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M. Bhangal "S" (Somewhere in Northern England)

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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!

Beaphar Spray Away Plus, 400ml
Beaphar Spray Away Plus, 400ml
Price: £5.15

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quicker than the usual ‘emergency’ procedure, 6 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We have an older cat who used to scream her head off when she wanted to go out and relieve herself, but she’s now getting on a bit and forgets to ask to go out.

The usual route was to scrape the main mass off, cover the remainder in salt so it soaks out, then use hydrogen peroxide to get anything remaining off (hydrogen peroxide = basically any cleaner with the name ‘oxy’ in it), and finally use some shake and vac to get it all smelling nice again. A lot of work!

This stuff shortcuts a lot of that process. Now its scrape the main mass off, then use this stuff to finish up. Best of all, it totally removes any stain with very little effort.


AnySharp 1-Piece ABS Plastic Suction Cup Hanging Hook, Black
AnySharp 1-Piece ABS Plastic Suction Cup Hanging Hook, Black
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actually works, and can hold up large items, 6 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A hook with an easy to use suction cup, attached via a small lever. Works well - I've had mine hanging up a long heavy coat for a week. At the end of the week I tried to pull the hook off with my weight - not budging!

You do of course have to attach the hook onto a smooth surface, which is not really a problem because you will typically use it on a painted door or wall, or on the side of a cupboard and all of these are smooth.

Only slight issue is that the rubber does occasionally leave a slight ring mark after long term use, but it does rub off easily with a finger.

Let's hope they do one for sat-navs on car windows, because mine invariably drops off after a couple of hours driving!

Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury Gaming Mouse
Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury Gaming Mouse
Price: £37.84

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to form, 31 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ok, so this is called a `Hyperion Fury', a gaming mouse with exclusive `Delta Zero' technology.

Um, so either the mouse is the result of an odd Marvel comics superhero crossover, is used by special forces on covert gaming missions, or the Logitech marketing team really need to calm down a bit. To avoid continuing embarrassment, let's just assume it is actually called the `G402', and is a very responsive gaming mouse but with none of the old Logitech customisation or special features, none of which you are likely to miss anyway.

First off, I've previously been a big fan of Logitech mice, using classics such as the g5/g500/MX510 (good solid mice that are so tough you can actually stand on them) until they started going bad with obscenities like the G600, the awful `thumb shelf' of the g602 and basically everything about the MX revolution (the overcomplicated revolution being the low point for me: a mouse that seemed to break if you even looked at it... more like a failed coup than a revolution in hindsight).

Instead, I moved over to Roccat for a while, as they made no-nonsense mice closer to the old Logitech classics.

The G402 seems to be a return to form. It's not as tough or as big as something like the 800 dpi MX510 (which I still own and is going strong after 10 years as my `standard non-gaming laptop mouse' - all it needed was new feet, opening up and a good clean of the optics after 5 years), so you can't stand on the G402, but it looks strong enough to throw into a laptop bag without worry.

Unlike the Roccats, you can't customise the LED colour (can be important if you want your keyboard, mouse and light-up rig to match). If you own/remember something like the G500, then you may miss the customisable weights, but trust me, its not difficult to wean yourself off the weighted mice, you soon get used to the lightness. A bigger issue for many might be the fact that the G402 has a rubber cable. Rubber cables are more likely to split and snag on the table, whereas the roped cables are much better if like me, you expect a mouse to last forever.

Of course, all that is pretty much small beer to the main issue: responsiveness and sensitivity customisation. The G402 is very good for this, and has good low friction feet to boot. You get enough buttons to customise, and they are in easy to reach places. In gaming, the G402 is a pleasure to use. But let me be honest, so is the 2009-released G500, and I'll be frank: although the G402 may be latest technology and have a 32 bit ARM CPU, I can't tell the difference in sensitivity between the two. This may be because the aging G500 has 5700dpi at the same poll rate as the G402(!). But I can't tell the difference between 4000 and 5700 dpi, and I bet you won't either, so its a non-argument.

The very big thing about the G402 that the retro classics don't have is *upgradable firmware*, which means it can be updated (you actually need to go to Logitech support as soon as you buy the mouse, because there is already one firmware upgrade). Better still, it means it is hackable, giving it the makings of another classic with time.

Who knows, maybe in 2020 I'll be writing another review about some other `fastest mouse' and causally noting that the g402 is clearly the most sensitive mouse ever once it has had the community hack. The gaming snob and avid retro classic console ebay buyer within me is already warming to this mouse as being a classic in the making :)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2014 3:47 PM GMT

Philips SHL3300BK/00 Foldable Headphones DJ Monitor Style with Padded Cushions Black
Philips SHL3300BK/00 Foldable Headphones DJ Monitor Style with Padded Cushions Black
Price: £31.86

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suprisingly good when compared to real DJ headphones costing much more, 29 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Philips SHL3300 are advertised as DJ style headphones. I'm not one to excuse marketing, and if they say they are DJ 'style', I'll forget the quotes and assume they can be compared to real DJ headphones. In this review, that is exactly what I will do. I will be comparing them to the definitive DJ headphones: Sennheiser HD25.

First off, the SHL3300 looks more like a pair of DJ headphones than the Sennheiser. Thick, chunky and giving the impression that they can drive some serious sound. Every version of the HD25 looks distinctly cheap and weedy in comparison. That all changes when you put them on your head: practicality and design-for-purpose rather than looks take over. You can wear the HD25 all day (I often do, and forget I am wearing them!), whereas the SHL3300 is too heavy for long hours of use. Acouple of hours and I have to take the SHL3300 off: it presses a little too tight on the ears for long use.

Secondly, sound. I've compared the two against three pieces of music:

Nature of Inviting by IAMX. Pop music with lots of bass and vocals that go from low to high. The dark menace of the piece is lost completely unless the system can do loud bass at the same time as giving good separation to the vocals.
Anemone by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Rock music as it should be. You only hear how expressive the guitars are on a good setup, otherwise it just sounds like people strumming along.
Beethoven Symphony #7 in A minor. A very good piece of classical music to test a system out with: sounds awful on a system lacking good flat response.

Both headphones do really well on IAMX even at full volume. Its difficult to tell them apart. This is pretty much the sweet spot of the SHL3300. If you will be listening to bass heavy dance, DnB or mainstream pop and rock, you will notice nuances between the SHL3300s and HD25s, but the difference is small (and not worth the cost of the HD25s).

For The Brian Jonestown Massacre, there is very noticeable ambiance and clarity in the HD25 that just does not exist in the SHL3300. It's like the difference between sitting in a room at the optimum position of a high end hifi vs listening outside the optimum position: both are good, but one is better. Do you need to care? Only if you think paying 150 to 200 quid to get that fuller sound is acceptable... for most, the SHL3300s are near enough.

Beethoven really separates out the quality. The SHL3300s just do not compete with the HD25s. Although they compete well with the HD25s on contemporary pop and rock, take away need for bass and power and all you are left with is balanced response, and the HD25 wins. It's not a done deal though: remember that the HD25s cost between x3 and x5 the price of the SHL3300s, and the SHL3300s actually do very well: everything is listenable, and sounds great until you put on the HD25 and go 'oh!'.

Finally, I need to consider price. There are generally three ranges for headphones: cheap (around 20 quid), mid-range (over 40) and high end (100 and up). The SHL3300s are definitely in the mid-range, but the truth is for general listening to contemporary music whilst traveling (or listening on a computer), you won't need the extra quality of the HD25s, and won't want for more unless you actually put on the HD25s. Further, the SHL3300s are not just a set of headphones designed for bass. They actually do surprisingly well across the range, and only really start to lose out to the HD25s when you start listening to sparse classical music pieces.

So sound is actually good on the SHL3300s. The only real issue is build: DJ headphones spend a lot of time thrown into a bag, and the cable must be able to withstand this. The HD25s certainly can do this (I have been throwing my pair into a bag every day since 2007, and no issues so far!), but I am not sure how long the moulded plastic connections of the SHL3300s would stand up to the same treatment. However, for the price point, you would have to accept this sort of thing.

So to conclude, the SHL3300 may be DJ style headphones, but for the price, they actually get pretty close to a real pair of DJ headphones, and only start to lose out when you start comparing them to proper DJ headphones as they would be used in a studio. Most people would not buy the SHL3300s to listen to Symphony #7 or for their flat response, so it has to be full marks for sound: the SHL3300s come closer than expected to the HD25.

The main factor is that the SHL3300 *comes closer to the HD25 than I expected*. I thought they would be another me-to bass heavy set with no clarity, but they actually have bass *and* a decent frequency response with lots of clarity and seperation at both ends. On first putting them on, I was actually surprised at how good they were for general music listening.

The only remaining issue is build quality. You will have to take a bit more care of the SHL3300s than you would with the HD25s. Nevertheless, the SHL3300s have not broken yet. I'll update this post if they ever do, but for now it has to be full marks for the sound vs price.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2014 9:15 PM GMT

Philips Friends of hue Personal Wireless Lighting Iris Starter Kit (1 LED Iris Mood Light, 1 Bridge)
Philips Friends of hue Personal Wireless Lighting Iris Starter Kit (1 LED Iris Mood Light, 1 Bridge)
Price: £99.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but this is really only a starter kit: you will need more lights., 25 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 0:24 Mins

The first question everyone will be asking about the hue is `how bright is it?' and 'how much does it change the appearance of a room?'. Have a look at the video I have uploaded. This shows the difference this lamp makes during daylight (cloudy day) and low light (room with single traditional 30W lamp). As you can see from these two comparisons, this lamp changes the colouring of the room (and therefore the mood of the room), but doesn't appreciably affect the room brightness. It works best in a room with light coloured walls, as is the room in the example (my living room). So, if you are after mood lighting, this lamp is for you. If you want to illuminate the room as well as colour it (i.e. for anything other than a bedroom night light), you may have to look elsewhere.

The light looks cool in a retro Apple iMac kind of way, with clear plastic and curved lines. My partner took to it immediately: it has replaced the need for candles and traditional coloured lamps: she loves it and is not usually swayed by pretty electronics!

The only really bad thing about the Hue is the need for the wifi transmitter/receiver (the bridge) to change colour, plus a cell phone (or a Hue Tap) to control the lamp. The bridge requires a separate plug, so if all you need is the one lamp, you have to also plug in the bridge, and carry around your phone just to change the lamp's colour. Why they didn't give us manual control on the lamp (and add the bridge to the lamp, given most of the lamp insides consist of fresh air) I just don't know!

However, once you get the thing working, it looks cool. Its very good for a bedroom or TV room, or anytime you want to turn the lights down and create a mood.

To make the most of the system you will need to add more than just one light though, because there's just far too much infrastructure required if all you will ever buy is the one lamp!

OCZ ARC100-25SAT3-120G 120GB ARC 100 Series SATA 3.0 6GB/s 2.5 Inch SSD
OCZ ARC100-25SAT3-120G 120GB ARC 100 Series SATA 3.0 6GB/s 2.5 Inch SSD
Price: £53.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for upgrading your desktop or laptop, 25 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you're buying this drive, you're most likely wanting to update an existing laptop or PC drive.

Firstly, here's how to do it on Windows without having to reinstall your computer, and with least effort...

Part 1: Connect your new hard drive to your computer as an external drive.
Buy a cheap USB to 2.5 inch hard drive caddy. You want the one that has a USB cable that connects to *two* USB ports on your computer, such as Angelina(TM) 2.5 Sata to USB Hard Drive Caddy HDD Enclosure Case Laptop and PC parts or DIGIFLEX 2.5 Sata to USB Hard Drive Caddy HDD Enclosure Case Laptop and PC parts (they are all the same, so pick the least expensive, but make sure you get the same cable as illustrated in the two given links).
Open the caddy and connect the ARC100 to it. You don't have to reassemble the caddy. Connect the caddy up to your computer, plugging it into two USB ports on your computer rather than one. This ensures the hard drive gets enough power.

Part 2: initialise the drive.
In control panel, select Administrative tools > Computer management > Storage > Disk management. A popup will appear asking to initialise the new disk. Click OK. Close Computer management.

Part 3: clone the drive.
If you are installing to a laptop, make sure it is running on mains.
Google for `EaseUS Todo Backup'. This is a free hard drive cloning utility. Download and install it. Run it (if you are in Windows 7 or 8, you will see a UAC popup asking whether you want to allow `loader.exe' to make changes to your computer, select yes to this).
Select the `clone' icon (top right), and follow the instructions. You want to select your `c' drive as your source, and the ARC100 as the destination. Depending on the data, this will take up to half an hour.

Part 4: swap the drive.
Disconnect the ARC100 and DO NOT reboot the computer with it connected (your computer may get confused if you do this). Then, simply take out your old hard drive and replace it with your ARC100. That's it: all the files and software should be exactly the same, just that you now have an SSD!
You can of course now use the hard drive caddy to hold your old hard drive, giving you an extra backup drive.

So how does the ARC100 compare with other options?

Well, the benchmark that all other mainstream budget SSDs have to be compared to is the Samsung EVO.

I have already installed the EVO on my desktop, and the ARC100 is now on my laptop. They are pretty much the same in performance, and its difficult to tell them apart. The EVO seems to be better for read speed, and the ARC100 seems to be better for write speed, but that's fairly academic, as your computer has to do both!

There are actually only three differences worth knowing:

Firstly, the ARC100 looks WAY cooler with its blue and white gaming livery. If you have a desktop with a side window that allows you to see the interior, its got to be the ARC100!

Secondly, the Samsung EVO has a feature called RAPID mode, whereby some of your RAM is used as a hard drive buffer. This significantly increases performance on motherboards that do not have the latest 6GB/s hard drive support, so I'd go for the Samsung if that's you. If you do have 6GB/s, then I'd ignore RAPID as the speed difference will not be noticeable (or rather, not worth the loss in RAM).

Thirdly, the ARC100 Is the same price as the Samsung EVO on release, meaning it will probably get cheaper in 6 months or so. My advice is to check prices before you buy.

Overall though, the ARC100 looks like a fine upgrade to SSD. Easy to install, and no issues so far!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2014 3:11 AM BST

Busy B Garden Design Journal - Cream
Busy B Garden Design Journal - Cream
Offered by Giftsfromhandpicked
Price: £14.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, 20 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 1:44 Mins

Firstly, I'm not sure what a garden journal is; I would call this book a 1 year garden planner.
The book consists of two main sections: a one year planner (1 year, 1 page per month) and a reference section (log of gardens visited and a contacts section).

I'm not sure the reference section is required for most gardeners, but I suppose that's because my partner (as seen in the video) is the one who sorts out all garden/plant related planning... I just get told where to dig!
Also, I would have preferred a lever ring binder that allows me to add or remove my own pages - this book is a spiral binder that doesn't allow you to add nor remove pages.

The book seems to be of a good quality. Although the number of pages seems a bit thin, I suspect its one of those books that will fill out as you use it.

In any case, take a look at the video to get a better impression of the book.

I'm sure this book has been created as a gift idea for a gardener, and for that purpose it meets expectations. According to my partner, 'this and a box of chocolates would be a fair attempt' as a gift idea for a female gardener. Can't say fairer than that!

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PC DVD)
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PC DVD)
Price: £14.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I see dead people, 18 Oct 2014
A coming of age story gone wrong, told in an understated and restrained American Gothic style. You don't carry a gun, you never kill anyone, you don't change anything, and you are not told what to do.

You are a detective, and you have a story to uncover. You do this literally, by piecing together little bits of flashbacks that are interspersed within a beautiful but empty landscape.

Its not just your character that has to understand the story: you have to as well. It is possible to run through the game and not understand what the main character comes to understand.

Only at the end do you realise what was driving the events: you realise why the story is set in autumn, what the 'sleeper' is, and why the world is empty. And best of all, its not something to do with an alien artifact, the Templars or some other gaming cliche. Its actually something simple, and the clues were there all along the way hidden in plain sight.

There is only one slight concern, and that is that the game lasts around 5 hours. Seven is probably the norm for me, so perhaps a little short.

We talk about next gen games, but its becoming more and more apparent that next-gen refers more and more about hardware and less and less on creativity and direction. Along with Dear Esther and Ultraworld, the Vanishing of Ethan Carter is the beginning of something really new and cutting edge, and its all about getting away from lazy game design and Hollywood visuals and towards real narrative.

Veet Infini'Silk Pro IPL Hair Removal System with Precision Facial Attachment
Veet Infini'Silk Pro IPL Hair Removal System with Precision Facial Attachment
Price: £199.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don’t use in a darkened room, but apart from that, pretty good!, 14 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this for my partner, but as we have very different skin (she has fair skin with fine hair whereas I am more the swarthy type with jet black hair, and lots of it), we thought we would both try it out. Well, what actually happened was that she point-blank refused to use it unless I used it first!

Anyway, the Veet checks your skin type and only allows you to use it if it is appropriate, and it okayed both of us.
We’ve been using the Veet for a month, which is two treatments each: her legs, my back. She definitely sees a useful difference, and I notice a more gradual slowdown of hair growth.

In use it feels much like a camera Flash against your skin: you put the Veet against shaved skin, press a button and there is a burst of light and a slight sensation of warmth (it’s not at all unpleasant). A second later, the flash has charged up and you move the head down a bit to the next skin area, and do it again. You repeat this every two weeks initially, and should see hair growth start to slow down.

So that I could do a full and proper review, my partner also helpfully showed me the relative painfulness of using a mechanical epilator and wax sheets. Well, that experience was certainly fun packed for one of us, but it is fair to say that I found the light Flashes to be the most preferable of the three! If light Flashes may be a problem for you, just use it during the day in a bright room to begin with.

Neither of us have had any skin problems with the light pulses, and looking at the instructions in detail, it looks like the people who would be expected to have trouble with the Veet are the ones who are very sunlight intolerant.

If you are naturally very dark (or have tanned yourself to be so), the Veet won’t work, presumably because you will absorb too much of the light to your skin, and not allow the light to get deep enough to act on the hair follicles. When I say ‘it won’t work’, the Veet actually physically stops you using it if you are too dark: the main head refuses to Flash. The instructions don’t show images of how dark you have to be for this to be an issue, so I can’t comment on that. Your best bet is probably to google ‘infini silk faq’ and have a look at that (there is also a download link for the manual at the bottom of the FAQ if you want to have a look at that before you buy). For those interested in how long the Flash will last, the FAQ tells all.

So, to conclude:
The Veet will not replace your normal epilation technique (shaving or wax) overnight but over time it slows down hair growth significantly. It doesn’t look like it stops hair growth completely (or at least, it did not do this for us, but we started on low power settings). Oh, and I can certainly vouch that between a mechanical epilator, wax sheets and the Veet Infini Silk, the Veet is certainly the most humane hair removal system out there! It is also the easiest to use once you get past the concept.

I have given the Veet four stars so far because it looks like it will work for both of us. I’ll update the score as and when we see more definite results. If you have any questions add a comment and I’ll ask the expert (i.e. my partner).

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