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Kev Partner "Writer, geek, dad." (Alton, Hamshire)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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NetGear D6200-100UKS AC1200 Dual Band Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router for Phone Line Connections
NetGear D6200-100UKS AC1200 Dual Band Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router for Phone Line Connections
Price: £115.42

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent wireless performance, 28 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The broadband at the aged parents' house has always been a problem - most specifically the wifi range is appalling. I replaced their ancient, PlusNet router, with a better one around a year ago but still it was hard to pick up a decent signal in the living room (their house is small and the router was only 10 metres away through two walls). I was delighted to find that this Netgear completely solved the problem at a stroke - to the extent that I almost regret giving it to them. Wifi is now accessible through the whole house, and the limiting factor is now the speed of their broadband (another job for me) rather than anything to do with the wireless.

Setup was simple - it was up and running within 5 minutes of mum being able to recall her password accurately (so, two hours in total then) and I was able to use the same password and UID as before. I'm fast becoming a fan of NetGear products having also enjoyed the ease and use and performance of their range extender. Excellent.


Tacwise 191ELS with 180 Nail Selection Pack & 91 Staple Selection Pack (Bundle Pack)
Tacwise 191ELS with 180 Nail Selection Pack & 91 Staple Selection Pack (Bundle Pack)
Price: £54.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Low cost but robust tool, 9 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I guess if I were a professional builder, I'd want something a little more ruggedly constructed but for home use this tool is ideal. The nailgun comes with a selection of nails and staples that cover most purposes - they're especially useful for furniture assembly - I wish I'd had this available when I put my shed up recently!

The tool feels safe enough in use, although the sheer power of the device can be unsettling when you first start using it! Excellent tool for use around the home when you have a big assembly job to do.


Bibetta Roll-n-Go Baby Changing Mat (Blue Fish)
Bibetta Roll-n-Go Baby Changing Mat (Blue Fish)
Price: £11.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Small but perfectly formed, 9 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Made of a material similar to a wetsuit, this little mat rolls up nice and small and has impressive grip on a floor or table. Absolutely ideal for visits to relatives or using in public toilets when you're not sure how clean the baby changing facilities are.


Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 APO Macro DG Lens For Sony Digital SLR Cameras
Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 APO Macro DG Lens For Sony Digital SLR Cameras
Price: £149.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb value lens, 27 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this recently to go on holiday to Dorset with, in partnership with my Sony A58 camera and what a joy it's been. Granted, it's not the most attractive lens when extended to its maximum and it's pretty hefty when you attach the lens hood, but it takes fantastic photos and represents excellent value. I plumped for this one over the non-APO version (which was significantly cheaper) and, whilst I can't comment on how the cheaper lens performs, this one was worth every penny.

Although I've used a DSLR for 5 years now (the A58 replaced my aging A200, which this lens would also fit), I recently decided to learn how to use the thing properly. It's used commercially for taking product shots for my online business (if you intend to do the same thing, I heartily recommend the Sony 50mm prime lens which is very fast and sharp) but I was a bit nervous when I went to Monkey World in Dorset with the 300mm lens attached. To be honest, I felt like a bit of a dick - until I saw how many other people were doing the same. I had a thoroughly enjoyable day getting "up close and personal" to the animals and was absolutely delighted when I loaded the images up on my Chromebook and took a look. Even without any processing, they are razor sharp (assuming I focussed effectively) and the 300mm range meant I could take my pick of the animals in each enclosure.

I haven't noticed any of the chromatic problems common in "cheaper" lenses such as this - in fact, the only problems I've noticed with any of my shots were due to my ineptitude. This lens is ideal for taking photos of animals and for certain purposes in landscape photography (sunsets for example). Bear in mind that its minimum 70mm setting means it's not so useful for taking wider angle images - when visiting villages, I switched back to my old A200 kit lens.

Overall, a superb choice I'm delighted with. I think this, alongside a decent kit lens, would suit most purposes - especially for those of us who operate on a budget
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The Martian
The Martian
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good - if occasionally a little dry, 27 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
I read most of this book while laid up in bed on day with a back spasm so I related to what happens to the main character about half way through! This is a book for "hard" sci-fi fans. If you get a geeky thrill from the thought that a human being could drive to the old Pathfinder Mars probe and retrieve it, then hack into its radio hardware to communicate with Earth, you'll enjoy this book. It's about as credible as it's possible to be in terms of its detail (although I speak as a humble science graduate, not a NASA engineer) but (perhaps because I was uncomfortable), the endless "this problem occurred so I did this" routine went a little stale 75% of the way through and I confess I skimmed just a little.

I actually found the sections set on Earth, as NASA attempts to first communicate with him and then work out a way to bring him home, the most interesting. I think it's fair to say the bureaucracy of that venerable, monolithic, organisation does not come out of this smelling of roses.

Overall, an engaging read. The prose is sparse and perhaps the most unrealistic part of the whole plot was that the main character seemed to suffer no psychological effects from being alone for so long and the prospect of facing dangerous situations just about every day. I know astronauts are a special breed but still..


Netgear EX6200 AC1200 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender
Netgear EX6200 AC1200 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender
Price: £86.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 22 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used several forms of range extenders over the past few years and this is head and shoulders better than any of the others. It's childishly simple to get working - place it in range of the main router, press the synchronisation button on both devices and you're done. You now have a new wireless network with a similar name to the existing one (with _EXT added to the end) which has the same password as the router. Dead simple to use and extremely effective - the best of the best.


Galt Dr Miriam Smiley Sun Mirror
Galt Dr Miriam Smiley Sun Mirror
Price: £14.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for vain babies, 15 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My 6 month old granddaughter loves this - it's been the main incentive for her to learn to turn herself onto her front. Good quality - ignore the nonsense about learning and development, this is about play and having fun.


D'Addario J55 Phosphor Bronze Medium  (.010-.023) 5-String Banjo Strings
D'Addario J55 Phosphor Bronze Medium (.010-.023) 5-String Banjo Strings
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality, 13 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I replaced the strings that came with my banjo with these ones and it's like having a new instrument. Gorgeous, mellow sound.


Tacwise. Cable Tacker. CT60. Data Cable.  Satellite Cable
Tacwise. Cable Tacker. CT60. Data Cable. Satellite Cable
Price: £28.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Works well, 13 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Once I understood how to unlock the handle, this works well. The diagram in the instructions AND the one printed on the body are incorrect - they seem to refer to a different model. Although it looks as though you should turn the circular knob, in fact you need to pull it up to release the handle.

I've used it for securing both ethernet and alarm cable and it works very nicely - just make sure you have the cable properly set within the jaws before fastening otherwise the staple may pierce the cable.


Sony Alpha A58 Translucent Mirror Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55mm Lens (20MP)
Sony Alpha A58 Translucent Mirror Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55mm Lens (20MP)
Price: £288.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb upgrade, 17 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been using a Sony A200 since I bought it in 2009 and decided it was time for an upgrade since I've got into product photography. My main needs included a good quality, tiltable liveview so that the camera could be set up at a low level on tripod without me having to crouch down to look through a viewfinder. I was also looking for better low-light performance and an incremental step up in picture quality both from the higher pixel count and improved technology. After attempting to buy a second hand A390 I gave up and plumped for the more expensive, but brand new, A58 - and I'm glad I did.

This is a cracker. First and foremost, whilst it's technically not an SLR since the mirror doesn't "Reflex" when a photo is taken, this makes absolutely no difference whatsoever - except that the clunky sound the A200 made when taking a photo has been replaced with a quieter click. I've experienced very good low light performance and I absolutely love the LCD viewfinder- something I wasn't sure about before I began using the camera. I've found a new love of photography simply by using this camera. I enjoyed and appreciated my A200 very much but the A58 produces better photos more consistently and with the minimum of fuss. I was able to use my Sony 50mm Prime lens and Sony 55-200mm telephoto without problems.

I only have two reservations. Firstly, the kit lens isn't top drawer. In fact, it's inferior to the A200's kit lens which, in fairness, is famously excellent - so I use my new camera with the old lens. Having said that, it's possible to get the official 55-200mm telephoto refurbished on Amazon for around £90 and that's a great investment - although the 50mm prime is my favourite for product photography. My second reservation is that the A58 uses a new remote connector and the remote itself is hideously expensive - this is awkward for astrophotography and self portraits. Hopefully a cheap clone will come out at some point.

Overall, however, this is a superb camera and offers astonishing value. I was prepared to look at Canon and Nikon alternatives but nothing from either of those manufacturers touches the A58 at this price point. So I got a better camera and was able to reuse my lenses.


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