Profile for Mr. James A. Hinks > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mr. James A. Hinks
Top Reviewer Ranking: 439,037
Helpful Votes: 37

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mr. James A. Hinks "rhinestonecatboy" (London)

Page: 1 | 2
Entry Level Keyboard USB Black
Entry Level Keyboard USB Black
Offered by Wiziwoo Limited
Price: 9.83

5.0 out of 5 stars The cat's pajamas!, 11 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Until recently I had been using a third hand, bog-standard Dell keyboard, complete with half a decade's worth of crumbs, fluff and dead skin from its previous owners gumming up the keys. The typing experience was something akin to repeatedly pressing a lump of warm brie and was causing me not inconsiderable pain in both the wrist and the back of my hand.

I am a PhD student so I type a lot. But equally I don't have huge wodges of disposable cash to buy top end computer equipment. This keyboard fitted the bill perfectly. Cherry are well known for their high quality keyboards and key switches and whilst this is their entry level model, it doesn't feel cheap at all and in terms of build quality and usability is streets ahead of anything for a comparable price.

Not only is it an absolute bargain and makes typing a joy and the hand pain has gone. Whilst it isn't the quietest keyboard I've ever used, the keys feel firm and give good feedback. The keyboard is in totally standard UK layout and it is mercifully devoid of any silly media buttons.

A well made, no frills keyboard at a bargain price: what's not to like?

Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, Black
Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, Black
Price: 59.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine as far as it goes, but not for me., 22 Aug 2013
I was given an unwanted Kindle ahead of a holiday and my experience of it has been mixed.

First things first, before I was given the Kindle I was a bit of a nay sayer and I haven't really changed my mind.

First impressions was that as a device it felt curiously dated and low-tech, I found the lack of a touch screen infuriating and found myself impotently jabbing the screen, nor do I find the font used particularly easy on the eye and the lack of a colour screen made the text look drab. Doubly so if the book has a lot of pictures or photographs. I got the impression that the Kindle is aimed at an older users or those who aren't particularly tech savvy.

The plus side to this is that setting up the Kindle is an absolute breeze and I have to admit I was impressed with the speed and ease of downloading books and having them appear instantly on the device.

I loaded my holiday reading onto it. I found myself It was a boon to have a few lesser known 'classics'- now out of copyright - for free. But beyond that, I was shocked at the prices of Kindle books. Someone out there is raking it in (not sure if it is the publishers or Amazon.) Quite often they are only a pound or so cheaper than the paperback and in some cases more expensive! This is particularly galling as they have none of the distribution costs, raw materials and manufacturing costs of the physical copy. When you've factored in the seventy quid cost of the kindle it really makes reading an expensive hobby.

Then there's the issue of the availability of titles: anything brand new will come out on Kindle as a matter of course, well known older books have a kindle edition, but anything else is a bit miss. I enjoy twentieth century Scottish fiction and coverage of anything specialist or out of the ordinary is patchy to say the least.

I didn't like the feel of the kindle, I couldn't find a way of holding it that felt comfortable or a way to press the forward and back buttons on the side of the machine that allowed a natural reading flow to develop. Also the forward/back buttons feel very flimsy and I'd be amazed if they held up to intensive use. I also found the lack of page numbers disconcerting and at times disorientating. As I've mentioned before, the lack or a touch-screen or physical keyboard, really limits your ability to use the notes facility. This could be one of the best things about the device if it wasn't so laborious to type anything.

On the plus side, the anti-glare screen works well and it is genuinely possible to read in direct sunlight. Battery life was good, it needed one charge during the course of a two week holiday and I read a lot. My parents own an older style keyboard kindle and tell me that they get a bit longer and they are equally keen readers.

Nevertheless, it served its purpose as a holiday standby and created a bit of room in the suitcase. Since then, the Kindle has been gathering dust and I've been raiding second hand book shops and the library. I know Kindles have their fans, my mum,dad and sister are all converts and were amazed I didn't take to it. But I found its limited functionality utterly frustrating. If I was in the market for an e-reader, I would be tempted to buy a 7" android tablet (they're getting ever cheaper) and then download the Amazon app.

However I can't see that happening anytime soon, I think my problems are as much emotional than practical, I love the touch, feel and smell of books, to my mind that is part of the pleasure of reading them and a plastic lump with a dull grey scale screen is a very poor substitute.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2013 5:35 AM BST

Daffodil WMS316 - Wireless Mouse (Red)
Daffodil WMS316 - Wireless Mouse (Red)
Offered by Daffodil UK
Price: 6.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Just the job and at a great price!, 26 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought one of these mice for work and have to say it is one of the most comfortable and responsive mice I have ever used.

I liked it so much that I have also bought one for my home computer as well.

The price is low, but it doesn't feel cheap.

If You're Feeling Sinister: Live At The Barbican
If You're Feeling Sinister: Live At The Barbican
Price: 7.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive version of their finest album, 3 Dec 2012
To many Belle & Sebastian fans the studio version of 'Sinister' is their finest collection of material.

A view which I wholeheartedly endorse; not only was 'Sinister' a collection of songs that were by turns, arch, witty, poignant and beautiful arranged, but it provided a welcome sanctuary from the Noel Gallagher sanctioned lad-rock that dominated the last few years of the 90s. To a generation of us shy awkward and over-sensitive teens, too young to remember the Smiths, we took this band to our hearts and looked to this album for solace.

I cannot over-emphasise how important how important this album was to me, I have never felt that way before about a record before and I doubt I will again: it changed the way I dressed, what I read and made me discard the majority of my record collection virtually overnight.

Very few of my friends had ever heard of Belle and Sebastian, those who had remained staunchly indifferent. In the days before the Internet was widely available, it let me know that their were kindred spirits out there. The nearest big town to me had a copy of the album in the library. I used to stare at the date stamps on the back of the case and wonder who else had taken the CD out and if there was any way of finding out who that could be. I never did and it remained a highly personal affair until I went to University and kids in corduroy flares if not exactly ten a penny, were numerous enough to share my enthusiasm with.

The band themselves have always been critical of the audio quality of the studio version of 'If you're feeling sinister' and released this version in 2005 as a way of compensating for the poor audio quality of the studio version. At the time, it struck me that a live album couldn't be the best way to improve on the sound quality of a well-beloved studio album. I'd fallen out of love with the band a bit at this stage and I didn't want to hear 'Sinister' butchered and sullied by an inferior live version, so I deliberately avoided listening to this until curiosity got the better of me a few months ago.

I needn't have worried, recorded in the same sequence as the original studio version and they don't attempt to radically reinterpret songs I have loved for all of my adult life.

Whilst faithful to the original, the fidelity is leaps and bounds ahead of the studio version, in particular Stevie Jackson's guitar and Mick Cooke's trumpet parts shine in a way that they don't on the original version; check out the rollicking re-recorded version of 'Dylan in the movies.' It sounds brighter, more urgent and more muscular. Despite this new found clarity, slower songs such as 'Fox in the snow' and 'the boy done wrong again' have space to breathe and lose none of their beauty and delicacy.

Obviously this rendering of 'If you're feeling sinister' will never mean as much to me as its studio counterpart, but it is indisputably a better, more vital album in pretty much every respect.It finally lets us have a glimpse of what 'If you're feeling sinister' could and should have sounded like first time around.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Offered by sellerfellauk
Price: 21.33

8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Emperor's New Clothes, 22 Aug 2011
Whilst it would be an exaggeration to describe this as the most over-rated album of all time, it is perhaps fair to say that the praise lavished upon it is totally out of proportion to its musical merits. It seems to have found a niche as the 'best album of all time' for people who know very little about music. However critical consensus is increasingly swinging behind the view that this is not the Beatles' strongest work by any stretch of the imagination.

As a history student, I can understand that if I had first heard this in the cultural context of 1967, I might have felt like a vital epoch changing 'concept album' brimming with ideas. But I didn't,I first heard it in the mid 80s and have revisited it periodically since. With the perspective of 40+ years since its recording, it all sounds a bit cod, whimsical and in places downright embarrassing. Even the psychedelic costumes the band are wearing look suspiciously mail order.

Frank Zappa accused the Beatles of leaping onto the psychedelic sound and exploiting the burgeoning underground scene for commercial gain. This argument isn't without merit, 'Lucy in the Sky with diamonds' is an absolute case in point, nursery rhyme lyrics, unsubtle drug references and paint by numbers psychedelia.

Awful. But that's not the worst of it.

There is also a lurch into sub musical hall ditties, 'Lovely Rita' and cloying sentimentality 'When I'm 64.'

It would however be churlish not to concede that there are a few highlights on the album. 'She's leaving home' is in the same kitchen sink/social observation vein as 'Eleanor Rigby' but not quite as good. 'Getting better' has a great chiming guitar riff and the contrast between McCartney's optimism - 'getting better all the time' and Lennon's more cynical riposte - 'it can't get no worse.' However either of those two songs would have fitted comfortably on either 'Revolver' or even 'Rubber Soul' and they shine despite of, rather than because of the rest of the album. It is hard not to admire the scale and sheer ambition of the epic 'A Day in the Life' it is amazing to think it clocks in at under 5 minutes.

This genuine achievement aside, it is difficult to see this album as anything other than a backwards step for The Beatles. Remember, 'Sgt. Pepper' followed on the heels of the genuinely excellent 'Revolver' and started a run of Beatles albums that veered from the patchy (White Album, Let it Be) to the downright ropey (Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine) that lasted until their glorious swansong with 'Abbey Road.' Now THAT is an album worth buying!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2013 4:51 PM BST

Pure ChargePAK E1 Rechargeable Battery Pack (EVOKE Flow, EVOKE Mio, EVOKE-1S, EVOKE-2S, Sensia)
Pure ChargePAK E1 Rechargeable Battery Pack (EVOKE Flow, EVOKE Mio, EVOKE-1S, EVOKE-2S, Sensia)
Offered by UK Battery
Price: 19.13

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've got ther power!, 20 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I put it in the back of the radio and hey presto: it works!

Not a lot else to add!

The Sopranos
The Sopranos
by Alan Warner
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and tragi-comiedy, 5 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Sopranos (Paperback)
When we meet the titular Sopranos they are about to set off from 'The Port' (A thinly disguised Oban) to a choir-competition in Edinburgh. For the six girls singing would appear to come a distant second to drinking, shopping and making it back to the Port before closing at the 'Mantrap' nightclub. What starts as a light-hearted comic romp with genuine laugh-aloud momments, soon matures into something more satisfying as the girls find themselves hopelessly out of their depth in the big city. Alan Warner allows the indivdual vcharacters space to develop and soon the faultlines in their friendship become apparent, riven by ambition, social class and money, as the certainties of their small-town teenage life collapse around them.

By the end of the novel several of the characters have made life-changiing decisions and we get a tantalising glimpse of six girls on the cusp of adulthood. Touching, moving and lingers long in the memory.

Sony Ericsson W302 Orange Pay As You Go Including 10 Airtime - Black
Sony Ericsson W302 Orange Pay As You Go Including 10 Airtime - Black

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, 10 May 2010
The w302 is not a bad handset, it does all the things that a fairly undemanding user would want it to do: make calls and text. Its battery life is more than reasonable and looks quite nice. Its build quality is okay, the microphone and speaker are okay, but nothing to get excited about. Navigating the menus will be easy for anyone who has used a Sony Ericsson phone before and relatively straightforward if you are a first time Sony user.

Its biggest flaw is the minuscule size of the keypad, texting can be a bit of a chore and mis-dials are a fairly frequent occurrence, so if you have large fingers this may be worth avoiding.

If the W302 had stuck to being a no-frills budget phone then this might have been forgiveable, but the W302 bills itself as a 'Walkman phone' and charges a 20 premium on other budget models. Its functionality as an Mp3 player is severely limited, it lacks any music transfer software and the music interface is a nightmare. Other minor gripes include a tiny 512Mb M2 card will need up grading fairly rapidly and some truly grotty earphones.

It is difficult to see who the phone is meant to appeal to, it won't appeal to technology freaks and is just that bit too pricey for budget users: a puzzling mixed bag of a phone.

Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision Noise-Isolating Ear-Canal Phones - Black (Eco Packaging)
Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision Noise-Isolating Ear-Canal Phones - Black (Eco Packaging)

4.0 out of 5 stars Wired for sound, 27 Mar 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Now I am not an audiophile, but do like a decent set of headphones, I certainly wanted something better than the shabby efforts that came free with my MP3 player.

I would recommend these headphones almost unreservedly, they are light, comfortable to wear. There are three earbud sizes and the smallest fitted my ears perfectly, blocking out most extraneous noise. They are also comfortable and unobtrusive that I have forgotten I've been wearing them: which can be a bit hazardous when crossing roads!

The sound is crisp, handling most types of music well, whilst these are advertised as 'bass driven.' The bass remains clearly defined and doesn't swamp the music as my previous Creative EP-830 headphones did. I notice other posters feel that the bass is too loud, but a quick fiddle with your player's EQ levels should sort it out.

I do have two minor gripes, firstly the headphone jack is an unusual shape that protrudes out of my player for no apparent advantage. Whilst the much vaunted eco friendly packaging is a good idea on principle, it is a bit of a nightmare to get into and sent the ear-buds cascading across the floor.

All in all for the money, they are excellent, obviously they aren't going to offer the quality of 60+ headphones, but at this money: unbeatable.

Sony SRF-59 FM/AM Analogue Personal Radio, with belt clip - Silver
Sony SRF-59 FM/AM Analogue Personal Radio, with belt clip - Silver
Offered by Five Star
Price: 13.84

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says on the tin, 17 Aug 2009
In the age of multi-functional devices such as the I-Phone, it is a rare delight to find a device that is designed to do one thing and do it well. However this radio is one such product.

It is an AM/FM radio, no more no less. It comes with a pair of cheap-ish earphones, which doubles up as the aerial. It has an on/off switch a volume control and you manually tune it to the radio station of your choice. That is about the limit of its' functionality.

However it performs its' modest task admirably, it is small and slim, FM reception is clear and AM is good for a device of this size. I use this radio predominantly at work and given that it is a notorious black spot for radio reception, it copes well, far better than my car radio.

This radio runs from a single AA battery and like most Sony devices the battery life is phenomenal, on occasions. I have left the radio on for 48 hours and there is still plenty of life in the battery.

My one minor gripe is that the tuning control is rather fiddly and tuning the radio can take a bit of getting used to and making minute tuning adjustments is an extremely delicate art, So if you regularly travel long distances this may not be the best bet.

Whilst there is a headlong rush to digital radio, a device like this fulfils a useful niche; it costs a fraction of a similar pocket digital device. I managed to buy mine for 15 Pocket DABs may offer more stations, but they remain expensive, bulky and seem to need almost constant recharging, most irritating when halfway through a football match or the afternoon play. I have rarely been impressed by the audio quality of a pocket DAB, they seem to be extremely prone to `bubbling mud' or just cutting out altogether if the signal is poor.

It may be worth making the switch to a portable DAB when the costs fall and battery life improves, but in the meantime, if you want a cheap, reliable, well-made and slim radio, I would recommend this product unreservedly.

Page: 1 | 2