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Comical Engineer "comicaleng" (UK)
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Fred's Letters: Letters to and from a FEPOW
Fred's Letters: Letters to and from a FEPOW
by Irene Chisnall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Heart rending true story of one man's war, 14 Oct 2014
A truly moving book. This details the war as experienced by Fred Ellison, a member of the RAF who was captured in the far East and kept as a POW. The story is told in the form of the letters that were sent between Fred and his family. The author, Irene Chisnall, who transcribed many of the letters, has largely let the text of the letters tell the story and has used a very light touch on the narrative. This is all to the better.

The letters themselves are heart rending when you consider that Fred's family did not know if he was alive or dead from March 1942 until 30 December 1943. Yet the family kept the faith and wriote to Fred every week. Almost impossible to believe in todays electronically connected age.

Fred kept the letters secret from his family until the 1980s at which point the he showed the documents to his neice, Irene Chisnall, who then began the labour of love to transcribe Fred's story and record it for posterity. i must admit a personal connection to the author at this point, nonetheless I can recommend this book without bias or reservation as it is one of the most moving books that I have ever read.

There is a short section at the end detailing what happened after the war but I will not spoil the ending.


Microsoft Office 365 Personal - 1 User - 1 Year Subscription (PC/Mac)
Microsoft Office 365 Personal - 1 User - 1 Year Subscription (PC/Mac)
Price: £48.32

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor effort - this is a 1 year license only, 4 Oct 2014
Beware! You are buying a one year subscription to this software, not a perpetual license. On day 366 after activation it will cease to work unless you buy another subscription! You can buy a copy outright but note that this is prohibitively expensive. MS want you to buy the subscription in order to tie you in to the product.

The software itself is a huge chunk of code. Again, beware if you buy the download it is in the order of 400MB which will (a) take some time unless you have a high speed connection and (b) eat up your monthly allowance if you have a capped contract. You will then have to install, but it will also install the bits you didn't buy, so, if you got home and student which does not include Outlook or Publisher, it will install those anyway even though you won't be able to use them without an additional subscription / upgrade.

Using it: Well, the new ALL CAPS interface is pretty naff. I do so like my software to shout at me -- a bit like grandad has left Caps Lock switched on. Oh dear! That is not the only dodgy part, the interface is now grey on grey with a grey background or blinding white. So eye strain either way. There is no blue or black option any more. Why??? The main option here is that you can have larger icons for touch screens but this is still pretty clunky and there is no option to return to the classic menu interface so you're stuck with the clumsy, space hogging ribbon and the awkward customisation options. Another shot in the foot.

The apps: Excel is pretty much as ever. Forget the joke auto-fill "cool" feature -- it's useless and will fill your column or row with garbage. Otherwise is pretty much same as 2010.

Word has gone backwards. Dragging and dropping a picture into a doc now means that the picture ends up in some random location instead of where you wanted it. Brilliant - not. MS have broken something that previously worked perfectly.

Outlook: Don't go there, don't use it! Unreliable, screwy, and has synchronisation issues. You also can't import some older types of file except as CSV format. Outlook can stop you PC working as it's tentacles extend into Word and Excel and if it can't find what it wants is will bring the machine to a halt! It also hangs, freezes, corrups the PST file etc etc.

Thankfully, Powerpoint hasn't changed much and Onenote is slightly improved.

Another beware, make sure you get the version you need. Home & student versions miss out on outlook and Publisher and only Professional gets Access.

In summary: Bloated, annoying interface, clumsy customisation, too many bugs especially in Outlook -- means that I can no longer recommend MS Office unless you absolutely must have it for collaborative working. As a personal user only, I would strongly recommend avoiding Office and going for one of the free office suites. I currently prefer Libre Office or Open Office,, but Kingsoft office works quite well too. If you want a paid version go for WordPerfect Office or Corel.


Gigabyte GB-XM14 Brix Ultra Compact Bare PC Kit (Intel Celeron 1037U, mSATA, WiFi, HDMI, Mini DP, USB 3.0, Integrated Graphics, VESA Mount Bracket) (NO Memory or Storage)
Gigabyte GB-XM14 Brix Ultra Compact Bare PC Kit (Intel Celeron 1037U, mSATA, WiFi, HDMI, Mini DP, USB 3.0, Integrated Graphics, VESA Mount Bracket) (NO Memory or Storage)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once you do have it up and running it is fine. Quiet in operation and unobtrusive, 14 Sep 2014
This is a "bare bones" PC and you will have to add memory and storage and an operating system before you can use it. By the time you have added these items you will be up around the price of a PC you can buy ready made off the shelf and with Windows installed. We added 4GB of RAM and a 250GB SSD plus you will need a keyboard & mouse and a monitor.

The Celeron installed is capable of streaming video and using as a media centre if that is what you want. The user I got this for wanted a compact office PC for installation in a small space. It will play simple games but is not a gaming machine by any stretch.

Disappointingly there is no way to attach this to the back of the monitor using VESA fittings so it has to sit flat. Secondly, beware that Win8 drivers have issues with the graphics chip installed. I installed an OEM version of Win7 32 bit which works perfectly and the user preferred Win 7 anyway. USB 2 only installed on the one we received so beware if speed is critical. No wifi, you will need a card or wifi dongle. Again not a problem for us as we have hard wired it to a network.

Once you do have it up and running it is fine. Quiet in operation and unobtrusive. Does all office tasks fine.


iPad Mini Neoprene Case / Sleeve / Pouch / Skin By Shocksock - Red
iPad Mini Neoprene Case / Sleeve / Pouch / Skin By Shocksock - Red
Offered by ClickJunkie
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Padded sock, 10 Sep 2014
Fits my iPad mini plus Logitech keyboard with no bother. Good protection against scratches but it's a floppy case and will not give total protection to an iPad screen if dropped on a hard ridged surface e.g. corner of a table. Does provide good protection against scratching and is attractive. On the down side can get dirty due to the porous neoprene surface.


Going Back Home
Going Back Home
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid bluesy - good but not great, 10 Sep 2014
This review is from: Going Back Home (Audio CD)
I love this in places, especially being a fan of both The Who and Dr Feelgood. Solid bluesy sound but Daltrey sounds a bit strained at times. Wilco is solid and chruns out the riffs as well as ever but my main criticism is that it is a bit one dimensional. Hence it gets a "good bit not great".


Headset/Headphones (USB Connector) | Boom Mic, In-Line Controller | for PC, Computer, Laptop, Desktop, Gaming | by iChoose®
Headset/Headphones (USB Connector) | Boom Mic, In-Line Controller | for PC, Computer, Laptop, Desktop, Gaming | by iChoose®
Offered by iChoose Limited
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good comfortable headset., 10 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Comfortable, worked out of the box. Sound is good. Build quality is reasonably solid. Earpieces are reasonably well padded.

Only down side is that you can't transfer the microphone from left to right. I would prefer it on the right.


Humax RT-531B Remote Control for PVR9150T/PVR9200T/PVR9300T Freeview PVR
Humax RT-531B Remote Control for PVR9150T/PVR9200T/PVR9300T Freeview PVR
Offered by Remocon JSC
Price: £20.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine article replacement, 10 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Genuine article. needed as the previous one broke / died. Probably as a result of spending too much time down the back of the sofa cushions and being sat on too often. New one worked fine out of the box and was delivered promptly.


Down Deep and Out of Time
Down Deep and Out of Time
Price: £2.53

2.0 out of 5 stars Plot spoiled by rubbish dialogue & unbelievable characters, 10 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The plot is generally ok in terms of the action bits. Regrettably, most of the dialogue is utter drivel and the main protagonists are unbelievable cardboard cutouts with major attitude problems. As someone familiar with military matters and personnel, neither of the submarine captains would have made it past the gangplank of a nuclear submarine. Basically equivalent to releasing a couple of aggressive testosterone loaded schoolboys who hate each other loose on nuclear submarines. I don't think so somehow.


PagePlus X5 (PC)
PagePlus X5 (PC)

4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to get started but quite powerful when mastered, 9 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: PagePlus X5 (PC) (DVD-ROM)
This is not the most instinctive piece of software to use. I personally found that I had to consult the manual and internet on several occasions to do fairly basic stuff. That said, it's quite powerful once you have mastered the basics. It's not as good as MS publisher but then it's quite a bit cheaper.

Unless you are familiar with previous versions then expect to have to spend some time getting the hang of the extensive range of functions. There is a decent range of templates provided and I found it easier to start with a template and modify it than create a new document from scratch.


The Fuller Memorandum: Book 3 in The Laundry Files
The Fuller Memorandum: Book 3 in The Laundry Files
by Charles Stross
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable supernatural / techno fantasy, 9 Sep 2014
Supernatural / techno fantasy. Standard Charles Stross fare. Reasonably well written, plot races along. It helps to have read the earlier books but not essential. Combines "magic" and supernatural forces with technological defences against them. Intriguing in places and more enjotyable than I expected.


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