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Apple-eater "Severn Boy" (Worcestershire, England)

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Garmin nuvi 2595LMT 5" Sat Nav with UK and Full Europe Maps, Lifetime Map Updates and Traffic Alerts and Bluetooth
Garmin nuvi 2595LMT 5" Sat Nav with UK and Full Europe Maps, Lifetime Map Updates and Traffic Alerts and Bluetooth
Price: £124.90

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great, but not designed for humans....especially on traffic warnings, 26 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I liked many aspects of this device. Compared to my old one (about 4 years old, also from Garmin) it is much quicker at calculating routes, and at working with you if you go off the route it planned, for example if you have to re-route because of accidents, or you just miss a turn. The old one used to spend ages trying to get you back on to the old route before accepting that it needed to recalculate.

The screen is clear and bright, and the sound quality very good. You also generally get a decent amount of warning time before exits and junctions.

But the traffic warning system is a disaster zone. It only seems to work on motorways, and generlly relays information you can already see on the motorway info gantries - in those countries such as the UK and France, which have them.

Also, to actually get detail about the problem, you have to drill into the system, operating buttons on a press screen, and reading tiny text - all of which is absolutely lethal if you are driving a car. And let's face it, it is not all that uncommon for peope who are using a car sat nav to be driving a car.

Yangtse Incident [DVD]
Yangtse Incident [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Todd
Price: £7.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, an overlooked classic, 26 July 2012
This review is from: Yangtse Incident [DVD] (DVD)
OK, the acting can look a little stilted, to put it mildly. And the film's greatest strength, i.e. the lack of special effects, is also its greatest weakness.

On the plus side, the ship looks very real, for very obvious reasons. And by the standards of its day, the action scenes looked remarkably convincing. That said - I'm no military man, but shouldn't the ships guns have been recoiling? That's a question, by the way. It certainly looked like they should have been. Also, would the ship have been firing as rapidly as the soundtrack implied? Again, that's a genuine question. I just can't imagine that they could have re-loaded, aimed, and fired, that quickly.

All in all, it was yet another of those films, and stories, which makes me wonder what we have become, as a nation. Every day our local newspaper is full of people simpering over minor inconveniences that befall them - do any of us really know what a hard time is any more.

That said, even though I don't do pc, I did feel that the whole thing was bit too British. Were any Chinese killed? You wouldn't know it from watching the film. And at the end of the day, this happened in China, whose territory the RN ship was operating. How would we react if the Chinese sent a battle-ship up the Severn?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2012 12:31 PM BST

Midwinter Sacrifice (Malin Fors)
Midwinter Sacrifice (Malin Fors)
Price: £3.99

1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Promising start, but turns out terrible, a boring story, badly told, 17 Jun 2012
The initial premise, of a corpse found hanging in a tree in the middle of a very cold winter, was very interesting and well set up, as was the introduction of the policewoman central figure.

However, some things which started off as moderately interesting devices became very irritating, very quickly.

Firstly, seeing things from the standpoint of the corpse at certain stages. An unusual tick at the start, and almost (almost) coherent in the context of the book, when the corpse was still, so to speak, fresh. But as time went on, and the author carried on using it, it became at best irritating, at worst downright daft, undermining the book's and story's credibility.

Secondly, the extra detail about the local geography and social history of the Linkoping area. At first, useful background detail, helping to flesh out the story. But it just became way too much, especially with the author's frequent digressions into and remarks on the subjeots of immigration and multiculturalism, which did nothing for the story, literally, but were intensely tedious. No one likes to be lectured to, and that is what this amounted to.

Thirdly, the story just seemed to meander, taking way too long to arrive at a not particularly interesting conclusion.

Fourthly, that cold winter. Yes, it gets cold in Sweden. I get that. I've even been in Sweden when it was even by their standards excessively cold. They shut down the airports and rail networks for a day, open hesitantly the day after, and get on with it. No one made a big deal about it, certainly not the way the author does - and I know that the time I was there, it was the coldest winter in over a decade, so colder than the time covered by the book.

So, if you want a poorly written, meandering detective story, tedious descriptions of weather, a lecture about immigration, and some irritating narrative devices, this is probably the book for you.

All that being said, there was, sporadically, some pretty good writing and character description. But I would not read another book by this author, or recommend him to anyone else.

Fujifilm FinePix F500 Digital Camera - Red (16MP, 15x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD
Fujifilm FinePix F500 Digital Camera - Red (16MP, 15x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, with some drawbacks - let down by picture quality, 14 Jun 2012
I've had mine now for about 6 months, and am generally pretty impressed, but have found a few niggles.

I was looking for a decent advanced compact digital camera, having just had to part company with an old SLR, and having 'outgrown' the low end digitals I had been using. Alongside all that, I have an iPhone 4S, which has a pretty good camera, but which has its limits.

The reasons I opted for the Fuji were that it was reasonably priced, good looking, sits well in the hand, and has a metal case, giving it a much more solid feel than the competition - important to me, as I am very, very, clumsy!

And after six months, I would give it a massive thumbs up. It has not gone wrong. It rarely takes a bad picture. It has a wide range of features, making it perfect for point and press photography, but also allowing you control when and if you want it.

Many of the features, such as face recognition, are very well done - the recognition is excellent, as is the ability to make photobooks within the camera.

However, there are some downsides.

Chief among these, the fact that the camera never seems to take a particularly brilliant picture. The iPhone handles point and press party/portrait shots way better. And equivalent offerings from the likes of Sony seem to outclass the Fuji, too.

Worst of all is the video. It all works, but it is very, very dark.

So, a great camera in many ways - it just doesn't take brilliant pictures. Adequate, sure, just not all that good.

Sony SLTA37 16.1MP Translucent Mirror Technology Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55mm Lens - Black
Sony SLTA37 16.1MP Translucent Mirror Technology Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55mm Lens - Black

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for me! apart from the scan!, 6 Jun 2012
So first, a few words about me....It's my first DSLR. I've been using compact digitals and the iPhone camera for years, but not a digital SLR. I use them all frequently, but I am no specialist or even enthusiast. I just like taking decent pictures.

I had a pretty good SLR up till last summer, but it was 20 years old and the pictures were getting worse. Last year I spent about £40 on getting a new battery, a few rolls of film, and getting the pictures developed, and the results were tarrible. The pictures were just bad, no doubt at least partly due to operator incompetence, but also I suspect the quality of films and processing has diminished over the years.

So, I decided to take the plunge and go for a decent DSLR. Why the Sony? Well, it was within budget, and I had never heard anything bad about the alpha series. Not very scientific, but it worked for me, and it certainly seemed more convincing the equivalent Canon.

The camera looks and feels solid, and fits well in the hand. Contols are logically laid out, and I managed to take pretty good pictures straight from the start. So far, I've done portraits, sports shots, landscapes, all in a variety of light conditions.

Everything is fine. I managed to capture some great sports moves (marttial arts kicks), and the only failure was on continuous, in low light.

My only whinge so far is Sony's software. Everything, even the product registration, was clunky, compared to other equivalent devices (a Fujifilm compact and an iPhone) that I've registered recently, and for which I've downloaded and installed software.

It does seem to confirm all the reasons why Sony has problems at hte moment - they seem to be great with devices, not that brilliant with customers.

But still, so far, great camera. Be interested to see what I'm saying in a few months...I'll keep you posted

Note 12/8/12 - amendment. I'm downgrading from 5 stars to 4. I am still very happy with this camera, but have found that the scan function really doesn't work. I've tried so many times, but it's virtually impossible to get it to track properly, generally cutting out, because you are moving to fast or too slow - but never indicating what speed is actually required. I've managed to get scan shots, but they are on a very narrow angle.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2013 2:29 PM GMT

La Vie En Rose [DVD]
La Vie En Rose [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marion Cotillard
Price: £3.76

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 5 for the acting, 1 for the story and editing - and don't mention the war.., 3 May 2012
This review is from: La Vie En Rose [DVD] (DVD)
The acting and filming were brilliant, as were many of the individual scenes.

Piaf's life was clearly fascinating and tragic, and the film portrayed that superbly.

However, the story line was horribly confused and confusing. I know the French love messing about with time in films, and stretching stories out, but this film was about a third too long, and very difficult to follow. Any continuity was destroyed by the whacky editing,.

I don't know what effect they were trying to achieve, but it looked like someone had just picked up clippings from the floor, dropped them in a bin, and reassemled them.

Also, why the big gap between 1940 and 1945. I know the French can be a bit touchy about the war, but too much time has elapsed for it to be allowed to be omitted, and her behaviour was highly controversial.

Oh, and she had a child who died. Horrible, highly important in Piaf's story, but I just drop it in at the end, the way the film did.....
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2012 3:43 PM GMT

The Simple Truth
The Simple Truth
Price: £3.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor writing by an obviously talented author, 30 April 2012
This review is from: The Simple Truth (Kindle Edition)
First book by this author that I've ever read. He clearly has a devoted fan club, and some of the writing at the start showed that he is clearly very talented. Lately, most of my reading has been in foreign languages that I speak fluently, or translated from others that I don't. The English in this book seemed poorly translated from a foreign language, at times.

But the whole thing got pretty tedious very quickly. The character sketches of the main protagonists were horribly clunky, both in style and content. He could have just dropped them into the book in a more opportune, easily digestible, format. And the set up of the obvious love affair between the young couple was jaw droppingly badly written.

Maybe there was a good story behind it all. I just found the writing so poor I couldn't be bothered staying around to find out.

Elegy [DVD]
Elegy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Kingsley
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £3.49

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious porn - and not very good porn at that, 23 Mar 2012
This review is from: Elegy [DVD] (DVD)
I just found the whole thing tedious, wish fulfilment, and an excuse for Ms Cruz to get her kit off.

Nothing wrong with that, but she seemed a bit old for the role, and there wasn't much else to the story. The dialogue seemed horribly stilted, and the Kingsley character just not particularly attractive for the totty magnet he was supposed to be in the film

Aftermath [DVD]
Aftermath [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sofie Gråbøl
Price: £8.58

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully filmed and acted examination of parental grief, 19 Mar 2012
This review is from: Aftermath [DVD] (DVD)
Other reviewers have said enough about the plot, but it basically concerns how two parents react after the death of a beloved teenaged daughter.

I found the whole thing convincing, including some of the stupid, illogical things some of the characters did. That is what people do, after all.

The ending wasn't neat, and certainly not particularly happy - but why should it be? Things rarely are in real life, after all.

If there is a weak point, it is probably the inclusion of the Swedish actress Lena Endre. I don't know why, I just don't think she is a particularly good actress, or a massively bad one, yet she seems to pop up everywhere in Scandi films - and in this, she just seemed to be included to broaden the film's interest, making it saleable in the Swedish market.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2012 3:56 PM GMT

Cloverfield [DVD]
Cloverfield [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lizzy Caplan
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £2.92

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very novel story and filming = SPOILER ALERT, 11 Mar 2012
This review is from: Cloverfield [DVD] (DVD)
I really can understand why some people would object to the camerawork, It is a bit shaky and offputting. Also, the characters are broadly speaking not very sympathetic, and they do some very stupid things.

But then again, the story is what it is. The attempts by a group of fairly ordinary people to deal with a situation no one could prepare for. I've been to some pretty terrible parties, but none involved a massive alien dropping in and destroying the town I was in at the time. How would any of us react? Not rationally or sensibly, I would imagine.

That said, the handheld thing wasn't necessary, and didn't add all that much to the experience. And the initial build up did take a very long time.

And there were a couple of 'technical' issues. The size of the monster seemed to vary quite considerably. Certainly, the way it reached up to bring down the helicopter at the end would have involved it being a lot bigger than it seemed in the rest of the film. And the girl who had been trapped with a large spike through her shoulder - wouldn't she have bled a lot more than that when they freed her? Wouldn't she have passed out from the pain? And would she have been able to outrun the cameraman?

But still, I found the story novel and interesting enough, and I have watched it a few times now. It really is brilliant in many ways, but I am givign it four rather than five because of the minor blemishes mentioned above. Still well worth a watch, though.

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