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M. Fraser "music fan" (Yorkshire)

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ThinCharger 2100ma
ThinCharger 2100ma
Offered by Insat International
Price: £10.95

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At last!, 14 Nov. 2012
This review is from: ThinCharger 2100ma (Electronics)
I have been after something like this for ages. UK 3-pin plugs are a design nightmare and completely unsuitable for portable equipment, especially iPads and iPhones. For about three years various designers have been coming up with alternatives that win lots of design awards but never actually see the light of day, despite extensive coverage in the gadget columns of magazines and newspapers. When the first ones finally did appear and were combined with a USB charger, none of them seemed powerful enough to power an iPad. This one (the 2100ma version) does (I have just charged my iPad2 without problem and nothing seemed to overheat). Thinplug does another version which has a less powerful output and I believe that will only work with a phone, so be careful which one you get.

I can only assume that the long delay in releasing these things on the market is because the award-winning designers, as usual, couldn't find investment funding or a manufacturer in Britain. As bulky and unwieldy 3-pin plugs are a specifically British problem, that is quite a drawback. I suspect the rival designers have finally thrown in the towel and sold the rights to some Chinese manufacturer.

Why have I only given it four stars? As I say I suspect that these things are being produced by a Chinese manufacturer and Chinese companies are dreadful at customer support or marketing. I have sent numerous emails to Thinplug trying to make sure it would work with an iPad before I bought one and so far I have never had a reply. In the end I just took a gamble and it appears to have paid off. I suspect that if the charger goes wrong I may as well just throw it in the bin, because customer support is non-existent and the manufacturer's grasp of English doesn't inspire confidence. Also, the folding earth pin looks suspiciously fragile and some kind of plastic cap to cover the protruding pins would be a huge improvement. But as there is no viable alternative it gets first place in a field of one. It finally means that after years of waiting I have a USB charger I can carry around with me without three huge metal pins ruining my pockets or bag, digging in my hip, or scratching my equipment. As many digital cameras can now be charged by USB this would be ideal for photographers who may be particularly worried about damage to lenses from conventional three-pin chargers jostling around in a gadget bag. Now I know it works I am planning to buy some more as gifts for relatives. If the manufacturer was only capable of marketing these things properly, they would sell in their tens of thousands.

Feb. 2015 I have had quite a lot of use out of these things, but the plastic frame holding the earth pin is very weak and snaps easily. If you look at the photographs you can see there is a small u-shaped piece of plastic that goes over the top of the earth pin when fully extended and this is very thin and fragile. It snaps off even when stored in a briefcase and renders the whole thing pretty useless. Some kind of simple plastic cap over the pins when stored would fix it. But now that there are better-made alternatives available I will be switching, even though they are more expensive. And I have never had a reply from an email from this company.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2013 11:45 AM GMT


Prashad Cookbook: Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Prashad Cookbook: Indian Vegetarian Cooking
by Kaushy Patel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last!, 5 Oct. 2012
My son made a career in the hospitality business and has worked at Michellin-starred restaurants and at top hotels. My brother is an enthusiastic amateur who has trained as a chef to professional standards. None of us are vegetarian. But we all agree that Prashad is without doubt the best place we have ever eaten and the most unlikely, tucked away down a side street in Bradford. I have been collecting Kaushy Patel's published recipes in the Yorkshire Post and I am absolutely delighted to see it come out in book form. My only worry is that store-bought spices will never measure up to carefully prepared fresh ingredients that they use in the restaurant, which I suspect is the real secret behind the sensational flavours. Forget Ramsay, Oliver, Blumenthal and all the rest. Everyone who enjoys good food should buy this book, vegetarian or not.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2013 3:30 PM BST


TRIXES 3D Glasses Clip On For 3D Viewing at Home Cinemas Movies and Pubs
TRIXES 3D Glasses Clip On For 3D Viewing at Home Cinemas Movies and Pubs
Offered by Digiflex
Price: £6.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish, 1 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I can't help wondering if Andrew from North Wales works for the company, because we can't be describing the same product. I wasn't expecting much at this price but I was flabbergasted by what came through the post. The glasses are not even plastic lenses, but two flimsy pieces of plastic sheet that bend like paper that have been cut into a lens shape. The pair that I received had two right hand "lenses", instead of one left and one right, with the left hand lens simply a right-hand lens reversed and put on backwards so that it curves in the wrong direction. At such a low price it's not worth the hassle of returning them, but these will go straight in the bin. I would give them no stars if I could.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2012 6:37 AM BST


Cuisinart SSB1U Soup Maker, Black
Cuisinart SSB1U Soup Maker, Black
Price: £89.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to clean but..., 18 Sept. 2011
I was bought one as a gift and I must admit it can be quite difficult to clean. Like most kitchen gadgets, any time you save in preparation is lost by the amount of time spent cleaning it. However ... it is not as difficult to clean as some critics have made out. Simply adding hot water, turning on the heater for a couple of minutes and then using the pulse setting is usually enough if you do it right away. It is not immediately obvious but it is possible to unscrew the glass part of the jug from the base to get at the heating element if any food has got stuck to the base which some reviewers don't seem to realise. I think part of the problem is that the instruction book is not very good ... the recipe book is also quite poor and sometimes even mentions ingredients that are not included in the cooking method on the opposite page, suggesting it has been badly translated or contracted out to the cheapest bidder. Some of the recipes are, frankly, very poor. (The chowder is virtually inedible) It would also be a great improvement if it was possible to detach the blades for cleaning. But it is very well made and once you get used to the quirks can be quite useful so long as you put a bit of effort in learning how to use it. And it is far and away the best made liquidiser I have ever seen outside of a professional kitchen.


Piano Coach Deluxe (PC)
Piano Coach Deluxe (PC)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very, very old fashioned software, 31 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Piano Coach Deluxe (PC) (CD-ROM)
Unfortunately this is now very old software and it is painfully obvious that it has not been updated in years. The Indeo video codec (the software that the program uses to show videos) has been obsolete for years and I have not been able to get it to run on my Windows 7 machine even with the help of Charanga's technical department. (When I tried to update the video codecs, the installer hung up because it couldn't find Netscape a program I haven't used or seen used in over a decade). The software uses a window that is only 800 by 600 pixels a resolution that I last saw on a Windows 98 laptop well over a decade ago. On a modern machine it looks ludicrous, a tiny window in one corner of the screen that cannot be resized, with a video window the size of a postage stamp. It also insists on using small fonts which cannot be resized and looks very old fashioned, like a computer program from the 1990s.

As others have pointed out, the software is not very interactive by modern standards and as far as I can tell makes little use of midi keyboards. Most of the positive reviews you will see are clearly many years old.

I did check on the Charanga website before buying to see if would work with Windows 7 and it clearly stated that it did. I can only assume that this claim must be heavily qualified.

On the plus side the software is very well thought of in music circles and sadly there don't appear to be many alternatives. The technical department responded very promptly. And fortunately I have a very old obsolete laptop in the attic that I hope to be able to use to run this software. But Charanga should either give up and admit it doesn't have the resources to update this product and withdraw it from sale or warn potential buyers of its severe limitations by modern standards. Perhaps it already has... the box my version came in had obviously been sitting on someone's shelf for years.


Painter Essentials 4 (PC/Mac)
Painter Essentials 4 (PC/Mac)

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly bugged, 8 Mar. 2011
This is the most troublesome piece of software I have ever installed on any computer. Although my computer is far more powerful than the minimum specification require it takes an age to launch and is extremely slow (I usually leave it running overnight). Handling files, saving and loading, is so slow it is sometimes difficult to tell if it is still running or has crashed. It only seems to work with very low resolution files and instead of throwing up error messages or advising you to create a lo-resolution version, it simply freezes. When it freezes the result is spectacular. It locks up the whole computer. Sometimes the only way of restarting is to pull the plug. It also does not like multi-tasking so you can't do something else while it is running. I have updated it via the corel website to the latest version, but it has not made a great difference. This is quite an old piece of software now so maybe it just doesn't work well with more modern operating systems. Having said that when it does work the results are spectacular and I love the programme, which is why I persevere with it. But be warned .. it runs so badly and is so tempremental it is more like a student programming project than a professional piece of software.


Slanket - Hunter Green
Slanket - Hunter Green

10 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Over the top, 31 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It appears to be made of very cheap poor quality polyester that creates enormous amounts of static and is so ludicrously oversized that it can be dangerous for old people. I bought one for my elderly mother who likes to wrap herself in a travel rug while watching TV, but she can't use it because she gets so tangled up in the giant folds of cloth that she can't get out of her chair and falls over trying to stand up. God only knows what kind of obese American tub of lard these things were designed for. I have difficulty with it and I am average sized. It's a good idea, but something made of better materials and more practical size would be great.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2012 8:13 PM GMT


Rii Mini K01X1 2.4GHz Tiny Wireless Keyboard (Built-in TouchPad) For PC, PAD, XBox 360, PS3, Google Android TV Box, HTPC, IPTV- Black
Rii Mini K01X1 2.4GHz Tiny Wireless Keyboard (Built-in TouchPad) For PC, PAD, XBox 360, PS3, Google Android TV Box, HTPC, IPTV- Black
Offered by Uxpressbuying
Price: £17.99

7 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dubious claim, 29 Dec. 2010
How can this device possibly work with the Apple iPad or other mobile devices powered by Google Android when it doesn't have Bluetooth? It relies on old-fashioned radio dongle which requires the host device to have a USB socket and operating system support for it. The iPad certainly doesn't, I doubt if most Google Android devices do, and the Nokia is fairly doubtful. This is extremely dubious advertising and marketing.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2011 11:08 PM GMT


Griffin iKaraoke - Karaoke Device For iPod
Griffin iKaraoke - Karaoke Device For iPod

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does not work with any modern iPod, 2 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although the product information says : 9757-IKAROKE-2, they actually ship the much older 9757-IKaraoke which means it does not work with any iPod manufactured over the past four years. Presumably they bought a cheap batch of outdated iKaraoke products and are trying to offload them cheap. Really unpleasant Del-boy sales tactic and the item should really be advertised for what it is -- an out-of-date end-of-line product that will probably go straight in the bin because it will cost more to return it than it is worth. Avoid.


The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon)
The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, 18 Nov. 2009
I quite enjoyed the Da Vinci Code and although Angels and Demons was 90 per cent rubbish it was cleverly plotted rubbish. But The Lost Symbol is the worst book I have ever read in my whole life and I am not just saying that for affect I really mean it. The prose is atrocious, the research for the plot seems to have been done through back issues of Astrology Today, and the plot is an extremely clumsy and contrived rehash of his other books. If Dan Brown really does believe any of the new age nonsense in this book then he needs psychiatric help. It took me three attempts to read it after throwing it down in exasperation on succesive weekends. It is frightening to think that Westerm civilisation has declined to the point where this is possibly the world's best-selling book. Tom Hanks must be wondering how on Earth the scriptwriters are going to turn this rubbish into a movie .. I can only assume they are going to ditch everything but the title.


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