. It is also massively cheaper than Apple's own product, which suffers from mixed reviews, particularly around its longevity.

The device is encased in a good quality plastic and seems sturdy enough for everyday use. It is small and slim and not too heavy. The cable connects into the laptop's USB port and is quite short. It is designed to sit snuggly up next to the laptop, which is where I like it but, if you want to use it another way, you would need to explore buying another cable.

I connected the drive via USB and slid the release button which is located on the drive's leading edge. The lid popped up and exposed the drive plate. I dropped in a music CD, located it onto the centre spindle until it clicked in place and closed the lid. It played just as expected. There was a little hum from the drive but it was not intrusive. Having copied the music, I pressed the 'stop' button which is located on the top of the drive, at the leading edge, above the release button. To be honest, I think the disk had already stopped and used the release button to open the lid. Getting the CD out was simply a case of lifting it off the central spindle. I tried loading some software on via the drive and again, it worked perfectly.

The big difference between this and some other drives is the way you access it. This works like an old style CD music player you carried around with you (remember them?) with a lid that pops open. Others have a little motor that detects the disk as you start to load it and then draws the disk in. Obviously this option requires more power and many need to use a couple of your USB ports, whereas this is just the one port. I like the fact that there is less to go wrong with this manual operation and its simplicity.

In summary, I like the price, I like that it works straight out the box, without the need to load any software (even on a Mac), I like that it only uses a single USB port and I like it its simplicity. It feels well made and robust. Any downsides? Not that I have noted, unless you want to locate this further away from your computer than the very short lead would allow.


Belkin In Car Tunecast 6 Universal FM Transmitter - Black
Belkin In Car Tunecast 6 Universal FM Transmitter - Black
Price: £21.99

43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to get music into the car and the car radio system, 24 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whilst an increasing number of cars are now featuring car audio systems that include one form of iPod or mp3 connectivity or another, neither of our cars currently have this. My wife has an iPhone 4 and she has the next model up in the Belkin range which has a dedicated Apple connector. This allows the phone to charge (via the cigarette socket) and also allows the phone to download radio information about the area you are in to aid finding unused airspace and also allows the phone to control some aspects of the radio. The Belkin works really well. In fact, it works so well, I decided to buy something similar for my car. I have my music on an iPad Nano, so don't have the ability to download or connect in the same way as an iPhone. When I checked out the range, I decided on this model. It doesn't have the Apple connector and so doesn't charge out of the box and connects to the iPod via the headphone socket. It is still powered and needs to plug into the cig lighter socket. The benefit here is that this connector has a USB slot built in, so if I am on an extended journey, I can use my ordinary iPod Apple charger cable with it. However, the iPod lasts for days and so is hasn't presented a problem. At the end of the day, this model still does the same job of getting the music from the music player out over the radio. It does it equally well. In essence, it finds an empty bit of the airwaves and transmits the music from your music player on this frequency. You simply tune the car radio to the same frequency and there you have it. Both have a number of settings that may make a difference in some circumstances. You can set it to mono, or you can boost the Bass etc. In summary, both these models work really well and I would recommend them both.


Brabantia Fall Front Bread Bin - White
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Bin - White
Price: £25.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Best ever, 24 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is huge. Most bread bins struggle to take much more than a loaf, whereas this holds a full size loaf, pack of bagels, muffins, all sorts. It is well made and I particularly like the magnetic catch along the top of the opening that keeps it closed. Simple and effective. If you are looking to store a range of breads, this is the one to go for.


New Car Dual Multiple Cigarette Socket Two Outlet 12 volt DC Adapter - From LEADS U NEED
New Car Dual Multiple Cigarette Socket Two Outlet 12 volt DC Adapter - From LEADS U NEED
Offered by Audiotrader
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and straightforward - and works, 24 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Using both my sat nav and running my iPod through my car radio means plugging in two plugs into one socket. TomTom do a solution, but it costs around £20. This works equally well for just a fraction of the price. It may not be as robust and well made as the £20 one (I don't know, because I haven't seen it) but it is good enough. Why pay more?


TV Choice - TV Themes
TV Choice - TV Themes
Price: £6.93

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor reworkings - avoid, 3 April 2011
This review is from: TV Choice - TV Themes (Audio CD)
If you remember the tunes, these will sound similar, but not the same. A cheap reworking by some session musicians. Don't bother!


Norton Internet Security 2011, 3 Computers, 1 Year Subscription (PC)
Norton Internet Security 2011, 3 Computers, 1 Year Subscription (PC)

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big improvement over Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, 18 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Reviewing this kind of product is difficult because you do your research and then take your pick. You cannot really compare the current year's products from other providers on a like-for-like basis because you only buy one. For example, up until December this year I used Kasperky's Internet Security 2010. I bought it based upon my favourable experience of the previous year's version. Before that I used Norton's product. I found that to be bloated and slow, with Kaspersky 2009 being a big improvement over Norton but I think I got it wrong in 2010; on reflection that turned out to be as bad as my old Norton product.

This year I read all of the magazine and online reviews and have gone for Norton Internet Security 2011. What I can say, comparing it to last year's Kaspersky is that it makes a huge difference to my netbook's performance. Everything runs faster, especially Internet Explorer and my Outlook. It works well on my desktop, but the difference is less noticeable because it is a far more powerful machine (but Internet Explore is still tangibly faster). I also think that Norton's user interface is more user friendly and intuitive (Kaspersky was a nightmare by comparison).

In summary, I am pleased with my choice. My machines run much faster and I have better control through Norton's interface.


Soul Identity
Soul Identity

148 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lightweight, fun read. I loved it!, 26 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Soul Identity (Kindle Edition)
I like complicated,hard sci-fi. I like complex, well written, serious thrillers.

This book is neither, but I loved it.

Actually, I take part of that back. I do think it is well written. I liked the characters, I liked the plot, I liked the ending. If I was to try and shoehorn it into a genre, I would compare it to television shows such as 'Warehouse 13' or 'A Town Called Eureka'.

It is a story that doesn't take itself too seriously, but captures your attention and keeps you reading right to the last page. There is humour in here. The idea behind the book, the idea that people's souls are reborn over and over again and that, whilst the current 'owner' has no recollection or access to what has gone before, they can be tied to their previous existences by a pattern in their eyes, similar to eternal fingerprints is original and a great basis for a novel (or two). However, don't try to make too much of that premise, just accept it and enjoy the journey. Again, comparing it to to those shows, if you try and rationalise them, compare them to real life, they are going to disappoint you. But both are excellent vehicles for carrying a plot.

I would not compare this to one of Terry Pratchett's novels, mainly because TP creates very vivid, complex worlds, which Batchelder doesn't set out to do, but the way TP makes nonsense seem plausible and how he spins it into an interesting, entertaining and fun read, I see that in this author and I very much look forward to this next book.

Actually, I am going to download it in a minute and then I am going to have to force myself to wait until the start of my holiday next week before I let myself read it.

If, as another contributor has said, Batchelder is a self published author who could not interest mainstream publishers, then shame on them. It also shows how good authors, people who can write and can capture a reader's attention, can use electronic publishing to make their mark. I am sure the success of this novel will open traditional publisher's doors to him. I suppose the question is, does he want to? Does he need to?

Remember, '... a little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men'. Take your serious hat off, put your feet up and just enjoy!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 14, 2010 3:26 PM GMT


Northworld Trilogy
Northworld Trilogy
by David Drake
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi blended with fantasy (with a base in Norse mythology), 19 Sept. 2010
I didn't have to buy this book; it is currently a free download from the publisher's website (Baen) and downloaded it to my Kindle. (Interesting to note that it is not available via Amazon and Kindle, despite already existing in the right format)

I had not read anything else by the author and so did not know quite what to expect. The first book opens on a futuristic, sci-fi world reminiscent of a future New York or Chicago, of criminal gangs and hard bitten detectives and SWAT teams. Then, suddenly, the protagonist is swept away to meet what I took to be representatives of the ruling body in charge of a vast society of human and non-human planets. Just as you are adjusting to this change of scene, you are whipped off to another world. This is the complex Northworld of the trilogy's title and, at first, it seems as though the reader has swapped a sci-fi book for tale of medieval knights or Norse warriors, with just a hint of sci-fantasy mixed in.

This view subsequently changed as more of the plot and the background became clear. (The idea behind the Matrix is both interesting and well used). However, because the book was free, I was nearly tempted to leave it somewhere between the bleak battlefield and the Norse styled banqueting halls, because I tend not to read much in the way of fantasy. However, something held my attention; there seemed to be more to the story than just medieval warriors fighting in technologically advanced suits of armour and drinking ale from wooden tankards. I am pleased I stuck with it; across the three books the story moves forward to a conclusion that, yes, does leave some earlier plot lines unresolved but, equally, satisfies and brings together all of the main elements. There remains enough material for another book but by no means is that a criticism.

Unlike other reviewers, I enjoyed the way the author used fairly short chapters to move between multiple strands of the plot. There are many references to the Matrix and how, as `gods', time/duration has no meaning, so it is apt that the author takes us between multiple parts of the plot simultaneously and for me, it enhanced the concept of the Matrix.

Whilst this was not a book `that I could not put down', it was a book that I read daily (sometimes more frequently) and surprised myself by enjoying it as much as I did.


Replacement Foam Earpads 10 PACK for Sennheiser MX 60 / MX 160 / MX 270 / MX 370 / MX 500 / MX 560 / MX 660 / MX 760 / MX 880 / MX 80 Sport II Also Compatible With Most Other Headphones (13mm Black)
Replacement Foam Earpads 10 PACK for Sennheiser MX 60 / MX 160 / MX 270 / MX 370 / MX 500 / MX 560 / MX 660 / MX 760 / MX 880 / MX 80 Sport II Also Compatible With Most Other Headphones (13mm Black)
Offered by Gadget Zoo
Price: £2.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Same quality as originals, 18 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What can you say about replacement earpads, other than they are far better than doing without. These are black, rather than the original grey, but they look fine. Qualitywise, they fit well, offer the same degree of cushioning and comfort as the originals and were inexpensive.


The Engines of God (Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins)
The Engines of God (Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins)
by Jack McDevitt
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First in a series, 12 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Engines of God is the first book in a series of six involving Priscilla 'Hutch' Hutchins as the main protagonist, albeit her role in the books changes over time, along with her career. I liked this, rather than having a hero and fixing them at a set point in time, she is able to develop and allows for other characters to come to the fore (and move on again afterwards). Having read all of them in a condensed period of time and in the right order, I can say that the Engines of God lays the foundation for what is to come in the later books in the series. That said,they are all totally stand-alone, but you do find out a little more along the way and the final book answers some of the bigger questions that might seem to have been left hanging in the earlier novels.

As it is the first book in a series, the author has taken the time to set out and populate his universe and I liked the detail which he consistently applied across the novels. It was not done in a repetitive way and avoided the almost 'copy and paste' set paragraphs that some writers fall into. Like all of his books, I think you can divide them into two halves. The first is 'scene setting', 'getting ready', 'dealing with things' and generally taking the reader on a journey up to the top of a 'big dipper' roller coaster. It can be a little slow for those who are eager to leap ahead. But, equally, it is detailed, well written and engaging. As the first half comes to an end and you drop off the edge, rushing to the story's conclusion, it all falls into place and is well paced and keeps you turning the pages.

Jack McDevitt is a very consistent writer and I believe that if you like one of his books, you will like them all. If you are going to read this series, I would suggest you try to keep them in sequence: The Engines of God (1994), Deepsix (2001), Chindi (2002), Omega (2003), Odyssey (2006), Cauldron (2007).


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