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Robert Varney

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Undercover User Experience Design (Voices That Matter)
Undercover User Experience Design (Voices That Matter)
by Cennydd Bowles
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for UX design tips and techniques, 3 Dec 2010
At last: an accessible, easy to digest UX design book, which addresses the realities that practitioners may face day in, day out.

There are some excellent ideas to use to get buy-in from others. By highlighting a "smorgasbord" of techniques, a plan can be created which will fit the inevitable time and budgetary constraints. It proves that an effective UX design process doesn't have to be lengthy nor expensive.

The great thing about this publication is that the authors clearly and succinctly explain when to use these techniques, how to get the most out of them, and how they'll move the project along. In particular, some of the design exercises will work wonders in demonstrating the value of collaboration to a project team.

There may be a lack of depth, but this allows this book to be consumed in a few hours. There are plenty of other sources available, which can provide more detail if the reader requires it. My advice is to just give the ideas a try; I think I'll learn more from trying to practically apply them!

PS: I will remove Post-It notes in the correct way from now on.

Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Earphones
Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Earphones

2.0 out of 5 stars Fragile and overpriced, 14 Oct 2010
I had these earphones for just nine months, before the left hand speaker stopped working, despite religiously winding them up and storing them as per the usage instructions.

Apparently this is a common problem, and I'm awaiting a replacement as they're under guarantee. While Logitech's customer service department responds promptly to requests, I've been waiting for three weeks so far, which is not ideal.

When working, the 'phones provide excellent bass response, and the noise canceling is great when you're trying to listen to spoken-word podcasts on a noisy tube, for example. You certainly don't need the volume turned up any more than halfway, in my experience.

As a result, there's minimal leakage, which means you won't disturb other people around you whilst listening to music. Overall though, the listening experience wasn't significantly better than my partner's Sennheiser CX300s, which are less than half the price.

Therefore, I wouldn't recommend these due to their fragile construction and high cost.

Epson Stylus SX515W High-Speed All-in-One Printer with Individual Inks and Wi-Fi
Epson Stylus SX515W High-Speed All-in-One Printer with Individual Inks and Wi-Fi

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good all-in-one, 30 Jan 2010
Great value for money, quick print outs and good quality scans. I'm having problems with setting up WiFi printing with my Macbook though, which isn't too clever. Things like this should work out of the box.

Samsung R519 15.6-inch Notebook (Intel Celeron Dual Core Processor T3100 1.9 GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HDD, Windows 7 Home Premium, Black)
Samsung R519 15.6-inch Notebook (Intel Celeron Dual Core Processor T3100 1.9 GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HDD, Windows 7 Home Premium, Black)

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, no-frills laptop, 30 Jan 2010
I needed to buy a cheap PC laptop so I could work on a web project with a new client. I've always bought Apple in the past, so this was a bit of a departure for me. Anyway, I did some research around what options were available, and it seemed that this R519 was a good bet, and reasonable value.

The first thing that struck me was how big and heavy the machine was. Secondly, the materials used are cheap and the gloss coating on the lid, whilst looking good, attracts dust and fingerprints. And why are there so many stickers on it when you open up the lid? I know it's got Windows 7, an Intel processor and... other stuff. It looks like a kid's school desk.

However, on the positive side, its simple design means that it is attractive in a utilitarian sort of way. The keyboard is a good size and clearly marked; the trackpad and button, whilst feeling cheap, are fine when you get used to them (although I still struggle with scrolling).

All the ports are placed on the left hand side, meaning that you don't have cables sprouting from every corner of the unit, and you're not picking up and turning the machine around, trying to find where you plug a spare monitor in.

It takes a long time to get going when you first set it up. No where near as quick or easy as my Macbook. And Windows 7 doesn't seem that much better than previous versions of the operating system that I've used before.

Battery life is OK, lasting two hours during constant use, the processor is quick enough for my needs (office based applications / internet / AxureRP), the screen is bright and easy to read, and thankfully it seems free of lots of demo software (save for the obligatory McAfee / MS Office trials).

All in all then, it serves the purpose for which I bought it for, and doesn't look too bad either. I can't ask for more than that, given that it costs less than 350. I'd recommend it.

Sennheiser MX75 - Twist-To-Fit In-Ear Stereo Sport Headphones - Green
Sennheiser MX75 - Twist-To-Fit In-Ear Stereo Sport Headphones - Green

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sound average, build quality poor, 7 Jan 2009
I bought these headphones on the high street a few months back (from a reputable retailer I might add, they weren't fakes). I didn't trial them out as it was against shop policy (Health and safety blah, blah), but as I'd owned Sennheiser headphones in the past and highly rated them, I thought it was worth the risk.

How wrong I was. The sound quality was disappointing - no sparkle at the top, no weight at the bottom. I thought they sounded flat, to be honest.

Initially they fitted very well in my ears, after some experimentation with the plethora of pads you receive in the pack, but after half an hour they became pretty painful to wear, so in the end one has to compromise between fit and long-term comfort.

When you do reach a balance, you'll then find that your perfect pads fall off and disappear forever. Then the silver covers on the outside of each earphone will fall off (they're only for show, but annoying nevertheless). And finally the plastic cover around the headphone jack will come loose and you'll think "best get another set of headphones then".

In conclusion, I think these are disappointing for the price, both in terms of build and sound quality, and they're over-designed.

I'd recommend some CX-300s (which I just bought for my girlfriend - they sound excellent) or some PX-200s, which I've had for two years and still sound and work great.

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