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Hardwired
Hardwired
Price: 3.02

3.0 out of 5 stars It is Cyberpunk, but not of a level of Gibson, 7 July 2014
This review is from: Hardwired (Kindle Edition)
and I found it on my occasional trawls to see if I have missed any of what is a very small area of Cyberpunk literature.

It does have human augmentation, advanced technologies, shadowy near orbit based corporations, mentions of the Net and private mercenary security outfits but for me it was too far removed from near future to compete with Gibson.

Rock wars in the form of asteroids flung at Earth by the orbit based corporations to subjugate Earth, America annexed and normal and black markets controlled by the corporations for their own ends.

Panzerboys making East to West coast runs in vehicles straight out of Car Wars to transport contraband for the Thirdmen, with The Laws trying to stop them anyway they can.

The ex-pilot Cowboy now a panzerboy dreaming of taking his Delta back into the no fly zone sky and taking down the unprincipled Corporations.

Gibson excelled in this area because it was based on a failed future based on our current reality that was completely believable, with Williams he adds in too much sci fi for my taste.

Try it, you may find it is more to your taste than Gibson but for me it is a branch of Cyberpunk with flashes of Gibson but not ultimately on the same level.

And if you think Damnation Alley influence you won't go too far wrong.


The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper
The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper
by Scott Frost
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Despite my love of Twin Peaks this did nothing for me, 28 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
and I found it quite dull although a quick read.

At 226 pages the entries are diarised, somewhat like Adrian Mole, but into Coop's tape recorder rather than written down. This means that you can read quickly through it as they are in most instances short and there is a lot of page space inbetween.

It covers the period between Christmas 1967 when Coop gets his first recorder at 13 to February 24th in the early 90s with the last entry being the reference to Laura Palmer's murder.

And ultimately it was rather uninteresting to me as a whole. The first 150 pages covering from 13 to when he leaves college could of been any fictional character and I just didn't get that it was particularly Coop.

There are mentions of The Evil and spiritualism that are present in the TV series and this is also alluded to in 'gaps' of years of recordings where Coop goes off somewhere to do something.

At around page 150 he joins the FBI in 1977 and it gets slightly more interesting, Gordon Cole and Windham Earle making appearances and giving some back story for the rest of the book.

But again it didn't particularly engage or interest me, probably because I thought it would shed more light on the TV storyline and is ultimately nothing to do with it.

Other reviews indicate it is a must have for a Twin Peaks fan. but for me it has would have made no difference to me if I hadn't read it and Coop exists solely in my complete Twin Peaks box set.


Hamster Napper 16cm/13cm
Hamster Napper 16cm/13cm
Offered by Brindle Bear
Price: 3.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shredded in days, 27 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hamster Napper 16cm/13cm (Misc.)
as my hamster doesn't seem to understand its use.

He has been in it and proceeded to claw and chew at it until the stuffing was coming out and it had holes in it.

Which after doing some more research on hamsters as it is my first, scared me witless that he might choke on or swallow the filling that could kill him. At best I envisaged a trip to the vets at many multiples of what the bed cost.

After this I took it away and have disposed of it.

There is nothing actually wrong with the item, it was well made, it just isn't of any use to me and I have given him shredded cardboard that he seems happy enough nesting in and cannot choke on.

As a rule of thumb I am now not giving him anything with fibres in it artificial or natural that he can chew on.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2013 2:30 PM GMT


Ferplast Duna Fun Hamster Cage with Accessories
Ferplast Duna Fun Hamster Cage with Accessories
Price: 47.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice first hamster home, 19 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
as it contains all the basics that you will need.

It has:

* 3 layers - although my hamster seems to prefer staying on the ground floor
* a small house - which my hamster has ignored and made a bed in the corner,
* 1 bag of cotton bedding - do not use this, I have subsequently found out it can block their pouches up. Throw it away and use paper bedding from a shop or some shredded cardboard.
* 2 ladders
* food bowl
* water bottle - that I am not sure I trust and have given him a bottle cap just in case
* wheel - which doesn't seem too good as it is too stiff. You have to assemble the cage properly to get it to spin free, but I will be buying another one and getting rid of it
* external tunnel and internal extension tunnel

Assembly is pretty simple with picture only instructions and once put together you will likely need to slightly rebed the parts to make it all fit properly. I have found the wire lid badly designed, it doesn't seem to snap into the plastic hinges for me and there is a slight crack by one hinge from trying to get it to fit.

Another thing I have found is that because of the 2 plastic floor levels that you cannot always see where he is from above, you need to look through the wire at his level to spot him, so visibility isn't great. This may be because he is sand coloured.

He needs some more toys, chews and hamster ball, but from not having had a hamster before it seems a good starter of a nice size.

The dimensions ARE NOT enough to be able to rehome a hamster from the RSPCA, they require 80cm x 55cm x 55cm minimum and will home visit to make sure. I could not fit a cage that large and disappointingly had to buy a hamster retail.

The lost star is from the wheel that does not seem to be designed fit-for purpose, the what I currently consider unreliable water bottle and the cage lid.

But ignoring those, the actual cage is small enough to accommodate but seems large enough to keep my hamster happy.

I have a lot to learn but would hope he likes his home for as long as he is in it and will be adding the extras that it doesn't come with to make sure.


Planet Of No Return (Sphere science fiction)
Planet Of No Return (Sphere science fiction)
by Harry Harrison
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars A short story spun out to a novella, 13 Sep 2013
where it could have been quite easily told in 50 pages or less instead of 155. And following on from the disappointment of Invasion: Earth.

Although unlike Invasion I didn't feel cheated at the end, it is just that you could read the opening and ending and cut out a lot of padding.

It starts out very well with a lone operative investigating a seemingly deserted planet with evidence of large scale mechanised battles having taken place being killed by one of the mechanoids.

Enter Brion Brandd, galactic award winning weightlifter, genius, empath and all round hero with female side kick Dr Lea in tow to solve the mystery, with echoes of Rat coming through.

I take it it is them on the cover, but it is very misleading as Brion is supposed to be heavily muscled and because of the mechanoids scanners they do not carry anything metal until late in the book and never as illustrated.

And then it just stops, they make planetfall and investigate what seems to be a stone age tribal culture amongst the mechanised battlefields with little or nothing happening, starting again around 100 pages later for the conclusion.

There is no question it is well written and engaging, as Invasion also seemed to be, compelling you to keep reading but by half way through I was questioning whether to finish it.

And that being as I only had another circa 80 pages to go I did, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered, just confirming there was ultimately no reason to.

It seems to be Harrison's style outside of Rat to take a concept and weave it into an overlong meandering mystery, building to the conclusion in the last chapter.

But I just find it too slow and cumbersome again and it does not warrant a re-read now I know the conclusion, I couldn't face wading through those 100 pages of padding again.

Only Deathworld trilogy left now and I am thinking that sticking to the Rat books is advisable in this instance.

Another for the charity shop and another Harrison book space on my bookshelf.


Homefront (PC DVD)
Homefront (PC DVD)
Price: 3.42

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the price it is - a good budget title if you don't expect too much, 25 Aug 2013
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Homefront (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
with a single player campaign that can be completed in 3 hours and a practically dead multiplayer.

Installation went smoothly onto Steam, which now THQ is dissolved no longer appears in the Steam game search.

Graphics and sound are good, with a bit of lagging occasionally which I would put down to being a console port.

The game seems to be stable with no noticeable bugs or crashes.

The single player pretty much follows any FPS campaign, with 7 very short chapters and 4 difficulties. It is 100% a corridor shooter, you get no choice where you go and there is a lot of scripting.

The AI is terrible, both your squad and the enemy. Your squad cannot be killed and are just 'stunned' by being shot or blown up. Appallingly they can push you into the open if you are on their scripted spot and also trap you against things where you have to restart from the last checkpoint.

They provide little or no support to you and it is laughable when they yell that they 'will cover you' as they don't. If anything they are just there to get in the way and block your path.

The corridor programming forces you down the route the game is taking and also leads to 'walls' around the playing area that prevent you from flanking or taking cover apart from where you are allowed to, despite it looking like you could jump over the obstacle. You also get stuck on the environment a lot, being very annoying on guerrilla setting where you can die in 4-5 bullets.

These are only a few of the very many terrible problems with the game that are too numerous to list and make you wonder if the programmers ever play tested it.

The short play through time allows you to concentrate on getting the achievements, and ultimately this is the only reason to replay it. After this there will be little or no reason to ever play it again.

Multiplayer listed 21 servers, 20 empty. The one populated server I joined with around 30 players revealed a near instant death handkerchief sized map. I got zero warning on being hit, I just went to the respawn screen and there is no feedback on who killed you or how.

This happened around 5 times before I gave up, will not be bothering again and I would say that for all intents and purposes the multiplayer is dead and that many other populated games make it pretty much redundant, even for the achievements which I will not be attempting to get.

Anyone buying this for the multiplayer and persisting is desperate, considering some FPS are now F2P and have thousands of players versus probably less than a few hundred.

For a premium title it is poor and I can see why it was a critical failure, but at the price it can be got for now the quality issues can be forgiven and I would say there is at least 9-12 hours of play in it, even though that does mean repeating it 3-4 times.

Outside of that, a title you will unlikely ever return to.


Rolson 61770 72 LED Camping Light
Rolson 61770 72 LED Camping Light
Price: 9.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Blindingly bright and compact, 1 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
and replacing a large, bulky incandescent bulb lantern for emergency use.

For what I need it for, which is primarily any potential rare power cuts, it meets my needs perfectly.

While unused I store it on a hook on the back of a door where it is flush - by the hook that is on the back of the light - and is out of the way and out of mind, something the lantern was not.

It is very bright when looked straight at, but I will not be trying to do any reading or do any intricate work with it so it meets the requirement to compliment candles.

And being LED it takes 4 AA batteries commonly used instead of larger torch batteries I don't have spares of.

Meaning it should be more efficient and give light for longer coupled with not having to worry about having strange sized batteries that will eventually discharge through time and spares of which fit nothing else I have.

Ultimately LEDS have moved battery powered light devices far enough forward that I don't consider it a waste to replace the still working old ones and can recommend this one for what it is.


Headcrash
Headcrash
by Bruce Bethke
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.02

2.0 out of 5 stars So that is why I got rid of my first copy, 20 Mar 2013
This review is from: Headcrash (Paperback)
being a long time ago and not remembering the story at all. Although that is mostly the problem with the book, there is no story.

Bethke is credited with coining the phrase cyberpunk, although Gibson made it mean what it does, so there should be some hope that this is somewhat of a classic. It isn't.

Despite when it was published it hasn't actually aged that badly, other than the VR which nearly 20 years later is an anachronism that is difficult to find any physical trace of. The technical references are still valid and solid enough to anyone familiar with them back then, indicating how competent the book was.

The style of comedy and humour is set straight away, banishing any thoughts of the darkness that you would find in any of Gibson's books, but halfway through it actually has flashes of seriousness that indicate that it could have been much better than it turned out before descending once again into farce and a pretty poor conclusion. Stripping out the humour/comedy may have made it that classic.

And throughout it all there is really no plot. Things happen to set the scene, there are strands that run throughout and others that pop up and disappear just as quickly. There are conclusions to these strands, but with an indication by one character that others would be cleared up in the sequel they weren't as it was never written/published.

Overall it is just a lot of ideas loosely knitted together whether they worked or not and most don't and leaving a story that just careens around trying to fit them all in in a not so comedic/not so humourous/technically competent mix.

Anyone trawling the archives to try to find any cyberpunk gems they may have missed will likely come across this and potentially give it a try. There will be nothing wrong with that, it is perfectly readable in its own right, but having read it twice I am pretty sure that it will not be what they were expecting and that the likelihood is they will be left as disappointed as I was.


Sakura Magnetic Adhesive Car Van Licence Tax Disc Holder
Sakura Magnetic Adhesive Car Van Licence Tax Disc Holder
Offered by Extreme Auto Accessories
Price: 1.48

1.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and nasty, 5 Mar 2013
and thinking that a tax disc holder was just a tax disc holder whatever the price.

Replacing a condensation damaged Magnetax, it is practically the same product. Easy enough to attach to the screen, but the disc ring is so brittle that it tore in a couple of places while I was applying it and went straight into the bin.

This is in contrast to the Magnetax one that I had to spend 5 minutes getting off using a fingernail.

Replaced with a Magnetax next day, the backing is cardboard unlike this one that is rubber, and I just hope that it survives condensation longer than the last one but at least I knew what I was getting.


Pac-man 4-inch Plush with Sound
Pac-man 4-inch Plush with Sound
Offered by Accessory-Shop
Price: 9.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waka, Waka, Waka, 13 Feb 2013
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
and an excellent Pac-Man plush that is just the right size. I considered the 8 inch, but this one is just right.

Growing up with Pac-Man and recently rebuying the cartridge for my 1982 Atari VCS, I decided to treat myself to this completely unneeded and pointless item.

It is well made with the button for the noise located on the top of his head. It is actually totally irrelevant to have the noise, but is quite amusing.

The battery can be replaced by accessing the module from a velcro strip on the back.

Joining my small collection of popular culture characters it serves no purpose what-so-ever, but does what it does very well and is also endorsed by my cat.


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