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OMG! It's got a plug! (Winchester)
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Hi Records: The Soul Years
Hi Records: The Soul Years
Price: £6.70

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memphis Soul goodness, 27 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very welcome two disc budget release featuring 48 tracks recorded for Memphis' legendary Hi Records between 1965 and 1979. All of the big name are here - Al Green, Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson, Otis Clay, O.V. Wright and the man behind it all, label owner Willie Mitchell. CD 1 (79: 07) covers the period 1965-1974 with CD 2 (79:39) taking in the years 1974-1979. With a set-up similar to Motown - its own recording studio, in house band and staff songwriters with Mitchell presiding over it all Berry Gordy style - the music is 100% Memphis Soul.

Not dissimilar to Southern Soul but definitely more subtle, there are loads of blasting horns, funky percussion, superb backing vocals (sung almost exclusively by two white female country singers!) and plenty of quieter, more intimate moments. Quality songs, superb musicianship and some of the best soul voices of the era, I can't find anything to dislike about this compilation. The sound quality is great too - no suspect remastering. With well written liner notes and archive photos in the booklet and a combined playing time of almost 2 hours and 40 minutes, this is essential listening for all soul fans.


Silicon Power 2.5 inch 1TB USB 3.0 SP Rugged Armor A30 Shockproof External Portable Hard Drive - Black
Silicon Power 2.5 inch 1TB USB 3.0 SP Rugged Armor A30 Shockproof External Portable Hard Drive - Black
Price: £56.05

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb drive with fast transfer rates and all the physical protection you'll need, 22 Nov 2014
Despite the military-grade shockproof protection, this is a slim drive that's roughly the same size as any other 2.5" portable hard drive. After unboxing it I dropped it from above head height onto my lino covered wooden kitchen floor and it survived intact without any damage or marks left on the case and it worked when I connected to my laptop.

It draws its power via the included USB-USB (i.e. not USB-Micro USB) cable, therefore there's no need for an extra power lead. My Windows 7 laptop recognised it immediately and automatically installed a couple of drivers. It comes formatted to FAT32 but before using it I reformatted it to NTFS (a quick 10 second Windows process).

Copying 285GB of data to it took around 90 minutes with a very impressive average transfer rate of 61MB/s. I use a USB 3.0 ExpressCard adapter so you should get even faster speeds with built-in USB 3.0. It's backwards compatible with USB 2.0.

It looks modern and stylish (the high quality photos here don't really do it justice), with a black case made of very hard, reinforced plastic and six orange silicone shock absorbers. The shock absorbers - and I really do like this - double as the USB cable holder when it's in transit. It's silent in operation.

In summary, this is a high quality 1TB portable hard drive and its's now replaced my Seagate portable drive. With impressive transfer speeds and the peace of mind the shockproof protection offers, it's well worth the money and I definitely recommend it. It has a 3 year warranty. I received this for free from the manufacturer in return for this honest review.


The Silver Globe
The Silver Globe
Price: £7.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weaving magic, 20 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Silver Globe (Audio CD)
With her last two albums Jane Weaver upped the ante but with this album she takes it to another level altogether. With David Holmes and Andy Votel helping out on production duties, this is a giant leap forward by Weaver. Cosmic, ethereal, motorik and at times drop dead gorgeous, imagine Seventies Krautrockers mixing it in the studio with Sixties folkies with Portishead at the controls overseeing it all. The standard of the song writing is astonishing at times as is the musicianship, arrangements and Weaver's vocals. There's a real commercial sound to a few of the songs but the overall vibe and quality is never compromised. This is a beautiful album and it's currently in a dead heat with The Soundcarriers for my album of the year.


Vax U88-AM-Te Air Total Home Upright Vacuum
Vax U88-AM-Te Air Total Home Upright Vacuum
Price: £129.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great suction and reach but difficult to manoeuvre, 19 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a good looking vacuum cleaner and despite its slender body, the bin is large. The suction is excellent and it easily matches my Dyson and it is surprisingly quiet. It comes with a whole host of useful attachments but unfortunately you can't store them all on the machine.

It's not perfect though. It's nowhere near as light as Vax claim it to be and I'd go as far to suggest the promotional image of a woman holding it with one finger is misleading. It's a beast to manoeuvre too. I'm no weakling but it takes considerable effort to move around and really puts your arm muscles to the test. Obviously you expect resistance due to the suction but it's just too excessive.

The reach is excellent. Using the extendable hose, handle and wand together I just about managed (on tip toes) to hoover up the cobwebs that had gathered at the top of the wall and ceiling above the stairs.

Top marks for suction and reach but I can't recommend this Vax because it's just too difficult to manoeuvre around.


TTfone Mercury 2 Big Button Basic Senior Unlocked Sim Free Mobile Phone with Dock - Black
TTfone Mercury 2 Big Button Basic Senior Unlocked Sim Free Mobile Phone with Dock - Black
Offered by TTsims - select Express at checkout for delivery before Xmas
Price: £34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed senior PAYG, 18 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this PAYG phone for my Dad who was struggling with a hand me down flip open Nokia phone with small buttons. It's not too big and it's lightweight, slim and works with his existing Orange PAYG SIM card. The screen is big and the backlit buttons are easy to see and press and you can set it up so that when typing in numbers a voice tells you which numbers you have pressed. The battery life is very good and it locks and the screen goes off after 30 seconds. You can add nine quick dial options that involve just pressing one pre-defined button for two seconds when making a call. There's a handy torch too (press the '0' button for 3 seconds to switch it on and likewise to switch if off).

It has extra features that I don't think most people using this phone will want or use (as my Dad said "I just want to make and receive calls"). You can add a MicroSD card and play MP3s or display photos on the screen. There's no headphone input and the sound quality from the inbuilt speaker is, expectedly, somewhat very limited and the radio can't pick up any stations whatsoever despite living in a built up area.

Finding numbers stored on the SIM card is straightforward but it has one baffling flaw. When selecting a number to dial from your list of contacts, you press the green button and instead of calling the number it comes up with two options on the screen to either 1. Add new contact or 2. Call. You have to press the down arrow key to select the 'Call' option and then press the green button again... Why it gives you the option to add a new contact when you're attempting to call an existing one is a mystery.

Ultimately this is a good phone and it's about half the price of similar ones my dad was thinking of buying from one of those catalogues you get pushed through the letter box. Overall rating: 3½ stars


Sky Wireless Connector - TV On Demand Straight from your Sky+ HD Box (MINI SD501)
Sky Wireless Connector - TV On Demand Straight from your Sky+ HD Box (MINI SD501)
Offered by Teckstar
Price: £18.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it, 18 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a tiny device (about the same size as a cigarette packet) that's simple to connect to a wireless network using your Sky remote control. I had it out of the box, installed and downloading TV programmes within 5 minutes. It connects to the Sky+HD box via USB cable (supplied) and does not require it's own power supply. Easy to follow instructions for setting it up are printed on the inside of the cardboard box it arrives in. The extra functionally it gives to your Sky is well worth the very modest outlay.


Norton Security 2.0 in 1 User 5 Devices [2015] [Product Key Card]
Norton Security 2.0 in 1 User 5 Devices [2015] [Product Key Card]
Price: £37.58

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still effortlessly taking care of business, 18 Nov 2014
Norton Security 2.0 2015 combines features from their previous products (Norton Antivirus, Internet Security and 360) into one security suite and provides security for a multitude of operating systems (see below). **This review is for Norton installed on a laptop running Windows 7, a desktop running Windows Vista and an Android smartphone running Jelly Bean 4.2.2 (I don't think it will add much extra security to iOS devices)**

I've been using Norton on my PCs for years - it runs silently and unobtrusively in the background effortlessly taking care of business. Set up your options for when you want it to update virus definitions, run scheduled scans, carry out background tasks, etc and it all just happens effortlessly with no noticeable impact on my laptop or desktop's performance. If you just want peace of mind against nasties lurking on the web, opt for this - that little Norton logo with a green tick displayed in the task bar is VERY reassuring. Installation was straightforward and it automatically uninstalled my previous version of Norton 360.

When installing it I was presented with an 'Exclusive Norton Offer' to enrol in the "Automatic Renewal Service" and in the small print it states "By enrolling in the Norton Automatic Renewal Service, you authorise Symantec to automatically charge the then current renewal subscription fee, plus applicable taxes, to your credit or debit card". I didn't enrol and I would advise NOT enrolling because Norton will be able to charge you what they want when it's time to renew. In all the years I've been using Norton it's always been cheaper to purchase from Amazon. You may get lucky and get it at a cheaper price from Norton but you're basically at their mercy if you sign up for it.

Installation on my Android smartphone was straight forward. I just installed the NortonMobile app from the Google Play store, logged in using my Norton account details when prompted and it was up and running immediately. As well as the usual Anti-Malware, you can block calls and websites, back up your contacts and there are Anti-theft tools where you can locate your device and lock or wipe it if you need to. There's also an App Advisor that's checks the security of apps. To be honest, I wouldn't purchase this solely to use on an Android device (I only installed it because I had a spare licence) because there are free alternatives and Google's Android Device Manager covers the Anti-Theft function that this offers.

The Norton website confirms that following operating systems are supported by Norton Security 2.0 2015:

Windows XP (32-bit) with Service Pack 3 (SP 3) or later.
Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) or later.
Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) or later.
Windows 8/8 Pro (32-bit and 64-bit).
Windows 8.1/8.1 Pro (32-bit and 64-bit).
Current and previous two versions of Mac OS X.
Android 2.3 or later (must have the Google Play app installed).
iOS 5 or later (Some features are not available on iPad and iPhone).

***Finally, if you just require Norton Internet Security and none of the Windows optimisation tools that Norton 2.0 offers (nearly all can be run from within Windows without Norton 2.0) for up to THREE devices, check the price for Norton Internet Security 21.0 (2014 Edition) - 3 Computers, 1 Year Subscription before purchasing this edition and go for the cheaper of the two. The 2014 edition does, as it states on the box, "Automatically updates to the latest version"***
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2014 6:39 PM GMT


Norton Security 2.0: 1 User, 1 Device [2015] (PC/Mac/iOS/Android)
Norton Security 2.0: 1 User, 1 Device [2015] (PC/Mac/iOS/Android)
Price: £35.68

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still effortlessly taking care of business, 18 Nov 2014
Norton Security 2.0 2015 combines features from their previous products (Norton Antivirus, Internet Security and 360) into one security suite and provides security for a multitude of operating systems (see below). **This review is for Norton installed on a laptop running Windows 7, a desktop running Windows Vista and an Android smartphone running Jelly Bean 4.2.2 (I don't think it will add much extra security to iOS devices)**

I've been using Norton on my PCs for years - it runs silently and unobtrusively in the background effortlessly taking care of business. Set up your options for when you want it to update virus definitions, run scheduled scans, carry out background tasks, etc and it all just happens effortlessly with no noticeable impact on my laptop or desktop's performance. If you just want peace of mind against nasties lurking on the web, opt for this - that little Norton logo with a green tick displayed in the task bar is VERY reassuring. Installation was straightforward and it automatically uninstalled my previous version of Norton 360.

When installing it I was presented with an 'Exclusive Norton Offer' to enrol in the "Automatic Renewal Service" and in the small print it states "By enrolling in the Norton Automatic Renewal Service, you authorise Symantec to automatically charge the then current renewal subscription fee, plus applicable taxes, to your credit or debit card". I didn't enrol and I would advise NOT enrolling because Norton will be able to charge you what they want when it's time to renew. In all the years I've been using Norton it's always been cheaper to purchase from Amazon. You may get lucky and get it at a cheaper price from Norton but you're basically at their mercy if you sign up for it.

Installation on my Android smartphone was straight forward. I just installed the NortonMobile app from the Google Play store, logged in using my Norton account details when prompted and it was up and running immediately. As well as the usual Anti-Malware, you can block calls and websites, back up your contacts and there are Anti-theft tools where you can locate your device and lock or wipe it if you need to. There's also an App Advisor that's checks the security of apps. To be honest, I wouldn't purchase this solely to use on an Android device (I only installed it because I had a spare licence) because there are free alternatives and Google's Android Device Manager covers the Anti-Theft function that this offers.

The Norton website confirms that following operating systems are supported by Norton Security 2.0 2015:

Windows XP (32-bit) with Service Pack 3 (SP 3) or later.
Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) or later.
Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) or later.
Windows 8/8 Pro (32-bit and 64-bit).
Windows 8.1/8.1 Pro (32-bit and 64-bit).
Current and previous two versions of Mac OS X.
Android 2.3 or later (must have the Google Play app installed).
iOS 5 or later (Some features are not available on iPad and iPhone).

***Finally, if you just require Norton Internet Security and none of the Windows optimisation tools that Norton 2.0 offers (nearly all can be run from within Windows without Norton 2.0) for ONE device, check the price of Norton Internet Security 21.0 (2014 Edition) - 1 Computer, 1 Year Subscription before purchasing this edition and go for the cheaper of the two. The 2014 edition does, as it states on the box, "Automatically updates to the latest version"***


EC Technology® Portable Ultra-mini 5w Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker Play A Long Time Have A Zinc Alloy Shell-Black
EC Technology® Portable Ultra-mini 5w Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker Play A Long Time Have A Zinc Alloy Shell-Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound & battery life with a classy design and extra features, 15 Nov 2014
Weighing 260g and small enough to sit in the palm of my hand this is an extraordinarily small and VERY portable Bluetooth speaker that has features you don't expect at this price. The sound created is amazing for such a tiny speaker and the overall sound is well-balanced, clear with very good bass. With the volume on your device and the speaker at full volume, it goes very loud. It's not quite going to fill the room at a party and you don't get the depth of sound delivered by a twin drive speaker but for use around the home, it's perfect.

The build, design and and charcoal alloy finish and blue trim finish are exceptional. With the speaker on the top and the controls on the bottom and Bluetooth light on the front, it looks and feels classy.

It seamlessly paired with my iPad, Android phone and Windows 7 laptop and has connected first time, every time thereafter. If your device isn't Bluetooth compatible, you can connect it using the included 3.5mm audio cable. It's charged using a USB cable, also included.

The range of the Bluetooth is superb, way better than any Bluetooth speaker I've used before - it just refuses to drop out! The size makes it perfect for carrying around the house and this is where the extra features come in useful. It has three control buttons on the underside where you can adjust the volume Up and Down, skip backwards and forwards between tracks (even when streaming music via Amazon Cloud Player and Google Play Music), pause the music and, should you need it, there's a button on the front that allows you to use it as a speaker phone too.

The advertised battery life of 8-12 hours is accurate. With the volume set at medium on both my iPad and the speaker, I've had 11 hours of playback before it's dropped out.

In summary, this speaker is a bargain for the price it's going for at the time of writing. When taking the three main considerations when buying a Bluetooth speaker into account - cost, sound and Bluetooth range - it succeeds on every level. I was given this speaker by the manufacturer in return for a review but I honestly cannot find fault with it. Finally, it'll make an ideal gift - the high end design and build quality make it look much more expensive than it actually is.


EC Technology® Enhanced BASS+ Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker, 8-12 Hour Playtime, Built in Microphone, Portable Wireless Speaker with Zinc Alloy Shell - Titanium Gray
EC Technology® Enhanced BASS+ Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker, 8-12 Hour Playtime, Built in Microphone, Portable Wireless Speaker with Zinc Alloy Shell - Titanium Gray
Offered by EC Technology UK Store
Price: £45.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound & battery life with a classy design and extra features, 15 Nov 2014
Weighing 260g and small enough to sit in the palm of my hand this is an extraordinarily small and VERY portable Bluetooth speaker that has features you don't expect at this price. The sound created is amazing for such a tiny speaker and the overall sound is well-balanced, clear with very good bass. With the volume on your device and the speaker at full volume, it goes very loud. It's not quite going to fill the room at a party and you don't get the depth of sound delivered by a twin drive speaker but for use around the home, it's perfect.

The build, design and and charcoal alloy finish and blue trim finish are exceptional. With the speaker on the top and the controls on the bottom and Bluetooth light on the front, it looks and feels classy.

It seamlessly paired with my iPad, Android phone and Windows 7 laptop and has connected first time, every time thereafter. If your device isn't Bluetooth compatible, you can connect it using the included 3.5mm audio cable. It's charged using a USB cable, also included.

The range of the Bluetooth is superb, way better than any Bluetooth speaker I've used before - it just refuses to drop out! The size makes it perfect for carrying around the house and this is where the extra features come in useful. It has three control buttons on the underside where you can adjust the volume Up and Down, skip backwards and forwards between tracks (even when streaming music via Amazon Cloud Player and Google Play Music), pause the music and, should you need it, there's a button on the front that allows you to use it as a speaker phone too.

The advertised battery life of 8-12 hours is accurate. With the volume set at medium on both my iPad and the speaker, I've had 11 hours of playback before it's dropped out.

In summary, this speaker is a bargain for the price it's going for at the time of writing. When taking the three main considerations when buying a Bluetooth speaker into account - cost, sound and Bluetooth range - it succeeds on every level. I was given this speaker by the manufacturer in return for a review but I honestly cannot find fault with it. Finally, it'll make an ideal gift - the high end design and build quality make it look much more expensive than it actually is.


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