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John Davidson (Edinburgh)

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Invention of Knowledge
Invention of Knowledge
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Equal to the sum of its parts Anderson and Stolt have created a great album of symphonic, uplifting progressive rock, 17 July 2016
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Given Anderson and Stolt's individual pedigrees it shouldn't be such a a surprise that this album is as good as it is, but so often the collaboration between artists unused to each other is less than the sum of the parts. Not so here, where Stolt's uplifting music compliments Anderson's typically ethereal voice and lyrics wonderfully.
It doesn't have the jazzy feel of the best Yes albums and the rhythm section while perfectly adequate don't conjure the magic of Squire & Bruford or Squire & White and as a result the album really only has one tone throughout . None the less this is highly enjoyable slice of symphonic prog that soars above the recent outings from Stolt's other side projects (e.g. Transatlantic)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2016 6:07 PM BST


From Stone and Steel
From Stone and Steel
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic live album showcasing the best of their recent back catalog., 16 July 2016
Simply superb.
Great songs, beautifully played.The fact that this was recorded live is testament to the bands musicianship.
If you like progressive rock then you really cant go wrong with this.


Folklore
Folklore
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegiac pastoral prog, but really just great songs well played, 9 July 2016
This review is from: Folklore (MP3 Download)
A tremendously rewarding collection of immaculately constructed English Progressive rock. The album has a very elegiac, pastoral theme and is so quintessentially English you can practically hear the drizzle, but the combination of warmth and wistful melancholy are a genuine delight.
Musically, vocally and lyrically this is top notch, and though it doesn't quite top the excellence of English Electric it is a real grower..
Perhaps I was spoiled by hearing Wassail when it was released as an EP earlier as it is the most obvious 'crowd pleaser' with a strong chorus and a bit more of a rocky edge than the opening tracks.


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel H. Pink
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless reminder that carrot and stick are poor motivators, 5 July 2016
A well crafted book that reminds us of things which we often know, but rarely practice in an office environment.
Performance metrics often have the opposite (or very little) effect.
While the book offers some ideas on how to motivate others without carrot and stick it is also clear that there are no easy answers.
Hiring good people and staying out of their way is easier written than achieved.


Half a War (Shattered Sea, Book 3)
Half a War (Shattered Sea, Book 3)
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying conclusion., 3 July 2016
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Satisfying conclusion to a fantasy tale populated by interesting and dangerous characters.
There is a great deal of bloodshed and action pushing the story along but once again Abercrombie conjours up characters that we care about.


Anker SoundCore (6W Dual-Driver Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Superior Clear Stereo Sound and Groundbreaking 24-Hour Playtime) Bluetooth 4.0 Portable Wireless Speaker with Ultra Low Harmonic Distortion, Enhanced Bass Response and Built-in Microphone for Calls - Black
Anker SoundCore (6W Dual-Driver Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Superior Clear Stereo Sound and Groundbreaking 24-Hour Playtime) Bluetooth 4.0 Portable Wireless Speaker with Ultra Low Harmonic Distortion, Enhanced Bass Response and Built-in Microphone for Calls - Black
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars good sound, 3 July 2016
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excellent little sounbar. Bass and volume are rich, with no crackle or breakup at normal volumes.Bluetooth signal strength is also good.
Great for around the house.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Dvd
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Bennet: zombie slayer, 3 July 2016
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Overall this is a light hearted romp... similar in tone to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but set in a reimagined Georgian England..
The broad story of Pride and Prejudice plays out against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse which is already well under way. This allows the story to focus on the action and characters without a lengthy exposition .
File under beer & crisps rather than fine art or Oscar material but highly enjoyable for what it is.


Diamond Head
Diamond Head
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good album that delivers in thet classic' Diamond Head style, 29 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: Diamond Head (MP3 Download)
The opener, Bones, is a classic head nodding recreation of the energy and tone that a young Diamond Head brought to the NWOBH 1979- 1982 80s. New singer Rasmus Andersen sounds for all the world like Sean Harris in his pomp..
While the rest of the album doesn't quite live up to the promise of that first track it's still a good album with a number of tracks sporting that all important 'epic feel' like "All the Reasons You Live". "Our Time is Now" , "Blood On My Hands" and closer "Silence".
The other up-tempo numbers don't hit the spot quite so well but "Diamonds" is a pretty decent rocker.


Lenovo Miix 300 10 inch Tablet - Black
Lenovo Miix 300 10 inch Tablet - Black

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good device for casual use but one potentially fatal flaw, 29 Mar. 2016
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At just over £100 this is a great value tablet, particularly with the added benefit of a detachable keyboard.

The spec is far from stellar, but for web browsing, casual gaming and streaming video it is certainly more than adequate.
The device also comes with Windows 10 installed which is surprisingly brisk given the processing and memory power of the device.
On board storage is weak, with a meager 32GB (of which about half is taken up with OS and preloaded apps). However this can be boosted with the addition of a micro SD card (64GB for less than £15 makes this a no brainer)

You will also need to install a firewall/anti-virus - there are plenty of low to no cost version out there which do an adequate job.

While Amazon have improved their support for Android tablets there are not many devices which support Amazon instant video, Sky Go and Netflix and certainly not at this sort of price.

Weight wise this is at the heavy end of usable - I'd certainly would think twice about wandering for any length of time around with the keyboard attached.
Battery life is ok @ around 4-6 hours depending on usage.
Screen resolution is ok - the windows 10 icons are on the small side but the screen is pretty responsive and picture quality supports HD streaming.

It is certainly not a credible substitute for a full blow PC or equivalent,. I cant imagine writing a novel or doing any serious content creation work on this - the keyboard is small and while it is responsive it is easy to hit the wrong key if you have normal/adult sized fingers but as a secondary device for home use or for taking on holiday it seems to hit the spot quite well.
Equally it doesn't have the power to run any demanding games but is good enough for older less graphically intensive things like (say) Baldur's Gate.

There is however, one potentially fatal flaw - the device will not reliably connect to WPA2-AES secured networks. I've tried several work-arounds but none were successful and I eventually had to change my wi-fi security to a different setting to get this connect.
It does however connect to the normal 'free' wifi hotspots, bt-openzone etc without any bother.


Flashback
Flashback
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well paced and exciting dystopian thriller / mystery marred only by some clumsy political world building., 21 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Flashback (Kindle Edition)
Dan Simmons is a great writer - mixing inventive scenarios with interesting characters and pacy thrilling plots. This books contains all of these hallmarks and was a very enjoyable read .
The central mystery and the relationships between the characters are all well crafted and the action scenes keep you on the edge of your seat.
What lets this book down is the intrusive and monotonous view of why the world in general and the USA in particular has gone to hell.
Medicare is bad, militarism is good and Israel should be supported at all costs. This would be fine if only on or two characters mentioned it, and better still if an alternative account was even floated, but no the whole underlying premise of the book is rammed home again and again like a crass commercial for the Republican party.
It's not that the ideas offend, its the lack of wit with which they are presented that makes the reader sit back and drop out of the story . Simmons is capable of better .
It's always a danger when reading a book written by someone in another culture (even one as close as the US ) that you miss some essential clue that tips the wink that the book is a satire, but I really don't think so in this case. If so, sorry Mr S I just didn't get the joke.


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