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Citizen Eco-Drive Men's Gold-Tone Leather Watch #BM8242-08A
Citizen Eco-Drive Men's Gold-Tone Leather Watch #BM8242-08A

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything works - poor instructions, 19 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was put off by some of the negative reviews, so did not order for a long while. But my existing quartz, twelve years old, although it keeps excellent time, often runs out, always just when I am far away from any possibility of a replacement. I was so taken with the concept of no battery to change - ever - that I recently went ahead and spoiled myself for my birthday.

This is a fine watch - elegant appearance, apparently well made, keeps perfect time and is excellent value for money. The most serious negative reviews appear to be due to either not reading, or not understanding, the instructions, which are not very good. Surely Citizen could get a watchmaker, an artist and an English graduate to sit down for an hour together and prepare a clearly understandable, accurate description of how to set the watch. Or put a video on youtube (oh, I may be an old fart, but I'm with it !!)

He who complained about the days being in "Spanish" apparently did not notice that as the crown wheel is rotated to set the days, as instructed, they appear in English, German and French, in fixed sequence. Therefore if you first set it in English, subsequent automatic changes are always in English. (I managed to get it wrong however - I set it on Mon, assuming Monday, but in fact it was Montag ! Somewhat puzzled when days in German subsequently appeared, but soon figured out and reset correctly).

He who complained of a fiddly crown wheel would also have been better served by clear instructions. Holding the watch between thumb and forefinger of both hands, face up, with the crown wheel on the right, the crown wheel can be easily pulled out to first or second "click", under full control, by slipping the side of the nail of the index finger just between the crown wheel and the case. I don't think using teeth on it is a good idea, neither for the watch nor for one's teeth!

The strap is certainly not cheap. It is thick real leather, the parts very solidly put together, but it is rather stiff. Frankly, not to my taste - I prefer a smooth leather - but that is only personal preference and I shall soon be changing mine for a soft black suede strap.

I'm well pleased with the watch. It looks fine, works perfectly, keeps time to the second over more than a week and I am looking forward to many years of batteryless , non-winding, accurate timekeeping. I have an idea it will see me out.

Sakura SS3631 8A Battery Charger
Sakura SS3631 8A Battery Charger
Price: £25.47

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXEMPLARY, 12 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well designed and built . Neat, compact, easy to use. Excellent clear instructions. Generous lead lengths for power and battery. Working within three minutes of unpacking. I wish all products gave such little trouble and worked so well.

Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters
Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters
by David Hockney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.03

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENVY AND JEALOUSY, 4 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The art world is well known for the prevalence of jealousy and envy among artists for the more successful among them. It's understandable, as many hard working, highly skilled artists are ignored while others, equally or even less skilled, become world famous, either by accident or because of superior marketing skills. For example, one often STILL reads that Picasso or Dali could not draw or even paint "properly", in spite of the fact that several world-travelled exhibitions of their works have featured early drawings and paintings by both artists showing draughtsmanship skills of the highest order and the ability to produce skilful representational paintings. In both cases, however, as they grew up and developed, they chose to take a different path and be judged by the results. Hockney has joined this exclusive group and produces uniquely stylised paintings, instantly recognisable, only because of the skills acquired in his classic training in drawing and painting, honed by hard work, dedication and long experience.

Life is unfair. Hockney has become a National Treasure, because he is an excellent artist, but also, perhaps, because he has not only survived to a ripe old age but achieved "grumpy but lovable old fart" status. Yet many of his contemporaries, equally skilled, are completely unknown or known only to a few knowledgable fellow artists.

Of course Hockney can draw. Anyone who says he cannot draw or paint "properly" is either blinded by professional jealousy or simply does not know what he is talking about. There is ample evidence on record in his published work. His teenage paintings and drawings show ample evidence of a great artist in the making. His few representational portraits, throughout his career, as well as many conventional pencil and colour pencil drawings, are clear evidence of classic drawing and painting skills. I am a particular admirer of his charcoal drawings, which show a remarkable ability to convey softness and tonal range as well as the high contrast and hard edges more typical of this medium.

As for his theories on the use of optical aids by great artists of the past, there can be little doubt that leading artists have, when required, used every aid technically available to achieve precision when needed - and why not? Grids, shadowgraphs and the camera lucida are techniques which would have been fascinating and irresistable to a skilled artist seeking to perfect his craft. Such techniques are taught in the better art schools alongside the more traditional skill of draughtsmanship.

It is also unarguably true that some great artists have, by hard work and enormous dedication, achieved the ability to reproduce the three-dimensional world they see onto a two-dimensional surface with extraordinary perceptual skill, so as to make the image appear convincingly accurate, without the use of instrumental aids. Some of Hockney's early paintings show that he was quite competent at that when he wanted to be.

Whether particular artists used optical aids to the full extent hypothesised by Hockney cannot now be known for sure. Nor is the Scientific American article a definitive "debunking" as claimed. It is a contrary opinion as subjective as Hockney's. We shall never know for sure, but the single-minded skilled professional striving for perfection is not something that has appeared only in the last century, and I suspect Hockney's theory, if not 100% correct, is nearer the truth than the denials of his critics.

This book is a fascinating exposition of some of the clever techniques the Old Masters could have used, and probably, in many cases, did use to achieve their extraordinary results. In no way does it denigrate their skills - on the contrary, it shows the amount of study and research needed to become a great artist. If you are interested in the craft of painting, this is required reading.

Define d Noize
Define d Noize
Offered by tws-music-eu
Price: £4.95

1.0 out of 5 stars WAKE UP AMAZON!, 2 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Define d Noize (Audio CD)
This came up after listing BRAHMS Symphonies 1-4 in the Advanced Search box. A surprise, to say the least! I wonder how Amazon's search engine manages to do this?

I can't rate the item, for obvious reasons, but nor can I alert Amazon and customers about the complete disconnect between Define d'Noize and Brahm's sublime symphonies without entering at least one star. So .......

Acctim 74132 Cadiz Wall Clock, White
Acctim 74132 Cadiz Wall Clock, White
Price: £15.14

5.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN CLOCKWORK, 9 Sept. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Received next day! It was showing correct time within an hour of putting in the batteries and hanging on the wall and has worked perfectly since (about a month ago).

The gloss white - really VERY white - plastic case, white dial and black hands and lettering are, to my eyes (lover of good industrial design and amateur artist) very elegant. The only slight niggle I have is that the zero in the number ten is smaller than all the other digits on the dial, which offends my eye somewhat. I can't think why it was printed like that - maybe it was an error, which is why this version is so much cheaper than the silver colour case and metal case versions by the same maker, where all the digits are the same size. Anyway, it's clearly shown on the photos, so you can have a look and make up your own mind. I'm certainly not offended enough to replace it - it looks good, keeps perfect time and doesn't need checking and re-setting every week or so.

What more can you ask of a clock?

One For All SV9215 Flat Antenna
One For All SV9215 Flat Antenna
Price: £18.30

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars USELESS JUNK, 19 Aug. 2011
I bought one of these for a new analogue/digital + Freeview HD TV for use in a part of the house which has no nearby TV aerial socket. Anyway, none of the TV sockets are connected to an aerial, just end up in a coil of co-axial up in the loft - an aerial has never been necessary here for analogue TV as I have line-of-sight to both Holme Moss and Emley Moor. Nevertheless, I thought for digital HD I'ld better have a proper aerial, but thought I'ld try one of these before getting someone expensive in to put up a proper outdoor aerial, thinking it would be out of sight tucked behind the TV. Yes, I'm mean, as well.

I installed it exactly as the instructions, put the new TV through its tuner set-up and got very few channels, either digital or analog, and all of them very poor quality. Totally and completely useless, wherever I put it, high, low, whichever orientation. Having muttered a few choice words of comment I decided to call in an aerial installer the next day, but out of curiosity I sorted out an ancient very long length of coaxial and connected the TV aerial socket directly to the house "no aerial(!)" socket on the other side of the room. I put the new TV through its tuning cycle again - bingo! More channels than I knew existed, including the HD channels, all glossy photograph quality with no interference, pixellating, or any image faults at all that I could see. Never bothered with a proper aerial, just tucked the long unsightly coax behind the edge of the carpet. Never seen a flicker of interference since. I am enjoying the best TV pictures I have ever seen - but unfortunately the programmes are still mostly rubbish. Ah, well, one can't have everything.

If you've just bought one of these, cancel it now, or send it back if it's arrived. If you're considering, DON'T. Two or three metres of coax will be as good, and if that is not good enough, add cheap indoor rabbit's ears. If that still isn't good enough, put the money towards a professional outdoor antenna.

Enjoy your TV!

Panasonic SC-HC30DBEBS DAB Micro System with iPod Dock
Panasonic SC-HC30DBEBS DAB Micro System with iPod Dock

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLACK MAGIC!, 5 Aug. 2011
I was put off for a long while by the negative reviews here, mainly about the radio. However, I have had Panasonic products in the past and all have been outstanding, so when I saw a special offer on this micro system I risked it and took the plunge - knowing, again from past experience, that Amazon would put things right if I finished up with a dud.

I'm so glad I did! I can't understand why so many people have had trouble with the DAB radio, not only on this model but on others in the same range. Maybe they have trouble with the tuning set-up, which is not the simplest, nor are the instructions as clear as they might be. But if you are half-way technically competent, you should not have a problem. My unit was working perfectly within ten minutes of getting it out of the box, using only the split-flexible-wire-dipole aerial supplied, pinned under the nearest inside windowsill edge to hide it (NOT pinned through the wire - just trapping the wire under the heads of drawing pins!). The aerial metal coupling to the radio does have to be screwed in VERY firmly - it's a bit stiff the last few turns - to ensure good contact. The DAB radio immediately pulled in more stations than I could count in a half hour and FM pulled in all BBC, local and Classic FM stations loud and clear, all with no interference or 'gobbling'. This in South Yorkshire, where hills complicate reception.

As an old (very) hifi amplifier and speaker enclosure builder, I am picky about sound reproduction. The sound from these two little paperback-sized flat speakers would have only been understood as black magic in the days when I was designing amplifiers! Not only were transients clear and crisp, but when I turned the wick right up to a window rattling 11( ;-)), with "Rite of Spring" as a demanding test piece, both low and high frequencies were remarkably free of distortion. The specifications say no more than 10% total harmonic distortion at 1000kHz at 20 watts rms per channel, but I'll swear the distortion was much, much less. Good crisp speaker performance at very low volumes is also not easy to get right, but even at very low whisper-quiet volume for seeing me off to sleep, at which my old Sony reproduces speech as mush, World Service news is crisp and clear.

The sliding door over the CD and iPod section is a bit gimmicky - I'ld be happier with a manual sliding panel with less to go wrong, but I understand lots of people love this kind of thing! The unit as a whole looks very elegant, takes up minimal space and feels solid, not at all lightweight and plasticky like much contemporary electronic gear.

Very well done, Panasonic! But get an English technician to learn thoroughly his way round the equipment and then re-write those instructions. Put more manual controls on the top edge - it's annoying to have to look for the remote when you only want to change pre-selected channels, select Sleep or see the clock. Put the names for the top controls and the red on/off indicator LED along the front of the top edge so that they can be seen from the front. Also, use transparent or white insulation for the aerial to make it less conspicuous. Those are my only criticisms.

I'm glad I ignored the negative reviews. I'm extremely happy with this equipment and recommend it to anyone who appreciates good sound from a small, elegant DAB/FM/CD/iPod player.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2014 4:08 PM BST

Roger Quilter: O Mistress Mine; To Daisies; Julia's Hair; Go, Lovely Rose
Roger Quilter: O Mistress Mine; To Daisies; Julia's Hair; Go, Lovely Rose
Price: £7.90

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEGUILING!, 17 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not at all my usual cup of tea, but I found this small-scale music-making completely beguiling. The 'To Julia' cycle, with the piano and string quartet accompaniment, was particularly effectve and uplifting. Quilter's music cedes nothing whatsoever of beauty or emotional content to the lieder tradition. Nor do these singers and musicians.

As I am not accustomed to listening to this kind of music, I was not previously aware of a single one of the performers. That is my loss, because they are all remarkable musicians - it is a dreadful shame that musicians of this exceptional calibre cannot achieve the wide exposure due to them in today's musical world.

It is invidious to pick out one from such a talented group, but I was particularly struck by Lisa Milne's beautiful, clear, bell-like soprano and her perfect intonation and diction. One can actually clearly hear and understand every single word she sings. If this sounds obvious and simplistic, you haven't heard much contemporary sung English music.

Full marks to Naxos for an excellent recording and the notes with the words of all the poems.

Worth several times the price!

Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Price: £17.95

5.0 out of 5 stars YES, but.........., 17 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gustav Mahler (Audio CD)
This CD sounds magnificent and I love the Temirkanov/St Petersburg P.O. take of Mahler's 5th. Superb.

BUT the heading of this listing bears a panel referring to the BBC Music Magazine Awards for 2011, giving the impresson that this recording is among the 2011 winners - or at least the contenders. I have scoured the May 2011 edition of BBC Music Magazine, in which the 2011 Awards are listed, and there is no mention of this recording. False advertising of a CD which needs no tricks to get attention.

Apocalypse Watch [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Apocalypse Watch [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Patrick Bergin
Price: £6.89

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WAKE UP AMAZON!, 9 Dec. 2010
This came up after a search request for Jacob Bronowski!

What's happening to Amazon? Its search engine is deteriorating catastrophically.
Not only stupid results like this, but 'No result' messages for well-known CDs and DVDs which I know to be easily available.

This used to be Amazon's strength. Now, I can't rely on it.

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