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J. Marriage (Devon, England)

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The VueScan Bible: Everything You Need to Know for Perfect Scanning
The VueScan Bible: Everything You Need to Know for Perfect Scanning
Price: 7.55

4.0 out of 5 stars clear and useful, 18 April 2014
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I am an experienced scanner of photographs, but found myself using Vuescan for the first time. It is significantly different from other scanning programs, and at first seems hard to understand. You need to persist, though, because once you learn its ways, it is both powerful, and strangely, rather easy to use. You need help to get going, though, as the official information is brief and not well organised. Hence this book. I'm not sure if it was originally written in English or translated from German, but either way the style takes a little bit of getting used to. Once you are attuned to that, it's really very helpful. The first half is a tutorial on scanning for quality, using Vuescan. Necessarily, the author begins at the beginning so I was able to speed-read in places, though even experienced users should not skip this part entirely. The second half goes through all the menu options in detail, not just explaining what they do, but recommending the best combinations of settings for different tasks. Overall the book was very helpful in getting me up to speed faster than I would have done on my own, and very probably better. With its help I now regard Vuescan as one of the most useful and versatile scanning tools I have found. I have the kindle edition which is much cheaper than print. It is a bit more difficult to navigate a than a book would be, and the illustrations, even viewed on a modern iPad, are not clear enough to make points they are supposed to make. However, the book doesn't really need them, so I think most people would be happy with the Kindle version on iPad. I tried it on a real Kindle too, but found that the book really benefits from the larger screen of the iPad, far more than a novel does.


The Caravaggio Conspiracy
The Caravaggio Conspiracy
Price: 1.95

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written, trashy novel, 15 Mar 2014
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The art world is full of quite enough mystery and probably skulduggery, but this book contrives to have a ludicrous and unconvincing plot. The formulaic structure and cardboard characters are even further let down by clunky writing. Avoid, and try Michael Frayn's "Headlong" instead.


Reamde
Reamde
Price: 4.19

5.0 out of 5 stars outstandingly good thriller, 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Reamde (Kindle Edition)
With action taking place mostly in the real world, and partly in a multiplayer online game, Stephenson has created the best thriller I've read for a year or two. The considerable length of the book allowed him to maintain the pace not by moving the plot too fast, but by allowing the characters and situations to develop, and allowing real time to pass from multiple points of view. The characters, some of whom begin as opponents before changing allegiances, are well drawn and engaging; even the chief baddie has a sense of humour. Perhaps the rather OTT American survivalists could get up the nose if they were any smugger, but overall time spent in this world (these worlds) was highly entertaining, and in was sorry it ended, even after about a thousand pages. Go buy it!


Scotch C10 Desk Tape Dispenser -  Black - 25 mm to 75 mm Tape Core Up to 25 mm Wide
Scotch C10 Desk Tape Dispenser - Black - 25 mm to 75 mm Tape Core Up to 25 mm Wide
Price: 11.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid heavy dispenser, 13 Dec 2013
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Well made, strong and heavy enough to use one-handed. It is quite bulky as a result, so it will take up a bit of space on your desk. Only 4 stars because I was less impressed with the roll holder. This is a pair of plastic mouldings for 1" and 3" cores. Most people will use the larger size with a dispenser this big, and you have to push the outer moulding over the inner one, which is quite difficult. I wouldn't fancy getting them apart again, at any rate! Once done, though, it is fine, cuts the tape well, and looks like it should last for years.


Wolfcraft 5505 Adjustable Trolley Ts600
Wolfcraft 5505 Adjustable Trolley Ts600
Price: 57.59

5.0 out of 5 stars How did I manage without it?, 13 Dec 2013
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Excellent trolley. It folds compactly, nice and flat, and is easy to erect and to collapse after use. Folding out the foot also erects the wheels, and two rather stiff flaps can be opened to allow the handle to be extended. It is really rigid and stable; weaker trollies which flex in use are much more difficult to use. It is strong enough, though it would be sensible not to run carelessly up and down steps and kerbs. Also like any wheeled device, the size of the wheels governs the roughness of the surface it is happy on. It is fine on normal road, car park and pavement, and of course indoors. Goes easily into the car boot beside your boxes.


Photographing the Microworld: The World Through a Photographer's Eyes
Photographing the Microworld: The World Through a Photographer's Eyes
by Svetlana Belorustseva
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.89

3.0 out of 5 stars Good pictures, shame about the text, 13 Dec 2013
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An excellent collection of close up images of the natural world, largely insects, all well reproduced in colour. The selection includes a lot of creatures not very familiar in Britain, so well worth looking at. The same cannot be said about the text, which is badly translated from the original Russian, and is vague, rather poetic in style, repetitive and wholly lacking in detail. I have to assume that the authors know something about photographic technique, but there is no evidence that the translator did, so what technical information is there, mostly has to be teased out using ones own prior knowledge. This is particularly galling in the light of the statement on the back cover, which claims that all the pictures are accompanied by recommendations on technique to allow photographers to reproduce similar effects. Nonsense! At the end of the book the authors admit that they have given very little technical information, and recommend other books, without actually specifying any. There is no index.


Sanyo KBC-L2B SY28589 Eneloop Mobile Booster Battery Pack
Sanyo KBC-L2B SY28589 Eneloop Mobile Booster Battery Pack

2.0 out of 5 stars Rather feeble, 28 Nov 2013
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I got this in the hope it would give my iPad a useful boost. Actually it only has enough power to uplift it by about 20%. This is despite the fact that the advertised capacity is about 40% of the nominal capacity of an iPad battery. It works, and is easy to use, but disappointing. Probably better when used with a phone.


9 Drawer Tool Chest With Ball Bearing Slides
9 Drawer Tool Chest With Ball Bearing Slides
Offered by Tool Wizard
Price: 78.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Well made and solid, 28 Nov 2013
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Although not advertised as such, when it arrived it was branded Hilka. It's solidly made, the drawers all run smoothly. I needed a tool chest for lots of small items used for mending clocks, cameras etc., and this is ideal. It could be kept on the bench, but to save bench space I put it on a step stool beside where I sit, which works fine. [Premier Housewares Metal Step Stool, 25 x 43 x 35 cm, Black, also from Amazon]. It's a pity it doesn't come with drawer liners, but I got a couple of sheets of rubber mesh drawer liner fron eBay which cut up easily, and the offcuts are perfect for getting tops off jars.


The Heresy of Dr Dee (THE JOHN DEE PAPERS)
The Heresy of Dr Dee (THE JOHN DEE PAPERS)
Price: 3.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well written and entertaining, 27 Nov 2013
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Dr Dee, and many of the other characters here, are of course actual historical people. The disconnect between our world and theirs is probably even greater than the author portrays, but nevertheless be has gone a good way to depict something of the mindset of the time, whilst still achieving a suitably convoluted plot with the necessary denouement. And, rather charmingly, a coda to tie up any loose ends. This is not a historical novel, but an adventure story set in a historical scene -actually a rather Gothic one. Nevertheless it is based on some real research. It is raised above quite a few others by thought-through structure, credible characters, and good writing. Not great literature, but well worth spending with.


The Jefferson Key
The Jefferson Key
Price: 3.86

2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear!, 18 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Jefferson Key (Kindle Edition)
I know that adventure thrillers tend to have an element of improbability to the plot - but this ones takes that convention well beyond the limits. The combination of a frankly silly plot and two-dimensional cardboard characters makes this one of the least satisfactory bits of entertainment I've read for a long time.
Avoid!


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