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S. Peacock "Stuart" (Coggeshall, UK)

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Prometheus (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]
Prometheus (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace
Offered by wantitcheaper
Price: 6.41

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly good film except for the plot, 31 Dec 2012
The trouble with this film is that the plot has great gaping holes in it, which would be tolerable in some films, but which just irritate here.

When I watch a Star Wars or Indiana Jones film for example, I know it's not serious, I know most of it is ridiculous, I know the science doesn't work; but there's that suspension of belief, empathy with the characters, visual spectacle and humour that allows me to enjoy it despite this. The trouble with Prometheus is that while the visual spectacle is particularly good, that's it, there's nothing else. This leads you to start picking holes in the plot, which becomes a game of spiralling disappointment once you start to spot how riddled with holes the plot is and with nothing other than the visuals to distract you from this.

For example:
They embark on a trillion dollar mission to discover the origins of life on Earth and the only scientists on board are a biologist a geologist and two archaeologists, in fact the total crew is 17 people on a spaceship large enough to accomodate hundreds. Where are the other scientists, medics etc?

The crew arrive and have never met one another, they have apparently had no training, no familiarisation with each other, the ship, its systems, anything. Some of the crew are barely capable of communicating with the other members and some appear to have some fairly serious mental health problems. It appears that the rigorous screening process used in the real world to select astronauts from the dawn of the space age has been abandoned in favour of some kind of random selection process that encourages those that are neither mentally nor physically fit to embark on such a venture.

There is no leadership structure or safety protocol, with each person able to behave as wrecklessly as they wish and endanger their own lives as well as those of their crewmates. People remove their spacesuits and prod around an alien world occupied by strange creatures and oozing pods with less care than an earthbound scientist might handle a petri dish of bacteria. The biologist doesn't seem able to recognise the most obvious behavioural signs of threat/attack when he finds an alien creature and continues to poke his face towards something that looks remarkably similar to a cobra that is about to strike.

The spaceship doors are opened to anyone who comes knocking, without first checking to see who it might be.

An alien head and one of the oozing pods are brought back to the ship in what look like carpet bags, with no quarantine, no isolation, nothing and the head is then prodded, poked and reanimated by a couple of scientists wearing nothing more than surgical masks.

These are just a few of the things that spring to mind that annoyed me, I'm sure a second watch would reveal a whole load more, but I won't be watching this a second time. I can tolerate the pseudo-mystical premise of the film that seems to be inspired by the ramblings of Erich Von-Daniken, I could have overlooked some holes in the plot and dodgy sci-fi science had the film been entertaining, but it wasn't, it was 2 hours of frustration at watching a film that could have been a lot better.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 31, 2012 7:19 PM GMT

TomTom Rider v2 Car Kit & Car Charger
TomTom Rider v2 Car Kit & Car Charger
Price: 48.93

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does the job fine, but poorly made, 1 July 2011
Works perfectly well and does what it's supposed to, but I'm about to order my third one in 3 years. Both the previous two have broken, both rather annoyingly, just outside the 1 year warranty period.

The plastic post that attaches the suction cup to the other bit of the bracket snaps in two, it's not ham-fistedness as on both occasions it just broke when in use rather than when being adjusted and I always slacken the grip mechamism before adjusting, so I'm not forcing it.

I suspect the plastic stick is just not strong enough to handle regular use.

I hate having to buy a third one of these things, but TomTom flatly refused to replace it despite the fact that it was the second one that had broken, so what else am I to do.

When the Rider eventually packs up, I won't buy another TomTom device, simply because of this issue.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2014 4:27 PM GMT

Samsung UE22C4000 22-inch Widescreen HD Ready 50Hz Slim LED TV with Freeview
Samsung UE22C4000 22-inch Widescreen HD Ready 50Hz Slim LED TV with Freeview

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars picture excellent, sound fine and media player superb, 22 Dec 2010
This is a great small TV.

It's very thin and light, which was a key feature for me as I wanted to mount it fairly high on a wall bracket and fold it flat into an alcove when not in use, it's ideal for this and with the right bracket protrudes only about 9cm from the wall.

The picture is excellent after you do some tweaking. Straight out of the box it looks terrible, the contrast is way too high as is colour saturation, making people all look like Judith Chalmers or David Dickinson - bright orange. However, the range of adjustments available is comprehensive and with some fiddling you can get an excellent picture out of it. I don't hold the terrible default against Samsung, every new TV I've seen in recent years seems to be the same so I can only assume this is what customers generally demand.

I read a few of the reviews before buying and was a little worried that the sound level might be inadequate as my partner is a little deaf. All I can say is that the people who have complained about it being too quiet have either got a faulty TV or poor hearing. The volume control ranges from 1 to 100. I can hear it adequately at level 2, level 12 is very comfortable listening for me with other background noise, while my partner needs it up at level 18. 25 is loud, 50 is very loud, 100 is so loud and distorted that you have to shout to make yourself heard over the TV. The sound quality isn't fantastic but then this is a small TV, not a home theatre set-up. If you want better or louder sound there are audio outputs including an optical one, so you can always plug it into an external amp.

The best feature though is the media player. Plug in a memory stick or external hard disk loaded with video files and it'll play them. I've yet to find something it can't play - AVI encoded with various versions of XVid or DivX, MPEG1 MPEG2, Matroska, MP3 audio, AC3 audio, MP2 audio, I've thrown all sorts at it and so far it has dealt with them with aplomb. I'm sure I'll come across something it can't handle sooner or later but it's better than anything else I've come across.

Overall it may seem a little expensive for a small TV, but it's worth the extra for the media player. If this isn't important to you then there are probably other sets just as good but cheaper, if the media player is a feature you want then I think you'll be pleased with this.

Netgear Range Max Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router
Netgear Range Max Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router
Offered by Kikatek
Price: 88.95

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly perfect, 10 Aug 2010
In summary.

1. Big internet upload/download speed improvement over my old 3Com combo modem/router/switch
2. Improved reliability over my old 3Com - fewer timeouts and dropped VPN connections
3. Big speed improvement in wireless performance between 802.11n and 802.11g
4. VPN passthrough support less tolerant than old 3Com (also a con, see below)

1. Requirement for an external ethernet modem (a nuisance and cost but not a big deal)
2. VPN passthrough support less tolerant than old 3Com - took several days of trouble-shooting which eventually required a Cisco VPN client upgrade - not the router's fault, but a pain
3. 5GHz 802.11n wireless range very limited (to be expected)
4. 2.4GHz 802.11n wireless range more limted than 802.11g (to be expected, but more limited than I expected)
5. Harder to see DSL connection status, faults, diagnostics when using an external modem makes fault finding trickier
6. (getting very picky now) Can light up a room with its array of very bright LEDs

Bottom line:
Excellent, dearer than basic products but works well. Not for the novice.

In detail.

I bought this as a replacement for a 4 year old 3Com 802.11G DSL modem/router/hub. I wanted dual band wireless N (with both bands simultaneously active - look carefully, many other products don't do this, the giveaway is normally the price, if it's much less than 100 it probably isn't simultaneous), but also wanted gbit wired ports too.

Having shopped around a bit I settled on this as being the nearest to my requirements. To move closer to perfection it would have had to have had a built in DSL modem, but in all my searching I couldn't find a simultaneous dual-band wireless N device with gbit ports and a built in DSL modem, there is just about every other permutation of the various technologies, but as of now, no-one (I looked at Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, Vigor and a few other more obscure brands) seems to combine all three.

The above is an important point. For those who haven't read or don't understand the specs of this device, you cannot connect it directly to a BT (or other provider) ADSL (broadband) connection. You need a separate ethernet modem. Other reviewers have marked this router down because of this point, but it's perfectly clear from the spec and if you don't understand this or what you need to use to overcome this, then it's probably not the product for you. Because of the lack of a built in modem I've combined mine with a separate Ethernet Modem (I've used a Vigor V120, but I'm sure Netgear's own product would do the job just as well).

I had a big problem getting my company's VPN client to work through this and was about to return the router as a result. However, some extensive testing revealed the problem to be with the ancient version of the Cisco VPN client I was using, not with the router. A VPN client upgrade fixed my problem and it's been solid as a rock since. The dificulty here is that the router provides very little diagnostic and logging detail and combined with the need to use an external modem, makes diagnostics rather tricky. Don't let this put you off though.

The 802.11n range on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz signals is more limited than the range of my old 802.11g device, but this is to be expected. It is quite a bit more limited than I had expected though. My old 802.11g device could happily deliver a reliable (though poor) signal through two thick walls across a range of about 30M. The 5GHz signal barely makes it through a single wall and only about 30M with no obstruction at all. The 2.4GHz signal can penetrate the walls but won't reach as far as the old 802.11g device did. However, it is running at higher data rates, so I'm not surprised by this and the beauty of having simultaneous 2.4GHz & 5GHz signals is that it doesn't matter if the range of the 5GHz signal is short because you can still pick up the 2.4GHz.

If you're connecting this to a DSL broadband connection, this is not one for the novice. You'll need to know what you've bought, what else you need to make it work and how to configure it. It's not complicated, but does require a small amount of knowledge or (heaven forbid) reading the manual.

Overall I'm really pleased. My Internet speeds and reliability have improved and the wireless performance is far better. Getting to the bottom of my VPN issues was a pain, but this isn't really the router's fault, it just didn't give me a lot of information to help in diagnosing the problem. Would definitely recommend.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2013 9:03 AM BST

A Guide to British Garden Birds (BBC Audio)
A Guide to British Garden Birds (BBC Audio)
by Stephen, Dr Moss
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 3.24

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable, 17 May 2010
I really like this.

Some reviewers have complained about the couple of fellas wittering on and said they would have preferred to just hear the birdsong without the commentary, but I think the commentary adds a lot. Without it, listening to this would be quite hard work, whereas I find this a real pleasure and can listen to it over and over again (you have to if you want to memorise the songs).

If you're a hardcore birdwatcher who wants a detailed reference, this will disappoint, but if like me you just want to know what is making the racket in your garden, this is lovely.

StarTech 3.5in Silver eSATA USB Dual SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure w/ RAID - Hard drive array - 2 bays ( SATA-300 ) - Hi-Speed USB, Serial ATA-300 (external)*
StarTech 3.5in Silver eSATA USB Dual SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure w/ RAID - Hard drive array - 2 bays ( SATA-300 ) - Hi-Speed USB, Serial ATA-300 (external)*

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but beware the manual, 4 May 2010
This is a great little 2 disk external hard disk caddy. Very solidly built, good features, works well and quiet as a mouse (with the fan off), but the manual is a bit lacking. If you're the take it out of the box, plug it in and away we go type, then I'm afraid you might struggle (though I don't believe any box of this nature will be entirely plug and play if you want the best from it).

I've got mine configure with two SSD disks configured as a RAID 0 stripe and it's very fast over eSATA, with sustained write speeds of 200-300MB/s

1. Very solid
2. Silent(with the fan off, have not needed to turn the fan on though)
3. Fast over eSATA
4. Good RAID features

1. Manual, not clear and has misprints (look at the PCB for dip switch settings, not the manual)
2. Blue LED is bright enough to illuminate a room, fine for me in an office environment, but anyone planning to put it in their bedroom will need to turn it off at the switch every night.

Overall excellent, only misses out on 5 stars because of the documentation

Under Milk Wood (2003 Production) (BBC Audio)
Under Milk Wood (2003 Production) (BBC Audio)
by Dylan Thomas
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 13.10

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More is less, 20 April 2010
I debated whether this should rank 2 or 3 stars and in the end settled on 2. Some may be puzzled how I could possibly rate the Richard Burton recording of Under Milk Wood as only 2 stars? The honest answer is that I don't, I rate it 5 stars, it's this recording/remix that I think deserves only 2.

The original version was beautiful (I've only ever heard the 1963 version though many say that the 1954 version was better so I've just bought it for myself to find out). I've listened to it so many times I've lost count and every time something new sneaks out and surprises you - little nuances, wordplay, tone, you get something new on every listen, and on every listen I'm transported to another place, I can see the people, the streets, the houses, the rooms in the houses, everything - a truly magical piece of work.

This new version takes the original Richard Burton reading and melds it with a new cast and some remixing. I've nothing against that in principle; I just don't think it's been very well done. The performances of the new cast are perfectly good (I'm used to some of the old ones, so to me the new seem out of place, but I'm sure if you came to this fresh you'd find them perfectly good). So what's the problem? It's the omission of some key sounds effect and the inappropriate addition of others and some incidental music that undoes this version.

Others have mentioned the lack of the children singing and while this may seem trivial it does detract, but more importantly it's the incidental music and the addition of some special effects that do most to detract and distract. For example, for those that don't know this work, in one of the very early sequences, we are introduced to some dead people. Presumably for benefit of the unfamiliar listener or hard of thinking, these have now been mixed with a hollow ghostly echo, just to get the message across, but it doesn't, it kills the atmosphere created by Burton's voice, you don't need SFX to know he's talking about dead people, it's there to hear in his tone.

I believe this had the potential to be a great piece or work, but in reality (and rather unusually for the BBC) it falls flat. If you want a good recording of Under Milk Wood buy yourself the 1963 or 1954 versions, only buy this one if you want to judge for yourself whether you think this 2003 version is an improvement on the original, but I doubt that you will.

Sansa Fuze 8gb MP3 Player Black
Sansa Fuze 8gb MP3 Player Black

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best value MP3 player around, 22 Jun 2009
I've owned a few MP3 players and listened to many.

Prior to the Sansa Fuze I had a Sony NWHD5 and an iPod Nano, The Sony was a great liitle gadget and worked very well for 4 years before I dropped it in the sink. The iPod was less good, much less.

I choose MP3 players on the following criteria:
1. Sound quality
2. Build
3. Battery life
4. Size & weight
5. Features
6. Price

Some may disagree, but in my opinion sound quality is the overriding factor - I buy these things to listen to music and speech and if they can't reproduce things well then they are no good. I bought my old Sony for this reason and put up with all its foibles like rubbish software, terrible compatibility, slow copying and non-existent after-sales support in return for good sound. The Sansa Fuze sounds just as good but doesn't suffer the problems of the Sony. I know some people report the Sandisk after-sales service as poor, but Sony's is awful and so is Apple's, so they're all in the same boat there. Compared to the equivalent iPod - the Nano, the sound is excellent.

Build is pretty good, not as solid as the Sony but better than an iPod, it certainly isn't flimsy or delicate.

Battery life is excellent, again, the Sony was amazing at 20 hours on one charge compared to 10-12 on this, but then the Sony was twice the size and 3 times the weight.

Size and weight are comparable with other devices of this capacity i.e. pretty tiny and very light.

Features, it has every feaure I need, one of which is brilliant and completely unique - expansion storage integration. This is, as far as I'm aware, the only MP3 player in this class that you can add additional storage cards to and which will integrate the content seamlessly into its user interface. The Sony and Apple players can't handle additional storage and the Creative ones handle it really poorly. With this, you just copy a load of files onto a microSDHC card (8gb cards 10 each) pop it into the player and the content is integrated with the stuff on its onboard storage seamlessly.

I can't comment on the photo and video as I've never used either, I can't see the point of watching video on a 60mm wide screen, I'd prefer it if those feaures could be removed to simplify the menus.

Radio is actually pretty good but tends to struggle when you move about and isn't great indoors. If radio is a big part of your requirement you'll be disappointed, but if you just want it occasionally this is about as good as any other personal radio I've used, certainly as good as my old Sony one and better than the one built into my Nokia phone. A nice feature is that you can record radio to MP3 format on the player, so you can record radio programmes then play them back later.

User interface is pretty simple, it took a little getting used to, but not much and is no better or worse than Sony's or Apple's

This may sound odd to some people but one great feature is the lack of software - no iTunes, no Windows Media Player, no SonicStage, nothing. The reason this is good is that you don't need them, you just plug it in and copy the files over. This means nothing to tie you to any particular computer or OS, nothing to clog up your computer and crash, nothing to slow things down and get in the way, nothing to restrict what you can and can't copy on or off the device, nothing to impose draconian DRM restrictions - fantastic.

Price - about 2/3rds the price of an equivalent iPod, Sony or Creative gadget.

If I have any gripes it's the lack of accessories - covers and docks are very limited and armbands are non-existent, but other than that I can't think of a reason to complain about this player.

So, it sounds as good as a Sony player, slightly better than a Creative and much better than an iPod; it can be expanded cheaply and seamlessly; it is well made, light and small; the battery lasts well; the software is the best on the market and a million miles better than iTunes or SonicStage.

In summary, it's as good or better than anything else in all the areas that count and loads better than an iPod in everything except accessories and it's much cheaper than any of them - why would you buy anything else?

Left behind: a Novel of the Earth's Last Days
Left behind: a Novel of the Earth's Last Days
by Tim F. LaHaye
Edition: Paperback

9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Offensive, dull, trashy, 15 Oct 2007
I listened to this book as an audiobook rather than read it, which was a shame, because I would have given up on it much sooner had I been reading rather than listening. In fact, had I had an opportunity to read the dust jacket I might not have bothered. As it was, I listened with no idea of the book's subject or the author and his agenda.

Firstly the book is in my opinion very poorly written, the characters are are the stuff of low budget soap opera and Hollywood blockbusters - handsome heros, pretty wives and daughters, all very stereotypical, all very dislikeable. Other reviews deal more eloquently with the plot and character issues than I, so I'll leave my criticism of those aspects to others.

My next criticism is the way the book tries to deliver its message. I'm sure that if you know the author and had read the dust jacket then you'd know that this was an evangelical Christian novel with a message behind it - the message being that the world is going to end and if you're non-Christian then you won't be taken away to safety before it does. However, coming to this book with no background, I felt this message was delivered in the style of one of those doorstep evangelists: the kind who appear at your front door to ask if you're happy and fulfilled and tell you what a nice day it is and then try to engage you in a conversation about your religious beliefs, I am deeply offended when people try to do that to me on my doorstep and I felt equally offended when someone tried the same approach in a book.

Worst of all, as someone with non-Christian beliefs I found the book deeply offensive in the way it suggests that it's theology and idealogy are the only 'right' ones. I hold no religious belief whatever, but I respect everyone's right to believe what they wish, not a philosophy this author shares. The book's tone regarding the validity of non-Christian religions or non-belief are highly offensive.

I found the book very poorly written; with weak, stereotypical characters; full of plot errors; boring; preachey; condescending; offensive and overall a waste of time and money.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2010 4:00 PM BST

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