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The Pagan Christ
The Pagan Christ
Price: £7.56

4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the Christ myth., 29 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Pagan Christ (Kindle Edition)
As a young man I endeavoured to read major holy books cover to cover. Starting with the King James Bible and the first few chapters of Genesis I pretty quickly realised that this wasn't some primitive pre-science stab at explaining the world but obviously symbolic. I later learned that the biblical creation myth was taken as symbolic by many even at the birth of the Church. In the New Testament even a casual reader quickly sees that St Paul is talking of a purely celestial Christ he never met in the flesh who 'died for our sins' and he fails to mention anything else about the healing, teaching, miracle worker of the Gospels - and as the Pagan Christ demonstrates, these Gospel tales are largely based on Pagan tales and motifs. There's very little in the New Testament that seems to demand taking it literally. But for centuries people have done just that!

We no longer see the Bible as rich allegory and symbolic accounts of Man's relationship with a creator because we've suffered first the Roman church and, later, Christian fundamentalism telling us it is true in a bald, literal sense. This has actually robbed people of a spirituality - if the Bible isn't literally true then the next top is surely the fundamentalism of unsweetened scientific rationalism.

The Pagan Christ clearly lays out the case that Christian scriptures are not supposed to be literalist but are merely a retelling of older myths to appeal to the time and location in which they were written - essentially a synthesis of Jewish, Roman and Greek ideas built on top of myths that date back to Egypt. A great read.

Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV) (Bible Kjv)
Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV) (Bible Kjv)
by Collins
Edition: Leather Bound
Price: £13.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic edition, 13 Dec. 2014
I will try and make this review 'non religious'. Why? Because I think the Holy Bible is incredible reading matter whatever your religious convictions or lack of them.

Anyway, this is a fabulous edition. There are millions of Bibles around and dozens of different translations and paraphrases but if you want something portable (but not pocket-sized) with readable text and no added commentaries or bits and pieces this is the best.

The pages are made from thin 'Bible paper', which keeps the size down. The pages are edged in gold leaf while the cover is dark leather. There's an attractive slip case too. If you are buying a Bible because you are a believer or seeker, feel a need for a copy of the Holy Bible on your bookshelf for reference, or simply want to own an important book that has greatly influenced the English-speaking world from an academic standpoint, the plain yet pretty way this edition is presented is wonderful. It looks very much like what most people would imagine a 'Holy Bible' should look like - I certainly like Bibles that look, well, Bible-y.

The KJV is by far the best version - even if you are not religious and have never read a Bible before you will see how so many common phrases and idioms in the English language are drawn from this particular translation. It frequently sounds utterly majestic, which is why, I imagine, it still holds its own among all the other versions. The 400 year old English is rarely hard to understand compared to modern translations, even if you've never read literature of this vintage before.

For £20 RRP (or whatever lower price it is on Amazon at the moment) it's an absolute bargain.

Ukip Calypso
Ukip Calypso

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Bob Marley, 23 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Ukip Calypso (MP3 Download)
As a huge fan of classic-era reggae music from the offbeat riddims of Peter Andre's Mysterious Girl to All That She Wants by the legendary Ace of Base I was keen to check out this new record by Mike Read, who I couldn't remember if was in jail over Yewtree or not.

It turns out he's not suffered a sniff of that and free to continue his formidable musical career.

Once white working class 'skins' bopped to the early reggae sound before being sidetracked by far-right cockney Oi music. Now things have come full circle with the far-right supplying the riddims. Surely a win-win for everyone.

Crucial CT1024M550SSD1 1TB M550 SATA 6Gb/s 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive
Crucial CT1024M550SSD1 1TB M550 SATA 6Gb/s 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive
Price: £338.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hold fire on buying a new laptop..., 20 Oct. 2014
I'm not the sort of person that buys a new laptop every year for a heck of it. In fact, I find changing computers a bit of a chore so if an easy upgrade can keep a machine going for longer I'm all for it.

If you're still trundling along on an old 5400 HD the difference an SSD (even a run of the mill one) will make will be incredible. The M550, unlike the old M500, is much more high-performance orientated giving even more speed benefits.

Improvements to any task that's disc-intensive will utterly blow you away, whether it's doing a big export from a photography program, shifting large files around, backups, etc. but most tasks on a computer use the disc to a greater or lesser extent so effectively everything feel a little or a lot faster.

My MacBook Pro feels like a brand new machine.

LifeProof Case for Apple iPad Air - Black
LifeProof Case for Apple iPad Air - Black
Price: £59.32

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coud fix Apple's appalling durability., 6 July 2014
The iPad Air is much lighter than its predecessors but, sadly, much more fragile. Indeed the internet is full of tales of cracked screens from no real trauma at all. Durability is of no concern to Apple these days. Make it slim. Make it pretty. That's all they care about.

These 'breaks from nothing' happened to me. Twice. The first was a complete mystery - just picked it up cracked one day when it could have suffered no knocks or bumps. The second time was a small drop (in an Apple Smart Case) of just a few inches.

The iPad Air, from my experience, is not fit for purpose. However, as I'm invested in some brilliant iPad Apps I'd either have to downgrade to a tougher, older model or find another solution.

LifeProof's case looks a bit Robocop - stylish in a military way, but it looks like it's going to protect the device much better than before. I can't say I've bumped or knocked the iPad since installing it but at least I feel I can use the machine normally without fear of another crack.

KRK KNS 8400 bk
KRK KNS 8400 bk
Offered by Jb's Music Store
Price: £99.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The best music-making cans for the money, 20 Jun. 2014
This review is from: KRK KNS 8400 bk (Electronics)
I'm a bit of a studio headphone snob but have tried enough to know that paying the really huge money isn't always worth it. Generally I'd say 180 quid is a good 'sweet spot' to find exceptional products where there's little point paying more - although £100 can get you something good if you choose well.

Well, first off, KRK is known for monitor speakers, much less for headphones. So to gain traction they needed something good and, boy, did they deliver. These have been, it seems, designed to meet what music makers want - accurate, durable, light.

Sound is definite on a par with products twice the price. Flat, yes, but not dull and fatiguing - in fact these are great for listening to your music collection.

They are not as tough-looking as some headphones but after a year durability has been good and the plastic in the construction means they are lighter than many competitors, which is you enjoy mammoth music-making sessions is a great boost.

All I can say is that for £99 you really won't find better. Even if spending £180+ you might still choose these. Utterly brilliant.

A future industry standard? Maybe!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2014 3:09 PM GMT

Zephyr Alto Zmx862 Mixer
Zephyr Alto Zmx862 Mixer
Offered by Red Dog Music
Price: £49.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and cheerful, does the job, a little hissy, 1 Jun. 2014
For combining a few sound sources for non-critical use the Zephyr Alto Zmx862 Mixer isn't bad at all and does the job for a low cost.

It's not a terribly loud mixer, however, and, as you are forced to crank the levels, it is moderately hissy - as is generally good practice in any mixing scenario it's best to make sure your incoming signals are as loud as possible to reduce the need to increase levels significantly on the Alto.

So whether this is right for you depends on the use. As a small PA mixer or just to combine a few synth sources it's fine - for anything more critical like serious home recording I'd probably look to spend a bit more.

Get Rich Blogging
Get Rich Blogging
Price: £3.49

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Half-decent blogging intro but a naughty title, 14 April 2014
This review is from: Get Rich Blogging (Kindle Edition)
Zoe Griffin already had a profile before starting her blog so she's already had a proven audience and knowledge of her field - celebrity gossip.

See, that's the key - building an audience that regularly comes back to your blog daily or even several times a day. That's even more important than keywording or SEO. It doesn't matter how search engine savvy you are or what 'clickbait' tricks you pull - readers will just bounce straight off a blog that has weak content.

I first became aware of the power of blogs as a potential money-maker and marketing tool in the mid 2000s via my interest in photography. There were a couple of photography blogs I followed that packed in great information and had hundreds or even thousands of visitors daily. The authors had 'authority' even thought when you checked out their histories they were just low-level local photographers that had, through sharing information, become 'internet famous'. But that didn't happen overnight...

I started my own blogs not to make money directly but to 'build authority'. I'm a photographer and designer and blogging helped me to seem like the 'best man for the job' in my locality as I shared interesting information appealing to potential clients. A few posts ranked highly on Google for local searches and I started to get 'out of the blue' work I would never have got otherwise for very little outlay - and the blogging part was fun as I love to write and didn't feel a chore.

I've since added niche websites, exploiting what I've learned from blogging, for very specific aspects of my work. It means get many more enquiries than I ever did pre-blogging when my website was little more than a fancy online leaflet. As part of my work involves building websites, I make the power of blogging something I really try and sell to my, sometimes skeptical, clients.

Some time later I started a parenting blog, focussing on language learning, with my wife. After a 'voice in the wilderness' start it now gets around 7-10k unique hits a month and some of our posts often get widely shared in our niche. The blog doesn't directly sell products but we include Google Ads, which on a (very) lucky month may pay one or two household bills or at least give us some funds for a fancy meal out. Oh, and we've been sent quite a number of parenting-related freebies!

We didn't work hard at moving towards 10k hits, just set a target to add at least a few strong posts every week, but I took nearly four years to gain than traffic, albeit with some periods where we barely touched it. Who knows? Maybe if we work at it, this blog could become a key part of our income, rather than just provide a nice little 'dividend'. But it won't happen overnight.

The thing to remember is that blogging is not new - it's just a form of journalism, a form of writing. All the old rules apply. Clear concise, snappy content. Rich information. Entertaining.

Also, blogs work better when they are not robotic and anonymous. I followed a few money-saving and frugality blogs that were great but the authors were kind of in the background, hiding behind the site rather than making themselves part of it. Cheap meals blogger, Jack Monroe with her hipster mum persona front and centre, by contrast, is 'lifestyle media' gold and has become famous while better blogs have remained obscure.

So ignore the 'get rich blogging' hype. See blogging as journalism. Build an audience. Write about things you are truly enthused about not just what you think is profitable and have fun.

LG Nexus 5 UK Smartphone - Black (16GB)
LG Nexus 5 UK Smartphone - Black (16GB)

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good phone, 10 April 2014
My first smartphone was an HTC Desire. When that developed a fault I ended up with an iPhone 4 and found it to be vastly more pleasant and quick to use. When that phone was sadly broken I thought of getting an iPhone 5s or 5C but the unlocked prices were so vast I didn't feel like shelling out with the iPhone 6 a few months away.

Now, I have some brilliant iOS paid apps but to be honest I mostly use them on the bigger canvas os an iPad. One my phone I use a browser, email, eBay, Google maps, twitter and (urgh!) a bit of Facebook - ie. basic apps that exist on Android too. I also use Google Apps for my business so obviously these work great with Android. So thinking that Android's probably got a lot better these days went for this phone - I could either keep it longer term or as a stop-gap between now and the iPhone 6.

First things first. I still don't like Android as much as iOS. It's mishmash and feels like using 'desktop Linux' in comparison to Mac OS X - superficially it looks good but nowhere near as refined. BUT, hey, for the basics it's basically as was/smooth to use as iOS. Also, it's got nothing like the quality feel in the hand that an iPhone has - nothing really does - although I think it will hold up well under use.

Now the screen is amazing. Crisp. Sharp. Bright. About as big as a phone screen can get without being daft. It's a powerful phone so there's little to zero lag on common operations. Can't praise it enough.

Battery life is generally pretty average - worse I would guess than the iPhone 4 when it was new - but as my old iPhone's battery was old I'd grown used to frequent charging so the Nexus isn't dreadful by any means, just nothing special.

The Camera is a similar story. It's okay. It's nothing special. Ive seen pics from the iPhone 5s and they are stellar. This phone doesn't prioritise camera quality but, again, unless phone photography is a big deal to you, it's really not so bad.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it and in terms of screen quality I'm super happy with it. It's fast. My main phone apps exist for it and work much the same way. I have a sneaky feeling that I won't feel much need to rush out and buy an iPhone 6, even though generally a big Apple fan.

Apple IPAD AIR WI-FI 32GB 1024 MB 9.7-inch LCD - Space Grey
Apple IPAD AIR WI-FI 32GB 1024 MB 9.7-inch LCD - Space Grey
Offered by Pleasure Time Technology
Price: £343.49

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely poor durability, 24 Mar. 2014
The Air is much lighter than previous iPads and blazingly fast, meaning running complex apps is now a breeze.

But while the light weight means you can hold it for longer periods without fatigue the unit is very fragile. In fact, the screen can crack seemingly spontaneously. I was amazed to return to my iPad, which no one had touched and which had suffered no bangs to falls, with a crack right across the screen. This became two cracks quickly when I used the device, which was still operational.

I Googled and discovered 'mystery cracks' are not uncommon or can be caused by EXTREMELY minor bumps or pressure, such as tipping over on a table.

If buying this model, be prepared to treat it with kid gloves and, even if you do, expect the screen to crack no no reason.

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