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Block Bathroom Light Pull, Green
Block Bathroom Light Pull, Green

5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish Pull, 14 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This light pull looks really sharp, has a nice smooth finish and a great weight to it as well.

Despite the high price (in comparison to most other light pulls I looked at) this product delivers on all fronts.

The only negative would be the green cord, which, if your installation is anything like mine, will mean that where it attaches to the hanging connector, it looks a little odd for the cord to be green up to the connector and then white cord up to the ceiling fitting (at least that's how my standard fitting is designed anyway). But this is a small criticism.

One thing I would advise to anyone fitting this would be to increase the size of the cord knot at the bottom of the pull. I expected to have to knot the cord at the top where it connects to the fitting, but didn't think I'd have to do anything with the existing knot created by the manufacturer. But it was this knot that, after a couple of test pulls, revealed itself to be inadequate when the knotted cord broke free of the pull. So before any test pulls, feed the cord a little through the hole at the bottom of the pull and double knot it to secure it further.


TDK T78841 TAC4525 Dual Charging Alarm Clock Radio Speaker Dock System For iPod & iPhone 3G/3GS/4/4S iPod Touch & Nano
TDK T78841 TAC4525 Dual Charging Alarm Clock Radio Speaker Dock System For iPod & iPhone 3G/3GS/4/4S iPod Touch & Nano

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Function, portability and practicality, 22 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
TDK may be best remembered by many as a cassette tape manufacturer, but it appears they also make MP3 Speaker Docks and on the evidence of the (forgettably named) TAC7221BK portable speaker system, branching out was a decision well made.

Portability (5/5)
This speaker system can be easily recommended for its portable aspects- most notably the carry handle and the battery power option. In this respect the product is perfectly practical and an ideal choice since it's both lightweight & modest in size (25.5cm width x 8cm depth x 15cm height).
However, what impresses is how adequate the system is for static use. To the casual eye the unit is lightweight and true enough it is, however, the base is weighted and there are rubber feet underneath, so applying pressure to touch the screen of the docked device when it's placed on a flat surface does not, as you might imagine it would from its outward appearance, cause the unit to wobble.

Design (4/5)
Pretty much as you can see- the body of the unit is simplistic but stylish in design with clean lines and the concave shape of the speakers is a nice touch. The buttons, as you can tell from the pictures are plane to the surface of the unit and unobtrusive but still practical as a result. The buttons: power, source, skip forward, skip back, play/pause, volume adjustment, shuffle and repeat.

Device Functionality (5/5)
I've tested this speaker system with the Apple iPhone 4S and don't have any complaints with compatibility with the device. Although the device fits quite snugly with little space above, it is possible to crane the unit outwards slightly (while still being in the dock & not disrupting playback) to allow the sleep button on the iPhone to be activated if, for any reason, you don't wish for the screen to be on.

TDK App (4/5)
The TAC7221BK comes with a free app that automatically downloads to your device following some prompts. The app is primarily an alarm clock with some timer functions. I've downloaded a couple of alarm clock apps over the years and this is actually superior to most. - It has 7 clock backgrounds included.
- FM radio function.
- It has a built-in alarm function that is Monday through Friday only (very useful). There's only one other alarm, but one for the weekday and one for the weekend seems absolutely sufficient.
- It has a night screen option that is totally alterable to your own preference, which means that unlike most I've used in the past, can be set to virtually dark.
- It has a timer function that allows you to (a) sleep to sounds- waves or rain, or (b) take a nap- rains, waves, or buzzer & with snooze function.
When you go into the app, if you happen to be playing music, this halts playback. However, it is still possible to listen to music in the app, simply by clicking on settings, audio and iPod. However, unfortunately -unless I haven't yet mastered this function, in which case I will update the review- the sleep function cannot be used to fall asleep to music, although it does provide unlimited interims of time up 23:59 hours for falling asleep to either the rain, or waves sound effects. A glaring omission considering the ability to listen to music in the app is available.

Sound quality (3/5)
The sound is a little tinny, that's inescapable, but for the size of the unit it's still very crisp. As a small portable unit the volume is surprisingly loud at the device's maximum setting and certainly more than adequate for any bedside.

Summary (4/5)
While the unit appears highly durable, has an array of functions thanks to the inclusive app and has been designed with such practicality in mind that even the least technically-minded user could master it, in my opinion there is still a disparity between the price tag and what's actually offered. Compare this to the Gear4 speaker docks on the market at 40-50 that cut a more impressive figure and which offer almost as many functions and I suspect better sound quality, and this option doesn't make as much sense. Portability should not take the price up to the 60 mark. In my opinion this unit would be reasonably priced in the region of 35.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2012 4:41 PM BST


Maroo MOKO II Leather Folio Case for iPad 2/New iPad, Stand & Bumper Technology - in Black
Maroo MOKO II Leather Folio Case for iPad 2/New iPad, Stand & Bumper Technology - in Black
Price: 33.24

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, but niche case for the iPad, 22 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 2:19 Mins

Maroo is a reputable and reliable brand that stock well-crafted, super smart cases and accessories for tablet devices such as the iPad & Kindle. The price reflects the standard of manufacture.

Advantages of the `MOKO II Leather Folio Case' for the second and current version of Apple's iPad:-

Plush and highly tactile black leather material.
Durable manufacture.
Stylish finish.
Secure mechanism for device fixture.
Ability to angle the case as a stand for the device.
Clear instructions for use.
Free inclusion of Maroo's Waikawa microfiber cleaning cloth (retail price $4.99).

Disadvantages:-

While incredibly protective, the thickness and weight of the case make this a bulky option when compared to such slimline smart cases as those offered, for example, by Invision, or Apple themselves, which still manage to offer a very good degree of protection for a lightweight case.

The plastic base into which the device locks will interfere with a screen protector if one is applied to your device, causing bubbles to occur in the corners.

The front cover of the case lays loosely on the device screen, causing the automatic lock / auto sleep feature of the iPad to turn off and on erratically, unless the bands of elastic of the case are applied at the corners to secure it- making this case an impractical option for those users who require instant and frequent access to their device.

Summary:-

Despite superb manufacture and sophisticated aesthetic, for practicality this case would not be a personal choice. It's the difference between an iPhone case and a skin- the only reason to choose the bulky option is because you like leather. However, I would still recommend the MOKO II for those whose preferences lean toward this style of case and have a little more money to spend, because it's clear this product will last the lifetime of the device it is designed to protect.


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close [DVD + UV Copy] [2012]
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close [DVD + UV Copy] [2012]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Offered by Lifes Essentials
Price: 8.93

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive and rewarding study of tragedy, 7 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having not read the book on which this film is based, I can't comment on how faithful it is to the novel, but on its own merits the film version of `Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close' is a well-made, satisfying and moving movie outing.

Having watched the film, I suspect the novel is superior, because the story doesn't really lend itself to a feature film; there is a final fulfilling climax, but not enough story conflict along the way to make it thoroughly gripping at every stage of Oskar's journey. In particular Oskar's unrealistic autonomy is a sticking point, and although this is eventually explained, this along with other unlikely events doesn't ground the production in the reality that you feel would have best served the material and made for a more profound experience. But that's not to say it isn't fantastically shot, directed and acted, because it is.

Although I do feel some criticism of the casting of Oskar's parents to be warranted, because (even though they do a very good job) actors with more range and on-screen presence than Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock would no doubt have made this story even more impactful and poignant.

In spite of the years that have passed since 11th September 2001 the use of the tragedy of that day as the main focal point for this story is no less effective. The occasional (somewhat) graphic representational shots of the fates of some of the people in the World Trade Centers on that day will surely be traumatic for some viewers, especially those directly effected, but I think the film-makers have balanced that sensitively with the touching nature of Oskar's quest and the final sharing of pain and joy between Oskar and his mother at their memory of their lost loved one.


Panda Internet Security 2012, 3 licenses, 12 months subscription (PC)
Panda Internet Security 2012, 3 licenses, 12 months subscription (PC)
Offered by Accessory Land
Price: 8.28

3.0 out of 5 stars Not reassuring, 1 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used Panda Anti-Virus security protection in the past and have always found it to be an affordable and reliable brand. Perhaps not one of the leading brands on the market, but this is off-set by the low price. However, I did run into more problems with this particular software in relation to the installation procedure than I had done in the past with previous Panda purchases.

At first, all seemed to be running smoothly, but then I was asked to uninstall the Microsoft Security System on the computer before installation of the Panda software could take place. This didn't reassure me, but there was no option to decline. The final stage of the software required a restart, which brought up a new screen prior to the Windows logo. This menu ran through various stages before it stated that an internet connection was not available, effectively freezing the menu, because there was no escape/cancel icon. This happened twice, in spite of the fact that there clearly was an internet connection, otherwise the software could not have been set-up in the first place (I can only conclude it to be a fault with the software itself). I was therefore forced to shutdown the computer manually and when it rebooted (with the disc still in the drive at this point) no new windows appeared, however when I clicked on the new Panda logo on the desktop the software menu appeared and I ran the first full system scan without any issues.

I've purchased Panda Anti-Virus Security packages in the past and I can't recall it ever being required for the Microsoft Security System to be uninstalled in order for the anti-virus to be installed. From the Microsoft prompts I've been getting since uninstalling that security measure (exactly the type of prompts I hoped not to see again once I had installed new anti-virus software) I'm guessing it will be a simple matter to re-install it once the Panda anti-virus expires. But for this reason alone I don't think I'll be purchasing Panda again in the future if this is what will prove necessary; at the very least it's not reassuring knowing that such a basic protection provided with the computer has been disabled due to incompatibility with the software.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2012 2:24 AM BST


No Title Available

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 16 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sennheiser are one of the most reliable and popular headphone brands on the market and since I first started purchasing headphones I've rarely bought any other kind besides Sennheiser. For the simple reason that where value for money and performance are concerned I've not been disappointed before.

In terms of comfort these particular headphones (`HD 449') are on a par with the models I have previously purchased (`HD 218' and `HD 202' to name a couple). The leather-effect padding around the ears and under the headband are as comfortable as ever and as conducive to prolonged use as any other brand I've known. These may be greater in size than previous models I've owned, but they do not feel as heavy as I expected.

In terms of sound quality I've no complaints- I'm not able to measure/analyse the sound as may other reviewers have done so precisely- all I can say is that I found the quality of sound to be high and without any noticeable distortion of the music I listened to through them. Although perhaps I am accustomed to a more bass-heavy sound having mostly used this particular type of Sennheiser headphone in the past.

Once again, however, it is disappointing to note the lack of recyclable packaging. The molded plastic protection is difficult to get in to and difficult to dispose of. Only in this area is renovation required by Sennheiser. Otherwise- hard not to recommend.


The Churchills: A Family Portrait
The Churchills: A Family Portrait
by Celia Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.23

4.0 out of 5 stars A personal history, 13 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For all those who have an interest in the life and achievements of Winston Churchill, this is a fine addition to any collection of novels based on/exploring the origins of his remarkable political career. This title certainly falls into the latter category and will fill in many gaps in people's knowledge of his early years.

It's an informative title and provides a wealth of detail on Winston, his brother, father and mother. Despite a format which could best be described as a history text, the style of the book flows nicely and the prose manages to engage the reader almost as a true biography would.

Some warning- the seemingly small page count of 227 pages (of actual content minus the introduction, author's notes, index etc.) is belied by the type, which is quite fine. The black&white photographs of the Churchill family and other political and military figures at the end of the book are a welcome addition. Recommended.


A Game of Thrones (Reissue) (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
A Game of Thrones (Reissue) (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.26

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meagre Pickings, 4 May 2012
I put off reading this book for a long, long time and without sufficient reason. Perhaps the impressive word of mouth in the fantasy community, or the quantity of positive reviews on Amazon here alone for this first part in a much lauded series, perhaps the mammoth page count (780 pages in the paperback edition). But probably mainly due to my having read a short story by the author set in the same world and not being as impressed by the story-telling as I'd hoped to be. So I wasn't sure whether `Game of Thrones' would meet my expectations.

Well it was definitely a mistake to wait as long as I did to read this, the first part of undoubtedly one of the most popular series in the genre, but sadly not for the reasons I'd hoped. George R. R. Martin and his novels now hold non of the mystique or allure for me as they did prior to my reading `A Game of Thrones', because while there are certainly remarkable and entertaining aspects to this title...for myself (and a handful of others it seems) there is very little here worthy of such high praise.

The main ingredients of this title are general brutality, casual cruelty and widespread selfishness. These are not things that interest me. Characters who I can empathise with interest me. Well, with the exception of perhaps three characters in a sea of what seems like thousands there is not one character to whom the reader can anchor themselves. I began this story knowing that many had spoken of the huge cast of characters and the associated confusion this caused i.e. the lack of a main protagonist. This certainly proved the case, but very quickly it became apparent that there is absolutely no possibility of grasping the role/significance of any one character in a scene (unless they're one of the major players), nevermind recall a hundred pages later when they are briefly re-introduced how they fit into the greater world scheme. But this mattered little, because I simply didn't care enough about any one them to lament my lack of appreciation of their purpose in a scene due to my ignorance of the character.

In fact I soon came to the conclusion that by creating a mammoth cast of characters the author has beguiled readers into believing `A Game of Thrones' is a novel with boundless depth. It isn't- there is a good story of warring houses at its core that could have worked equally well with a much smaller cast- but there is absolutely no necessity in referring to countless royals, knights, squires, advisors and all of their relations, except in an attempt to convince readers that this is a novel of epic scope. It isn't; there are no relationships here, background characters react predictably in sympathy with the plot and even the relationships between the main characters are paper thin. In actuality they spend most of their time apart and in the company of strangers lamenting their isolation (usually mutely). I desperately craved rich, lengthy, intelligent dialogue between the main players, but it never materialised. Which is astonishing considering the novel's length, but if you're wondering what it's filled with the answer is simple- double, triple and quadruple barrel character names.

The treatment of women in this story personally made me uneasy, not that men fare much better in how mercifully they are treated or tactfully portrayed, but it seemed to me that the author had taken the medieval setting and its associated lack of equality in the sexes to an extreme. Perhaps many readers appreciate the historical sense of accuracy to such a depiction, but for a modern fantasy story I felt that the female characters deserved more than to be portrayed either as dim-witted, bitter and power-hungry, or in an overly-sexualised manner (yes, there's one exception, Arya is great).

I was prompted to read this book by the television series, because I always prefer reading the book before viewing the dramatization of the story. This novel ends without resolution and I doubt very much I'll be picking up any of the sequels to `A Game of Thrones' in novel format. So I'm grateful the series was commissioned; that way at least I can obtain closure once all of the books in the series are adapted for the small screen.

I progressed through this novel at a generally steady pace, I enjoyed it very much at times, but I didn't find it nourishing. On the contrary; sad to say I found the pickings meagre.


Another Earth [DVD]
Another Earth [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Mapother
Price: 5.50

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epically understated, 4 May 2012
This review is from: Another Earth [DVD] (DVD)
Billed as a science-fiction film, I was expecting just that. `Another Earth' is in fact a drama with a science-fiction plot conceit. This becomes evident in the first few minutes of the opening of the movie. But for all those of you who may have watched the trailer (slack-jawed, if you're anything like me) and have developed expectations of an epic, arresting experience...you needn't worry, because it is exactly that, only with more of a down-to-earth (no pun intended) tone than the synopsis suggests.

A film like this comes along once every couple of years at most- startling in its presentation, intoxicating in its story and blending many different elements with apparent ease and to mesmerizing effect i.e. art-house style cinematography and an alternatingly heart-pounding and delicate score galvanized by powerful story-telling. It crystalizes the banality of the modern film industry.

The last time I had such a strong reaction to a film was `Moon' with Sam Rockwell and there are parallels to be drawn between the two films. They represent the first-time director's projects for Mike Cahill and Duncan Jones, both films brought the science-fiction genre to a wider audience, both were released to critical acclaim if not immediate public appreciation and both center on the bittersweet story of a central protagonist.

Not wanting to give anything away, or raise expectations as to the content, I would only say that in relation to the characters- the actors on screen display a dazzling array of human emotion in a very heart-felt and understated manner. In relation to the plot the audience is kept guessing scene by scene and while attempting to read between the lines of the complex and fascinating characters, the twists in the plot come genuinely unexpectedly and profoundly.

Brit Marling is a revelation. Had she not co-written this film I can't imagine her being cast- she's simply too beautiful and certainly her beauty has been used to promote this film. But even though -unlike the billboard art- she's shabbily dressed, wearing little make-up and appears generally unkempt for the majority of this movie she's stunning throughout. What's surprising though is that her beauty is equaled if not surpassed by her acting ability, which is phenomenal. She has a presence on screen that is utterly compelling.

`Another Earth' is a subtle and beautiful film. It delivers a poignant message with a gentle whisper, rather than the typical approach these days, which seems to be with a sledgehammer.

The ending is abrupt. The ending leaves you wanting so much more. But the ending is appropriate beyond words and once you exhale your disappointment, you're left uplifted by the bravery of the film-maker in daring to give you just enough and not one shred more.


City of Dragons: The Rain Wild Chronicles Book Three
City of Dragons: The Rain Wild Chronicles Book Three
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Hardcover

83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sub-standard, 27 April 2012
Each of this author's first three trilogies; `Farseer', `Liveship Traders' and `Tawny Man' boasted outstanding character development, beautiful prose and momentously engrossing plot developments. The publication of the `Soldier Son' trilogy marked a divergence that surprised many with its less romantic style and less epic story, but was still a series that bore all the hallmarks of this author in its wealth of detail, gripping story and characters whose lives you felt yourself living. It was a series I greatly enjoyed and would recommend. The `Rain Wilds Chronicles' series (or more accurately- quartet, as it will be when the final book, `Blood of Dragons' is published in the UK in March 2013) is, once again, a divergence from the formula of Hobb's early successes.

'City of Dragons' is the shortest book so far in the series (at 425 pages, shorter even than `Dragon Keeper' and `Dragon Haven'), but more disappointingly- the novel begins with the pace once again feeling flat, there is little action and the character arcs evaporate rather than culminate. My sense with this series is that, unlike the authors first four trilogies, there is very little exploration of the profound consequences on the political and social landscape of the setting, which must surely result from the profound discoveries made by the main characters. The return of dragons as lords of the three realms at the closure of the `Tawny Man' trilogy promised much change for the Six Duchies, Bingtown, the Rain Wilds, the Cursed Shore and beyond. Those changes have sadly not materialized sufficiently in this series, with little sense of ripples extending outwards from the small band of Dragons, Elderlings and Humans at the center of this story.

`City of Dragons' is however an improvement in that area. In particular I very much enjoyed Malta's story-arc in this novel, but suspect this only proved so satisfying because I felt a connection with this character having read the Liveship Traders trilogy in which she figured prominently and evolved so intricately, while her new compatriots in the Rain Wild Chronicles feel woefully two-dimensional by comparison.

As the `Rain Wilds Chronicles' progresses the small faults become less easy to justify; the lack of a first-person narrative to engage the reader, the continued squabbling among (and lack of intelligence in the dialogue of) the dragons, the general sense of aimlessness in the plot and most significantly for me- the disconnection between the events experienced by the dragons and their keepers, and the greater world view.

All things considered though `City of Dragons' is an adequate read. Granted, it's slow to start (about one hundred pages worth of slow) and it's a terribly short book at 425 pages, and of course the standard is nowhere near as high as this author's best. The major disappoint though is that I just don't feel any excitement or anticipation for the concluding installment, except that it will mark the end of this series and the beginning of the next (and hopefully superior) one.

The great shame with `City of Dragons' is that the book ends so quickly and especially so as the quality really plummets in the final couple of chapters. This series is beginning to travel the same road as Naomi Novik's `Temeraire' series, since 'City of Dragons' is only as substantive as a handful of chapters in one of Hobb's early novels, not the satisfyingly rich, layered and self-contained story it should be.

If `Blood of Dragons' boasts a similar word count as `City of Dragons' then the publishers have truly done a disservice to readers by not merging these titles. Usually the yearly wait between the publications of the novels in a Robin Hobb series are justified by the length and quality of her stories. Even though I enjoyed parts of this novel, it is undoubtedly not shaping up to be worth the wait in the same fashion.

Therefore, I would recommend setting your expectations quite low before beginning this title and certainly not to the lofty heights of this author's finest past achievements in the genre. I'm now hoping for a satisfying and swift conclusion to this series, and let's face it, the final book, `Blood of Dragons', has much to prove...


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