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Mr. W. Hardy "GH"

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Samsung 8GB SDHC PLUS High Speed Class 6 memory card
Samsung 8GB SDHC PLUS High Speed Class 6 memory card

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb memory card, 17 Feb. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a well made and fast sd memory card.
The upper surface of the card is metal, unlike other sd cards I've used which have a plastic upper. This does make the card appear to be more robust, but the lower surface which contains the contacts is plastic so care still needs to be taken with it.
The card comes with an excellent rubberised holder which is easier to use one-handed if you've a camera in your other hand.
I tested this in a Nikon digital SLR, shooting in RAW mode (the largest file size for those who don't know) and could shoot a sequence of 5 or 6 shots at 3 frames per sec. before getting any lag writing the info to the card.
Excellent card and I'll be getting more of these.

by Peter Watts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story from an author with lots of promise, 16 July 2008
This review is from: BLINDSIGHT (Paperback)
This is a contact novel full of ideas. It's also a great story that completely drew me in within the first 50 pages or so. At that point I began to realise that this was a contact novel on more than the superficial level.

The first level is earth sending out a ship to investigate and contact the big alien (possibly) intelligence, which proves to be problematic as there's no real common frame of reference between mankind and 'alien'. Peter Watts draws upon his array of marine biology to create something that is believably different and difficult to comprehend. This might be a step beyond for those who expect their aliens to be essentially humans with some extra make-up or an odd shaped nose.

The other level is also about contact and is potentially the more interesting. It explores how mankind is evolving and would evolve aided by technology to the point at which we all become essentially autonomous, rejecting the notion of an intimate community. Influences of this are already evident as we incorporate the internet into our everyday lives to extend our boundaries beyond the immediate. This is something else Peter Watts does very well in demonstrating that we are unsure of the motives and motivations of our own race, and reduces our chance of understanding something truly alien to a series of observations and best-guess scenarios.

My only criticism is that the ending was a little rushed, which is why I didn't rate this at the full 5 stars.
If you enjoyed this then I'd also highly recommend Solaris by Stanislaw Lem for another excellent approach to the contact novel.

Midnight Tides (Book 5 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen)
Midnight Tides (Book 5 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen)
by Steven Erikson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great thread to the story, 7 July 2008
I'm getting older and my memory is not as crisp and fresh as it once was, and for that reason i've been trying to ration the Malazan Books of the Fallen. The problem is that if I read all those currently in print, by the time the remaining parts are released I'll be struggling to remember what happened in the previous installments. As a result of all this, I've just completed Midnight Tides.
This novel takes you away from the previous events and characters of the previous four books and introduces another story thread to the whole saga. Initially I was a little disappointed by this, but that feeling soon evaporated once I'd read the first chapter or so.
The thing I enjoy most about Steven Erikson's writing/storytelling is the complexity of the plot involving a huge number of characters. The endings never feel rushed and neither do they drag or meander aimlessly, which is something that other multi-volumed fantasy sagas have been guilty of.
This particular part of the story maintained the complexity and it's possible to see where this will weave into the other story threads in one of the future parts. I read this in under a week, which is pretty good for me these days and it says a lot as to how much it gripped me to finish it in this time. It's not the best of the series so far (that was Memories of Ice for me) but still hugely enjoyable.
If you haven't read any of this series, and you enjoy a well rounded fantasy story, then you really don't need to look any further than this - go and order Gardens of the Moon and get started.

Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Single-sitting novel, 28 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Fahrenheit 451 (Paperback)
I keep coming back to science fiction written in the 50's and 60's. This novel is a perfect example of why I do this.
I've read this a few times now, and it's always a pleasure to do so. It may not be the best written, but since it was one of Bradbury's first novels, I'm prepared to be tolerant of the writing style.
The ideas presented here are still fresh and relevant today, and most certainly set the ground work for many of those which followed. It's influence can be seen in King's 'Running Man'(the original Bachman book, not the screenplay), and Ira Levin's 'This Perfect Day'.
The central theme of the state imposing what the masses may/may not have access to, and that above all "ignorance is bliss", can be seen in today's society to some extent.

This is undoubtedly a single-sitting novel. Whenever I pick it up to read it, I find that it's easier to read to the end than attempt to put it down and come back to it later when I'm half way through. It is easy to read, and the story flows beautifully from beginning to end. A perfect book for a wet sunday afternoon.

Go Away White
Go Away White
Price: £14.89

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes you shouldn't go back, 21 April 2008
This review is from: Go Away White (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I think that its easy to look forward to something a little too much. This can lead to disappointment as the thing rarely reaches or exceeds the expectations. At first I thought this is what happened when I received this album, so I stuck with it to make sure that I was being fair and wasn't just feeling that sense of disappointment.

I've listened to it quite a few times now, and I'm now certain that's not what happened. In reality this album just isn't as good as what Bauhaus produced 'back in the day'. For me Bauhaus peaked in 1982 with 'The Sky's Gone Out', not too long before departing the recording studio almost for good. It tries quite hard to capture the spirit and the sense of what made Bauhaus (to me) unique. But it just doesn't, it just falls short (although only just).

If you're a fan and remember them from the first time round, then there are a few tracks that are worth getting this for, such as 'Adrenalin' and 'Mirror Remains'. If you're new to them then try 'Mask' and 'The Sky's Gone Out' first.

Cy Girls (PS2)
Cy Girls (PS2)
Offered by AB Games
Price: £9.95

6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's like the last 2 years never happened, 1 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Cy Girls (PS2) (Video Game)
This game is just plain rubbish, there's no other way to put it. I'm immensely disappointed that a quality software company like Konami feel that they can release something like this.
The graphics are pretty good, as the game uses the MGS2 engine, but as a result it all feels like MGS2 lite.
Games and gamers have moved on since the release of Metal Gear 2, and more is expected that a cheapo money-spinner. It's amazing that the developers thought that it was ok to have someone shot in the back of the head several times (incredible in itself) and not actually react or respond with anything other than a grunt.
I'm disappointed and feel let down by Konami. No doubt this title will find an audience with adolescent MGS fan-boys while they wait for the exceptionally hyped release of MGS3. If this is the best that Konami can do, then perhaps I'll give that a miss too.

The Clay Machine-Gun
The Clay Machine-Gun
by Victor Pelevin
Edition: Paperback

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just amazing, 2 April 2004
This review is from: The Clay Machine-Gun (Paperback)
I'm finding it unusually difficult to find what it is that I want to say about this book. It really is the best thing that I've read in a very long time. In fact I can't remember the last time I had to set down a book half way through a chapter, just to think about what I'd just read.
The closest experience I've had to reading this was when I read Philip K. Dick's VALIS for the first time. It's not particularly easy to read, but the flow of the narrative is close to perfect.
I think that there are a lot of levels this can be read on. I think that I probably missed a lot of them too. It's intensely deep and dripping with all sorts of symbolism and imagery.
The more I read fiction from eastern europe and russia, the more impressed I become. It's just so completely different from the style of authors further west. Once again I find myself impressed almost beyond words.
Even though I finished this a few days ago, I'm already looking forward to when I pick it up to read it again. And that hasn't happened to me in a long time too. I'm off now to order up the rest of Mr. Pelevin's books.

Game Boy Advance SP: Silver
Game Boy Advance SP: Silver

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pocket consoles as they should be, 28 July 2003
I admit that I have just returned to handheld consoles after many years of ignoring them. My last handheld was a Sega GameGear, and that was a bit of a disappointment to say the least (apart from the TV adaptor, which was actually quite good). It took a bit of convincing for me to return to this format of gaming, but I am glad that I did.
The styling and looks of the GBA SP are superb, it just looks nice and sits comfortably in the hand. I'd read some criticism about the shoulder buttons, but I find them to be in a good position, and don't have to fumble about to use them. It's nice and light and small too, and this truly does make it a proper portable handheld.
The backlight is a long overdue addition to the GameBoy range. I had used friends' original GameBoy Advance, and found it frustrating trying to see what was happening on the screen without a serious amount of lighting. Now, I can happily play in the dark. Which is nice.
The one factor which really made me cough up the hard earned cash for this was the variety and quality of games available. I'm currently working my way through Zelda-Link to the Past, and Metroid Fusion. The fact that I can link Metroid Fusion to Metroid Prime on my GameCube and unlock yet another Metroid game is just a nice bonus.
There's no doubt about it - this is a nice piece of kit which will provide me with hours of blissful gaming entertainment. All I wonder now is how the recently announced Sony PSP will compare ...


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambient soundscape bliss, 8 July 2003
This review is from: Zyklop (Audio CD)
This double CD collection by Thomas Koner does represent a slight change in direction for him, and it is all the more welcome for that.
After the previous album Daikan, I felt my interest in Koner slide, a little. I wondered whether or not I'd bother with anything subsequent to that release, since it seemed to have reached it's natural conclusion. After all, there does seem to be a limit to what can be done with close-miked gong samples.
However, as soon as this album appeared, I realised that I'd been kidding myself and that there was no way that I'd not give this a chance. It was a good thing that I did too.
Koner has moved things along a bit, adding voice and other samples. This creates a more active soundscape which has more similarities to something like Biosphere's later creations than to those previously engineered by Koner.
It's still minimal, and it's still pretty bleak, but it is unmistakable Koner. It's also a great price for a double CD set.
If you want a good starting place for music that's a bit different, then I can think of few other examples which are as good as this.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GameCube)
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GameCube)
Offered by RevivalMedia
Price: £64.95

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first GameCube game, 24 Mar. 2003
This was my first GameCube game, which was provided free with the console. It's a very good thing that it was provided for free, otherwise I'd probably have never owned a copy.
Let me explain a bit, when I bought my console, I wanted one of the cute Japanese puzzle games with it, but none of my choices was in stock. So I ended up choosing Eternal Darkness, much against my better judgement since I had planned to obtain Resident Evil Zero, as my choice of horror rpg for this platform.
It all worked out well in the end - this was one of the most instantly impressive games I've seen. It's well thought out, and the attention to detail is startling. You'll have seen a lot of reviews on this site rave about the sanity system, which stands out as one of the things that the developers got absolutely right. As your sanity slips away the camera angles and soundtrack change, adding just an extra little edge to the whole thing. There are other effects as a result of this too, but you're better finding out about these yourself. I actually found that I preferred playing with the character quite low on sanity - it just added something to the whole experience (although - it turns out that there are occasions where this is a disadvantage - make sure you stay quiet when the trappers are near ;-)
The puzzles are not the most complex, but are balanced enough to not have you charging from one location to another frantically looking for some detail that was missed the first time.
Similarly with the combat - it's fairly easy to master, and I found that there weren't many things I encountered which had me reloading to try to kill again. Especially if the spells are used intelligently.
The magic system was nicely implemented, with various characters discovering the building blocks of the spells for you to assemble. This reminded me of an old Amiga game, but I admit that I may have just dreamt that.
This is a game which is totally accessible right out of the box. Superb use of the graphics capabilities, with a soundtrack that just somehow fits each chapter. I was completely drawn into it to the point of staying up too late for "just one more room", and that's not happened to me in a long time.
If you like the horror rpg genre (and I do), then I doubt you'll be disappointed by this. I really found very little to fault it, and so it must get the full 5 stars.
Did someone mention a sequel ?? Please ??

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