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Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK)
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Cole & Mason Gourmet Precision Grind 19 cm Derwent Acrylic and Stainless Steel Salt & Pepper Mill Gift Set
Cole & Mason Gourmet Precision Grind 19 cm Derwent Acrylic and Stainless Steel Salt & Pepper Mill Gift Set
Price: £53.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wedding present material, 15 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Apparently Cole and Mason's salt and pepper mills are 'world-renowned'. Comments from other reviewers may well confirm this.Personally I found them well packages and of fair quality. For this money though, and I think reflecting the boxing they are aimed as gifts probably for weddings and the like, I'd prefer something with more style. Alessi make their grinders in Italy, not China as C&M do for this set and I have more faith in Italian style and background for grinders. Do a search for 'alessi salt pepper grinder' and see what I mean. You get Alessi Pepper Mill by Michael Graves - Blue award winning style or fun designs. Or for a real treat I'd go to Georg Jensen the Danish firm Alfredo grinders (I know not Italian but so beautiful). Not available on Amazon but again do a search.

Overall, the H Samuel of wedding gifts. Now at the far back of my cupboard and not out on the counter as my Alessi grinder is.


McAfee Mobile Security (PC/Android)
McAfee Mobile Security (PC/Android)
Offered by In2digital
Price: £2.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Essential? Plus installation issues, 15 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I guess first I should say that I'm not sure how much of a problem virus and other security risks are to Android. If the risk is extreme then one more star should be added.

On other issues, installation was a real pain. I must have had a McAfee account in the distant past and the software was determined that I use this and would not let me set up a new one despite using a variety of e-mail addresses! Eventually I managed to get a new password for my old account but the process was opaque to say the least. Then the product needs to be registered and the website you are directed to seems to bear no relation to registration but focusses on selling you other products. The fact that you have purchased this product already and wish to use it seems of lesser concern to McAfee!

After much frustration my registration was finally accepted and the software appears to run OK. Note it, as you'd expect, is always on so will use system resources. On scanning, then or since, no actual risks were found, which may speak to my first point about how necessary the software is. The only alert I've had is for Evernote which is software that most tablet or phone users will use. McAfee's database seems not to realise this.

It is important to remember that you get a 2014 version of the software for one device - hardly generous and what happens in 2015... I'm not sure I could face a new installation anyway.

Overall you're buying peace of mind but I struggle to recommend the software.


Bose ® Carrying Case for QuietComfort ® 15
Bose ® Carrying Case for QuietComfort ® 15
Price: £20.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch case, 14 Feb 2014
Having lost my original case this is an inexpensive, by Bose standards, replacement that stores headphones and accessories - apart from the UK plug attachment!! - safely. Would recommend if you have the headphones but don’t have the case.


Bose ® Companion ® 5 Multimedia Speaker System
Bose ® Companion ® 5 Multimedia Speaker System
Price: £299.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart and effective speakers, 14 Feb 2014
I own these speakers and had their predecessors. With the sub-woofer hidden way, the neat speakers with stand incorporated, and with not software installation required they really are hard to beat. The sound quality is outstanding and from listening to films or using Skype these speakers are outstanding. I’ve haven’t heard or found better.


Bose ® QuietComfort ® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones - Black/Silver
Bose ® QuietComfort ® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones - Black/Silver
Price: £259.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for long-haul flights, 14 Feb 2014
I'm not sure I'd invest this much in headphones if it wasn't for there usefulness on long-haul flights. In this environment I use them for listening to entertainment and for help when sleeping. For sleep they don't quite cut out the noise of the aircraft engines but markedly reduce it. The batteries will last a return trip to Australia and the headphones are resilient enough to withstand your head laying on them when sleeping. The sound quality when listening to music or a film isn't bad either!

Recommended for this environment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2014 2:24 AM BST


Bose ® SoundTouch ® Portable Wi-Fi Music System
Bose ® SoundTouch ® Portable Wi-Fi Music System

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good sound quality, portable and good value for Bose, 14 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A step beyond Bose Bluetooth speakers in that this displays preset radio stations being played - such as 'Radio 4'. Fully portable with at least a three hour battery life. Works with Android and iOS but rather better with the latter as it's Airplay compatible. This not only allows you access to your iTunes library but means you can stream Spotify to the Bose System - even the free version with adverts. This the choice of music is more or less limitless. Sound quality is very good and it's a smart sleek device.

Downsides, well set up is easy but a bit fiddly involving downloading software to a PC/Mac prior to connecting the SoundTouch, connecting it using a USB cable, and downloading Apps for Android and iOS for your devices. Takes 15 minutes or so assuming you're IT literate. Also the display could have displayed more about what's being played. Perhaps more significantly, and why I've dropped a star, is that for this portable battery version of the SoundTouch system the battery life is a bit disappointing. It may be able to play music continuously for 10 hours but despite and auto turn-off mode does not seem to retain a charge well over several days when not in use. There's a danger, therefore, that you won't use it for a few days and when you do find the battery flat.

Nonetheless I've set it up for two Sony Android phones and an iPad Air. In particular Airplay seems very reliable indeed. I've had problems with streaming in the past but not with this device.

Overall some limitations bur at this price, with the sound quality, and internet radio and Spotify via an iPad I'd recommended. And the unit looks good. However, I'll update the review once I have a better grasp of the battery life as for the portable SoundTouch this is pretty critical for potential buyers!


Alessi Thermo Insulated Double Wall Small Bowl in 18/10 Stainless Steel Mirror Polished, Set of 2
Alessi Thermo Insulated Double Wall Small Bowl in 18/10 Stainless Steel Mirror Polished, Set of 2
Price: £80.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and stylish, 8 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Two wonderful mirror chrome small bowls. Beautifully made and an excellent exemplar of Alessi products. Recommended for all Alessi collectors.


Alessi La Stanza Dello Scirocco Fruit Holder in 18/10 Stainless Steel Mirror Polished
Alessi La Stanza Dello Scirocco Fruit Holder in 18/10 Stainless Steel Mirror Polished
Price: £74.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alessi at its best, 8 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An exceptionally stylish bowl in mirror chrome. The individually soldered pieces result in an unusual thought provoking piece of art. Recommended in chrome, perhaps less so in white or black. Mine was purchased from Amazon Warehouse at around 25% of the list price although the bowl is probably worth the full price as it stands out from other Alessi pieces.


Netgear R7000 Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Gigabit Cable Router, 1 Ghz Dual Core, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, Implicit and Explicit Beamforming, Upstream and Downstream QoS
Netgear R7000 Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Gigabit Cable Router, 1 Ghz Dual Core, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, Implicit and Explicit Beamforming, Upstream and Downstream QoS
Price: £149.99

36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not all routers are the same, 6 Feb 2014
At time of writing, February 2014, this Netgear wireless router is its top of the range model for home use. It features the latest AC wireless protocol, a faster version with better connectivity than the previous standards - A, C, G, and N preceding it. It is backward compatible. Note than to avoid any confusion this is a router and does not have a modem built in. In my case I continue to use a BT modem for BT Infinity. You'll therefore need two boxes to get internet access but the router will work with cable, fiber optic and standard broadband modems.

Although I'm fairly comfortable with IT hardware and software I don't enjoy (does anyone?) messing around with networks. So much can go wrong, and almost certainly all your wifi devices will need to be logged on to the new router. Problems can eat time. I'm pleased to report, therefore, that set-up was without any hitches at all. The router comes with a short, but very useful, installation booklet. It's well worth looking at the instructions and it's welcome that Netgear has provided this rather than simply telling buyers to lift instructions from their website. Installation took about 10 minutes, five of which were spent with me trying to figure out the login details I needed to connect to my broadband BT Infinity service provider.Essentially you connect, using the supplied ethernet cable, the router to your modem, attach the three detachable aerials, and plug the thing it. You then connect wirelessly to the router networks using a computer, tablet etc and are taken to an installation page. I used automated set-up, although you can set your own settings, and it worked first time.

In use my wireless network now has a stronger signal, is faster, and connections so far have been completely reliable. I've experienced no problems connecting a variety of hardware to the network including a Sony Xperia Z tablet, a Sony Z1 mobile phone, an iPad, an iMac, a MacBook Air, a Sony smart TV, and a Windows 8.1 laptop. This is remarkable considering that I recently replaced my BT HomeHub 3 with a HomeHub 4. So I have the latest BT Infinity router, bought because HomeHub 3 failed to result in a good wireless connection, and it performs so much better.

The router has a number of useful features. It can give priority to streamed video content such as Netflix, the iPlayer etc. This is designed to reduce video load times, and freezing if you have low bandwidth. It's also possible for game console traffic to be given priority uploads resulting in a better gaming experience. I have implemented the first option, but not the second.The router produces two Networks, one for 2.4Ghz and one for 5Ghz. The latter is faster with better range. For 5Ghz enabled devices this makes it very easy to ensure you're connected to the fastest network. There's also parental control settings to limited access to websites. The software supplied with the modem, including Netgear Apps for Android and iOS, means amending network settings is very easy indeed.In addition you can use the two USB ports, one USB 3.0, to create file storage available for all connected devices, or to provide access to files by all connected hardware.

Downsides, well this router is large, and is designed to sit flat rather than on its side. As a result, although it can be wall mounted, it takes up a fair amount of desk space.While Netgear's naming 'Nighthawk' I guess is supposed to indicate similar design traits as the Stealth Fighter, it's not a particularly attractive device and benefits from being hidden away. In addition, not really a downside, but a consideration, is that as AC is new, very few devices use it. That will change and, of course, the router is backward compatible. And I've just noticed that my MacBook Air which is on order does use AC, so devices are getting the necessary hardware. It's also not the cheapest router around. Finally as the router is new some firmware issues might cause problems. Other reviews mention buggy firmware. I have the latest version and did not experience any problems.

Overall though it makes a really dramatic difference to my wireless signal - in terms of signal strength, speed and lack of dropouts - which for me is a game changer. If you're looking for major enhancements to your wireless systems, and are experiencing problems now, this router may well be the solution. In these instances it's well worth 5 stars and I can't recommend it enough. It's really changed my wireless internet activity. The MacBook Air running AC is yet another bonus!

This router was supplied by Netgear for me to review independently.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2014 2:40 PM BST


Paleomagnetism of Sedimentary Rocks: Process and Interpretation
Paleomagnetism of Sedimentary Rocks: Process and Interpretation
by Kenneth P. Kodama
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £65.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly specialised text, 12 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a surprisingly short, slightly oversized book,with only 138 pages excluding the bibliography. It's pretty much aimed squarely paleomagnetists who can use sedimentary rocks to chart changes in the earth's magnetic field and date those changes over time fairly precisely. Relevant as we know, of course, that there have been quite sudden, in geological terms, reverses in magnetic polarity in the past, and the earth's magnetic field protects the surface from the solar wind which would lead to the loss of the ozone layer and exposure to UV light. Whilst sedimentation is of little use in charting very short-term changes in magnetism it forms a good basis to look at long term change and judge apparently rapid changes in polarity.

The book is readable, but most accessible to those with an established knowledge of physical geography or geology and some basic knowledge of the earth's magnetic field. As such it will extend knowledge although I'm a little surprised that Whiley published such a short book. Figures are largely technical and in black and white. It's a little disappointing that the associated website only provided PowerPoint downloads of the images which are reproductions of those in the book. The use of colour, clearly too expensive in print for a specialised book, could easily have been added here and would have aided understanding. I would also have hope the website made some of the underlying data available which it does not.

So the loss of a star for not making a better effort in e-publishing but otherwise a competent work for a focussed audience.


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