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Actinia "John & Margaret Rostron" (Essex, UK)

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Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design (Voices That Matter)
Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design (Voices That Matter)
by Andy Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: 35.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One for the dustbin I'm afraid, 19 July 2012
I must agree with Andrew Powell, this is one of the few books that I found so useless that I dumped it in the rubbish bin. I did not even try to sell it, I would not wish to inflict it on anyone else.

The blurb, and many reviews gave the impression that this was the one to read to learn about the modern approach to web design with CSS. Perhaps it is to some, but I found that it was hard going. Having bought it (and it was not cheap) I ploughed through it, thinking where is it going? Where is it getting me? Having got nowhere and nothing new or useful out of it, I put it to one side for six months or so. I then tried again before giving up.

As other reviewers have noted, there are far too many irrelevant images. Even for the relevant ones, I found many of them confusing and not easy to relate to what was being written in the text. Either that, or they were illustrating the obvious.

My background is that I used to write web-based learning material for my university courses. Now retired, I focus on writing web pages for my local organisations, trying to make them as presentable and as accessible as possible. I thought that this book would be a great help in this. Unfortunately not.


The Food of Spain
The Food of Spain
by Claudia Roden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.75

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The middle ground of spanish cookbooks, 12 April 2012
This review is from: The Food of Spain (Hardcover)
I own two books on Spanish cooking. One is by two brits who have lived and worked in Spain for most of their lives. The other is by a born-and bred Spaniard. The brits go for the traditional methods, both for ingredients and methods. The Spaniard is much more pragmatic in his choices. Claudia Roden takes the middle approach. For many of her recipes, she describes the traditional ways, which she has tried, and then gives you a more pragmatic method for British kitchens.

I have given it four stars rather than five because, although I find it the best book on Spanish cooking so far, I did find the extra material (profiles of chefs and writers) rather unnecessary.


The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.50

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not always easy to measure out, 9 Nov 2011
I would agree with most other reviewers as to the scope of this magnum opus. My main quibble is with her choice of measurements. Many ingredients are given as tablespoons. This may be fine for liquids, or fine solids like flour, but are these level or rounded or what? However for chopped celery? grated Parmesan? The quantity involved here could vary enormously. It would be much simpler to have given these by weight.

I would also quibble with the ingredients lists. They are set in two columns with the text centred, which makes them difficult to read.

Many of the recipes are simply variations on a theme, expanded into full-blown recipes on their own.

Despite all this, there is a wealth of information here, and I am looking forward to trying some of them out.

John Rostron


The Ruby Programming Language
The Ruby Programming Language
by David Flanagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 24.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but no CGI, 31 July 2011
I would agree with the reviewers above, but I found one significant omission. There is nothing in this book on CGI programming. Surely this is an important application for Ruby programmers. Perhaps the authors think that this is entirely the province of Ruby on Rails (which I have not investigated).


Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science
Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science
by Carol Yoon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Oh so ... all but!, 21 July 2011
Carol Kaesuk Yoon has made a valiant attempt to survey the history of taxonomy and to put in within an interesting context - that of the umwelt, or our natural perception of the way living things are organised (or can be organised). Unfortunately I was somewhat frustrated by her seemingly ambivalent attitude to some of the newer developments in taxonomy. She seems to have no sympathy for the numerical taxomomists, but it his her attitude to the cladists that seem most ambivalent. Her conclusion seems to be that we need to adopt a new umwelt-based vision of the natural world, but she does not say where she sees cladistic classifications in the scientific panoply.

I also found the book marred by a few minor historical inaccuracies (that Darwin was the ship's naturalist aboard The Beagle - he was a gentleman companion to the captain).


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars A good buy for a cook, 8 Jan 2009
I first came across Berndes cookware when we bought a set of saucepans with money from our retirement present. Since then I have extended our range with the 32cm sauté pan. This was great, but rather large for just two.

This 24cm frying pan does its job perfectly. I can throw in the stuff for frying and the heat is dispersed evenly over the pan base, so it fries beautifully. It is large enough for cooking meat with vegetables for two. The pan as it comes does not have a lid, but I was able to find one that fitted, which allows it to serve as a cooking pot for an hour or more.

The crux will come in the next few weeks as pancake day approaches. I suspect that the pancakes themselves will cook beautifully, but I may have fun getting them out of the pan, as it has deep sides. (Is the next buy going to be a crepe pan?)

The Berndes range is easy to clean. After use, just add hot water (no detergent), then a little while later swill it out with a mild brush or cleaner. This usually means that I can dish up, and the pan can be cleaned and dried before the food goes onto the table, much to the appreciation of my wife.

Expensive, but a good buy for a keen cook.

John Rostron


Berndes Titanium Special Edition 32 cm Saute Casserole with Glass Lid
Berndes Titanium Special Edition 32 cm Saute Casserole with Glass Lid
Price: 82.06

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cooking perfection, 8 Jan 2009
I first came across Berndes cookware when we bought a set of saucepans with money from our retirement present. Since then I have been keen to extend our range. The 32cm sauté casserole fulfils the multiple role of open frypan, closed frypan or sauté pan and a casserole to go into the oven. It also acts as a perfect paella pan!

The 32cm size is usually too big when cooking for two, but it will comfortably hold a complete meal for two. However, it comes into its own when entertaining.

The Berndes range is easy to clean. After use, just add hot water (no detergent), then a little while later swill it out with a mild brush or cleaner. This usually means that I can dish up, and the pan can be cleaned and dried before the food goes onto the table, much to the appreciation of my wife.

Expensive, but a good buy for a cook.

John Rostron


Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life
Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life
by John Adams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.19

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American composer's life, 8 Jan 2009
I have always enjoyed John Adam's chamber and orchestral music, though I have never been a fan of vocal music (his or anyone else's). Thus I was keen to read what he had to say about himself. From the first page, I was absorbed. It really did bring out 'an American life' as in the title. He begins with his parents, giving much detail about his family life and that of his parents. This contrasts with the paucity of information he gives on his own family life. Happily for him, he was (fairly) easily able to get to university and get his batchelor's and master's degrees, largely as a result of his ability to earn money as a performer and jobbing musician.

Of course, John Adams recounts the genesis of many of his well-known pieces, especially his operas, with some penetrating insights into the American musical and political contexts. He also includes a number of discourses on the wider musical scene in America, although these sometimes do seem to be interpolations into the narrative.

I did have a few criticisms; there were a few things that I would have liked to have known, but this information was sparse or missing. What sort of money does one get from being a composer? At one point he does say that he gave up his 'day job' to concentrate full-time on composing, and it is clear that he must have made enough to buy a rather nice house. I don't want to see his accounts, but an indication of commission money or royalties would give perspective to a composer's life.

The other aspect he seems to be shy of is his family life. We know he marries his first wife when young, and this lasts around four years, but that is about it. We are introduced to Deborah as his new love interest, then we learn she is pregnant, only later does he refer to her as his wife. From the book I get the impression that they are indeed a devoted couple, so this seems odd.

I read John Adams immediately after reading a book on the history of imported English words. The contrast in style was amazing. John Adams writes lucid prose, whereas the English 'expert' does not!

Despite these caveats, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book. I would commend it to anyone interested in twentieth- and twenty-first-century music and its genesis.

John Rostron


Stranger on the Shore: A Personal Story of Struggle with Renewal and Inner Healing
Stranger on the Shore: A Personal Story of Struggle with Renewal and Inner Healing
by Anthony Rose
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From one stranger to another, 2 July 2008
The back of the book says "When he was a child, Anthony Rose went through the trauma of his parents' separation and divorce. The real effects of this only became apparent later in life when he found there were emotional issues he had to face before he could move on as a Christian and as a human being."

The book is an interesting read written in a clear and friendly style making it available to anyone. The reader's interest is captured at the beginning and maintained throughout. Short headings within each chapter act as useful markers.

There is a tendency towards repetition in places probably due to the personal nature of the book. Some parts must have been painful to write, creating the need to visit more than once to get to the necessary depth.

Although I do not come from a broken home, I think that this book provides help for anyone in terms of recognising feelings which are causing problems of any kind and doing something about them. The 'other person' who seems to be the cause of a particular problem is rarely the sole agent. We all have our own input into a problematical situation and we need to recognise what that is. This book encourages us to do that with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

The book should also help to dispel the myth that priests are not prey to situations that affect the rest of the population. Although a detailed, personal account, the reader receives much help and encouragement.

Margaret Rostron


Roadstar DVBT2112 - Freeview SCART Adaptor with 12v/24v/230v
Roadstar DVBT2112 - Freeview SCART Adaptor with 12v/24v/230v

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 18 May 2008
I tried installing this in two separate TVs and via a DVD recorder. Although it set itself up OK, it produced no pictures or sound on any of these. Next day, I tried again on the stand-alone bedroom TV. This time I got pictures and sound OK. Unfortunately it found less than half of the channels that it should have received from my local transmitter at Crystal Palace (according to the freeview website). The omissions included BBC4 (which is why I wanted a freeview box) and all the ITV channels.

Next day, I re-ran the autofind, and it found many more channels, but there was no picture on these channels, just a blank screen.


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