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Matt Horton

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Apple iPod 20GB with Click Wheel - 4th Generation [M9282B/A] (discontinued by manufacturer)
Apple iPod 20GB with Click Wheel - 4th Generation [M9282B/A] (discontinued by manufacturer)

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What are you looking for in a portable music player...?, 15 Dec 2004
First of all, I'd like to say that I have experience with other MP3 players and as such what I'm saying in this review is pretty much as-it-is - it's not opinion.
When I received my iPod and started using it I was very glad I'd chosen it over the Creative Zen or iRiver alternatives. These competing products, that although do have some features that the iPod does not have, such as an FM tuner, don't really compete with the iPod in turns of usability and style.
The iPod is sleek, thin, light and you have a great user experience with it. The controls are spot on, and even my friends who aren't technically minded have figured out how to use it without any help. The other side of the user experience is the software side of things. The iTunes software (which is free and included with the iPod) is so easy to use. You pop a CD automatically finds the names of the tracks and starts importing the songs onto your computer. Plug an iPod in and it starts transferring songs - you don't even need to press a button! Also, by default, iTunes imports songs in the AAC format, which is better quality than MP3 files and takes up less space, so you can store more songs on the iPod! The final good point of iTunes is that it's also a music shop, which allows you to legally download songs at a price of 79p (I think) per song.
A friend of mine has a Creative Zen, and I was using it when making my decision about which music player to play. The Creative Zen is just bulkier than the iPod and just isn't as easy to use. The only real advantage of the Creative Zen is that it was considerably cheaper than the iPod, but in its 4th Generation Apple have slashed the iPod prices which brings this price gap down considerably.
The battery life of the iPod is not as good as its competitors, but it's fine for anyone other than die-hard music fans. I usually get 2/3 days out of it before needing to do a (very fast) recharge. I've used it on long travel trips too, and it's lasted me from leaving the house to arriving at the hotel many countries later.
Finally, it's also good to note that Apple has a track record of providing fantastic customer support - a service I haven't needed to use yet, but is reassuring in the event of something going wrong.
Ultimately, it's all down to your preferences. Personally, I'd recommend an iPod but if, for example, listening to the radio is very important to you then maybe you should consider other alternatives.


Robert Ludlum: The Bourne Trilogy: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum
Robert Ludlum: The Bourne Trilogy: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum
by Robert Ludlum
Edition: Paperback

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoyed the film, you'll enjoy this., 15 Dec 2004
I must admit I only bought this book due to the films baesd on it, as I was interested in how the book differed to the movie. In my experience, movies usually massacre books when they're converted to the big screen yet I was fairly impressed by the movie and therefore assumed that the book must be just as good.
This book deviates from my usual preference of book, so I can't compare it to other books in its genre. I can however say that I thoroughly enjoyed these books, but they differ greatly from the films as the book is a lot more complicated, and contains many things that just cannot be included into a 2-hour movie. This is actually a good thing, because I wasn't bored while reading these books even though I'd already knew how it'd end.
The story itself is refreshing in its content - it is original and unclichéd, and definitely deserves 4/5.


The Oxford Style Manual
The Oxford Style Manual
by Robert Ritter
Edition: Hardcover

54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential book if proper English usage is important to you., 15 Dec 2004
Speaking as a person who's currently studying towards an English GCSE I'd just like to say that this book has been invaluable. It offers help on how to use all forms of punctuation - from the basic (full stops) to obscure (did you know the difference between the en rule and em rule?).
It's important to note though that this book isn't a self-help english guide but a reference tool. Writing an essay and you need to know the correct way to quote sources or cite references? Then this book can help. It even has basic guides to other languages - from African Languages to Welsh. These guides have information on, for example, what alphabet they use (with examples if it's a non-roman alphabet) and how to pronounce certain characters.
It also has a particulary helpful section on American English, with a sizeable conversion chart showing what American words mean in 'normal' English (about-face = about-turn, alligator clip = crocoldile clip, antenna [radio, TV] = aerial).
Personally, I don't use the included 'Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors', though I'm neither a writer or an editor so this is hardly surprising. The dictionary contains, among other things, abbreviations and foreign words but not definitions.
This book has earned a place on my desk where it is always within easy reach, and except my dictionary, is probably my most used book.


The Tiger in the Well (Point)
The Tiger in the Well (Point)
by Philip Pullman
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great novel, if slower than its prequels., 15 Dec 2004
This is the third book in Pullman's 'Sally Lockheart Quartet' and is an exeptionally good read. In my opinion, it's slightly slower than its prequels, but is still a gripping and exciting book.
It is advised you read the series in order (starting with 'The Ruby in the Smoke'), unlike what I did and start with this book - though it is a credit to the author that I got into the book and understood it despite not having read its prequels. If you were to read this before reading its prequels then some elements of the previous books will be spoiled for you.
If, like me, you were attracted to this book because of Pullman's fantastic 'His Dark Materials' trilogy but was put off because this is set in the Victorian era and not a fantasy book, I'd urge you to buy this and give it a try anyway. Personally, I only usually read fantasy books ('Harry Potter' and 'The Lord of the Rings', for example) but I was pleasantly surprised on reading this, and was very glad I'd taken the risk and bought it.


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