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Matt Gemmell "iOS and OS X Developer" (Edinburgh, Scotland (UK))

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Wacom Wireless Accessory Kit
Wacom Wireless Accessory Kit
Price: 29.27

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works well, 10 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to use with a Intuos5 Pen and Touch Medium Graphics Tablet, and it does exactly what it's supposed to. The kit is three separate small modules: the (tiny) USB wireless receiver you plug into your PC or Mac, the wireless module you plug into your tablet, and the battery for the tablet. The Intuos tablet has one (for the Small size) or two (Medium and Large) doors on the bottom that can be removed, to allow inserting the wireless module and battery. Installation takes a few seconds.

Once inserted, it's recommend that you fully charge the battery via the USB cable connection before using it. You're free to switch between wired and wireless operation at any time, and never need to remove the wireless kit to do so. When you're ready to go wireless, just unplug the USB cable, and press the power button on the side of the tablet (the power button is part of the wireless module, so you'll only have one if you've installed the kit).

Since this is just a USB wireless connection, there's no software to install. In terms of battery life, in Standard mode (the default mode for Intuos tablets), you'll comfortably get two or maybe three days of periodic use from it, and even with heavy use shouldn't need to charge it more than once a day. There's a battery gauge shown in the menubar on OS X, and presumably somewhere similar on Windows. There's no difference in performance (no lag or jitter, particularly) between wired and wireless mode.

Basically, it does exactly what it's supposed to, with no fuss. Highly recommended.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Mac)
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Mac)
Offered by SoftwareDirect2u

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive upgrade, 16 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been using Photoshop for years, pretty much always the latest version, and it's fair to say that not all upgrades have been equally significant. CS6 is genuinely a solid new version, with some very useful additions and tweaks.

I primarily use PS for software and web user interface designs and mockups, rather than photo editing or retouching. I work with large documents, dozens or hundreds of layers, and make heavy use of Layer Styles. If your job involves retouching, I'm still sure you'll find many worthwhile new features here (Content-Aware Patch, and Blur Gallery are prime examples), but my own experience naturally focuses on the type of work I do. Here's what I'm most enjoying in CS6:

1. True vector shapes. Shapes created with the various Shape tools now have genuine strokes as well as fills, as you may be familiar with from Adobe Illustrator. These are entirely independent of the Stroke Layer Style. You can apply a colour, gradient or pattern stroke to a shape (or disable the stroke entirely), and you can apply dashed, dotted and even custom line-gap-line-gap styles of line with your own choice of corner types, mitering etc. It opens up a lot of possibilities for scaleable graphic effects without using a lot of layers.

2. Global pixel-snapping. There's finally a global option (in Preferences) to make all vector tools and transforms auto-snap to the pixel grid, for sharp edges. They've also correspondingly refined the relationship between zoom-level and nudging (you can still get the old behaviour too). This saves so much hassle with partial-pixel anti-aliasing mess around the edges of shapes.

3. Layer search. You can now search the Layers palette, by Kind (pixel-based, adjustment, text, shape, or Smart Object), Name, Effect (Layer Style), compositing mode, label colour, and even a host of other properties like visibility, locked status, whether it has a layer mask applied, and more. Layers which don't match your search disappear from the Layers palette until you clear the search. It's incredibly useful, and instantly gets rid of the need to flip Groups open or closed just because you want to, say, copy a Layer Style from a particular layer that's deeply nested.

4. Layer Styles for Groups. You can now apply Layer Styles to Groups (the folders in the Layers palette), as well as to Layers themselves. You can do both, and the styles accumulate. You can achieve some previously pretty much impossible effects with this conceptually simple but incredibly powerful feature. You can even nest Groups and apply Layer Styles to them all, just as you'd want.

5. Editing improvements. You can now click on the canvas to create a shape, as well as dragging the shape out as before. You'll see a dialog letting you enter precise dimensions, which is a huge time-saver. When creating, moving or transforming shapes you'll see a mini-display beside the mouse pointer, showing appropriate information like width and height, or horizontal and vertical movement. Much nicer than having to watch the Info palette out of the corner of your eye while mousing around.

6. Speed. PS CS6 is noticeably faster to launch than CS5, and interactive effects are similarly faster. It also saves files in the background, so there's no delay before continuing work (you can switch that off too, if you like - which you might want to if you're saving enormous files regularly, or over the network).

It really seems to me that Adobe have (for once!) focused on improving the core features of Photoshop, rather than just adding esoteric things that only a handful of users will ever touch. CS6 is better in almost every way for about 70% of the stuff I do. I can recommend it without hesitation.

D-link DSL-2640R/UK Wireless G ADSL2+ Modem Router
D-link DSL-2640R/UK Wireless G ADSL2+ Modem Router

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job well at a great price, 8 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was the same model of ADSL modem/router I was given by Virgin Media, and the original sadly was fried in (believe it or not) a lightning strike recently. I saw this on Amazon and decided to grab the same model, which arrived the next day via Prime. I'm on a Mac (running Snow Leopard) so I didn't bother with any of the installation CDs; just hooked it up to the ADSL line and connected it directly to the Mac via ethernet for an initial setup.

The web interface has a simplified setup wizard which just asks for your ADSL username and password, a name for the wifi network and a WEP key/password, and that's it - it was immediately up and running, and the default settings worked fine with Virgin. I called their tech people to double-check the settings, and the only real change was a minor one to the MTU value (up to 1458). Everything else was fine on the factory spec.

I've been using this model of ADSL modem and wifi router for nine months now, and never had any issues - even at the other end of the house. I have three Macs, two iPads, two iPhones and a PlayStation 3 all connected via wifi, and no issues. Can't really go wrong for this amount of money. If lightning does strike twice, I'll be buying this one yet again.

In the box: the ADSL modem/router, power cable, an installation CD (I honestly wouldn't bother with it; trust your operating system's network settings panel instead), an ADSL phone cable, an ethernet cable (fairly short), and two ADSL splitters (which is a nice bonus).

Real Leather Guitar Strap: Vintage Brown 'Deluxe' Electric/Acoustic/Bass (1.3m)
Real Leather Guitar Strap: Vintage Brown 'Deluxe' Electric/Acoustic/Bass (1.3m)
Offered by Dangleberry Music
Price: 22.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful strap, 18 Mar 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Difficult to convey just how much better this is than a regular thin synthetic strap. It's extremely tough and secure, it smells fabulous and it's fully adjustable (it's a two-piece loop-back strap, fully stitched, with two button-holes). It provides a softer shoulder-feel than a cheap strap, and far more friction - your guitar simply won't slip down at all when you let go of the neck, no matter what angle it's at. I'm very temped to pick up a spare; wouldn't want to go back to stock straps after this.

Kinsman Guitarist's Dual-Stool
Kinsman Guitarist's Dual-Stool
Offered by RST Music
Price: 29.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant idea, 18 Mar 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this thing. Saves having a separate stool and stand (or foot rest). Every guitar-contacting part is covered in soft foam tubing (and can be retracted), the restraining arm is very solid and the stool is very stable and sturdy (even with a guitar as upright as it'll go in the stand, and nothing on the stool).

The seat has a slight incline downwards towards the non-stand side, as you'd want, and two bars to rest your feet on (upper bar coming outwards in a loop to catch your heel - presumably your right heel for most people). Seat is well-cushioned too, and it's foldable and eminently portable. No downside at all. You definitely want one of these.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2011 6:04 PM GMT

Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone - Silver Edition
Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone - Silver Edition
Price: 91.09

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mic, 12 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'll just echo the other reviews here and note that this is an excellent mic. Just plug it in and it's recognised as an audio input source automatically in Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and indeed as an audio output source if you want to plug headphones into it (to monitor with zero delay). It picks up sound with stunning clarity (make sure you don't have the washing machine on elsewhere in the house, because you'll hear it here), and it certainly looks the part.

It is, of course, a huge beast of a thing (and solid too; I daresay you could knock out a burglar with it then record a statement for the police), but the size brings it up to the right level for recording when you're sitting at your desk. It also feels very radio-DJ, in a good way. Is it worth a hundred quid? No idea, but you clearly get what you pay for.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2011 9:34 PM GMT

Stanley Fatmax Open Tote Bag
Stanley Fatmax Open Tote Bag
Offered by chopshoptools2011
Price: 33.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tote for all your tools, 12 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to replace an overflowing plastic toolbox and several extra carry-cases for screws, an electric screwdriver, drill bits and so forth. I've since kicked the hell out of it carting it around the place, and it looks the same as the day it arrived. It's very solid and tough, and has an incredible number of pockets, elasticated pouches, lashing straps, etc. I have clamps, screwdrivers, hammers, drill bits, spanners, a saw, and any number of other things in it and it's still perfectly luggable without the shoulder strap (which you get with it anyway).

The end pockets are perfect for storing a few pencils and receipts, and the metal mount for a tape measure is something I appreciate about fifteen times a day. I'm sure this thing will last for years, and the open-top tote is much easier than a box when you're doing anything more complex than putting together an Ikea cabinet. Can't recommend it highly enough; it's a no-nonsense tote that will carry a ridiculous amount of stuff and keep it organised. Save yourself the headaches (and cut fingers) of scrabbling around for your tools in multiple cheap plastic boxes, and get this.


5.0 out of 5 stars Great for winter, 12 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these as general-purpose winter gloves rather than for bike use, and they're truly excellent. The included leaflet invites you to test their waterproof and breathable properties by pouring hot water into the glove, and watching how no water comes out but steam escapes. I wasn't about to do that, but it's reassuring that they're confident about the technology!

They have several reinforced panels and transparent, solid moulded knuckle guards. They have three layers internally and velcro fasteners at the wrists for further insulation. I've worn them on winter days trailing around the shops and they truly do keep your hands warm without making you sweaty. My hands always stayed completely dry, including when out shovelling snow, and interestingly if I took the gloves off for an hour or so then put them back on, they were still warm inside - so I guess there's something to their insulation claims.

I can't attest to their impact-resistance (hopefully you'll never be able to either), but let's be honest - they look like Batman's gloves, and they do actually do the job they're intended for. I have no complaints.

Get-A-Grip Everyday Traction Aid
Get-A-Grip Everyday Traction Aid
Price: 7.47 - 25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more arguments, 12 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these for my wife in December 2010 during the bad weather in Edinburgh, when the streets were all coated with uneven ice. Like most women, she tends to wear shoes with almost no built-in grip (even her assorted boots), and becomes very nervous indeed when there's ice underfoot. The nervousness inevitably leads to headaches and arguments, so the aim was to get something that would restore her confidence when walking conditions are poor.

These are basically elasticated covers for the soles of your ordinary shoes or boots, with ice spikes attached. We tested them out on a half-hour walk along an icy backroad one evening, and within ten minutes I knew I'd be making sure she always had a pair of these things. She hasn't slipped once since she'd been wearing them, and (more importantly) she's learned to trust that she can walk normally even on sheet ice with these on. Truly a godsend.

She's had them on over everything from flat-soled trainers (Chucks) to fairly chunky boots, and they just stretch to fit. They haven't fallen off yet, but she can put them on and take them off easily enough at the doorstep or in the car. Frankly, it'd be crazy not to keep a pair of these around if the weather turns cold. They're just the trick for taking the stress out of walking on ice. I only wish I'd bought her them five years ago.

(Common sense alert: don't wear them indoors. They're actual spikes, and they will puncture your lino or scratch wood - but hopefully that's obvious!)

Yaktrax Pro Traction Device Small
Yaktrax Pro Traction Device Small
Price: 9.98 - 65.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant idea, 12 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought a pair of these when the heavy snow started in Edinburgh in December 2010, and it turned out to be just in time. The streets were icy for weeks afterwards, and even with new snow boots I was sliding around. After putting the Yaktrax on, ice was no problem. I made a point of testing them by walking up an ice-covered (uneven) incline of about thirty degrees, and it's genuinely like walking on dry ground. In retrospect, I feel quite stupid for never trying them before, and struggling around on ice every Winter.

Obviously, you still need to use common sense - I wouldn't try to run on ice while wearing these (or ever), but as long as you walk at a normal pace and plant your feet properly (heel-then-toe for even ice, or stepping with your entire foot flat for very treacherous/uneven slick icy ground), you'll be absolutely fine. It's not an exaggeration to say that these things prevented a lot of arguments in our house, by letting us still get out and about on foot during the worst of the weather. They were about twenty quid when I bought them, and I'd buy them again in a second.

I've walked with them for about three weeks, and they're showing no signs of wear or damage (worn over hiking boots). The fact that they're coils rather than spikes also means they won't tend to puncture/damage your floors as much, if you can't bear to take them off on your doorstep. Just don't walk on lino (they'll leave marks, naturally). Another common sense note: wearing coils on dry, smooth, indoor surfaces (say your supermarket) will give you less grip than your regular shoes - these are intended only for ice, at which point they come into their own. Be sure to take them off when you go indoors.

They're ideal for anyone who is nervous when out and about on ice, or who has a habit (ladies) of wearing shoes without much grip. They'd also presumably be perfect for anyone infirm or with mobility problems, to give extra protection in poor walking conditions. In Winter, I won't be without these from now on.

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