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emmcol (Germany)

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Aerolatte Satin Edition
Aerolatte Satin Edition
Price: £13.18

3.0 out of 5 stars Performs well, at a price., 13 Jun 2014
It does precisely what it's supposed to do -- produce good frothed milk. Trouble is, it only works properly when the batteries are nearly full, and this will be for at most 20 whisks. So if you use it twice a day, you'll have to replace the batteries every 10 days. It gets very expensive. (However, don't let this persuade you to buy the same company's plug-in milk heater and frother: that is a dead loss. You'll have more milk all over your kitchen surface than in your cup.)


Aerolatte Compact Milk Frother
Aerolatte Compact Milk Frother
Offered by Harts Of Stur
Price: £59.99

1.0 out of 5 stars don't waste your money, 13 Jun 2014
This review is from: Aerolatte Compact Milk Frother
There are min. and max. marks on the inside. If you fill up to 'max.' that's about the amount of milk you'll need for a single decent-size cappuccino. But if you do fill it up that high, it'll overflow for certain. In fact it'll probably overflow with less than that. So it's good for one smallish cup. And the milk's not very hot either. The same company's hand-held whisk is much better (though heavy on batteries).


Koolertron 8 Inch LCD Widescreen (4:3) Digital Photo Frame Video Player Music Player HD 800*600 High Resolution SD/MMC/MS - USB Slots (White) as Xmas Birthday Gift
Koolertron 8 Inch LCD Widescreen (4:3) Digital Photo Frame Video Player Music Player HD 800*600 High Resolution SD/MMC/MS - USB Slots (White) as Xmas Birthday Gift
Offered by Kldeals
Price: £42.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Very poor instructions, rather limited modes, 11 Jun 2014
It took me hours to work out why the device was squeezing vertical format photos into horizontal format (or vice versa if the device were the other way round). This can be avoided, but the instructions don't tell you how, and it's not the default. And you have a slide show running and want to enter Set Up? Guess what button you press? I still haven't worked out why some photos zoom in (automatically) and others don't. Doubtless this can be altered too, but don't bother to consult the instructions.
Also I would have thought that 3:2 photos (which all mine are) would be displayed with black bars. They're not, they expand to fill the picture, so you lose the ends or edges.
The display itself is excellent, provided you look straight at it. There's not much leeway.
Pity there's no random-play slideshow.


The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Seriously flawed, 24 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
This would not be Donna Tartt if it did not have some seriously powerful passages, and it does. Also, I read the first 200 pages in about three days, which was extremely promising. But... oh dear.
So, here are my gripes.
One: A novel is a novel, not a philosophical treatise. If it has a message, this should emerge from the narration and the descriptions. It should not take the form of turgid monologues tacked on to the end. Here we have not one, but two (and they are pretty trite messages at that).
Two: There is a sort of crime writing where at the end we have 'the explanation', for example by the detective (Poirot did it a lot). This was necessary because the plot was so artificially complicated that it needed to be set out in a way the baffled reader could understand. I thought we had grown out of this sort of thing, at least in novels that claimed some literary merit. But here it rears its ugly head again. And it is compounded here because we have a first person narrator who is not present at the denouement. It therefore has to be explained in this old-fashioned way to him (and to us).
Three: Tartt's first (and best) novel, The Secret History, was set in a small, somewhat rarefied private university, a milieu I imagine she knows well. Her second, The Little Friend, was set in the rural Deep South, where she grew up. I imagine she knows that well enough too. But is the genteel Ms Tartt really at home in the world of the eastern European mafia? Is any of this credible at all? And by the by: in the whole of Jane Austen, there is not a single passage where two men have a conversation at which no woman is present. Jane A. was modest enough to realize that she could not know how men spoke to each other in private. But Ms Tartt is quite happy to fill up a good half of this book with dialogue between two adolescent boys (not always the same two). How does she know how adolescent boys talk in private?
Four: The action of the book takes place over a period of about 12 years, though it is not made clear which 12 years. The only date mentioned, I think, is 1985, which, it is implied, was before the birth of the narrator, who is in his mid-twenties at the end. So let us place the action circa 2002-2013. A lot happened in the world during this period, but none of it happened in the book. The characters grow older, some of them die, but the outside world stands still.
Five: It may seem pedantic to mention this blunder, but it is not, as the outcome would necessarily have been different otherwise: you do not, repeat not, need a passport to get from Amsterdam to Paris by train.
Advice: if by page 206 you wonder if it's worth continuing, I'd say probably not. And if you get to page 695, write your own ending. It couldn't be worse than what we have.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2014 1:03 PM GMT


Taking Off - Uncut! - Milos Forman [DVD]
Taking Off - Uncut! - Milos Forman [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lynn Carlin

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 15 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Made I think in 1970, and no comedy has surpassed it since. Great performance by Buck Henry, some outrageous songs (and I believe the first public performance by Carly Simon). The 'how to smoke a joint' scene was a classic then, and still is. Not to mention the ending.


Middle Age: A Natural History
Middle Age: A Natural History
by David Bainbridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a drag it is getting old, 15 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A man finds his teenage children tiresome. So he writes a jokey pseudo-scientific book about middle age, which he defines as beginning and ending surprisingly young. And drags in a few poorly understood Darwinian 'explanations' to back up his 'theories' (they don't). Okay for a long flight, I suppose.


Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Digital Camera - Black (12.1MP, Super Wide Angle, 35x Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch Vari-Angle LCD  (discontinued by manufacturer)
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Digital Camera - Black (12.1MP, Super Wide Angle, 35x Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch Vari-Angle LCD (discontinued by manufacturer)
Offered by ABM-TRADERS
Price: £280.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compromise, but maybe not a bad one, 15 Sep 2012
This review could apply, probably, to most cameras in this 'bridge' category. Each has a little advantage here, a little downside there, but not being a professional reviewer, I only have this one. At first I was sceptical. Okay, I said, 'in ordinary conditions and in auto mode, it takes perfectly good pictures. But so will a compact at half the price or less. True, you have the zoom here, and it feels nice in the hand, but really that's all you're paying for. But if you want to be creative... You can probably forget it. By the time you've found the function you're looking for, that cute little baby will probably have kids of her own.' This was not fair. You simply have to learn to ignore 90% of the functions. The Manual function itself works fairly easily. And the screen tells you what you're getting. This is real WYSIWYG. The electronic viewfinder (substitutes the screen when the latter is closed -- yes, you can close it) is a real boon, and this is something no compact has, I think. And it can be adjusted to your eyesight, so you can see the display and the scene with the same glasses. You DO need the Manual mode -- the camera seems to think all scenes should look as if they were shot in bright sunshine. I only wish the camera could be stripped of some of its REALLY USEFUL (!) features -- such as colour compensation for pics taken under mercury vapour street lamps (not sodium ones, mind you -- perhaps they don't have them in Japan). My experience is that if you want to take a picture in the street at night, you're probably drunk. And you certainly won't find this feature before your friends collapse. (Incidentally: don't be taken in by a zoom factor of '35', which sounds enormous, but only corresponds roughly to a field-glass magnification of 10x, because it starts from a very wide-angle base, where you have to look for the church tower which in real life is staring you in the face. The wide angle is also useful, of course.)
Edit: After a further six months of use, I can confirm all of the above. Also: In manual mode, the wheel can either be turned or clicked for different functions, and it's very easy to do the wrong one, and find, for example, that you've set it to ISO 3600 by mistake. Perhaps more seriously, there's a definite tendency for the colour rendition in some lights to look much too blue. This can be corrected on the computer, but it does HAVE to be corrected, and colour correction's not everyone's cup of tea.
Edit again: After yet another six months, and looking at other people's cameras (both much cheaper and much more expensive), I am sure this is the best camera I could have bought. Today I would buy the upgraded SX50, which has even more zoom. But the minus points remain: the automatic function is unreliable, and the manual controls are physically not easy to use and impossible to use quickly. And the colour rendition can be dodgy.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2012 12:33 PM BST


Great British Railway Journeys - Series 1 BBC [DVD] [2010]
Great British Railway Journeys - Series 1 BBC [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Marc Beers
Price: £11.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars just a little too smooth?, 8 Feb 2012
This is a very entertaining but not exactly heavyweight series. It is never boring and extremely professional (just look at the way the train stops precisely at the moment he's finished each piece on the platform). Possibly you might think it a little too smooth (like his hair), and it's certainly bland. Never a critical word, and only a hint that something might be controversial. But he finds interesting things to talk about in easy-to-digest chunks. Intelligent escapism.


Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait
Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait
by Carola Hicks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.89

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 17 Nov 2011
This book received glowing praise in the press, and while I am not saying that it is in any way a bad book, it doesn't deserve the extravagant praise it has got. In particular, it says very little about the picture. You can find out more from Wikipedia. Nor does the author give any opinion on where she stands on the controversies surrounding it. Her history of the picture's reception is the most interesting part of the book, but the problem is, most of the book is taken up with the lives and circumstances of the picture's owners. And when this descends into the dynastic politics of the 16th and 17th centuries, frankly you have to be pretty committed not to skip the numerous pages devoted to this. Even the description of the Peninsular War, which is somewhat more lively, is not exactly gripping.
I hope and presume the author wasn't responsible for the title. (She says herself that the woman -- and no way is she a 'girl' -- seems to be a standard 15th century portrait based on no one in particular; it's the man who's individual and interesting, and it's the symmetry that makes the picture.)
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2013 9:34 AM GMT


Art of Germany [DVD]
Art of Germany [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrew Graham-Dixon
Price: £7.00

33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars unbalanced, 3 April 2011
This review is from: Art of Germany [DVD] (DVD)
I thought these programmes were unbalanced and in places disingenuous. To start a programme on German Art with Gothic architecture (which is essentially French) is odd, and then, as the archetype of this work of the medieval mind, to choose Cologne Cathedral, which was built in the 19th century and is essentially a pastiche, is very odd indeed. The next oddity was to spend ten minutes of a 60-minute programme on Messerschmidt, and then to imagine that his "character heads" somehow reflected the fragmentation of Germany. That is a view which is not only strange, but was not backed up in any serious way. The middle episode, on the 19th century, was much better, giving due attention to Runge and Friedrich. To try to get all of German 20th-century art into one episode is probably an impossible undertaking. Much of it was well done (the Nazis and art, for example), but why spend so much time on the Bechers? Hilla Becher is a jolly old girl, and enjoys explaining (to TV viewers) the twists and turns of the blast-furnace pipes on the bald b/w photographs she famously took together with her husband. But if this were a 40-something man explaining in an estuary accent the fine points of the different clothes-pegs in his collection, we would soon yawn and wonder if this was art (even if he'd taken good photographs of them). I suppose no review of German art can fail to mention Beuys, and even Grahame-Dixon admitted that many feel this emperor has no clothes. I thought he got too much space, and the result was that others were left out.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2012 2:56 PM BST


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