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I. Bavington (UK)

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Kryptonite New York Standard Lock with FlexFrame Bracket - Black/Yellow
Kryptonite New York Standard Lock with FlexFrame Bracket - Black/Yellow
Price: £49.90

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice lock, shame about the bracket, 2 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Reading the reviews criticising the bracket I was in two minds about buying this lock. On the one hand were all the reviews saying this was one of the best locks on the market (if not THE best) and on the other were the people saying it had the worst bracket. It didn't help that you can't examine the bracket in a shop because it is completely hidden by the packaging. I eventually decided to buy the lock and if the bracket was as bad as people were saying attach it to the bike with bungee cords or something.

As for the lock itself, I haven't taken an angle grinder to it so I have to take on trust that it is as good as the reviews say. All I can report is that it is pretty substantial and my bike hasn't been stolen yet.

Returning to the bracket, I was agreeably surprised that it was not as flimsy as some reviewers have suggested. Possibly it has been upgraded. I would hesitate to call it good but it appears at first sight to be adequate.

That is more than can be said of the instructions. As has already been pointed out, these consist of a single piece of paper. The pictures are so small you can't tell what is being illustrated and the text seems to have been written by someone whose first language is not English, which is odd because Kryptonite is an American company. I can only marvel at the fact that someone with such an inability to communicate should get a job writing instruction leaflets. I have never before seen such a simple procedure described so incomprehensibly. Fortunately, it isn't rocket science and it fairly obvious how the bits fit together when you look at them. The instructions can therefore be safely consigned to the bin.

The bracket consist of two blocks. The inner block attaches to the bicycle and the lock clips to the outer block. The two blocks are connected by a screw around which they rotate so the lock can be mounted in any orientation.

The inner block is attached to the bike by a nylon strap, which is connected to a buckle-like plate. Between the strap and whichever part of the bike you are attaching it to there is a thin rubber shim to stop it sliding. The strap threads through a slot in the shim at each end but the rubber is so flimsy I doubt that will keep them together for long. I can only hope that friction alone will do the job.

The strap is attached to the plate at one end, wraps round the bike and threads through a slot on the opposite side of the plate. The inner block is then stuffed over the top of the plate. The only thing holding the strap tight is the friction of the block being held over the plate. It seems secure enough for now but time will tell.

The inner block is then placed in position and the screw passed through both blocks to a threaded hole in the plate. Only once the screw is in place is everything held in position. This means that if you want to adjust the bracket's position or orientation you have to take everything apart again. Without doing this there is no way to loosen the strap on the bike. This can be irritating if, like me, you need to experiment with different positions. On the bright side, you only have to install the bracket once.

The Bicycle Book
The Bicycle Book
by Cycling Plus magazine
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Written by a committee of bike geeks, 12 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Bicycle Book (Paperback)
I bought this book because I was a complete novice and knew next to nothing about bicycles. And it is the complete novice at whom it is fairly and squarely aimed. To be fair it covers all the bases. Unfortunately there are two big problems: it is written by a committee and they are all hardcore bike geeks who don't appreciate what it is that a novice doesn't know. Specialist terms are used without explanation (or if there is an explanation it comes later in the book). The authors do not seem to understand that their target audience may not know a derailleur from a cassettte, a gillet from a headset or a tribar from a cage boss. To be fair there is a glossary but it is hardly comprehensive and in any case many of these terms merit discussion in the text itself. The order in which topics should be covered is of course a somewhat subjective matter but to my mind the sections on child seats and trailers, and even arguably buying a bike, could have waited until the basics had been covered. This and the fact that definitions of terms so often come after first use (if at all) I would put down to the book having too many authors with, apparently, too little coordination. The diagram showing the parts of a bike doesn't come until three fifths of the way through the book. And talking of diagrams, there are far too few of them. There were many occasions I was struggling to understand the text when a diagram would have been worth a thousand words. That is not to say the book lacks illustrations, far from it, but they seem to be more for decoration than information. They tend to be photographs that show the big picture: a cyclist in the street, a cyclist half way up a Welsh mountain, a cyclist in a race, a cyclist in a barren landscape, a cyclist with a child. Close ups are few and far between and diagrams even rarer. One thing I found frustrating was the number of illustrations that showed various bits of kit with each item numbered. "Aha", I thought, "they are going to tell me what I am looking at". Not a bit of it. The numbers are neither mentioned in a key nor in the text and unless it is blatantly obvious what an item is the reader is left none the wiser. As I said at the beginning, this book does cover all the bases so despite my reservations I am still giving it three stars but with a bit of thought it could have been so much better.

No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but expensive, 1 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I wondered how effective this tool would be in a real emergency and I happened to have some webbing to dispose of so I tried the seatbelt cutter on it. It went through it like butter: very impressive. It's a lot of money though and a lot of what you are paying for is not really safety-related. I am not sure the toothpick would be very helpful in an emergency, nor the bottle opener. In fact only the seatbelt cutter, window smasher and possibly the knife are really rescue implements. Other tools do the same for a lot less money. Also, as far as a thief is concerned this is just a big Swiss army knife: very desirable. I have had two stolen from my car so far (even though they left the cash).

Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids
Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids
by Maia Szalavitz
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Long Overdue Exposé, 10 Jan. 2009
This book is a long overdue exposé of a business that has for too long been all but ignored by serious journalists. For many years the only book describing the horrors of this industry was An American Gulag by Alexia Parks. It has recently been joined by Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres. Both these books are personal accounts and, though valuable in their own right, they do not address the crucial issues of how these facilities are allowed to exist and why their proprietors are not in jail. Ms Szalavitz's book goes beyond the who and the what and delves into the how and the why. She charts the rise of the 'Tough Love' philosophy and she examines the forces that drive this billion-dollar-a-year industry: a culture of zero tolerance, journalistic panic-mongering, the demonization of youth and the support of politicians, who recognize a bandwagon when they see one and many of whom stand to benefit financially from the industry.

In chronicling such a large industry with so many skeletons in its closet (all too often literally) she has obviously had difficulty finding space in a reasonably sized book and has had to confine herself to some of the more notable examples, namely Straight, North Star and WWASP. This short list to some extent obscures the enormous amount of research she has undertaken, a task that included interviewing over a hundred survivors and their parents personally. Looking through the list of acknowledgements I recognize the names of numerous people whose stories never made it into the final text. Nevertheless, although she concentrates on a handful of organizations, many others are discussed to some extent. Indeed, it is difficult to write about North Star without mentioning Challenger Foundation, its predecessor, and the notorious Steve Cartisano. Likewise, it is impossible to write a meaningful history of Straight without mentioning its predecessors, Synanon and the Seed, and its many successors. Indeed, the author was present at the Lulu Corter trial and she gives a first-hand account of the way the methods of KIDS of New Jersey, a Straight descendant, were finally exposed in court.

The book has been criticized for focussing on events that occurred long ago but in order to understand how this industry works one must know something of its history. And it should not be assumed that the same thing does not happen today. Many of those who were employed by North Star are still working in the industry. Straight is dead but its many successors are still operating using exactly the same methods. WWASP, meanwhile, continues to open facilities faster than the authorities can close them down.

As a senior fellow at STATS specializing in health and science issues Ms Szalavitz is no stranger to digging up the truth behind the headlines. Readers of her columns will be familiar with the way she has covered issues that other writers either ignore or misrepresent. Her meticulous research and cogent analysis place her head and shoulders above the multitude of journalists who are content merely to follow the flock. This thought-provoking book should be a 'must-read' for every parent.

Topfield TF5800PVR 250gb hard drive  with freeview
Topfield TF5800PVR 250gb hard drive with freeview

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor User Interface, 10 Jan. 2009
I have had this machine for over a year now and I still find it difficult to use. The user interface is unintuitive and appallingly designed. For example, once you navigate the not-so-obvious sequence of menus to display what programmes you have set to record you are presented with a series of times and dates but no indication WHAT these programmes are. You have to drill down for this information. The result is that if you have more then a handful of programmes set to record deleting them becomes a time-consuming task with the result that they don't get deleted at all once the series comes to and end and the number of programmes set gets ever larger and even more difficult to navigate. And the disk fills up with crap that you never wanted to record in the first place.

Another feature it is lacking is the ability to record for a few minutes before and after the programme's published times (you can only use the EPG to record programmes). My previous PVR allowed me to specify default values for time before and time after. The absence of this feature means that I often miss the first or (most annoyingly) last few minutes of a programme because is was not transmitted at exactly the right time.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2009 1:41 PM GMT

Veho VSD-229 54-in-1 Card Reader with Sim Card Backup
Veho VSD-229 54-in-1 Card Reader with Sim Card Backup

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money, 7 Dec. 2008
I second everything the one-star reviewers have to say about this product. The software appears to have been written in China, as does the manual, such as it is. The pidgin English would be amusing if it were not so frustrating. Some of it is completely misleading: for example, the message "Find supported device". How am I supposed to do that? Or does it mean it is finding supported device? It turns out it means "Found supported device".

Many thanks to the reviewer who told me how to get it to read the SIM: by double-clicking on the button. Who knew? You normally single-click on buttons. You DO single-click on all the other buttons. I finally managed to get it to attempt a read only to be greeted with the error message, "SIM Card cannot be supported!!" Well, that's useful!

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