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WeatherNerd (Wales)

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Geology of Snowdonia
Geology of Snowdonia
by Matthew Bennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.63

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 11 Sep 2011
This review is from: Geology of Snowdonia (Paperback)
A very good book that allows to build up a good 'mental picture' of how Snowdonia developed over the aeons. It's a welcome departure from the purely dry, professional texts that are both expensive to obtain and diffcult to understand.

I think it would benefit from an associated web site that might have animations - it would be so much easier to comprehend how it all fits together!


Davis Vantage Pro2 Weather Station - Wireless
Davis Vantage Pro2 Weather Station - Wireless
Offered by MendipWEATHER
Price: £729.95

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Failures for the Money., 4 Aug 2011
I had the Davis VP2 wireless for five years in an exposed hilltop, near-sea location and I think the original review here is fair and reflects my experience.

VP2 good points:

>Well-designed in terms of adding/removing parts - no struggling to get at things at all.
>Sensors are pretty accurate, although the rain gauge, although it should be accurate from its simple construction, was way off a standard manual gauge.
>The radio connection lost essentially no data packets in the whole period (whilst the radio worked - see 'bad points')
>Stands up to long-term extreme exposure with little by way of material deterioration; water never gets into the transmitter box
>It works faultlessly with pretty much any weather software
>The console is well thought-out.

Bad points:

>After two years, I had to replace the anemometer. The cost of replacement is about the same as an entire new budget wireless station by now.
>After about two and a half years, the capacitor storing solar energy packed-up. This is a widely-reported problem, but a redesign may have rectified it by now. Again, this is an expensive item to replace at about £180, more than a whole budget wireless station.
>The temperature sensor had to be replaced after about three years. This was very surprising and again, a large outlay, in excess of a whole decent budget station.
>Not a Davis-only problem, but a wireless station only sends data every few seconds - quite a few seconds in the VP2 I had. That means you miss a large number of wind gusts and your gust readings will inevitably read well below the true highest gust. A wired station sends at much shorter intervals - maybe 0.5s or less.
>The solar irradiance add-on costs about £200, but has a manufacturer-declared drift of up to 5% per year. It's difficult to see how that price is justifiable, and I felt it wasn't. The fluid in the bubble level also started to grow algae after a year or so.
>Many users will need a data logger, rather than have it connected to a running PC continuously. It's a genuine mystery - and an unacceptable one I feel - for a small flash memory datalogger to cost so much when a camera flash card of several gigabytes' capacity costs less than ten pounds. There seems no reason why the VP2 should not use an SD card rather than an expensive proprietary 'black box' logger.

Summary

It's well though-out and well-made overall. But the high failure rate of the sensors, which amounted to most of the station within three years, makes it an expensive option. What is most annoying is that these issues could and should have been engineered-out long ago, but they seem to persist. The datalogging should really not add so much to the price when memory is so cheap by now.

What would I do?

Well, I sold it. Thanks to its good brand name, it made £250 even after all that time, but it was bought by an electronics whizz, who could repair some of it himself. I've gone back to certified British Standard manual thermometers, a calibrated Kew mercury barometer and for wind, I'm planning on a Peet Ultimeter 2100 (wired). In the end, the whole point of taking weather readings is to gather reliable data. Because most of the electronic stations have no individual certification, you're simply unable to rely upon the streams of numbers they churn out. They look pretty, work reasonably well, but in my view cannot, even at this price level, be considered anything other than pretty consumer products.

If you must use an electronic station, I'd personally go for a decent budget unit with an integral data logger; there are many around now. You also realise that some of the better weather software allows you to offset some of the inaccuracies of these systems. In that sense, they're a bit like digital camera lenses - you can buy a budget one and accept the inadequacies because post-capture software lets you correct most of them - at a fraction of the price of a 'professional' unit.


No Title Available

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Fun's Been Taken Out, 3 Jan 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
I've worked in science for 25 years, so wanted a cheap way to introduce my kids to chemistry. This kit is well-put together, but it totalyl lacks any of the excitement of past chemistry sets, most probably due to perceived dangers of litigation if any chemical does so much as stare at you from the bottle it's in. There are no iron filings, stink bombs, magnesium ribbon, or much of anything that can be said to promote wonder and excitement.

Chemistry sets were never that interesting, but I think they've got a whole lot less interesting. No regrets, because you can always get something out of things like this if you already know something of chemistry, but it was a disappointment.


Criminal Law, Third Edition
Criminal Law, Third Edition
by Diana Roe
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 14 Oct 2009
A very worthwhile text that makes law actually quite a pleasure to learn about! I'm doing a GDL next year, and this book's been a very good introduction and help in getting me up to speed. It's particularly good at presenting concepts in a very clear, concise and helpful way. Certainly worth buying, although my copy was from the library!


Casualty Figures: How Five Men Survived the First World War
Casualty Figures: How Five Men Survived the First World War
by Michele Barrett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very poor, 27 Sep 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Strange this, because my previously objective, but negative, review had been removed. Not seen that before on Amazon.

In essence: this book is very poor, fails to address many of the expected topics, and reads too much like a dry academic text and makes some peculiar 'assumptions' about what modern people might 'expect' people felt nearly a century ago. I felt it a complete waste of effort by the author, and money by me!


Lenin: A Biography
Lenin: A Biography
by Robert Service
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, enjoyable read!, 27 Sep 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lenin: A Biography (Paperback)
Perhaps surprisingly for such a book, this is really lucidly written and kept my attention throughout. It's not quite a 'can't put it down' text, but it's pretty close, even with its fairly specialist, superficially dry subject matter.

I felt it a very balanced, worthwhile text that gives a much better-informed view of Lenin than has been the case in the propaganda-based past.

Certainly worth having!


Understanding the Law
Understanding the Law
by Geoffrey Rivlin
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 27 Sep 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Understanding the Law (Paperback)
A brilliant book that provides a very clearly-written, concise introduction to the legal system. It includes highly up-to-date examples of recent cases that illustrate the legal concepts under discussion, and is particularly good at always challenging the status quo, suggesting points at which the law might have been improved or clarified. Very interesting historical accounts on the development of the legal system, too.

Glad I bought it; it still gets brought out from time to time when I can't quite recall which court does what, and why! No reservation at all in highly recommending this book.


Campaign 193: London 1914-17: The Zeppelin Menace (Campaign)
Campaign 193: London 1914-17: The Zeppelin Menace (Campaign)
by Ian Castle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superly lucid and well-illustrated, 2 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My interest in Zeppelins sprang from owning L-15 memorabilia. This fairly thin book packs an awful lot of information into a small space, and the colour illustrations and old mono photos are superbly reproduced. A minefield of information about all aspects of the Zeppelin raids on London. Worth every penny!


Boy Soldiers of the Great War
Boy Soldiers of the Great War
by Richard van Emden
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Van Emden Classic, 1 Jun 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this because my great uncle, 26570 Pte. Messach Rowlands, enlisted underage in 1915, and six weeks later, he was shot near Neuve Chapelle. He was just 17 years of age.

It's truly shocking to see the images and read accounts of soldiers who are so self-evidently just kids in ill-fitting, loosely-hanging uniforms. But with money to be made by recruiting sergeants for each 'man of 19' enlisting, there was little incentive - or effort made - to stop underage enlistment.

A particularly harrowing tale given here is that of a boy at the front so afraid that he was trying furiously, like an animal, to dig himself through the earth with his bare hands to get away.

Worth every penny.


On a Wing and a Prayer: The Untold Story of the Pioneering Aviation Heroes of WW1, in Their Own Words
On a Wing and a Prayer: The Untold Story of the Pioneering Aviation Heroes of WW1, in Their Own Words
by Joshua Levine
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best WW1 Texts So Far., 1 Jun 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A beautifully lucid account of the early days of military aviation. It's simply a must-read and cannot recommend it enough for its drama, breadth of coverage and easy-flowing style. Wonderful images make it even better.

Some of the incredible accounts by pilots include one where a pilot is messing about with a jammed machine gun magazine. He accidentally flips the aircraft over, with him then falling out of his seat, hanging on to the same magazine for dear life, somehow managing to climb back into the cockpit and getting home in one piece!

If, like me, you're a pilot yourself, then it has an even greater meaning.


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