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G. H. Fraser-sampson (London, UK)

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BT 2000 Cordless DECT Phone
BT 2000 Cordless DECT Phone
Price: £19.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware - no answering machine, 22 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this phone because Amazon said it had an answering machine facility (see table above). It doesn't. Feeling rather sore as I thorew away a perfectly good phone to "upgrade" to this one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 3, 2013 5:13 PM GMT

England's Summer of Cricket 2012 [DVD]
England's Summer of Cricket 2012 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mark Nicholas
Price: £10.50

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing backward step, 21 Nov 2012
Oh dear, with these DVDs we are going back to the bad old days of dramatically compacted highlights when every ball is either a four or a wicket, and voiceover summaries in between. I thought we had got away from that. The earlier DVDs in this series, and also the Ashes ones were excellent. However, whereas the last Ashes series has 5 Tests on 5 DVDs plus a few one day matches, this one has 6 Tests on 2 DVDs pus the equivalent of about 3 ODI series and a lot of T20. Even if you compare it directly against another of the same series (2006), that has 700 minutes of cricket whereas this has less than 500 (and much of that non-Test).

Sadly this just doesn't work. Result, a very disappointing and frustrating experience which is completely out of character with its predecessors. It is unclear why the producers felt the need to do this, but it must be one of the worst decisions ever. I strongly recommend cricket lovers not to buy this product.

ROK Espresso Coffee Maker
ROK Espresso Coffee Maker
Offered by Design 55 online
Price: £100.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simplicity beats complexity, 11 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: ROK Espresso Coffee Maker
This device is a classic example of simplicity triumphing over complexity.

I previously onwed a top of the line Gaggia "beans to coffee" machine which cost over £600 some years ago. This looked great, and was very convenient, but never made a decent cup of coffee in its life. In order to get an even vaguely acceptable strength it was necessary to have all the controls cranked up to maximum, which meant that only a dribble of coffee emerged at the end. It also went wrong regularly about every ten months and had to go off to be repaired. I was told that the issue with these machines was that they could not build up enough steam pressure (hence the problem with coffee strength) and that what I really needed was a pump action machine.

Again, I went for the best one in ths shop, paying from memory about £500 for a Pavoni. This proved worse than the Gaggia. THe coffee produced was either a large cup of luke warm faintly coloured water or a reasonable quantity of weak coffee. I tried experiementing with different pump timings and techniques, and bean ginder settings (yes, I bought one of those too) to no avail except to discover that if you put enough finely ground coffee into the machine it stopped working altogether. After about six months one of the seals blew (on a brand new machine) and I gratefully put it in the car and took it to the recycling dump.

When I got the Presso it took me some time to work out how to use it because I really could not believe that it could be as simple as pouring boiling water in the top and pressing down, but it is, and it works fantastically, producing great tasting coffee every time. For the purists, there is no crema on the espresso, but taste-wise it is infintely superior to anything either of my electrical machines produced. Just wait twenty to thirty seconds depending on how strong you like your coffee and then press down slowly and steadily.

How sad that in this day and age manufacturers cannot produce an elcetrical machine which is superior to a mechanical device. There is simply no contest on either price or qualilty. I recommend the Presso unreservedly. Zero points to both Gaggia and Pavoni.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 14, 2012 10:59 AM GMT

Engineering an Empire: The Complete Series (6-Disc Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Engineering an Empire: The Complete Series (6-Disc Collector's Edition) [DVD]

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 12 Jun 2011
Very, very American, including some blatant US propaganda about "democracy" and NATO. Includes some interesting content, though little one does not already know. An awful presenter called Peter Weller, of whom I have never heard, but who seems an unlikely candidate as a historian, and barks at you aggressively like a drill sergeant.

Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire (4-Disc Set) [DVD]
Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire (4-Disc Set) [DVD]
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £18.16

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 12 Jun 2011
OK if you know absolutely nothing about the subject, but oherwise very simplistic and dumbed-down. Full of basic factual errors. The fear of invasion from north of the Alp had been aroud for a long time before Marius. The Empire did not collapse suddenly in less than a hundred years, but lingered for about three centuries. Roman soldiers are seen fighting in the open against Barbarians whereas the whole point of the Roman army was that they fought in tightly closed formations. Some very irritating America speakers, at least one of whom, from the deep south, sounds like a football commentator. Also, made for American TV with a commercial break, and consequent annoying recap very few minutes which nobody has even bothered to edit out. Vey disappointing. A subject like this deserves a much better treatment.

C-PEN 3.5 Scanning Pens
C-PEN 3.5 Scanning Pens
Offered by Jourist
Price: £78.50

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Careful! This may not do what you think., 27 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Please be careful if, after reading blurb about "use while travelling" you are looking to buy a pen scanner that functions as a sort of digital notebook which can scan text from books and store it in memory. It cannot do this. It only works when attached to a computer as an input device. As such it is pretty pointless, since you can type someting almost as quickly as it can scan it. Not sure why they did not design it to do something really useful, but there you are.

I cannot say for sure how well it works as an input device as, after reading the booklet, I could not be bothered even to take it out of the box. A classic example of a clever solution in search of a problem. I will be sending it back.

Update August 2011: Just took this out of the box for the first time and loaded the software, out of curiosity if nothing else, and cannot get the scanner to work at all.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 7, 2012 6:50 PM GMT

Vincere [DVD] [2009]
Vincere [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Giovanna Mezzogiorno
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Vincere [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I was really looking forward to watching this as I love Italian history, but found it disappointing. It was not even that great historically. For example, it made out that it was Mussolini who persuaded Italians that entering the First World War was a good thing, whereas actually it was d'Annunzio, who does not even get a mention, despite being the major figure in Italian politis (and a war hero to boot) until at least 1920.

The cinematography is fantastic, and exactly what one expects from a high quality Italian film. However the story is mawkish, even for what is clearly intended as a woman's film, and despite the fact that I like long films, it felt at least half an hour too long. I think a better approach might to have been to centre it on Mussolini and feature ALL the women in his life.

If you are a woman, just broken up with a man, and are feeling that life cannot get any worse, then I recommend this film. Oherwise, it's likely to prove a disappointment.

Angels, Dragons & Vultures
Angels, Dragons & Vultures
by Simon Acland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to my students, 12 Dec 2010
I teach Private Equity modules at a leading business school, and recommend this book to my students as their set text on venture capital. In my view it gives all the practical details you need to understand this exciting area, but without getting unduly technical.

The author had a long career as a venture capitalist and it shows. However, for the purposes of the book he is a poacher turned gamekeeper as it is written very much for the entrepreneur, giving helpful tips on how to minimise the amount of equity and/or value which he or she will lose from their company as a result of choosing venture backing.

It also helps that Acland's writing style is so accomplished - a testament doubtless to his other life as a historical novelist (at which, incidentally, he is also very good). I read the whole book straight through from cover to cover when I first got it, and it really was a pleasure to read.

Gaggia 74848 Platinum Vogue Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
Gaggia 74848 Platinum Vogue Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use, but very poor value for money, 15 Feb 2010
I had the fore-runner of this machine, which cost about GBP500 ten years ago. It was great for consistency, but very poor on quality. Even with all the settings cranked right up, it was incapable of producing a really strong cup of coffee - certainly nothing like you get in a coffee shop. On top of that, it went wrong regularly about every twelve months, requiring lengthy and costly servicing by hard-to-find Gaggia engineers. On one occasion the whole circuit board blew.

In order for it produce coffee of even moderately acceptable strength, it was necessary for the engineeer to adjust it so that it only produced a very small quantity, which meant that it was also expensive to operate, as you had to order a double espresso just to end up with the equivalent of a single.

A pity. I was looking for the ultimate coffee machine, and was told this was it. I now have a simple steel thing which cost me one hundredth of the price of my Gaggia, but which produces perfectly acceptable coffee.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2011 10:15 PM GMT

La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base
La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base
Offered by La Gondola
Price: £488.01

1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste of money!, 15 Feb 2010
I bought this machine having been disappointed with the top of the range Gaggia I had before. The Gaggia went wrong regularly about once a year, and could never produce a really strong cup of coffee, even with all the settings cranked up. I was assured this Pavoni was the best machine on the market.

Having read a few reviews on this site I find it hard to believe we are talking about the same machine. Even with the most expensive coffee beans known to man, it does not produce a strong, tasty cup of coffee. Instead it produces someting luke warm and anaemic. To top it all, after a few months and very occasional use it developed a bad leak and now spills water all over the work surface. Please save yourself a lot of time and trouble and do not buy this machione. For all its imperfections, I wish I had never got rid of the Gaggia.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2011 7:44 PM GMT

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