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Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK)
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Tilly: The Ugliest Cat: How I rescued her and she rescued me
Tilly: The Ugliest Cat: How I rescued her and she rescued me
by Celia Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just about Tilly, 2 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a cat lover and the owner of a recalcitrant rabbit who sees her aim in life to quickly and efficiently chew every and any electrical cable in the house I was looking forward to this book. I've owned several cats in the past and know how there inherent traits can be shaped to make life easier for both the cat and owner. I was looking for guidance I guess on how to train your cat. I also have friends in Berkeley who help out at a cat protection unit who regularly offer a home to near-feral cats and try to get them more used to human contact. None of the techniques suggested will, I fear, work on the rabbit!

The book covers some of this territory but, as the title suggests, there is also much about the author's trials and tribulations. I didn't find these sections particularly interesting and as such am dropping a star. However, if you like cats and want to understand them a bit better this is a good book that is highly readable.

Just as a final note, Tilly is not ugly at all, having interesting colours in her coat.


PaperPro Prodigy 25 Sheet Capacity Stapler with One Finger Power
PaperPro Prodigy 25 Sheet Capacity Stapler with One Finger Power
Price: £20.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Staple 25 sheets in one go, 2 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a heavy, sturdy, stapler that appears to be very well made. For me the big selling point is the number of sheets of paper it claims to be able to staple in one go. It claims 25 sheets and in my tests this is the case - although you have to push a bit harder with that many sheets rather than the 'one touch' claimed by the manufacturer.

Additional bonuses are that it is easy to refill and doesn't take too much desk space at around 17cm in length. There's also a website showing by video how best to use the stapler - it's not rocket science but is useful nonetheless.

Overall it's difficult to see what more that a manual stapler could offer so five stars. Other reviewers have reported quality issues after using the stapler for a while. If this happens to me I'll update the review, and reduce the number of stars!


Logitech TK820 Wireless All-in-One Keyboard
Logitech TK820 Wireless All-in-One Keyboard
Offered by Kikatek
Price: £95.33

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good with excellent touchpad for Windows 8.1, 2 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First, although neither Logitech or Amazon seem to make clear, this keyboard works very well with Windows 8.1 including several keys that make using Windows 8 or 8.1 a bit easier - especially a button to press to change between the old desktop Windows layout and the new interface and back again. Unlike others I has no problem in setting the keyboard up. You have to plug a small dongle into a USB port. I chose a USB 2 port as opposed to a USB 3 as Logitech advise that its technical support pages be read if using a USB 3.0. If your computer only has 3.0 ports you might want to look at the Logitech site before purchasing. Once the dongle is plugged it it contains the software necessary to use the keyboard.

Whilst the keyboard is good with large and well spaced keys I think the trackpad is the standout feature. With 8.1 it supports more than a dozen features including the standard left and right mouse clicks, the ability to drag a window around the screen, the ability to switch to another program that's running and more. The only problem is trying to remember the combination of number of fingers touching the pad and the direction to move them in.For Windows 8.1 at least the keyboard comes with software to change the options for performing certain functions with animation showing you where to place your finger(s) and which direction to move them in. The touchpad is also large - around the same size as the Apple Magic Trackpad. It also seems to be very responsive.

So overall pretty good, but there are some issues. The function buttons cover a range of functions but with Windows 8.1 at least don't all perform the action the manual describes. However the software I mentioned above allows you to programmme the keys to your requirements. More importantly the dongle will use one of your USB ports as it has to be plugged in all the time. The keyboard will also only work with Windows 7 and 8 (including 8.1). I think I'd prefer the keyboard to use bluetooth technology rather than WiFi (which requires the dongle). This would not necessitate the use of a dongle and might increase the number of devices the keyboard will work with. There's no chance of using the keyboard with anything that doesn't have a full size USB input so can't be used with pretty much all tablets even if it were compatible with iOS, Apple or Android operating systems. While it will work with a laptop - where the touchpad size is a real bonus - the existing keyboard gets in the way. Here you're really looking at a keyboard to replace your existing desktop computer keyboard. For this it will do well but unless your existing keyboard/mouse/trackpad breaks, bearing in the cost, I'm not sure it's a sensible purchase. Plus, as I've noted, remembering the combinations with the keypad takes a bit of time.

Overall though worth four stars.


Case Logic FSI-1095 SnapView Folio for iPad Air, Anthracite
Case Logic FSI-1095 SnapView Folio for iPad Air, Anthracite
Price: £24.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New iPad Air Case, 2 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This case offers full protection for the iPad Air similar to the Apple Leather Smart CASE FOR IPAD AIR(5) MF052ZM/A but at about half the price. While I think the Apple-made case is very expensive the leather version I think looks rather smarter than the Case Logic version with much black plastic at the rear with the rest made of a denim-like material. The photos of the case actually make it look a bit smarter than it is in reality. Crucially the case lacks the magnet that activates and deactivates the iPad when the case is closed. Without the magnet to make sure the case stays closed a less than elegant bit of elastic is used. Finally the packaging describes the case as suitable for an iPad 5. It would be better to say iPad Air rather than leaving the consumer to try and count back through the different iterations of the iPad!

On the plus side the positioning of the case to display the screen at a range of angles using plastic slots is more robust that the folding-cover approach Apple use and, as noted above, it is cheaper.

Overall I think it's just about worth four stars representing fair value and good protection for the tablet.


Philips Disney Planes LivingColours Micro Mood Lamp - 1 x 4.7 W Integrated LED
Philips Disney Planes LivingColours Micro Mood Lamp - 1 x 4.7 W Integrated LED
Offered by Bentells
Price: £21.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suitable for a boy's beadroom, 2 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an entertaining light for a child of probably 6+. In terms of its specifications is pretty much the same as the Philips LivingColors Gen 3 LC Micro Black 70018/30/PU Colour Changing Mood Lamp which I've already reviewed on Amazon. To save the time in tracking this down I said for the Micro Black light that:

"As the review title suggests this is the smallest of Phillips LivingColor mood lights. In total, at time of writing, there are five different LivingColor models. Three come with a remote control to select colour and a range of other options including colour intensity and brightness. Other models display a wider range of colours - up to 16 million - and produce more light. The remote models can also be synchronised to turn on from one remote and display the same colours.

While restricted to 64 colours the light seems to pretty much produce any shade of colour you might want. And although you can't change the level of colour intensity - which essentially means adding more white light - the lamp produces intense light which I think is rather good. The light is also fairly bright bearing in mind that this is a small lamp.

One of the selling point of the Micro lamp is that it can be hidden away in compact spaces. There are two problems with this. First the power cable is not particularly long at a couple of metres so the lamp needs to be near to a power point. Second, the lamp does not come with a remote control, all of the settings being on top of the lamp. To turn it on and offer, and select colours, you need to access the lamp itself. This is a real problem for a light meant to be hidden away. Further, because it's small you'll perhaps want to buy more than one but the lack of a common remote and synchronisation means each needs to be turned on individually. Another significant limiting factor.

So overall, the lamp produces a surprisingly comprehensive and strong range of colours and is very compact. It's ideal to hide in a corner, facing a wall, and perhaps have several of them. But the lack of remote control and a long power cable, reduces placement options. I'd suggest potential buyers look at the remote control LivingColor models but these are larger. So maybe Phillips should think of adding a remote control."

I gave the 'adult' version of the light four stars. I think the set up is better for a child's room. A remote would still be worthwhile but the lamp is easy to control and the range of colours remains good. The lamp has some attractive Disney art work on it against a blue background - so for boys with a similarly stereotyped pink version for girls - and is not meant to be hidden away as the adult lamp is. As a result the remote and short power cable is less important.The lamp has a transformer built in to the plug so it safe for children to use, doesn't get hot, and uses very little power - 4.7 watts. The lamp would be suitable as a night light if placed against a none too reflective wall (it's a little bright) but I think many children would enjoy the lamp.

A little expensive but experience demonstrates that the LivingColor lights are often discounted on Amazon and with for the child market worth five stars.


6-Port USB Travel Wall Charger for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, PDA Mobile Phones, Smartphones,LG, SE, Blackberry,Bluetooth Headset, Digital Cameras, PS2 PS3, Music Player and GPS Navigation
6-Port USB Travel Wall Charger for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, PDA Mobile Phones, Smartphones,LG, SE, Blackberry,Bluetooth Headset, Digital Cameras, PS2 PS3, Music Player and GPS Navigation

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solution to multiple USB chargers, 15 Dec 2013
In essence this device allows you to forget about trying to find, and then carry with you, multiple adapters to charge USB devices from portable speakers, mobile phones, smart watches, tablets and so on. It has six USB ports built in (two of which have a higher output for powering tablets in particular). Not only will the travel charger work in the UK but in most other countries in the world as a number of adapter plugs are included which can be attached to the main unit. The charger also works with both 240v and 110v so can be used in North America and Europe.

The charger itself has a white Apple-like design with attractive blue LED lighting when the charger is powered up. Perhaps most significantly whilst this is described as a travel charger I find it very useful at home for charging various devices taking up just one power socket. I simply leave the multiple USB charger cables I have plugged in to the charger and attach the relevant device when it needs to be recharged.

Overall this charger fills a real need whether for use at home or when travelling. It's a brilliant idea that works exceptionally well. Plus it looks good. Well worth five stars.

The travel charger was kindly provided for review.


No Title Available

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, inexpensive, phone hands-free system, 13 Dec 2013
This is a good value and well built handsfree mobile phone system. My Android phone paired with the hands-free in seconds and i've had no problems save one. I find the earpiece a little uncomfortable and difficult to get in to the right position. This may be more due to a fault with my ear compared to the kit! I'm impressed with the sound quality in both hearing callers, and apparently they can hear me clearly too compered to my usual Mercedes in car bluetooth system.

I'v dropped a star for the slight discomfort of using the kit. Otherwise excellent.


EasyAcc® DoorBell Portable Plug-in Wireless Water-Resistant Door Chime and Push Button with LED Indicator -White
EasyAcc® DoorBell Portable Plug-in Wireless Water-Resistant Door Chime and Push Button with LED Indicator -White
Offered by EasyAcc.U Store
Price: £19.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 13 Dec 2013
It's difficult to see how this product, supplied by the manufacturer to review, could be improved upon. I consists of a base unit which needs to be plugged in to a standard UK 3 pin plug and a battery powered doorbell. The doorbell is, sensibly, water resistant and is large so when mounted a caller is unlikely to miss it.There are two fixing options - either with two screws or by adhesive tape. Being lazy I chose the latter an the unit seems to be firmly attached. The base unit can be positioned anywhere that you have an available power socket.

The base unit pretty much controls all the bells options. There are a significant number of ring types to chose from. I'd tend to go for the more conventional although a Christmas tune might be bearable at this time of year. I bell is load so you're not likely to miss a caller. Also for those with hearing problems a blue light flashes when the door bell is pushed so a correctly positioned door bell would be good for the hard of hearing.

In terms of set up it takes a couple of minutes - open the push-button unit to activate the included battery, stick the unit on your door frame and plug the base unit in. That's it. The base unit and bell push seem to pair immediately. I have to admit I didn't read the instructions so it came as a surprise that there were so many ringing sound options. As noted most I don't see me using but there are some good options.

So for the moment five stars. In long term use the bell-unit battery will need to be replaced and I don't know how often. Also the bell unit will need to prevent water ingress to continue working.

I've attached it to my back door where some delivery drivers sometimes call due to the layout of my house. Now I'll hear these callers rather than the slight knocking on the back door, which lacks a letter box of course.

If you want an easy to fit, large wireless door bell system this is an excellent choice.


Improving Surveys with Paradata: Analytic Uses of Process Information (Wiley Series in Survey Methodology)
Improving Surveys with Paradata: Analytic Uses of Process Information (Wiley Series in Survey Methodology)
by Frauke Kreuter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £49.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 13 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This really is an excellent textbook/scholarly publication concerned with survey methods and paradata. The concepts are well illustrated and supported by real world empirical data. A comprehensive collection of chapter authors have been brought together for this edited work.

Of most importance I think is the light that the book sheds on the challenges and pitfalls of gathering social survey data. It goes further though. Not only does it point out to the reader potential problems with the data they are working with, but it offers approaches to address these. As such it represents a very significant contribution to the field which I'll find invaluable. My only wish is that Wiley might have priced it at a rather less expensive book. That said it's a hefty book with more than 400 pages.

Probably essential reading for social survey data collectors and users and worth five stars for advances in the field.


Biostatistics Decoded
Biostatistics Decoded
by A. Gouveia Oliveira
Edition: Paperback
Price: £38.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A primer for quantitative methodologies, 13 Dec 2013
This review is from: Biostatistics Decoded (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First, I should say that I am not a biostatistician. I do however use quantitative methods in my work and was interested to see if this book contained methodologies which were transferable. The book is well illustrated containing a host of examples relating to quantitative methods. It also can be used as an introductory text as it starts with the most basic statistical techniques and steadily builds on these. Even the most complex methods are well explained although here the focus on biostatistical references I found more difficult to relate to.There are also some quantitative approaches I'd like to have seen but were not covered, I expect because they don't easily relate to the subject focus.

So did I discover transferable techniques, well to a degree yes. It was also good to see how statistics are being used in other disciplines. As such I think the book is worth 5 stars but with the caveat that a biostatistician might find other strengths or weaknesses with the book.


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