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Tourist Guide French Atlantic Coast 2010 (Michelin Green Guides)
Tourist Guide French Atlantic Coast 2010 (Michelin Green Guides)
by Cynthia Clayton Ochterbeck
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Michelin: what have you done to the Green Guides?, 17 July 2011
I have been using Green Guides for decades, and generally found them well researched, organised and easy to use. I purchased this one to complete my collection of guides to France but, if this is anything to go by, this will be my last. What could possibly have motivated Michelin to dispense with their traditional values that made their guides so successful?

Core to the problem is the splitting of the guides into regions: fine you might think but, in this case, the three principal regions are so large that it serves no useful purpose. For example, Aquitaine is vast, the introduction to which recognises four very different sub-regions which share little in common, such as the Pyrenees and Gironde, yet they are then combined into one section to little or no advantage. Why weren't these sub-regions treated separately as in a Rough Guide? Now that would have made sense?

If Michelin have a core skill it aught to be cartography. However the maps in this guide are impossibly small, scaled down versions requiring a magnifying glass to see some of the wording. I also reckon there are fewer per guide than there used to be. Their relationship to text also seems sloppy in places. For example the map on P97 does not show all of the places highlighted in the accompanying text.

Indexing is as reported by other reviewers: in short completely inadequate. How about the following: Route d'Aubisque is shown on the map on the inside front cover as the only three star attraction in the Pyrenees. OK so now look for it in the index under R, A or even d and you won't find it. In fact it is in the guide in the section relating to Bearn which itself is incorrectly indexed!

Finally, I can't put my finger on quite why, but this revised guide no longer invites you to browse out of mere interest. Perhaps it now has more the feeling of a directory than a guide?

Overall if this is the way Michelin are going across the range,I see it as a tragic mistake, and a long-standing cutomer has been lost.


Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45
by Max Hastings
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 19 Oct 2009
Now on my second read and appreciating it just as much. Hastings effortlessly combines the all too often incompetent strategic level view with first hand cameos of what the fighting men experienced personally. Extremely illuminating and Highly recommended.


Ryobi ESR-2240 Electric Garden Shredder/Mulcher
Ryobi ESR-2240 Electric Garden Shredder/Mulcher

1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Attempt at a Shredder, 19 Oct 2009
I've previously had experience of a 20 year old Alko 1300W 'high speed' shredder and a recent Bosch low noise type. In preparing materials for my compost heap, both have their uses: the Alko for the softer stuff and the Bosch for the thick stemmed cuttings etc. The Bosch tends to cut materials too course for my liking and so, generally I use my old Alko. It was my hope that this Ryobi would be an improvement over the Alko and prevent the need to borrow the Bosch from a friend. I'm afraid that, despite the 1.1kW power advantage over the Alko, this Ryobi is, for me a retrograde step. In tests today I tried Apple tree trimmings, Jerusalem Artichoke stems, Sweetcorn stems and Asparagus stems, all of which were moderately dry. The results for Apple tree trimmings, Jerusalem Artichoke and Sweetcorn stems were that larger stems were generally well chopped and easy to feed through, but smaller stems were not taken as well and bunched-up to varying degrees in feed chute. Any softer materials, short materials and leaves, once passed into the hopper tended to ball-up and clog the machine pretty quickly. The softest material with the greatest ratio of foliage, Asparagus, defeated the shredder unless each individual stem was fed in with care. However as soon as the stems buckled, that was that - blockage would follow. A technique I've used with other similar shredders is to mix materials - the harder materials tend to moderate the soft and encourage passage through the machine - but not with this one. Once you have a blockage starting that's it. Poking with the supplied rammer just compacts it even further.

Examining the design of the shredder, the absence of a course 'chopper' blade before the main blades and the steep angled constriction through which the material has to pass seem to be behind the tendency to clog. I feel that the variety of sizes and types of material encountered in an average UK garden have just not been taken into consideration during the design process.

Overall, unless all you'll ever shred are dry sticks, I would steer well clear of this model.


Sony RDRHXD860S 160GB HDD HDMI DVD Recorder
Sony RDRHXD860S 160GB HDD HDMI DVD Recorder

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not without problems., 25 Feb 2007
I purchased this item on the strength of the reviews in the Hi-Fi press. The first unit I received had a particularly noisy HDD which generated a constant and intrusive monotone pitch. I advised Amazon of the problem and the next day a further unit arrived which was a significant improvement. Well done Amazon for great support in this respect!

In use, the unit has much to commend it. Nevertheless I have found a number of annoying 'niggles' in operation. For example, as with other Sony DVD players I've had, it seems to take too long to respond to a simple instruction such as when one tries to open the DVD draw from the off condition. It insists upon trying to load what's in there first, even if the tray is empty, then flashes OPEN before actually opening. Response to the remote control is also not as crisp as I would have expected and I initially found myself overshooting desired menu items due to the inbuilt (and surely avoidable) lag from button press to action. Whilst we're on the remote, why can't Sony provide a jog/shuttle control on these machines? This would be so much better than the confusion of arrowed buttons.

The operating instructions could be better too. Being new to DVD recorders I found explanations thin in a number of areas.

On balance, however, I think it's a quality piece of kit whose prime functions are sound, despite the little niggles that I would have expected Sony to have addressed.

**Update: unit died after approximately 15 month very light usage**


War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
by Charles Lamb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, gripping read., 14 May 2004
An uplifting and inspiring account of extraordinary bravery and sacrifice. Quite one of the best WWII accounts that I've ever read. Highly recommended.


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