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P. Millar "dazzle" (UK)
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Windows 8 Pro, Upgrade Edition [Upgrade from Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7] (PC)
Windows 8 Pro, Upgrade Edition [Upgrade from Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7] (PC)
Price: £149.97

3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One system for all ..., 28 Oct 2012
Ignore the naysayers who tend to complain about every new version of Windows that comes out but still end up buying it anyway. If you have used Windows 7 then the learning curve for new features is very gentle. The main difference is the new Metro start screen, which is really designed for touch screen devices but still works perfectly well with a traditional mouse and keyboard set-up. You can access either Metro apps or desktop software from here and it uses hot corners for bringing up additional options.

Ultimately this is a hybrid system which is catering for all types of PC users. If you just want to use simple software which works one way without many configuration options then use the Metro apps, if you want to use software with more options then use desktop programs, or you can use a mixture of the two. The only real surprise is a lack of an option to either start with the Metro screen or the desktop, but there are already a few applications to do this for you (search for either Start8 from Stardock or, my personal favourite, StartIsBack) if you want to start with the desktop and have the traditional windows menu on the taskbar - and you can still flip to the Metro screen to use apps.

It feels faster and more responsive than Windows 7 and for about the first time in ages I haven't upgraded my hardware (which is about 5 years old now) to go with a new version of Windows. I installed 8 by doing an in-place upgrade over 7 and after the install all my programs and files were still where I was expecting them to be and I just carried on as though nothing had changed.

So far I have only found a few niggles: The Internet Explorer Metro interface wouldn't load and appears to be a bug due to the upgrade, I couldn't delete a key from the registry editor to try and fix this and I am unable to delete a folder from my external drive either - a few minor points which I will be searching around for fixes in due course. The other one is that fonts on some websites in IE 10 are appearing very small, notably Amazon, and I seem to remember having a similar problem in Firefox as well, I have set IE to ignore font sizes which fixes this on Amazon but then other fonts on other sites appear too large.

Overall I think this has been a worthy upgrade and it will be interesting to see what Microsoft comes up with for version 9 of Windows.

Edit (29/10/2012): To fix small fonts on Amazon in IE10 then use the compatibility view - which is the small 'broken page' icon in the address bar.


Belkin N300 Universal Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender/Wireless Signal Booster (Easy Setup, WPS Function, Ethernet Port) - Wall Plug Mounted
Belkin N300 Universal Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender/Wireless Signal Booster (Easy Setup, WPS Function, Ethernet Port) - Wall Plug Mounted
Offered by BESTBUYIT
Price: £29.89

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple but slow ..., 28 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a simple WIFI extender which is easy to set-up and, because it plugs directly into an electric socket, easy to place around the house. The only criticism I have is the speed, I could only get 56 Mbps out of it although I am using a WIFI router which does do N speeds over a 2.4 Ghz connection.

Overall simple to use but slow connection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2013 11:18 AM GMT


Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me (Penguin Modern Classics)
Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Javier Marías
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dense subconsciousness on death ..., 18 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A man has a meeting with a married woman and while they are undressing she feels unwell and subsequently dies. This is a dense novel with a mass of text on every page, which is full of stream of consciousness digressions, reversals, what might have beens and flashbacks. The man questions everything and thinks up different outcomes of differet situations at every turn.

This is not really the type of thing I like, as you read the text it sort of bombards your mind and it is very easy to get lost and forget what has been going on - although not very much actually happens. Overall I would give this a miss, unless you particularly like stream of consciousness writing, and am surprised it has been released as a Penguin Modern Classic as, for me, it adds nothing to this particular style of writing.


San Miguel
San Miguel
by T.C. Boyle
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars To dream of freedom ..., 17 Oct 2012
This review is from: San Miguel (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a story about an island, it's weather and the people who journey there. Following the experiences of three women who travel to the island under different circumstances it follows the changing roles of women within the world from the late 1800's to the late 1940's.

This is a very accomplished novel which really gives you the feeling of the isolation and prison of the island as well as its freedom and solitude. Each chapter deals with a different event and this helps to create a feeling of moving forward in time as well as plot.

Overall this is a very well written novel which helps to confirm T.C. Boyle as one of the best writers of the moment.


The Cutting Season
The Cutting Season
by Attica Locke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.64

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There's been a murder ..., 11 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Cutting Season (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Someone has been murdered on a former plantation in a southern US state. And the culprit needs to be caught. I was hooked into getting this novel because of the James Ellroy quote on the cover but this is no hard-boiled detective fiction. It is a rather meandering tale of southern folk but with no real sense of time or place - there is no southern gothic or even 'Gone with the Wind' stylings here - and the characters are all rather interchangeable with nothing to mark them out as individual people.

Not much happens in the first half of the book and once you start the second half you realise that not much is going to happen there either. It is all rather placid and plain with a very flat writing style - which reminds me of an essay style which could be called 'What I did on my Southern plantation'.

Overall a rather insubstantial read with no real style to mark it out as anything special.


John Saturnall's Feast
John Saturnall's Feast
by Lawrence Norfolk
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An historical feast ..., 16 Sep 2012
This review is from: John Saturnall's Feast (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have heard of Lawrence Norfolk but never actually read any of his works, (although I do have a copy of 'Lempriere's Dictionary' on my to read shelf), and this is his first novel in twelve years.

It follows the travails of John Sandall (Saturnall) as he is hounded from his village, his mother is identified as the local witch, to working in the kitchens of the local lord. It is set pre- and post English Civil War and encompasses the militant puritans around at the time as well as mysticism, Roman mythology and folk tales, with, perhaps, a hint of 'Gormenghast'.

This is a highly accomplished book which tells a, fairly, straightforward tale with highly elegant writing - it is comic, serious and sad - while a love story binds it all together, and it is certainly worth spending time over relishing its details and tale.


Nokia 808 PureView Sim Free Mobile Phone - White (discontinued by manufacturer)
Nokia 808 PureView Sim Free Mobile Phone - White (discontinued by manufacturer)

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very impressive ..., 11 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If this is the exit for Symbian then it is leaving with the best impression possible - fast, responsive ,clear and intuitive. This is one of the best smartphones I have ever used.

The screen layout is almost identical to Android but it is far more responsive and quicker than Android. The images are crystal clear and it reacts almost instantly to the user's actions. The main selling point for this phone will be the camera which I have played around with (both still and video) and they are some of the clearest, richest photos I have ever seen and when I played the video (at full resolution) back on my HDTV it was clearer and sharper than some Blu-ray films I have watched.

It comes pre-installed with most of the apps you would want and it updated itself to Nokia Maps 2.0 (the travel and location apps are very impressive) and the Nokia store offered a free full copy of 'Angry Birds' to download - unfortunately most of the games pre-installed are just demos, but if you do install extra apps the phone already has 12GB of free internal storage so there is no rush to add a 32GB microSD card straightaway. I have also watched movies on this and it is like watching in full HD with surround sound through the headphones.

The downsides to this phone is it doesn't have the range of apps you can get on the iPhone or an Android device, it has an HDMI out port but no HDMI cable is supplied, and it requires a microSIM card (which I do not have and so haven't actually used this phone as a phone), and without the microSIM I couldn't set-up my email. The other downside is that the phone is not available with any provider so has to be purchased SIM free.

Overall it seems a shame that Nokia is dropping Symbian and going with Windows 8 instead. If they had released this OS on a range of phones for all budgets then it might have been a real contender against the Android / iPhone monopoly - but this is definetly a smart phone I can see I will be hanging onto for years to come.


View Quest Portable DVD Player with DJ Style Headphones - Grey
View Quest Portable DVD Player with DJ Style Headphones - Grey

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GB for DVD ..., 1 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My sister was looking for a portable DVD player for her children and tasked me with the job of finding her one. After searching around Amazon and not really finding any which quite fitted the bill I stumbled upon this unit. Having never heard of View Quest before I looked them up on the web and was impressed by their website so I took a chance on the company.

I would say my choice paid off as this is an excellent bit of kit - it comes with headphones, car charger, headrest mount and has support for both USB stick and SD/MMC cards. The screen is top quality and extremely clear and it is easy to use .

Overall a very pleasant experience and I will certainly keep my eye on other products this company makes.


Sony BDVEF200.CEK Affordable 2.1ch 3D Blu-Ray Disc/DVD Home Cinema 350W, BRAVIA Internet Video Enhancer
Sony BDVEF200.CEK Affordable 2.1ch 3D Blu-Ray Disc/DVD Home Cinema 350W, BRAVIA Internet Video Enhancer

5.0 out of 5 stars You say what ..., 1 Sep 2012
I mainly bought this system so I didn't have to rely on the not so good flat screen TV speakers and to have Lovefilm streaming on the TV - and I didn't make the wrong choice. This is a quick and easy system to get set-up and basically works out of the box - the only extra thing you need to do is to log onto the Sony site to activate the Lovefilm part of it.

The sound is crisp and I had to turn the bass down otherwise it felt like an earthquake was happening in the living room. I have my MythTV box connected via HDMI cable and TOS optical cable to the unit and it all works perfectly together (after a bit of messing around with the NVidia ViewPort settings in Xorg - and it will only show the MythTV GUI at 1920x1080). Even on my budget HDTV it provides clear pictures.

The Lovefilm streaming is flawless and once set-up it is the first time I've watched Lovefilm streaming without any buffering whatsoever - I have the Blu ray player connected via cable to a Belkin wifi repeater unit and it had no problems streaming HD from Lovefilm.

Overall an excellent bit of kit if you want better sound but not full surround sound and are interested in streaming video etc from the Internet.


Linksys EA4500 Dual Band N900 Smart WiFi Router with Gigabit Ethernet and USB Port
Linksys EA4500 Dual Band N900 Smart WiFi Router with Gigabit Ethernet and USB Port
Offered by NETWORK LTD
Price: £106.89

3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better ..., 1 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was looking forward to using this router as I have had very good experiences with the E2500 version. Unfortunately the experience is not so good and this is mainly down to Wifi speed. With the E2500 I could easily get up to 130Mbps using 'N' in the 2.5Ghz range, this router I could only get up to 56Mbps (in the 2.4Ghz range) which is 'G' and not 'N' at all (I can't test the 5Ghz range as I have no other Wifi equipment capable of using it). I tried changing the channel settings but nothing appeared to matter - it would not go above 'G' speed.

The set-up for this router is the same as the E2500, either use the supplied Cisco CD and Cisco Connect software or plug it in via an ethernet cable to your PC and goto 192.168.1.1 and change the settings from there. I chose the latter and was up and running in a few minutes.

Overall easy to set-up but very disappointed with the Wifi speed, so, at the moment I won't be using this to replace my current Wifi router.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2012 12:13 PM GMT


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