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The Road Home [DVD] [2001]
The Road Home [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Ziyi Zhang

5.0 out of 5 stars The real meaning of love, 17 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Road Home [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
This is my favourite movie of all time. Even the most cynical heart will melt because this is love in its pure and natural state: lifelong and all consuming. That such a great love story can evolve in such a hum-drum Chinese village during this period of Chinese history is truly heart-warming. There is no Hollywood hyperbole and the movie is constructed with sensitivity by a really great director, Zhang Yimou. The acting by Zhang Ziyi is nothing short of perfect. I can't fault this movie and it restores my faith in what love really should be about. You will not regret buying it.


Samsonite 2 - Roll Suspension Cabin Trolley 55 Cm, black
Samsonite 2 - Roll Suspension Cabin Trolley 55 Cm, black
Offered by Valigeria

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality large bag with convenient pockets but difficult zips, 31 July 2014
I travel a lot and I'm quite picky about cabin bags because they have to fit my rather exacting criteria for size, quality and convenience. As regards size, this bag is excellent because the space within the confines of what airlines allow on board is maximised. I don't think it would be possible to find a cabin bag with more space. Spinners may be in fashion but you lose space and they are too mobile on sloping floors.

As regards quality, Samsonite is excellent and none of my Samsonite bags has let me down in 10 years of travelling with them. I especially like the integrated handles which is a design strength. All zips and material (inside and out) are good quality. The interior has a strap, a netted and zipped side pocket along the length of one side, and a zipped flat pocket on the inside lid (good for flat documents).

For convenience, the front pockets are very good for items you may wish access on board or when passing through checkin/security/immigration etc. The larger bottom pocket will easily fit a tablet or small laptop and will accommodate up to an A4 sized book.

The one criticism that I have of the pocket design (reason for lost star) is that there is only one zip on each so that the zip has to be drawn in 3 directions to completely close the pocket. There is no inside material pocket to stop things falling out at the sides and that's not good if your valuables are stored in the pockets. The zip also doesn't run smoothly round the corners which is quite important when you are trying to rapidly open and close pockets with one hand. I really don't understand why Samsonite doesn't replace the top pocket with a security pocket - just a simple unidirectional zipped pocket accessible from above and with a 10 cm depth just to securely hold tickets, passport etc. It seems one has to buy very expensive brand luggage to get this feature, and the less expensive luggage brands like Samsonite don't do what seems obviously necessary to me. Perhaps other people have another bag for valuables, but some airlines only allow one bag on board.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed, 7 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I paid more for this because it was supposed to be a genuine Nokia product and I assumed that the battery would last as long as the original when new. I was wrong. It lasts about the same time as the cheaper clones that you can find on Amazon, which I have also tried. So you can expect about 50% of the mAh compared to your original battery. If like me you have kept the E71 partly because of its battery longevity, my advice is to go and buy several clone batteries and carry them with you as I don't think there is any battery out there which matches the original.


The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia
The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia
Price: £10.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly realistic, 7 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is so much propaganda about North Korea on both sides of the DMZ that it is hard for the novice on this subject to choose one book that explains everything in a realistic way, but this is it. The author presents the impartial facts in a digestible format and makes predictions on what will happen to NK that are sound and based common sense and a much deeper knowledge of the Korean psychology than most Western politicians can fathom. The "unpredictable" actions of NK leaders become entirely predictable when you understand what motivates them. Korean culture, both north and south, is hard for the Western mind to grasp but this book helps the reader to understand the mindset. Why for example do South Koreans ignore the presence of death camps just a few hundred km north of their border - most South Koreans don't even know they are there and those that do are in denial. Left-wing South Koreans of a certain generation admire, even revere the NK leadership, so how can this be when it is obvious that the Kim dynasty has failed their people so completely. The explanations for conundrums such as these are all in this book, which is both authoritative and accessible.


DIGIFLEX 58MM Wide Angle Lens for Canon 350D 400D 450D 500D 1000
DIGIFLEX 58MM Wide Angle Lens for Canon 350D 400D 450D 500D 1000
Offered by Digiflex
Price: £30.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and cheerful, 13 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As many other reviewers have found, this lens is a rough and ready solution for occasional wide-angle and macro requirements and the results are quite acceptable. It can be a bit fiddly separating the two lenses because they can get stuck together, so a touch of oil on the screw fitting would probably be a good idea. On a Canon EF-S 18-55 mm lens, the corners of the viewfinder and photo are obscured by the lens body at 18 mm which is remedied by zooming to about 21 mm or more. It obviously slightly reduces the width of the frame so the only other corrective option would be image cropping if you need the full width at 18 mm. Likewise, software can straighten out any barrelling effects.

Probably someone has mentioned this but it's worth noting that the barrel is slightly fluted such that the filter screw fitting at the front end is 62 mm. So it goes from 58 to 62 mm and if you use a 58 mm filter on your existing lens, it will not fit the front end of this lens. Actually, if you use a filter for protection rather than effect, it's debatable whether you need one at the price of this lens. A good UV filter is about half the price.

It's a useful small lens add-on in case of any chance opportunities, but clearly you should invest in dedicated lenses if you are likely to want more than occasional use.


Mimicry Pet Hamster (Caramel Brown)
Mimicry Pet Hamster (Caramel Brown)
Offered by JapanPremium
Price: £24.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curious behavioural evolution...is it alive?, 10 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for my mother who has early dementia and is in a care home with not much to do. I thought it might entertain her, which it is doing very effectively (if the care staff remember to turn it on).

Curiously, this little critter has evolved its behaviour since I first inserted the battery. At the first few times of switching it on, it answered back too quickly, such that I had just started to say something and it responded with the half-syllable that I had managed to say. This was disappointing and I had resigned myself to losing my money on yet another another non-functioning gimmick.

However, after letting the hamster rest for a day and trying it again, it started answering back full phrases after I had stopped speaking. After yet another day's rest, it got animated and started moving when speaking. I left it with my mother and I half expect it to be walking and talking the next time I visit her.

I have no idea why it didn't work as designed straight out of the box and I can only assume that it was the culture shock of the UK after having been brought into the world in Japan, from where it is shipped directly (delivery time was quite long). It's fun and cute but the electronics clearly need a bit more refinement.


No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Great retro phone but with limited utility for the elderly, 5 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This phone appears to be targeted at the fans of novelty retro products who do not want to install or cannot use a landline. If this is you, then I would say that the phone lives up to its appearance and specified functionality (five stars).

For use by the elderly:
I have an elderly mother in a care home and I struggle to find products that have been designed to be used by the elderly with a much reduced mental age and ability and zero technical skills. This phone seemed a good idea because its shape is likely to be recognisable by someone who used to use something similar as a landline in their bygone days and its simple lift-the-receiver use would therefore come naturally even if the elderly person had dementia. To this extent, the product was a success and my mother can answer the phone without intervention from others.

However, there are a couple of things that let the phone down for this purpose. The first is the low volume of the phone ringing. It would seem obvious to make an adjustable ring volume but this phone does not have one. For the hard of hearing, how about making a flashing light when the phone is ringing? Again, it seems obvious but it's not included. The maximum volume of the handset speaker is just about acceptable for a partially deaf person but it is not loud and the very deaf may not be able to hear it.

Finally - my biggest grumble - the battery inside has a low capacity. In a small mobile phone, I could understand why because space is limited, but when there is all that space available inside this great big retro landline-lookalike phone, why not use a larger battery? My mother is using the phone in a care home and the battery has to be constantly recharged. This requires a carer to notice that it needs charging and they don't like to leave it plugged in all the time. Very frustrating because I then have to keep phoning the care home office to ask them to plug it in for charging. I would say that on battery, the standby time is about 3 days with about 15 min. use per day.

In summary, it's a great phone for anyone who is independent and mobile but does not have sufficient functionality and battery capacity for independent use by the elderly and infirm.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 9, 2014 10:20 AM GMT


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant WiFi, 21 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This has to be one of the most useful devices I have ever bought. I travel quite a lot and I am tired of paying wifi charges in hotels, so this is a brilliant solution to wifi for all my devices. Previously I had a 3 dongle for my laptop, but that obviously restricted my internet access to my laptop only. Now I can simply turn on the mifi and have instant internet for simultaneous use of iPhone, iPad, laptop, Skype phone etc. (up to 5 devices). I stayed with a 3 data SIM, so I haven't yet tangled with settings for any other provider's SIM card. The potential for buying data SIMs in other countries is very attractive, but I haven't tried it yet. The speed is amazing and I have been on-line watching YouTube videos at the same time as my son who is gaming across the internet and it has all worked seamlessly. If you are going to stick with a 3 data SIM, you should be aware that the mobile coverage of this company is a lot worse in many "remoter" areas than some of the other providers. I cannot get a signal either in my home or at work several miles away, both within Aberdeen city limits, which is very poor, but nothing to do with the Huawei device, which is brilliant.

The only down-side to this device that I have discovered after 3 months' use - and it wasn't so bad as to remove a whole star from the rating - is the relatively poor battery life. It actually gives only 1-2 hours on one full charge, so you have to be constantly aware when you are not using it and turn it off. However, the device is supplied with a (very short) USB cable, so if you buy a power socket USB adapter/charger and just plug it in, you can leave and forget. Alternatively, you can buy a 3600mAh Li-Ion Battery pack with replacement back panel for GBP40 which says it will give around 12 hours of power. In reality that probably means 8-10 hours.


Arcon 3D Architect (PC)
Arcon 3D Architect (PC)

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An architectural misfit, 28 April 2013
This review is from: Arcon 3D Architect (PC) (CD-ROM)
Arcon's website says that some of its top of the range products with top of the range prices are used by architects, and that Arcon 3D Architect is at the bottom end of their price range. Even so, its current price at GBP 168 suggests something worthwhile for the non-Architect who would like to draft-design their own house even if the final details are left to someone who knows what they are doing. After a few hours on the learning curve and watching video tutorials, I found it hard to understand who exactly Arcon imagines will use this program. It seems to be aimed at people who want standard designs, as with home design programs that cost 2-10 times less.

It has more options than cheap software, but it seems to be just as constrained in what it can do. For example, just about all the physical windows come in a standard designs with handles. Maybe there is a place to turn off the handles but it is not obvious, and the only options offered are open inwards and outwards or right stop and left stop. Supposing you put a window 20 feet off the ground, are you really supposed to keep a handle on it, and does it really matter what direction it opens?

When opening the software, you are faced with a blank screen. If you open File>New..., up comes a form for "Floor Properties" statistics - not very intuitive, with headings such as "Head Height"...(errr, height above the average head???). Continuing the long tradition of companies like Microsoft, "Help" tells you nothing at all helpful. It makes no mention of scale or anything that one might expect in an initial options window. Clicking OK produces a grid plan. Logically, the first thing I want to do is define the size and units of the plan but, curiously, the plan stays one size and you have to change the scale from the standard 1:100 using File>Project Options..., which irritatingly can't be summoned with a right mouse click.

Plan navigation on this program is a serious flaw. In any type of design software it's important to move with the flow of your ideas, which means using the mouse or trackerball features to zoom in and out fluidly and drag or rotate with a left mouse click. Not in this program. The 3D representation in Arcon 3D Architect inexplicably uses an arrow-pad in the menu bar which you have to click with the mouse cursor. The mouse wheel should allow a zoom function but instead it moves the whole screen up and down. The zoom has to be worked using a bizarre key combination of Ctrl+ and Ctrl-, which on some keyboards necessitates taking your right hand off the mouse. Even Ctrl-z and Ctrl-x would be awkward, but it's a special kind of warped mind that chooses keys at the opposite end of the keyboard on some computers. Everything seems awkward in Design mode. Objects like doors and windows don't snap to the right size and everything must be done manually through options windows and arranged in position with the mouse cursor - not precise enough unless you are zoomed right in (bring on the extended finger Ctrl+). Even arrow keys don't move a selected object.

I admit that I have not persevered much with this program, and maybe it gets better as you rise up the learning curve, but I can see very clearly that it is not intuitive, and it seems not intended for anything other than designing a standard house. If that is what you want to do, I would suggest buying a design off the shelf or using a much cheaper Home Design program. If you want to do something creative, this program will drive you crazy with frustration. If the top end of Arcon's range is equally frustrating, I should imagine that the architects are throwing themselves off the top of their buildings by the time that they finish.

If you want to make a draft design to visualize your creative dream house in 3D, I really recommend Google's SketchUp. It's free and it's wonderfully intuitive. Within hours I had a great design which I could see inside and out in 3D. It is also sensibly predictive allowing you to draw exactly correct lines with a perspective view. You can't make an architectural plan from the free version, but in my view, it's better to combine SketchUp for design drafting with a sophisticated architectural program (maybe used by an architect) than to use a "halfway house", such as Arcon 3D Architect.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2013 8:52 AM BST


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