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Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK)

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Silverline 127519 Aluminium Oxide Roll 10m 240 Grit
Silverline 127519 Aluminium Oxide Roll 10m 240 Grit
Price: £3.86

5.0 out of 5 stars I may never buy sand paper again, 29 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a very occasional DIYer The silverline sand paper 10m roll may last me a lifetime. Its as wide as a standard sandpaper and is a medium fine sandpaper. It fulfilled the ikea hacking job I bought it for and the remaining 9.5m is waiting for duty in my toolbox. Each section saw light duty on the sanding block and lasted a reasonable amount of time against the wood I was using it on.

Its not especially expensive; and you get a lot of it. 5*s

Delonghi Esam5500.B 1.7 Litre 1350 Watt 15 Bar Perfecta Bean to Cup Machine with Patented Automatic Cappuccino System, Black and Silver
Delonghi Esam5500.B 1.7 Litre 1350 Watt 15 Bar Perfecta Bean to Cup Machine with Patented Automatic Cappuccino System, Black and Silver

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Looks, Great Coffee, 29 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Delonghi Perfecta arrived in the largest amazon box I have yet seen; inside was a russian doll puzzle consisting of two more boxes, some styrofoam and plastic protection wrapper.

The good news for fellow caffeine addicts is that getting it out of the boxes was the hardest part of the setup. The chord is quite long and once its setup on the kitchen counter; you need to fill the large water tank and power it up (There is a master power switch hiding on the back besides the power button on the counter.) The Perfecta is HUGE I have put side by side photos on the page with a Delonghi Magnifica bean to cup machine; which also show that the magnifica looks much classier than its older brother. There are less buttons; those that there are have clearer labels. The silver dial in the middle is like the jog dial on the old iPod letting you choose coffee strength and size. This is useful when you want a weaker or stronger coffee for a guest.

Once the water is charged; you need to put beans into the large bean reservoir; its best not to leave coffee beans lying around in the open though so you might want to resist the urge to fill it. In the interest of experimentation I put 125gm's of beans into the hopper and it just about filled it (again there is a picture.) Beans resolved you need to clean out the milk jug (if you want a latte or cappuccino) and put in some cold (skimmed) milk. The jug itself is also on the portly side - so much so it wouldn't fit into the side bins of my fridge door; and required me to rejig my fridge to create a shelf high enough for it.

Before you make a coffee you are going to drink I would run an espresso through just to check all is well; if the crema is poor you can adjust the grind of the beans inside the bean well (but only whilst the machine is grinding.) The default setting works fine for my beans and my espresso had a strong crema on top.

Once thats done press the bleary morning friendly Cappuccino button : its the biggest on the machine and be impressed how quiet this latest generation machine is; the Magnifica let you know it was making coffee with loud noises signifying its every move. The Perfecta is much more reserved; it lets the results speak for it. If on the first run it under or overfills your glass there are instructions on how to set the machine to your cups (hold the cappuccino button down till it says measuring milk on the clear display; when you are happy with milk press it again and it runs with coffee - one more press and its set for your cups. Leave some room as milk frothing can be variable. Milk frothing is a major improvement in the Perfecta; the older machines were binary hot latte milk or cappuccino foam - and had issues making foam at times; the Perfecta has a linear gauge where you can control it. The older machines made a good foamed milk; the Perfecta's is fabulous - that little bit more control gets you considerably closer to barista grade micro foam.

Maintenance and cleaning isn't too onerous. When you power the machine up; each and every time it rinses itself out (i put a jug under the coffee nozzles to save filling the waste water reservoir.) The machine comes with a descaling fluid and will let you know when to use it (i have medium hardness water and it asks me to do it every 4 -5 months. Every few days you need to empty the waste grinds bin and top up the water. The milk jug and tray will go in the dishwasher to clean them if you don't want to wash them by hand. The coffee brewing unit doesnt go in the dishwasher and needs to be cleaned under a tap one a month (depending on how much you use the machine.) After that it needs a cloth wipe down and if its like the magnifica some ground coffee tends to escape but can be caught with a hoover.

I bought into my original Magnifica as I was fed up of making a mess even when using a Nespresso machine frothing milk or with the capsules; the Perfecta has the same lack of waste and mess. On the kitchen counter it looks considerably more impressive than its predecessors. It makes a better coffee; and although not a cheap machine is significantly better value than going to Costa every day.

Braun CoolTec CT2s Electric Shaver with Active Cooling Technology
Braun CoolTec CT2s Electric Shaver with Active Cooling Technology
Offered by Bargain Direct UK
Price: £117.50

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cooltec works; CT2s doesn't tick all my boxes, 11 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Braun Cooltec CT2s is a great electric razor; far better than the series 5 I have been using on and off for a year now. In that year I have tried the new Wilkinson Sword Hydro Power; and two other review razors in the Philips Sensotouch 2 and 3d's. I have now been using it on and off for a few months and have a chance to consider it after a longer use.

The first thing to note is the Cooltec really does work; shaving on dry skin with the Cooltec (draining the battery away) I get almost no razor burn on my neck that I do get when i use the Philips razors on dry skin. I have two shaving patterns; workdays I clean-shave and weekends I might miss a day. I also travel a Lot and find myself getting off long flights having not shaved since Mumbai or Bangkok. Like all electric razors the Braun needs me to shave everyday to neck stop hairs which grow along my skin rather than standing proud as they do on my face. Missing a day results in slightly longer hairs that none of electric shavers can do a great job with; and once they get too long the only way to remove without irritation is to wetshave.

In use the design lawnmower striping shaving style of the Braun shavers doesn't work as well as the Philips shavers; the rotary motion of the Philips results in a closer shave. All of them look clean shaven; but none of them give a clean feeling that lasts as as long as using a Fusion or Hydro wet shave does. They do give you a clean look and feel smooth for a few hours but soon I can feel stubble when i touch my face. That said neither of the braun shavers gives me razor burn; the Philips ones always do if i dont use a gel with them; so the rotary motion comes at the expense of your skin.

I found Cooltec CT2s a mixed bag; its as good at shaving as the 5 series but the Cooltec functions really works to protect your skin. I do think that Cooltec is a a bit like the American Space Pen; using gel already worked and it doesnt reduce the battery life. For me its the Sensotouch 3d that makes it into my bag; along with a pack of gel.

Cabin Pressure The Complete Series 4
Cabin Pressure The Complete Series 4
by John Finnemore
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.12

5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect British Sitcom, 1 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Cabin Pressure is one of the Jewel's in Radio 4's schedules. Making that all the more impressive is that Radio 4 bills itself as the home of British Comedy; many a great TV show was first introduced by a stiff continuity announcer on Radio 4.

Cabin Pressure has all the elements of great comedy; well thought out characters with strong personalities and over the last 3 seasons a lot of back story for the writer to reuse. A mixture of intelligence among the crew and the british class system woven in for good measure means that who you root for is then very much a product of where you are listening from.

The situation of the comedy is MJN Air a charter airline with but a single plane (an Air Dot.) MJN and GERTI its plane are living on borrowed time taking any work they can find. With the excellent premise; and a Hollywood movie grade lead of Benedick Cumberbatch (as the young and reaching Captain) and Roger Allam (as the know it all First Officer.) The main cast is rounded out with the writer John Finnimore as the useless not exactly a cabin attendant. Finally there is Stephanie Cole as the owner of the plane and Chief steward : who lives by the motto the customer is always a moron.

With the scenarios they find themselves in getting crazier with each passing season the fourth series is far and away my favourite. Battling a Dragon with a Liechtenstein-ian Princess and making snowmen in China being the highlights for me. Each episode in series 4 has an arc to the finale. With a cast this good making each episode causes timing problems; but hopefully season 5 is not to far away.

The Cabin Pressure Series 4 cd's bring you 6 episodes spread over 3 discs and a sheet of paper about the cast for the episodes. The sound quality is outstanding; though it does come with the laughter track which is a bit of a shame. It is the jewel in the radio 4 schedule and well worth getting on disk for home.

Am-Tech Pro Hole Saw Set (9 Pieces)
Am-Tech Pro Hole Saw Set (9 Pieces)
Offered by Biggest Discount Ltd
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fiddly, 27 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Am-tech pro hole saw comes with sturdy strong hole cutters and the drill piece you need to use to get the hole started. The yellow drill bits are held in place with a bolt on the drill shafts and that bolt doesn't like to stay on; even tightened using spanners they would come undone and thats where the star went. The blades themselves went straight through Ikea units - though on the wider support sections they weren't deep enough and I had to flip them and cut from both end. They were sharp enough to survive a bolt where i missed my mark slightly.

The Am-tech pro are great at cutting holes; they just need a bit of help staying tight through the cut 4*s

Spear & Jackson Predator Triplefast Saw
Spear & Jackson Predator Triplefast Saw
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a knife through butter, 27 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My first wood saw since school and I found the right tool for the job. I needed a woodsaw to help with a small ikea hacking project and the Predator Tripplefast cut through 45mm plane squared timber with ease and in seconds. One draw back to get a notch and after than it the link in and it went through the wood in seconds.

Its not the cheapest saw but it feel's built to last and out of the sleeve its a delight to use. 5*s

Coolerguys 120x120x25mm USB Fan with Grill
Coolerguys 120x120x25mm USB Fan with Grill
Offered by Coolerguys dot com
Price: £13.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Plug and play in blissful silence, 27 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I took a punt on these Coolerguy's fans and bought these two fans to help cooling my hi-fi cabinet. The fans themselves are pretty big - 120x120 is almost twice the size of my largest hole cutter drill bit so had to cut out the circle after it was drilled through. Inside the box are some rubber feet to rest the fans atop something but nothing for sticking them vertically; so they are currently being held in place with some silcone sealant (which also reduces the air spill.)

I chose these for the USB sockets - pretty much all my hifi and video gear has a USB socket now and using those for powering the fans is a lot simpler than wiring in a reduce / dc power supply for their competitors. So powering them up was as simple as plugging the USB sockets. Once I had the fans quietly spin up to speed and remained quiet ever after several hours of usage. For the price and simplicity of using the coolerguy's fans 5*s

AmazonBasics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire 1.3 mm≤ / 100 Feet
AmazonBasics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire 1.3 mm≤ / 100 Feet
Price: £7.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds Good, 27 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My first thought on opening the Amazon basics hassle free box was is that it.

Inside the easy open box was a spool of wire with a diameter smaller than a CD. The wire itself is very easy to work with though it is about 1cm across the two wires so obscuring it behind carpet is that bit harder. The wires have a soft translucent cover that is easy to strip to reveal the wire underneath. The 100ft (just over 30m if like me you are Metric) was enough to comfortably rewire my home cinema system and compared to the cable that came with it the sound was considerably more rich.

Compared to included wire with my speakers the sound is a big step forward; its very easy to work with and for the price its hard not to recommend it 5*s.

Netgear WNDR4300 Premium Edition N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
Netgear WNDR4300 Premium Edition N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
Offered by Maplin_Webdeals
Price: £119.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly easily configurable router for cable and fiber users., 13 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Netgear WNDR4300 Premium Edition N750 has a silly name; don't let that put you off it really is all routers too all people. So long as you don't have ADSL; and even then you could get an ADSL bridge to use the system.

On the back you will find 1 Ethernet in connector to plug into your cable or bt fiber modem. 4 Ethernet sockets for legacy devices or the best transmission speeds for HD TV or gaming; a USB socket for printers or hard drives (Sadly not both) and the power jack / switch. My common complaint about these devices is that the mains lead doesn't plug straight in saving a box in my room. After the 4 ethernet sockets there are 2 full wifi circuits that can be setup as a public / guest network allowing visitors access to the internet but not your files. The wireless speeds are claimed unto 750mb/s but i don't know what kind of adaptor you need for that my wireless n could only get 330mb/s. Its fast though and the range was more than enough for my duplex flat; whilst contending with 22 neighbouring wifi devices.

Once all plugged in the lights on the front come on and you can set the router up; being an ethernet only router this is quite easy as there aren't any ADSL settings. It comes setup with a device specific password which is great as its less likely others will be able to hack your device should you go with easy settings. Setup can be as simple or as complex as you like; and there is an iPhone/ iPad app that speeds you through setup; and makes changing the complex options easy.

The single USB socket could be a limiting factor for you; if you plug in a printer you can use the device as an AirPrint with an i Device; or a wireless shared printer with everything else. If you plug in a drive you have a wireless backup drive for a mac (time machine compatible) or pc. The ace in the card for me is plugging a drive in makes it accessible whilst you are out of home via a time limited function called Readyshare. The N750 comes with a subscription through September 2014 that lets you create your own private cloud storage system. After that they are going to charge for it...

As with most routers; once you have done the setup you just leave it alone on the shelf and it ticks over doing its job. I have been using it for almost a month like that and hardly had to touch the setup application - and only when i wanted to tweak some settings for online gaming.

After a month I really only had two desires; a name that flowed off the tongue and a second USB socket to let me plug my printer in. 5*'s but only if you have cable / fiber internet.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Compact Digital Camera - Black (12.1MP, 20x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD
Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Compact Digital Camera - Black (12.1MP, 20x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD
Offered by uk-dealz
Price: £184.69

96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Lens, Great Sensor, great camera, 12 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought an SX280 after I dropped my beloved Canon Powershot SX260.

The Powershot HS super-zoom takes all the best of Canon camera's and puts it into a small pocketable camera. On the front is a great lens; on the back a bright screen some finger friendly buttons and a mode dial that has lots of automatic options and scene modes as well as aperture, shutter and full manual modes for those wanting to take more control of their photo's. The automatic modes include a handheld night mode, snow and fireworks as well as creative modes like Toy Camera, Fisheye and my favourite Miniature mode. In video mode you can take smooth full HD 1920 x 1080 at 60fps in the higher quality MP4 format. At lower resolutions you can take ever fast shutter rates right up to 240fps for super slow motion images - albeit at 640x480 dvd quality. Taking video is as easy as pressing the dedicated record button.

The SX280 is an evolutionary upgrade to the SX260 I previously carried. The most important feature the stabilised 20x zoom lens goes from a wide 25mm through to 500mm and remains unchanged. After the lens comes the sensor; it's still 12 megapixels but its considerably more sensitive than its predecessor allowing you to take photos with less noise in darker conditions than last years model.The processor is markedly improved from the 260; you can shoot up to 14fps (albeit for only 7 shots) in the high speed mode. The autofocus is noticeably quicker that its predecessor; a faster autofocus lets you get that picture before its too late to take it. Besides the improved sensor and processor the remaining new feature is wifi which lets you transfer pictures using a Canon app you install onto you smartphone. Its not the most useful feature in the world; and mainly just a drain on your battery.

The battery life of the 260 was generally pretty good - the 280 on its first trip out took over 120 photos with the GPS turned on (in Central London) before the battery light started flashing. With the GPS turned off its rated at 210 shots so the GPS hunting in the city centre cost me about 90 photos.

The extra sensitivity in the sensor and the general increase in speed thanks to the Digic 6 process make the 280 a great improvement over the 260; far more than the top level spec's might suggest. At the time of writing though the sx260 which is maybe 80% of the camera is considerably cheaper and remains the better choice till the price of the 280 comes down.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2013 6:26 PM BST

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