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M. Bhangal "S" (Somewhere in Northern England)
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Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg
Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg
Price: £13.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Vanish soap and spray, 1 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Not much to say about this one other than its the best Vanish. We've used the spray and soap, and this stuff is better than either of them.

Although the blub on the tub says 'for brighter whites', we actually used Vanish Gold on a general wash of clothes (both coloureds and whites) we would have otherwise binned: old tea stains, curry splashes, last years grass stains, you get the picture!

The wash came out perfect with all the stains gone, and most of these stains could bot be moved with either the Vanish spray nor soap.

Only downside is the cost, but bear in mind that one tub will go a long way: you will not be using it for all your washes, just for clothes that need a bit of a good clean.

Recommended.


Logitech G300S Optical Gaming Mouse
Logitech G300S Optical Gaming Mouse
Price: £29.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap but quality gaming mouse, but a little small, 25 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lots of good things about this gaming mouse: the body and buttons are placed exactly the same irrespective of whether you are left or right handed, it can remember per-game settings in its own onboard memory, and it definitely looks pretty, with a nice finish and customizable coloured LEDs.

The mouse is also cheaper than most other gaming mice. Despite this, the mouse does not look or feel cheap: solid button movement and a nice rubber surface for your fingers (and not the painted on rubber that wears out even on other more expensive Logitech mice - the g3000 has a real rubber panel glued on). The only minor concessions to price are rubber wire (rather than a braided one) and a rubber scroll wheel (rather than the metal one you get on other more expensive Logitechs). Neither of these concessions to price affect usability.

Compared to other gaming mice I have, it is very responsive and accurate... but then, we expect that from Logitech gaming mice.

Perfect mouse so far, there must be a catch!

Unfortunately, yes there is: size. The mouse is a little on the small size. An older Logitech MX mouse I have (and would consider to be 'full size) is 13cm long. The g3000s is 11.5cm. Doesn't seem much of a difference, but I asked a large handed work colleague to have a look: the back of palm of his hand rested on the MX mouse, but with the g3000s, the back of bis palm was totally off the mouse. Nevertheless, this small size can be an advantage for a portable gaming laptop, or if (like me) you do actually have small hands.

So to conclude, a very nice and very customizable gaming mouse, but perhaps a little small for large hands. Recommended for laptop gaming users, people with smaller than average hands, and all left handers. If you are looking for a small gaming mouse, 5 stars. If you are looking for a full size gaming mouse, three stars. I'll split the difference: 4 stars.


7 Day clear Pill box in Blue
7 Day clear Pill box in Blue
Offered by E-Guru
Price: £2.04

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars cheap and cheerful... for a while., 13 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Cheap, but you get what you pay for. The box is made of one piece of plastic, meaning that the hinges are a thin film of plastic that will eventually break through constant use or if you drop it. I bought two boxes, and one lid came off after three weeks.

I have now binned both these boxes, and would recommend Anabox 7 Day Pillbox Green instead, which I now use. More expensive, but made of tougher plastic and has a proper hinge.


Twitter is Not a Strategy
Twitter is Not a Strategy
by Tom Doctoroff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twitter is only part of the strategy, 12 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the first chapter of the book, there is a section on web marketing done correctly. It cites the Cadburys 'eyebrows' campaign (the one with a boy and girl who move their eyebrows in time to music). In particular, it talks about an online advert that was part of this promotion. This allowed users to record their own version of the eyebrow dance, and the best ones appeared in the ad. This ad appeared on the front page of MSN, one of the biggest websites on the web.

The actual technical build of this online ad was done by one of my colleagues (who still sits a few tables down the office from me).

The ad was not an idea that we designed though. The ad was just one part of an overall, linked campaign that had to speak in a consistent voice. The online ad had to tie in with the TV ad, which had to tie in with the print media, and all of which had to tie in with the Cadburys chocolate marketing (i.e. `A glass and a half of milk', which was temporally changed to `A glass and a half of joy' for the eyebrows campaign).

That all takes some thinking, and that thinking goes under the names of `branding' and 'marketing strategy'. And that is what this book is all about.

Web advertising and social media in general is no different to conventional (`top down') marketing and branding: the message is still the same. Although people in the web space talk about social, interactive and other advertising where the user rather than the brand marketers has a say (`bottom up'), this book shows how both top down and bottom up marketing are actually closely related in that they must be linked to give a consistent message... otherwise your web content becomes just another good but unlinked idea in a sea of other good ideas.

This book shows you how to do that, starting from first principles. Having worked in rich media advertising for several years, I have a good idea of what does and doesn't work in rich media, and this book seems to be a good description of the process.

The only issue that some have may be that the book delves deep into standard marketing and brand techniques. By the end of the book though, you realise that is because the old ways work: the web does not break anything. The goals of marketing are unchanged.

Conclusion

Best suited for web entrepreneurs who need a quick primer of how to market something you want to sell. Existing TV and print marketers may be less excited because the book goes through a lot of what they already know.

Assuming you are the target audience, 5 stars. Recommended.


Genuine Soviet Russian Air Force Great Coat - Navy Blue Double Breasted Full Length Overcoat
Genuine Soviet Russian Air Force Great Coat - Navy Blue Double Breasted Full Length Overcoat
Offered by Epic Outdoor - The Military & Outdoor Specialists!
Price: £44.95 - £64.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone loves a man in uniform, 11 Jan. 2015
Fair disclosure: I haven't bought my greatcoat from Amazon, as I wanted one in black (they are available in black from a seller at a popular auction site that is as big as Amazon).

Military style greatcoats for men were high fashion in the early 90s (and are still worn: the original Kasabian band image had them for example). Sure you can wear a pea coat or a camouflage pattern and call it a military look, but nothing says `classic military' more than a double breasted great coat.

So if you are in the market for a military greatcoat, you have two choices: buy an old 90s version by Gautier, Valentino or Dior (good luck with that!), or buy a current imitation (these will be cut down versions and usually look more like a long pea coat).

Or you can realise that the Russian Army has a load of original and unworn winter greatcoats that they have had mothballed since the mid-80s and they are now appearing as surplus. The great thing about these greatcoats are that they are the real thing. You can tell they are no imitation just by picking one up: it weighs over 4Kg! Better still, they are cut just like the Gautier and Dior versions from the 90s, which you would expect, because the Soviet greatcoat was the original 90s inspiration!

Buying tips:

Firstly, you need to get the length just right. A greatcoat should fall to just below the knee, otherwise the coat will go lower and you stop looking like a cool indie rock star and instead end up looking like a retro 80s goth, Captain Jack Harkness or a Matrix fan (unless of course that's what you want...). Too short and it ends up looking like a bad idea IMO. I already have a tailor made long coat. I followed the height chart exactly, and this coat falls to exactly the same length as the tailor made one: two inches below the knee (Fashionista nit-pick: the man in the product photo is actually wearing one a tiny bit too short: it should stop just below the knee not at the knee).

For the waist, bear in mind that people in the 80s were a little thinner than they are now and all sizes listed are for a medium build. If you are anything above that at the waist, you will have trouble as the coat comes in at the waist when you button it up (when buttoned up, the top half tapers down to the waist, and the buttons form a shallow 'V', and then the coat then tapers back out from there to the bottom... so you will look good in it unless your body, um, tapers in the wrong direction at the waist!).

The coat will smell funny when you first get it. When I said `mothballed' earlier, I don't mean that as an analogy to time: you will smell the moth repellent on the material! You will need to air the coat for a week or so (or pop it on a hanger and put it on a clothesline for a day) until the smell goes away. I initially thought it was the age of the materiel that was causing the smell, but don't worry, its the preservative and it goes away within days. After that is smells as wool should. Patience is the keyword: you do not have to get it dry cleaned!

The material is 90% wool, but bear in mind that it is Soviet quality, not Dior! The cloth is a far from soft, but looks as if it has been built to last (well, actually, it has lasted 20 years already). You might find the material rough around the neck and the wool stiff generally for a while until you break it in. I found no issues whatsoever due to the age of the garment. It has not faded, does not have any creases that won't come out, and the cloth looks new. The only real issue is a lot of loose thread ends, but the stitching is sound, so you just have to cut the ends.

If you want a shorter coat in this style, search the web for 'Buschlat'. This has the same upper design as this greycoat, but is only as long as a pea coat... but much more striking.

Overall, if you want to wear the high military look but fashion pea coats and camouflage jackets are not enough, this is the one to buy. These coats will not be around for ever (they are limited supply, and once the stock has gone they will almost certainly become collectors' items... and many popular sizes are already unavailable anywhere. It goes without saying that these coats serve their purpose well: they are brilliant winter coats.

Oh and my partner loves the look, which is to be expected: everyone loves a man in uniform!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2015 3:04 PM GMT


Zyliss Acid Etched Rotary Fine and Coarse Drum Grater
Zyliss Acid Etched Rotary Fine and Coarse Drum Grater
Price: £21.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice kitchen gadget for the pizza lover., 4 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 1:16 Mins

Firstly, this is described on the box as a cheese grater and not a general grater. I have tried it with vegetables (carrots), and it doesn't work at all well with them.

You get two cutting drums, a fine grater (lots of small strands, which I would use for sandwiches) and course cut (thicker strands, which I would use where I intend to melt the cheese).

In use, its all pretty easy: pop your cheese in the compartment at the top of the grater and then turn the drum handle. The grater is designed so that as you grip, the cheese is pressed onto the grater drum.

Perhaps rather cheekily, I have shown an alternative in the video: a small grater board. As you can see, the Zyliss grater is far quicker. I'd use the Zyliss for grating cheese for a pizza. If I was just grating cheese for a sandwich for one, I'd go for the grater board, as its easier to wash up afterwards (NB - I am a bloke though!).

Overall, recommended for anyone who cooks pizza often, or anyone who just can't stand all the mundane bits of cooking and lives for kitchen gadgets that make it all quicker! It also comes in a very present shaped box, so would make a decent gift for a kitchen fanatic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2015 9:38 PM GMT


Karbonn A5S SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Karbonn A5S SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Price: £68.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good cost effective phone, 24 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 2:12 Mins

I wasn't expecting much from the Karbonn A5s, an Indian made budget phone. Once I turned it on though, I was very impressed albeit with a few caveats, most of which are acceptable at this price range.

Firstly, you get a pretty much untouched version of Android KitKat 4.4. The only two things that make you realise the phone's heritage is a game (Angry Gorilla) which is a paid app, but the price is in Rs rather than pounds, and a sample video that is Bollywood. Both can be deleted or disabled, so no worries there.

Secondly, this is a very nippy phone for all the things you would typically use a small phone for: web (scrolling was very smooth and the phone was very responsive when I tested the BBC mobile site - see video), general apps (email, quick notes, calendar etc), and of course making phone calls (good volume, no issues with reception). You wouldn't use this phone for intensive games, but for most normal pocket phone use cases, the Karbonn is very good.

Thirdly, nothing seems cut down or non-standard on this phone with respect to software. The operating system and all the normal standard google apps work well. Although you get the Karbonn store app, you also get the Google app store, so you can go straight to Google Play without the phone trying to strong-arm you to the phone manufacturer's store.

Fourth, the phone is thin and light.

Finally, the screen is good: nice and bright.

Onto the bad points...

The biggest issue is probably the system memory. Its 512MB, which is on the low side, and may limit the number of apps you can install. You are fine with storage memory though, as you can add a 32GB sd card, enough to hold a sizable music collection or e-reader library.

The phone does not seem to have GPS (although it does have Bluetooth and the usual phone orientation sensors). May be an issue if you are big on Google Maps or Google Sky.

You get a two pin battery charger rather than a 3 pin British plug. A mitigating factor against this issue is that the phone has a standard micro usb port, so if you have a PC, you can simply charge via usb, A standard Kindle charger will do the trick, as will most other 3-pin phone chargers with micro usb.

Although the camera body front looks nice, it is let down a little by the back - a faux leather look complete with faux stitching at the edges! Staying with the back, the main camera is nothing to write home about: its 5MP and not that good: laggy and a bit grainy. Probably the worst technical feature on the phone is the camera. Additionally, the front does not look like it is the usual tempered glass

The battery is a Karbonn branded battery and you may have much more trouble finding one than one for a Samsung, Nokia, HTC, etc. In fact, Amazon don't sell them, and a cursory web search suggests they are (at least currently) pretty rare in the UK.

Conclusion.

Overall, this is pretty much an ideal buy for anyone looking for an economy, backup phone, or a child's keep-in-touch phone. Its basic, but what it does, it does well. Big issues against include a non-standard battery, mediocre camera, and no GPS. The biggest plus, however, is price, and that negates many of the negatives.


Kinotehnik LCDVF BM LCD viewfinder loupe for Blackmagic Pocket Camera (BMPC) - view finder DSLR Video
Kinotehnik LCDVF BM LCD viewfinder loupe for Blackmagic Pocket Camera (BMPC) - view finder DSLR Video
Offered by MAVIS Foto & Video
Price: £99.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect companion for the BMPCC, 21 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is for the BMPCC specific version (Amazon seem to be grouping the BMPCC reviews with the standard 3" screen version).

Works much better than I thought it would: not only does it make viewing the screen easier in outdoor conditions, it also makes the camera much more stable (because it now has three instead of two points of contact).
In fact, using this loupe makes your camera more stable than does the Panasonic OIS! Further, the loupe can increase usable shoot time because you will use a much dimmer screen brightness. Finally, the loupe gives you a nice magnification, making focusing easier. For users who tend to shoot hand held, the loupe negates the need for a monitor, making your rig much smaller.

If you will be shooting both hand held and on a stabiliser/tripod, the Loupe is very easy to attach and remove as neccessary (it is fitted to your camera magnetically, and simply snaps on/off).

The only downside is that the loupe does not have a diopter adjustment, so if you do not have good eyesight it can be difficult to use. Oh, you also have to glue a magnetic frame to your camera. This is not much of a problem (the frame is very small and innocuous), but it does mean you have to stick the frame on properly - make sure there is no grease on your LCD before you attach the frame and all should be well. You get two frames, so if you have a main and backup camera, you should be able to use the loupe on both.

In conclusion: if you want to keep your BMPCC rig as small as possible whilst being able to shoot stable footage in all light conditions, the Kinotehnik will probably be your best accessory!


Nicna USB 2.0 External DVD CD Player DVD-ROM Combo CD-RW Drive Universal for all PC
Nicna USB 2.0 External DVD CD Player DVD-ROM Combo CD-RW Drive Universal for all PC
Offered by Fotga
Price: £12.15

4.0 out of 5 stars light and portable but does not read scratched DVDs well, 21 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good:

Small and light, and therefore portable.
Cheap.
Works well for DVDs with no scratches on them.

Bad:

You have to use the drive on either a USB that provides the full spec current, or you have to use the included cable so that the DVD drive draws its power from 2 USB ports. If you find the DVD does not even start up (no green light), then your problem is most likely your USB ports.

This DVD simply does not handle scratched DVDs well. It is perfect with brand new DVDs, or ones you take care of or are hardly out of the box (such as game or application DVDs), but forget it with film DVDs that you leave out of the box near the telly! I initially thought it was skipping because it was underpowered (I was powering it from a single USB), but even when powered from 2xUSB, it is still the same.

In conclusion:
Perfect if you want something light or cheap, but issues with even slightly damaged DVDs. You get what you pay for, but as this is the cheapest DVD player you can get, its probably worth the asking price. Four stars.


Ring Automotive RLS1 Bungeeclic Load Strapping Bungee Tie Down Kit Hooks and Clips Stretchy Rope
Ring Automotive RLS1 Bungeeclic Load Strapping Bungee Tie Down Kit Hooks and Clips Stretchy Rope
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the car boot, 6 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These things are not just for an open trailer, they make life easier for a standard car boot. I've been using these straps for a month now, and here are three things I do with them:

Hook a line from the left side of the boot to the right (most modern boots now have something to allow this: a hook or handle on either side of the boot). This gives you a line to loop all your shopping bag handles through, ensuring none of them fall over during transit. Just in time for the Christmas shop!

Tie your boot door down when it is too full to close. I went to buy a chair from a certain household furniture store. I assumed it would come flat-packed, but amazingly, it came fully assembled, in a rather comical `L' shaped box. Not so funny when I was in the car park post-purchase trying to fit it into the boot - the door would not shut! Not to worry - I just tied the boot door down with the stretchy rope, and I was good to go!

Keep important equipment from knocking about. I am an amateur photographer, and can easily have gear in the boot of the car that is worth more than the car itself. I not only have a stills camera and associated lenses, but I also have a video camera with its own associated equipment. Using these ropes, I can firmly stow the two equipment bags to the inside wall of the boot so that they (a) don't move or rattle around and (b) in the event of an accident, they are tied down to the safest part of the boot. I actually attach the ropes to the back of the rear seats (if your car has rear seats that can slide forward to give you more boot room, then they will also have two bolts to keep them upright, and it is these bolts that I use to hook the bungee ropes onto).
Oh, and I also use the shortest of these ropes to tie my monopod to my camera bag, as the supplied connectors seem to work well with camera bag attachment loops. Bonus!

So overall, recommended. They initially look like a one trick pony, suitable for only certain situations, but the longer you leave them in the boot, they more reasons you fill find to use them!


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