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Profile for Dr. Paul Ell > Reviews

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Content by Dr. Paul Ell
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Reviews Written by
Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK)
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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SkimProt Guard for Bank Card
SkimProt Guard for Bank Card
Offered by Luxorama Ltd
Price: £6.80

15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary and costly, 18 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This product covers the magnetic strip on the back of a debit/credit card to prevent it being read. This prevents the information contained on the strip being readable either through legitimate use or by a potential thief.

The 'problem' is that all banks and credit card suppliers protect you by default from card skimming. Further, of far more relevance are data being stolen from the chip and pin system which is pretty much universal now, or through contactless payments. Since the magnetic strip is less used, and the chip and pin system is not further secured by this product, overall it's pretty useless. Where chip and pin is not widely used, such as the US, it's necessary to remove the protective cover so use the card, and the strip is not reusable.

At almost £10 the profit margin for the manufacturer must be enormous. This item relies on the public being scared that their card details will be skimmed and that they will be responsible for the fraudulent charges. Neither situation is correct and as such this is a product that no one needs.

A solid one star.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2016 7:19 PM BST


Nuolan Art - Framed Ready to Hang 3 Panels Modern Landscape Canvas Print Wall Art - UK-P3L3040-005
Nuolan Art - Framed Ready to Hang 3 Panels Modern Landscape Canvas Print Wall Art - UK-P3L3040-005
Offered by NUO LAN ART
Price: £39.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A special kind of taste required., 4 Feb. 2016
Art is down to personal taste of course so this review should be regarded with caution. I'm afraid white good quality and value I found the scenes obverse coloured and stylised. They're certainly not classic art work and you'll need a particular sort of taste to appreciate these. I won't criticise that taste but it's not mine!

The panels were provided by the manufacturer in return for an independent review.


TECOOL 15L Ultra Light Weight Outdoor Sport Backpack Cycling Daypack Climbing Hiking Rucksack Riding Running Packsack Treking Knapsack (Black)
TECOOL 15L Ultra Light Weight Outdoor Sport Backpack Cycling Daypack Climbing Hiking Rucksack Riding Running Packsack Treking Knapsack (Black)

5.0 out of 5 stars Ultra portable day/overnight use rucksack, 2 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an attractive, well constructed, rucksack with an extremely light-weight form factor. It has an unusual side loading side pocket with zip, a further vertically zipped compartment of fair size, a smaller horizontally zipped compartment, and an innovative externally attached mesh.

As well a being light it has a padded back making it extremely comfortable to wear. The straps are also fully adjustable. From limited testing it seems completely waterproof.

If I had a criticism it would be that the rucksack is not going to hold a vast quality of kit. This is not something to be used to take on holiday with you holding a week's clothes. It will hold a 13 inch MacBook Pro though and would be suitable for an overnight trip. And of course a day out in the field. And the whole point is that this rucksack is meant to be ultra-portable. So, within these constraints, an excellent product I can't really fault. At the price points a worthy 5 stars.

A sample was provided by the manufacturer for independent review. They have not had prior sight of this review.


{Brighter 12 LED} GRDE® Solar Lights Motion Sensor Waterproof Security Light, Bigger Size Brighter Diamond Pattern, Detector Activated for Patio Deck Yard Garden Driveway Outside Wall (Dim/Bright) (2, Black)
{Brighter 12 LED} GRDE® Solar Lights Motion Sensor Waterproof Security Light, Bigger Size Brighter Diamond Pattern, Detector Activated for Patio Deck Yard Garden Driveway Outside Wall (Dim/Bright) (2, Black)
Offered by Highway Techbuy

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent lights for the DIY phobic!, 23 Jan. 2016
Much of the detail of these excellent lights has been discussed by others so I'm not going to repeat that. For me, as a DIY-phobic individual who needed a couple of lights at the back of the house over two doors, these lights are an excellent solution. There is no wiring required, no drilling, you simply stick the light-weight lights on to, in my case, some marble-like brickwork above each door. I even mama he'd to get each level with each other. And then, they simply work.

On detecting peripheral movement at night they light to a good degree. As you, or a cat, or in my case a rabbit, move underneath each light, you get full brightness. This brigtness, as the lux figures suggest, is massively more intensive than the old-style garden solar lamps.

So, if you want a low-cost, easy, solution, to lighting above an external door, or a host of other solutions, these TWO motion lights are an excellent solution.

These lights were provided by the manufacturer for review purposes. As a Vine member, this had no impact on my review.


Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone
Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone
Price: £148.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Check your installation requirements, 8 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have absolutely no DIY skills so chose this system as it is easy to install. Indeed it is about the only smart heating control that suggests that self installation is possible. From my experience home installation is possible if you are replacing a wired thermostat with this Netatmo. It involves replacing the wired thermostat with the Netatmo unit using the same wiring. It is brilliant in these circumstances but the installation process is long winded. So 5 stars but contact me on how to set up


The Complete Guide to Drones
The Complete Guide to Drones
by Adam Juniper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Editorially challenged, but accessible guide to drones, 27 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very topical book with so much interest in consumer drones at the moment. Consumer drone technology is advancing at a dramatic pace with hardware and software that was until recently applicable only to commercial and military products now becoming available to the consumer at reasonable cost.

Perhaps this is the reason that the book feels rather hurried. It would have benefitted from proofreading and a better cross-referencing and indexing of the text. There are contradictory statements within the text concerning, for example, some controls, and references to different parts of the text on occasion do not relate to the correct pages. Proofing is not difficult and if a manuscript is prepared quickly really is essential. It raises some concerns that if the author or publisher are so slapdash in the production of the book, perhaps there are fundamental errors in the text.

Other than that, the book seems to provide a good introduction to drones and guidance on flying them. After considerable expense in purchasing a drone it is a sensible expense to buy a book such as this which helps users to understand how and why the drone flies, and approaches to how to fly it safely! From this perspective alone I'd recommend that new drone owners buy this book! The book is short no readable but other books are available.

Overall 3 stars. If this book is more than a year old before a new edition is published, however, it will be out of date and I'd look elsewhere.


Surnames, DNA, and Family History
Surnames, DNA, and Family History
by George Redmonds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.71

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent text on DNA and methodologically cutting-edge work on name studies, 27 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An outstanding contribution to name studies benefiting from the combination of traditional approaches to understanding the derivation of surnames together with DNA analysis. This book is a revised version of a 2011 volume, with much the same title and content aimed at a more academic market.

I found the book informative and readable and, as I expected, was impressed with the amount that DNA can tell us. It really does revolutionise surname studies to a remarkable degree. Overall this book provides a solid rubric to research methodologies relevant to name studies with a particular focus on the use of DNA. It is written by three well-established scholars. David Hey has published widely on a variety of social and economic history topics. Turi King has pioneered the use of DNA analysis in this field.

Just one note of caution, although this is clear from the book title and publisher's text, this is not a surname dictionary. It does not, and is not intended to, provide an endless list of surname forms, their derivation and their geography. It is an excellent statement of the state-of-the-art.

An excellent book worth five stars.


Opus Deluxe Wild Bird Feeding Station with Two Bird Feeders
Opus Deluxe Wild Bird Feeding Station with Two Bird Feeders
Price: £17.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value, versatile, bird feeder, 27 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An inexpensive feeder that comes with a water bowl/bird wash, a seed feeder, a fat ball feeder and a flat plate for other food. I found it took minutes to put together and incountered no problems during assembly. Unlike the photo on Amazon the feeder does not come with the small stand pictured. Instead the feeder pole, which arrives in three pieces, has a pointed end designed to secure the feeder in soil or on grass. To be honest on ordering I suspected that the stand would prove ineffective as it appears to be so small. The stake avoids that problem, and it works well on my lawn, but you should note that, obviously, the feeder cannot be installed in paved areas! The only problem is that the instructions suggest the bird feeder should be fully assembled before fixing it in soil. It's better to fix the base pole first, but is rather fiddly.

Havig put the stand in place the birds were using it within a day or so so it seems to be a success.

What's missing? Well I would have liked a nut feeder to be included as well as the seed feeder. That said there's space to hang one purchased seperately. I don't know how long the feeder will last but for the price two or three years will demonstrate good value for money.

Overall I'm impressed so a rare 5 star.


PHILIP'S MONTH-BY-MONTH STARGAZING 2016
PHILIP'S MONTH-BY-MONTH STARGAZING 2016
by Heather Couper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Key annual text, 25 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is without doubt a vital reference guide to anyone with a telescope interested in monthly changes in the night sky. This book, as the title suggests, is an annual guide which on a month-by-month basis gives guidance of the best days and times of night to watch the noon, the planets, and deep space objects. It's a more detailed version of the monthly sky guide that appears in several national newspapers.

Admittedly if you buy the BBC Sky at Night magazine much of the same ground is covered but this book really is a convenient one-stop-shop, no very good value for money - less than the cost of two magazines. Heather Couper is a long-established astronomy commentator with a communicative style that carries through into the book.

Wholeheartedly recommended. Five stars.


OS X El Capitan For Dummies
OS X El Capitan For Dummies
by Bob LeVitus
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive 'Dummies' style book, 18 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you're relatively new to OS X then this book is probably worth considering as a standard text on OS X. That said the Apple operating system is pretty intuitive and many will use it without ever picking up a manual.

El Capitan isn't a major OS X upgrade from previous versions so it doesn't make much sense to purchase this book to find out about new interface features. Indeed I was rather disappointed to find that there was not a 'what's new' section which I would have found very useful. So it's not really designed for upgraders.

Nonetheless the book does provide a fairly comprehensive and in depth guide to OS X and is one of the more hefty Dummies books. I suspect almost everyone who reads the book, or dips into it, will find something new.

As to whether, as a new OS X user, you choose this book or another text, I suspect this depends on how happy you are with the standard Dummie style. I don't find it particularly appealing and this is reflected in my four star rating for the book.


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