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OMG! It's got a plug!

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The Cinema of
The Cinema of
Price: £18.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating exploration of Gainsbourg's soundtrack work, 8 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Cinema of (Audio CD)
Spanning the period 1959-1990, featuring 131 tracks across five CDs and with a playing time just short of 6 hours, this is an expanded edition of the 1991 three disc box set, albeit in a much smaller package. Universal's Écoutez Le Cinéma series has compiled some fine CDs from French cinema over the past couple of decades and quite a few of these tracks can be found on individual Serge Gainsbourg CDs (La Pacha, Manon 70, Cannabis, etc.) from the series. The discs are chronologically ordered. Discs 1 is mostly Jazz orientated compositions, things get really interesting on Discs 2 & 3 with some of the best soundtrack music imaginable and Disc 4 & 5 focus on 1973 onwards. The fifth disc also includes a few bonus selections.

Much of the music here is staggering. There are plenty of imaginative and sometimes complex jazz compositions on the first disc but it's Gainsbourg's mid to late Sixties work with Michel Colombier and 'Histoire de Melody Nelson' producer Jean-Claude Vannier - some of the best music I've ever heard, soundtrack or otherwise - that really stands out. Straight-up classical orchestral music, trippy orchestral music, psychedelia - it's jaw-dropping at times and is possibly best described as the missing link between the output of Ennio Morricone and David Axelrod during the same period. Quality does falter on the final two discs but I think it's more to do with the production techniques than the quality of the music. The collection is rounded out with a horrible and totally unnecessary 1991 remix of 'Requiem pour un Con' - one of Serge's finest songs ruined!

Housed in a slim and sturdy flip top box, the CDs are in individual cardboard sleeves. There's a 48 page booklet with lots of archive photographs and text in French and English and it features contributions from Jane Birkin and some of the film directors. In summary, this is a near definitive (if not complete) overview of Serge's soundtrack work and, alongside his studio albums, it's essential listening for Gainsbourg aficionados. 4½ stars.

Linksys RE4100W Universal Dual Band N600 Pro Wi-Fi Range Extender (Audio Streaming, 2 x Ethernet, Flexible Placement, Easy Set Up, WPS)
Linksys RE4100W Universal Dual Band N600 Pro Wi-Fi Range Extender (Audio Streaming, 2 x Ethernet, Flexible Placement, Easy Set Up, WPS)
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy set-up, speeds up Internet around the house and allows you to play music on your stereo, 6 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Amazon seems to have grouped reviews for different types of Linksys equipment together. This is a review for the RE4100W Universal Dual Band N600 Pro Wi-Fi Range Extender.

It's an unobtrusive device that plugs directly into a wall socket and it has green LED light that stays solid (i.e. it doesn't flash) when it's configured with your Wi-Fi. It supports dual band routers and it has an Ethernet port (no cable included).

With my router upstairs and mostly using my iPad 2 and laptop downstairs, the signal was weak on my iPad (no problems with my laptop) and web pages in the Safari browser were taking about 4-5 seconds to load (even with 'Open New Tabs in Background' switched off in the iPad Safari settings).

Looking at the other reviews, clearly some people have had issues setting up Linksys extenders and there are only very basic quick start instructions included, with no trouble shooting tips. Fortunately I had no issues during the one time set-up using my iPad and here's what you have to do if setting it up using an iPad:

1. Plug the extender into a wall socket and switch it on.
2. Wait until the light on the panel stops flashing (approximately 90-120 seconds)
3. Go to iPad Settings>Wi-Fi and select and connect to the 'Linksys Extender Setup' which should be displayed.
4. Open the Safari browser and it should automatically open the Linksys configuration tab (if it doesn't, type the IP address - – into the Safari address bar and hit Go).
5. Agree to the T&Cs and follow the on screen instructions where you need to select your network and enter your wireless key. You don't need to set-up an account or anything.

The set-up should be much the same if configuring it using a PC or Android device.

Thereafter, you just connect to your Wi-Fi network as normal - you don't have to switch to 'your network name.EXT' or anything and any other devices on your network automatically benefit from the extended range. With this device set-up downstairs, web pages on my iPad now flash up in about 1 second and the connection in the kitchen and garden is much stronger with no drop outs or buffering.

You can also use this to play music from a tablet on your stereo over your Wi-Fi network. The instructions make NO mention whatsoever of how you do this. All I did was connect it to my Denon amplifier using a 3.5mm jack to 2 x RCA phono cable, then in my iPad's AirPlay setting selected the Linksys Range Extender, opened Amazon Music Player, selected an album to play and boom, the streaming music was coming out loud and clear through my stereo speakers!

Overall, I can’t find anything to fault this. If you want to speed up your Internet connection around the house AND play music on your Hi-Fi over your wireless network, the N600 Pro Wi-Fi Range Extender takes care of it. Recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 7:06 PM BST

Collected Recordings 1983-1989
Collected Recordings 1983-1989
Price: £46.74

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Causing a commotion, 1 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having had my interest in Lloyd Cole & The Commotions reawakened by the recent 'Don't Look Back' budget compilation, I decided that this box set seemed like a worthwhile investment and it most definitely is. Featuring their three studio albums and two discs comprising of B-sides, remixes, outtakes, demo recordings and rarities, the combined playing time is 4 hours & 10 minutes. There's also a DVD (NTSC; Region 0; 66 minutes) featuring 10 promotional videos and eight BBC performances.

The remastering was overseen by Cole and it's been done very tastefully with no (dreaded) brick-walling. You notice the space and clarity between the instruments that you get when remastering is done properly, although Mainstream sounds more or less the same - Cole has stated that it just didn't need remastering - with only the volumes being slightly adjusted.

Housed in a very sturdy cardboard box with a lift off top there's a cut out hollow for the discs to sit in with a book sitting on top. The CDs and DVD are presented in (near) vinyl replica cardboard sleeves with another cardboard sleeve inside holding the CD (I don't know why they just didn't use gatefold sleeves).

The accompanying 48 page hard back book (the shape and size of it reminds me of those old Ladybird books!) features a lengthy and superbly written essay of the band's history including quotes from band members and associates who were interviewed by the writer, Pete Paphides. I was surprised to learn that when the band first got together they intended to be a soul/funk outfit but changed direction when Cole wrote some of the initial songs for 'Rattlesnakes'. The book also includes archive photographs and recording details. There are also three B&W postcards and a poster. Not sure they're entirely necessary - will anyone buying this really blu-tack the poster to their bedroom wall?!

The two extra discs contain 36 songs and here's a breakdown:

B-Sides, Remixes & Outtakes

1. The Sea and The Sand (B-side to Perfect Skin)
2. You Will Never Be No Good (B-side to Perfect Skin)
3. Andy's Babies (B-side to Forest Fire)
4. Glory (B-side to Forest Fire)
5. Sweetness (B-side to Rattlesnakes)
6. Perfect Blue (Hardiman Mix) (B-side to Jennifer She Said)
7. Jesus Said (B-side to My Bag)
8. Brand New Friend (1985 Wessex Studio recording. Previously unreleased)
9. From Grace (Unfinished 1985 Wessex Studio recording. Previously unreleased)
10. Her Last Fling (B-side to Brand New Friend)
11. Big World (B-side to Lost Weekend)
12. Nevers End (B-side to Lost Weekend)
13. Mystery Train (Live at The World, New York, 1986) (B-side to Jennifer She Said)
14. I Don't Believe You (Live at The World, New York, 1986) (B-side to Jennifer She Said)
15. Love Your Wife (B-side to From The Hip)
16. Lonely Mile (B-side to From The Hip)
17. Please (B-side to From The Hip)
18. My Bag (Dancing Mix) 12" single

Demo Recordings & Rarities (All previously unreleased except Tracks 2 & 6)

1. Down At The Mission
2. Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? (Demo recording) (Previously on 'Rattlesnakes' Deluxe Edition)
3. Patience (Demo recording)
4. Eat My Words (Demo recording)
5. Forest Fire (Demo recording)
6. Perfect Skin (Demo recording) (Previously on 'Rattlesnakes' Deluxe Edition)
7. Poons (Demo recording)
8. Old Hats (Demo recording)
9. You Win (Demo recording)
10. Old Wants Never Gets (Demo recording)
11. Another Dry Day (Demo recording)
12. 29 (Demo recording)
13. Jennifer She Said (Demo recording)
14. Hey Rusty (Demo recording)
15. Everyone's Complaining
16. Mr Malcontent
17. Jennifer She Said (Polished Rough Mix)
18. Hey Rusty

There are some really interesting demos and alternate version that are significantly different (i.e. they're not just strum-along acoustic demos), both lyrically and in their arrangements, from what appeared on the albums (I've been caught out a couple of times when trying to sing along!). Their first (unreleased) A-Side 'Down at the Mission' is very soulful and funky with female soul singers on backing vocals and is an indication of the direction the band originally intended to take. They also recorded some quality B-sides. It's by no means an exhaustive collection with only one extended mix - My Bag (Dancing Mix) - included. I have read that Cole didn't want any other mixes included because they were only produced for the purpose of the 12" single format and are not representative of the band's overall sound.

Of the three studio albums, 'Rattlesnakes' is a classic debut and needs no introduction. I'm in agreement with Cole that 'Easy Pieces' is their weakest. It's by no means a bad album but in the eighties production was everything and the band had producers foisted on them by their record company. Because of this, I really do believe that if the band had started out 10 years later their career would have taken a completely different path. My favourite is Mainstream (I have so many memories tied up in it!) and as Cole admits, they needed to sell a million copies of it just to break even but, unfortunately, it sold nowhere near that many.

Watching the DVD is like being transported back to the eighties, particularly the three Top of the Pops performances. In all honesty, some of the videos are quite bad but it was the eighties and I suppose they didn't have Michael Jackson budgets.

Promotional Videos:

1. Perfect Skin
2. Forest Fire
3. Rattlesnakes
4. Brand New Friend
5. Lost Weekend
6. Cut Me Down
7. My Bag
8. Jennifer She Said
9. From The Hip
10. Mainstream

BBC Performances:

11. Perfect Skin (Top of the Pops, June 1984)
12. Rattlesnakes (The Old Grey Whistle Test, November 1984)
13. Speedboat (The Old Grey Whistle Test, November 1984)
14. Brand New Friend (Wogan, September 1985)
15. Brand New Friend (Top of the Pops, September 1985)
16. Lost Weekend (Top of the Pops, November 1985)
17. Mister Malcontent (The Old Grey Whistle Test) (Live at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, June 1986)
18. My Bag (Wogan, September 1987)

Watch out for the performance of 'My Bag' on Wogan. Cole starts the song wearing his glasses but after about 10 seconds takes them off and eventually puts them in his jacket pocket. I'm convinced that he meant to start the song without them on and intended to put them on when he sings the line "as my eyesight gets worse"!

In summary, I think Lloyd Cole & The Commotions are one of the most enduring bands of the eighties and this box set more than does justice to their legacy. If you're a fan, get it - you won't be disappointed.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2015 4:40 PM BST

The Grandmaster Flash Collection
The Grandmaster Flash Collection
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everybody, 27 Jun. 2015
Consisting of 55 chronologically ordered tracks across three CDs and a fourth disc featuring a 60 minute mix by Grandmaster Flash, this collection represents excellent value for money and it's more or less a definitive history of hip-hop. Given that it's aimed at the mass market there are loads of mainstream crowd pleasers but there are also a lot of lesser known gems. The first disc is full of old school hip-hop classics (A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A, Eric B & Rakim, etc.) and it's the best here - the beats and the clever use of samples are at times jaw-dropping. Grandmaster's mix is nothing particularly special but for the money, you can't complain too much. Clocking in at a few minutes short of a mammoth 5 hours, it’s housed in a neat triple gatefold digipak. Existing hip-hop fans and newcomers will find much to enjoy.

Philips GC4521/87 Azur Performer Steam Iron - 200g Steam Boost, 2600 Watt
Philips GC4521/87 Azur Performer Steam Iron - 200g Steam Boost, 2600 Watt
Price: £48.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The next best thing to a steam generator iron, 22 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The is a big but by no means cumbersome iron that is probably the next best thing to a steam generator iron. It has a really big tank and even with the continious steam option on, it lasts a long time. You get a real blast of steam when you use the steam boost option that literally moves the iron independently across garments! The plate is big with a nice pointed tip for getting into those hard to reach areas. The calc function really does work and you can see the limescale it clears from the iron. Stand it upright and and the auto-steam stops and it automatically switches off when it's motionless for too long. All in all, this is a first class iron and a cheaper alternative to a steam generator iron. One final thing worth bearing in mind - it has a relatively short lead so be prepared to stand your ironing board as close as possible to a power socket or, alternatively, use an extension lead. Overall, 4½ stars (half lost for the short lead!).

Vision Media X 25 Single Clear CD Jewel Case
Vision Media X 25 Single Clear CD Jewel Case
Offered by Vision Media Store
Price: £11.97

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very high quality cases, 19 Jun. 2015
These are very high quality CD cases that are exactly the same quality you get when you buy a new CD. I buy a lot of used CDs rated VG or VG+ from Amazon, Discogs and eBay. Most of the time the cases are either scuffed, cracked, have broken spindles or have old and grubby stickers that cannot be removed. Replace the case with one of these and it's as if I've bought a brand new CD. Sold by Vision Media and despatched by Amazon, the cases were very well packaged and arrived with no breakages. Recommended.

Lost In Transmission
Lost In Transmission
Price: £12.08

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unlocking the vaults, 31 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lost In Transmission (Audio CD)
This is the second Library compilation by Chichester Hospital Radio. Compiled by Steven Wills who produced a number of similar themed CDs for Winchester Hospital Radio, this release features a selection of familiar and not so familiar Library sounds that would, as explained in the sleeve notes, otherwise have remained "locked in the vaults".

Sourced from, amongst others, the archives of De Wolfe, JW Media, Studio G, Southern Music and Boosey & Hawkes, the music was used for UK radio and TV programmes, test card transmissions and radio intervals. The majority of the music is upbeat easy listening with plenty of jazzy and funky numbers, lush big band orchestrations, 80's synth music and the occasional trippy vibe. As with most Library music, the musicianship and arrangements are never less than exceptional, as is the sound quality. Where known, Wills has included details of where the the tracks were used.

Housed in a jewel case, the combined playing time of both CDs is a very generous 2½ hours and this is another essential purchase for anyone with an interest in Library music. I don't know how many copies of this CD have been printed but if the CDs Wills produced for WHR are anything to go by, it's probably a limited run (it's worth noting that some of the WHR CDs have been known to fetch three figure sums!). All proceeds received from the sale of this CD will be used to fund the daily radio service provided for patients by Chichester Hospital Radio.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2015 8:19 AM BST

HERE - Offline navigation, maps, traffic, public transport
HERE - Offline navigation, maps, traffic, public transport
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Sat Nav Killer! 100% accurate and works offline, 20 May 2015
This is a superb free app from Nokia. Having seen it mentioned a few times, I installed the app and the UK map on my Android phone and it's been faultless. The best thing is that it works without an Internet connection; it uses your phone's GPS. It's exceptionally accurate and never misses a turn.

It works just like a satnav should and because of the voice guided navigation I never need to look at the live display on my phone screen. When I need to use it I just connect my smartphone to my car stereo via its 3.5" jack lead input, enter the location I'm headed for in the app, select a playlist from my phones's mp3 library and hit the road. When the voice guidance kicks in, my music is momentarily paused and I hear the voice guidance loud and clear over my car speakers.

When running it offline you don't receive traffic updates but you do get alerts for the majority of (but by no means all) speed cameras. It's intuitive to use and you can save routes, change the voice delivering the commands, etc. If you're planning on travelling further afield, it has maps for Europe, Africa, Asia, North & South America and Oceania. It also has specific city maps for most major cities.

All in all, it's a faultless app and it's FREE!

Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor A80 Shockproof/ Waterproof 2.5-Inch USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive, IEC 529 IPX7  Military Grade, Blue (SP010TBPHDA80S3B)
Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor A80 Shockproof/ Waterproof 2.5-Inch USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive, IEC 529 IPX7 Military Grade, Blue (SP010TBPHDA80S3B)
Price: £58.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast transfer rates and silent & cool, 20 May 2015
With a sturdy aluminium case with a metallic blue finish, this is a stylish looking drive from Silicon Power. It draws its power via the USB-USB (i.e. not USB-Micro USB) therefore there's no need for an extra power lead. Two thick, high quality USB cables are included - a very short one (ideal for use with a laptop) that can be stored in an ingress built into the side of the drive and another that's 30" long

The link to the 3 year warranty is on the drive and there's also a link to some rudimentary back up software should you need it. It comes formatted to FAT32 but before using it I reformatted it to NTFS (a quick 10 second Windows process).

Copying 300GB of data to it took around 95 minutes with a very impressive average transfer rate of 60MB/s. I use a USB 3.0 ExpressCard adapter so you should get even faster speeds with dedicated USB 3.0 ports. It's backwards compatible with USB 2.0 with average write speeds of 22MB/s.

I've had this drive connected to my router for the past three months and have it mapped onto a Windows Vista PC and a Windows 7 laptop. I also use it with my iPad for streaming music (using the useful free iOS app 'FileExplorer'). It copes with ease when being used on multiple devices, is silent in operation and always remains cool. I've literally forgotten about and just expect it to work effortlessly, which it does.

In summary, this is a high quality 1TB portable hard drive that's well worth the money and I definitely recommend it. I received this for free from the manufacturer in return for this honest review. Finally, if you want a truly portable 1TB USB 3.0 drive that I think can withstand knocks and bumps better than this one, I recommend the Silicon Power Rugged Armor A30 - it's slightly smaller than this model and feels like it's bullet proof.

Seagate Personal Cloud 4TB 2-bay (2x 2TB) Home Media Storage - NAS
Seagate Personal Cloud 4TB 2-bay (2x 2TB) Home Media Storage - NAS
Price: £202.34

3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by poor app and mobile device access, 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Setting up this Up using my PC running Windows 7 was straightforward. Plug it in to your router, wait about 5-10 minutes and it will show up in Windows file explorer:


Click on the 'Personal Cloud' Internet shortcut in the 'Public' folder and this will open up the control panel in your browser.

Any files stored in the 'Public folder' can be accessed remotely by any account holders you setup and it also creates a Personal folder for each account holder to store their private data that only they can access. Accessing the Public folder and Private folders on a PC is flawless and straightforward and you can play your music files and videos in your media player of choice (I use MediaMonkey and VLC respectively). To access your files on a mobile device you need to install the SeagateMedia app or a third party app. It's a flawed using a mobile device because account holders can only access the public folder, not their personal folder.

When using the Seagate app, it does not playback tracks from ripped CDs in the correct order! You can sort tracks alphabetically, by date and size or type but even if you have the track number in file name and ID3 tag it does not have the option to play album tracks numerically (i.e. In the correct order). I'm using the free version of the FileExplorer app on my iPad which plays back albums with the songs in their correct order

The Seagate app interface looks and feels clumsy and when using an iPad the app defaults to a landscape screen even if you have your screen locked to portrait mode. Very annoying. Using the app with Google Chromecast is a breeze. Click on the Chromecast icon in the app and it casts to your TV.

Overall this is an OK home server but there are a number of flaws, primarily with the SeagateMedia app. The inability to play album tracks in the correct sequence in a media player app is the main offender. Until that issue is sorted along with inability to access to your Personal folder in the app, I rate this 3 stars.

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