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Martyn Davies "booksareweapons"
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Rock Chronicles: Music - Every Legend, Every Line-Up, Every Look
Rock Chronicles: Music - Every Legend, Every Line-Up, Every Look
by David Roberts
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Beautifully Produced., 21 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a marvelous reference book for anyone interested in the history and membership of 250 of the world's top bands. It's beautifully produced, full of colour photographs, and has a 1-2 page listing for each band, with the history of each band, and including a chart showing the members across the active years of the band.

Really I haven't enjoyed a book about music so much since Pete Frame's Rock Family Trees series (see The Rock Family Trees: the Development and History of Rock Performers including Eric Clapton, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Led Zeppelin, Rolling ... Genesis, Madness, T.Rex, Police..: 2v.in 1v).

Highly recommended for the music enthusiast in your life.


The World in Infographics: Planet Earth
The World in Infographics: Planet Earth
by Jon Richards
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good for kids with an interest in science/geography if a bit thin, 3 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As its series subtitle suggests ("the world in info graphics"), this book majors on colourful and friendly graphics, illustrating various processes and statistics about the world. It's a book for kids interested in geography and science, although some of the terminology (like on plates) varies from that taught in schools.

This is a rather thin book (32 pages) for it's 12.99 price tag, and slightly gimmicky, but nice enough to pass a few hours reading facts about the Earth.


Om Shanti, Babe
Om Shanti, Babe
by Helen Limon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.82

3.0 out of 5 stars Good setting. Slow to get going., 30 Oct 2012
This review is from: Om Shanti, Babe (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"Om Shanti, Babe" is about a girl called Cassia who goes to India with her mum on a buying trip for the fair trade shop that they run. Pop idol Johnny Gold comes to the beach near where she is staying, ostensibly to promote his new song that gives the book its name. Johnny Gold's plans also include the development of a hotel, which will come at a high environmental price, something that Cassia is keen to stop from happening.

The book has a good setting (good description of an exotic location), and is quite funny in parts. It works on different levels, on the personal as well as the central environmental issue. It is however, slow to get going.


On Her Majesty's Secret Service
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
by Ian Fleming
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to listen to; quite long, 21 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In this 50th year of Bond we are festooned with new James Bond goods, and this is part of a new series of audio books of the novels. They are all unabridged, and read by a range of contemporary British actors, some connected to the Bond movies and some not.

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is read by David Tennant, and spans 8 CDs (one of the longest audio books in the collection). Tennant delivers his performance book using an anodyne English accent, perhaps his imagining of how Bond himself (or Ian Fleming) might sound? He also performs a variety of accents for the character dialogue, including French, German and a variety of British accents, calling on his native scots accent for Bond's imposture as Sir Hilary Bray.

It's quite easy to listen to, but will need a good few hours of free time to take in the whole book. Tennant fans may also enjoy a 4 minute Tennant interview at the end, where he talks about his experience of re-reading and performing the book.


Cloud computing
Cloud computing
Price: 1.79

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very cheap and quick to read. Worth the money., 9 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cloud computing (Kindle Edition)
This is a collection of essays by different authors on introductory-level aspects on cloud computing. Very little editing has gone on, so there is a lot of overlap in the first few sections and it can get a bit monotonous. However, this is maybe not a bad thing if you just wanted to get a feel for the landscape and terminology. The best part of the book is the last section, which tackles security and legal aspects. This part is quite detailed, where the earlier parts of the book seem to involve quite a bit of vague hand-waving.

I would have liked to have seen more on the API/mashup aspect of Cloud Computing, since adding value through consuming different services seems to me a rather powerful opportunity which is not discussed here. Rather, the text focuses on the more mainstream aspects of cloud-based storage, applications and databases, and the rather obvious advantages of saving money by buying less server infrastructure and fewer software licences yourself.

In summary, not a bad introductory read if you just want to get a feel for the jargon and the issues. It's exceptionally cheap for Kindle and probably takes less than 2 hours to read, so the investment to really low for some useful content. Buy it and skim-read for the best bits.


A2 Level Biology for OCR: Student Book
A2 Level Biology for OCR: Student Book
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.61

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complementary to the standard textbook., 1 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is not a revision guide, nor does it provide more in-depth coverage of the topics. It is a complementary book to the standard textbook for the course, but doesn't provide any more depth. However, it has many nice diagrams, and the text provides succinct summaries of each topic; it also has a selection of exam-style questions and some "top tips" from examiners.


Goodbye For Now
Goodbye For Now
by Laurie Frankel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.71

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing much happens, 27 Sep 2012
This review is from: Goodbye For Now (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The main character invents a software program after the death of his girlfriend's grandma. This application allows video chat and emails with dead relatives, an idea he later develops into a company, and ultimately uses himself ...

Most of the action in this book is emotional, so this is no Harry Potter.


Speech Communication: Human and Machine (Addison-Wesley Series in Electrical Engineering)
Speech Communication: Human and Machine (Addison-Wesley Series in Electrical Engineering)
by D. O'Shaughnessy
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic in speech coding, 11 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is quite an old book now, but is still highly relevant for understanding human speech (and perception) and how it is modelled mathematically. For anyone trying to understand speech coders (and the underlying digital signal processing), it's a very good book. It is also a valuable reference, as witnessed by the number of scientific papers that cite the book (over 1000 on Google Scholar). Highly recommended.


The Taliban Cricket Club
The Taliban Cricket Club
by Timeri N. Murari
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Title; pretty light read, 22 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Set in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban, this novel combines the life and love story of one woman with the Taliban's attempt to join the world of international cricket. The heroine, Rukshana, knows cricket well from her college days in Delhi and so becomes coach for a team of cousins that want to beat all other teams and win the training trip to Pakistan and a potential exit to freedom from the regime.

There are glimpses of the madness and horror of the Taliban's rule, but this is pretty much a light read with Rukshana donning a beard and dressing as a man in order defy the restrictions the her society puts upon her. Some of the end-of-chapter peril situations felt a bit clunking and soap-opera like, but the story keeps a lively pace and overall its a fun read.


Avid Studio, Make professional movies and multimedia projects (PC)
Avid Studio, Make professional movies and multimedia projects (PC)

3.0 out of 5 stars Some nice touches, some problems. All change at Avid., 29 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Avid are an important force in professional movie editing tools, and this will influence some customers in their purchase for home movie editing products. Since starting to evaluate this package, I've discovered that the consumer-oriented business has been sold off (to Corel), so ultimately this package will be rebranded and probably redesigned again. Pinnacle has only been part of Avid for a few years, and now it seems Avid want to focus once again only on the professional side. Meanwhile, Corel already have their VideoStudio range for consumers, so consolidation of products seems inevitable.

Highlights: There's a SmartMovie wizard to quickly pull a movie together: it allows you to quickly drag a few clips onto a timeline and add an audio track. It automatically manages transitions and fade-outs, creating a simple starting point for video editing until you familiarize yourself with the tools. It's nice that you can drop more-or-less any format (WMV, MPEG etc) or size of video and it will rescale and reformat it to make sense of it. There's a library of nice title styles and animations that can add a touch of class to the video. I had a little difficulty getting the titles to be visible until I realized that the top-to-bottom order of clips in the timeline defines how they are layered on top of each other in the final video. I liked the green-screen cloth that came in the box.

Downsides: Adding sound-effects to a movie I found fiddly. The SoundStage utility (for adding free soundtrack music to the video) mostly sounds awful. Often the package just stops while the dreaded Windows 7 little blue spinny circle of death appears (however many video editing packages seem very ponderous and resource-heavy, even on a machine with multiple cores and plentiful RAM). The user interface defies most accepted norms of operation for Windows users; in fairness, though, this is a disease that afflicts many video editing packages.

Summary: capable; some nice touches; user interface problems; probably all different by the time you buy it anyway.


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