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Mr Baz
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Kingston Technology SD10V/16GB Class10 SDHC 16GB Memory Card
Kingston Technology SD10V/16GB Class10 SDHC 16GB Memory Card
Price: 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable speeds, but the "Ultimate" is a better buy for most, 1 Aug 2014
I've used a few of these cards mostly for compacts/point and shoot cameras, and in line with expectations the cards are just fine with no problems to report to date.

Speed wise I tested them via a USB 3.0 card reader and got (using a combination of video and photo files drag and dropped onto the card)
Write speed: 11-13MB/s
Read speed: 26-30MB/s

That's pretty much in line with the class "10" specification esp write speeds, and similar to other makers cards I have used. So nothing much to nit pick with performance wise. On the other hand...the "Ultimate" Kingston card (16GB) is available for just a few pounds more and does offer a fairly notable boost in speed both in terms of read and write capability (it's a UHS-I card so to get the full potential out of it you need a device that supports that, even if you don't it's a faster card)

Saying that class 10 is fine for most users, and you won't have any problems with recording HD video on these, most devices ask for a min of Class 6 and this is well above that. The bigger capacity cards are fairly cost effective, but if you're shopping for a normal size card (and 16GB is still pretty big) the Ultimate is the one to go for. Good value though if you just want a fairly decent card at a low price.

Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit for Cars with 3.5 mm Aux Input Jack (Convenient Siri / Voice Activation, Dual USB Car Charger and Magnetic Base Included) - Black
Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit for Cars with 3.5 mm Aux Input Jack (Convenient Siri / Voice Activation, Dual USB Car Charger and Magnetic Base Included) - Black

4.0 out of 5 stars A useful Bluetooth kit and not just for cars, 1 Aug 2014
Note the maker provided me with a review sample, no attempt was made to influence my opinion of the product

This simple kit allows you to add Bluetooth to your car via the Aux input 3.5mm jack. Installation is very simple, plug in the car adapter (which has 2 USB ports), find a location for the Himbox (you get a 3M sticky pad to place the base where you want to) this base is magnetic and the main unit attaches to it very securely, then connect the gold plated 3.5mm plug to the stereo input, set it to Aux and you are ready to connect the device.

Next you push and hold the central large button for about 5 seconds, the unit flashes rapidly indicating it's ready to pair up. You can see the Himbox on your Bluetooth device with "HB01" enter the default paring code of "0000" and that's it ready to roll. Once it's paired up the Himbox goes from flashing to a constant blue light. You have a built in microphone too and controls on the unit for play pause, forward/back (these double as volume controls long press to adjust that) The bigger central button allows you to answer a call or reject it.

Using the device for a few days I've made a short list of points I like and would improve on the product.

Good stuff:
+ Easy and quick to set up and install
+ Ability to connect to 2 Bluetooth devices
+ Included dual port car charger allows the use of a Sat nav or to charge a phone/tablet
+ Build on the main unit is good, very secure magnetic connection
+ Excellent call/music quality and no drop out problems in use connects instantly when car is powered on
+ Good built in microphone, clear and clean

Could be better:
- Cable quality not the best, no problems in use so far but I found the USB and 3.5mm cable quite thin and I'd prefer to see some additional cable relief here.

Despite the kit being primarily designed for cars you can also use it on a stereo system or just about anything that has an Aux input 3.5mm jack, all you need to do is ensure you can power the device via the USB cable. This is particularly handy as it's a small discreet item. Being Bluetooth 4.0 it's also backward compatible with older protocols, range is excellent in my living room and Bluetooth has the advantage of superior sound quality when transmitted no issues in streaming music in testing.

The only niggle I have is cable quality which could be better, in other areas the Himbox is an excellent Bluetooth device and well worth looking at for car or home use.

aLLreli USB 3.0 Flash Drive Memory Stick SuperSpeed [Swivel Design] (32GB Black)
aLLreli USB 3.0 Flash Drive Memory Stick SuperSpeed [Swivel Design] (32GB Black)
Offered by ForPower(aLLreli TM)
Price: 12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely made USB 3.0 Memory stick with good performance, 31 July 2014
Note the maker sent me a review sample, no attempt was made to influence my opinion of the product

This compact swivel design USB stick has a metal outer housing that protects the main cap (this also has a raised section and hole where you can attach a strap or add it to your keys): plastic part has a nice "softer touch" feel to it. You have a red LED on the top of the plastic part which flashes when the drive is being accessed.

I tested the drive on both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports on a Windows 7 PC, these results can vary between USB chipsets, but can be useful to gauge the speed for general use. Formatted capacity is 29.8 GB (this is normal to be slightly less than the headline figure)

USB 2.0 speed (test files photo and video)
Write speed: 22-25MB/s
Read speed: 28-30MB/s

USB 3.0 speed (same photo and video files)
Write speed: 25-35MB/s
Read speed: 40-45MB/s

Different files sizes might be a bit quicker or slower, I've uploaded a benchmark to give an overview of the USB 3.0 speeds I tested which were pretty much in line with the real world drag and drop tests I did (ie files you might use to transfer to a drive) Speeds were good, with a boost on USB 3.0 as you would expect, but even if you're using USB 2.0 the write and read times were way better than some of the USB 2.0 sticks I've used, I bought a Sony micro drive USB 2.0 a while back and while the read times on it were good, the write performance was under 10MB/s, so a big step up here performance wise. As per normal USB 3.0 memory sticks can be used on both the 3.0 and 2.0 so there is no disadvantage to buying into USB 3.0 even if you don't have a device with these ports right now you won't be waiting long even transferring larger files to the pen drive.

On USB 3.0 most of the benefit is read speed, but write speeds are decent too and pretty quick. Considering the big capacity, well made design and good real world performance it's a thumbs up from me.

This is Wicklow
This is Wicklow
by Michael Delahunty
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.47

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive collection of photographs from Wicklow, 31 July 2014
This review is from: This is Wicklow (Hardcover)
Note: The publisher provided me with a sample for review; the review reflects my own personal opinion of the book

This hard cover photo book covers the well known "Garden of Ireland" County Wicklow, it starts with a well written introduction by the author which gives readers an insight into the region, and a historical overview spanning a few pages. A very useful addition is the grid reference map of the area which has numbers and letters on each axis allowing readers to pinpoint where each photography was taken on the map, you'll see reference numbers in brackets on each picture.

The book opens with an impressive double page spread of "Glendasan River", moving through the pages there is a good mix of some excellent fine art landscape photographs, but also a variety of pictures showing some of the main towns in the county as well as some events that take place (Tinahely Show which is an Agricultural festival/event that takes place each year) In particular what appealed to me (having had a long term interest in photography), was the variation in time of year and weather conditions, Michael has a very strong selection of images covering not just the expected sunset/sunrise scenic photos, but snow as well as stormy/overcast conditions. You get a good feel for the year round weather in the area and many places can look very different at various times of the year. I've not been to this area but I would find the book useful for hunting out locations to visit, and anyone who has an interest in photography will get some ideas from Michael's take on composition and light.

Some photos have some additional text by them providing the reader with more information, though bar the introduction it's primarily a photo book. Print quality is excellent, it's very enjoyable book that will appeal to photo book fans as well as providing an interesting reference for visitors or those who like to get ideas for their own photography. In conclusion a strong book and well worth investigating.

Cape Fear (1991) [DVD]
Cape Fear (1991) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert De Niro
Price: 4.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid re-make of the original, 30 July 2014
This review is from: Cape Fear (1991) [DVD] (DVD)
This re-tread of the original film (released back in 1962 with Robert Mitchum as the lead role) get the De Niro and Scorsese treatment and mostly comes out feeling quite fresh and a cut above good. Somewhat overshadowed by "Silence of the Lambs" among film critics, still it provides quite a different feel to that film and still ranks as one of the stronger films in the psychological thriller genre.

De Niro plays Max Cady a recently released from prison serving 14 years for rape and battery, he's hell bent on getting revenge on this former lawyer Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), who suppressed evidence that might have given Max a different trial outcome. The story is quite straight forward from this point onwards it becomes a game of "minds" with Max playing on Sam's weaker character determined to make his life as uncomfortable as possible.

What makes the film stand out over many others is the convincing portrayal of Max by De Niro, he really gets into the role and every bit plays the disgruntled and dangerous psychopath the role demands. Evidently De Niro went to quite a few lengths to beef himself up physically for the role, trimming down and working out and even getting his teeth grinded down to make his character more "frightening" Nolte isn't my favourite actor by a long shot, though he does quite well as the on edge and stressed out lawyer desperately trying to hold his family together while Max picks away at him.

Juliette Lewis plays Sam's daughter (Danielle Bowden) and she does an excellent job or portraying the slightly nave and innocent teenager, who is wide open to being played by Max for his eventual aim an outstanding performance it has to be said. Good to see Robert Mitchum in a small role as Lt. Elgart, and Gregory Peck has another minor role too. Jessica Lange plays Sam's wife.

The film works mostly due to the dramatic directing from Scorsese who manages to create a strong sense of "fear" for the viewers. Even the soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein is memorable and sharpens the edge on the production. For me the performances of De Niro and Lewis really stand out in quite different ways but for the benefit of the film overall. This isn't the normal "Mob" film you might come to expect from Scorsese, but he's added quite a different feel to the film another director might not have given it.

An enjoyable film, might have possibly been even better with a few cast changes. As it stands one of the better films of this type and a very different type of production to the Anthony Hopkins film. Both are good in their own ways. The well staged and executed ending provides a satisfying conclusion to the film it's certainly not one to watch if you're in a relaxed mood, but even over 20 years later has managed to retain a strong following among fans.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2014 9:25 PM BST

Lowepro Dashpoint 20 Bag for Camera - Galaxy Blue
Lowepro Dashpoint 20 Bag for Camera - Galaxy Blue
Price: 14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well made case that's ideal for the Fujifilm X10/20 models, 28 July 2014
I bought this looking for a "smaller" case for the Fuji X10 I bought recently. I have many larger cases and didn't really want anything too big, this is ideal size wise for that model you can fit the Fuji in no problems with the lens cap (you can fit it just about with the filter ring, but the hood is too big) I rarely use the filter/hood anyway. You've enough space to tuck the strap in too and zip it up, fit is excellent not too tight or loose.

Quality wise as expected from Lowepro very good, padding is decent, the double zip at the top has an inner lining so when zipped up the metal parts of the zip are cushioned from the camera. Inside in the top section is a small elasticated section to fit a spare SD card. Around the back you have a novel double Velcro belt strap so it's quite secure attaching it to a belt, and covering that another section which is also Velcro and padded but useful for horizontal attachment. In short both systems should allow you to attach this to photo belts, normal belts or other camera bags with no problems.

You also get a shoulder strap which attaches to the fabric loops on the back.

Very good little bag, but one minor niggle nowhere to really put a spare battery. You can if you wish put one inside the case (might need to leave the strap out), I'm not crazy about the idea of a battery knocking around inside though if you wanted to you could cover a battery in bubble wrap and put it in there. My solution was to use a neoprene CF card holder which fits the batteries I have for the X10 perfectly I just attach it to the hooks on the strap. A small point for improvement for Lowepro even a single outer mesh panel on the side would solve the "where to put the battery" issue. Or to make the case slightly taller and have another section inside the top part to fit a battery.

Otherwise shove a spare in your pocket! The Lowepro Portland 30 has space for a battery but doesn't come with a should strap (which I use frequently)

Small niggle aside it's a good quality case, which is priced fairly and manages to carry the camera in a small package (which was what I wanted) For other users do check the Lowepro site and use the bag finder to see what options you have for various models.

Gladiator [DVD]
Gladiator [DVD]
Dvd ~ Russell Crowe
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: 2.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and well produced historical drama, 27 July 2014
This review is from: Gladiator [DVD] (DVD)
When I first heard about this I slightly cringed wondering if the modern day take on an "epic" style film would work. Fortunately, despite some questionable historical decisions (female gladiators being a non event it never happened) and the film isn't based on any historical events (unlike Spartacus) Ridley Scott has delivered a pretty good film.

Plot wise General Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) is loyal to Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) and his chosen successor, however the natural son of Marcus Aurelius, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) ends the life of the sick Emperor upon hearing Meridius is to be the next Emperor and not himself.

Commodus asks for the loyalty of Meridius, but he refuses and suffers the fate of having his family killed by the new Emperor. Meridius escapes and returns to Spain to find his wife and son having been slain already, after he buries them he is captured by a roaming slave caravan and thrust into the world of being a Gladiator (hence the title) The rest of the film shows the struggle between the former General and the new Emperor ultimately concluding in a "Mano-a-mano" one on one hand to hand battle at the end.

Cast wise near enough top notch really, the gritty/macho role suits Crowe down to the ground, Joaquin Phoenix also make a cunning devious and sneaky young Emperor. We have the last film appearance of Oliver Reed as Antonius Proximothe Gladiator trainer/owner (who died during filming in Malta after a heavy drinking session - computer generated work was done to complete the production of his character ), Harris has a smaller role but played sincerely. Connie Nielsen is Lucilla, daughter of Marcus Aurelius and potential temptress (a former love interest of Maximus)

The film opening is pretty dramatic with a rather tasty battle scene with the Roman army and native Gauls. If you've a good multi channel sound system you'll hear the arrows flying over your head and rumbles of battle and explosions very nicely. This was one of the earlier DVD's I picked up and at the time sound wise very impressive. Quite a lot of action scenes throughout and in general very well done, with effective use of CGI to re-create the Roman era. It works well and is convincing (some of the scenes in the Gladiator fights are a little OTT esp the chariot scene) Leaving that to one side (a few rubber swords seen) and the end scene where Crowe has a nice mound of sand to rest his head on (I spotted it!) pretty effective film nit picks to one side.

Music is provided by Hans Zimmer who creates a fairly dramatic and decent soundtrack that suits the mood of the film.
Certainly a lot better than I had expected, decent if not overly original story, good cast, screen play and direction are all strong, one for the action drama fans out there. I might have preferred a historical event, but this makes for quite a good watch and solid entertainment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2014 2:18 AM BST

Acousti AcoustiFeet Anti-vibration Case Feet Soft : ACF3007-20B
Acousti AcoustiFeet Anti-vibration Case Feet Soft : ACF3007-20B
Offered by Shiny Hardware Limited
Price: 4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet effective anti vibration solution and not just for computers, 27 July 2014
I've used quite a few sets of these AcoustiFeet silicone anti vibration pads.
Mostly for computers, but they can also work wonders on other items such as consoles or DVD players in fact any item that you want to dampen noises from or provide a good non marking grip. I've used a few on speakers too and they work very well.

For PC's my suggestion is to note the max load recommended by the maker, I usually order very soft or soft, the harder feet are really for very heavy computers or other items.
Very soft is rated for a max optimal load of 8 kg (that covers most normal desktops easily) if you want to veer on the side of caution then go for the "soft" type which go up to 14 kg. Both work very well remember that the "optimal load" they'll work fine with a bit more load.

The pack comes pre cut out simply pop them off the back and away you go, I've found the adhesive to be durable and not had any problems over time with the many packs I've used. In terms of pc silencing sadly quite a few cases have hard plastic feet and if you have your case in a desk section as I do any vibrations can get magnified and transmitted through the case. These work just great cutting down vibrations significantly; there are cheaper offerings around, but I've never had a problem using these. Recommended for quiet pc fans and for around the house.

Canyon Ventura Bike Helmet (3334560)
Canyon Ventura Bike Helmet (3334560)
Offered by Stilton Bargains
Price: 19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable and well made cycle helmet, 26 July 2014
I have the red version of this helmet which was bought for me as a birthday present.

Build is excellent lightweight but with good moulding density and padding on the inside. One of the problems I have had with some cycle helmets in the past in the out shell coming off or lifting over time. I've had this for around 4 years now and not a sign of any problems.

The outer shell is very well bonded to the EPS Base, seamless in fact to my eye. The rear adjuster is a wheel turn type (rotate to tighten and open up the size) which makes fitting a doddle and very quick.

Front peak section can be removed if you wish (though I much prefer it left on) Lots of ventilation on the helmet which is important to stop overheating. Side straps are wide enough not to dig into you, you also get a removable soft fabric cover with Velcro on it to put over the adjusted part of the strap so it doesn't flap around when you are cycling. During years of use I've not a single complaint about the helmet it delivers the goods, stylish, very comfy and made to a high standard. Excellent and highly recommended.

Memento [2000] [DVD]
Memento [2000] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Guy Pearce
Offered by Jasuli
Price: 3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate "head scratcher" movie, 25 July 2014
This review is from: Memento [2000] [DVD] (DVD)
Memento has something of a cult fan base dedicated to the film and with many theories about what "really happens"

Christopher Nolan's film is based on his brother's book (Jonathan Nolan) though there are some differences from the novel. Direction and Screenplay are done by Christopher who has done a fine job of making what could be a simple story something of a "mind puzzle for viewers" he has achieved this by running two story lines in out of order sequences, we see both colour and black and white sections during the film.

The colour segments run in reverse order, intertwined with the black and white segments both are related but clearly at different times. The "puzzle" is trying to put together the story, in an effective and meaningful way. A single viewing of the film is very unlikely to satisfy most people, but some will want to come back to it and some might not.

Guy Pearce plays Leonard a man who is searching for his wife's killer and has unfortunately an amnesia problem where he is unable to remember new events for any length of time and only able to recall memories prior to the attack (an injury he evidently developed during the murder of his wife where he was injured) He resorts to taking polaroid's, writing notes and having tattoos etched into his body so he can remember important information.

We meet a few other characters during the film including Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) who is the main secondary actor playing a role which is crucial to the film. For a production like this it's difficult to go into a plot description bar the obvious events that you see. The ordering is confusing at first but becomes easier to work out once you see the film a few times. The DVD version includes the sequences in the "correct order" however, there are still question marks about what really happened (remember Leonard is not a reliable source in his narration due to the injury) and there are some potential plot holes. During the film we even question if Leonards wife was even killer in an attack or did he do it?

Personally I prefer to keep it simple his wife was killed, and he tracked down the killer, the other events happened due to the illness Leonard has. But you'll have to watch it to decide for yourself. Christopher Nolan has ensured there isn't really a definitive answer or a water tight plot, some scenes make sense, some cannot be judged as accurate for various reasons. There are a number of web sites that have numerous plot theories to explore, and discussions that try to resolve what I feel is a clever film that never intends to really reveal what happens in a clear cut manner.

Acting is good, from all cast members (it's a small cast and needs to be as the story is complex or appears that way) Screenplay is clever and whilst initially confusing it's sure to please those who like to think. If you like a simple A to B storyline avoid this like the plague, if you want to do some serious thinking and pondering after a film and fancy something very different this is right up your street. Unusual and interesting, but don't over think the story there isn't an answer there.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2014 11:01 AM BST

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