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Mr. P. HAIGH (London, UK)
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Belkin F3Y092bf2M 2m Digital Optical Audio Cable
Belkin F3Y092bf2M 2m Digital Optical Audio Cable
Price: £7.75

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain priced toslink cable with dust caps you won't lose, 18 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With this Belkin Toslink cable you're getting a good quality optical cable from a manufacturer with a solid reputation. Despite the sub-£5 price this 2m cable performs flawlessly, has precisely-moulded connectors at each end and a particularly nice touch is the pair of dust caps tethered to the cable itself. This is excellent as the thing that invariably goes missing is the dratted dust caps.

You don't need to spend the earth on cables where digital signals are involved - keep your money in the bank and get one of these - you won't regret it.


Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
by Jesmond Allen
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars UX design laid bare, this book is a goldmine for web site builders, 17 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Smashing Magazine are known for informative articles on web design and, more recently, informative books too. Smashing UX Design is not the first of their books to cross my path and I've learnt that, much like O'Reilly books, they are about providing solid value ahead of pushing out book after book regardless of the quality of the content.

So with Smashing UX Design you have over 400 pages devoted to user-centric techniques for perfecting web site design. These guys are the experts and if you have the budget to do it properly this book gives you all the information you need to get it done - or enough to tell you that you should hire the authors in.

Alternatively if, like must of us, you don't have budget to blow, this book gives you enough information to work out what to prioritise and how to get the maximum benefit from your investment.

I've not read the entire book - yet - but I've read enough to know that it is going to be extremely useful over many projects to come.


Emprex 6311ARFIII 2.4GHz Ultra Slim Wireless Kit Including Ultra Slim Keyboard and 1600dpi Hi-Resolution Optical Mouse
Emprex 6311ARFIII 2.4GHz Ultra Slim Wireless Kit Including Ultra Slim Keyboard and 1600dpi Hi-Resolution Optical Mouse
Offered by ADMI Limited UK
Price: £22.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Great wireless keyboard and mouse on a budget, 14 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Emprex wireless ultra slim keyboard and mouse kit is a super-cheap and great way to go wireless with your PC. If you are still using a "three box" PC (base unit, screen, keyboard) then a wireless set-up is a great way to help reclaim desk space when you're not using your machine - you just pick up the keyboard and mouse and move the right out of the way. No cables to worry about. Fantastic.

In the keybord-sized box you'll find a keyboard and mouse (well, duh!), a USB dongle and two pairs of Duracell AAA batteries. Its nice to see Emprex not skimping here - after all most companies would ship with cheap batteries that last jus a few days or none at all. Set-up is quite simple. Put the batteries in the keyboard and mouse, and plug the dongle into your PC. You might need to install drivers but I didn't, and its a measure of confidence that Emprex don't find the need to provide a driver CD. Oh, there is also a leaflet in case you need it.

Like the majority of low-cost wireless keyboards (and mice) this keyboard uses the same 2.4GHz spectrum as WiFi and Bluetooth but isn't compatible with either (which is why they can be made so cheaply). That said, I've not noticed any interference with my Mac bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

Emprex reports a range of 10m which you're never likely to need, even if you connect a laptop to your TV and sit on the sofa! I found the range to be sufficient for all my needs - however as the batteries fade you can expect the range to drop. Both the keyboard and mouse have a red warning light to tell you when to change the batteries. As for battery life, well, no indications here I'm afraid - and anyway that'll depend on how heavily you use your machine.

The keyboard is chiclet style. If you're unfamiliar with the term then its best described as small, flat and square keys with not much vertical travel. This isn't an expensive keyboard but had a decent feel under the circumstances. Its easy to type with (but then I use a chiclet keyboard daily). The mouse is infrared meaning it will work on almost any surface and has left and right buttons, as well as a clickable scroll wheel. Physically quite small, I wouldn't be able to use this mouse for long for fear of developing RSI.

All in all this keyboard and mouse combo work well, have a great price and I can't find a fault with it. If you want wireless on a budget, then this is probably the one for you.


Remington F7800 Titanium-X Dual Foil Shaver
Remington F7800 Titanium-X Dual Foil Shaver
Offered by Surelifehealth
Price: £42.00

154 of 156 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good, close shave from a strong brand, but can't find replacement head in the UK, 24 Sept. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Remington F7800 is a dual-foil electric shaver with two independant heads, providing a more comprehensive (and hopefully quicker) shaving experience. Although this is not a shaver for use in the shower it is described as an easy-clean model, requiring only a regular rinse under running water to clear the bristles and keep it running at its best. The instructions caution that the shaver should still be fully dry before using it, or indeed charging it.

So what's in the box? The shaver and clip-on head guard, a charging stand, charge cable, cleaning brush and a drawstring bag for travel. You'll need to charge it for 24 hours before you start using it, but after that it'll take about two hours from empty to full. The red LED display will show you the state of charge, so you'll have plenty of notice of when to recharge.

As a seasoned user of electric shavers I have a number of criteria I always look at when buying a new shaver:

Does the unit charge straight from the mains using a standard cable (for example the C7 aka "figure of 8"), or is there a non-standard mains lead or a power adaptor? Not the most important feature, but when I'm travelling I'd rather not lug round more cables or chargers than I need to. The F7800 comes with a charging stand, but a short examination shows that this is just an adaptor - the device-specific charging cable will plug straight in to the bottom of the shaver so the stand can stay home but the cable will be going with with you if you think you'll need to charge away from home.

Can charger accept 110v? Remington are on the money here - you might have to use their charging cable but it is a universal charger, so you can take it into Europe or the USA.

Can I shave using mains power? If I oversleep and find the shaver is flat I need to be able to plug it in and get shaving right away. This shaver won't run from the mains but Remington do say that you can get a shave out if it after just five minutes of charging - although if I had five minutes to spare I'd probably wet shave instead.

How easy is it to keep clean? The F7800 is a mixed bag here. On the one hand it can be kept clean by running it under the tap, but then you can't use it until it is dry if you go this route. Better to take the old-fashioned route, take the head off and use the supplied brush to clean it without getting it wet.

How expensive is a replacement head (both the foil and the moving blades underneath)? A good shaver should last long enough to replace the head at least once, and you don't want to be paying nearly as much as the shaver itself. I had trouble here. First, neither the box nor the leaflet specified the part number for replacements, so a visit to the Remington web site gave me the number SPF-300. I couldn't find a UK seller stocking this part but in the USA it retails at $25. Still, not being able to get spares is a significant problem.

Is the pop-up trimmer any good? As somebody who maintains sideburns and a moustache or short beard, I've discovered that most beard trimmer add-ons are gimmics more likely to trap hairs than cut them. Unfortunately the F7800 is no exception here and I won't be using the beard trimmer.

And finally, is the shave any good? Every foil shaver I've used has been pretty good on day one but you need a few months of daily use before you can really decide. However the F7800 is definitely one of the better shavers I've used. It fits well in the hand, the head is presented at a good angle and shaving is a relatively quick experience and gives a closer shave than all the other foil shavers I've owned.

This shaver has its good and bad points. Its a Remington so it shaves well and has a battery indicator so you know when its going to need charging. Its easy to keep clean and replacement parts aren't too expensive. On the down side you'll need to take the charge cable with you on holiday, can't use it when flat and the beard trimmer is a waste of space. That said, neither of those are reasons not to buy for most people. The one big reason is the apparent lack of replacement screens and cutters in the UK. Actually supplying the replacement part numbers would help - maybe SPF-300 is a USA-only part number and there is a different part number for the UK - but I couldn't find it.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2015 10:06 AM GMT


Sennheiser E 815 S-X Cardioid Dynamic Microphone XLR to XLR Cable
Sennheiser E 815 S-X Cardioid Dynamic Microphone XLR to XLR Cable

4.0 out of 5 stars A good general purpose microphone, recently discontinued, 20 Sept. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Sennheiser E815 S-X is a boxed set of their respected E815 S microphone, a matching microphone stand clip and a 5m XLR to XLR extension cable, allowing you to get it patched into your sound board and into use straight away. The microphone has good heft, weighing in at just under 12oz (thats 330g in new money) and the extras it comes with make it look good value at its current price just under £39.

As far as usage goes this is classed as a "Consumer" product by Sennheiser, so don't expect the Rolls Royce of microphones, more your Ford Fiesta (more than capable of fulfilling its purpose for most of us). Its a low impedance type (350 Ohms) with a pickup range of 80Hz to 15KHz and sensitivity of 1.5mV. The low end may be a bit too close to the bottom end of the human vocal range - bass singers with a deeper than normal voice beware - but in every other way its more than up to the job in homes, rehearsal rooms, pubs and clubs.

Sennheiser have apparently discontinued this microphone as I can only find it listed on their UK web site under discontinued products - although it is still in their US catalogue. The current low-end model in the 8xx range is the E835 with a wider frequency response from 40Hz to 16KHz and a sensitivity of 2.7mV in the same physical package - so either pick up the 815, ensuring a bargain price, or go for the 835 instead. Either way, with Sennheiser, you won't be disappointed.


Frommer's Provence & the Riviera Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Pocket)
Frommer's Provence & the Riviera Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Pocket)
by Anna E. Brooke
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A perfect planning and travelling companion for Provence and the Riviera, 24 Aug. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This Frommers guide is small enough not to fit in your hand luggage but big enough to contain a lot of information about Provence and the Riviera. At over 200 pages it is split into several sections, with a comprehensive index and map in the back. It starts with strategies on how best to get the most out of the area and at this point I want to point out that this book is best suited for a mobile holiday, as it contains a small selection of things to do in lots of different places around the region.

The first half of the book is given over to suggestions for full tours (three days, one week and two weeks), special interest tours, outdoor activities (beaches, hiking and cycling) and regional tours. Each suggestion comes with contact information - names, numbers and web sites - and hints and tips on each, so you could pick a tour (for example the one week tour) and then change any of the suggestions you're not keen on for something else in the area.

Most of the second half of the book is given over to potted guides to "The best cities and towns" and although it tries to be comprehensive it falls short if you spend more than a couple of days in any of the towns - you'll either end up spending a fortune or you'll need to visit the local tourist office for more information.

In the back there are some France-specific travellers tips, a comprehensive index and a small map of the region that nobody in their right mind would try to use, except to see the relative distances between the places covered. Good for planning, bad for travelling.

The book helped us decide that we would go on holiday to the South of France but being based in one town for almost two weeks, with no car, it only helped when we planned trips to Monaco, Antibes and Cannes. If you're planning a touring holiday, or will have access to a car, then I think you'll find this book very handy.


Easy Money (Stockholm Noir Trilogy 1)
Easy Money (Stockholm Noir Trilogy 1)
by Jens Lapidus
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gritty and engaging debut novel., 24 Aug. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Easy Money is Jens Lapidus' debut novel but it doesn't show. Well written and gritty, I wasn't immediately comfortable with its graphic, no punches pulled approach to depicting Sweden's criminal underworld, but the writing style drew me in and I rattled through the book in a few short days on holiday.

Jens' experience as a criminal defence lawyer has clearly stood him in good stead, allowing him to write a convincing story that develops briskly from the first chapter. Although the first of a trilogy, this book manages to conclude well - though not as well as if it were a one-off - and sets up some plot lines for the second of the three books.


Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery (BBC Audio)
Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery (BBC Audio)
by Francis Durbridge
Edition: Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars A great story read entertainingly by Toby Stevens, 18 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Written by Francis Durbridge and read here by Toby Stephens, Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery follows the eponymous hero on another adventure. The six discs provide a total listening time in excess of six hours.

Paul Temple returns from a lecture tour in the USA and gets into a discussion with a distant acquantance on the flight home about the daughter of a friend of his who has decided, against her father's wishes, to marry. When the girl turns up dead Temple can't help but get involved.

Toby Stevens has a clear, authoritive and clipped voice that makes listening to this long audio book a pleasure. The story itself is also well written and engaging, giving Stevens plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his command of a wide range of accents. My only criticism is that despite my enjoyment I found it difficult to listen to in the car because hes rattles through the book at a fair clip, requiring more concentration than I'm prepared to give it when behind the wheel.

In summary this is another classic story from the Paul Temple ouvre, brilliantly read by Toby Stevens - albeit rapidly.


Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma
Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma
by Eric Saward
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars A good story, read by Colin not Tom Baker!, 18 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Written by Eric Saward from the original TV scripts, first published in 1985 and read here by Colin Baker, The Twin Dilemma follows the sixth Doctor (also COlin Baker in the TV series) in his first adventure. The four discs have approximately an hour each and the book is unabridged (read in full with no cuts).

The planet Jaconda has bee taken over by a race of gastropods who are planning to spread throughout the galaxy, using a gigantic explosion to spread their eggs. Having kidnapped a pair of young twins who are clever enough to calculate the precise nature of the explosion they are attacked by space fighters, of which only one survives. The Doctor and his assistant help the lone pilot and Jaconda's former ruler to rescue the twins and defeat the invaders before they can execute their evil plans.

I was originally under the impression that this was being read by Tom Baker, not Colin, so after having the obvious pointed out to me I have to bury my original disappointment and say that the story is well-read at a reasonable pace. Although the story is a good one with plenty of detail, it has been enhanced far beyond the original storyline. So don't watch the TV episodes expecting them to correlate closely with the CDs.

The story is good and spread across four CDs, giving over four hours of listening at a reasonable price.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2012 1:08 PM BST


The Carleton Hobbs Sherlock Holmes: Further Collection (BBC Audio)
The Carleton Hobbs Sherlock Holmes: Further Collection (BBC Audio)
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well scripted and performed, these vintage classics are a bargain., 18 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Carleton Hobbs Sherlock Holmes Further Collection consists of six audio CDs totalling about six hours. Each CD contains a pair of (approximately) 30 minute stories from the BBC archives.

The twelve stories in the collection are "The Copper Beeches" and "Thor Bridge" (CD 1), "The Sussex Vampire" and "The Three Garridebs" (CD 2), "The Three Gables" and "The Retired Colourman" (CD 3), "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" and "The Crooked Man" (CD 4), "The Cardboard Box" and "A Case of Identity" (CD 5), and "The Naval Treaty" and "The Noble Bachelor" (CD 6). All were recorded at some point in the 1950's or 60's so the sound quality can be a bit variable. The presentation style is that of a series of short plays (as opposed to readings), with the high quality that was typical of the BBC's approach to radio drama.

Carleton Hobbs as Holmes (together with Norman Shelley as Watson) has a formidable reputation for his Holmes and I wasn't disappointed. I can't claim to know the stories but understand that the scripts follow the originals very closely, and despite the era from which they originate I found the recordings easy to listen to with the dramatic tone well judged. The stories are short enough in themselves to listen to individually on a relatively short commute - but equally I found it easy to listen to four stories in a row on a longer drive.

In summary the stories in this collection have been expertly scripted as radio plays and the delivery, despite occasional variances in sound quality, was professional and easy to listen to. At £15 they are great value for money.


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